75 miles S of Savannah

The gateway to the Golden Isles is a sleepy town not quite awake to the tourism potential of its antique houses, palms, flowering shrubs, and moss-draped live oaks. Brunswick has always been an important port, with a natural harbor that can handle oceangoing ships. In World War II, with Nazi U-boats prowling the Atlantic, Brunswick’s shipyard began to construct “Liberty Ships,” stronger, larger cargo vessels. Beginning in 1943, these 447-foot vessels slipped down the ways at the feverish rate of some four a month. Today, instead of Liberty Ships, you’ll find a large fleet of shrimp boats—the town bills itself as the “shrimp capital of the world.”

At some point, you’ll want to sample Brunswick stew in the town of its origin (although the citizens of Brunswick County, Virginia, would beg to differ). It is made basically with a combination of meats and flavored with an array of vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, okra, lima beans, and corn. In the old days, cooks would make it with squirrel, rabbit, or what virtually amounted to roadkill, all simmering in the same pot—but preparations are less exotic today. A good time to sample the versions is during the Brunswick Stewbilee, a Brunswick stew cook-off held here the second Saturday in October from 11:30am to 3pm.