When in South Carolina, Eat in North Carolina, But You Better Make it Early!

Okay! Okay! The headline probably has you shaking your head, and thinking that I’ve gone a little cuckoo from having two kids home with me all summer.

How long have you been reading my blog?  Two seconds?  Thirty days? Six months?  Regardless of whether you are a newcomer, or an old-timer, I promise you, I will never steer you wrong on lodging, food, and good, local finds.

Here’s the scoop!  If you make a trip to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and even decide to get cozy in my mom’s cottage rental, Surf Chalet, you need to get on Highway 17 North, and drive just 15 minutes to the North Carolina State line, and make a trip to Calabash, North Carolina. 

Calabash is a little town just inside the North Carolina border.   It’s our state’s seafood capital, and it is famous for its’ fried seafood.   When you see billboards that say, “Calabash-style seafood,” advertising restaurants in Myrtle Beach, they are actually talking about a style of food served in little Calabash, NC.  

Trust me, if you never take my advice except this one time, here is what you need to do.   Pass that billboard, save yourself some time, and just go for the original.  We do it on every trip to NMB.  We make a whole night of family fun in the little town, but apparently, we have got to be speedier on our arrival time.

We didn’t expect this at 5:30 p.m.

Hello!  I thought only the elderly, and people with small children ate at 5 p.m.  Apparently, that’s not the case in Calabash, at least not, in the busy summer.  Whether you are 6 or 60, you better get there early or you’ll be facing long lines. 

You probably want to ask me. Is it really worth it to cross a state line just to eat seafood?  I believe it is worth it for fried shrimp, fried flounder, deviled crab, fried oysters, fried scallops, and for those southern hushpuppies. 

If you are a person who likes things broiled, sautéed, or with a lot of presentation, then it may not be worth it to you.  NMB has a few local restaurants that are just as good as some in Calabash, but the problem is that they are off-the-beaten path, and are only known by locals.

Calabash-style is simple, seafood, but it’s not cheap food, just because it’s fried, and the restaurants are casual in atmosphere.  True Calabash-style experts, know there is an art to frying this seafood, and that’s why some restaurants are better than others.  As you drive down the street, the signs all say the same thing, but the food doesn’t all taste the same.  

We like Ellas of Calabash. The shrimp is lightly battered, and fried without a lot of grease. The shrimp tails are off , which means it is less work, and it is easier to pop them in your mouth, while they are still hot.

Calabash has a lot more to offer than just seafood.  I’ll save that for another day, but here are two hints that will hopefully, leave you wanting to know more.  If you love ice cream, and like Christmas décor, and good, gift shopping, then put Calabash, NC on your list to see. 

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