Ridgeland, South Carolina
The town of Ridgeland is Jasper's county seat. No doubt benefiting from the expansion of Interstate 95, this small town can be found just off exits 21 and 22 and has become a comfortable stopping point for weary travelers looking for a good meal and a place to rest their head.
Originally incorporated in 1894 as Gopher Hill because of its indigenous gopher tortoise population, the Atlantic Coastline Railroad officially changed the name to Ridgeland when it merged with another railroad in 1902 because the town was located on the highest hill between Charleston and Savannah.
According to City-Data.com, the population of Ridgeland is just over 2600, with another 1000 living in what is called the Ridgeland Urban Cluster.
Like neighboring Bluffton, Ridgeland became a haven for Northerners trying to escape the harsh weather. Several historic plantations still exist in the area. Ridgeland, however, is more of a sportsman's paradise with some of the best hunting lodges in the south for quail, duck, dove and turkey. The town also boasts both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
One hunting club, Turkey Hill Plantation, is located in Ridgeland and specializes in guided wingshooting on more than 18,000 acres. Private and corporate groups can participate in continental pheasant shoots that "mimic driven bird hunts." New Home Communities
As Jasper County begins to grow, new home communities are developing, many with high-end amenities within affordable housing communities. Bee's Creek Plantation, located in heart of Ridgeland is a community with homes ranging from $153,000 to $189,000. Plantation South Homes is the developer. Included in each one of their homes are security systems, landscaping and sprinkler systems. The neighborhood in bordered with sidewalks and street lamps.
"We have ponds stocked with fish and offer an extended structural home warranty," adds Jennifer.
Graham Hall is another community in Ridgeland designed for buyers interested in a rural setting. Sold on its secluded setting and natural views, the neighborhood has already moved into Phase II sales.
"We have wooded lots, half an acre to one and a half acres," says developer and sales agent Ben Gecy, who has partnered with Tripp Daley of Palmetto Developers to provide quality home construction. Daley has worked in the building construction market for more than 20 years, 10 as owner of Palmetto Developers. "Our goal is to provide more house with larger lots for less money."
Like many who are moving to the area, he is also bullish on Ridgeland.
"Ridgeland provides the quiet relaxed setting found in Bluffton and Beaufort 15-20 years ago," says Gecy. "It is a friendly community with long term goals and visions for development and improved quality of life."
Graham Hall's Phase I with 25 homes is already sold-out. Lots for Phase II can be purchased from $49,000 - $79,000. Home/lot packages range from $179, 000 to $249,000.
What residents and visitors most like about Ridgeland is that it continues to maintain its small town atmosphere. Special social events for residents are planned throughout the year, some with time honored traditions.
In the coming months, airplane enthusiasts will flock to the second annual "Race to Ridgeland" featuring an approximately 130 nm handicapped race for light planes, a spot landing contest and a judged vintage aircraft concourse. The event is sponsored by the Jasper County Aeronautics Commission and takes place at the Ridgeland Airport.
The first Saturday in October means the Gopher Hill Festival in Ridgeland which features the always popular Turtle Race. The event begins with a parade and includes food booths, arts and crafts, kiddie rides and an outdoor concert all held in the newly revitalized Main Street District.
Like most of South Carolina's Lowcountry, every town has a story. To learn more about Ridgeland, its history and culture, visit www.Ridgelandsc.com.
Visit Bees Creek Plantation online at www.BeesCreekPlantation.com or call Jennifer Kunich at (843) 247-6106.
Ben Gecy with Graham Hall can be reached at (843)441-2482.