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Lowcountry Loop Trolly Ringing In A New Way To See East Cooper
12/12/2012 2:41:39 PM

Lowcountry Loop Trolly Bus at Charleston Visitor’s Center Photo credit: Tolbert Smalls, Jr.
By Barney Blakeney

The ding, ding ding of the Lowcountry Loop Trolley’s bell signals more than its arrival at historic sites and locations East of the Cooper River. It signals a unique new addition to the local tourism industry.

For the past six months, Terry and Derrick Williams have operated the trolley buses that offer transportation and information which provide an overview of East Cooper attractions such as Mount Pleasant Visitors Center, Patriots Point, Shem Creek, Sullivans Island the Isle Of Palms, Wild Dunes, Boone Hall Plantation and Mount Pleasant Town Centre.

The world travellers who have lived in the area the past 25 years - Terry’s a downtown Charleston native and Derrick who boasts his southern roots as a native of South Boston, Mass. - saw the opportunity to bring to the local tourism industry a concept that exists in almost every major city including Savannah, Ga.

That concept is a hop/on, hop/off trolley that makes its rounds every two hours and allows riders to get on or off at any of its stops to visit a site then later continue the tour. The narrated tour takes riders to the Charleston Visitor’s Center as well.

Williams says it offers a lot more than just a tour. The tour opens the door to the history of the East Cooper community many visitors often don’t hear about.

Stops on Sullivans Island, for example, point out that the island was the point of entry for an estimated 40 percent of Africans enslaved in North America and that the island once boasted a significant Black population where a Black cemetery still is located.

A rider can get on a trolley at the Charleston Visitor’s Center, visit the Patriots Point Museum, have lunch at Shem Creek, spend an hour at the beach and then tour Boone Hall Plantation all without having to drive a car, Williams said. The tour costs $20 and offers discounts to seniors and children under age 12.

Beyond daily tours, Williams notes that private charters also are available for family reunions, parties and conventions. The trolleys seat 60 passengers and have oak seats with brass fixtures. Much more than a tour, its a fun way to see local sites, he said.

The concept took about two years to develop and a major financial investment with two trolleys running the approximately 40-mile circuit. It’s the only privately owned trolley operation in South Carolina. Despite Charleston being a premier world class tourism destination, it had nothing like what they offer, Williams said.

The Lowcountry Loop Trolley conducts four loop tours Mon.-Sat. beginning at 9 a.m. during the fall and winter. During spring and summer the number of loops are extended to seven loops. For ticket or scheduling information call (843) 654-5199 or go online to




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