Lowcountry Identity Marshlike In Its Complexity

by | May 13, 2006


Lowcountry Blogs, a nicely rendered Typepad blog published by the Post & Courier in Charleston, questions the Lowcountry’s physical and cultural boundaries.

I’m wondering if there aren’t actually TWO “lowcountries” within the larger set “Lowcountry.”

The idea goes like this: That if you look at the area between Winyah Bay and the Savannah River and define it by the cultural centers to which the residents orient their identities, then there’s a Charleston-centric lowcountry that picks up Berkeley and Dorchester while extending south into parts of Colleton County.

But by this definition there’s also a smaller, distinctly Beaufort-centric lowcountry, where residents might even be more oriented to Savannah than they are to Charleston.

In other words, we share a Lowcounty with Beaufort, but do we share a community?

Beaufort-centric lowcountry? Charleston-centric lowcountry? I don’t know. I think it’s more local and more complex than that. The center of the Lowcountry is where you find it. If you live in Bluffton, like I do, it’s right here between the May and Colleton Rivers. For my friends on Hilton Head, it means something else.

As for Savannah, I find it hard to think of the city as somehow apart from the Lowcountry. Savannah is 25 miles away and clearly a different place in another state. Yet, are we to let rivers and state lines be such serious dividers? Perhaps we are, but I’ve taken to saying “I’m from the Savannah area” when people ask where I live, because it registers with them, allowing us to move the conversation forward.