Essential South


What does it mean to be Southern now in America? The South as a region is more layered, more diverse in culture and thought than stereotypes and much of literature would have it. Distinctive music, food and, to borrow from Southern author Julia Reed, a certain “never meet a stranger” civility, are alive and well, despite recurring predictions that the region’s ways would be absorbed into broader American currents. Instead, the South has become a net exporter of culture–and a net importer of people.

The population of the South as a whole will soon overtake that of the Northeast and Midwest combined. The combination of its unique history and the fact that many Southerners maintain—and even nurture—an identity separate from the rest of the country has led to it being the most studied, most written-about and sung-about region of the U.S. In this section we look at a few things we love that are uniquely Southern.


firedup2» Essential South: BARBECUE UNIVERSITY
When grilling guru Steven Raichlen wanted a new location for his famous Barbecue University, he chose Palmetto Bluff.

» Essential South: PORCHES
If there’s one architectural element that epitomizes Southern living, it’s the porch.

» Essential South9Essential South: GLASS FROM THE PAST

Bottle Trees’ history goes back thousands of years. Felder Rushing, self-described “Southern garden guru” and host of the NPR podcast “The Gestalt Gardener,” is hitting the bottle — but not in the way you think.


» Essential South: SOUTHERN SLANG

A primer on a few terms y’all need to know. Our corner of the South has been kind enough to welcome its share of Yankee-speaking Northerners, so as a public service we present the following basics of Southern slang.


Essential South12» Essential South: A WINNING COMBINATION

A simply designed sandal inspired a Lowcountry entrepreneur Neely Powell. From “cobblestones to cocktails.”



Influencers are Instagram users who have used their credibility and voice to build an audience. Because Hilton Head Island and Bluffton are picture-perfect, many national and local brands look to partner with Influencers in the Lowcountry.