Beginner’s guide to the Lowcountry

in Voices by

By Jack Sparacino
My wife and I moved to the beautiful Lowcountry six years ago. It was a welcome change after spending decades in Connecticut and many other states, which now seem almost like another planet.  In thinking about how potential newcomers might make a faster adjustment to a great new life in the Beaufort area, the following suggestions came to mind:
1. Slow down a little.  This isn’t New York City.  Or Boston, or Philadelphia, or Scranton or Milwaukee.  Plan on things perhaps taking a wee bit longer to accomplish than what you’re used to.  Enjoy the friendly “warm-up” conversations that often precede the business at hand — you’ll learn something.
2. Take a deep breath and enjoy the view.  Actually, the views since it’s hard to look around outdoors and see anything that isn’t pretty, inspiring, or calming.  The marsh and beaches are spectacular resources, beyond valuation, and you won’t find them any better anywhere else.
3. Remember our wonderful military is looking out for us and many military personnel and their families live right here.  Say hi to them, make some new friends.  They are a shining star in your new environment.
4. Get your fill of a wide palate of easily available ethnic food before you move down here: Indian, French, Cantonese, Polynesian, etc.
5. Get ready for shrimp.  I hope you like shrimp, because we’re swimming in them.  Literally.  They’re featured on menus everywhere and the locals know how to cook them to perfection in styles as varied and fun as the costumes at Mardi Gras.
6. Guess what? For the best combination of a nice breakfast or lunch at a fair price with an unbeatable view, try the cafeteria at the Beaufort Memorial Hospital.  You can even eat outside. My wife loves scones and thinks their’s are the best she’s ever had.
7. Get out your fishing gear but prepare to re-learn how to fish.  Pulling fish out of the marsh is easy but only once you know what you’re doing.  Talk to the locals and watch what they do, for example at Hunting Island pier.
8. Just avoid the alligators and no, they don’t taste like chicken.
9. Prepare for heat and bugs. It’s really steamy here in the summer, almost like living in a terrarium, and we have insects you may not have had the pleasure of meeting before.  Get to know and like bug sprays with DEET.
10. Think conservative politics.  Branch out to more right-leaning news outlets if you haven’t before.  Add conservative inputs to your diet, but of course don’t necessarily give up opposing inputs or beliefs.
11. Get ready (deep breath again) for politeness.  This will be a refreshing change from almost anything you’ve experienced up North.  Imagine grocery store employees, for example, who go out of their way to help you find something you need, and don’t just mutter “aisle 5” or “we don’t have that” if you ask a question, as if you were an inconvenience.
Welcome to the Lowcountry!