Beach weather has definitely hit Charleston. It is 93* as I write this but the humidity makes it feel more like 98*! Other than sitting inside and enjoying the benefits of modern day AC, you can choose from the many beautiful beaches that this area offers. I wanted to highlight a favorite of mine…Folly Beach! One of the first things you will notice is the very “laid back” vibe that this seaside town exhibits. Folly has very eclectic and artistic buildings that remind you of a walk through beachtown America in the 1970’s. From local eateries and cafes, to surf shops, and beach bars, you will get “in the groove” as soon as you step your flip flop feet on Folly!
From it’s earliest beginnings, Folly has a story to tell. The earliest record of Folly dates from 1696 when it was deeded as a royal grant. Before the Civil War, Folly was called Coffin Island and was known for its isolation from the mainland. Without constant policing, the island was a favorite of pirates! Strategically located south of Charleston and close to Fort Sumter, Folly became a stronghold for Union soldiers during the Civil War. There wasn’t much fighting on the island though and was used mainly for the Union soilder’s camping/living area during that time. They called it Folly which is an old English word meaning dense foliage. Between the 1930-1940 the town became popular with beach going visitors and the construction of the Atlantic Pavilion, boardwalk, pier, and the Oceanfront Hotel were completed. A interesting piece of Folly Beach trivia is that George Gershwin, the famous composer and pianist, wrote the musical Porgy and Bess while staying on Folly Beach.
With a few setbacks, such as the pier catching fire and hurricane Hugo, it always stayed strong and resilient. Whether it was the beach, pier, homes or buildings that were impacted, Folly citizens rebuilt and moved on!
Folly became known as THE place to surf in this area and still attracts many surfers today. Folly Beach’s summer windswell kicks up enough surf for beginners, and waves are almost always 20 to 30 percent bigger than any of the other beaches accessible by car in the area. Folly is soft and sandy, and the surf is just right for learning the basics. You will see many experienced surfers running to the shore as one of our tropical storms visit…..their favorite time to surf!
And then there is Shagging! If you are from the north you may scratch your head and ask, “what did you say”? It is a traditional couples dance deep rooted to this area where couples dance to a six count, eight step pattern to “beach music”. Some take it very seriously, especially on Folly where they have their “mid-night mixers” on the pier during the summer. There are competitions and “Shag clubs” too! It is actually a beautiful dance even though I cannot master it! I have tried and usually end up looking like I am disco dancing!
At any rate, it is worth spending time on Folly…..take in the sunset at Morris Lighthouse…..grab a bite at the Lost Dog Cafe, or take a “painting class” at Paint With A Buzz!