By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

A five-mile strip of pavement doesn’t really have a personality, yet Long Point Road has managed to flip the switch from bored to busy in 25 years.

The corridor for decades has stretched from U.S. Highway 17 North in Mount Pleasant to the Wando port Terminal.

The predominantly black Snowden community off Long Point Road dates back to before World War II and considered annexing into the town of Mount Pleasant as early as 1966. Truck traffic has been steady on the western edge of the road since the port terminal went up. Also, the winding, marshlined section of Long Point Road closest to Highway 17 is home to Boone Hall Plantation, the Charles Pinckney House and the back entrance to Snee Farm.

But most of the newer activity such as neighborhoods, schools and more recently retail centers are within the four-laned center section where the exit and entrance to and from Interstate 526 is situated.

In the late 1980s, Hobcaw Creek Plantation, Hidden Cove and Longpoint subdivisions were raised in fairly quick succession with lots on area creeks and in wooded locales. Not long after, Belle Hall Plantation broke ground on the north side of Long Point Road. High-end homes at Grassy Creek launched in the early 2000s. Condos and apartments also have gone up not far from the intersection with Whipple Road.

Houses range in price from the high $200,000s to $1 million or so although there is a $6.1 million estate on the market in Hobcaw Creek. Several of the newer neighborhoods sport amenities centers with swimming pools and athletic courts and fields.

More recently, the roadway began attracting its share of shopping spots. Belle Hall Shopping Center and Belle Hall Station were both built in the past 10-15 years.

At the time, “I was very much against Belle Hall Shopping Center,” says Martha Waters, who with husband Pat have lived in the Longpoint neighborhood for 19 years. “I didn’t want the traffic.

“Now,” she says, “I couldn’t live without it (the plaza).”

Martha Waters is a former president of the Longpoint Homeowners Association and was active in urging the town of Mount Pleasant to consider a roundabout at the Longpoint entrance. Surging traffic including commuters using Long Point Road as a cut-through make it very difficult to make a left hand turn onto the roadway during rush hour and when teens are driving to school at Wando High. She says plans are underway to build the traffic circle starting this summer.

The couple moved into Longpoint, which has 560 rooftops today, at a time in the early 1990s that they could buy a lot that backs up to Boone Hall Creek.

Waters says the real development in terms of neighborhoods along Long Point Road largely has been completed. She doesn’t expect transportation authorities to widen Long Point Road east of Whipple Road, nor should there be such an effort. “It’s so scenic and historic,” she says.

The couple are retired but are up to speed with goings on among the many families in Longpoint. “One thing about Longpoint subdivision, we have a wonderful swim team,” she says. “The amenities,” including the pool, tennis courts, soccer field and clubhouse, “are great for children.”

To get to the Long Point Road corridor from downtown Charleston, head east over the Ravenel Bridge, staying to the left onto Highway 17. There are several ways to reach the roadway, including taking a left at Boone Hall Plantation off Highway 17. An alternate route is to make the second left off Highway 17 onto Mathis Ferry Road. Follow Mathis Ferry past the roundabout at East Cooper Hospital and bear left on Whipple Road. Take Whipple until it deadends at Long Point Road. Turn left to head to the shopping plazas and to Hidden Cove, Belle Hall, Grassy Creek, Hobcaw Creek and Oak Park neighborhoods. Make a right to Longpoint subdivision and the back of Snee Farm.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.

LONG POINT ROAD CORRIDOR AT A GLANCE:

Location: Mount Pleasant

Number of homes: 2,000 plus

Square footage: 1,426-7,619

Look & feel: No one thing characterizes the corridor other than sharing entrances on Long Point Road. Neighborhoods such as Longpoint and Hobcaw Creek started in the late 1980s. Enclaves run from Rice Planters Pointe at Snee Farm near U.S. Highway 17 to Hidden Cove a couple of miles from the Wando River. Belle Hall and Grassy Creek are on the north side of the roadway. Most subdivisions are family-oriented with basketball nets, bicycles and skateboards. A few neighborhoods sport amenities centers with swimming pools, tennis courts and soccer fields. Lowcountry-style homes with large porches are popular. Some homes have docks on water or marsh views. Attractions include Boone Hall Plantation, Palmetto Islands County Park, shopping plazas and eateries. I-526 can be accessed off Long Point Road.

Homes on market: 57

List prices: $190,000-$6.1 million

Schools: Belle Hall Elementary, Laing Middle, Wando High

Fun facts: The original Long Point Plantation is actually one-and-half miles north of Long Point Road; the movies The Notebook and Queen and the ABC mini-series North and South were filmed in part at Boone Hall Plantation.