There is a saying out on Edisto Island, South Carolina, that goes something like this: “Why do we need to go anywhere – we’re already here.”
Welcome! An introduction to a Southern sense of place from the book Journeys of Lightheartedness
That saying succinctly sums up the traditional Southern attitude toward travel. It is passed down from generation to generation, rooted in a sacred sense of place. Back before the Civil War, Edisto was the home of long-staple cotton, favored by high-end haberdashers around the world, including those that dressed the Pope. It brought unimagined wealth to Edisto plantation owners, who hosted the likes of Lafayette, on his American adventures, and hobnobbed with some of the world’s wealthiest and most famous – when and if they came to Edisto. The Edistonians themselves did not usually venture far. Their plantations were dug deep into the heart of the island. On the shorefront, a couple of miles away, in Edingsville village, they built their beach cottages, where they summered to escape the malaria that flourished in the sweltering island’s interior. The more adventurous among them might have another mansion 40 miles away in Charleston, but travel beyond that, Edistonians believed, wasn’t much necessary.