The Charm and Character of Calabash: A photo essay of the boats, water and shops in downtown Calabash
Story By Hilary Brady | Photography By Chris Campbell, Keith Ketchum and Suzy King
Calabash is a beautiful waterfront town located at the southernmost point of the Brunswick Islands. With a rich history and remarkable setting, the quaint fishing town offers unique shopping, mouthwatering seafood and spectacular sights.
Proudly titled “The Seafood Capital of the World”, Calabash is well-known for its battered and fried fresh seafood. The renowned flavor of Calabash seafood comes from its perfected preparation: a light batter, a quick fry and light seasoning, which allow the flavor of the fish to resonate wonderfully with tastebuds from around the world.
Bright hues of the new mixed with rustic hints of the past pepper the Calabash waterfront; it’s this color and culture combination that evokes pride from locals and appreciation from visitors.
From seafood to subs, Calabash offers something for everyone to savor. Diners choose from local fish delivered fresh from the boat at the restaurant’s back door to pizza, steaks, sandwiches and more at traditional eateries.
Nautical gifts, Christmas shops, fudge and candy concessions, golfing goods, consignment and coffee spots, knicks, knacks, flap jacks and snacks. The fun shops of Calabash mingled amongst its stunning scenery offers a special experience that is appreciated by all who visit.
The town of Calabash was originally known as Pea Landing. Historians say that the name was coined because in the 1880s local farmers traveled down to the river to ship their peanuts to Wilmington to be sold at market. The town assumed the name of Calabash when officials applied for a post office location and, it’s assumed, they didn’t see Pea Landing as a fitting name.
The town maintains its status as a seafood hotspot with shrimp boats docking daily during the season and offering fresh shrimp for sale. Visit a local restaurant, though, and have your choice of all-things-seafood, from crabcakes to calamari.
Calabash offers motel, bed and breakfasts, campground and condo accommodations to those that are just passing through. No matter the traveler’s taste, there is a comfy place in Calabash to rest your head after a long day of shrimp eating, sightseeing and antiques shopping.
With a population of just more than 1,800, Calabash is no longer a small fishing village. But locals and visitors alike continue to relish the small-town spirit that has been kept alive. Celebrated seafood, a special combination of new and old merchants, and the sights of old fishing boats lining the waterfront will keep Calabash extraordinary for many years to come.