Both culinary playground and educational classroom, set out on an aquatic adventure in the ACE Basin. With a professional fisherman and oyster farmer as your guide, you’ll experience the lifecycle of an oyster and its sustainability firsthand from your perch in a boat in the winding estuary creeks of South Carolina.
The ACE Basin, located where the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto rivers converge, is one of the largest undeveloped estuaries along the Atlantic Coast. Located just over an hour south of Charleston, this 350,000 acre wildlife refuge and natural environment is home to marshes, wetlands, cypress swamps, and hardwood forests.
As the city landscape gives way to lush green spaces, glimpses of marsh grass beckon beyond. After arriving in Bennetts Point, South Carolina, you’ll be greeted at the rustic dock by the bearded crew behind Lowcountry Oyster Company. What started as a boyhood dream is now a daily endeavor for owner and operator, Trey McMillan. Along with his team, McMillan raises millions of oyster seeds each year, helping to replenish the diminishing oyster supply while purifying the area’s waterways.
Your tour will start in the nursery, where millions of baby oysters are starting their maturation process before setting out from Mosquito Creek via boat for the floating oyster farm. As dolphins swim past and pelicans glide overhead, you’ll enjoy a leisurely 30 minute cruise through the winding estuary creeks as a gentle sea breeze blows the marsh grass and fish jump beyond. On the water, you’ll have a chance to see firsthand the hard work that goes into hand raising these single, select oysters. The entire process takes up to a year, before the oysters are shipped out nationwide, within 24 hours of being harvested.
When you sample some of the Lowcountry Cups, you get a true taste of the place they come from. Lowcountry Oyster Company’s are high in salinity, a result of the pristine waters they are raised in. Not only does the water produce a better oyster, but the oyster helps better the water. Because oysters feed by filtering algae, they function as a natural filter, helping to improve the water quality. Truly one of the most sustainable from start to finish.
After the tour and boat excursion, you’ll head around the corner to a private undeveloped forest for a picturesque Lowcountry oyster roast. Overlooking the Combahee River and a historic rice field, savor more oysters as you sip Champagne and enjoy black angus pepper-seared roast beef filet, mesquite-smoked grilled chicken and more while our team attends to your every whim.
After living the Lowcountry lifestyle, you’ll depart for downtown Charleston and your home away from home. Later, shed your oyster overalls for fine frocks as a celebratory evening awaits at the Charleston Grill. If you haven’t had your fill of Lowcountry Cups, order the Local Oysters with Heirloom Pepper Mignonette or sample one of Chef Michelle’s other Southern delights that celebrate the bounty of our area’s rich waterways.
Charleston is Your Oyster is exclusively available for guests of Charleston Place, A Belmond Hotel. For more information or to book this incomparable experience, contact us at 843-722-4900.