Fall is an especially good time to take in the sights and activities of Old Town. There is much to see and do, while offering insight into the local lifestyle that we love.
There are many attractions to discover. The Heyward House is the Visitor Center at 70 Boundary Street, built in 1840 in the antebellum style. Visitors can take tours of the home and grounds. At 110 Calhoun Street, you will find the Church of the Cross. It is an active congregation and open most days for touring. A docent will offer fun and interesting facts about the history of the 150-year-old structure. Special services are held at the river’s edge throughout the year.
Calhoun Street represents the “Bluffton State of Mind”, as we often refer to it. Lined with quaint shops and galleries and a variety of eateries, it is still reminiscent of the gathering place it was in the early 1800’s. Locals come on foot, bike, golf cart and cars to meet and greet each other and catch up. People are friendly and welcoming.
The Bluffton Oyster Factory, located at 63 Wharf Street, is the state’s last hand shucked oyster operation. You can purchase fresh shrimp and crabs as well as oysters – guaranteed to be the freshest available. The nearby Oyster Factory Park might just be the perfect place to watch the colors of a Lowcountry sunset at water’s edge.
The Garvin House was recently restored, none too soon as it was rapidly declining. Built in 1870 by Cyrus Garvin, a former slave of Joseph Baynard, it is located on the Oyster Factory Park and is recognized to be an excellent resource for the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. The site was formerly the plantation home of Baynard’s, destroyed in 1863 when the Union troops burned nearly all of Bluffton.
The May River has always been significant to the town. Historically, it provided food, transportation, and leisure time activities, much as it does today. The river has several access points so everyone can enjoy some peaceful time enjoying the amazing water views.
While you are making your autumn plans, don’t forget the Thursday Market on Calhoun. In the south, we know how to have festivals! One of the biggest and best is the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival from October 14th-22nd. If you can make those dates work, there will be “Rockin on the Dock”, fireworks, lots of scrumptious food, and great fun!
Although I have written about Old Town Bluffton many times, it is hard to capture the combination of historic elements, art, culture, and the melting pot of people who now willingly call themselves “Locals”. Make sure you allow time to explore Old Town when you are here – with a little luck, you just may capture the rhythm and heartbeat of the Bluffton community.