Ricefields at Pawleys Island
Area rich in history, neighborly feeling
Myrtle Beach Sun News, Neighbors Section, June 12, 2008
By Marla Stroupe
"Ricefields: A great place to live" greets homeowners and visitors on the main entrance signs of this energetic neighborhood in Pawleys Island. Homes are surrounded by loblolly pines, hardwoods and landscaped areas that provide
shade, visual interest and privacy. On any given day, you'll probably see a
resident walking a dog, children coming home from school or neighbors chatting at the end of a cul-de-sac.
At first glance, Ricefields is like many other neighborhoods designed primarily for full-time coastal inhabitants - wide streets, generous sidewalks and welcoming homes. But dig a little deeper, and you find that this development of 240 houses has a history as rich as the soil along the river that borders it.
Archeological evidence indicates that the name Waccamaw comes from groups of nomadic American Indians who lived in this area until the early 1700s. The first white settlers, including the English, Spanish, Scots and French, were lured here by the lucrative trade possibilities. Rice and indigo were popular crops for the Lowcountry area's large plantations that sprang up from proprietary and royal land grants made in the 1700s.
Fields of rice were constructed along the Waccamaw River marshes and worked by plantation slaves; the section of land defining today's Ricefields neighborhood was among the most productive in antebellum America. After the Civil War, rice production was no longer viable. Now only the name "Ricefields" and a small cemetery remain in remembrance of the plantation people and their work.
The Ricefields setting today, although different, is as intriguing to home buyers as it was to the American Indians and Europeans who discovered it centuries ago. One side of Ricefields is adjacent to the top-ranked Caledonia
golf course, affording some residents stunning fairway views. At the back of the development is the pride of the neighborhood - a natural, grass-covered walkway leading directly to the banks of the stately Waccamaw River. This unusual feature is there for all Ricefields residents to enjoy. On any given day, you might see some of the local wildlife, including osprey, eagles, egrets, deer and otters.
The Ricefields Property Owners Association is governed by a five-member board of directors plus a property manager from Chicora Development. The association meetings, led by eight-term President Bob Hesterfer, are well-organized and run in businesslike fashion. Communications channels to the board are clear, and issues are discussed rationally and openly. Topics are carefully evaluated, and residents are kept informed through the community newsletter and memoranda distributed into each homeowner's paper box. Board members represent the diversity of the resident population.
Another important asset for Ricefields is its loyal group of volunteers that donates time and energy to distribute pine needles, repaint street signs, repair pond fountains and refurbish landscaping.
According to Hesterfer, "We are able to keep our association fees low and maintain the value of our property due in large part to the contributions of our neighbor volunteers. Their dedication is beneficial to us all."
Ricefields families have numerous opportunities to get acquainted. Throughout the year, social events and activities for all ages are organized by board and committee members, including an Easter egg hunt, a community yard sale, a wine and cheese party, teen movie night, golf outings, book clubs and luncheons.
Most of the community's 200 children turn out each December to see Santa arrive at the Ricefields boat landing in a Georgetown County Sheriff's vessel.
It beats a sleigh when delivering gifts in this part of the world.
- Residents | 700
- Location | Just off of Kings River Road in Pawleys Island
- Developed | 1994
- Components | Single-family homes
- Home costs | From about $280,000 to $2 million
- Home sizes | From about 1,800 to 4,500 square feet
- Resident makeup | Exact percentages not available; families with children are largest group, followed by retirees (65+) and pre-retirees (50s and 60s)
- POA | 263 voting members; annual fees are
- Features | Swimming pool, boat launch, river walk, ponds, wildlife