I’ve usually only driven through St. Helena Island on my way to Hunting Island State Park. I think one impetus that prompted me to explore more of the island was Fort Fremont. I’m a sucker for old forts. Then I discovered the Chapel of Ease. Not to be missed also is the Penn Center, located not far from the Chapel of Ease.
St. Helena Islands lies close to Beaufort. It sits between the mainland and the barrier islands like Hunting Island and Fripp. Though 64 square miles in area, it isn’t densely populated nor does it have expensive island developments like Hilton Head. Driving around the island I found a field of colorful flowers and a large fenced in orchard. It was a pretty place for a nature drive.
The island has quite a history. The Spanish were the first to explore here, establishing a colony at Port Royal. Then came the French, then it went back to the Spanish until the British got it, but lost it in the American Revolution.
As the land is similar to West Africa’s rice region, slaves from Africa were brought over. Their knowledge of growing rice made it an important crop. From the mix of cultures here and the islands seclusion led to the Gullah culture.
Other crops grown here were, indigo, spices, and cotton.
Several films were made here including one of my favorites Forrest Gump.
On my trip I visited the Chapel of Ease taking in the early morning sun. I missed the Penn Center because I was so early. A flat tire in the afternoon made me go home, but that was the worst of my trip. I stayed on Dr. Martin King, Jr. Drive/State Road 45 to Fort Fremont. The name of the road changes to Land’s End.
How to get there:
St. Helena’s Island is east of Beaufort on US21.
St. Helena Island
What’s Close By:
Hunting Island State Park