I’m not going to lie—there’s a solid English presence sprinkled throughout this issue’s pages. But I do promise that bringing Britain into an issue about Southern living was neither planned nor intentional. Sometimes accidents happen, and sometimes they happen to show us something.
Guy Bignell, an Englishman, settles into Taylors as a Lowcountry Ambassador for Griffin & Howe. A mother and daughter open Book and Bee, a teashop serving traditional afternoon tea, up in Hendersonville. And did you know that several members of the Table 301 team are from New England? The restaurant group recently opened a New England-style clam shack, and I hear there’s chowder.
Whether it’s a taste of a lifestyle or the literal taste of food, relocations and migrations are marking Upstate culture. Some of these influences are coming from people moving here from afar. Some of these influences come from people returning to their hometowns after moving away.
Katie Chaney moved from Anderson to Germany to Portland to Austin, and now, she’s home in the Upstate. She reopened Hester General Store, and the 1893 building and its large porch beckon traditions of gathering. Chaney bravely built this historic space to be outright inclusive, and though she wasn’t always sure of its acceptance, she’s finding the community reciprocating her call for neighborly love.
Whether it’s a turn of phrase, the food passed around the table, or how people dress, there are recurring markers of Southern culture that stand the test of time. People migrating to the Upstate are realizing these idiosyncrasies, like Adriana Green, who moved here from Portland, Oregon. She recently had her first Lowcountry boil, and she confirms that the food and style are different here in the South.
Still, as people relocate and travel from and to the region, it becomes a fusion of tradition and influence. It’s apparent in Hester General Store, and it’s apparent in Jones Oyster Co., with its Lowcountry rice amid New England fare. You won’t find sweet tea at Book and Bee, but you’ll find another kind of tea and biscuits, and who doesn’t love sharing afternoon snacks with great company?
Despite changes, traditions remain, and these pages show that the adage about hospitality remains true. Like the bells ringing in Upstate International Month from Clemson University’s carillon, Upstaters are welcoming newcomers with open arms. And if there’s any tradition to hold onto, it’s this one about hospitality. Because that’s something I think we all can, and should, get behind.