The "Basket Ladies"
Buying a sweetgrass basket from the "basket ladies" of the Gullah is proof to your friends that you've been to the Holy City. Descended from West African slaves sent to the Carolinas during the late 17th century, the Gullah were sought after for their rice planting and basket-making skills because baskets were needed to winnow rice, the dominant crop of the time. Made by hand and using spoon handles, these baskets are intricate coils of marsh grass, pine needles, and palmetto leaves that leave a sweet aroma. These days you can use them to hold everyday objects from casserole dishes to fruit, magazines to books, and jewelry to car keys. They make excellent wedding gifts as well. Find these friendly ladies, such as 8th-generation maker Vicky Hicks in Charleston at the City Market or at the "Four Corners of Law" at Broad and Meeting Streets, and on roadside stands along Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant.
By Christian Mirasol, AFAR Local Expert
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.