Hutchinson House: Standing the Test of Time

One of the oldest homes still standing on Edisto Island was built by a king, withstood numerous hurricanes, and now faces a promising future. And it’s likely that many people have never even heard of it.

That home is the Hutchinson House, which is now in the care of the Edisto Island Open Land Trust (EIOLT), so that it can continue to stand for years to come.

To understand the significance of the Hutchinson House, it’s important to know the history of this home.

When former slaves gained their freedom after the Civil War, there was a group of individuals known as the black kings of Edisto. With their freedom, these “kings” prospered on the island and even owned their own businesses. It was a time of great success and provided many individuals with the first chance to own homes and businesses that catered to others in their community.  

Henry Hutchinson, the man who built the historic house, was the son of one of these kings.

He built the house in the late 19th century next to the island’s cotton gin and made sure it had views of the fields and marsh for his wife. The Hutchinson House stayed in the family for a century, although much of that time it stood empty due to economic uncertainty and the trials that plagued the south after the Civil War.

Eventually, after generations had gone by, the descendants of Henry Hutchinson put the house and the acreage it sits upon on the market.

Anytime historic comes go up for sale on the island, there is a real risk that some of the history and natural landscape of the area will be lost to developers and commercialization. However, there is a diligent group on the island committed to preserving Edisto’s beauty, land, history and way of life.

When it went up for sale by the descendants of Henry Hutchinson, preservationists committed to maintaining the beauty, history and untouched nature of Edisto purchased the historic home.

Now owned by the EIOLT, efforts are in place to restore the home, which is in a severe state of disrepair. In January, students from the American College of the Building Arts will begin evaluating and researching the home.

To support the Hutchinson House and other endeavors by the EIOLT, take part in one of the many fundraising activities throughout the year.

Beautiful image by Ammodramus – Own work, CC0,

It’s a simple fact that Edisto Beach has the best shrimp in the entire world

It’s a simple fact that Edisto Beach has the best shrimp in the entire world. It’s sweeter, juicier, and meatier than its counterparts anywhere else. That’s why when people come down to Edisto for vacation, they typically spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get their hands and mouths on these delicious little creatures.

That said, if you’re a true shrimp lover, you might want to try your hand at catching your own shrimp this year. You could buy a shrimp net and get some bait and head into the creeks to try your hand at some old school shrimp catching. It’s easy to do when you get the hang of it, but sometimes the shrimp just don’t seem to want to cooperate.

You could also check out Fontaine Charters and head out on the water with one of Edisto’s oldest seafood families. These charters will take you offshore for some juicy, big shrimp. Tackle and bait will be provided by Capt. Jimmy Skinner.

These offshore trips will also give participants a chance to see Edisto from the deep waters, which is truly spectacular. Heading out that deep will also give you a better opportunity to see more marine life including dolphins, sea turtles, jelly fish and maybe even some sharks.

If you’d rather spend more time eating shrimp and less time actually catching them, then visit one of Edisto’s many restaurants or seafood shops to get your fill. Local seafood is one of the best parts of visiting a beach town, and once you’ve tasted what Edisto has to offer, you’re never going to go back to frozen rings of shrimp in the grocery store.

Check out the peel-and-eat shrimp specials at The Waterfront or stop by Flowers Seafood on Highway 174 to cook up some shrimp at your beach house.

While you’re salivating thinking about shrimp, you might also want to spend some time digging in to some of Edisto blue crabs. Like the shrimp, Edisto blue crabs provide some of the best crab meat around. It’s sweet, plump and tastes phenomenal in some drawn butter with a little bit of fresh lemon.

You really can’t go wrong with any of Edisto’s fresh seafood, so take the time this year to try out restaurants and recipes you’ve never had before and experience true delight.