The Gullah and Geechee cultural Heritage Corridor on the Sea Islands of Georgia extends from Wilmington, North Carolina in the north to Jacksonville, Florida, in the south. Isolated on South Carolina’s Sea Islands for generations, the folks preserved more of their heritage than any other African-American community in the United States. Even today these native islanders can be seen weaving baskets from sweetgrass, serving up flavorful Gullah dishes, and sharing their heritage in tours.
Fourth- and fifth-generation Gullah guides who work in the Hilton head tours narrates the incidents that bring to life the history of West African slaves who were brought to the Sea Islands. They were brought to work on cotton and rice plantations but their freed descendants also survived for generations in virtual isolation and maintained the same old simplistic lifestyle.
Exploring the Gullah geechee culture is interesting for those who love to explore the anthropological aspects of the community. You can learn about the cultural preservation, public policies an education, and heirs property issues if you delve deeper. But for a simple tour across the island, there are a number of fascinating things to enjoy.
Established by the U.S. Congress to recognize the unique culture of the Gullah Geechee people, the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is declared as a federal National Heritage Area. The Corridor is not a park or a single site visitors can tour, but is comprised of culturally and historically significant places of the community who live and wish to maintain their privacy. That being said, it should be understood not all historically significant sites are accessible to the public.
Sallie Ann Robinson Gullah Tour on Daufuskie
Golf cart tour of Daufuskie Island with renowned Gullah chef Sallie Ann Robinson is accessible only by ferry. The island is full of historic landmarks such as the Mary Fields Elementary School where famed author Pat Conroy taught in the 1960s. An authentic “oyster house” built in 1865 is one of the places which provides a more immersive experience.
Gullah Geechee Visitor Center in Beaufort
The “doorway to the Gullah Culture,” it is a little shop at 1908 Boundary St. which serves as a hub for information on the area’s Gullah Geechee culture events, businesses, history and culture. It has the books and documentaries along with the other exhibits which showcase the Gullah lifestyle and the traditions and contributions of the Gullah people.
The late 1940’s had many Gullah neighborhoods which established their own form of popular, rustic dance halls that served music, food and drinks. They were termed as the juke joints. The concept became more efficient when the mainland and urban entertainment technology reached this sea island. About a 12 mile stretch of Hilton Head Island beach was originally used by the Gullah families and church picnics before the place became touristier and indulged in entertaining people across various lands.
Coastal Discovery Museum
It is indeed one of the most interesting destinations you should visit in Hilton head tours which brings you closer to the natural history tradition and cultural heritage on what is actually a 68 acre Honey Horn property. Open on all days, the Museum makes learning about the folks fun-filled and interesting.