Where the perfect blend of style, lifestyle and nature come together... Wadmalaw Island. Located on South Carolina's central coast, between Johns Island to the northeast and Edisto Island to the southwest, lies Wadmalaw. The island is considered the most unspoiled of all of Charleston's islands. There are rural meandering roads lined with farms, woodlands, marshes and produce stands. The island remains intensely rural, with farming, fishing, crabbing and shrimping as the occupations of choice by most of the locals.
Wadmalaw Island is located generally to the southwest of Johns Island and is more than halfway encircled by it. To the north it is bordered by Church Creek; to the northeast and east by Bohicket Creek; to the south by the North Edisto River; and to the west by the Bohicket Creek. The island's only connection to the mainland is via a bridge over Church Creek. The island is about 10 miles long by 6 miles wide. It has a land area of 108.502 sq km (41.893 sq mi). The 2000 census reported a population of 2,611 persons. Charleston is the largest city near Wadmalaw Island.
Wadmalaw Island was landed upon by Captain Robert Sandford and the crew of the Berkeley Bay in mid-June 1666 after an excursion up the Bohicket Creek. It is believed that Sandford landed where Rockville, South Carolina now sits. On June 23, 1666, the captain and crew carried out the ritual of turf and twig, claiming the land for England and the Lords Proprietors.
In 1670, 148 colonists arrived and settled on the west bank of the Ashley (Kiawah) River. They survived the first four years of poor crop production through the generosity of natives who shared beans and corn. They later moved to what is now Charleston.
In 1890, planters organized the first sailing regatta at Rockville, less than a mile from the tea plantation. The 120th Rockville Regatta was held in August, 2010.
In more recent times, The Lipton Tea Company operated an experimental tea farm on Wadmalaw Island from 1960 to 1987, when it was sold to Mack Fleming and Bill Hall. These gentlemen converted the experimental farm into a working tea plantation. The Charleston Tea Plantation utilized a converted cotton picker and tobacco harvester to mechanically harvest the tea. The Charleston Tea Plantation sold tea mail-order known as American Classic Tea and also produced Sam's Choice Instant Tea, sold through Sam's Clubs. American Classic Tea has been the official tea of the White House since 1987. In 2003, Bigelow Tea Corporation purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation and temporarily closed the plantation in order to renovate it. The plantation reopened in January 2006. Tours are now offered of this last remaining working tea farm in America. Wadmalaw now produces Firefly, a sweet tea flavored vodka. It is popular throughout the southern United States because of its recognizable flavor and cultural significance. Wadmalaw Island is located southwest of Johns Island in Charleston County. Driving onto the island on SC 700, you can stop and visit America's only working tea plantation.
The rich soil and temperate climate of Wadmalaw Island has supported commercial and family farms for generations. Long famous for tomatoes, the island is also dotted with u-pick family farms and Community Sponsored Agricultue cooperatives. The Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in America, finds Wadmalaw provides the ideal conditions for growing tea.
The Gullah Festival is hosted here. This is a celebration of the traditional arts and crafts of the African American culture so prevalent in Charleston. Wadmalaw is also home to a local vineyard that hosts special events throughout the year, inviting the public to tour their facilities.
The development regulations for Wadmalaw are strict. The newly built homes found here are on large, sprawling parcels of land and mostly take advantage of the waterways that criss-cross this island. There are no subdivisions, no planned urban development - just lazy lanes and friendly neighbors.
If you are looking for a private, slow-paced way of life in an unspoiled coastal environment, then Wadmalaw may be the place for you.
Wadmalaw Island Market Update