Yemassee, South Carolina – population just over 1,000 – is likely to already be on your radar as the place where our beloved Old Sheldon Church ruins are found. But there’s so much more to this small town in South Carolina’s Beaufort and Hampton counties in the Lowcountry. If fact, there’s so much to do in or near Yemassee that you could probably spend a whole weekend and still not see or do it all.
The ruins of Old Sheldon Church are the most visited attraction in Yemassee.
The ruins are open from dawn to dusk. You'll enjoy the drive on Old Sheldon Road as much as your visit to this sacred place.
The grounds include the ruins of the church, a historic old cemetery, large live oak trees with lots of Spanish moss and a great opportunity for a picnic in the shade.
Parking is available across the street from the entrance. The locals are very protective of this location so please don't leave anything behind.
"Downtown" Yemassee is the quintessential model of a typical South Carolina tiny town.
It offers a glimpse into rural life outside the major metropolitan areas in the Palmetto State.
The Yemassee area's history runs deep and is full of extensive involvement in both the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. Sherman's shameless march to the sea from Georgia brought his troops through Yemassee, where many of the churches were destroyed.
While you're in town, you'll want to pay a visit to the Yemassee Station.
It's kept up nicely and is still in operation via Amtrak. According to one source, the Town of Yemassee purchased the building in 2010 for one dollar. It was then restored to how it looked in the 1940s.
From 1915 to 1965 Yemassee Station was where new Marine recruits landed on their way to Parris Island.
For many Marines during this period, their military careers began here at Yemassee Station. It's estimated that at least a half million recruits passed through this station on their way to Parris Island.
Yemassee's quiet downtown area is so unassuming you wouldn't figure you'd find a distillery here.
The story of Lucky Duck Distillery couldn't be more touching - and inspiring.
Owner Chase Flowers is following a dream that required him wait until his 21st birthday to apply for the license to open this micro moonshine and bourbon distillery.
His tasting room and distillery is located in a renovated old shed on the property of his grandfather's old plumbing business. Read more about Chase's story
Tastings are offered to those 21 and over Tues. through Sat. by reservation.
Stoney Creek Presbyterian Church can be found on the outskirts of Yemassee.
It's also called the Stoney Creek Independent Presbyterian Chapel of Prince William Parish and is located four miles west of Yemassee. It was the only church here spared by Sherman's march during the Civil War.
That's because it was being used by the Union Army as a hospital and campsite. Reportedly, there are still blood stains on the floor of this circa 1833 chapel.
Another noteworthy reason to visit Stoney Creek Presbyterian Church: It was used as a set in the movie "Forrest Gump." You'll see it in the scene where Forrest and the choir pray together for shrimp.
the Google Maps location of the church. Note: may be on private property.
Frank Lloyd Wright's ONLY plantation home - Auldbrass Plantation - is located just outside Yemassee. It's one of two Frank Lloyd Wright homes in South Carolina.
This 321-acre plantation was designed and built by the famous architect. Completed around 1950, the main house famously has no square corners.
In 1986, Auldbrass Plantation was purchased by Hollywood Producer Joel Silver ("Die Hard" series, "Matrix" series and the "Lethal Weapon" series, most notably).
It is only open for tours on RARE occasions. The last one - in the fall of 2015 - raised money for the Beaufort Open Land Trust. It's a fairly extensive estate and not much can be seen from the road, but if you want to drive by and just gawk, then
the Google Maps location.
No trip to Yemassee can ever be complete without a mind-blowing visit to the Le Creuset OUTLET.
Located at 18 Lane Street in Yemassee, the Le Creuset Outlet Store is a must-do or you'll have to surrender your apron forever.
Fair warning: upon entering the store the sight of hundreds and hundreds of French enameled cast iron cookware items is instantly paralyzing.
But once you get over the initial kid-in-a-candy-store reaction it's a great shopping experience.
Head up North Church Street in "downtown" Yemassee to find this charmer.
It's just sitting at the end of North Church, looking perfect and waiting for you and your camera to arrive.
An iconic Yemassee landmark is the Carolina Cider Company, located along Highway 17 with two locations between Green Pond and Interstate 95.
Instantly recognizable, this old-timey country store has more than cider.
Cross the threshold to either of the two locations and you'll feel like you're back in the 50s and 60s.
The family that owns these stores has been producing and selling ciders for four generations. You can also find other great Lowcountry-produced items, like jams and candies here.
Last, but certainly not least, you should pay a visit to Frampton Plantation (a.k.a. the Visitors Center).
Firstly, it's historically significant. Secondly, the grounds are gorgeous. And thirdly, the museum and gift shop are pretty neat.
With all this Yemassee sightseeing you'll definitely work up a hearty appetitie.
Stop by the ICONIC restaurant, Harold's Country Club, located inside this converted filling station at 97 Highway 17 & 21 in Yemassee.
This bar and grill opened in 1973 and is an institution in Yemassee.
You'll marvel at all the colorful collections adorning the walls of this restaurant. In 2011, it was featured in Travel Magazine in an article titled "The South's Best Undiscovered Steakhouses."
I'll have mine medium-rare, please.
Did you have any idea Yemassee was such a thriving area to spend the day or weekend? How many of these attractions have you already visited? We’d love to know in our comments.