Inside Edisto

Need-to-know info about living there
Text by Vicki J. Weathers

Setting: Edisto is a barrier island in the chain of Sea Islands along the coastlines of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. It's located about 45 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, and a little more than 100 miles north of Savannah, Georgia. Deeply embedded in the Lowcountry, Edisto's rivers and tidal marshes flow into St. Helena Sound and the ACE Basin Reserve. The average high in January is 56 degrees; in July, 89 degrees. August is the wettest month.

Attractions: The island claims 3 miles of beach on the Atlantic. Boaters and fishermen enjoy the ACE Basin Reserve, which brims with shrimp, flounder, crabs, oysters, and clams. The recently built K-5 school was named South Carolina's third-best elementary school. With a population of around 2,500, the island has room to grow.

Drawbacks: With access to only one grocery store and no major medical center, islanders must drive to Charleston for supplies or emergency care. Children in grades 6 through 12 ride a bus to Walterboro, about 45 miles away. Most beach houses are second homes and become rentals in the summer. The population can swell to 15,000 during tourist season. Island water smells like lime, and residents near the marshes battle mosquitoes.

Your next-door neighbors: Charleston commuters, real estate agents, retirees, a tugboat owner, a chef, shrimpers, a doctor, and a Harley-riding judge.

How you'd spend your free time: Walking the beach, kayaking through tidal marshes, bicycling, touring historic island plantations, visiting a produce stand for locally grown vegetables and fruit, perusing books at The Edisto Bookstore, eating Miss Etta's tomato pie at Main's Market Cafe.

(published May 2008)