A jaunt down US 17 offers ride through history

info@islandpacket.comJune 4, 2012 

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced in half

    1 red onion chop finely

    1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    1/2 cup Paul Newman vinagrette salad dressing or your own favorite

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Put everything in a large bowl and mix well. Put in icebox for several hours.

If you travel from Bluffton to Charleston on U.S. 17, you are crossing through historic territory -- not to mention, some of the most beautiful parts of the Lowcountry.

The highway meanders through the Ace Basin and crosses many rivers, which are a treasure trove of our Lowcountry history. In fact, George Washington made his way down to Savannah two or three times following a similar path.

The highway, which you might not realize, slices through the middle of what used to be the heart of Charleston's and Savannah's rice growing culture from the 17th through 18th centuries, until the War Between the States began.

Carolina Gold was the name given to the rice the planters grew because of the fortunes that were made by the crop. The rice was thought to have a much better flavor and aroma than many other crops grown at the time.

Dr. Richard Schultz, a local eye surgeon, now grows this historic rice on 60 acres at his plantation near Bluffton, with the oversight of Clemson University and the Carolina Gold rice Foundation.

The next time you motor toward Charleston on U.S. 17 take note that after you cross the beautiful Edisto River you are in the Ace Basin, where it is absolutely beautiful -- especially when the sun rises or when it is setting. There you'll see the gold of long ago and feel the spirit of the rice planters.

* Do you think iPads and iPods are the hottest items out there? Not true. I just read abou the latest rage: a bathroom outfitted with all sorts of gadgets to keep you interested in the whatever.

In the old days a bathroom was fought over by everyone in the house because there was usually only one. So no one spent too much time in there. Now, thanks to modern times, there are all sorts of goodies in the loo. You can have a wired shower so that you can listen to concerts while bathing. Toilets have heated seats so you can sit and linger longer, perhaps reading the paper. There are tubs that vibrate, mirrors that are really television sets and ... oh my, so many things. The only practical item I read about was a $20 non-slipping toilet seat -- or maybe it was the candle that smelled like lavender and rain in Tuscany or the programmable steam shower.

I suppose the next "big thing" will be having a kitchen nearby so you never have to leave. And why would you want to?

Toes and fingers that look like prunes, I see you on the horizon. Everyone will know where you have been and be so jealous.

Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street.

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