Meet Nell Cribb

By Leslie Moore

Meet Nell Cribb

Gracious, articulate and attractive, 81 year-old Nell Cribb, lifelong resident of Georgetown, is someone most people in this small town know – or have at least seen walking the streets of the historic district in period dress while operating her tour company, Miss Nell’s Walking Tours. This active octogenarian also collects Coca Cola® memorabilia and has it displayed throughout her lovely Front Street home. Recently retired from the tour business, Nell sat down with Sasee to share some of her memories.

Why did you start Miss Nell’s Walking Tours?

This was my retirement business. I was the secretary at Winyah High School for 31 years, and when I retired I knew I wanted to do something outside and be around people, so this was a perfect fit. I have been blessed with two fulfilling careers.

When I started doing tours, I thought it would be busiest in the summer months, but spring and fall were the best times. I did tours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm, but I would take appointments for other times. Sometimes I did as many as four a day!

When I was growing up, my parents instilled in me an appreciation for history. They both loved Georgetown and passed that love on to me. People here have been so friendly and receptive to my tours and the tour goers. My guests would tell me that they were pleasantly surprised that everyone spoke “Good Morning” to them without knowing them! I told them that was good old Southern hospitality. And, many of the historic homeowners would allow me to take guests into their homes – a perfect example of how welcoming and gracious the people of Georgetown are to everyone.

I was always conscious that my guests were getting their impression of Georgetown through me. I wanted them to have a good time, so I always tried to tailor the tours to the interests of the people taking them. Every tour was a little different. Most people remember stories and tidbits, not necessarily historical facts.

I also did step-on tours on charter buses and even small cruise ships that dock here on the way to Florida from Boston. Once, a tour bus operator stopped me, frantic, saying the company had not scheduled a step-on tour guide for the group. I told him to let them go shopping for an hour while I conducted a scheduled tour. Then, he told me there was no money budgeted for the tour – I told him not to worry, I would do it anyway. I always wanted to give people enough information to entice them to come back and get to know Georgetown a little better. It turned out that the people on the bus took up money to pay me. If I hadn’t stepped up, those people may have left Georgetown with the wrong impression and might never have come back.

What do you think of Georgetown today?

I think it’s getting better and better. The late Tom Davis, former publisher of the Georgetown Times, started the idea for our Harborwalk, and it has been wonderful for Georgetown. And, now we have the Winyah Auditorium for cultural events.

There is always something new to learn about this town. Once in a while someone on a tour would ask me a question I just did not know. I was always honest, and I would get their name and address and mail them the answer.

I love your home and all of your Coca Cola® memorabilia. How did you start collecting?

I have lived here since 1970 – the house was built in 1923 and ’24. At one time, the city stopped at St. James Street [about a block from Nell’s house], and this area was called “Browntown.” The oldest house in Georgetown, the Ulmer House, was built in 1734 and is on Prince Street.

I never said, “I’m going to start collecting Coca Cola® things;” it just happened. At Christmastime, the coke company would send me a case of bottled Cokes, and I put all gifts under the tree. The year the local bottling company closed I was given cups, plates, etc., and I put those under the tree as well. My friends noticed and started giving me more Coke items. My latest is a six pack of Cokes from Dubai featuring South Africa’s 2010 World Cup.

What are your plans for the New Year?

After 22 years of giving tours, I decided it was time to step away. Someone else may be able to portray Georgetown in a completely different light. I turned my business over to native Georgetonian, Debbie Summey.

Hopefully, this year I’m going to inventory my Coca Cola® collection. I need to get this done for my daughters, Vickie and Cammie. I’m not good on the computer, but a friend has offered help. Someone told me I should ask Ripley’s to come and do the inventory – I may have one of the world’s largest private collections!

I am family-oriented and have been doing a quarterly family newsletter for the past 40 years. We are a big family; I was one of twelve children and eleven lived to adulthood. I believe it’s important that we stay connected. People used to have Sunday dinners at Grandmother’s house and always knew who they were related to – it’s not that way anymore. I thank God every day for my life, and that I was fortunate enough to grow up and live in Georgetown and share my talents with others.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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One Response to “Meet Nell Cribb”

  1. Hilda Rabon says:

    Love the article and love Nell.

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