Ron Rash grew up in Hollywood when the town and its surrounding area was among the agricultural capitals of South Carolina, shipping millions of cabbage plants daily to all corners of the United States. Even today, that rural charm remains evident in the region — as more homebuyers seeking space and quiet are also finding out.

“It has not changed a whole lot,” said Rash, a real estate agent with Elaine Brabham and Associates. “There are still some original buildings, but most of the charm is outside of the incorporated areas. Most of it is on the marsh on the Intracoastal Waterway. There are vast amounts of waterfront property that people can buy, and a lot of undeveloped farmland.”

As Charleston County’s urban areas become more crowded, more people are looking beyond West Ashley — to the area including the incorporated towns of Hollywood, Ravenel and Meggett, and the unincorporated areas of Adam’s Run, Rantowles and Yonges Island. Rash calls the region “St. Paul’s Parish,” the name bestowed on the area by the colonial Church Act of 1706.

By any name, the region offers the kind of space that’s becoming harder to find even in West Ashley, as well as the presence of two subdivisions in Stono Ferry and Poplar Grove. Pamela Griffin of ERA Wilder Realty felt like she discovered “a hidden gem” when she moved to the area 14 years ago.

“I think what it offers is space,” said Griffin, a broker coach and former broker-in-charge. “Right now there are some really nice tracts of land, homes on two or three acres. Even the homes in the subdivisions, Stono Ferry and Poplar Grove, have big lots with huge oak trees. It just gives you a completely different feel from what’s happening on Johns Island with all the national builders. It’s just more quiet, more rural. There’s a very large transition in leaving the hustle and bustle of West Ashley and going out into the rural areas.”

According to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors, the average single-family detached home price in the Hollywood/Ravenel/Meggett area increased 11.3 percent, to $418,240, from November 2017 to November 2018. The region’s median sales price has risen sharply over the last three years, standing at $377,500 at the end of November. Inventory, though, remains relatively low: 81 homes in the area were listed for sale in November, as opposed to 332 in neighboring West Ashley.

But that inventory may be on the rise. “People are starting to list their large tracts to sell, which will probably start getting more of the national builders coming in this direction,” Griffin said. “You can still find property in this direction; you can find a small, manufactured home for $35,000, but you can also find a home on the Stono River for $2.2 million. It’s growing, and everybody out here knows it’s only a matter of time.”

For the time being, though, the combined population of the region’s three incorporated towns still numbers fewer than 10,000 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Rash said the area has just two traffic lights: one in downtown Hollywood, and one in Ravenel. Wildlife is abundant. The area’s agricultural heritage remains evident in locally-grown watermelon, cantaloupe and tomatoes in the summer, and fresh cabbage and beans in the fall.

“You get on Highway 162 from (U.S.) 17,” Griffin said, “and from that point it feels very rural.”

And yet, Rash sees more and more people he doesn’t recognize whenever he and his wife go out to eat at one of the area’s restaurants. “The folks who live in Stono Ferry, they’d almost always turn right and go to Charleston when they came out on Highway 162,” Rash said. “I think more and more of those folks are turning left.”

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Potential homebuyers interested in the region often call Rash asking about property on the water, or an older home to rehabilitate, he said. Lots and properties on water remain bountiful in the region, Griffin added, and are generally available at a lower price than in some other areas of the county.

“I think our prices, where we’re located, are much lower than you’d see in Mount Pleasant, comparatively,” she said. “We have a lot of custom-built homes on the water than in other parts of the county, and they’re much more affordable.”

While the region still needs more affordable housing, Rash said, there are efforts underway to meet the growing population. Four new restaurants recently opened, he said, a new Charleston County Library branch is opening in Hollywood, and even a wedding consultant has set up shop. A new county park also opened this month. And Rash clocked it in his car: from downtown Hollywood, it’s 9 miles to Bees Ferry Road, 12 miles to Walmart, and 14 miles to Roper St. Francis hospital.

So close, yet so far away.

“It’s a rural area, fast becoming a growing area,” Rash said. “But you can buy land and be by yourself, or you can buy in a subdivision and have neighbors. There’s a wide range of opportunities for people who want to move here.”