Is it wrong to be glad when the tourists leave?

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By Lee Scott

There is a problem sometimes with living in a place that is so beautiful. People want to come here all the time, especially during the summer months.

I was reminded of this while chatting with Richard, a successful local business owner. We were discussing the traffic and he mentioned that he and his wife had invited some Fripp Island friends over for dinner. They were supposed to get to Beaufort at 6 p.m., but had gotten caught in “rental turnover” traffic.

We both acknowledged that a normal 20-minute drive in the winter can turn into a much longer commute when driving on a summer weekend.

It is very apparent early on Sunday mornings at the grocery stores when the renters are filling up their baskets for the week. I normally stop after church on Sunday morning to get the newspapers. Thank goodness for express lines as most of the checkout lines are backed up with people filling up on hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, sodas and the other vacation food.

It seems like there are always marshmallows and Hershey candy bars along with boxes of graham crackers in the grocery carts too.  And of course, the inflatable rings, noodles and other beach toys are also included along with the suntan lotion, bug spray and the aloe cream.

Turns out that people come here from all over in their campers and RVs too.  It is not just about renting a house for a week. Hunting Island State Park has an enviable campground for people who want to be at the beach.

Now don’t think I am complaining. There is a huge economic boost to our region because of all the people who visit. Our hotels, restaurants and other businesses all benefit from these tourists.

But the joy at this time of the year as Labor Day approaches is that tourists start to return to their own homes to prepare for the school year. I start seeing the school buses out on the road and noticing more South Carolina license plates on cars rather than other states.

And those of us lucky enough to live here year-round get to enjoy the beach and parks without all the tourists.

But don’t worry Richard, turns out we newcomers keep getting out-of-town visitors all year-round who will help to keep the economic engine roaring.