The Santee Delta region along US-17 between Georgetown and Charleston once held dozens of large and hugely profitable plantations. One of the best preserved of these is now the Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, located 15 miles south of Georgetown, then 2 miles west of US-17. Spreading out along the northern edge of Francis Marion National Forest, the 320-acre grounds feature a white-wood Greek Revival manor house (tours Fri. and Mon.-Tues. noon and 2pm, Sat.-Sun. 10am, noon, and 2pm, $7.50 adults) that once welcomed George Washington. The manor house was later home to Archibald Rutledge, poet laureate of South Carolina from 1934 until his death in 1973.
South from Hampton Plantation along US-17, a small sign marks the turnoff to the quaint Lowcountry fishing village of McClellanville (pop. 499). A short drive past moss-draped oak trees brings you to the town dock, where some of the last portions of South Carolina’s shrimp and crab catch get unloaded and shipped to market. But some of the local shellfish doesn’t travel far at all, ending up in the kitchens of T.W. Graham & Co. (810 Pinckney St., 843/887-4342, Tues.-Sun.), housed in a former general store just up from the docks. Graham & Co. also grills burgers and bakes great pies, so plan to stop and spend some time here.