Aquatourism and sea-to-fork culinary movement will combine to assist marine research
Oysters, that gourmet delight prized for over 4,000 years in the Lowcountry, will soon be at the center of a new “aquatourism” initiative set to launch this fall. The Lowcountry Oyster Trail, will highlight the region’s famous oysters, and its growing role in the red-hot “sea-to-fork” culinary movement.
“The Lowcountry Oyster Trail is an exciting multi-faceted economic development concept highlighting wild and farm-raised oysters,” says Bluffton resident Larry Hughes, mastermind behind the LOT. He’s orchestrating the trail’s development and growth. “We also plan to shine a spotlight on the men and women who grow, harvest, shuck, prepare, cook and serve Lowcountry oysters.”
The LOT will guide residents and visitors to restaurants, wine bars, outdoor adventure sites, museums, and historical and cultural sights with a host of packages and immersive experiences for all ages. Partners in the trail will include oyster growers, food and beverage operators, hoteliers, educational and cultural attractions, and retailers. Each partner will display a plaque identifying them as part of the LOT and marking them as a steward of the trail experience.
The website LowcountryOysterTrail.org will lend itself to the lore and legend of oystering and as a pathway for site visitors to learn more about the special Lowcountry environment. “The fun will help support a fund, the 501(c)(3) philanthropic arm — the SC Lowcountry Oyster Trail Fund – at the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. This fund will help provide oyster and marine ecosystem research and preservation,” says Hughes.
Special hospitality packages may include lodging, unique Chef’s Table offerings, oyster tasting rooms pairing single select oysters with special wines or craft beers, and on-site visits to an oyster farm. Additional offerings include outdoor adventures/dolphin encounters in the May River and surrounding sounds, educational boat trips, one-of-a-kind nature talks, and shopping discounts.
The trail will allow participants to custom design their very own unique “oyster experience” in the Lowcountry. A family can perhaps start their LOT day with a morning kayak paddle, have lunch at the Toomer family Bluffton Seafood House, go on an afternoon visit to the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center in Okatie, and enjoy cocktails and dinner at Hudson’s on the Docks on Hilton Head Island.