One of my favorite things to do on vacation is nothing at all. That is to say, I love to relax. I have yet to find an invention more conducive of pure relaxation than the Pawleys Island rope hammock. This ingenious creation was meticulously designed in the late 1800s by riverboat captain and Pawleys resident Joshua John Ward, who found traditional mattresses and canvas hammocks too warm to be comfortable in the heat of summer.
If you ask most people why a rope hammock is the perfect place to relax they will tout the benefits of the double-latch weave, which encourages the cotton rope to meld to your body and creates a personalized support system. Another common answer is the calming properties of the gentle sway in the breeze. But there’s another factor that is often overlooked.
Compared to a lounge chair or rocking chair, the hammock requires a bit of effort to climb into and situate oneself properly (particularly with a friend or two). Once your limbs are balanced, your butt is properly placed, and your head has hit the hammock pillow, you joyfully find that the hammock is perfectly enveloping you, and there is little urge to disrupt the perfection. Why even bother picking up that book? The obvious and inevitable choice is to simply lie there, perhaps daydreaming, until you wake up from an unplanned nap.
This has happened to most of us who’ve visited Pawleys, and our experience has taught us that when friends or fathers go missing for a few hours, the first place to look for them is the trusty weathered rope hammock.
You can visit the Original Hammock Shop on 10880 Ocean Highway to watch the hammock weaving process, which has not changed much over time.