Lowcountry Hospitality: Pelican Inn

A historic inn located in Pawleys Island, South Carolina

Photo: Catherine Wessel/Corbis

The Pelican Inn's wrap-around porch is a favorite spot to read and relax.

WHEN TO GO: From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, the Pelican Inn welcomes barefoot beachgoers. The weather skews (a bit) cooler in June and July, but the heat is less of a concern since the inn finally added air-conditioning in 2006.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Corinne and Bruce Taylor rescued the aging Pelican Inn in 2010, and, after some minor restoration, reopened for the full season in 2011. Built in the 1840s as the summer retreat for a wealthy planter, the property occupies one of the area’s oldest buildings. Tucked behind the island’s tallest dune and a swath of oak trees that line the beach boardwalk, it retains its original architecture and casual charm. Screen doors slam, sand gets tracked onto the hardwood floors, bathing suits hang from the line, and board games are pulled out on rainy days (there are no televisions). With only eight rooms—the inn sleeps around thirty at maximum capacity—the Pelican feels more like someone’s well-loved family home than a hotel. Which is why many guests have been returning every summer for years, even decades.

TYPICAL DAY: The smell of homemade biscuits and sizzling bacon is the best kind of alarm clock. In the dining room, a full Southern breakfast, prepared by Corinne and her two daughters, is served family-style. After the meal, most guests hit the beach, but the inn can arrange for bike, paddleboard, or kayak rentals too. And the private dock (just across the street) is a great crabbing spot. A midday dinner is laid out later than the typical lunch and is the largest meal of the day. The menu rotates based on Corinne’s farmers’ market finds. “Last year, I could get okra that had been picked an hour before the meal,” she says. Think fried chicken, boiled shrimp, red rice, deviled eggs, potato salad, and decadent sweets like Herman’s Fudge Pie (an old recipe the Taylors found on the floor of the pantry), plus homemade bourbon ice cream.

GETTING THERE: Sandwiched between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, the barrier island is a quick drive from either city.

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