300 Broad Street
Georgetown, SC 29442
my latest blog post North along the coast from Charleston is one of those special little towns that are thrilling to discover. Just off the intercoastal waterway, the marinas are nestled along the river banks and quite tight. In fact, it is almost impossible for me to get my boat into Georgetown, but if you are on a sailboat that doesn’t draw too much (although there is deep water) and not wide abeam, it is well worth a stop. The waterfront area is historic, the surrounding streets filled with stately old homes and two museums (the Rice Museum and the Gullah Museum). Getting to the church is an easy stroll from the harbor just walk up Broad Street. There sitting on the corner at 300 Broad is the oldest parish in continuous use in South Carolina. The church built in 1741 is very old and features the kind of pews found in other early colonial churches. Each pew is a box that was occupied by families. These pews were easier to heat with charcoal heaters brought by the families as the church had no heat. Outside the church, there is a major cemetery. The churchyard is quiet and elegant and somehow comforting to stroll among the headstones symbolizing the continuity of the community over hundreds of years.
A note about the name, it was named for Prince George, later King George II of England and at the time it was founded the county or parish the church served was Winyah. Winyah never took hold as a county, and as Georgetown expanded and state government revised the establishment of counties, Winyah remained only in the history of the area and the church.
When I first discovered Prince George Winyah, I was struck by the odd name and heavy emphasis on the Anglican tradition of the church. The website refers to being an Anglican community. I was a bit put off by this because I was concerned that this was one of the breakaway parishes that broke off their association with the Episcopal Church of the U.S., in what is referred to as the schism. However, a quick check of the parishes included in the Diocese of S.C. confirmed that Prince George was still in the fold. The website does an excellent job of relating the history and the congregations approach to the faith. In fact, some of the descriptions are exemplary. It is probably worth noting that the current rector, Rev. Thurlow, is known for his opposition to same-sex blessings and marriages. So, one can expect a pretty conservative approach to the faith and the service. Since you are just sailing through you need not worry about the parish politics just enjoy this beautiful, historical and lasting example of faith through the centuries. As you sit in those box pews, try to imagine what it must have been like in 1760’s, the experience and the tours given by the church are well worth the visit.
At the foot of Broad Street, there are two restaurants I would recommend for lunch after church. Both in the same building and both with water view tables either is an excellent choice but slightly different in style. http://drytown.com/wp-json/oembed/1.0/embed?url=http://drytown.com/press/old-elk-distillery-bringing-tasting-room-to-old-town-fort-collins/ Big Tuna, 807 Front Street, is a rough-hewn space with an outside deck. Every time I have been to this restaurant, there is a line which just happened to be at the bar. So if you are willing to wait, grab a drink and try chatting with Sassy the parrot. The food especially the She Crab soup and the gumbo make the waiting easy to forget. I also like the steamers, but if you are accustomed to New England steamers, you will be surprised by the diminutive size of S.C. steamers. The oyster po’ boy is also an excellent choice.