S l o w l y we are working our way to the northeast. Kat found a tiny campground called Buck Hall alongside the intracoastal canal in the Francis Marion National Forest. With America the Beautiful it’s just $10 a night for full hook-ups, and along with nine or ten reserveable sites are four others that show up online as Closed, but they’re actually drive-ups.
If you land a reservation it’s often possible to claim a drive-up when its occupant leaves. That’s how we managed to stay here nearly two weeks, waiting for our mail and warmer weather. The nearest city is Mt. Pleasant/Charleston 30 miles southeast, but there are some old-time seafood houses less than ten miles away. T. W. Graham’s serves the best fried clams anywhere, bested only by Graham’s fried grouper fingers. Freshness is Graham’s claim to fame, and that they deliver. Seewee Café offers better value and decent food. Its most reliable review can be inferred from those framed, autographed pictures on the wall. The lone legible signature or face I recognized was UNC basketball coach Roy Williams, from just up the road. Ol’ Roy leaves an autographed picture everywhere he eats … he’s always recruiting!
It is also easy to find fresh raw seafood in the old fishing town of McClellanville. Yesterday we picked up a pound of lovely sea scallops at Carolina Seafood for the princely sum of $10. I used A Family Feast’s online recipe for Seared Scallops http://www.afamilyfeast.com/perfect-pan-seared-scallops/. Sides were a nice Publix Grocery store salad and a big scoop of russet and cauliflower puree. It was a meal worthy of a first-rate restaurant, and hey, not that much trouble. Thursday we bought fifty live Little Neck clams from Bulls Bay Seafood for $3 a dozen. I went to a fair degree of trouble creating a classic Clam Linguine, shells and all, right there atop the pasta. I used bits and pieces of recipes to accommodate missing ingredients, but it turned out more than good enough to serve Salvatore Tessio, may he rest in peace. Kat’s usually not a pasta person, but we both loved this one and used crusty French bread to sop up the juice.
Kat hasn’t had the chance to do any fishin’ off the pier here; it’s either been low-tide, rainy, or cold. A warm front will pay us a visit this week. Maybe then she’ll catch the big one. We discovered that the local “no-see-ums” leave a mark that itches for three days. When asked if there’s a biting gnat problem here at Buck Hall, the camp host grinned, and told me “Naw. They live here.” Deepwoods OFF With 25% DEET helps, but there have been a couple of nights where we had to spray the Airstream from sofa to bedroom with Raid. An alternate title could have been “Eaten Up in the Low Country”, but bugs aside, it’s been a wonderful visit.