The 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off on Saturday, March 16 at 10:15 a.m. More than 300,000 people are expected to visit and attend the parade, in which more than 280 floats and marching units will travel through the downtown streets of Savannah. Starting at the corner of Abercorn and Gwinnett Streets and concluding at Bull… Read More…
The Lowcountry is proud of its culinary heritage – and rightly so.
No matter what the name — country, farmhouse or down-home cooking — the appeal of Southern food crosses social, racial and geographic lines. Young and old, black and white, rich and poor flock to restaurants where fried chicken, collard greens, barbecue and cornbread dominate the menu.
Of course, the term “Southern” means different things to different people. Near the coast, folks gather for oyster roasts and Lowcountry boils, with seafood and rice as key ingredients in many meals. In upstate South Carolina, fish fries and pig roasts are reason for celebration. And in Louisiana, Cajun and Creole epitomize “Southern” cooking.
However, no matter what the name, all Southern cuisine shares certain qualities. First and foremost, fresh food is a defining characteristic of the Southern table. What began as a necessity — since food in the heat of a Southern summer would have spoiled without the benefit of refrigerators and ice boxes — has now become a core part of the cuisine.
Historically, Southern cooking is a blend of several distinct cultures, including Western European, African and Native American cuisine, all of which came together in the Southern antebellum kitchen of the ante South. Native Americans taught early settlers how to grow, process and cook corn, which was used to make cornbread, hoecakes, hushpuppies, grits and whiskey. Many foods typically considered “Southern,” such as field peas, okra, peanuts, yams and eggplant, were actually African in origin and were brought to America by slave traders.
Pigs were the other major food source in the South for several reasons. Requiring little maintenance, they were often allowed to roam wild and later caught for butchering. Lard, fatback and bacon were used to add flavor to cooked vegetables and the meat could be cured and eaten later. Barbecue continues to play an important role in the South’s regional identity.
Another distinguishing feature of Southern cooking is the sense of tradition and heritage inherent in popular dishes. Recipes are often handed down from generation to generation. Nostalgia plays a large part in “comfort food,” inspiring memories of Sunday dinner for many.
The final, and perhaps most important cornerstone of traditional Southern cuisine, is hospitality, which can be found in great abundance throughout the Lowcountry.
By Jevon Daly
How do you write a song? How ‘bout writing a song for a loved one? Let’s riff on this one. I am sure some of you are getting ready to turn the page. “I can’t write a song; heck, I can’t even PLAY AN INSTRUMENT JEVON!!!” Gotcha! But you CAN write a song. There, I said it. How do you start? Now that is a good question. I have written songs and listened to a ton of songs written and lemme tell you something. Everyone thinks they can write a love song, but this may be the trickiest kind of song to write. But why not? Forget the guitar lessons (though I could help you with that) and don’t buy that grand piano yet (pianos are bulky space taker uppers that don’t match anything in a house). I think if you just sat down with a pen and some paper and wrote a song-style poem, you might get lucky in more ways than one.
When we write a song we look for phrases that we have all heard before. Sure you can try to write a song like “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” or use the word copacetic, but most of our favorite songs employ clichés owning the “hook” position in a song, like in “Hurts So Good” or “First Girl I Loved.” We have all heard these phrases or maybe even used them when talking to a lover. Songs like “Karma Chameleon” use trickier wording but make for great songs. Some of my favorite songs don’t mean anything special but SOUND really nice rolling off the tongue. I think looking for a phrase to start your verse or chorus is a good idea. Maybe your guy has a beautiful dad “bod.” There is a way to HIDE the bad and emphasize the GOOD about your beau. This is the beauty of song. You can also play on your strengths as a writer if you’re not the bomb diggity guitar strummer. I say write your phrase down and start singing it in your spare time, looking for a partner line for it. You MUST look at some of your favorite songs for ‘rip-off’ ideas. Guys like Paul Simon and Gene Simmons will gladly tell you they never invented anything. Steal, steal, steal. Rinse, repeat. See? There are some cute little tricks right there.
Repeating a good idea is a nice way to drive your main idea home. You can overuse words like “yeah.” Let’s try it. She loves me. Now we will add the word “yeah”—she loves me yeah, yeah, yeah. Now repeat that three times and you might just have something. A lot of great writers use innuendos to make the serious LOVE song a little funny to bring in another emotion. Or maybe to give the “Mr. Serious Song Guy” a break. “Heaven’s On Fire” is a great song that uses this songwriting trick to a tee. It will bring you to your knees. Last but not least, be yourself when writing a song. If you aren’t funny, don’t try to be. And I suppose you could pay someone to write a song for your wife too. But be careful. She might fall in love with the other guy! JK … JD
William walked with his son Henry across their front lawn. The weather was nearly perfect, an observation that was becoming more apparent with each stride. “Sure is nice out today, don’t you think?” he said to his son.
Henry nodded. “What are we going to do today, Dad?”
The aim of the day had originally been to clean out the shed and maybe the gutters. However, this early trip to get the morning paper stirred up an alternate plan. “Young man,” William said, “let us head out on a little adventure.” It is funny, William thought, how wonderful spring mornings can change a day’s worth of plans with one whiff of warm spring air.
The parking lot at Scott’s was empty; however, the meat case was full. William and Henry’s eyes and imaginations grew larger and larger as they surveyed the choices. To no one in particular, Henry said, “Boy, oh boy, those sausages sure look nice. Those ribs, oh, wow, would you just look at those ribs!”
He was interrupted by Adam, the store’s owner. “It’s okay to talk to yourself, just don’t get in the habit of answering.”
William smiled. “We’ll take a little of everything.”
Laden with two pork butts, eight racks of ribs, six beef sausages and a dozen chicken thighs, William and Henry headed home.
“You think Mom will be mad?” Henry asked, genuinely concerned.
“Why would she be mad?” his dad replied, as he tuned the radio station.
“Well, we left abruptly and bought enough to feed an army of people.”
William smiled. “Well then, my young apprentice, we need to find an army of people.” He pulled over to the shoulder of the road and pulled out his phone. His brother-in-law Brent answered on the first ring and was quickly told, “Six o’clock, my house, BBQ, BYOB.”
Henry looked confused, “What was that, Dad?”
William patted him on the head. “That was an invitation to a lawn party. Brent knows what to do.”
Julie was watering the front bushes when they pulled into the drive. She sprayed water at the truck.
“I told you she would be mad, Dad!” Henry bellowed, as he shifted nervously in his seat.
“Heard we’re hosting a lawn party!” she teased, cinching the hose and walking towards the driver’s side window. She leaned in to kiss William and peered into the back seat. “What in the world!” she exclaimed surveying the meat. “Here’s the deal, you boys cook and clean. This is your rodeo—as for this mama, she is only showing up to eat.” Shaking her head, she turned and continued to water.
“Honey…” William called out in a longing tone.
Julie turned with a smile and said, “Of course, I will make some Lowcountry caviar, too.” William and Henry high-fived each other as they got to work on prepping the meat.
“Son, some people say to put nothing but smoke on your meat…” William rubbed his belly and hitched up his pants as he scanned the dark corners of the shelf before he continued. “But me, I like a little sweet heat.” He took from the cabinet a few select jars and began unscrewing the tops, touching each to his nose. “Mmm, hmm,” he said closing his eyes, “smell this one; it’s what gives the meat that family taste.”
His son stood on his tippy toes and strained for a sniff. “What’s in it, Dad?”
His father’s brow furrowed. “It’s a secret so special only I know it.”
A voice called his bluff from across the room. “Don’t let him fool you, it is nothing more than Old Bay shrimp boil. If you call that a secret spice, then I am Porky the Pig!” The skeptic was Uncle Brent. He walked through the front door with bagged ice and a case of beer.
“Says you,” William retorted. “I’ve added my personal touch to the base over the years.”
Brent put his arm around William. “I hope you brought your A-game today, so far everyone I have called is coming!”
William poured measured portions from the unlabeled jars into a pan. The aroma was pleasing to the nose. Taking a healthy handful of the rub, he smeared it over the meat. “Like spanking a baby”—smack, smack—his bare hand met the cool side of the pork butt.
A large grin pushed his son’s cheeks up to his eyes, causing him to squint. “Good one, Dad!” he chuckled in a deep, Ho-Ho-Ho tone. The same process was repeated with the ribs and chicken. After everything was adequately covered with rub and marinating coolly, it was time to make the fire.
“Young man,” William panned, “try not to light the yard on fire. I’ll get the wood.”
William studied an awkwardly piled heap of wood. Checking several pieces, he finally settled on a dark knotty piece. Thwack, thwack—his ax quickly chopped a thick round portion of the limb into quartered, splintered pieces. “We will need to add these pieces to the coals and let them burn down. We want a nice even heat and just a touch of good hickory and Georgia peach wood.”
Henry took the wood over to the smoker. “Low and slow,” he mused, as he placed the logs on top of the white embers.
A trail of thin blue smoke lingered in the spring air. A radio played softly in the background as William and Brent relaxed in lawn chairs. Henry dutifully lifted the top to the smoker and applied an apple vinegar mop sauce to the meat. This process remained steady for many hours. “What time is everyone coming over?” William called out from beneath the cap pulled down over his eyes and nose.
“Six,” Brent said, dozing in the sunshine.
William sat up abruptly. “What time is it now?”
Brent laughed and said, “Miller Time,” as he cracked open an ice-cold beer.
It was now nearly five o’clock and the bigger cuts of meat had been on for almost seven hours. William worried the meat wouldn’t be ready in time. Suddenly, and much to his relief, he heard beep, beep, beep! The alarm generated much excitement.
Henry jumped up to survey the thermometers. “Meat’s done!” Henry, Brent and William stood and peered through the smoke at the wonderful spread before them. “Let’s eat!” exclaimed Henry.
In the kitchen, there was a bustle of activity. By this hour, wives of friends and neighbors, sisters and nieces had convened to pour wine and start on hors d’oeuvres. Everyone stopped to marvel at the trays of meat. “Smells absolutely divine and looks even better,” Julie chirped. “I love spring lawn parties!”
“Honey,” William asked his wife curiously, “how’s that caviar coming?” She took a large spoon and placed it on his lips. “What does it need?” she asked.
Taking the spoon and savoring the mixture of black-eyed peas, jalapenos and sweet sauce, he closed his eyes and shook his head. “Not a dern thing!”
Guests and family gathered on a lawn that had not been mowed, using chairs, tables and tiki torches brought out from a shed that had not been cleaned. Men mingled in khaki shorts and ballcaps; the women in jeans and sunglasses. It was casual, relaxed and easy.
“Hear ye, hear ye,” William called, clanging a carving knife on the side of a beer bottle. “Let’s bless this mess.” After giving thanks, he asked Henry to pull the first rib with its perfect smoke ring. “Son,” he said, putting his arm around Henry’s shoulder, “These are the best days. Good friends, our family and a feast of smoked meats.”
Henry smiled and wiped sauce from his cheek. “You’re right, these are the best of days.”
Written by Gene Cashman.
Savannah’s scenic jewels make this historic city remarkably beautiful and unforgettable.
The 22 squares in Savannah today provide locals and visitors alike with a little greenery amid all the businesses and historic houses. At one time there were 24 historic squares, but two were lost due to city development while others, such as Ellis Square, were redesigned and made even more appealing. These squares are surrounded by some charming churches, historic homes, enchanting inns and museums and are all shaded by huge live oak trees. On weekends you might see kids running around them with a football, a couple having a picnic in the grass or maybe even a proposal! Savannah’s squares are a hot spot for intimate, outdoor weddings in Georgia’s First City.
North to South:
- Dedicated in 1790, this square is named for Benjamin Franklin, an agent for the colony of Georgia from 1768 to 1778. Just off City Market, this is the northwestern-most square. Montgomery & St. Julian Sts.
- Designed in 1733 and named in honor of Henry Ellis, the second Royal Governor, Ellis Square has recently been re-stored by the City of Savannah. Here the “Old City Market” was located and mer-chants sold crops and wares. Barnard & St. Julian Sts.
- A center of activity, Johnson Square was the first square laid out by General James Oglethorpe in 1733. Savannah’s largest square is named for Robert Johnson, a close friend of Oglethorpe. Bull & St. Julian Sts.
- Originally called Lower New Square, Reynolds Square was once home to the Filature, where silkworms were housed in an effort to create silk in the Georgia colony. Abercorn & St. Julian Sts.
- Located in one of the oldest areas of the city, Warren Square is named in honor of General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War hero, and was added in 1790. Habersham & St. Julian Sts.
- Built at the same time as Warren Square, Washington Square once bordered the original Trustees’ Garden, where colonists grew a variety of experimental crops. Today it is the north-east-ernmost square in the city. Houston & St. Julian Sts.
- Liberty Square was laid out in 1799 and is named in honor of the Sons of Liberty and the victory over the British in the Revolutionary War. Only a portion of the square still exists. It is the site of the “Flame of Freedom” sculpture. Montgomery between State and York Sts.
- Laid out by James Oglethorpe in 1733, it is one of the four original squares and was known as one of the more fashionable neighborhoods of the time. Renamed in 1883 to honor the Telfair family, it is the only square honoring a family rather than an individual. It also contains a tribute to the Girl Scouts. Barnard & President Sts.
- Originally called Percival Square, Wright Square is also the final resting place for Tomochichi, the Native American leader who helped General James Oglethorpe found the colony of Georgia. Bull & President Sts.
- This square pays homage to General James Oglethorpe, founder of Savannah and the colony of Georgia, and is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic or a shady break. Abercorn & President Sts.
- Taking its name from a popular nickname for the American colonies—Columbia—this square is a tran-quil spot away from the hustle and bustle of down-town. Nestled within the north-east quadrant of the Historic District, it is a favorite stop for Savannahians. Habersham & President Sts.
- Named after General Nathaniel Greene, a general in the Continental Army and an aide to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Greene Square is one of the most beauti-ful squares in Savannah. Houston & President Sts.
- Located near the Savannah Civic Center, Orleans Square commemorates General Andrew Jackson’s 1815 victory in the Battle of New Orleans, part of the War of 1812. This square features beautiful red tulips in the spring and a bubbling fountain all year long. Barnard & McDonough Sts.
- Named in honor of the American victory in the Battle of Chippewa during the War of 1812, Chippewa Square is where Forrest Gump’s bench was placed dur-ing the filming of the movie by the same name. Bull & McDonough Sts.
- Designed in the year 1841 and named in honor of William Harris Crawford, Crawford Square contains part of a nineteenth-century water cistern and features a gazebo. It also offers the city’s first paved basketball court for residents. Houston & McDonough Sts.
- Pulaski Square is named for Polish Count Casimir Pulaski, a hero of the Revolutionary War, and is one of the few squares with-out a monument. This square features some of the most beautiful live oaks in the city, as well as thick ivy ground-cover. Barnard & Macon Sts.
- Named for the fourth U.S. President James Madison, this square features vin-tage cannons from the old Savannah Armory and a bronze monument of Sergeant William Jasper. The Savannah College of Art and Design orig-inally opened in 1979 on this square. Bull & Macon Sts.
- Named for French aristocrat and military officer Marquis de Lafayette, this square is home to the ornate Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and fea-tures quaint benches and cobblestone sidewalks. Abercorn & Macon Sts.
- Troup Square features an armil-lary, an astro-nom-ical center-piece made of iron, that is support-ed by small metal turtles. Named in honor of Georgia Gov-ernor George Michael Troup, this is one of the most pic-tur-esque squares in the Historic District. Habersham & Macon Sts.
- This square is home to Gordon Row, a block of 15 identical townhouses admired for their iron-work and unique doorways. Chatham Square is named in honor of the Earl of Chatham, an early supporter of the colony. Barnard & Wayne Sts.
- With a statue of Casimir Pulaski at the center, Monterey Square is widely considered Savannah’s most picturesque square. The Mercer House, the set-ting for the murder in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is located on this lovely square. Bull & Wayne Sts.
- This square, laid out in 1851, was named in honor of John C. Calhoun, a senator from South Carolina, who served as Vice President under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. It offers some of the best views of the Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church and the Massie School. Abercorn & Wayne Sts.
- A popular place for weddings, Whitefield Square has a lovely white gazebo that has hosted count–less wedding cere-monies. The square is named for George Whitefield, an English clergyman who founded the Bethesda Orphan Home and served as a minister to the city’s ear-liest colonists. Habersham & Wayne Sts.
A trip to Savannah for back-to-school clothes offered more than one Bluffton resident bargained for.
Back in the old days just before World War I, along about the time when I was shedding rompers for shirts and pants, my family, like many others in Bluffton, still clung to the horse-and-buggy era.
Our horse was a handsome bay named Mack. He was gentle but spirited, and sleek as a sea lion and always ready to go. A slight tightening of the reins sent him forward in a burst of speed. A sudden “Whoa!” brought him to a dead halt. I tried it one time in the saddle and was catapulted over his head like a clay pigeon sprung from a trap machine.
Our buggy was shiny black with red-spoked wheels and a folding top. The dashboard sported a whip socket and the seat was upholstered with black leather. The floor in front and the luggage compartment in the rear also served as seats—for us children. One time I sat on the floor back-to-back with my brother Thomas all the way to Screven’s Ferry and back—a distance of 44 miles.
That was the time Papa and Mama took Thomas, Luke and me to Savannah to buy our back-to-school clothes. I can never forget that hot August day, because that was the day I bought a pair of those long, narrow, pointed shoes called English Cuts and suffered an unspeakable misery known only to God and me.
Long before daybreak, we got up and ate breakfast and started on the 21-mile trip to Screven’s Ferry to catch the early boat to Savannah. Usually, we went to Savannah on the steamer Attaquin. But this time Papa wanted to get back the same day, so we had to go by way of the ferry. The buggy ride took us past the Bluffton Cemetery, over the Rose Dhu bridge, through Pritchardville, over the New River bridge and then on to a winding dirt road through Levy, Bellinger Hill and a part of the Savannah River swamp, where we boys half expected, or half hoped, a big black bear would lumber out of the dense bushes, jump into the buggy, and hug us all to death, almost.
Arriving at the ferry landing, we left Mack and the buggy in the care of an old man and got aboard the flat-bottomed boat. It was a short, but exciting, ride across the river, and we boys remained glued to the rails, watching wide-eyed the great ocean vessels moving in and out of the harbor.
As soon as we disembarked upon the Savannah wharf, Papa hailed a hack and we rode to the corner of Bull and Broughton Streets, where Papa left us and went on to his business elsewhere in the city. Up to that moment, we boys were as quiet as three little lambs. But the minute Papa turned his back we became as frisky and unmanageable as a trio of unleashed puppies. Mama was too gentle to cope with us.
For my part, I lost no time setting up a howl for a pair of English Cuts, just like Henry McAlpin’s. Henry was one of my best friends in Bluffton. He lived with his uncle and aunt, Dr. and Mrs. F. V. Walker, and they kept him dressed in the latest and finest in boys’ apparel. One day, Henry came back from Savannah with a pair of those English Cuts on his feet, and for me it was love at first sight. One look at those long, narrow, pointed, shiny masterpieces of elegant grace, and my mind was made up and nothing could change it.
“You won’t wear them,” Mama warned. “And you know how your papa feels about throwing money away.”
“Henry wears his,” I argued, “and he likes them.”
“They’re beautiful on Henry,” Mama agreed. “But Henry’s feet are smaller than yours.”
“I don’t care,” I said. “I want a pair.”
Mama did her best to dissuade me. But I whined and fretted up and down both sides of Broughton Street all morning and all over Levy’s and Adler’s department stores most of the afternoon, until Mama finally gave in. She took me to the shoe department in Adler’s and asked a clerk to fit me in whatever I wanted. She left me there and took Thomas and Luke to another floor. The black-suited clerk kicked a stool up in front of a red-leather chair and told me to sit. Before I could tell him what kind of shoes I wanted he said, “I know. I know. You want a pair of English Cuts, just like Henry McAlpin’s. Put your foot up here.”
He sat on the stool and measured my foot. The top of his head looked like a soup bowl upside down. He looked up at me and something in his eyes reminded me of Mr. W. J. Fripp’s tomcat the day he ate my brother Mark’s pet squirrel. He got up and went to a shelf and jerked a box off of it and came back with the box under his arm. He sat down again and took one of the shoes out of the box, and I saw that it was an oxblood English Cut, exactly like Henry’s.
He forced it on my right foot with a shoehorn. It was a size and a half too small, but I didn’t say anything. I was afraid he would put it back in the box and tell me that it was the only pair of English Cuts in Savannah. He forced the other shoe on my left foot, and then he smiled that tomcat smile and asked me a leading question no court of justice would have allowed.
“Sonny,” he said, “they’re real comfortable, aren’t they?”
They were squeezing and pinching and burning my feet with all the fury of hell on Judgment Day. But I wasn’t taking any chance on another pair being in the city.
“Yessuh!” I shouted, loud enough for everybody on the floor to hear me.
“That’s fine,” the clerk said. “Now get up and walk. Get up and take a nice long walk. Go outside on the pavement in the nice warm sunshine and walk. It takes a lot of walking on hot pavement to break in a pair of new shoes, just like Henry McAlpin’s.”
I was glad to get away from that black-suited clerk. But by the time I got to the front door I was envying the serpent in the Garden of Eden when the Lord God commanded him to crawl upon his belly forevermore. I went out on the sidewalk and stood in the hot August sun. My feet began to swell and my shoes began to shrink. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. I lifted one shoe clear of the pavement, then the other. I leaned backward on my heels. I leaned forward on my toes. I tried every position I could think of, but none relieved the pressure of those English Cuts. I thought of taking them off for a minute’s respite, but I knew I would never get them back on without the aid of that cat-eyed monster armed with a shoehorn.
I was still standing on the sidewalk when Papa returned at sundown. As he came up, Mama, with Thomas and Luke still in tow, came up too. Mama said she had finished with the children, but had to get a few things for the house. She would take a hack later and meet us at the ferry boat. Papa said he and the boys would saunter on back to the wharf. It was only eight or 10 blocks and we would enjoy the walk.
“Let’s go,” he said.
I gritted my teeth and started walking. I was on the inside, and I could see myself in the display windows. The first time I caught a profile glimpse of one of my squeaking oxbloods I almost fainted. It looked as long and shiny as Grandpa Guilford’s walking stick. A moment later, a city smart aleck passed us and made some over-the-shoulder remark about all the gunboats not being in the Navy and I wanted to die right there in my tracks.
“Son,” Papa said, “are those new shoes comfortable?”
“Yessuh,” I lied.
I tried to walk naturally, so Papa would not question me further. But that profile glimpse and the crack about the gunboats had me too self-conscious to coordinate my steps, and I kept tripping my toes and stumbling forward, as though Thomas or Luke had suddenly thrust one of Mama’s hatpins into the seat of my pants.
“Son,” Papa asked again, “are you sure those shoes are comfortable?”
“Yessuh,” I lied again.
“Well then,” Papa said, “why in heavens’s name don’t you pick up your infernal feet and walk right?”
The eight or 10 blocks back to the ferry boat stretched out into what seemed like eight or 10 miles. With every step, my feet sprouted a new batch of blisters. Before we reached the other side of the Savannah River, night had fallen. But I was still upright when we got back to the buggy. I climbed in and sat on the floor back-to-back with Thomas, with my feet hanging out. And while Papa and the old man were hitching up Mack, I took off my shoes and eased them down to the ground directly in front of the rear wheel. Papa got in the buggy and picked up the reins. “Getup!” he said, and Mack headed homeward in a fast trot.
I leaned my head against Thomas’ shoulder and closed my eyes, and my parents thought I had fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion. But I guess if the truth were known, I was practically in a coma brought on by the cruel affliction suffered in those twin torture chambers called English Cuts.
“Bluffton Boy: The Collected Short Stories of Andrew Peeples” used with permission from Mildred Peeples Pemberton, daughter of Andrew Peeples.
You never forget your first love…or your first oyster roast.
A high school seafood monger, I spent much of my formative years serving endless pounds of raw and steamed shrimp, scallops, clams, oysters, fish, crabs and lobsters to voracious hordes at Hadfield’s Seafood Market in Wilmington, Delaware. It was a traumatic experience—I still bear a physical scar from falling on a bag of live crabs while navigating an icy walkway between coolers.
Although I preferred my tuna from a can and despised most other forms of seafood, I thought I knew almost everything about the “fruit of the sea.” Yet, I was woefully unprepared for the social rules, pageantry and collective insanity of a Lowcountry oyster roast.
On my way to Atlanta after college graduation with dreams of finding a “real job,” I stopped to visit my grandmother at her retirement community on Hilton Head Island. I was allowed to stay in her apartment for six weeks and, 25 years later, I still haven’t left the Lowcountry.
Dinner at The Seabrook was a grand affair. Men were expected to wear jacket and tie, delicious entrees were ordered from a printed menu, a dessert buffet showcased a selection of high-calorie treats and a social pecking order determined where and with whom you were seated. A young adult in their midst was a novelty and my grandmother’s innate coolness soared to new heights as other residents vied to sit at our table.
Thanks to the dessert buffet, I gained 10 pounds over those six weeks, but became good friends with one of the dining room waitresses. A few weeks into our friendship, she invited me to her family’s holiday oyster roast. My grandmother was uncharacteristically giddy about the invitation, as if I was going to a grand gala.
“You’ll need to bring an oyster knife,” she declared while rifling through her kitchen drawers in search of said utensil.
“I’m supposed to arm myself for a party?” I innocently asked. “I don’t even eat oysters!”
She drew herself up to her full height of 4-feet, 11-inches, slapped the knife in my hand and gave me a pointed look. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she said. “It’s proper etiquette.”
Now, my mother was a Rock Hill debutante who instilled manners in my sister and I from a young age and I don’t ever recall being given a weapon before heading out to a social event. However, Grandma possessed an unerring sense of propriety, so I slid the short knife with its bulbous handle into my purse and set off across the bridge to Buckingham Landing.
My grandparents moved to Hilton Head Island in the 1970s, but we had rarely explored Bluffton and its environs. Buckingham Landing, where the ferry from Hilton Head used to dock before the bridge was built, was like entering a different world.
Traveling along a dirt road in pitch-black darkness, I only found the house because of a fire burning in the backyard and a dozen adults milling around holding beer in one hand and knives in the other. Country music blared and children stood around the fire holding red-hot spears topped with flaming marshmallows or smoking hot dogs.
Seamlessly blending in with my Philly accent and noticeable lack of shucking skills, I learned a lot at my at my first Lowcountry Oyster Roast. First, common courtesy dictates a host demonstrate opening an oyster or two for the uninitiated, otherwise a guest may starve or suffer serious injury from a self-inflicted stab wound. Second, if your beverage of choice is beer or something stronger, bring your own koozie, thermos or red Solo cup, so as not to offend non-drinking Baptist friends and family. Most importantly, an oyster roast is not necessarily about the food, but rather the camaraderie built standing around a fire or oyster table on a cold night sharing a meal and tales which grow taller with each retelling.
Fast forward 15 years and I’m married to a Lowcountry man who owns exactly two butter knives—the others were destroyed shucking oysters. We now host our own oyster roasts on a dirt road on the outskirts of Hardeeville complete with a blazing fire and white dishtowels purchased for the sole purpose of holding steaming hot oysters taken off the custom-designed metal roasting tray.
Our son mastered the art of shucking at a young age and will gladly teach you the technique. Just don’t forget your oyster knife.
The preceding article was written by Bluffton Breeze writer and editor, Allyson Jones.12
Some kids love science. I’ll admit I’ve always been a fan of “chemistry,” but really had a hard time in school. Being the class clown takes time away from listening, studying, etc. But put something in my hand and I can focus.
When I started playing saxophone in fourth grade up in PA, I had no idea what, where or who was gonna happen. The important thing was that the SCHOOL had us kids come to the band room and “try” the trumpet, hit the snare drum.
Had I heard of John Coltrane or Kenny G? Nope. But I had to play the saxophone. Somehow a bandmate of my father‘s donated an alto sax to an 11-year-old Jevon and I began to play in school. Of course, I still drew pictures of the B.C. Rich guitars I saw on MTV during class (when I was supposed to be listening to the teacher), but I now had the sax. Let’s riff!
Does this process happen anymore?
Basketball? Sure, man…you wanna play basketball? Here. Sign up and play. A decent piano costs hundreds of dollars. Drums are not cheap. Where do the instruments come from?
I know—we could get all the golf courses to donate one day’s worth of watering funds and probably buy three schools a full band’s worth of instruments, music and music stands. Then you need a dedicated teacher. And parents willing to help. You also need kids with that fire that the HHHS Marching Seahawks had in 1983. All 18 of us. We actually practiced where M.C. Riley is now—the old McCracken Middle School.
That band had some serious players: Daryl Byrd, Eddie Days, Greg Smalls.
Kim Grant. Oh, and those two skinny kids with the funny names—Jevon and Gavan Daly—ha, ha!
Gavan was an A student (with a flat top haircut back then) and a killer surfer with a lot of focus. Jevon NEEDED that band. I loved it. Yes, I was picked on for the size 42 pants I wore (all we had left in the uniform closet). You should have seen when we got into All County Band and went to Battery Creek in 1985. WOW.
Without music, school life was tricky for me. There are kids all over the U.S. just like that kid I was back in 1983. Kids that have trouble studying or sitting still in class. Kids that want attention. The band was IT for me.
What can we do moving forward for our kids? I honestly don’t know.
Music programs are dwindling nationwide. The Arts are fizzling everywhere, being replaced by website design classes and other classes my son is taking that I cannot even begin to “get.”
First, schools need instruments and a teacher.
Where would guys like me—guys and girls who make a living singing and playing now—be without our band background from school? The pride and confidence I received from that; no one can ever really know how I felt playing in that early Seahawk Band…sitting next to the tubas in the back.
We were BAD. The band played “Word Up,” I mean! Confidence beamed from every one of our faces. The Light!
Hopefully Martin Lesch and the Junior Jazz Association have something up their sleeves. Maybe teachers like Dr. Corley over at Red Cedar here in Bluffton will find a way to spark something. They have a drum corps that marches! Ya never know till ya try.
I hope someone makes some moves. If I can help, gimme a call: (843) 683-BOIL. Ask for the 44-year-old Dad guy who still has that Seahawk Marching Band pride happenin’. Every gig I do is an extension of all those kids I played with. They were some serious players. Thanks to Mr. Smith, too.
That’s where I come from.
Written by Jevon Daly.
Staying cool is vital to a successful golf outing. Golf In Bluffton is fun because of the game—it is social and it is outdoors. However, the outdoor part can mean hot temperatures and ruin your game, as well as your fun. Here are 18 tips to help you keep your cool during 18 holes and maybe lower your score, as well.
1. Golf carts have coolers on them. Items to put in the cart include:
• Drinks with energy, electrolytes and vitamins
• Small, damp towels that can be used to wipe your skin or place on your neck and face
• Lotions and bug spray
• A spray bottle with water for a quick refreshing spray
2. Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably light in color. Long-sleeved shirts are a good idea.
3. Sunscreen applied before and during the round will protect and cool your skin.
4. Take your shoes off occasionally and wipe your feet down with the cool towel in the same way you wipe your hands, arms and neck. The cooling effect goes through the skin into your arteries and veins cooling blood circulating to other areas.
5. Hit the ball into the shady areas. Oh, wait! Most of you already do that.
6. Wear a hat with a wide brim. Some hats can be soaked in cool water without losing their shape.
7. Avoid caffeine and alcohol while on the course, as these will promote dehydration.
8. Bring a fan. OK, I am joking. Consider the moving cart a fan with gentle breezes to keep you cool.
9. Eat a smart meal before the game.
10. During the round, enjoy small snacks of cold fruit or low-fat dairy products.
11. Play early. There are tee times available at 6:45 a.m. allowing you to finish 18 holes by 10:45 a.m.
12. Golf is much more fun as a family or with a group of friends. I suggest making lunch your big group meal. It is indoors, food digests better during the day and it allows for an early or late round of golf.
13. Play late. Tee off between 4-5 p.m. to finish between 8-9 p.m.
14. Less is more. Wear little to no makeup, accessories or jewelry and don’t forget to tie your hair up.
15. Wear golf shoes designed like sandals.
16. Wear sunglasses.
17. Play good golf! When playing well your emotions are calm which allows you to stay cool.
18. If your play makes you mad, then call a pro for golf lesson. You will play better and keep you cool.
Remember golf is a skill. Apply these tips and have more fun!
Written by former PGA Touring Pro, Doug Weaver, the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. He conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free hands-on interactive clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. For more information, call (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or go to palmettodunes.com.
She ran across the yard as fast as her bare feet could take her. Practically ripping the screen door off of its hinges, she took one deep breath and screamed, “Mama! The dolphins are doing their ballet again! Come quick!” Running back across the yard, across the pine cone stickers, to the edge of the bluff, she caught the finale as three dolphins slid back down the mud bank into the water across the May River. It was finished, and in the distance, she heard her mother’s Savannah drawl announcing, “Honey, I’m comin’…I’m comin’.”
She had taken dance lessons for two whole years and knew a routine when she saw one. Child logic is inspiring. In a way, it was a dance of sorts, synchronized movements that were repeated the same way at every performance. It would be 30 years later when she would be able to explain that this is a feeding behaviour performed by Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and is found primarily in Beaufort County, South Carolina. I still call it a dolphin ballet.
When I explain the strand feeding behaviour to my passengers aboard Spartina, I start with the fish.
Beaufort County is the nursery of the ocean with 200,000 acres of marsh grass (Spartina alterniflora), which provides plenty of safe hiding for small fish at high tide. You can think of it as an enormous dolphin snack pantry. When the tide ebbs, the water leaves the grass and so do the fish. Since fish are not brilliant, the majority do not disperse into the waterway. Instead, they get as close to the safety of the marsh grass as possible, congregating at the water’s edge. Of course, the dolphins realize that there is a buffet waiting for them at low tide and, just to make it more interesting, they perform a strand feeding routine. And so it goes …
The dolphins charge the pluff mud bank and the tidal wave they create slings the fish onto the crest of the mudflat slope. The water rushes back down the slope, due to gravity, and into the waterway. The fish are flipping and flopping on the mud, stranded without water. Cue the birds: Somehow the birds get advanced tickets for the show because they are expecting it. They swoop in to take advantage of the fish that are flailing on the flat, but just as they are about to steal the show, the dolphins emerge onto the mud flat on their right side. It is always the right side. (A dolphin’s anatomy is slightly asymmetrical to the left, so pressure on the organs should be minimized. Dolphin can weigh up to 600 pounds and the weight is normally supported by sea water, hence, the pressure will be applied on the right side.)
Grabbing fish off of the mud always results in a little silt (fine sand) in their mouth, so dolphins that perform this behaviour year-round have ground down dentition on the right side. Fish are swallowed whole, head first and enter a three-chambered stomach for break down. This feeding behaviour involves some aerobic activity, so blood rushes to the surface of their skin, similar to your skin getting flush after a jog. You may see pink bellies.
The finale is the exit. In unison, the dolphins slide back down the mud bank and enter the water. If the bank is not steep, they will use their tail for leverage to wiggle down the slope. The birds are still clamouring and tend to follow the dolphins like lazy groupies in a travelling show. From start to finish, the entire performance lasts less than a minute and it is not scheduled. If you are in the right place at the right time, consider yourself very blessed.
Speaking of lazy, the dolphins cannot dance their way into free meals anymore. In the past, they have been known to beg boaters for treats, but in 1992, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972) was amended to make it is a federal offense to feed dolphins. Dolphins have eventually come to the realization that, for the most part, the gravy train has dried up.
However, they are shrimp boat groupies and are able to distinguish the sounds of individual motors humming their way back into the sound. Fishing boats “haul their catch” (throw bycatch or unused bait overboard). Both fin and feather gather to snack on the fish that fall over the gunnels. Stunned, or fresh dead, these fish are easy targets for lazy marine life. Despite this habituation, dolphins do not stick around to welcome shrimp boats and do not rely on them as their primary food source. They are here to eat as much as they possibly can—and it is all in the Spartina!
“OK, Honey, what did you want to show me?”
“Mama, you missed the whole thang!”
Little did she know that this was one of many experiences on the May River that would shape the child’s future. I did not attend the debutante ball or marry a good Southern boy, but I have my roots planted firmly at the edge of that bluff, watching the dolphin perform the most impressive dance I’ve ever seen. The picture that was the inspiration for this article can be found in Eric Horan’s new book, Beholding Nature. The title conveys the majesty of divinely inspired local treasures he has digitally captured over the years. These pictures conjure nostalgia for some of us and wonder in all.
Written by Amber Kuehn. Photography by Eric Horan.
They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
No-one you see, is smarter than he,
And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
Flying there-under, under the sea!
There are approximately 170 Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncates) documented as full-time residents in Beaufort County. The local population increases significantly in the summer months, thanks to the thriving food supply provided by the salt marsh estuary. Dolphins are identified by their dorsal fin, which is as unique as a human fingerprint.
10 Little-Known Facts about Dolphins:
1. Talk to Me
On TV, Flipper comes to the side of the boat with his mouth wide open to announce an emergency. He must get Sandy’s attention to find Porter, Sandy’s park ranger father, to save the individual in distress. It is a little-known fact that sound does not come out of a dolphin’s mouth at all! All sounds are emitted through the blowhole, the dolphin’s nose. The sound you recognize as Flipper happens to be a kookaburra bird that was Hollywood’s answer to Flipper’s vocalization. The dolphin on film was actually begging for food, not speaking.
2. Picky Eaters
Dolphins swallow their food whole and are very picky about how they eat a fish. I must mention that it is illegal to feed dolphins as of 1992, when the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972) was amended. But, from childhood experience, I can definitely say that Dolly, my pet dolphin, refused to eat her mullet tail-first. Dolphin understand that a fish goes down more smoothly if eaten head-first.
3. Hairy Beasts?
All mammals have hair and a dolphin is a marine mammal. Have you seen the hair on a dolphin? Under the pectoral fins? Just kidding! Dolphins do not have armpit hair, but they are born with rostral hairs—one hair growing out of each of several follicles across the top of the rostrum (snout)—like a mustache. The calf loses this hair and it doesn’t grow back. Since hair is not a source of warmth in the water, it is replaced with blubber in marine mammals.
4. Feed Me, Mom!
Dolphins feed their babies milk. The female dolphin has nipples that are tucked into two slits on her belly. The baby latches on and when she is done, the baby is done. There is no suckling. She weans him after 18 months.
A dolphin’s brain has two asymmetrical lobes (one side is larger than the other). These lobes are capable of acting independently, which allows one side to sleep while the other side keeps the dolphin surfacing for air. Then the process switches to the other side. Have you ever seen a dolphin sleepwalking?
6. Dehydrated Much?
Dolphins do not drink salt water. A dolphin cannot desalinate seawater. No mammal drinks salt water…on purpose. A fish can drink saltwater and excrete the salt in its urine and gills, leaving fresh water inside. As long as dolphins eat fish, they stay hydrated.
7. Sexy Rascals
Besides humans and primates, dolphins are the only other species that mate for recreation. Regardless of the season, this activity can be seen in our local waterways. I call it “Follow the Leader” on school field trips aboard Spartina. If you know what to look for, pink bellies and rolling activity become obvious. Babies are born in the spring. Dolphins are promiscuous and the females are single mothers, with very little paternal contact (if the father is even known). The strongest dolphin bond is male-male friendship, second only to the mother-calf bond.
8. Hear Me Now?
Dolphins have ears. On either side of the dolphin’s head, there is a small pinhole that is a vestigial ear opening, now plugged with flesh. Dolphins receive sound through the water, vibrating their lower jaw which is connected by a bony attachment to an ear complex that still contains the incus, malleus, and stapes—just like ours.
9. Dolphins Just Want to Have Fun
Dolphins entertain each other with natural toys. If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I might not believe it. Once, I was giving a tour in Calibogue Sound and the moon jellies were thick in the water. I saw a dolphin pushing one through the water and passing it over to another dolphin, as if a game of soccer were in progress.
10. No Goggles Needed
Dolphins can focus both in and out of water. Humans can only focus in air, which is why it is blurry when we open our eyes in the pool, unless we put on a scuba mask. Although dolphins have excellent vision, they cannot see in the dark! Our Lowcountry waterways are teaming with life, and this larval marine life blocks the light. A dolphin will often bring his eyes out of the water when he comes to the surface to breathe, so he can scan the area.
Article by Amber Hester Kuhen, Owner of Spartina Maritime Education Charters.
Every week, interns at Dr. Eric Montie’s Marine Sensory & Neurobiology Lab at USCB set out aboard Spartina Marine Education Charters to collect local dolphin data by snapping pictures of dorsal fins and cataloging their findings. A computer program is used to differentiate individual dolphins. Join them on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. to get an up-close look at their research, which includes recording fish spawning and dolphin communication taking place in the May River, followed by a dolphin survey. (843) 338-2716 or SpartinaCharters.com.
By Randolph Stewart
Driving onto Spring Island, blue sky, pillowy clouds, an occasional fox squirrel or two, light danced on the ground from the oak forest—the serenity of it all gives you a sense of peacefulness as you simply take in all of nature. My mission was to visit Laurie and Bruce Kienke and write about their unique home. I was forewarned by John Strother, Broker-in-Charge of Spring Island Realty, that there was nothing like it in the Lowcountry and that I would love it, so naturally there was a sense of anticipation as I drove down the winding gravel lane, not another house in sight, neighbors screened with natural curtains. After getting out of the car I just stood there to soak it all in.
Retired with five grandchildren in Minnesota, the Kienke’s live an active life. Both are equestrians with horses in the Spring Island stable, Bruce an avid golfer. They were so polite and welcomed me into their home as if we were old friends. Taking me under her wing, Laurie showed me through their contemporary abode. Each space had a connection to the other and to its surroundings. The handsome furnishings and colorful accessories were selected to be part of the space and part of the architecture. Laurie pointed out how the light playfully moves through the rooms. She said it all when she told me, “Living in this house is like living in sculpture.”
We are so used to seeing vernacular architecture with wide overhangs and exposed rafters, expansive porches with columns, windows and shutters, fitting to the history and culture of the Lowcountry. All I could think of as I looked at the contemporary architecture was how it fit and truly belonged in so many ways.
Organic, with sustainable and recycled material—unfinished concrete blocks, neutral paint on wood, and composite siding make minor statements, as glass is the major component. Structural components appear to defy gravity.
An intelligent and balanced massing of the buildings surround the pervious motor court comprised of the main structure. Multi-level and multi-dimensional planes support vast expanses of glass, which are organized square and rectangular patterns. These components are unified at different levels by the modernist, horizontal expression of the wide cantilevered roofs. The extended overhangs and the siting, take advantage of the large oaks, provide shading and disperse the rain away from the foundation. To the right are structural components, connected to the main house by a covered walkway and are comprised of a studio/workshop, an inside/outside dog kennel and three-car garage. Each face on different planes, and the surfaces and heights are articulated. There is a three-bedroom guest suite, accessed by a covered connection that makes you feel as if you are outside. The guest wing is nestled into the landscaping and expresses the same neutral colors and organic materials. Each component is inextricably linked to the other, creating architecture with excitement.
Integral to the design of this home is the descending bank that it was placed on. The bank disappears in the marshes and creeks of Spring Island. This siting permitted a full basement uncommon to the Lowcountry. The design on the rear of the house is such that the main floor is well above the marshes and allows for long views with peeks through old growth oak. The great room, kitchen and dining room take full advantage of these views on the first floor and the study, master bedroom, and master bath on the second floor have more heightened and longer views.
Inside, you see the use of the same material that is on the outside. The glass brings the outside completely inside. Less is more here. No moldings, no distractions. Architectural lighting fixtures punctuate the space. The contemporary furniture combined with a touch of antiques, all fit into the man-made environment. This provides a clean palette for their art and sculpture collection. Each painting adds color and personality to the space. Laurie and Bruce were gracious enough to provide me with anecdotes to quite a few. Their placing of the art was as if the wall was made for that piece to be hung. Their choice of art celebrates the home and is an expression of their life. I was pleased to recognize multiple works from local artists Linda St. Clair and Murray Sease.
There is a powerful integration of landscaping and the structure. The landscaping is very natural and xeriscape. A camellia garden for color, numerous small planters and a multi-level terrace in the rear is just as much part of the house as the natural beauty that surrounds the home.
As I was saying my goodbyes and thanking my kind hosts, my mind wondered. This home does fit. The sensitivity to nature, selection of materials, the purposeful architecture, and the strong emotions that the inside and outside evoke belongs right here, basking in the splendor of nature.
I would like to thank Tom Jenkins for providing the photos that tell the story. For more information about Spring Island, contact John Strother at [email protected]
Summer is so sticky and sweaty. Especially when you’re in the full sun at Band Camp!
What’s fun about that, you ask? Why do young men and women do it? That’s easy. Ever feel the power of your dad’s Chevelle when he hits the gas on a country highway? How about the feeling you get in your stomach when the old rickety roller coaster you’re barely strapped into plunges toward the bottom of a curve? Now you understand the “feels” music nerds of the world get when four tubas and a gaggle of clarinets, trumpets and saxes hit a note together after practicing for months.
I went through numerous summer band camps in the Lowcountry, and there’s nothing quite like it. Yes, you get soaked blowing into a horn in 100-degree heat. Sure, I got reprimanded and did pushups in soggy football fields day in and day out. But why I was there is what we’re talking about.
“When I was in band camp” is something people joke about, a lot. It’s part of the American Dream thing we all have (well, maybe not in American towns everywhere, as band programs are disappearing left and right. That discussion we can tackle another time, if you please.)
Choosing an instrument to play is seemingly very easy. Guys like trombones and saxophones. Girls like clarinets and flutes. You can just fall into it like that if you want or you can go against the grain and play tuba LIKE A GIRL! AS A GIRL! Nowadays, we are hearing of all sorts of young people doing things that were only dreamed of back in the “old days.”
Young men can stay home with the kids and change diapers and women can play on the local football team. Yep. That just happened. It’s happening all around you, Mr. Stuckinthepast. So, I say, YES. Girls can play bass guitar. Boys can shred the jazz flute. WHY NOT!? Pave the way for the future, people. It’s cool to be different. I’m not saying it’s super easy, but when you get to where you’re going by taking the road less traveled, the reward is sweeter.
I just had a long phone discussion with my skin beatin’ pal Jack Friel about the state of music. We get wrecked on coffee in the early morning hours a couple times each season and vent to each other for an hour or so, get exhausted. and then say goodbye. Today’s discussion seemed to lend itself to what we are talking about here and now.
How do you get the youth of today excited about playing a trumpet or a guitar when all around us machines and screens are taking the place of traditional music? Where are all the cool saxophone licks? How do I get into music, and is this music I’m listening to going to teach me anything? Is it forward-thinking? Is it fun? Jazz, Blues…will you survive? Did the 80s ruin all of us? Is having fun more important than carrying on tradition?
These are the questions I ask myself sometimes when I feel a breakdown after band camp is over and we’re listening to party music on the bus and having a good time: What is the most fun music? Does traditional music need to be so serious? Isn’t laughter the best medicine? Is music medicinal? Does music relieve stress? Do my parents want me to play classical pieces and then burn out because the fun is missing? What is fun? Am I ever gonna grow up?
WHO AM I?
music is the great soother of souls
so many questions are answered
without a word
Article by Jevon Daly
This article is not meant to be a history or architecture lesson, but more a reference point for contemporary examples of the great variety of architectural interpretations we see being built around us today. George Owens, Chief Building Official for the Town of Bluffton, was asked how many building permits are active at this time and he replied, “around 1,000.” For many of these buildings, the design is influenced by Bluffton’s Unified Development Ordinance, private community architectural guidelines and the fact that we love Lowcountry Vernacular.
Vernacular roots originated in the past, but one thing is certain—it is here to stay. There are no hard and fast rules to vernacular styling, as we see a wide variety of design elements being built today. The Breeze’s feature last month on transitional homes by Steve Tilton discussed this very same thought. We follow the same form and function of our historic past using the beauty of our natural resources and adapting to the climate, yet creating our own 21st century vernacular aesthetic. We find the style to be comfortable, relaxed, non-assuming and blends in with the surroundings, yet flexible enough to satisfy individual lifestyles.
Frank Lloyd Wright described vernacular architecture as a “Folk building growing in response to actual needs, fitted into environment by people who knew no better than to fit them with native feelings.” But this quote is only partially right.
Vernacular architecture is different in different places. In each region, it evolved over time and tends to reflect the environment, the local technology and skills, the available materials and historical context from where it is derived. For example, the Pueblo Indians’ vernacular adobe was used in the sweltering dry southwest; the Algonquian Indian had the woodland Wigwams vernacular; the stone and half-timbered frame vernacular is found in Europe. They knew what their needs were and adapted sustainable materials to their climate.
Beaufort County has been inhabited through centuries by indigenous Indians, Spanish explorers, French immigrants and Scottish and British colonists, each one leaving their mark in some way on their shelters and homes. The local vernacular can be seen in early designs of English, Dutch, French and Spanish influences in the West Indies. Past architectural and historical design has been adapted to our current lifestyle and become the standard for most of our new homes.
Recently, I sat down with Bluffton architect Pearce Scott and we used his numerous wonderful illustrations and design interpretations to take a closer look at how this style is ever evolving.
The first consideration, even for settlers, is the site. The angle of the sun in summer and winter, direction of the breezes, protection of the natural resources and wildlife, access to the site, relationships to neighbors, and protection from the elements (which include rising waters), with the best views possible.
It didn’t take the early settlers long to figure out low-pitched roofs with broad overhangs provided protection from the summer sun and shed the rain away from the structure and the use of exposed rafters was simple, and less costly. Porches also provided shade, gathered the breezes and created an outdoor living environment. With an abundance of oyster shells in close proximity, they soon raised buildings off the ground by cooking lime from the shell and creating substantial tabby pier foundations. This also allowed the cooling breezes to pass under the home. The underpinning between the piers provided a place to pen pigs and chickens and kept them protected from predators at night. Today, this underpinning is used to keep the critters out.
Tall ceilings, often vaulted, and the use of double hung windows and transoms allowed higher hot air inside the home to ventilate outside and fresh cool breezes to recirculate inside from the bottom sash. Prior to the invention of screens, shutters would be closed on the sun side, opened on the shaded side, and also used to provide security and protection. It is interesting to note that the invention of screen mesh (originally used in baking) and its use on porches or windows kept mosquitoes out, resulting in a large reduction of malaria, once the leading killer in the Lowcountry.
Early Coastal Style architecture began with the one story cottage. This later evolved into the prevalent one-and-one-half story raised cottage with double pitched gable, shed or hip roof. The use of a variety of dormers, ranging from multiple gable to shed roof designs, added interior light, as well as living space within the roof lines. These rooms were popular, as they were ventilated by cool
As the family grew, or as the house was passed down, bedrooms were continually added to the original structure. In the past, kitchens were in a separate building to prevent fire in the home. As technology increased, kitchens were added to the house. Today, we see additions to accommodate larger bathrooms, studies or mud rooms for laundry and household storage. Wall plate height and roof pitches often vary with vernacular style to prevent the exposed rafters and roof overhangs of the additions from clashing. This was also accomplished by adding narrow connectors or hallways called “hyphens” or adding “knuckles” to change the angle of the room to get another view. When this occurs today, we say that the floor plan is “exploded.”
Outbuildings, historically, were detached for feed storage, stables and smithing, workshops, servants’ quarters or plantation offices. These buildings now serve to create a compound on the site and are used for garages, gardening sheds and guest quarters.
True to the past, the homes of today continue to be built as wood frames with various types of horizontal siding, vertical board and batten and cedar shingles. Tabby is used for foundations and chimneys, and as the main structure of larger manor homes. Examples of this can be seen in remnants of the tabby mansion built by George Edwards in 1850 on Spring Island and the 1910 R.T. Wilson Mansion in Palmetto Bluff.
In the early and middle 19th century, Bluffton became a popular place for summer homes for those living in nearby cities, since the high bluffs and river breezes provided relief from the hot, low lying, malaria-ridden plantations. Thus began the appearance of the one-and-one-half story vernacular homes. Those that survived the Federal burning of Bluffton include the Heyward, Card, Pine, Seabrook and Fripp Houses, as well as Cedar Bluff. Examples of historic two-story vernacular homes are Seven Oaks and the Patzs Brothers House. In all, Bluffton has 47 vernacular structures that contribute to its National Historic District.
The historic homes in Old Town are left as reminders of her past and became the prevalent style for homes built today in the Historic District and in the outlying developments along the marshlands and surrounding estuaries. These new homes will be our example to the next generation of Lowcountry Vernacular homes.
Written by Randolph Stewart with illustrations by Architect Pearce Scott.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley ordered an evacuation for all coastal South Carolina, including Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, effective on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, starting at 3 p.m. She announced that school districts and government offices will be closed in Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties.
We encourage you to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your family, home and business. Below are helpful resources where you can find additional information and updates.
South Carolina Emergency Management
Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office
Town of Hilton Head Island
Twitter: @HHI Emergency
Town of Bluffton
Local News Outlets
The Island Packet
“This may come to a surprise to some, but Jevon Daly doesn’t do solo shows. Why? No one knows. What we DO know is that he’s willing to give it a shot with us for one night only. What will he do? What will be said? How will we keep our brains from falling out of our skulls? No one knows. We’re all about to find out.”
—Description of Jevon Daly’s “Just Jevon” show at the Roasting Room Listening Lounge on Feb. 9, 2017.
So how does a small club in a small town attract big name acts or convince a longtime group musician to strike out on his own? To find out, The Bluffton Breeze turned to Jevon Daly himself for answers:
As we all know, Bluffton is an up-and-coming Southeastern town, but the music scene is very diverse. While we do have bands and songwriters, most music that happens here on a regular basis is the “deck player” or solo musician.
This is a very important part of the musical “food chain,” as it is how music evolves in a growing town. A few places will have a solo guy come play and, believe it or not, this is how a “scene” begins. A player can work on his craft (entertaining, singing, trying out the in-between song lines) and get paid, then may or may not work during the day in a band or writing songs. Once you have an area with enough of these cats out there meowing, then the bands can start to play at places with a bigger budget or for holidays and private events.
In comes a gutsy pair of dudes (Jordan and Josh) of Roasting Room fame attempting to give our town of Bluffton a name on the map, between places like Jacksonville or Savannah and Charleston. “Routing” through an area (other places like Raleigh, Asheville and Valdosta come to mind) gives a touring band extra cash to spend (it be expensive to travel), while we in Small Town USA gain the benefit of becoming a destination for bands or duos and solo songwriter dudes and dudettes. Just check out their website at roastingroomlounge.com to see the wide array of acts coming through our town.
Move over “Wagon Wheel,” some hairy dude is gonna sing you a song you’ve never heard and you just might like it. OK, the guy or girl singer might have a shaved head and play ukulele…geez.
If you didn’t get advance tickets for the sold-out “Just Jevon” show at The Roasting Room, you can still pick up Jevon Daly’s first solo disc, “Jevon” or catch him playing with Nicest Guys in the World on Thursday nights at Captain Woody’s (except February 9) or with Lowcountry Boil during Sunday Brunch at Calhoun’s. To find out where he’s playing next or to purchase “Be Excited” gear, check out Jevon Daly or Slowcountry Tunes on Facebook.
Written by Jevon Daly.
By Andrew Peeples
I read the warning on Miss Susie Verdier’s back gate. BEWARE: BIG BAD DOG! Then I saw him coming from the kitchen steps, not running but ambling, with his big ears flapping against his jaws.
It was plain that he wasn’t a full-blooded dog, just an issue of big breeds like German police and shepherd with a bit of something like bloodhound added in. He was moving toward me as though he had all day, and he wasn’t making a sound. But I wasn’t fooled by that. I knew that killer dogs save their strength and put the emphasis on biting not barking.
Well, he wasn’t biting me, unless he could catch me before I made it back to the Secession Oak at the bend of the road. The lower limbs of that scarred old tree spread out for 40 feet in every direction. The leafy ends almost brushed the ground. A boy could pull himself up on top of one and crawl higher and higher, until he was clear out of the reach of the biggest dog in the world.
Like a boy fleeing to a city of refuge, I turned and ran to that old live oak and got myself safely ensconced 10 feet up in the air. Then I looked back to the gate and watched the dog push it open and head my way, following right in my tracks.
He ambled under the big limb where I was sitting and stopped. He lifted his head and looked at me with the most doleful expression on his wrinkled face that I ever saw. His bloodshot eyes were filled with a melancholy that was almost painfully sad. But I wasn’t fooled by that, either. If he were sad, it was because he couldn’t sink his cruel teeth into my tender throat. No, he wasn’t fooling me. I could still see the warning sign on the gate. BEWARE: BIG BAD DOG!
I shook my foot at him and tried to scare him off. “Go home!” I said. “Go home!” But instead of going home, he lay down with a lazy groan and rested his heavy head on his front paws. I broke off little pieces of bark and tried to hit him on the nose, and I kept telling him to go home. But it didn’t do any good.
“Okay, Mr. Big Bad Dog,” I said. “I can stay up here just as long as you can stay down there.”
I got myself as comfortable as possible on that gnarly limb. If I had to spend the whole afternoon there, I could do it. The sun was still high in the sky. Nobody would start worrying about me until after dark set in. It occurred to me that Miss Susie might come and rescue me. So I turned my face toward the house and yelled to the top of my voice.
“Miss Susie! Oh, Miss Susie! I have a Special Delivery letter for you, Miss Susie! I’m up in the Secession Oak, Miss Susie! Your dog won’t let me come down, Miss Susie! I have a Special Delivery letter for you, Miss Susie!”
I waited a few minutes, listening for Miss Susie’s voice and watching the gate. Then I repeated the yelling, several times, but it was useless. The only answer I got came from a flock of crows in a nearby cornfield.
“Oh well,” I said to myself, “don’t worry. He’ll get hungry or something after a while and go back to the house. Then you can hotfoot it back to the post office. Miss Agnes Coe will have to find someone else who wants to make an easy dime.”
I had thought it was going to be an “easy” dime when I agreed to deliver the Special to Miss Susie Verdier. She lived on the bluff beyond Lowden’s oyster factory. A footbridge took you across a cove and right into Miss Susie’s yard. That way her house was less than a mile from the post office. But when I got to the footbridge, a Negro man was repairing it and had it blocked off. I had to turn back and go the long way around by the Secession Oak. And now, after all that trouble, here I was treed by a “big bad dog!”
I hated to have to lose that dime. In those days a boy in Bluffton had to hustle to earn a little cash for spending money. He couldn’t just stretch out his hand and say, “Divvy the dough, Daddy, so I can dig a little rock an’ roll with the other cats,” and walk off with a buck in his pocket. Obtaining as much as a nickel, for a box of popcorn or a cone of ice cream, required work, brains or luck, and sometimes a combination of all three. One didn’t turn down a chance to earn a whole dime, especially when all he had to do was to run to somebody’s house and deliver a Special Delivery letter.
I looked down at the dog. He was dead asleep. His breathing was heavy, like an old man’s. Every now and then he coughed hoarsely, as though he had a lung ailment of some kind. I toyed with the idea of trying for a quick getaway. I could ease myself down to the end of the limb, slip off to the ground, and sneak into the thick bushes. I could probably make it to the post office before the dog woke up. He might not be asleep at all. He might be playing ‘possum, and just waiting for me to try a getaway. I shuddered at the thought of that big mouth making mincemeat out of my hide. I stayed right where I was.
One hour passed. Two hours passed. Somewhere along in the third hour, when the sun was getting low I heard Miss Susie’s voice and saw her coming through the gate. She was talking fast and stepping high and angry sparks were dancing in her eyes. She was marching straight for the Secession Oak.
“You there! You there!” she was saying. “What are you doing in that tree? Hunting, that’s what you’re doing! Killing my squirrels and in the summer time, too! Where’s your gun? Where’s the squirrels? Don’t you know my land’s posted? Just you wait till I tell your father! He’ll skin you alive! What are you doing up in that tree? Come down! Come down, I say!”
The dog woke up. He blinked his eyes at Miss Susie as she approached the tree.
“What are you doing here?” she said. “Who told you to come out of that gate?” She glared at the dog for a moment, then turned her attention back to me.
“You called him, that’s why he came! Are you trying to steal my dog, besides killing my squirrels? Answer me, boy, answer me! You just wait until I tell your father! Come down out of that tree! You hear me, come down!”
I tried to find my voice. I stammered and stuttered and pulled the Special Delivery letter out of my pocket and showed it to Miss Susie.
“What’s that? What’s that?” she demanded. “Drop it! Drop it, I tell you!”
I dropped it.
She picked it up and tore it open. As soon as she read the first line or two, a big smile spread over her face. “It’s another girl!” she cried. “Now I have two nieces! I have two nieces! And thank the Lord this one wasn’t a boy, either!” She finished reading the letter and put it back in the envelope. Her mood was changed and she was no longer angry. She just seemed a little impatient.
“For heaven’s sake, come down, come down,” she said. “We’ll go to the house and I’ll give you some cookies and a cup of tea. Come down, come down. Don’t sit up there like a bump on a log.”
I pointed at the dog, and when I did, Miss Susie shrieked with laughter.
“Well, well, well,” she said, “if that don’t beat the Dutchman. How long has he had you up there? Why, he’s so old he couldn’t tree a rat in a huckleberry bush. And even if he did, he couldn’t bite his toe off. He hasn’t had a tooth in his head in five years.”
Right then I lost my temper and found my voice. “Then how come you put that big sign on the gate?” I demanded with a loud shout. “Oh that?” Miss Susie said. “I just put that there to keep chicken thieves out of my yard while I’m away from home.”
It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Outside the weather was overcast and rain drizzled, but inside I was snug in my bed.
My wife, Betsy, and I had planned to hit the highway for Bluffton by noon. We felt that should get us through Atlanta before rush hour and into Bluffton by dinnertime. It was 6:30 a.m. and my eyes barely adjusted in the dim, fall morning light. The shower cycled from steaming hot to lukewarm to cold as I stood and stared listlessly at the tiles. I contemplated the upcoming long weekend and whether I should even attempt to go in to work or just wake Betsy up and hit the road. The plan was to spend a long Thanksgiving weekend in Bluffton. Betsy and I were extremely burned out from work and overdue for some downtime by the May River.
The conundrum I pondered in the shower was that if I went in, I would more than likely get snagged into some ridiculous assignment and be late getting on the road. It never failed when I planned to leave town that I’d get stuck with some insidious task only a workaholic could love. I should call in sick, I thought, because no one should work the day before or after Thanksgiving.
Despite my better judgment, and not to mention the loud protests from Betsy, I decided to go in. As I walked through the front office door, I mistakenly made eye contact with my boss.
“How are you doing?” he panned, as if he knew he was about to ruin my day.
Thinking I needed to beat him to the punch and let him know he should leave me alone, I quick-wittedly replied, “Well, sir, not too good. My pants are too tight, I have bad breath, and I think I am coming down with the flu [cough, cough].”
Without even blinking, he stated what I had feared in the shower, “Uh, sure but I’m going to need that report by noon.”
I shuddered as the words rolled off his tongue. Now we were definitely going to be late leaving and would definitely get snagged in Atlanta holiday traffic. I could imagine us somewhere between Macon and I-95 in our own personal interstate nightmare around midnight, wishing we were anywhere but in that car.
As I pondered these things, I realized that I was not feeling very thankful. I realized how much the past year of my life had been a whirlwind of work, a rushed vacation and more work. This was self-loathing at its finest the day before Thanksgiving, at work, doing a dumb report, thinking about all the perceived disasters of the year. After I finished the report, I left the office in a huff at a quarter to one.
I arrived home to find Betsy sitting on the front porch ready to go. There is nothing like rushing out of town hours past the time you wanted to leave. Just days before, Betsy had reminded me to value this time away from work, and she was right. I had once again placed work before personal time to be with family, and allowed it to come before my wife’s desires. I had allowed my priorities to be distorted by all the white noise in my life distracting me from what was important.
That’s when I decided we needed a drastic, and foolishly fun, change of pace.
I veered off the interstate and in the direction of the airport, called work and told them I was taking the next week off for family reasons. We were flying to Bluffton and staying a week!
“You’re insane, this will cost a fortune,” Betsy fumed, “just drive, we’ll make it by midnight.” Her protest fell on deaf ears. USAir was offering its great “give us your first-born-child rate,” which in my tunnel vision of enthusiasm actually sounded reasonable. For $1,054.67, we purchased two non-refundable, round trip tickets to Hilton Head. I was trying to make up for a year of missed opportunity in one fell swoop. I had officially lost my mind.
Betsy looked a little shell shocked, but I reassured her it would be worth the money. “You know,” she said glibly, “we could have flown to Italy and stayed in a four-star hotel for that kind of money. The next time you think about being spontaneous, stick to flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries.”
But it was too late, the tickets printed, and we were off. There was just enough time to check in and clear security before the flight left. As we jogged down the concourse Betsy yelled, “Are we having fun yet?” A rhetorical question intended to tease me for acting so bizarrely. We boarded the plane and quickly realized she was sitting in 5C and I was in 20C. It was a crammed flight. The cabin was stuffy and hot. There were at least six babies. It smelled like a locker room and no one was interested in swapping seats.
“Yes, my dear,” I teased, “we are about to be having a whole lot of up close and personal fun.”
I was stating the obvious, but the fact was, this could be a l-o-n-g flight to paradise. Skeptical, and definitely not amused, she plopped down next to what can only be defined as a “talker”—someone who incessantly talks the entire flight about things you probably wouldn’t dare admit. She stared me down in the hope I would at least try one more time to switch seats. The back of the plane is a tough sell and no one took the offer. I don’t think Betsy was feeling very thankful at the moment, either.
I inched back to my seat in the tail of the plane, next to the restroom. Perfect, I thought, three hours of excuse me, excuse me, oh I am sorry, was that your knee, your elbow, your face? I, too, had found myself sitting next to an in-flight disaster: a wide-shouldered, 250-pound man with allergies. I referred to him as Goliath.
I had now begun to seriously doubt my spontaneity. I began to think that the lonely stretch of road from Macon to Pooler, Georgia, might not be as bad as I thought. Somehow I managed to drift off to sleep and dream of oysters, the May River’s salty air and Papa’s Thanksgiving fried turkey. It must have been a great dream because when the loud ding of the captain’s message woke me, my head was resting on Goliath’s shoulder.
I awkwardly laughed it off and listened in disbelief to the pilot further confirm that I may have made a hasty travel decision.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the nasal voice squawked, “it appears there is a severe weather delay in Charlotte and we are being rerouted to Cincinnati.” Betsy’s head popped up and whipped around, trying to make eye contact with me. I gave her the we-are-having-fun smile and cursed our dilemma under my breath. If we had driven, we would have been in Dalton by now. The plane landed in chilly Cincinnati and we de-planed for a two-hour delay.
I called Bluffton, and Yaya answered the phone. “You through Atlanta yet, sweet boy?”
I paused, not wanting to convey my frustration. “No Yaya, we decided to fly and are stuck in Cincinnati.”
Sensing her confusion, I told her not to worry and to set a place for us at dinner. The two-hour delay stretched into four. If we had driven, we would have been through Macon and only hours from Bluffton. However, we were in Cincinnati and I was not feeling very thankful. Again.
Around the second hour of the delay, I began to complain to Betsy about work, my pay, our hectic schedule, pretty much everything under the sun. My bad mood was spreading. Finally, at 9 p.m., we got back on the plane and lifted off for Hilton Head. At 12:01 a.m. EST time we touched down, pretty much the same time we would arrived if we had driven. We hailed a cab and, for an additional $35, got a ride to historic Bluffton. To our amazement, when we arrived there was a huge poster board sign on the door welcoming us.
Inside, Yaya embraced us and heated up our dinners. I began to feel foolish about all the things I had complained about all day. Papa heard our voices and stumbled out for hugs. The commotion must have stirred my nephew Robert because he, with his baby brother in tow, also popped out. Before long the whole family was awake and laughing as we recounted our tale of woe.
As I lay in bed later that night and thought about thankfulness, I realized something important. The amount of money or the time I spent at the office shouldn’t dictate my joy. Delays, short weekends and frustrations should not keep me from appreciating and loving what I have. Expenses, disappointments or not getting my way shouldn’t constantly impact my mood. Yeah, we paid a thousand dollars to make a three-hour flight that ended up taking eight, but we were home, in a place like no other, for a week!
I went to sleep that night with a full heart. I was thankful for family, my spouse and Bluffton. I had so many blessings that I refused to see. I vowed to block out the white noise in my life, to quit complaining and start appreciating the many gifts that were all around me. I finally started acting thankful.
To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right. – Confucius
Written by Gene Cashman
With art galleries nestled in quaint cottages and sheltered by a thick canopy of live oaks, Bluffton is the perfect place to discover an original masterpiece. Many Bluffton artists find inspiration in the remarkable beauty of the Lowcountry, from emerald-green marshes and exquisite sunsets to quaint slices of everyday life along the May River.
Whether you’re looking for a painting, sculpture, drawing, photograph or mixed media work, you’ll discover a wide range of creative treasures in Bluffton. In fact, the South Carolina Arts Commission recently recognized Old Town Bluffton as a Cultural District in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the arts.
Original art will be featured at the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival, which takes place October 14-22, but you can stop by these galleries to enjoy the heART of the Lowcountry any time of the year. Happy hunting!
La Petite Gallerie
Art in the Garden: Placing the Right Work in the Right Spot
A recent article in the Island Packet and Washington Post suggested choosing garden art that really “speaks” to you, and then allowing it to help define the landscape. If you can, place art against quiet backdrops like evergreens, hedges or lawns. Choose art you really love, go for a large focal point, don’t crowd too much art together and place where you can enjoy often.
We had fun taking pics of just a few of the fun pieces in our garden. Highlights include metalworks by Gary Alexander and colorful glass twists and spirals by Oberini Glass.
Be sure to visit La Petite Gallerie’s Art Garden! Perhaps you will find the perfect treasure for your own garden.
Located adjacent to “The Store” at 56 Calhoun Street. For more information, go to lapetitegallerie.com.
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Four Corners Fine Art & Framing
Framing Tips to Enhance and Protect Works of Art
By Charlene Gardner, Four Corners Fine Art & Framing
Whether you’d like to hang a piece of fine art, a work of folk art or a personal treasure created by your child or family member, it’s important to think about framing.
Framing enhances the art and takes it to a whole other level, bringing out colors and textures that make your piece unique. At that same time, framing also protects your art, making sure it will bring enjoyment for many years to come.
The frame choice should highlight and preserve your works of art in the “wow” mode. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when framing your next masterpiece:
Select conservation glass. The Lowcountry environment has plenty of natural light, which can cause works on paper or other materials to fade. Conservation glass offers UV protection to ensure that your art will stay bright and vibrant.
Choose acid-free materials. Check to see that corrugated material is not behind your art, as it will decompose over time. Mats and backing should be made from acid-free materials to prevent burning and foxing of papers.
Consider nontraditional frames. Conventional wood and gold gilt frames are always popular choices, but a wide range of alternative, unexpected options are available, from plexiglass to reclaimed wood from old docks, homes and barns. The type of frame you choose depends upon the art and on your personal taste.
Think outside the frame. Fabrics, texture and unique presentations can showcase your work of art at its finest. Textiles, collection pieces and oversized works get special attention, requiring unique engineering skills.
Four Corners Fine Art & Framing, which has been in operation since 1998, offers the largest selection of frames in Bluffton. Located at 1263-B May River Road. For more information, contact (843) 757-8185 or visit fourcornersgallerybluffton.com.
Hours: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
“Where Old is New Again”
Located at the Promenade in Old Town Bluffton is a little shop that brings back memories of “days gone by.”
Reminisce prides itself on personalized service, just as it was long ago. The selection of photographic artwork and canvas, as well as fine-crafted goods, will pique your interest as “there is something for everyone” on your gift list, especially that gift for yourself.
Retailers in the Lowcountry for close to 30 years, the Glenns have now brought their expertise in collector’s pieces into this little shop in Old Town Bluffton.
Passion for sports, dogs, artisanal gourmet foods and unique and creative pieces is the key factor for this shop, alongside personalized and knowledgable service.
Pets have always been an interest to the Glenns, as they have had five Scottish Terriers since 1968. Their love for dogs is obvious when walking in, as the artwork of Stephen Fowler, featuring dogs, cats, sports and typography, is prominent. Custom pieces by Fowler are also available upon request.
Noted baseball Hall of Fame artist Dick Perez is also featured with 1,400 images available as giclee prints, signed by the artist.
Reminisce is now offering appraisal services of any pre-1970 sports collectibles. Jerry Glenn will advise you with his expertise.
Located at 30 Promenade Street. For more information, call (843) 757-2500.
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
This ancient root offers many health benefits from stimulating digestion to detoxifying the body.
A rich source of iron, ginger has been widely used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. This gnarled root, which was once thought to hold magical powers, has many modern-day health benefits.
Used to ease nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, coughing and motion sickness, ginger is also a powerful anticoagulant. Ginger stops blood cells from making thromboxane, the substance that enables blood platelets to stick together and form a clot.
Preliminary research also suggests that ginger may help to prevent certain types of cancer. Because of its natural detoxifying effects, ginger also acts as a natural cleansing agent, helping to cleanse the kidneys and intestines.
The root system of a plant grown in Asia for more than 3,000 years, ginger is now grown throughout the tropics as well. In Roman times, it was ground into a powder and exported to the Middle East and Europe. This humble root has a rich and illustrious history in the annals of folk medicine.
Ginger was especially popular in Great Britain during the Tudor period, when Queen Elizabeth had her cook make gingerbread cookies in the shapes of her courtiers, giving rise to the gingerbread men we know today.
Ginger is, quite literally, as old as recorded history. Its name comes from the Sanskrit word for “horn root,” which refers to its distinctive knobby appearance. Ginger root typically ranges in color from pale greenish-yellow to ivory and has a peppery and slightly sweet flavor, as well as a pungent and spicy aroma. A mainstay in Asian and Indian cooking, the Chinese consider ginger a yang or “hot” food, which balances the cooling yin foods to create harmony in the body.
Ginger stimulates the digestive system, helping promote gastric secretions and aiding food absorption. Excellent for indigestion, flatulence, nausea and colic, ginger also stimulates circulation and helps warm cold hands and feet. It has a beneficial effect on the lungs, helping bring up mucus and phlegm.
Taken hot, ginger promotes sweating and can be particularly helpful in treating colds and flus. A hot ginger tea – brewed with chunks of fresh ginger root and topped with a liberal dose of cayenne pepper – can help treat colds, flus or respiratory ailments. Chewing the peeled root stimulates saliva and soothes a sore throat.
When selecting fresh ginger, look for roots that have a firm, smooth skin, with a fresh, spicy fragrance. A wrinkled, shriveled appearance means that the root is old.
Invoke the ancient power of ginger as part of a healthy lifestyle. This invigorating, tasty root has countless applications to help you stay healthy and function at peak performance.
The modern American holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, according to Wikipedia.com.
In 1908, Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking that they would have to also proclaim a Mother-in-Law’s Day. However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all US states observed the holiday. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday. In honor of this special day, here are some facts about famous mothers.
Mary Ball Washington (1708 – 1789)
Fatherless at three and orphaned at 12, Mary Ball was placed under the guardianship of George Eskridge, a lawyer, and for whom her son, George Washington, was named. She married Augustine Washington in 1731 when she was 22 years old. It was her first marriage and his second. Augustine died in 1743 when their son George was 11. Many historians harshly criticize Mary Ball Washington for being overbearing and selfish, but the facts show she was wise and sought counsel from her highly respected older brother, Joseph Ball. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Ball_Washington.
Nancy Hanks Lincoln (1784 –1818)
Nancy Hanks Lincoln died from milk sickness when Abraham was nine years old. It was reported that Nancy was “superior” to her husband Thomas; a strong personality who taught young Abraham his letters, as well as the extraordinary sweetness and forbearance for which he known all his life. womenhistoryblog.com/2012/06/nancy-hanks-lincoln.html.
Jane Lampton Clemens (1803 – 1890)
As a young woman of exceptional beauty and wit, as well as a graceful dancer, Jane Lampton was admired by many. It has been said her engagement to John Clemens was more a matter of temper than tenderness, but she proved to be a truly loyal, steadfast partner. She married at the age of 20 and bore seven children, outliving all but three. Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, survived her. steamboattimes.com/mark_twain_family.html.
Nancy Matthews Elliott (1810 – 1871)
Many years after Thomas Edison’s mother died, he was looking through old family things and saw a folded paper in the corner of a desk drawer. On the paper was written: “Your son is addled [mentally ill]. We won’t let him come to school anymore.” Edison later wrote in his diary, “Thomas Alva Edison was an addled child that by a hero mother, became the genius of the century.” interesting.org/june/edisons-amazing-mother.html.
Photo: Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Pauline Koch Einstein (1858 – 1920)
Pauline Koch was Jewish from German parents. At 18 years old, Pauline married merchant Hermann Einstein. She was a well-educated and quiet woman who had an inclination for the arts. A talented and assiduous piano player, she made Albert begin with violin lessons at the age of five. During World War I, Pauline fell ill with cancer. At the end of the war, Albert brought his terminally ill mother home with him to Berlin where she later died. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maja-Einstein.
Discover the Great Outdoors on a Majestic Rails-to-Trails Paved Pathway
If you enjoy hiking, biking, walking, fishing, dog walking, riding a scooter, skateboarding or rollerblading, don’t miss the Spanish Moss Trail, which connects beautiful Beaufort to historic Port Royal and offers 10 miles of scenic beauty.
Part of the East Coast Greenway, the Lowcountry’s only paved Rails-to-Trails destination, provides breathtaking waterfront and marshfront views along a flat, 12-footwide pathway that is open to pedestrians and non-motorized transportation year-round (motorized wheelchairs are welcome!). Six parking trailhead areas are available, and pets are welcome, as long as they are on a leash.
The handicapped-accessible trail offers several bridges and trestles with exceptional recreational fishing, as well as amazing opportunities for wildlife viewing and historic points of interest, like the former Beaufort Depot, which was originally built in 1901. The trail runs along the former Magnolia Rail Line, which once connected the Lowcountry with Augusta, GA.
In 2009, the Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority obtained the right-of-way to use the former railway as a utility corridor. In 2011, Beaufort County secured an easement to establish a recreational trail that would appeal to locals as well as visitors. Thanks to the generosity and foresight of local residents and businesses, the Spanish Moss Trail attracts outdoor enthusiasts from near and far.
Today, the 10-mile trail cuts through Spanish moss-draped neighborhoods and woodland tracts. When the Spanish Moss Trail is fully developed, it will be approximately 16 miles in length.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the Lowcountry on the Spanish Moss Trail. Whether you’re on foot or on a bike, you’ll make memories that last a lifetime!
The Spanish Moss Trail is open daily from dawn until dusk. Learn more at spanishmosstrail.com.
The dream is still real. It waits beyond the world of Bluffton homes and docks, past the boaters and little islands already named and claimed, in the barely charted wilderness of adjacent regions that shall remain undisclosed (think offshoot creeks of Wright River). Somewhere out there is a tiny scrap of high ground with a few palmettos, fuzzy blooms of marsh myrtle, scrubby oaks and cedar trees draped in Spanish moss. I stumbled upon it by accident during my first kayak paddle in the area.
When I happened upon the beautiful little island perched right on the channel, no trace of human presence could be detected; no beer cans, no cigarette butts, not even the remains of an ancient campfire, just piles of scat from some critter. Egrets had coated the shoreline with white droppings, buzzards circled in thermal currents and marsh hens cackled and flapped across the channel.
An anhinga on a snaggy branch belly-flopped the minute I paddled up, disappearing below the water for an alarmingly long time before he resurfaced, his snaky neck poking out as he swam along. A big orange Monarch butterfly flapped by me on its famous travels. I stood on the bank for so long that I entered a sort of reverie and they all forgot I was there. After an hour I plunged into the water, but it was cold and strange being this far away from everything, so I scrambled back up the bank in such a frenzy my legs got muddy scrapes from all the roots.
“Okay time to go,” I said aloud, before I got in my boat and paddled away. Thenceforth, I fondly christened the place Jake’s Island and considered it my personal domain. (If you want to know why I named it that, it’s a story from my childhood so you’ll have to ask me in person…and no, it has nothing to do with a love affair.)
I started telling everyone about Jake’s Island. Not how to get there, mind you, just that it existed, and lots of people wanted me to take them, but not everyone had the time. My friend, Erin, was enjoying a schedule free-up at a rare, historical moment when the weather was perfect and I was actually in town. Stars thus aligned, a great hare-brained, Huck Finn raft trip was planned.
You’d be surprised how much work goes into a raft trip. You gotta get all your gear together, procure rations, secure your craft. You have to see about firewood and figure out how to tow it using the materials at hand. I started with a half-rotted wooden palette, but later upgraded to a pool float shaped like a stingray after the original pilot tests failed. Erin needed a boat, so I took five persimmons and, in a series of elaborate events, I acquired a beautiful blue loaner kayak. Tom Sawyer himself couldn’t have done it in better style. “I got your boat,” I told Erin. “Brand-new in the shrink-wrap. I’ll tell you the story later.”
Knowing we had tides and early sunsets to consider, plus preliminary tasks before an ideal 3 o’clock departure, I told her to meet me at noon. A little before 2 p.m. she called. “On my way,” she said. “Any last-minute requests?”
“Did you get the bungee cords I asked for?”
“Alright, this is what I got: ropes, zip ties, ratchet straps…”
“Erin! Get. Bungees.”
“Okay, I’ll get bungees.”
She finally showed up with everything but bungees. In any case, the trip was off to a perfectly ramshackle start. We headed to the launch, and were testing the buoyancy of our firewood-loaded stingray when two duck hunters in full camo arrived, eyeing us skeptically.
“Y’all goin’ campin’?” they asked.
“Some li’l island,” I said with a vague wave. Fat chance I’d tell them.
“So you’re just gonna get in and go, huh?” they asked, bewildered.
“Guess that’s about the only way to do it.”
It was clear that they thought we were out-rednecking the rednecks. They shook their heads as though uncertain whether to admire our spirit or condemn our stupidity, then predicted aloud we would fight the tide and get bit up by bugs. Eventually, they got in their GPS-equipped boat and motored off. One minute later, our voyage was underway.
It did not take long to realize that although the stingray towed fine, it would be a workout. With every paddle stroke, the line jerked and tugged me back. Erin was already pulling ahead. She reclined dreamily on a cushiony throne of our dry-bags, pulling a stroke here, a stroke there; listening to the birdies and watching the clouds move.
“I’m not sure I’m gonna make it!” I shouted as I struggled. But there was nothing she could do to help, so I just settled into a rhythm and enjoyed the scenery.
Thirty minutes later we entered a new creek that took us with the tide rather than against it, and after that we were on easy street. Golden evening sunrays lit up Jake’s Island as we drew near, the moss just melting off the trees, and the same anhinga doing his goofy belly-flop. The water was a little lower than last time, and I plunged one leg in the chilly creek by accident. Erin let me change into her extra dry pants and soon we were warming up with a thermos of hot tea, watching the sunset over the water—one of those moments you dream about, but rarely get to experience.
We had just a few precious minutes of twilight to pitch camp, gather kindling and discover that not one—but BOTH—our flashlights had dead batteries. (Talk about an amateur mistake.) Luckily, there was an unlimited supply of dry palmetto fronds to blaze up the fire.
A friend had hooked us up with flameless heated military rations leftover from Hurricane Matthew—Italian spaghetti for me, garden veggie pasta for Erin—plus fig bars and corn nuts for us both. We had a pair of chairs for around the fire and, for dessert, sweet potatoes roasted in the coals. Stars blinked and crickets chirped, and we felt safe and secure on our island under the canopy of midnight blue sky and palm fronds, surrounded by the gentle noises of the creek.
The next morning, Erin stoked up the fire in its pit of smoldering ash while I brewed tea over a hobo stove made out of a cat food can. We agreed it was one of the best campouts we’d ever had.
You’d think after all the times I’d been boating in the marsh I’d have considered the fact that these little islands usually can’t be reached except on a dead high tide. However, I’d assumed that since Jake’s Island was right on the channel, we wouldn’t have any problem. I hadn’t done enough recon to know that stranding might be inevitable. Now it was about a quarter-tide and still going out, and the kayaks were perched atop an eight-foot drop-off to pure pluff mud, no sandy spots or gentle grades anywhere. “We ain’t goin’ nowhere for at least six hours,” I pronounced to Erin.
We strung the hammock and took turns, or talked, or simply sat in silence. We broke camp and stowed everything on the boats. We checked the rising water level against submersible objects in the creek, such as a barnacle-coated fallen tree that I now realized had been dangerously close to where I’d leaped in for a swim on my first visit. We debated the relative merits of bungees versus ropes and zip-ties, sat on the bank for five hours eating crackers and water and told the same jokes to a point of near delirium. Still the tide was no higher.
There would have been no hurry, but I had a pedicure appointment at 3 p.m. I’d been looking forward to it for months. I called to see if she could push it back and she returned the call saying 5 p.m., at the latest. A little before 3 p.m., the water was just getting high enough, but it would be tricky getting in the boat. I suggested to Erin that I lower her down first, already seated in her boat, then get in on my own, but as we eyed the steep angle of entry, doubts crept in. There was nothing for miles around—no docks, no people, no proper place to get out in this wasteland of grass and mud. Crabbers had told me the creek wound its way 10 lonely miles to the sound, and I realized casting adrift on this tide meant we’d be carried where no girl had been carried before. Any mistakes at this point could cost us our boats, gear, lives or, at the very least, a cold, hungry night stuck on Jake’s Island.
“Listen Erin, we can’t afford to mess this up,” I said, suddenly all business. “Now is it really worth the risk just to save 30 minutes so I can make my nail appointment, or should we be on the safe side and wait for the tide to come up a little more?”
Pausing, she weighed our dilemma. Then with a look of flat determination she said, “I want you to get your toes did.”
She got in the boat and I heaved up her back end so that the bow was poised towards the water in a plunging nosedive. “Alright, I’m going to ease you in as gently as I can,” I promised with the best of intentions, but as the weight and center of gravity shifted, she hung on precariously for a split-second, then SPLASH!
Her boat hit the water, rocked side-to-side and nearly rolled, but after an agonizing moment it righted itself. “Whew,” I said with an exhale, brushing my hands off on my pants. “That was pretty awesome.”
She pinned my boat against the bank with her own to stabilize it while I lowered down by an overhanging root, then we paddled back quick-like without incident. After throwing our gear in the truck and hauling the boats back to my camper, we hastily hugged goodbye and promised to return. Jake’s Island would provide a conversation piece for weeks, and our faith was restored in an otherwise overrun and subjugated Lowcountry.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I made it back just in time for my pedicure. Thanks ladies, for cleaning out the pluff mud caked between my toes!
Article and photography by Michele Roldán-Shaw.
The aquatic ecosystem of Hilton Head Island and the Lowcountry is home to a wide variety of animals working in harmony to create the beautiful natural places we enjoy.
By Jessie Renew, Outside Hilton Head
Among these is the abundant fishery comprised of hundreds of species of animals, all of whom are woven into the food web. Close to the bottom of the cycle are bivalves and crustaceans which eat the barely visible planktons in the water. These shelled creatures provide food for many fish, birds and mammals, each of which has a particular adaptation to get through the shell and to the tasty meat of the prey. One fascinating fish in this group is the sheepshead, the fish with human teeth!
Sheepshead can be found along the entire Eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. They are unique in that they stay fairly close to shore and to rocky areas, feeding on the shelled animals that live there. They thrive in the brackish waters where creeks or rainwater runoff meet salty estuaries. Because of this unique feeding habitat, sheepshead are sensitive to environmental influences and will leave areas that become polluted. In Brooklyn, NY, Sheepshead Bay is named after this fish, but they no longer inhabit the area due to the increase in waterborne pollutants.
Oysters, the favorite prey of the sheepshead, are also very sensitive to changes in water conditions because they are filter feeders and, in the case of oysters, they cannot move to new places when their existing habitat becomes polluted. In order to break through the hard shells of crabs, oysters, mussels, shrimp and barnacles, sheepshead use their uniquely strong teeth. Sheepshead teeth look eerily like human teeth, and perform the same function of grinding and masticating a tough omnivore’s diet. Sheepsheads’ other favorite foods include plants, seaweed and algae.
In cooler months, sheepshead will move offshore to spawn, and in summer they stay close to shore. This makes them a fun, great fish to catch and eat this May! You can fish for sheepshead from a dock or a boat. Since they’re omnivores, they’re attracted to a wide variety of bait, including mussels, shrimp and barnacles. Sheepshead prefer undisturbed waters broken by oyster beds or other natural features. Fishing these places can be a bit trickier, but it’s a lot of fun. For the best experience, hire an experienced local guide to show you the technique.
Sheepshead is just one of the fascinating and delicious species of fish that abound in our waters. This May, get outside fishing! Whether you choose a 12-hour offshore charter or a three-hour kayak fishing trip, there is a style of local fishing to suit everyone!
To book an outing with Outside Hilton Head, call (843) 686-6996.
Choosing the right bar in Bluffton isn’t too much of a tricky task. If you’re looking for craft beer and a burger, Fat Patties, Old Town Dispensary and Captain Woody’s are the places to be. Want a glass of wine? We’ve got Pour Richards, Corks, Red Fish and The Bluffton Room. Music? Well almost all of the above have this. Business is booming in our backyard. With a Walmart Neighborhood Market coming to Bluffton Parkway, Kroger to Buckwalter, and a variety of new shops, firms, and breweries popping up all over the place, it’s no surprise that new bars are beckoning out in Old Town, each with their own specialty.
Craft coffee to craft cocktails—that’s the transformation that happens at 1297 May River Road when the sun starts its decent each night. But those aren’t the only creations shown off each evening at The Roasting Room. This team is also here to celebrate the craft of music.
After tirelessly working for an entire year to make the dream a reality, Josh Cooke and Jordan Ross can finally revel in their masterpiece—a music bar above the pulsating Corner Perk in Bluffton’s booming borough we call Old Town. Though there may be 80 bottles of bourbon displayed on the sleek, heart-of-pine shelves behind the cedar bar, it is the music that is the specialty on their menu. Yes, it is a bourbon bar, but this humble abode that was once the place Ian Duncam roasted coffee is now a lounge and listening room.
It is a place designed for musicians. Even before they knew what the upstairs would be, Josh and Jordan began building, repurposing Heaven Hill bourbon barrels as supports to hold up the oversized high top pallet tables, using wood from the set of the American Spirit commercial BFG filmed to decorate the walls and coffee bags as shades over the windows. The floating walls, open black-spray-foamed ceiling and wood all act as diffusive surfaces, allowing the sound to create a pleasant reverb, resulting in a more intimate performance by the artists that take the stage.
“When you’re listening, you can hear every inflection of the voice of the musician. There’s a very crisp, clear captivating element to the sound of the room,” Josh awes. “We did all those things to create this magical experience, both for the musician and the audience.”
And it worked. Well, the 32-channel soundboard at the fingertips of the musician, controlled by an iPad, and the impressive sound system hanging above the audience, also helped. Not to mention the singer-songwriters that are showing up each weekend and killing it with their own original music—which is the real thing that sets The Roasting Room apart from the other bars with music in town. Their musicians don’t do covers on weekends.
“We might be a little snobby about that,” Cooke lets slip, but not because he does not appreciate that song covers. He is just working to develop the music scene in Bluffton in another way—bring in better acts and encourage locals to keep creating. “There’s just not a defined music-as-an-art here. So we’re trying to help create and build that music-as-an-art in Bluffton.”
When guests are not too entranced by the performers, they can enjoy a Mixed Nut Tray, Smoked Meat & Cheese Platter or Bacon Crusted Bavarian Pretzel along with their Bourbon & Whiskey Flights or craft cocktails. Or along with a Kentucky Mule, Caramel Apple Cider, Hot Toddy or Mint Julep, visitors can get a Turkey Club, Cranberry Pecan Chicken Wrap, Candied Bacon & BBQ Kettle Chips or Bourbon Pecan Pie.
Could a place like this that has already seen abrupt success booking shows, filling their schedule and selling out of tickets, be the next Eddie’s Attic or Bluebird Café? It might be too soon to tell, but with the level of success the Blufftonian has seen so far and the drive that his team has, we believe it is possible.
Bringing a Tavern to Town
Down the street, another establishment is making its own noise—the soon-to-be neighborhood tavern at 9 Promenade Street, Calhoun’s. With all-but-total demolition and a complete remodel, this new “upscale yet approachable” cocktail bar hopes to bring in the crowds with chef-driven food, an ambient atmosphere and extensive Whiskey collection.
Peeking inside their window might reveal the vintage horse race theme, but it does not uncover the good times that will be had when Calhoun’s opens this spring. Inspired by the Kentucky Derby Soiree that they throw every year, Charleston restaurateurs James Groetzinger & Joey Rinaldi, who own Warehouse, jumped when Jon Rinaldi, owner of Vineyard 55, presented the opportunity to open a new restaurant in their hometown.
Aiming for the classy southern “day drinking” vibe that you find at the derby, Calhoun’s will have a menu full of classic cocktails, including the Whiskey Sour, Aged Negroni + Manhattans, Hemingway’s, Mules and Cal’s Margarita, as well as eclectic wines, craft beer, good bitters, proper recipes and perfectly executed mixes. Their fare is a modern, made-from-scratch re-imaginations of Lowcountry favorites—small plates from about $6-$17.
Along with an array of bands and DJs, Calhoun’s is expecting to have quite a few scrumptious events—oyster and pig roasts, tap takeovers, guest chefs, whiskey tastings are on their to-do list.
Their goal? To have the best happy hour in Bluffton, and not just from a price point, but a quality stand point too. With a great vibe.
“The hats and dresses, bow ties and juleps. The bluegrass, the bets, and the race for those roses. It is such a great vibe and a very fun time to eat and drink and be with friends. Why not re-create that vibe all year long,” James asks.
With The Roasting Room open and Calhoun’s anxious to swing its door open this spring, it seems this summer is going to be a great one. All these new businesses give us the perfect excuse to get out and try something new. Make new memories and remember that it’s all about the Bluffton State of Mind.
Did you know?
Coral is, in fact, an animal that has evolved to incorporate a garden in its own tissue. Coral doesn’t eat the plant– it simply protects it, feeds it and benefits from the products of photosynthesis necessary for its survival. Approximately 200 million years of symbiosis have produced a relationship so cohesive, the plant and animal are literally one. They do not start out together, but are so dependent on each other, they cannot survive alone.
Although they look like exotic plants, coral are marine animals that are sessile or stuck in one spot. They cannot make their own food, so they filter microorganisms living in tropical waters for nourishment. They are able to discern algae from zooplankton (microscopic animals). They consume the zooplankton, but absorb the algae into their tissue, where it replicates with cell division, creating an internal garden.
To supplement their diet, coral have a special “agreement” with their garden. They have been farming a marine algae called zooxanthellae for over 200 million years that has become such a key part of their existence that it actually lives inside of their tissue. The animal provides carbon dioxide and fertilizes the plant with waste, and the plant receives protection inside the coral. In return, the plant gives the coral products of photosynthesis such as oxygen, glucose and amino acids. The coral uses these products to make proteins, fats and carbohydrates. These nutrients facilitate the production of calcium carbonate, which is its familiar hard coating. The “algae garden” also gives the coral its color.
The ocean regulates its own salinity and temperatures in areas to maintain integral ecosystems. In the case of shallow tropical waters where there is a photic zone (light penetrating to the bottom of the sea floor), consistent temperature and salinity allow coral to live in a predictable environment where their “algae gardens” thrive. A rise in temperature of 1-2° Celsius (33-35°F) for five to 10 weeks or a decline in temperature of 3-5° Celsius (37-41°F) for five to 10 days has resulted in coral bleaching events.
When a coral bleaches, it indicates the zooxanthella (good algae) has died and been expelled. The coral is still alive, but will not have the nutrients it needs to survive. It will succumb to the environment, and its white tissue will begin to slough off. When the coral is dead, it will turn dark in color as opportunistic algae engulf its skeleton.
As part of a natural process, the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere. However, too much carbon dioxide can change the chemistry of the water, making it more acidic, which is harmful to the coral reef. Global warming indicates that there is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, forming a barrier for heat, creating a Greenhouse Effect. Trapped heat slowly warms the environment, including the ocean.
We are all affected by the health of the coral reef. To learn more, search “Chasing Coral” on Netflix and watch this comprehensive documentary.
Side note: If you have been on my tour, you know why the water in the Lowcountry waterway is green. It is the refraction of light reflecting a green wavelength when encountering millions of microorganisms such as larval fish, crab, shrimp, oysters, etc. Our saltmarsh estuary is the most prolific on the Eastern seaboard. Our water is too full of life for sunlight to penetrate and, therefore, plants and hard coral can’t grow on the bottom of the waterway. Tropical waters have significantly less larval concentration (nutrient poor), so the coral has devised a way to produce the extra nutrients that it needs with the incorporation of algae.
A fourth-generation Blufftonian and marine biologist, Amber Kuehn is known as the “Turtle Lady” and manages the Hilton Head Island Sea Turtle Protection Project, in addition to coordinating the dolphin and sea turtle stranding response in Beaufort County. She also leads “Voyages of Discovery” aboard Spartina Marine Education Charters. For more information, visit spartinacharters.com.
This is the third article in our series showcasing Neo-Classical Architecture and its influence on Southern Plantations and homes throughout the South to this day. The essence of Neo-Classical Architecture is scale, proportion and balance. It began in the 1550s with Vignola’s “Canons of the Five Orders of Architecture” which is considered one of the most influential architectural textbooks ever written, even though it had very few words, only notes and instructions accompanying the many illustrations.
High Pond is a magnificent home on eight pristine acres embracing the Colleton River. The architect, Dean Winesett of Hilton Head, closely followed the “Order,” using the Tuscan and Ionic appropriately on the two-story, three-bay porticoes. Even though it varies in size and roof design, High Pond is reminiscent of Drayton Hall on the Ashley River, considered one of the finest examples of Palladian Architecture in America and one of the few homes that survived both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
This Colleton River Plantation home is a true masterpiece, not only from its form, and interior detailing craftsmanship, but also from its siting, use of nature and landscaping. This is due to the vision of Robert Marvin (1920-2001), father of Southern landscape architecture. Marvin received numerous accolades and international recognition for his work in and philosophy of modern design within landscape architecture and High Pond is certainly one of his legacies.
Marvin’s design philosophy was centered on the human-scale. He thought the site should be subordinate to human sensitivities and that every opportunity should be taken to put the individual in touch with the natural elements.
He is renowned for creating designs that celebrate the unique regionalism of the South Carolina Lowcountry and his work includes the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion in Columbia. Author and fellow South Carolina resident Pat Conroy wrote, “No landscape on earth is as beautiful to me as the South Carolina lowcountry. I would not let God alter a single detail of this master design unless He bid out the job to Robert Marvin.”
As one enters the High Pond property, Marvin’s genius is revealed. A winding driveway where new vistas open at each turn and the pond revealed, is awe-inspiring in its tranquility and magnificence of surrounding ancient oaks. Another turn in the path, and the carriage house is discovered, maintained in natural surroundings. As one approaches the house, the landscaping becomes more organized and, since expansive views of the river were intentionally obstructed during the approach with just small glimpses, there is a point where you become awed as the vastness of the river is unveiled.
My host was Johnny Ussery, whom I have known for close to 20 years. His enthusiasm and knowledge about this home was truly remarkable and it was a pleasure to listen to him and enjoy the many spaces. It is not often you find a Realtor with both 35 years of experience and insight and expertise of the design, detailing, interiors and landscaping of a home of this stature and significance.
The Master Builder, Dan Lawrence, executed the formal classical detail elements of Winesett’s design, inspired by Asher Benjamin’s (1773-1845) work, “American Builder’s Companion.” This work is seen in almost all Southern Plantation-era homes and is still followed to this day.
This home was built in 1997, and is in immaculate condition. This is a testament to the quality of the material and craftsmanship that went into its construction. There are many rooms with careful details, but not enough space in this article to examine them all. Let’s take a walk around to see a truly special home and enjoy some of the features.
For information or a personal tour of High Pond, contact Johnny Ussery at [email protected].
Article by Randolph Stewart
Bluffton is the epitome of a dog-friendly town. Restaurants, hotels and boutique stores cater to the needs of canines and their owners. Many of the business owners in Old Town accommodate dogs because they have their own—often in the shop with them during the day. Meet some of Bluffton’s Shop Dogs and don’t forget to stop by and say hi while you’re out and about.
Cindy and Cathy Ulmer, Rookie, Guinness & Harp
Did you know there’s a pharmacy in Bluffton where you can get medicine for both you and your pets? Cindy and Cathy Ulmer of Ulmer’s Family Pharmacy compound treats and topicals for your furry friends to keep all of your loved ones in good health. The Ulmer sisters decided to add pet medicine to their services when their own pets took ill. Cathy has a shar pei-mixed breed dog with skin issues. Cindy has three dogs—Rookie, Guinness and Harp—adopted from the Hilton Head Humane Society; two of them have health issues. In spite of their health concerns, the dogs are fun-loving and enjoy fetching a good ball or catching a Frisbee. Every once in a while, they can also be found visiting Cindy at the pharmacy.
Molly MacDonald & Zooey
At May River Excursions, you can book a dolphin tour and you can find Zooey lounging around while her owner, Molly MacDonald, is hard at work managing the shop. Molly adopted Zooey from Rogue Rescue here in Bluffton and showered her with love. Though Zooey was the smallest pup in her litter and sick with Parvo, MacDonald made sure to get her the care she needed to be happy and healthy. When Zooey isn’t busy being adored by the store’s customers, she can be found swimming by The Sandbar or riding around in a golf cart with MacDonald. In her spare time, Zooey loves to help MacDonald gig for flounder. With Zooey on lookout, her owner is likely to take home plenty of fish.
Diana Radcliffe, Charlotte & Teddy
Diana Radcliffe doesn’t own a business in Bluffton, but she is on the board of the Friends of Bluffton Dog Parks, a non-profit dedicated to building a local dog park. The Town of Bluffton recently approved land for its first public dog park—a 10-year process that is finally coming to fruition. The dog park, located at Oscar Frazier Park, should be open by October. Radcliffe works so hard because she knows her dogs need a good place to run off-leash. Charlotte loves to lead the pack, even though she weighs less than 15 pounds. Teddy recently passed away, but he gladly followed Charlotte’s lead.
Todd Rackliff & Butterbean
Walking into The Sugaree on the corner of Bruin and Burnt Church Roads, you probably won’t notice Butterbean. She’s usually in her spot in the back of the kitchen but, every so often, she has to get up to remind her owner, Todd Rackliff, to eat. The bloodhound is not only a pet, but also Rackliff’s service dog. Butterbean is trained to let Rackliff know when his blood sugar gets too low, so when Todd heads into work, so does she.
Phillip Robinowich & Archie
If you’re a Bluffton local, you’ve probably heard of or visited Morris Garage. Most days, you’ll see Archie laid out on his favorite chair next to his owner Phillip Robinowich. Archie is the bashful bulldog who spends his days rummaging around tires or sitting in his comfy corner next to Robinowich’s desk. After rescuing Archie from a kill shelter just two hours before he was to be euthanized, the two have never looked back. Archie rides alongside Phillip to work every day, spends all day in the shop and loves every moment of it.
Roddy Medders, Lucy & Cyrus / Megan Mack, Kirby, Cooper & Chelsea
There are few people who know more about water dogs than Roddy Medders and Megan Mack of Stand and Paddle. These stand-up paddleboard tour guides take their dogs out on the water, and their pups can’t get enough. Medders and Mack designed their own brand of boards, Hammer Paddleboards, to keep the pups safely onboard. Cyrus has been joining Medders out on the water for years and his newest dog, Lucy, has been easing her way onto the paddleboard, as well. Of Mack’s three dogs, Kirby and Cooper enjoy being out on the water with the beach being their favorite place to go.
Article by Crystal Bridges
Photography by Jessica Sparks
As Thanksgiving approaches, Bluffton residents reflect on what they’re most grateful for at this time of year.
Thanksgiving, which falls on November 23 this year, offers the perfect opportunity to express gratitude for all of life’s bounty. It’s also the ideal time to reflect upon the undeniable challenges of the past year and to count our many blessings.
Here in Bluffton, residents endured the wrath of Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Irma in less than twelve months. At the same time, Blufftonians witnessed the incredible growth of the town and the welcome expansion of our iconic Bluffton State of Mind.
We spoke with a number of Blufftonians about what they’re most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Here is what they had to say.
Tina Burdette Toomer: Owner, Bluffton Oyster Company. 28 years in Bluffton.
What I love most about Bluffton: I love the small town feel of Bluffton and the people here. I love the streetscape, the river, the new dock, the restaurants, the art galleries and quirky shops and just being able to walk into the post office or bank and know everyone there. I love the festivals that we have here year-round. I love that our town offers our children and grandchildren job opportunities should they choose to make Bluffton their home once they have reached adulthood.
What I’m thankful for: I am thankful for the May River. I am thankful for oysters and shrimp and the ability to work the river to provide fresh seafood. I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for the sunrise and sunset that we can see every day and night on the May River. I am thankful to be here and to have lived a life this full!
Maggie Yelton: Owner, Maggie Yelton Photography. 10 years in Bluffton.
What I love most about Bluffton: My most favorite thing about Bluffton is the May River. It doesn’t matter how hard my day has been, I can walk to the river and my senses are overloaded with gratefulness.
As I watch my son throw oyster shells in the water, cast a net with his daddy and get pluff mud up to his knees.
What I’m thankful for: I’m most thankful for my family. My husband is my favorite person on this earth, whose calming presence stands by me through all of life’s ups, downs and in-betweens. My son fills my days with so much laughter, wonder and love.
Sharon Brown: Secretary and Office Manager at Bluffton High School. 25 years in Bluffton.
What I love most about Bluffton: I enjoy family, friends and worshiping in Bluffton.
What I’m thankful for: I am thankful for a new beginning that the Lord has given me in my life and for my granddaughter Amirah. Now, I am a new person through Him that strengthens me.
Marc Orlando: Town Manager, Town of Bluffton. Living in Bluffton for 3.5 years and working in Bluffton for 13 years.
What I love most about Bluffton: I love the spirit and sense of pride of the Bluffton community. I also love that Bluffton is family-oriented. It’s such a great place to raise our children.
What I’m thankful for: I am thankful for my family, especially my Mom, my wife Jackie, my daughter Emmy and my son Ben. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful that I live in this amazing Bluffton community and have the opportunity to work for the community.
Erika Aparicio: Account Executive, Island Communications. 27 years in Bluffton.
What I love most about Bluffton: I’ve been around the world and back, but there is something unmistakably special about Bluffton and those who inhabit it. When a town experiences rapid growth, the identity of the town can easily be lost. The people of Bluffton have worked hard to preserve what makes Bluffton special, while also giving it a new identity as the cultural hub of the Lowcountry.
What I’m thankful for: That my family was safe after the massive earthquake struck Mexico. My father is originally from Mexico City, and a large portion of my extended family live in and around Mexico City. My dad’s sister and her family lost their apartment. The entire building was condemned, and they were left homeless on the street with nothing with them but the clothes on their back. I couldn’t be more thankful for the kind individuals who have come to their aid. You really don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone, and, despite all of the disasters that have struck, you can bet that I know exactly why I am thankful this particular upcoming Thanksgiving Day.
Brannon Sulka: Business Analyst, eviCore HealthCare. 28 years in Bluffton.
What I love most about Bluffton: The culture. It is difficult to put into words the culture of Bluffton because it’s more of a feeling and sense of being. It’s the environment where we live, watching sunsets from the bluff, walking among 100-year-old oak trees. While Bluffton has grown so much, the feeling I have each time I step back and look around me has never changed. The casual laid-back atmosphere, the salt-filled air, the passionate and welcoming community is the very essence of Bluffton, which makes up the culture I will forever love.
What I’m thankful for: Community. In the last month, I have experienced more than one example of the value of a strong community and the friendship and kindness from which it stems. Most recently, Hurricane Irma left much of the All Joy area flooded with three to four feet of water. Within the next four hours, individuals from the entire community jumped in to help get the water out of my boyfriend Patrick’s home and keep more water from entering. More friends drove as close as they could get to the home and then waded through three feet of water to offer help. Out of their own kindness, neighbors on higher ground brought extra sump pumps. My father had a needed generator. During it all, the fire department was going to door-to-door to make sure residents were safe. The kindness and generosity was overwhelming. I am truly thankful to live amongst such a strong example of community.
Eric Esquivel: Publisher, La Isla Magazine. 35 years in Bluffton.
What I love most about Bluffton: Bluffton truly is a state of mind. You have the experience of Southern charm and Southern living with the mix of the development of the 21st century. It’s still a small town with historic beauty.
What I’m thankful for: I’m thankful for every new day, for my family, my children and friends and the Bluffton community. I’m grateful for the opportunity to live in such an amazing place.
By Jevon Daly
New years resolutions? Bah humbug. Gonna join a gym? Stop smoking? Quit drinking? I’m here to wish you well on your impossible quest. We just got another brewery here in Bluffton. Isn’t walking into a place with 30 beers on tap exercise? Sure, you could join a gym or run away to join a yoga cult out west somewhere. But you are reading this article. You are probably sitting down. So let’s just take it one day at a time here and read my TOP 16 SONGS TO LISTEN TO THIS YEAR.
1.”Only Lies” off of Robert Ellis’ album The Lights from the Chemical Plant is a fabulous song from a throwforward country renegade. Listen to the guitar interplay and the exciting drum and bass parts. The vocals are great and sound very real. Pair with a wheat beer and maybe some kettle corn.
2.”Rastaman Chant” off of live in the radio station album Talkin’ Blues. Fabulous reggae, live in California in 1973. Superb musicians playing a fresh new music that turned everyone from the Eagles to the Grateful Dead on to the Jamaican sound perfected in England by Chris Blackwell. Goes great with late night munchies or on flight back home from Denver visiting that llama farm you told your family you might buy.
3. “Dunes” is my go to choice from Alabama Shakes sophomore crusher Sound and Color. Brittany Howard and her green Gibson SG coddle me on this tune. Pay close attention to the sounds on this album. Get the whole album. This is the one you can shove down all those people’s throats that say “music was better in the ‘60s.” Ok, I get it, you love Steve Miller. So do I. This album is right there. Producer Blake Mills made sure they cut all the fat off this one too. Simple and beautiful music.
4. “Rattlesnake.” St. Vincent is the artist. She is sexy and writes great songs. She plays the guitar like a riot. Goes well with organic pear juice and some sushi from the grocery store. This woman just did an album with David Byrne from the talking heads. Take notice! Alert!
5. “I’m Writing a Novel” is a country rock that explodes off the blocks of Father John Misty’s album I Love you Honeybear. Anyone that puts themselves in a dune buggy with Neil Young in a song deserves a hug. Watch this maniac perform this song on KEXP. Do it. Pair with a Rumchada or Mojito. Maybe a hamburger from Wendy’s.
6. “Girls” from seminal Beastie Boys album Licensed to Ill. Fun party jammer your kids need to hear almost as bad as your grammy does. Rap music has never been so fun. Yeah, go ahead and knock an American art form if you want. “I don’t like rap.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. You will be singing this one the next day. Goes great with a 40 oz. Bud and a gyro.
7. “Tonight” by Ozzy. Nuff said. Listen and be surprised. Do not eat bat. Pass go. Collect $200.
8. “Brokedown Palace.” Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead own folk music now. If you don’t believe me, crank this tune when your mother who loves Pete Seeger comes over and starts telling you that story about her going to see the Weavers in NYC that one time for $5. The Dead are out there playing gigs nowadays. Does it sound like this recording from American Beauty in 1970? Unfortunately, no. Don’t drink the red Kool-Aid. Probably goes best with a nightcap or some tea early on a Sunday.
9. “What Does the Deep Sea Say?” comes from live album Bill Monroe and Doc Watson – Off the Record Vol. 2. Amazing harmonies. Scary guitar playing from blind boy Doc Watson. Insane high singing from Bill. Get out the moonshine and some jerky.
10. “Flourescent Half Dome” off of Dirty Projectors album Bitte Orca has got smooth keyboards and sick drum fills. Give this one a few listens after some fish tacos and sangria. The lyrics and music take you away. This is more proof that music is still moving forward in 2016. Look out for Dave Longstreth, frontman of the band, and co-writer of Rihanna/Paul McCartney hit “Four Five Seconds.” Yup.
I will get songs 11-16 later on in the year. After a full week of playing music around the area I am tired. Signing off for now.
“The Port Royal Sound embayment, from the ACE Basin to the Savannah River is the most pristine and biologically significant marine ecosystem on the East Coast. The Waddell Mariculture Center is the most important facility we citizens have to protect its health and we must enhance its role in our state’s fishing, boating and tourism economy.”
–Dave Harter, Vice Chairman, Hilton Head Reef Foundation
In the summer months, my friends and family call me antisocial because I am so busy! I’m always tired and always working.
I run a charter boat company and manage the HHI Sea Turtle Protection Project along 14 miles of beach, where tourists and turtles bask in the beauty of the Lowcountry. My volunteer work is my third job. When injured sea turtles need transport to the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston for rehabilitation or dolphins wash up on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton, who takes care of that?
I do, with the help of the Waddell Mariculture Research and Development Center.
If you have NEVER heard of Waddell Mariculture Center (WMC), let me start by saying that it is the ONLY facility like it in the United States. And, yes, it is in Bluffton, South Carolina and has been for over 30 years! It is a research facility managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), where biologists have perfected methods for farm raising fish and shrimp. Individuals worldwide visit Waddell to collect information to successfully produce farm-raised seafood.
In addition to their primary mission, biologists at the center assist with other marine life issues in Beaufort County. There is a tight community of marine biologists and enthusiasts in this area—some have graduate degrees in marine science, some are charter boat companies that offer ecology tours, some are non-profit organizations and nature clubs and some are fishermen and boaters who pick up trash in the May River.
At all levels, there is concern for the marine life in Beaufort County. When an opportunity comes around to support marine research and mingle with some seriously dedicated individuals, there is no better time to catch them than when they are socializing at the Annual Taste of Waddell fundraiser, an oyster roast and cookout taking place on the Bluff of the Colleton River at Waddell Mariculture Center. We work very hard and I have a feeling that you never knew…
Here are just a few of the Waddell Mariculture Center’s achievements:
• Beaufort County has the best red drum fishery on the East Coast. Waddell’s red drum stock enhancement program is responsible for that continuing success having stocked over 20 million fish in South Carolina waters. These fish populations are monitored using DNA technology developed by SCDNR.
• WMC is undergoing a renovation to the main office and laboratory building. Part of the renovation plan includes the installation of cobia and spotted sea trout spawning systems. The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry awarded the center a grant for the purchase of new seawater filtration equipment to prepare water for the spawning tanks and recirculating systems.
• WMC has stocked a million spotted sea trout in Charleston waters over the past few years while developing a rapid response stock enhancement program to protect this fragile fishery from severe climate fluctuations and habitat degradation.
• WMC received a research grant to monitor the effects of storm water on Beaufort County’s sensitive saltwater marsh. Working with USCB and Beaufort County, they will develop baseline data to improve the county’s storm water management plan.
• WMC opens its doors to students for tours and lectures. More than 500 students tour the center each year and biologists provided lectures and tours to more than 3,000 guests. Donations made to the Waddell Fund were used to support two full-time college internship positions this year. The center was able to offer volunteer work to five college students, who worked at least one day a week aiding biologists.
• WMC biologists assist SC seafood growers. They provide information and training to state residents when requested. This work is important, as the United States now imports 91 percent of its seafood and seafood farming accounts for 47% of all seafood. The center’s biologists assist state fish pond and coastal impoundment owners by addressing management needs, including water quality, weed control and species management.
• The center is also part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Biologists provide aid and assistance to injured turtles, whales, dolphins, and birds.
When Fall arrives, I start to see the “Light at the End of the Season.” I may have time to clean my bathroom or clear my desk…I haven’t seen its surface in months. Thank you to Al Stokes, Director of Waddell Mariculture Center, and Dave Harter, Vice Chairman of the Hilton Head Reef Foundation, for their help in my endeavors with injured sea turtles and the SC Marine Mammal Stranding Network. I WILL see you at Taste of Waddell on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016 from 3-7 p.m. There are certain annual events and fundraisers that keep us going and this one is Too Important to Miss!
Limited reservations are available for the 9th Annual Taste of Waddell. Visit friendsofwaddell.org to register or call Dave Harter at (843) 785-4106. If you are interested in supporting the Waddell Mariculture Center, but cannot attend the event, tax deductible donations are accepted for the Waddell Mariculture Center Fund at: Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, PO Box 23019, Hilton Head Island, SC 29925. For more information, call (843) 681-9100 or go to cf-lowcountry.org.
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn, Marine Biologist. Owner, Spartina Marine Education Charters
Approximately 100 years ago, when full-color lithography came into its own, the producers of products used this new technology to full advantage. From patent medicines, farm machinery or the new wonder elixir, “Coca Cola,” the businesses hawking products boggled the public’s imagination with bright, colorful posters, brilliantly-adorned trade cards and unique signs.
By today’s standards, some of the early advertising was downright ridiculous, but it was thought that wild claims attracted attention and encouraged purchase. During the late 1800s, it was not unusual to walk into a general store and see dozens of window hangers, wall posters, flyers and displays. The advertising “noise” level was primarily sight-related, and the more colorful pieces got the most positive response.
Just as Madison Avenue today develops hard-hitting ad campaigns, manufacturers of the late 1800s did likewise. The earliest advertising generally illustrated only the product, later the product in use and, even later, the product, its uses and benefits. When it became apparent that a picture of a baby or young child attracted enormous attention, the trend swept America. The high mortality rate of the late 1800s caused the health of children to become a paramount concern, and advertisements leveraged the claim that their products made youngsters healthy! Examples of this are Mellin’s Foods and Gail Bordon’s Eagle Brand milk.
Advertisers swarmed noted illustrators for appealing art of babies and young children. Hood’s Sarsaparilla from Lowell, Massachusetts, produced calendars featuring pictures of children every year. Maude Humphrey, notable illustrator of the period, was in high demand, and her pieces today still command a premium price. Metropolitan Life Insurance was another advertiser that produced thousands of calendars and posters featuring children, which were especially poignant in light of the fact that the company sold a product which protected futures. Their calendars were daily reminders that the family was solidly protected by Metropolitan Life Insurance.
During the early 1900s, many new symbolic children appeared: the Fisk Tire Boy, Wool Soap Kids, Gold Dust Twins and the Swift Pig-Tail Girl, were all readily recognizable in their day. Several of these early children are still utilized today, for instance, Campbell Kids, the Morton Salt Girl, the Ceresota (Heckers) Flour Boy and Dutch Boy Paint. Even the Uneeda Boy still appears on millions of packages of Uneeda Biscuits!
In recent years, many major campaigns still used kids as a central theme. Oscar Meyer rose to prominence when the little boy sitting on the porch spelling B-O-L-O-G-N-A caught our eye. Northern Tissue fought for market share by creating an advertisement featuring a little girl taking the product into the bathroom and winking as she shut the door. Messages like these create a sweet memory in the public’s mind.
Effective advertising is said to “create an image or impression that encourages recall at point of purchase.” But during the late 1800s there was no radio or TV, only periodic printed pieces. The collective advertising wisdom of that era demanded wildly colorful graphics for maximum impact.
Included in this article are a few examples of several styles of children in advertising. It is interesting to study them and attempt to place yourself in the late 1800s or early 1900s and try to determine the message being communicated. Also, you might ask, how could anyone refuse to try the products these adorable children are selling?
You’ll probably notice three different approaches in these examples: kids with products, kids using products and kids as charming enhancements. If you pay particular attention to the Empire Soap poster showing well-dressed, African-American children on their way home from school, you may notice that the poster is an example of inspirational advertising and dates from 1884, just 18 years after the Civil War. A free poster was offered to those who sent in 50 labels from the advertised product. Empire Soap was already targeting a specific demographic!
Collecting posters and other advertising print mediums featuring children is not only interesting, but quite profitable. The high demand for quality examples of vintage advertising featuring children proves that kids in advertising continues to enchant and charm a wide audience.
Written by Audrey & Jerry Glenn, owners of Reminisce; reprinted with permission from Collectors’ Showcase (Jan./Feb. 1984). Audrey and Jerry Glenn are from New Jersey, and were collector dealers. Their mutual love of historical promotional graphics comes naturally. Audrey, a former teacher and history major (Wheaton), and Jerry, past Director of Sales Promotion and Planning for a major corporation, have collected graphics for 42 years.
Hilton Head Island
Summer Sundays with Gary Maurer
- Sundays at 7 p.m.
- A special family show for younger families at the Comedy Magic Cabaret.
- (843) 681-7757 or comedymagiccabaret.com
- July 1-August 6
- The magically musical story of a Mother, a Daughter, three possible Dads, and an unforgettable trip down the aisle!
- Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
- (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com
Public Days at the Heyward House Historic Center
- July 7: Nature & History
- July 14: Archaeology
- July 21: 19th Century Games
- 11 a.m.-noon
- 70 Boundary St.
- Reservations required.
- (843) 757-6293 or heywardhouse.org
A Summer Afternoon Book Launch Party
- July 15, 12-2 p.m.
- Lowcountry authors Patti Callahan Henry and Mary Kay Andrews
- Spartina 449 Flagship Store on Calhoun St.
Little Women: The Broadway Musical
- July 21-August 6
- The May River Theatre Co.
- Ulmer Auditorium at Bluffton Town Hall
- (843) 815-5581 or mayrivertheatre.com
Heyward House Restoration Ribbon Cutting Party
- July 30, 1-5 p.m.
- Live music from Lowcountry Boil, a beer truck, food trucks and raffles.
- 70 Boundary St.
- (843) 757-6293 or heywardhouse.org
Kid’s Lowcountry Raptor Summer Camp
- July 26, 1-3 p.m.
- Join Lila Arnold of Lowcountry Raptors, for a summer program full of education, fun, and maybe an owl or two.
- Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage
- 10782 S Jacob Smart Blvd., Ridgeland
- (843) 284-9227 or morrisheritagecenter.org
Public Animal Encounters
- Oatland Island Wildlife Center
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
- Live, animal encounter programs featuring four of Oatland’s star animal teachers.
- 711 Sandtown Rd.
- (912) 395-1212 or oatlandisland.org
First Friday Art March
- July 7, 6-9 p.m.
- A free, self-guided art tour of Savannah’s Victorian and Starland Districts hosted by Art Rise Savannah.
- (912) 376-9953 or artmarchsavannah.com
62nd Annual Beaufort Water Festival
- July 14-23
- Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, Beaufort
- (843) 524-0600 or bftwaterfestival.com
By John Samuel Graves, II
My wife, Sandra, who paints under the name R. S. Perry, is not a native Blufftonian, but she married a Bluffton boy, (me!), John Samuel Graves, III, grandson of the original owner of the Graves House on Calhoun Street. My grandmother, Cora Jane Guilford Graves, and Luke Peeples’ mother, Maud Guilford Peeples, were sisters. Both were daughters of George Sewell Guilford, builder of the Graves House and also the first mayor of the newly re-incorporated Bluffton in 1903.
Sandra belongs to a long, notable line of people historically drawn to and connected with Bluffton: visual artists, writers, composers and musicians. She has produced some remarkable works in all these fields: two books of songs, numerous poems, a scholarly book on the American composer Charles Ives and hundreds of paintings, as well as six published book covers. She has also frequently provided pet portraits for the Humane Society’s fundraising auctions.
The book covers shown on these pages for “The Collected Works of Luke Peeples, Volumes One and Two” were illustrated by my wife.
Luke Peeples was a lifelong resident of Bluffton who transcribed Negro spirituals and collected and arranged various other types of music. His brother, Andrew Peeples, was the “Bluffton Boy” author whose stories have frequently appeared in The Bluffton Breeze.
Since Volume One of Luke’s books contains spirituals, Sandra used a church setting for its cover. The cover of Volume Two illustrates Luke’s home on Calhoun Street in Bluffton. The house collapsed many years ago, so an old photograph provided a reference for the art.
Sandra’s artwork demonstrates the fact that art is universal, regardless of when or where it is produced. Her works attempt to record and interpret her experiences using oil, watercolor and acrylics. A good representation of her various works can be found on her website, cronesinger.com.
Her art also appears on the cover of my songbook, “A Star Fell and Other Songs.” The lyrics for nine of the songs in that book are derived from poems my mother, Florence Rubert Graves, wrote when she lived in Bluffton. Some of my mother’s poems have also appeared in The Bluffton Breeze.
Copies of “The Collected Works of Luke Peeples” and “A Star Fell and Other Songs” can be found at Stock Farm Antiques in Bluffton.
My mother’s name was Marilyn. Marilyn Deluca. Her mother’s name was Josephine (MomMom, to me) and my grandfather’s name was Bill (or PopPop). They were both full-blooded Italians who raised their family in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.
My mom had two sisters: Carol was the oldest and Judith was the youngest. MomMom and PopPop worked hard, loved dachshunds and each owned a Pinto (yes, the car)—one was ugly yellow and the other ugly green. There was a piano downstairs and MomMom could play pretty well, actually, but she was always busy movin’, workin’ and cookin’.
My father was playing in a band when my parents met. I was born when my mother was 18, and she had sung in high school just a couple times. I think my Dad’s mother wore black to their wedding since his parents were just a hair conservative. My mom’s parents seemed a little more loose, though I’m sure there were some stressful times in that little house with one bathroom.
When we moved to St. Thomas in the USVI, my mother decided she was gonna become a rock star. My father found the band dudes: Donnie Edwards and a drummer with long curly locks named Chipper (ironic?). They started playing local clubs like Fat City in ‘77-’78 on that little island in the Caribbean. Music was always playing in the house, and when my mom wasn’t waiting tables, I remember she used to put me to bed singing the Eagles’ tune “Desperado.”
My Dad never really sang much, he just loved great instrumentalists like Jackson Brown’s band and The Grateful Dead (I sound like a broken record to some of you, I’m sure), and my mom was into Heart, Blondie and The Police. Later on, they both dug Alice in Chains and Lenny Kravitz after my brother Gavan and I discovered them on MTV. But, my mom did throw one of my Ozzy tapes in the trash. Yes, that really happened.
My parents played in a band most weekends—they worked all the time. When we moved to this area, they formed a hip band right away called “Holly Hilton and the Rockets.” My mom was pretty cocky up there. She would eyeball people and talk to the crowd. Everyone loved my mom. She also waited tables and people loved her rap while she was working. My mom WAS the party. See? I can’t help who I am. None of us can. We are a product of our family.
One time I had a party when my parents went to play in Augusta. They came home and the place was trashed. My mom slapped me in the face, and I got a job the next day bussin’ tables at The Little Venice on Hilton Head Island. She was tough, man. She never sugar-coated anything she said.
I became closer to my mom right before she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1998. Sometimes, I would drive over to her house and we would just hang out or she would cut my hair before she had to go to work. My parents were hippies in St. Thomas and my dad still is.
One memory that sticks out in my mind is an instance when we performed somewhere on Hilton Head around 1995. We were up on stage, eyes glazed, playing a Grateful Dead tune, I’m sure. People dug the band we had back then, but we were a bit introverted, as far as performers go.
My mom came in and sang a song with us that night. The crowd became electric—jumping up and hooting. She blew us off the stage. It was a whole different kind of connection to a crowd. In a small bar, she ruled.
Lesson learned. She passed away a few years later.
Thanks for wakin’ me up, Mom.
Written by Jevon Daly.
Christmas songs. Don’t jam them before Thanksgiving. Don’t play them after Christmas. But, yes, you can leave the tree up till February. You can drink egg nog almost all year round (unless you’re me, your favorite asthmatic). But be careful with those Christmas ditties. Some people don’t like them. Children all around the world wait all year to wake up early that morning and open presents, while Bing Crosby sings on the radio (computer, phone … whatever). So what are some of the most sought after versions of these songs? This is my mission. This is my passion. I love Christmas music.
I love “little” Michael too. I would argue with anyone that when Michael was 9 or 10 he was the finest singer the world had ever known. Who you gonna put against him? Stevie Wonder? Tina? Aretha? Miley? Just put the Jackson 5 Christmas album on and enjoy. 1970 production at its finest! Lush, cheesy string arrangements, haunting reverby vocals by the other brothers and Michael’s little tenor voice as the cherry on top. Funk music is a great style for these sometimes-sleepy Christmas songs. Not that “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” has ever been called sleepy, but boom shakalaka! Michael soars on the vocals, backed by Jermaine, Tito and company. Bass and drums are super greasy and poppy. It’s like P-Funk doin’ the Chipmunks. Ok, maybe that just rolls off the tongue nicely, but I think you’re getting what I’m throwin’ down here.
Skip over “The Christmas Song.” It’s sung well, but it must be Tito or Ricky or one of the other brothers. Johnny? I dunno. But it ain’t My Michael! It kinda drags –”chestnuts roasting blah blah blah” – but there’s a cool refrain of “Jingle Bells” at the end. Ok, cute. Then comes “Up on the Housetop,” again with my main man front and center. This isn’t “Thriller,” but it’s a strong version. You can almost smell the frankincense. I bet the boys got plenty o’ presents after they rocked this one. Or maybe they got spanked. Who really cares? There is a quasi-rap in the middle of this one. It’s nasty! The boys are spittin’ fire and when Michael sings the refrain it makes you question all of the other versions of this yuletide gem. These boys can really throw down on some Christmas.
One of the creepiest Christmas songs ever brings us to the end of Music Town. “Little Michael” takes it up a notch on this one. 5th gear singing. You try to hit these notes. The soul glows here on the bell solo in the middle of the tune. Maybe Santa has an afro. We may never really know. Just make sure you are a good little Blufftonian this year and make sure to leave Santa some cookies with milk. This guy can’t drink milk, so be thinking of me when you are sucking down the nog and listening to the pre- red leather Michael and his brothers.
Making positive lifestyle changes is key to long-term success.
A new, healthier lifestyle is often at the top of people’s resolutions for 2018. According to David Simcox, owner of CrossFit May River, one of the biggest misconceptions about shaping up your lifestyle is that you need to change everything all at once.
“I think most fitness resolutions fail because people go from doing nothing to thinking they need to do everything,” he said. “We encourage a gradual change to your lifestyle. We ease people over a period of time, and it’s more effective.”
Before jumping right into a gym membership or a rigorous workout your body isn’t prepared for, start small. Take your dog on longer walks, opt for the stairs and drink more water. Look to programs like CrossFit’s nutritional coaching, which introduces a new, healthy habit every two weeks. Nutrition is the foundation to a healthy life.
“You’re not looking at a quick fix to drop 20 pounds in time for a wedding or something,” David said. “We want to encourage a healthy lifestyle you’ll keep for the next 20 years.”
Instead of making drastic and uncomfortable changes to your lifestyle, David suggests asking yourself, “Where do I want to be in a year, or two years?”
Then work on how to take baby steps to make that goal a reality.
CrossFit May River is located at 20 Sable Dr. Open Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Saturday 9-10 a.m. For more information, call (954) 326-8760 or visit crossfitmayriver.com.
The Great American Eclipse of 2017 is one for the history books. It’s been 38 years since the last total eclipse of the sun passed through the Continental United States. The last total solar eclipse to pass from one coast of the U.S. to the other occurred nearly a century ago in 1918. On August 21, the eclipse finishes its sweeping transcontinental tour through South Carolina before heading out over the Atlantic Ocean.
Locals and eclipse-chasers alike will gather in the Upstate and parts of the Lowcountry to experience this spectacle as the moon passes in front of the sun. Some areas of South Carolina will experience as much as 2 minutes and 38 seconds of totality. In Greenville, darkness will last 2 minutes and 8 seconds; Columbia will experience 2 minutes and 30 seconds of darkness; and, in Charleston, the moon will completely block the sun for 1 minute, 40 seconds. The temperature will suddenly drop, the wind will stop, and birds will stop singing.
From coast to coast—Oregon to South Carolina—the eclipse will cross the U.S. in just 94 minutes. Moving at an average speed of 1,472 mph, the moon’s shadow will enter South Carolina at 2:36 p.m. EDT and leave the Atlantic coast at 2:49 p.m. EDT. The path of totality is only 60-70 miles wide, but those outside the path can still see a partial eclipse with proper viewing glasses.
If you don’t see the eclipse this year, don’t worry; you won’t have to wait another century until the next one. A total solar eclipse will visit North America again on April 8, 2024.
Eclipse Viewings and Events
Those in Beaufort County, including Bluffton, Hilton Head Island and Beaufort, will experience a partial eclipse with the moon covering more than 90 percent of the sun.
As spectacular as this view will be, it’s only about a two-and-a-half-hour drive up to Charleston, where you can see the total solar eclipse. Leading up to this historical happening, Charleston will hold several events, including dramatic readings of Annie Dillard’s essay “Total Eclipse,” a baseball game, yoga and more. Also in Charleston, the eclipse can be viewed from Pier 101 on Folly Beach, the Citadel Mall, Isle of Palms, and aboard the USS Yorktown. View the Holy City’s eclipse event calendar at charlestoncvb.com.
Library branches throughout Beaufort County will be giving away special eclipse viewing glasses to people who attend eclipse programming either on the day of or prior to August 21. Local branches will screen NASA’s live coverage of the eclipse starting at 11:45 a.m. and other scheduled events include building pinhole projectors for eclipse viewing and building model solar systems. beaufortcountylibrary.org.
The path of totality will cross over mostly rural counties west and south of Asheville, North Carolina—including parts of Clay, Graham, Swain, Macon, Jackson and Transylvania—entering at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and exiting at Transylvania County, then passing directly over Greenville, South Carolina.
August 18-21, the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia will host a weekend-long celebration with activities, exhibitions and shows all leading up to solar eclipse totality which occurs at 2:41 p.m. on Monday, including a special appearance by South Carolina native and Apollo 16 astronaut, Gen. Charles Duke. Other special events scheduled in the “Famously Hot” city include an Eclipse Geocaching Cointrail, the South Carolina Philharomic’s Star Wars Musiclipse concert and an Eclipse Drive-In Movie at the Historic Columbia Speedway in nearby Cayce. Visit totaleclipsecolumbiasc.com for details on these and other happenings.
South Carolina cities experiencing a total eclipse include Anderson, Cayce, Charleston, Clemson, Columbia, Easley, Georgetown, Goose Creek, Greenville, Greenwood, Greer, Hanahan, Irmo, Kingstree, Laurens, Lexington, Manning, Mauldin, McClellanville, Mount Pleasant, Newberry, North Charleston, Orangeburg, Santee, St. George, Seneca, Simpsonville, Summerville, Sumter and West Columbia.
A partial solar eclipse will be seen in Aiken, Bluffton, Beaufort, Florence, Gaffney, Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach, North Augusta, Rock Hill, Spartanburg. However, special viewing glasses must be worn to see it.
Know Before You Go
- Heavy traffic may be a concern, so plan accordingly.
- Designate a safe and legal place to park during the eclipse; do not stop on the roads and interstates to watch.
- If you’re driving during the eclipse, be extra aware of other drivers. Some people may be surprised and may become distracted or disoriented by the sudden darkness.
- In the event of an emergency, be prepared for cell phone systems and emergency services to be overwhelmed.
- Never look at the sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device even while using eclipse glasses. Ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. Limited quantities of eclipse glasses will be available at multiple viewing sites, so get yours early!
- A solar filter must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, or camera lens. To view totality, the filter must be quickly removed when the total phase begins.
1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat
Handful of flat-leaf Italian parsley
Red pepper, diced small
½ cup Secret Imperial Crab Cake Mix
Handful of fresh bread crumbs
Remoulade sauce to taste
1 gallon mayonnaise
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. white pepper
2 Tbsp. lemon pepper
1 Tbsp. curry powder
2 ½ Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 zest of lemon
3 dashes of Tabasco
1 red pepper to every 2 lbs. of crab meat
Put jumbo lump crab in a mixing bowl. Crack egg over the crabmeat and scatter parsley over the mixture. Add diced red pepper, Secret Imperial Crab Cake Mix, fresh bread crumbs (not too much) and mix gently by hand making sure the egg is well incorporated. Cover mixture and let it sit in the refrigerator for approximately one hour. Mold crab cakes into preferred size and brown on each side until done. Top with remoulade sauce to taste. Enjoy!
Recipes Courtesy of
By Randolph Stewart
Pools serve different purposes for different people—an aesthetic for the yard and enhancement of the architecture and landscaping, a centerpiece for outdoor cookouts and entertaining friends, for family fun, exercise and therapeutics, or simply a place to cool off in the summer heat.
They have been around for years and played an important part of society since Greek and Roman times. About 2,500 year ago, in addition to enhancing the beauty of one’s property, pools were used for bathing, health, socializing and religious events. The military even used them to physically train for war and the philosopher Plato felt children should learn to swim as part of their education. This still holds so true.
Pools became a status symbol after World War II through Hollywood movies. Some can remember Esther Williams gracefully diving and swimming across Cypress Gardens pool, or the “cement pond” made famous by the Beverly Hillbillies. As Americans became more affluent, pools became commonplace. Today the National Swimming Pool Foundation estimates that there are 10 million pools in the United States, as we fulfill our dreams of taking a backyard vacation. We sat down with a long time friend, Nick Fasciano, of Year Round Pools, to see the various styles of pools and their many uses.
Complimenting the classical architecture, this formal pool is centered on the home, enjoyed from inside, on the rear porch or on the deck. Reflecting the house, or glowing at night with lights on, this pool is for both aesthetics as well as enjoyment and entertainment. The extra wide spillway on the heated spa, which also heats the pool, creates a vanishing edge and the relaxing sound of a waterfall.
The design of the pool was no accident. Located close to the home, it welcomes you from inside as well as outside with the intimate lounging and dining areas. Note the orientation with the oak trees, the raised spa and spillway at one end, and the linear shape for swimming laps or just cooling off while sunning on the deck. The wide landing underwater is called a sun ledge. This is great for sitting and cooling or playing with kids while being partially underwater. The beige color of the pool surface is called sandy beach. It is one of the Pebble Tec products that is replacing marcite for longevity which has a variety of subtle colors and is easy on your feet.
Tucked close to the house and surrounded by landscaping, creating privacy, this inviting pool becomes an extension of the interior space and plays with the natural environment. It has a modified beach entry, meanders along the rear of the home and is anchored by the stone-covered spa and spillway, just steps away from the master bedroom.
Reminiscent of Roman times, this pool surrounded by Tuscan columns is a symmetrical extension of the architecture of the home. The vanishing edge of the pool creates the illusion that the pool is one with the ocean for those sitting inside the home or lounging outside on the terrace. There are deck jets, which send streams of water arching from the deck into the pool when turned on. This completes the aesthetic and creates a calming sound.
The design of this pool creates an outdoor living room that embraces nature. The natural stone terrace, the clad raised spa and the freeform pool terminating at the outdoor fireplace indeed makes this an extension of the home. With our wonderful seasons here in the Lowcountry, it can be enjoyed for most of the year. The old shading oaks casting dappled light, and the water and marsh beyond, give the pool a sense of being part of the natural environment. One can imaging sitting under the trees and stars at night with the pool light on, hearing an occasional blowing sound from a surfacing dolphin passing by. This space is perfect for private family enjoyment or having a group of friends over for an outdoor dinner party.
The high kicked-up mansard roof of this screen enclosure creates a volume of space that becomes an outdoor living room around this freeform pool. Surrounded by landscaping both inside as well as outside, the screening creates a subtle sense of privacy while still being able to enjoy the views of the lagoon and golf course. The raised spa is tucked away and the rock waterfall acts as the centerpiece for the pool, which can be seen from inside the home. This gives the entire space a calming ambiance and gives the home the sense of being part of nature.
The geometric shape of the vanishing edge is a response to this pool being on a point jutting out into the creek and marsh that is facing three sides of this outdoor living space. The views here change as the tide changes. The lowered planters and spillway, with its waterfall, is in response to the building code. This allows the view to not be interrupted from the home or on the terrace, as it is raised off the ground five feet. Adjacent to the spa in the foreground (out of the shot) is a Brazilian fire pit, centered on the family and billiard room.
This pool is a masterpiece of design. Swim under the light grotto with the spa above spilling over as a waterfall. Both appear to defy gravity. At the other end of the pool is a freeform Pebble Tec sun deck, and just outside the great room is a small rectangular pool and spillway with a fountain that is centered on the room.
With so many different types popping up in so many different locations, it might seem like pools have always been in here in the United States. But that is not the case. The first pool in America dates back to 1907 at the Philadelphia Racquet Club. It was constructed by the builder of the Brookline Bridge, the Roebling Construction Company. The first pool to cross the Atlantic Ocean, literally, was installed on the White Star Lines cruise ship, Adriatic, also in 1907. And just one century later, we have an abundance of pools in all different styles, from traditional to modern, tropical to Tuscan, right here in the Lowcountry. For more information, contact Ted [email protected].
The Lowcountry is known for having provided South Carolina and America with some of our most colorful patron fathers and heroes. Although there may be others deserving mention, one of Oldfield’s proprietors, and the legends surrounding his participation in our Revolutionary War, have captured our attention. William Hazzard Wigg, having inherited Oldfield from his grandfather, was a prosperous and progressive planter.
Editor’s Note: The following article was compiled from excerpts of “A Brief Memoir of the Life, and Revolutionary Services, of Major William Hazzard Wigg, of South Carolina” Washington: C. Alexander, Printer, 1860.
“Major William Hazzard Wigg, the subject of this memoir, and the grandsire of the memorialist, was born in the town of Beaufort, in the then colony of South Carolina, on the 24th of November, in the year 1746. His ancestors emigrated from England, amongst the earliest settlers of the country.
At the commencement of the Revolutionary struggle, Major Wigg, then in the prime of life, received the commission of a captain of cavalry, in the militia service of South Carolina. He enjoyed all the advantages of talents, education, fortune, and social position which were requisite to give weight and influence to his services in the cause which he had embraced. He entered upon the war with characteristic energy, and discharged the various duties of his position with zeal, fidelity, and devotion.
The first military service of any magnitude, upon which it is known he was engaged, was under General Howe, of North Carolina, who, in the summer of 1778, led the disastrous expedition of the Southern Army into the territory of East Florida, whence less than a third part of his brave troops ever returned.
In the next year, we find him serving under General Lincoln, upon the Savannah River. He was also present at the Battle (or, more properly skirmish,) of Coosahatchie, (or Tulifinni, as it is sometimes called) at the Battle of Stono: at the siege of Savannah; and finally, at the siege of the City of Charleston, which capitulated to the enemy on the 12th of May, 1780, where his military services in the field were concluded; for upon that occasion, he was surrendered, together with the whole of the American Army, prisoners of war; in which condition he remained, varied only in manner, as will be hereafter related, until triumph finally crowned the heroic struggle of the Colonies.
Besides these several services, which of themselves, judging from their respective dates and localities, must have kept Major Wigg continuously employed, from the commencement of the war up to the period of his captivity, he is believed to have taken part in many, if not all, of the numerous conflicts that occurred upon the seaboard of South Carolina, and which has given a distinctive character to the war into which the country was plunged. The long line of undefended southern sea coast, in both of the Anglo-American wars, afforded advantages to the assailants, which, in neither, were neglected—hence the large number of, (so to speak,) amphibious affairs, or battles, partly upon land, and partly upon the water, which characterized both of those wars.
Major Wigg is traditionally represented as having been one of the bravest of men; and he is also remembered as one of the most impulsive, uncompromising, and self-sacrificing, patriots of the illustrious age in which he lived. The love of country, was one of the cherished sentiments of his mind, and the achievement of the freedom, and independence of his country was, in his estimation, the great mission of his life —hence, no sacrifices could deter, no labors could discourage, and no dangers could dismay him. He freely periled life and fortune upon the cause of his affections, and joyfully met the hazard which brought success to it, although attended by fatal consequences to himself.”
July 4, 1776, was a day of great celebration for Planter Wigg. The Declaration of Independence was adopted and a colt was born at Oldfield. Appropriately named “Independence,” the colt was to become Wigg’s favorite horse and his partner in adventure. As war approached, Planter Wigg, (owner of Wigg’s Bluff, now known as Oldfield) being a man of stature and known for his patriotism, was appointed an officer and was to serve with the artillery during the war.
In one adventure, “It is related of Major Wigg, that on another occasion, while the bearer of dispatches, upon arriving at the public ferry on the Port Royal River, he found at hand no means of crossing, but sooner than submit to any delay upon his important errand, he swam over on horseback with Independence. The Port Royal River is a deep, rapid and turbulent arm of the ocean, where the swiftness of the current, and the ferocity of the terrible shark, have proved sufficient, in all time past, to deter every other man from the same fearful exploit.”
In action at Coosawahatchie, Col. John Laurens, a great friend of the Wiggs and a patriot in his own right, was wounded and lost his mount and taken prisoner. Wigg hid in waiting while a column of 4,000 British troops passed, and the prisoner column followed. Wigg and Independence sprang into action. Wigg reached down and grabbed his wounded comrade, slung him over the saddle, and, with Independence, in keeping with his reputation of being the fastest and strongest horse in Beaufort, carried Col. Laurens to safety.
Wigg lost Independence to the British when he was taken prisoner at Charles Towne. While a prisoner, Major Wigg openly gave a fervent speech against his British captors, boosting the morale of those imprisioned. As punishment, the British arrived at Wiggs Bluff and burned it to the ground, only strengthening Major Wigg’s resolve to fight on harder and win America’s independence and rid the land of the English army. As Charles Towne surrendered, Major Wigg and 39 others were put aboard the ship Pack Horse as prisoners. The ship sailed for New York but never made it. During the night, the “colonials” overpowered their captors and sailed to the nearest North Carolina port, securing their freedom.
While making his way home, Major Wigg saw a British “dragoon” (said to be under Turlington the British officer made famous by his cruelties in the movie “The Patriot”) riding his beloved horse and whistled. Recognizing Wigg’s short shrill signal, Independence reared up, throwing off his rider and galloped to the Major. Mounting quickly, Major Wigg made good his escape and was on his way to back to Wiggs Bluff.
Major Wigg died in 1798. Upon his death in 1807, Independence was buried with military honors somewhere within Oldfield.
Our country is built on the freedoms won for us by the heroes of every generation.
By Fran Heyward Bollin
On Sunday night, August 27, 1893, the eye of the huge, slow-moving Category 3 hurricane landed just south of Savannah, ripping through South Carolina’s coastal islands with a 10- to 12-foot storm surge on a high tide.
Estimates of the death toll ranged up to 3,500. No one could count all of the bodies that washed up in the marshes, drowned in the trees, were killed in their homes and suffered in the aftermath from starvation, dehydration, injuries, exposure and disease. At the time it was the nation’s worst-ever natural disaster.
It marked the first time the country realized that a cyclone, as it was called in those days, could kill people on land as well as at sea.
The county’s population was 92 percent black at the time, mostly former slaves, their children and grandchildren. Many on the islands lived in wooden cabins, several with dirt floors. Their diets consisted of what they could raise on the land – livestock, corn, sweet potatoes, collard greens, rice, okra – and what they could catch in the creeks – oysters, fish, crabs, shrimp. They traveled by foot, ox cart, horse and wagon, sailboats and bateaux.
In those days, the Weather Bureau had no way of knowing about offshore storms except through ships’ crews when they came into port. The forecasters had no way to notify coastal residents that they might be blasted by a hurricane, except by mailing postcards, flying storm flags from the top of buildings and sending telegraph messages. Some Savannah and Charleston residents got the word that a storm might be coming, but most of the people knew nothing about the dangers they faced until they heard the wind howling and saw the creeks rising over their banks.
Growing up in Beaufort, my late husband, Bill Marscher, discovered old newspapers about what happened in the basement of an old house on The Point in Beaufort when he was about 12 years old. Later, over a period of about 50 years, he collected photographs, diaries, journals and correspondence from those who had lived through the hurricane. He followed up with research in the Library of Congress, the Boston and New York libraries, the American Red Cross headquarters, the U.S. Weather Service and other sources.
Then, more than a century after that hurricane – after I retired from The Island Packet – we sorted his massive information, did a bit more research at the National Hurricane Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and wrote “The Great Sea Island Storm of 1893,” which Mercer University Press published in 2004.
Various personal accounts described the horrors of that Sunday night and St. Helena Island’s Penn Center has an even greater collection of survivors’ stories.
Keep in mind there were 20-foot waves, or bigger, on top of the storm surge of 10 to 12 feet deep on top of the normal high tide.
One St. Helena Island man used ox chains to save his home. He put the chains out one window of his small cabin, wrapped them around the trunk and put them back through another window and tied them together.
Viola Chaplin, a Penn School student, said the following in her paper “The Cyclone:”
“I will never forget as long as I live, how our island was overflowed with water, and we had nowhere to look for help, but [to] our Lord.
“Not one of us had the least idea that such a thing could happen.
“Our island was almost submerged. It was 12 feet deep in some places. Houses were shaken and floated by in the water, and there was a violent commotion everywhere.
“One man took his wife and children on his back, one by one, and put them up in a big oak tree and there they remained until morning.
“I heard of another man who was taking his family in a large oak tree in the same way. He took his children first, thinking that his wife could protect herself better than the little ones, but when he hurried back for her, there lay his poor wife, knocked dead by the fallen limbs of the trees. Wasn’t it sad?
“But I cannot tell all the sad things that happened that night before the wind changed and the tide ebbed.”i
Obviously, in a region so dependent on boats – boats for the phosphate business, boats for transportation and boats for fishing for food – the hurricane’s damage to boats and docks was devastating.
The region’s only significant wage-paying industry at the time – river phosphate mining – was wiped out. Its fleet in the Coosaw River consisted of 12 huge dredges, 11 wash boats, 10 tugboats, 107 flat barges and 95 tonging flats. It employed almost 3,000 workers.
As reported in the Savannah newspaper:
“On Monday after the storm, the scene [on the Coosaw River and the Sea Islands] beggared description.
“Looking down the Coosaw River … not a living object could be seen, not a craft afloat, but here and there appeared a blackened crane or barnacle-covered bottom of a barge or wash boat. The mining fleet, the pride and support of the people of this part of the state, lay wrecked and ruined in the marshes and woods along the shores for a distance of 12 miles.”
Among the hurricane’s casualties was the grand 272-foot steamship City of Savannah. On her way from Boston to Savannah, she lost power and washed up on a shoal just off Fripp Island in the teeth of the storm and immediately began to break apart. Fortunately, all 30 people on board were rescued. Today her boiler is a fishing drop called “The Wreck.”
As for Hilton Head Island, what happened there was unreported until mid-October almost two months after hurricane roared through. After an inspection of Hilton Head, Red Cross agent Dr. John MacDonald wrote the following:
“I found 304 families, 1,285 people, in need of assistance.
“Those whose corn was entirely destroyed by the salt water were still eating it, having nothing else. This accounts for much of the stomach trouble I found. I advised them to burn what was rotten and issued grits to them to replace it.
“With the exception of two wells … there is no water on either Hilton Head or Pinckney Island fit to drink, all of it being brackish.
“There are a great many cases of malaria of more or less acuteness, and a majority of the people are suffering from what I term ‘storm sickness,’ i.e., contusions, colds, rheumatism, etc., the effect of exposure.
“These people are destitute of bedding and wearing apparel, their houses in many cases being entirely washed away.
“Many people are sleeping in the open air on the ground.
“We need lumber, nails, hatchets and saws badly.”ii
Bluffton – on a high bluff as the name says – escaped the worst of the hurricane. It took plenty of wind damage to roofs and trees and boats, but the storm did not surge into what is now known as “Old Bluffton.”
No one from Savannah to Georgetown escaped the losses. The region’s fragile economy was destroyed. The people were left destitute, terrified and helpless. Those who had a little left tried to help those with nothing, but nobody had enough of anything.
Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross and president at the time, was appalled at the state and federal government’s indifference to the threat of a famine in the South Carolina Lowcountry. The state legislature adjourned without “making the slightest provision for the sufferers,” she said. The U.S. Congress specifically denied the request from the Red Cross for money to help. Garden seeds, tents and a couple of deep-draft boats came from federal departments, but everything else to help the stricken people had to be raised through private donations.
Fortunately, Clara Barton had spent a few months on Hilton Head Island during the Civil War and so was familiar with the lay of the land, the creeks and some of the people. She sort of knew what she was getting into when she agreed, at the age of 72, to take charge.
Relief and recovery was a long, arduous process that lasted almost a year. Clara had to appeal northern donors for cash, food, clothing and other supplies through newspapers across the entire eastern half of the United States. Then, when provisions came into Beaufort by train or steamboat, she shipped them by ox cart, rowboat or sailboat to the other islands.
The hurricane’s victims had to do the rebuilding themselves. One of the remnants of their effort was about 37 miles of drainage ditches on Hilton Head Island, dug to drain off the saltwater before they could plant food crops.
In the 122 years since that hurricane, this region has had some close calls and a few really unpleasant hurricane evacuations.
Still, it is the Great Sea Island Storm of 1893 that haunts coastal South Carolinians who know about it. The St. Helena Island minister’s ballad hints at the horror:
The Storm of 1893
‘Twas the twenty-seventh of August
In eighteen and ninety-three
The wind from the north did blowing
The people beginning to fear.
Oh the wind did blow so high
And de storm was all abroad
But yet we recognize in it
The wonderful power of God.
Was the mid-day of Sunday
The wind from the north did blow
The cyclone did come to rage us.
The people beginning to pray.
Have been four-hundred bodies
Have been washed ashore
The islands surrounded with sufferers
So God knows how many more.
Now we come to persuade you
Persuade you to come to Christ.
Cast all your sins upon him.
You’ll have everlasting life.
Actually, the dead totaled 2,000 or more, possibly as many as 3,500, counting those who died in the aftermath from injuries, starvation, malaria and other illnesses the Gullahs called “storm sickness.”
All of the lives of those lost will not be forgotten.
iArchives, Penn Community Services, St. Helena Island, South Carolina.
iiThe New York World, Oct. 19, 1893.
A Southern dish of black-eyed peas and rice historically eaten on New Year’s Day for good luck, the first written “receipt” for Hoppin’ John appeared in “The Carolina Housewife” (1847), written by Charlestonian Sarah Rutledge. The simple recipe called for one pound of bacon, one pint of peas and one pint of rice cooked in a single pot.
The African roots of the dish can be traced to the antebellum rice culture of the South Carolina Lowcountry, where peas and rice have been cooked together for centuries. Tradition dictates that a side of collard greens representing paper money be served with Hoppin’ John to ensure prosperity in the coming year. Several sources also suggest a penny or dime should be placed under the plate or in the dish itself for additional wealth.
While most experts agree on the history of Hoppin’ John, they often disagree on the cooking method and even the ingredients.
Daufuskie Island native, tour guide, historian, chef and Gullah Diva Sallie Ann Robinson, author of “Gullah Home Cooking the Daufuskie Way” and “Cooking the Gullah Way, Morning, Noon and Night,” dispels several myths regarding the recipe.
“I know you’ve got a lot of Northerners who make it with black-eyed peas. That is NOT a Southern tradition,” she said. “The traditional Southern peas for Hoppin’ John is red peas. You can quote me on that! Red peas. Some people call them cow peas; some people call them red peas or field peas. Traditionally, you would have to pick your peas.”
“Let me tell you the meat that was used,” Sallie Ann continued. “Some people used one or other and some people used a little of all. When I cook mine, I use a variety because it adds the true flavor. I use some ham hocks, some smoked neck bones and some pig tails. Some people put pig’s feet in it, but it varies. Some use fatback, hog maw—some people have even cooked it with chitlins. But those are true, traditional Carolina meats that they use in the dish.”
Sallie Ann’s recipe for Hoppin’ John is included in her third cookbook, but she carefully explained the traditional Daufuskie Island way to prepare this side dish, which was served immediately following New Year’s Eve Watch Night Services.
Recipe courtesy of Sallie Ann Robinson
I don’t wait until New Year’s to cook Hoppin’ John, but a lot of people will wait. I love it to the point, where I say, “Who promised me tomorrow?”
- Red Peas, Cow Peas or Field Peas
- Ham Hocks, Smoked Neck Bones, Pig Tails, Pig’s Feet, Fatback, Hog Maw and/or Chitlins
- White Rice
- Because the smoked meat is salted, what you have to do first is put whatever you are using in a pot to boil for about 30 minutes. What it does is draw off a lot of the salt that the meat holds. Then you pour it off.
- Then, you add more water, about halfway, and cook it some more for about another 30 minutes.
- Then, you add your peas. If you buy a package of peas and add water to it, you see a bunch of them float to the top. You have to pour that off—not all of it, but most of it. Cook the peas with the meat until the peas are done. By that time, the meat will be nice and tender as well, especially ham hock because ham hock takes a while to get tender.
- Once the peas are tender and seasoned—you have to add your salt and pepper to make sure it tastes good—then you wash your rice. You don’t just take your rice and pour it in there. Rinse your rice off twice. And then add the amount that would measure up to the peas to it.
- Stir it and turn the pot down from high to medium because at this point, as that rice swells, it will also stick. So, you have to make sure that you stir it on occasion, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Another way, the newer way, is instead of cooking it on top of the stove, once you add your rice and mix your peas in it, you can pour it into an aluminum half pan, cover it with foil, stick it in the oven and bake it for about 45 minutes. It cooks it really dry and you have to stir it on occasion, as well, because rice has to be stirred to cook even when you’re cooking it with the meat.
- Come back and stir it, even it off and put the foil back on it and let it cook for another 30-45 minutes, until your rice is done.
- Now, let me tell you this part. The meat you put in it makes it very flavorful. It’s really a nice texture. It’s not dry; it’s very flavorful.
To learn more about Sallie Ann Robinson and her cookbooks, sign up for cooking classes or inquire about catering, visit thegullahdiva.com. To make reservations for Sallie Ann’s Native Gullah Tour, contact Tour Daufuskie at (843) 842-9449 or visit tourdaufuskie.com.
One local pharmacist honors the true spirit of medicine, one
customer at a time.
Bluffton pharmacist Jim Sauter is a throwback to simpler times: a good man who knows his business and does it for all the right reasons.
Newcomers to the area might patronize the same Walgreens or CVS where they got their prescriptions filled back home, but Blufftonians who are “in the know” use Jim. Bluffton Pharmacy, his unassuming shop on Highway 46 in Old Town, has received the “Best of Bluffton” voter award for many years running. Local residents appreciate Bluffton Pharmacy’s great prices, top-notch customer service, unique products and independent ownership that keeps money in the local economy. However, underlying all that is Jim’s genuine desire to help people.
While this interview was being conducted, a woman came in asking, “What can you do for stinky feet?” Jim picked an old-timey box of powder off the shelf and said, “This has been around since the pharaohs.”
The woman looked at the price and noted that it would cost more than its value to ship it to her son in Florida, whereupon Jim suggested she take a picture of it and tell him to find a community pharmacy in his area because the Walmart wouldn’t carry it. He then advised that the son take off his socks more often to allow his feet to breathe, and that if they were really that stinky he probably had some kind of fungal infection going on and should “do something about it soon.”
The whole exchange was typical of the kind of service you get at Bluffton Pharmacy. With no thought whatsoever to his own bottom line, Jim wholeheartedly dispensed the best advice he knew to give. This is why he is one of the most universally respected and appreciated businesspeople in Bluffton. The Bluffton Breeze recently caught up with this modest pharmacist at his place of business to learn more about his background, methods and philosophy.
Breeze: How did you get into the pharmacy business?
Jim Sauter: My grandfather was a pharmacist in upstate New York; he graduated in 1902. My dad, who passed away last December, was a physician, and my mom was a nurse. I decided I was going to follow in my dad’s footsteps, but he actually discouraged me from going to medical school. This was in 1976. He said that too much government intervention and private pay insurance companies were making it unpleasant to practice, so he encouraged me to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps instead.
I went to pharmacy school, graduated in 1981 and was practicing in the Charlotte area, but in ‘88 I saw an ad in the paper by someone who wanted to open a pharmacy in Bluffton. I interviewed and got the job. Then, after less than a year, he asked me to buy him out.
Breeze: What was it like being a pharmacist in Bluffton then?
Jim: It was very quiet, very slow. This was an ideal fit because I felt like practicing pharmacy in a small-town environment would give me the opportunity to make a difference. We gave a lot of things away.
Breeze: Do you remember any specific occasions when you were able to help someone?
Jim: I do remember one situation. I got a call from a mother who was in a panic because her child had swallowed some medications. I told her to meet me here immediately, then I went through Bluffton doing 60 in a 30 mph zone. When I pulled up to the front of the store, there were four police cars behind me. I said, “Guys, I’ve got a child poisoning,” and they just drove away. We gave the girl Ipecac and warm water and made her vomit in the sink. Then I sifted through it and found the tablets. She was fine.
Breeze: What is it like practicing pharmacy here today?
Jim: It’s just a whole different environment. We are constantly being chased by the proverbial hounds chomping at our heels. I have discouraged my son from going into pharmacy for the same reason my dad discouraged me from becoming a doctor. It’s a lot more difficult now to be successful, but not because we have competition down the street. If anything, that helps us because our prices are so much more competitive. I think that’s why we’ve been in business 30 years.
Breeze: How are you able to offer lower prices?
Jim: I’ve always been very service-oriented, very conscious of what I charge my patients. It’s more important to me that you get your prescription than it is that I make a big chunk of money at it. I literally would like to treat people the way I wish I could be treated.
Breeze: People without insurance can’t be running to the doctor for every little thing. It seems like asking the advice of a pharmacist is free and often a good way to solve simple issues with over-the-counter and home remedies.
Jim: That’s what I’m all about: helping you avoid spending more money than you need to, but at the same time making sure you are doing things that are in your best interest. What’s really rewarding is when people tell me, “Jim, I trust you more than I trust my doctor or anyone else in the medical field. What’s your opinion on this?” I’m grateful for that kind of confidence, and I don’t take it lightly.
Another very important role I pride myself on is being able to provide products that you can’t get anywhere else. Like that lady who just came in looking for a certain type of syringe, but they don’t have it at Walgreens. There are quite a number of products on my shelves that we have special-ordered for people. Big box stores are very in tune with how long it takes to sell a certain item, and if they don’t think they can sell it quickly, they won’t stock it. But we don’t follow that kind of criteria. If you want a certain kind of deodorant, we’ll keep it for you. We do custom orders and custom compounding, and we’re big on pets, so we do custom things for them as well.
Breeze: What is custom compounding?
Jim: Let’s say you need to take a certain medication, but it upsets your stomach. We can take the active ingredient and put it in a different delivery form, such as a topical application. We’ve been experts in custom compounding for years, but now everybody’s doing it.
Breeze: What is your best health advice?
Jim: Be very aware of your diet and consider vitamin supplements. That’s one of my most important recommendations. I take about 10 different vitamins a day. People too often don’t take care of themselves. In today’s world, you don’t even have to get out of your car to get a cup of coffee, but we don’t have a drive-through and we never will. If you can’t walk in here, chances are you have a cell phone. You can call me and I’ll bring it out to your car. But I want to look at you. I want to see how you’re doing. This isn’t a one-shot deal.
You can always find The Breeze at Bluffton Pharmacy. Bluffton Pharmacy is located at 167 Bluffton Rd. For more information, contact (843) 757-4999 or visit blufftonpharmacy.org.
By Michele Roldán-Shaw
Chef Charlie Sternburgh could be the poster child for enthusiasm and determination.
Years ago, Chef Sternburgh was working in an area restaurant. The head chef left the job unexpectedly before opening night. Without any formal culinary training, Chef Sternburgh courageously walked into the kitchen and set up shop.
What he brought to the table was a love for cooking. His father, a butcher, and his grandmother instilled this love in him. He honed his skills and developed a following. He decided to open The May River Grill.
The May River Grill opened in 2007, transforming what was once a gas station into a cozy, uncluttered and inviting room with an open kitchen. The tables are far enough apart that you couldn’t straighten a fellow diner’s napkin even if you felt the need to do so.
The real estate mantra “location, location, location” is not lost here. Streets lined with enormous trees, dripping with Spanish moss and history, adorn the historic town of Bluffton, with its galleries, antique shops, historic homes and churches. The downtown section sits on a high bluff overlooking the pristine May River. Picturesque is an understatement. Majestic comes closer to describing the view.
A walk around Boundary and Calhoun streets, and all the tiny side streets inbetween, is a good way to work up an appetite for Chef Sternburgh’s menu. The fresh seafood offerings are many: Shrimp aglioe olio (garlic and olive oil), crispy oysters with horseradish cream, seafood curry, and seafood-stuffed salmon. The restaurant’s oyster supplier is the Bluffton Oyster Company, which has been shucking oysters for nearly a century. The classic dishes we are all a little hesitant to admit we enjoy are not forgotten on the menu. The veal Marsala, crispy duck and sautéed calf’s liver have a safe haven here.
Quality service is another reason the regular clients return time after time.
“They appreciate having a rapport with the same wait staff person they had on their previous visit,” Chef Sternburgh says. “Teamwork is key.” Friendly, attentive and knowledgeable seem like essential attributes in a wait staff, yet many restaurants don’t seem to meet the criteria.
The favorite dessert at May River Grill is chocolate mousse in an oatmeal crunch basket. All the desserts are made from scratch daily, and I’m happy the mousse is presented in a basket, which makes it easier to take home an extra one!
CARRIE B. HIRSCH of Hilton Head has broad experience in the culinary arts. Carrie wrote this article for South Carolina Living Magazine, October 2009.
SHRIMP AGLIO E OLIO
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 medium ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
5 basil leaves, julienned
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup water
In a small bowl, combine to create:
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon paprika
In a large skillet, heat olive oil (not extra virgin as it can be too sharp) and minced garlic. Sauté on medium-high heat until garlic begins to brown. Add shrimp and sauté one minute. Add tomatoes, basil, chicken broth, water, then sprinkle with seasoned salt; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Divide portions equally between four small bowls. Serve with crusty bread for dipping. To create ample portions to serve as a main course, double this recipe, then serve over angel hair pasta. Serves 4 as an appetizer.
Each serving provides 382.5 calories, 24.5 grams protein, 5.2 grams carbohydrate, 29.5 grams fat, 172.4 milligrams cholesterol, 1.4 grams fiber, 1.7 grams sugar, 583 milligrams sodium.
The most important lessons in music—and in life—can be learned from great teachers.
By Jevon Daly
A good music teacher is someone who’s going to push you. Someone who’s going challenge you. A good music teacher can be the deciding factor in your child having a long relationship with playing an instrument or not.
How many times have you heard, “I used to take piano lessons when I was young, but I got bored and quit?” Another good one is, “We just weren’t allowed to play the music WE liked.”
I have had several “teachers” over the years. My band director at Hilton Head High School was a super challenging guy capable of almost scaring you into practicing (I said almost). My band teacher when I started was a very different type of teacher. He invited me to perform a song with him when I was in fourth grade at our annual Christmas concert.
All types of ways to create interest in the different types of personalities our children possess. Tough love? Ease ‘em into it? There are many ways to be an inviting teacher or to scare kids off.
I was responsive to my calm teacher when I was young, but later I needed someone to treat me like the disruptive monster I became in class. It has always amazed me when I think back on the “I’m gonna quit” 17-year-old I was. But my Dad, maybe my greatest teacher, would not let me quit when I came home and told him I left the Marching Seahawks in 1990. Well, I never actually left. I just took a little hiatus ‘til my Dad got in my face about it. I went back to class the next day and apologized. And back to it I went.
Are music teachers paid as well as doctors and architects? Nah. No teachers are, last time I checked. And these are the people our kids spend the most time with from age six to 18. Probably more time than they spend with us.
I feel like nurturing the young musician is a really touchy subject. What do you do with the submissive flautist who is living in a broken home? Or the outgoing young trumpeter who can’t really hit those high notes? Great teachers can pull stuff out of our children that we can’t most of the time. Sad but true.
Most parents of kids I have taught over the years repeat the same thing over and over: “He’ll listen to YOU, not me.” And now that I have children, I get it. I have lived it. We as humans are always thinking about spreading our wings and flying somewhere we haven’t been yet. Looking for those new “feels.”
We have all been steered in the wrong direction by a salesman. But, in the world of the teacher, you see that even though children love their parents dearly, they have a need to prove themselves. Maybe dad or mom is tired when they get home from work and don’t want to listen to that screechy violin or out-of-tune oboe.
The next time you run into a teacher, tell ‘em thanks.
Jevon Daly has been performing in the Lowcountry since 1986; first with the HHHS Marching Seahawks and now with a number of different local lineups, including Lowcountry Boil Bluegrass Band, Unicorn Meat, Shakey Bones, Silicone Sister, JoJo Squirrel and The Nicest Guys in the World. He has slept on floors whilst traveling the East Coast on tour with LCB, a group that has played here since 1997. A class clown, fiddler, hair metal enthusiast and self-proclaimed “Biggest Deadhead on Earth,” Jevon lives in Bluffton with his wife and three kids. To find out where he’s playing next, check out Jevon Daly or Slowcountry Tunes on Facebook.
Even though we may have the opportunity to enjoy our fireplaces just a few months out of the year, the smoke billowing from our Lowcountry chimneys evokes fond memories of families gathering after dinner to play games or watch movies together on a chilly February evening.
Fireplaces not only provide a warm focal point for the family, but often set the style and ambiance for the room. The mantle and surround can exude a cozy, rustic charm, amp up the interior with an ultra-contemporary vibe or radiate an elegant sophistication echoed throughout the house. Today, fireplaces are wood-burning, gas, electric or ethanol, and vary in style from the traditional, tall and classically elegant Rumford version developed in the late 1790s, to a contemporary see-through design that makes a statement. Fireplaces are common in living rooms and bedrooms, but in many neighborhoods, it is just as common to find them outdoors, complete with a kitchen, pizza oven and view of the marsh.
A decision to add a fireplace to a home is not simple (or cheap). The first decision to be made is whether or not a masonry fireplace is warranted, or if a pre-fabricated, factory-built one is the right option. When masons, architects and designers tackle this project, they are crafting a cornerstone of the home, integrating an architectural feature—or “megastructure” as our friend Ryan Skrak calls it—not just installing the less expensive “metal box” that may be more efficient, but certainly not as long lasting.
“A lot of people put in a metal box, but they don’t last because the Lowcountry has such a high density of salt air,” says Skrak, Masonry Master and Fireplace Expert, who has been building fireplaces all over the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire, including St. Simons Island, Savannah, Bluffton, Spring Island, Charleston and Kiawah Island. “A lot of people are told that it’s stainless steel, but that’s stainless, not rust-proof. It’s going to rust and then fall apart.”
Masonry fireplaces will more than likely experience several owners over their 100-year lifespan, whereas choosing a “metal box” shortens this period by 40 years. Whether homeowners decide to design their own fireplace with an expert or pick a prefab to match their home, find a purpose and personality that play well together.
Whether classic or contemporary, see-through fireplaces can be of real value, as they provide a two-for-one bonus. Dress up two rooms with a unique and stylish architectural structure, instead of just one. Consider designing them differently and rein in each room according to personal preference, or let the fireplace flow through both rooms cohesively.
In coastal Carolina, parties are planned around oyster roasts, Lowcountry boils and backyard barbeques, which is why an outdoor escape isn’t complete without a fire ring, sturdy square brick fire pit or patio with an outdoor fireplace.
“Fire pits and fireplaces are a great extension of your home. It promotes the beautiful idea of what we call ‘outdoor living,’ ” senior landscaper at Sunshine Hardscape, Landscape & Nursery explains. “Adding a fire pit or a fireplace to your yard also adds functionality and a focal point to your landscape, especially in the fall and winter months.”
A peanut butter stout, vanilla bean cream ale, peach ginger beer with lemon and a sangria saison are just a few of the concoctions crafted around town. But you wouldn’t know that or get to try these tasty brews unless you strode inside River Dog Brewing Co., Southern Barrel Brewing Co. or even Fat Patties, where brewers are coming up with craft beers unique to our Carolina coast.
“The guys that operate on the super small levels can do some unique boutique things,” reveals James Brown, the brewmaster at Salt Marsh Brewing, the new nanobrewery, which sits on the second story of Fat Patties, overlooking the booming burger joint. “We’re so small that we can be a little more nimble and try out a little more exotic ingredients and fermentation processes.”
Which is exactly why Brown teamed up with Nick Borreggine and Fat Patties to open Salt Marsh right in the heart of Bluffton.
After working for a few years at River Dog, Brown knew he wanted to do things on an even smaller scale, which would allow him to play and get more unique hops and boutique grains—ingredients that brewers wouldn’t want to use on a large scale because it would ramp up costs significantly. After all, he, like many brewers in the area, wants to craft creative, artful brews.
“Bringing that level of creativity and boutiqueness to downtown was so intoxicating because there’s nothing like that in Bluffton,” Brown admits.
With their Hoppin’ John IPA, State of Mind Saison, Dixie Delight Dubbel, Oyster Town Brown, River Wise Berliner Weisse and a few bourbon barrels to age new brews, they’re just starting to experiment.
While Brown brews to the tunes at Fat Patties on Bluffton Road, John Federal heads the brewery at River Dog out in Okatie, where, in April, he started doing small batches only available on tap at their bar. Federal plans to use these craft brews to educate guests on the different hops and malts.
Southern Barrel is already on the small batch bandwagon—out of 12 beers on tap, about four are small batch rotations. Federal and Walter Trifari, the brewmaster at Southern Barrel, even have their own SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hops) beer series showing customers how the two ingredients interact with each other.
“I already knew it was an uphill battle here in Bluffton, as far as the culture of beer versus the rest of the country, and I was okay with that. Our job here is just to keep educating people on beer,” Trifari explains.
The Brew Biz
It seems the brewing business is exploding here in Bluffton, with the opening of River Dog Brewing Co., Southern Barrel last May and Salt Marsh at Fat Patties in October. However, the truth is Bluffton—and the entire state of South Carolina—is a bit behind.
Just 250 miles away in North Carolina, there are more than 150 breweries. South Carolina doesn’t even have 50 yet, which is less than Georgia, where brewery laws are even more constrictive.
On the other hand, business is booming in states such as California, where there are more than 500 breweries, and Colorado, which is on the cusp of 300. Every state runs on a three-tier system—manufacturing, distribution and retail—and some of these leading states have laws allowing breweries to be their own distributor, instead of using a distribution company which takes a share of the profits. The effect? Obligatory distributors rise in power in the market at the expense of craft brewers. That’s one of the reasons why you don’t see Salt Marsh’s brews anywhere else in town but Fat Patties.
“Currently Salt Marsh is at Fat Patties only, as South Carolina does not allow us to distribute,” Brown explains.
While North Carolina breweries are allowed to bypass the second tier and self-distribute, South Carolina prevents this and breweries, such as Southern Barrel and River Dog, who have retailer licenses, must send anyone looking to get a keg to their distributor. They are only allowed to sell glasses of beer, six-packs and growlers.
These regulations were put in place during Prohibition and these antiquated laws aren’t conducive to small businesses. They allow big breweries to get bigger at the expense of newcomers, who already have higher costs for production, ingredients and packaging. But even with these hurtles, craft beer sales continue to grow.
Last year, while overall beer sales went down .2%, craft beer sales grew about 12.8% (twice as much as imported beer), according to the Brewers Association. Though macrobreweries have a hold on the beer market, craft breweries have risen to the challenge.
“Macrobreweries have learned over the years how to sell quite a bit of beer. They know how their packaging colors work and where it needs to be placed in the cooler,” says Trifari. “They will even make beers that look and, they think, taste like craft beer and try to get their name off the whole package so people think it’s craft.”
Creative—some say sly and sneaky—marketing has allowed macrobreweries to produce and line up beers at stores that look like craft brews. It’s also trained individuals to think that beers are best served at the coldest temperatures—which may be true for some, but is certainly a myth in many cases.
As Trifari puts it, cheaper beer doesn’t taste very good when it warms up and that’s why companies insist on frozen beer glasses and ice-cold beer—because the colder the beer, the less you taste.
“We’re trying to help people understand that good flavor comes from good ingredients, taking time to make the beer and that here we are making the beer, as part of the community,” Trifari notes.
Brothers in Arms
Sharing ideas, ingredients, equipment and knowledge is what’s helping Bluffton’s craft brew scene boom.
It’s why you’ll find Red Eye Perks at Salt Marsh and Perkolatte at River Dog, both collaborations with Old Town’s Corner Perk Coffee Roasters. And the small batches are doing their fair share of attracting regulars who are embracing new tastes and are excited to learn about hops from New Zealand or how pilsner malt and Amarillo hops interact with each other.
Local craft breweries have to band together because they too are in their own uphill battle and, to survive, it’s vital for the community to embrace local products and businesses—just as they’ve done with local boutiques such as Cocoon and Gigi’s, restaurants such as Cahill’s and Walnuts Café—and help their neighbors.
“Just supporting a local brewery is huge and it’s simpler than most people realize,” says Trifari. “Actually buying some beer from us goes a long way; it’s going to help my kids play soccer or help some other kids get braces. It’s going to impact the local community more than people think.”
While buying beer plays a big part, getting out, enjoying quality time engaging with one another and learning is just as important. This month, Southern Barrel celebrates its one year anniversary on May 15 with live music and possibly even the release of some new brews; the South Carolina Brewers Guild puts on their first beer festival on May 21 in Cayce, SC; and River Dog throws their own beer festival, Barrels and Bluegrass, on May 28 from noon to 5 p.m. at Honey Horn Plantation with three bluegrass bands, locally-sourced Lowcountry fare and about 50 breweries, who’ve been encouraged to bring special and rare beers that push the envelope.
“We’re really trying to push that unique edge on people because, for us, the benefit is more people get interested in what beer can be,” Federal explains.
After all, each brewer is like a different chef and each of Bluffton’s brewers have worked their way from home brewing to brew pubs and big production breweries and then scaled back to smaller settings, just miles off the May River, to concoct appealing creations for different tastes.
“We’re all going to be unique in our own way, be it different ingredients or a different process, but all of our goals are the same: to produce clean, refreshing, and the highest crafted beer possible,” Trifari says. “Salt Marsh, Southern Barrel, we’re all brother in arms, banning together to try and make craft beer better.”
All Photos by Andrea Six
Clutter doesn’t just live in the back of our closets, under our beds, in kitchen cupboards or in kids’ rooms…it can incubate slowly and hatch elsewhere, if we don’t pay attention. We often justify our lack of control by telling ourselves little lies, i.e. spending a bit more money this month won’t matter, I’ll just save more next month or eating a few chips/fries/cookies isn’t a big deal, I’ll work on my diet tomorrow.
Ultimately, the little lies may turn into big, bad habits!
The good news is we are in a season of change, rejuvenation and renewal. Just as flowers blossom and start anew, so can we. Perhaps spring is the best time to make a change—the longer, warmer days are perfect opportunities to get outside, do a little recon and uncover the areas in our lives that need sprucing up! Here are a few tips to get started:
Declutter and Donate
Don’t let cleaning out be a day of distress, but a way to de-stress.
Sometimes the best place to start, literally, is in your home. Think of cleaning out the clutter as giving a gift to someone—in fact, do just that and take your stuff to one of our many consignment shops or thrift stores, such as God’s Goods. As an added bonus, your donations are tax deductible! Whether it’s an extra appliance or furniture in storage, clothes you no longer wear, a car or RV you no longer use or just extra things around your home, donate it to a local organization that’s investing in the community. Make sure the donations are something someone else would want and cherish.
Restore and Reclaim
The greatest wealth is health, so get moving today!
As the sunshine begins warming up the days and breezes are nice and cool, we should start incorporating fun outdoor exercises into our schedules, even if it’s just two or three days a week. Take it a step further and sneak some veggies into your lunch or grill them with chicken for dinner, instead of grabbing burgers and fries. If you’re not eating vegetables every day, then don’t skip out on a multi-vitamin.
“A lot of times people feel sluggish and experience loss of energy because they don’t have the proper vitamins and minerals in their system, especially if they’re not eating right,” Bobby Allen, owner of GNC Vitamins, explains, recommending everyone get some multi-vitamins, especially those who lack the right amount of nutrients in their diet.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why? Allen puts it this way: “You’d never go on a 17-hour drive without eating any food, but that’s what you’re doing to your body when you don’t eat from 8 p.m. until noon the next day. Since your body is going such a long time without the nutrients it needs, it ends up converting the food you eat into fat instead of using it right away for energy. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a huge meal; a simple protein shake, smoothie or a piece of fruit gives us plenty of energy, and is a good place to start.
Plan and Prepare
“Death is not the end. There remains the litigation over the estate.”
Estate planning—an elephant in the room no one likes to talk about—is important to address. This task might not be fun, but it can make a world of difference if the unthinkable happens. Instead of letting the state determine what is done with your property, take charge, and get your will together.
While there are reasonably priced online forms available, one local attorney warned these one-size-fits-all documents often do not conform to the state’s regulations. It may be wiser to get in touch with an estate planning attorney who is not only familiar with the state’s requirements, but a good fit personally. Be sure to review your will every few years, as a lot of things can change.
Straighten Up and Strategize
“It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits.”
–Charles A. Jaffe
We could all use a few extra dollars, but it won’t happen without a little organization. Just ask John Kirkland at Palmetto State Bank in Bluffton, who
emphasizes how important it is to make a plan and be realistic about it. “With debit cards, ATM machines, online banking and mobile banking, it’s very easy to get access to all your money. And it’s very difficult to control your spending when you have access to it,” Kirkland says. “So don’t make it easy to break your budget. Make it difficult. Set it up in such a way that it’s hard to spend all of your money.”
Kirkland advises opening a savings account, and automatically depositing money into it every payday. This way, you don’t have immediate access to that money when you go out on the weekend. He also recommends a separate checking account for spending and one for billing, with a debit card attached to the spending account only.
“Style can change your look, certainly, but it can also change your life.” –Stacy London
Spring cleaning is more than just “out with the old.” Make sure to bring in some new, too, especially for you. It doesn’t have to be a lot—a new haircut or accessory can be the perfect solution.
“A necklace is an easy way to update an outfit,” Anna Pepper, owner of Gigi’s, says, explaining how a statement necklace can turn a comfy-casual outfit into a stylish look.
Then, instead of a budget-busting buying binge, head over to the salon or barbershop and get a new ‘do.
“One of the big styles we’re seeing right now is a “rooty” look, where you actually color the base a shade darker than the ends and do some highlights for the spring, to give it a little extra pop,” Jamee Reed, hair stylist and owner of Tara’s at Moss Creek Village, reveals. “It’s kind of a foilyage, a softer look, but bringing in more root dimension.”
Struggle with humidity? Consider a Keratin Express, a smoothing hair treatment that defrizzes the hair and lasts about seven weeks. A cheaper alternative is using Moroccan oil or Moroccan shampoo and conditioner, which both smooth and add weight to hair to hold it down when humidity is high.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller
Don’t tackle all of the spring cleaning or decluttering by yourself! We work better together, so get friends or family involved and make sure you have someone to hold you accountable, so you’re not setting yourself up for failure. It’s also important to realize that change doesn’t have to happen all at once. Sometimes a few small adjustments are all that is needed for a better outlook on life and inspiration to keep moving forward.
January 31 – February 28: 23rd Annual Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration at various locations. A month-long celebration showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah people and their history on Hilton Head Island with art exhibitions, gospel concerts, festivals, tours, lectures and more.
2019 Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration – Opening Party: January 31, 6-9 p.m.
- Art League of Hilton Head Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Ln.
- The Opening Party is the first opportunity for patrons and friends to see the display of original work by emerging and leading artists at the Arts Ob We People: Winter Exhibition and Sale. Free Will Offering.
Arts Ob We People – Winter Exhibition And Sale: February 1 & March 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Art League of Hilton Head Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Ln.
- The Arts Ob We People: Winter Exhibition and Sale is a display of original work by emerging and leading artists that represents the life of Gullah people on Hilton Head Island and the surrounding community. Artists will be on-site at various times throughout the exhibit; check for exact schedules at gullahcelebration.com. Private group tours are available by request. Free Will Offering.
Ol’ Fashioned Gullah Breakfast: February 2, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
- Historic Cherry Hill School, 209 Dillon Rd.
- Home cooking that shows some, and reminds others, of a traditional Gullah breakfast: featuring your choice of stewed oysters, shrimp in a savory Lowcountry gravy, fried fresh catchfish paired with hot butter grits and fresh biscuits. Meals are prepared by people of the local Gullah community, coordinated by Ooman Chef Louise Cohen. $12.
Freedom Day: February 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Historic Cherry Hill School, 209 Dillon Rd.
- National Freedom Day was established in 1948 by President Harry Truman, in remembrance of February 1, 1865 — the day President Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which outlawed slavery. This year we will take a journey through historic Mitchelville. On this tour you will learn more about what the people of Mitchelville were busy creating in 1862 before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, and how those citizens would create a guidepost for generations to follow. Free Will Offering.
Family And Friends Day: February 5, 7-8:30 p.m.
- First African Baptist Church, 70 Beach City Rd.
- Join historic First African Baptist Church for Family Night Program. This program will focus on the Traditional and Contemporary Gullah songs, followed by a reception with samples of authentic Gullah food. Free Will Offering.
Gullah Music Series Featuring The Voices Of El Shaddai: February 8, 7-8:30 p.m.
- Queen Chapel AME Church, 114 Beach City Rd.
- Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This installment to the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series features the renowned Voices of El Shaddai. Free Will Offering.
Sweetheart Ball: February 9, 7-11 p.m.
- The Northridge Club, 435 William Hilton Pkwy.
- Are you ready to dance? This event is sure to keep you dancing all evening long with music performed by Stee and the Ear Candy. With the purchase of your ticket you can enjoy the delicious buffet of Lowcountry foods. You can add beer, wine or spirits of your choice at our cash bar. $65.
Taste Of Gullah: February 9, 12-3 p.m.
- Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Ln.
- This one-of-kind event is an afternoon filled with authentic Gullah dishes such as okra gumbo, conch stew, fried shrimp dusted in traditional Gullah seasonings and classic barbecue favorites like chargrilled chicken and ribs. While you eat you can enjoy the entertainment of several local artists, including traditional dancers, musicians and storytellers. $12.
“Hilton Head Island Back In The Day: Through Eyes Of Gullah Elders”: February 9 & 21, 7-8:30 p.m.
- Coligny Theatre, 1 North Forest Beach Dr.
- A feature-length documentary featuring Gullah elders, the descendants of freedmen, based on the historic Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. They share personal stories about their communities, farming, fishing, upbringing, church, education, Northern Migration, food ways, language and the development that came with the construction of the bridge in 1956 and how it greatly impacted their lives. $7.
Gullah Institute Presents “The Impact Of The Great Migration On Gullah Culture:” February 10, 4-6 p.m.
- The Northridge Club, 435 William Hilton Pkwy.
- Come hear from historians, authors and artists, including a fireside chat with Dianne Britton Dunham and Anita Singleton Prather, on the impact the Great Migration (1916-1970) had on the American South. Plus, a special presentation of culture and community awards for outstanding leaders and supporters. $20.
Soul Food And Friends Cooking Classes: February 12 & 26, 6-8 p.m.
- The Northridge Club, 435 William Hilton Pkwy.
- Great cooking is about more than recipes – it’s about techniques. In our classes you’ll work together with other students in a fun, hands-on environment led by authentic Gullah chefs. Get tons of hands-on practice in preparing Lowcountry favorites using locally sourced foods. $40.
Paint And Sip: February 13 & 26, 6-8 p.m.
- The Northridge Club, 435 William Hilton Pkwy.
- Join us for a two-hour session and create memories that will last a lifetime. Exhibiting artists in the annual Arts Ob We People Exhibit and Sale will guide you with stroke-by-stroke instructions to ensure you paint your own unique masterpiece. Be sure to bring your favorite beverage (soft drinks, beer or wine; no spirits please). $30.
Gullah Music Series Featuring Male Choruses: February 15, 7-8:30 p.m.
- First African Baptist Church, 70 Beach City Rd.
- Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This installment to the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series features the Male Choruses from Campbell AME Church, First African Baptist Church, Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and St. James Baptist Church. Free Will Offering.
The Gullah Market: An Arts, Crafts And Food Expo: February 16, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Historic Honey Horn, 70 Honey Horn Dr.
- An all-access experience of Gullah culture! The annual Gullah Market offers cultural demonstrations, authentic Gullah and African crafts and food for sale, as well as an offering of traditional storytelling, musical entertainment and the Celebration of African-American Authors. An event to be shared with family and friends, or for you to make new friends! Featured performances by the Gullah Geechee Ring Shouters, Wona Womalan West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Gullah Ooman Louise Cohen and more. $10/general admission, $5/youth (5-12) and FREE for those 4 and under.
Community Day At The Gullah Market: February 17, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Historic Honey Horn, 70 Honey Horn Dr.
- Experience the ties that bind the community of Gullah people through praise and worship, followed by a Community Block Party featuring a battle of marching bands, bounce castles, health screenings, the Gullah Rappers and more! Plus, authentic art, food and beverages for sale! Proceeds from Community Day will benefit youth programs in Beaufort County. $10/general admission, $5/youth (5-12) and FREE for those 4 and under.
Gullah Music Series, Featuring Gospel Classics: February 22, 7-8:30 p.m.
- St. James Baptist Church, 209 Beach City Rd.
- Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This installation in the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series features St. James Baptist Church Choir and Time 4 Two. Free Will Offering.
Gullah Music Series, Featuring Gospel Choirs: February 28, 7-8:30 p.m.
- Central Oak Grove Baptist Church, 161 Matthews Dr.
- Celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today. This closing event of our five-part music series features the Gospel Choirs of Central Oak Grove Baptist Church, First Zion Baptist Church Choir and Campbell AME Gospel Choir. Free Will Offering.
Please call or visit the website to confirm dates, times, pricing and locations. (843) 255-7304 or gullahcelebration.com.
Throughout most of the year in Bluffton, butterflies can be seen gathering nectar or flying along roadsides and waters’ edges. The fall in particular is a great time to spot butterflies along their migrations. These beautiful creatures come in a spectacular range of colors and the gulf fritillary is no exception, with its bright orange wings and iridescent silver spots.
Gulf fritillary butterflies, Agraulis vanillae, get their name from their great migration southward over the Gulf of Mexico. They are also known as the passion butterflies because of their affinity to passion vines. These brush-footed butterflies have small hairs along their legs to smell and taste with, and are considered to be a medium-sized butterfly, with a wingspan that can reach up to three and a quarter inches. With long, narrow wings that are mostly orange with black and silver markings, the gulf fritillary butterflies are commonly mistaken as monarch butterflies, but they are much smaller and can be mostly distinguished by their iridescent silver spots.
They can be found in a number of natural sunny spaces, from fields, open wooded lands, and pastures to yards, parks and even beaches. They are mostly located in the Southern areas of the United States, yet they have been found all the way up to San Francisco and even into South America. These butterflies have seasonal distributions, heading north for the summer breeding months and then south for the winters. In our area, gulf fritillaries begin one phase of their seasonal migrations in the fall. They head southward, whether over the Gulf of Mexico or into parts of Florida, and winter in areas where it does not frost over. When the spring hits, they move back into our areas and northward to form breeding colonies.
Female gulf fritillaries can produce multiple generations each year. They will only lay their tiny yellow eggs singularly on the leaves, stems and tendrils of the passion vine. The larvae, once hatched out of the eggs, will reach up to four centimeters long. They are bright orange with black spines. The spines are not poisonous to the touch, but are poisonous if consumed by predators. The larvae will feed on the passion plant host, at times almost completely destroying the plant. After about 30 days, the larvae form into the pupa stage. They hang upside down on the passion plant and create their cocoons. The pupa look very much like the other dead leaves on a passion plant. They are brown and can reach up to three centimeters long. They will stay in this form between 10-20 days, before they emerge as a beautiful butterfly. Once fully grown, the butterflies will eat nectar from flowering plants such as lantana, shepherd’s needle, cordias and composites.
In Bluffton, it is very easy to cultivate and encourage the reproduction of these beautiful butterflies. Planting many different passion vine plants in your garden is a great step to attract them to your yard. Take note of the type of passion vine because a couple of species are poisonous to the gulf fritillaries, such as the red passion vine. Make sure that you plant a few of them, because once the larvae hatch, they are ravenous.
By Kathleen McMenamin Vicars, Master Naturalist
The H2O Nature Center is a great place to spark curiosity and inspire learning in all ages, offering eco-adventure tours and live alligator exhibits. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour, please call (843) 686-5323. For details on other water activities offered by H2O Sports, visit H2OSports.com.
By Michele Roldán-Shaw
’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a palmetto bug. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, but it wasn’t no sugarplum stuck in their heads – kids care about toys! We can all remember some fondly cherished dream materializing on Christmas morning: that new bike, air rifle, doll with her beautiful dress – sweet triumphs of early life.
Toys have existed presumably as long as humans, but their evolution ties closely to society and economics; children who have to work the fields get little time for play, whereas an affluent culture such as our own spawns toys of startling complexity. Let us revisit for a moment a happy medium, the innocent playthings of yesteryear …
A tot’s first toy might be the rocking horse. Hobby horses are known to have existed over 2,000 years ago – there is evidence of them in ancient Greece and Persia – but what we would recognize today was developed in 18th century England with the belief that it could improve a child’s balance when it came time to ride the real thing.
Even more iconic is the teddy bear. (Apparently we are closely bonded to animals!) This enduring classic has its peculiar origins from a hunting trip by non-other than Theodore Roosevelt. His hunting trip became the subject of a political cartoon that went viral, then an enterprising candy-shop owner named Morris Michtum felt inspired to create a tiny plush cub and put it in his shop window with the words “Teddy’s Bear.” It was an instant hit, and Michtum went on to found the largest doll-making company in America.
Some very simple toys for small children have included tops, yo-yos, marbles, kites and balls, this last being without a doubt one of the most universal objects in human history. Even today, resourceful children in the utmost destitute of circumstances will fashion a lump of tied-together rags into a shape round enough to play soccer with. A simple ball can keep children anywhere entertained for hours. Less common but still widespread are hoops, whether of metal or wood, which can be rolled along the street; Bluffton old-timers recall this as a highly amusing pastime. And who hasn’t loved blowing bubbles? They say this began with the leftover suds from washday.
Of course the doll is an everlasting staple – whether of fine porcelain and calico, or corn shucks, button-eyes and scraps. But things really got serious with the dollhouse, a way to keep the game (and revenue) going for years by constantly adding to the display. Miniature beds, chairs, kitchen sets and picture frames; tiny chamber pots, carpets and woodstoves; little people and house-pets frozen within gingerbread facades – irresistible! But what about the boys? They must have model trains, with real whistles and engines going around a track, generating sustained sales in their increasingly elaborate environments. Or perhaps little Tommy only got a clumsy yet adorable toy sailboat, carved lovingly by his father’s careworn hands.
Another object that will never cease to fascinate boys (and a few plucky girls) are toy weapons. Bows and arrows, swords and shields, pop guns, cap guns and pellet guns. Then, of course, there are slingshots. These can be made of a forked twig and a rubber band, or high-tech steel and latex; they have been employed by Native American children hunting squirrel, guerrilla rebels fighting insurgencies, and protestors staging armed clashes; they can fire anything from spit-wads to buckshot, arrows to unmanned aerial vehicles (really, look it up!). But for most of us they merely evoke nostalgia.
In contrast to such primitivism, the Enlightenment Era saw the introduction of toys designed to stimulate children’s intellects: books, puzzles, flashcards and board games. Some games of the ancient world are still around today – Chinese checkers, African mancala, parcheesi from India, backgammon from the Roman Empire – but the most popular board game of all time in America is Monopoly. It certainly reflects the tastes of our capitalist nation, considering one major function of play is to teach kids the skills they’ll need as adults. (“C’mon sunny, learn how to dominate!”)
Perhaps it’s more comforting to think of the kaleidoscope, that utterly useless play-pretty made of mirrors and bits of colored glass, which has no more purpose in this world than to spin out endless bright visions like a psychedelic cathedral. Your average iPhone-toting kids of today are as likely to be satisfied with a kaleidoscope as they are with a couple of rocks! But then again, they might still take a puppet show over TV from time to time.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
The 2nd Annual Bluffton Business Awards will be presented at the Bluffton Ball on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
Business Award Finalists:
Artist of the Year
• Amiri Farris – Amiri Farris Studio
• Doug Corkern – Four Corners Gallery
• Kelly Graham – Vigorous, LLC
Business of the Year
• Covert Aire
• Taylor’s Quality Landscape Supply and Nursery
• Volvo Hilton Head
Small Business of the Year
• Advanced Integrated Controls
• Aunt Laurie’s
• Barbers of the Lowcountry
• Big D’s Royal Tees
Business Startup of the Year
• Bluffton Bike Taxi
• Shore Winds Landscaping
• Tails of the Lowcountry
Good Heart Award Finalists
• Bridgette Frazier
• Gerrick Taylor – Taylor’s Quality Landscape Supply and Nursery
• Heather Nicole Price – Bluffton / Hilton Head Ask and Answer
Nonprofit of the Year
• Actions for Autism
• Don Ryan Center of Innovation
• Hospice Care of the Lowcountry
• Programs for Exceptional People
Outstanding Person of the Year
• Al Stokes – Waddell Mariculture Center
• Heather Nicole Price – Bluffton / Hilton Head Ask and Answer
• Lisa Sulka – Town of Bluffton Mayor
• Mike Covert -Covert Aire
Professional Educator & Development Person of the Year
• Erin Reichert – Bluffton High School
• Tony Mills – Lowcountry Center – Spring Island
Regional Impact Award
• Bluffton Farmers Market
• Palmetto Bluff
• Technical College of the Lowcountry
• University of South Carolina Beaufort
Rookie of the Year
• Aimee Deverall – Deverall Immigration Law, LLC
• Emily Cohn – Moonlit Lullaby
• George Scott
Lifetime Achievement Award
• Babbie Guscio
Congratulations to all the 2016 Bluffton Finalists!
Am I there yet? A question I regularly ask myself when I’m starting a new work.
Will this be a keeper? I anxiously think as I’m working. When will I know? Early or toward the end? You really never know with the watercolor medium for, as we all know, once it’s down on paper, there’s not much an artist can do to change the painting unlike oils or other media.
If one is an artist, “creating” is something you just do instinctively, not a “process” that you follow like cooking. Thus dissecting this thing we call the “creative process” into distinct pieces takes some reflection. But here we go.
Regarding “creating,” I believe there are five or so specific aspects that seem to always be present at my painting events. From my perspective, they include getting into character, dimension, illumination, drama and finally, serendipity.
First, no matter whether you call it getting into character or “into the zone,” you have to take your mind to a different place as I transition from whatever I’m doing at the time – business consulting, writing, distance walking (my particular daily activities) – over to my painting table. You need to be fully engaged with your brushes, paint and the particular “world” you’re trying to create on paper.
The second aspect I call dimension which can include many details like foreground, background, depth of field, height and others. In my early award-winning Middle Bay Light, for example, the looming rain-laden stormy sky overhead dominates the whole painting, while Oaxaca Street, puts the viewer, hopefully, just on the sidewalk across a hot sunny street from a very brightly painted residence in a quiet neighborhood. Dimension plays a major role in both works.
Next, illumination is vital to any good watercolor painting and my Fountain in a Square work I painted several years ago in Mexico is a good example here. The fountain literally “jumps out” at the viewer as seemingly a spotlight illuminates it in the midst of dark shadowy glade of encircling cool leafy trees.
Aspect four I call drama or “tension” which I believe drives my paintings to have a lot of visual interest, characterized often in my work in the form of movement or motion. For example, in Match Point, the sports-themed watercolor about tennis, I hope for the viewer senses ball motion, racquets swinging and net swaying in the light breeze, yet frozen in a moment of time – at the crucial point of the match, and as abstract a work as I ever have completed as a painter. Middle Bay Light, too, exhibits drama with gulls wheeling overhead, the approaching stormy summer rain squall and wind – ah the wind – blowing the retreating sailboats. (I can almost hear their sails flapping as they beat on a westerly tack toward the distant safety of the small yacht club – how about you?) The white caps on the bay waves and the water spraying horizontally manifest an uneasy feeling as the storm rapidly approaches.
The final aspect of the artist’s creative process is simply serendipity. Either a work has it, or it doesn’t and there’s really no in between. That look, that sizzle, that … well, you know what I’m talking about here! The final work I present to you here – Fountain at the Pier – has serendipity all over it. From the deep almost purplish blue sky in the right upper corner, to the water splashing and gurgling off the terra cotta colored fountain lip, this painting oozes movement – and that drama and tension – from every pore of it’s pebbly surface!
So these are my thoughts on the creative process. And I invite you to, the next work you gaze at, see if you can pick out my five elements deeply at work in that particular work of art. My bet is that, if you are drawn to the work, it has at least four of my five aspects present!
William Porter is an award-winning watercolorist just moving to the Lowcountry from Atlanta and is currently working on a coffee table book of his large career portfolio of work. He can be contacted at [email protected]
With 11 different types of coffee from nine different countries, Grind Coffee Roasters is a small local roastery with big plans.
What started as a job in a coffee shop and Ian Duncan’s passion for coffee has now become a business that not only sells bags of its own coffee (ground, whole and in K-Cups) to customers (both in the shop and through subscription packages), but also crafts custom blends for business branding, as well as sells and services production equipment.
“We wanted to create a business model where we’re not just providing someone with a product, but we’re also helping support the growth of local businesses in the area,” Ian explains.
Their space next to Mellow Mushroom is more like a brewery or distillery—a production facility with a tasting bar—as opposed to a coffee shop where guests come to sit and stay a while. In addition to buying coffee at the store, guests can also get subscription packages and have coffee delivered right to their door.
Ian hopes to diversify and grow the local market as an independent coffee roaster with at least 25 different roasts by 2018, later opening drive-thru only coffee shops, similar to Dunn Brothers Coffee.
• Guatemala Antigua Italian Roast
• Honduran Rain Forest
• Organic Light Roast
• Nicaragua Cafe Diego Micro Lot Dark Roast
• Whiskey Barrel Aged Coffee, “Barrel Series Vol. 1”
(created in a collaboration with Salt Marsh Brewing)
Grind Coffee Roasters is located at 7 Simmonsville Road, open Monday-Friday from 1-7 p.m. and by appointment on Saturday. For more information, call the shop at (843) 580-1882 or go to thegrindroasters.com.
In 1902, Richard T. Wilson, Sr., a New York multimillionaire, purchased 20,000 acres on the May River across from Bluffton, SC, which he named Palmetto Bluff Plantation. Originally from Tennessee, Wilson had been the Commissary-General of the Confederate Army of the Confederate States of America. After the war ended, he moved to New York and continued a very successful career as an investment banker. He is believed by some to have been the model for Margaret Mitchell’s character, Rhett Butler, in her novel, “Gone with the Wind.”
Wilson, Sr., died in 1910. His son, Richard T. Wilson, Jr., inherited great wealth and many properties, including Palmetto Bluff Plantation.
RT, as R. T. Wilson, Jr., was called by his friends and family, was a great lover of fine horses and devoted much of his life to raising and breeding race horses on his farm in Kentucky. He was part owner of the Saratoga Race Track in Saratoga, NY, and, as president of the Saratoga Racing Association, was always present during the annual racing season. RT’s horses won many races during the 1910s and 1920s. He owned beautiful homes in Newport, RI, New York City and Saratoga, as well as the 72-room mansion he built on Palmetto Bluff Plantation in 1916. Sadly, that beautiful showcase home burned to the ground in March of 1926. RT was devastated and soon thereafter sold Palmetto Bluff.
Our individual lives are often linked in fateful ways to other people’s lives. My grandfather, H. G. Rubert, was R. T. Wilson, Jr.’s private secretary and nurse from 1909 until RT’s death in 1929. “Rubert,” as RT and many others called my grandfather, became the general manager of RT’s domestic affairs and, in 1929, the executor of Wilson’s estate. If it had not been for my grandfather’s professional relationship to R. T. Wilson, Jr., and the Palmetto Bluff Plantation, my mother, Florence Lillian Rubert, would never have met and married my father. In the late 1930s, she returned to the Bluffton/Palmetto Bluff area where she had known much happiness as a child. In 1939, she married John Samuel Graves, Jr., then the owner and operator of the Bluffton Seafood Co. (now called the Bluffton Oyster Factory).
My grandfather Rubert was always interested in photography. He took many photos of the Palmetto Bluff Plantation between 1910 and 1926. Some were very early color glass slides, some were shot using a panoramic camera and others with 120 Kodak film and cameras. He took the photographs shown here, including the great fire that destroyed the mansion.
Look for Part II of “A Short History of Palmetto Bluff Plantation” in an upcoming issue of The Bluffton Breeze. For more information on the Graves family and their legacy in Bluffton, visit graveshouse.org.
Florence Rubert Graves wrote many poems about Bluffton. Her poem “No Mo’ Robert” was written about a Negro funeral on Palmetto Bluff. Her Bluffton poems can be viewed on graveshouse.org. To view the songs of John Samuel Graves, III, composed using his mother’s poems as lyrics, visit astarfell.com and jsgraves.musicaneo.com. See the August 2015 issue of The Bluffton Breeze for his article about his father, “Boll Weevils and Oysters”.
Article written by John Samuel Graves, III. Photography by H. G. Rubert, circa 1910-1929. All of the photographs in this article are copyrighted by Gerald B. Graves.
Seedless watermelon, cubed
Red onions, sliced
Ricotta salata, grated (available at The Fresh Market)
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
*Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
Freshly minced chives
*Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 7 oz. jar fig jam (available at World Market)
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 medium shallot, finely diced
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup salad oil
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Blend fig jam, honey, mustard, shallot and sugar until smooth. Add vinegars and continue to blend. Drizzle oils very slowly over salad to emulsify.
This March, a bit of Bluffton’s fascinating history will be on display when Alexandra Sharma’s watercolor exhibit, “Historic Belfair and Rose Hill: Intimate and Revealing” opens at the Art League of Hilton Head Gallery.
An award-winning painter, sculptor and instructor who seeks to paint scenes and objects discovered in hidden or forgotten places, Sharma was given sole access to Iva Welton’s private photographic archive of Rose Hill Plantation House and Belfair Mansion.
“The paintings are watercolors that allow me to be spontaneous as I incorporate abstract or ambiguous shapes, and intentionally use my brushstrokes to render the realistic image more abstract,” Sharma explains. “By working in this manner, I hope to create a mood and an implied narrative that resonate with the viewer.”
Responsible for getting the Gothic Revival Rose Hill Plantation House listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, Welton is an avid local historian and former director of the Rose Hill Plantation Development Co. which purchased the property for development in 1980.
Construction on the Rose Hill Mansion began more than 100 years earlier, when Dr. John and Caroline Kirk began building a home in what was once the Devil’s Elbow Barony. Forced to relocate during the Civil War, the Kirks were never financially able to complete the home’s interior. In 1946, the 7,000-square-foot house set on 1,400 acres was purchased by John and Betsy Gould Sturgeon who, along with prominent architect Willis Irvin, put sophisticated finishing touches on the mansion which was then featured in a 1955 issue of Vogue. Mrs. Sturgeon passed away in 1966 and Mr. Sturgeon remained at Rose Hill until his death in 1978.
As Rose Hill Plantation was being developed into a gated community, Welton oversaw a 10-month rehabilitation of the mansion’s interior completed in 1986. The following year, an electrical fire caused considerable damage, including melting the cooper roof. Rose Hill Plantation House was purchased in 1996 and restored as a private home.
The Rose Hill Development Corporation also purchased an option on the adjacent 1800-acre Belfair tract in 1982. Although Welton had heard stories of an old house on the property, she didn’t have the time to locate it. At the invitation of owner Elizabeth Mingledorff, she finally saw Swain Mansion.
“Her driver took us down a long, winding oyster shell road, through the magnificent avenue of oaks and through the forested area. As we approached the house, which was the rear of the home, I was not prepared for what I saw,” recalls Welton. “The front of the great house looked directly on the Colleton River and I was aghast and, quite honestly, did not know what to say to her. There were curved double front steps off the porch and four huge Corinthian columns supporting the porch, but the entire house was crumbling. And there were magnificent pink camellias going up the front steps. That’s why Alexandra chose [to paint] this picture.”
Built in 1929 by artist W. Moseley Swain—grandson of a founder and proprietor of the Philadelphia Public Ledger—the four-story Belfair House was composed primarily of tabby mixed with some concrete. According to Welton, “Mr. Swain did not know—although local people warned him—that you cannot use water that has salt in it. From the day that the house was built, the house began to crumble.”
In 1948, Swain’s son, Billy, fell down the stairs during a house party. Although Victor Strojny of Callawassie was indicted for Swain’s murder, he was never tried and the case remains unsolved. The Mingledorff family purchased Swain Mansion in 1951 and the property was transformed into a cattle ranch (the house used to store grain) and, later, a turkey farm. In 1982, the Welton family purchased the Belfair property—excluding the house—from the Mingledorffs and it was later sold it to the community’s developer. The mansion house overlooking the Colleton River sold in 1985, was torn down and rebuilt using the four original Corinthian columns. Welton is unsure of its exact location, since the property is now private, gated and falls between Rose Hill and Belfair Plantations.
“The photos became a reference for my paintings and provided me an intimate and alluring glimpse of private, forgotten and lost places,” says Sharma. “Belfair, a mysterious great house with a fatal staircase and structural issues—now destroyed, and Rose Hill, a survivor through periods of abandonment, a fire and final restoration.”
Sharma’s choice of watercolors allows her to “conjure the magnificence, loneliness and mystery of the place while staying true to architectural detail to document a time past and scenes that no longer exist.”
Alexandra Sharma’s “Historic Belfair and Rose Hill: Intimate and Revealing” exhibition opens at the Art League of Hilton Head Gallery located within the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina on March 16, 2017 with an Opening Reception from 5-7 p.m. On March 18, 2017 Alexandra Sharma leads a Gallery Walk and Iva Welton presents a power point History Presentation from 5-7 p.m. For details, call (843) 681-5060 or visit artleaguehhi.org.
By Steve Nichols
I actually laughed out loud when I got the assignment to write about the Rotary Club of Okatie Polo for Charity event on October 11. After all, the only thing I’ve ever watched on TV that remotely resembles athletic competition is “The Antiques Road Show.” Secondly, my knowledge of the sport is limited to a couple of marginal references: Polo is a brand of stinky cologne in a green bottle. In the early 1990s, it hovered like a storm cloud over any crowd of three or more people. Also, polo looks a lot like croquet, but I quickly learned that the matches, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Okatie, now in their 22nd year, will serve to raise funds and awareness for local organizations, including Family Promise, who works to empower homeless families and their children. The event will also support Moss Creek Marines, who are providing support and service dogs to veterans suffering war injuries, mental and physical. That’s quite an accomplishment, and certainly nothing to laugh at! So, I dug in my heels and decided to see what the fuss is all about.
No Cake Walk
Polo is fast, rough and it’s considered to be one of the most dangerous sports in the world. It even sounds dangerous. For example, the offense is referred to as “The Attack.” The first historical references of the game, earlier than 600 BC, suggest that nomads in Central Asia played a version of polo as battle training. I shudder to think what they might have used instead of mallets and balls – hatchets and heads? As the centuries galloped along, polo was played mostly by noblemen, hence the moniker, “Sport of Kings.”
What is it like to play polo? Imagine a ball, similar in size and weight to a billiard ball, hurtling at 100 mph towards you. Your job is to maneuver atop a snorting, 1,000-pound behemoth, staying at a gallop of 20 to 30 mph, then passing the ball to your teammate or carrying it down the field for a goal – all while another 7,000 pounds of horses and riders are chasing you. There’s no clubhouse at the halfway point where you can get a cold beer or an Arnold Palmer. In other words, it’s not a game for the timid.
Looking For Trouble
As an animal rights ‘enthusiast,’ I went digging for stories of mistreatment, so I could rally with righteous indignation against the sport. I summarily learned that polo ponies are some of the best-treated animals – not just in sports – but also in modern society. Abuse or neglect would be detrimental to the players, who entrust their lives to their horses every time they ride onto the field. Polo ponies run the equivalent of one to two miles during a seven-and-a-half-minute period of play, so they are rested frequently. What about the shaved manes and braided tails? “Looks pretty kinky,” I thought. Turns out that a free flowing mane and tail would increase the likelihood of becoming entangled with players’ mallets or the reins. Consequently, the horses manes are shaved to prevent entanglement. Wrapping and braiding the tail is also a safety precaution, and replaced the practice of amputating the tail long ago. Even their travel trailers are nice – nicer than my first car – and their stables are cleaner than my first apartment. Looks like it’s the polo ponies that are laughing now.
And exactly why are they called “ponies” when they are obviously full sized equines? Originally, no horse higher than 54 inches was allowed, so the horses were technically “pony” sized. Today, there is no size limit. An ideal polo pony combines speed, agility, temperament, and intelligence. Polo players quickly acknowledge that a good pony contributes 50 to 80 percent of the team’s abilities. (You never see anyone in the NFL giving credit to the quality and skills of the football in their Sports Center soundbite.)
Chukkers, Hooking and Ride-Offs, Oh My!
Polo has a curious vocabulary and intriguing traditions. The game’s vernacular includes “bump, throw-in, ride-off and hooking.” There are six timed periods called “chukkers,” and after the third chukker, spectators go onto the field to participate in a social tradition of “divot stomping.” During the match, the horses tear up patches of grass and dirt, creating divots that can later cause injury to players and ponies. Spectators make a party out of “stomping” the divots back in place during halftime – sometimes to music! For many, it’s one of the more festive parts of the day – a halftime event that easily surpasses football’s celebrity lip-syncing and wardrobe malfunctions.
After the match, spectators, players and sponsors gather on the field to congratulate the winners and enjoy the ceremonial sabrage or “Sabre a Champagne.” Sabrage is the act of opening a bottle of Champagne by using a small sword – which only reinforces the notion that polo is the world’s most dangerous sport. Granted, any sport that combines swordplay and booze would motivate me to change the channel from “Antiques Roadshow.”
An Equal Opportunity Game, unless you’re a Lefty
Men and women can play polo, even against each other in the same match, and it didn’t take a Supreme Court ruling to make it happen! While making a giant leap forward for gender equality, the sport emphatically discriminates against left-handed players. They don’t care if you write left-handed, just don’t bring that deviant behavior on the field! Left-handed play was officially banned from polo in the mid-1930s for safety reasons, but the restriction was relaxed after World War II when polo players of any persuasion were scarce. The lefty ban was reinstated in 1974 and it’s still in effect today. Think about it like this: you’re driving down the road when a truck comes careening at you in the same lane. The panic you’d feel is exactly what a right-handed polo player feels when he and a lefty approach the same ball from opposite directions.
The Okatie Rotary Polo for Charity event is a casual day of fun for the whole family, with a tradition for some spectators to wear creative or outlandish attire, providing as much to look at off the field as on. The players, however, will be in traditional togs, which include white pants (even after Labor Day – gasp). Like many polo traditions, this one can be traced back to India, where competing in the intense heat, players preferred clothing that was light in weight and color. A modern day fashion essential, the button-down collar, was developed specifically for polo players, who wanted to keep their collar tabs from flapping in their faces during the game. While polo has the perception of being stuffy and “buttoned down,” the charity event at Rose Hill Plantation is far more relaxed, and has that “Lowcountry state of mind.” When you go, remember it’s still quite warm in mid-October, so dress for a day of outdoor comfort, and not high fashion. Don’t forget to accessorize with picnic blankets, folding chairs and your favorite foods and beverages. There are prizes given for the best hats and most creative picnic. Think of it as “civilized tailgating with prizes.”
It didn’t take me long to realize that my narrow misconceptions of polo were unfair – to the game and to myself. Polo is rich with tradition, the social aspects are intriguing, and this particular polo event is just plain FUN and worth checking out with my friends. You don’t have to understand the rules or the history of the “Sport of Kings” to turn off the TV and be a part of the tradition. Besides, you can always DVR “Antiques Roadshow.”
Sometimes a vacation a world away—or even a state away, let alone out of the country—isn’t feasible. Whether it be pockets emptied from the hurricane deductible, ever-changing school schedules or not enough energy to bus a backseat full of screaming kids to a much-too-far-away destination, sometimes it’s just easier to spend some time off at home.
This year, don’t revert to a chore-filled, working-from-home spring “break.” Instead, opt for a stay-at-home-vacation, a.k.a. “staycation,” and enjoy the free activities, local luxuries and adventures right around the corner. Unplug, step away from the computer and get out (or stay in) for some fun with your family or friends with these local, budget-conscious ideas.
Free Fun & Discount Days
• Discount Tuesdays at Cinemark Bluffton
• April 7: Free Family Fun Night at The Sandbox
• April 22: Free Family Day at Jepson Center in Savannah
• Dubois Park (a.k.a. The Shrimp Boat) on Thursdays before the Farmers’ Market of Bluffton
• Petting Farm at Lawton Stables in The Sea Pines Resort
• Skate Park at Buckwalter Recreation Center
• Sunbathing, Splashing, Shell Seeking and Shark Tooth Finding with a Hilton Head Beach Day
Exciting Events & Fantastic Festivals
• April 1-14: Sculpture Show at Bluffton’s Four Corners Gallery
• April 1-8: Savannah Music Festival
• April 1: Leo’s Legacy at Oscar Frazier Park
• April 1: Zombie Run at Lake Mayer in Savannah
• April 3-7 & 10-12: Gregg Russell Concerts in Harbour Town
• April 4-9: “Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical” at Main Street Theatre
• April 4-5: HHSO’s Symphony Under the Stars
• April 6, 13, 20 & 27: Music & Taste on the Harbour in Shelter Cove
• April 2: Hilton Head Choral Society Choral Festival
• April 7: Old Town Bluffton Art Walk
• April 8: Easter Eggstravaganza at Shelter Cove Community Park
• April 8: Taste of Bluffton
• April 10-16: RBC Heritage Golf Tournament
• April 14-16: Easter Bunny Wagon Rides in Sea Pines
• April 15-16: River Street Book Fair
• April 15: Salty Dog Easter Egg Hunt & Salty Dog Luau
• April 15: Port Royal Soft Shell Crab Festival
• April 21-May 7: “The Drowsy Chaperone” at May River Theatre
• April 22: Earth Day/May River Cleanup
• April 26-May 21: Sister Act at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
• April 28-29: Hilton Head Dance Theatre’s “Ugly Duckling and Terpsichore, Too”
• April 29-30: MCAS Beaufort Air Show
• April 29-30: The Art Market at Historic Honey Horn
• April 29: Salty Dog Burger Bonanza
Lend A Hand at Local Non-Profits
There’s no better time than Spring Break to get active in the community. Whether you want to spend a weekend with animals at the Palmetto Animal League, Hilton Head Humane Association or Jasper Animal Rescue Mission or volunteer with The Outside Foundation or Palmetto Pride to clean up the community, the opportunities are abundant. Get your family or church group together and provide a meal or gather food for the Campbell Chapel Community Soup Kitchen, Sandalwood Community Food Pantry and Second Helpings. Help prevent and stop homelessness with Bluffton Self Help and Union Mission or the Hilton Head or Savannah Deep Well Project in both or get out and do some work with Hilton Head Habitat for Humanity. There are several other ways to help, including Volunteers in Medicine, the American Red Cross, God’s Goods and The Literacy Center.
• A Day on Daufuskie Island
• Hunting Island State Park and Nature Center in Beaufort
• Skidaway Island State Park in Savannah
• Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
• Savannah’s Fort Jackson or Fort Pulaski National Monument
• Birding with the Audubon Bird Guide App
• Dolphin Research with Spartina Marine Education Charters
• Inshore & Offshore Fishing
• Hilton Head Zipline & Aerial Adventure
• Hiking and Biking: Buckwalter Place Greenway Trail, Pinckney Island NWR, New River Trail in Hardeeville, Spanish Moss Trail in Beaufort, Bike Trails & Beaches on Hilton Head
When the rain comes or the days get a little too hot, head indoors and discover the history of the Lowcountry and culture of the Coastal Empire by visiting some of the many art, history and military museums, as well as historic homes, all around Bluffton, Savannah and Hilton Head.
• Heyward House Historic Center in Bluffton
• Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head
• The Sandbox, An Interactive Children’s Museum
• Telfair Museums in Savannah
• Savannah Children’s Museum
• Savannah History Museum
• Georgia State Railroad Museum in Savannah
• Ships of The Sea Maritime Museum in Savannah
• National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler
• Webb Military Museum
• Oatland Island Wildlife Center
• Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center
• Parris Island Museum
• Beaufort History Museum
• Santa Elena History Center in Beaufort
• Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage in Ridgeland
Feast with Friends
• Host an Oyster Roast & Marshmallow Toast
• Have a Backyard BBQ or Lowcountry Boil
• Go to the Farmers Market of Bluffton on Thursday
• Pick Strawberries at Barefoot Farms or Dempsey Farms in Beaufort
• Local Winery, Brewery and Distillery Tours and Tastings
• Dine Out in Old Town Bluffton, Historic Beaufort or Downtown Savannah
A staycation doesn’t have to mean you stay at home. Enjoy town like a tourist and stay at one of the alluring accommodations in the area to really get the vacation vibe. Whether you choose to rent a beachfront condo on Hilton Head, find an enchanting inn in Beaufort or seek the city life at a hotel in downtown Savannah, be sure to treat yourself this spring.
Imagine living in darkness and silence as a child. The inability to communicate, the utter isolation, the complete lack of language. The anger and violent outbursts due to not understanding that every object has a word to identify it. That is the only world Helen Keller knew as a child in the 1880s. “The Miracle Worker” is the story of Keller’s life, adapted from her book, “The Story of My Life,” published in 1903.
According to the Perkins School for the Blind website, Helen was born into an affluent Southern family in Alabama. Her father, Arthur Keller, was a Captain in the Confederate Army, a newspaper editor and plantation owner. His mother’s father was a Confederate General and a second cousin to Robert E. Lee. Helen was pitied and badly spoiled by her parents, taught no discipline and, by the age of six, grew into a wild, angry, tantrum-throwing child in control of the household.
Keller’s mother, inspired by an account in Charles Dickens’ 1842 travelogue “American Notes for General Circulation” of the successful education of another deaf and blind child, contacted physician J. Julian Chisolm, who referred the Kellers to Alexander Graham Bell, who would become Helen’s lifelong friend. Bell advised them to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind. Once there, Captain Keller selected 20-year-old Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired and a graduate of the Institute, to become Helen’s instructor. It was the beginning of a 49-year relationship during which Sullivan evolved into Keller’s savior and eventually her companion.
Once home, Anne immediately began to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand, beginning with “d-o-l-l” for the doll that she had brought Keller as a present. Keller was frustrated, almost having feral wildness, as her mind could not understand the relationship between the signs and objects. Keller’s big breakthrough in communication came when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on the palm of one hand, while running cool water over the other, symbolized “water.” This is one of the most powerful and compelling moments in the play. Helen learned over 60 words that first day, including Mother, Papa and Teacher.
Later Helen wrote of the experience, “Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! … Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. As we returned to the house every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life.”
“The Miracle Worker” premiered on Broadway in 1959 and closed after 719 performances. The play was written by William Gibson and directed by Arthur Penn. The original cast starred Anne Bancroft as Anne Sullivan and Patty Duke as Helen Keller. Patty Duke remained with the play for its entire run. Suzanne Pleshette eventually replaced Anne Bancroft. The play received five Tony Awards.
In 1962, again with the same writer and director, plus Bancroft and Duke, “The Miracle Worker” was presented on the big screen. That year, Bancroft won the Academy Award for Best Actress and Duke won the award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Another interesting fact is that Bancroft was married to Mel Brooks, and he asserts that she encouraged and influenced his musical film productions of “The Producers,” and “Young Frankenstein,” both plays previously presented by May River Theater.
Keller, with Sullivan’s help, graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, the first blind-deaf person to receive a degree in America. She became a prolific writer and later a social activist and lecturer, known worldwide. She was thankful for the faculties and abilities that she did possess and stated that the most productive pleasures she had were curiosity and imagination. Keller also spoke of the joy of service and the happiness that came from doing things for others: “Helping your fellow men were one’s only excuse for being in this world and in the doing of things to help one’s fellows lay the secret of lasting happiness.”
She was a suffragette, a pacifist, a radical socialist and a birth control supporter. In 1915, she founded the Helen Keller International organization, devoted to research in vision, health and nutrition. In 1920, she helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union. Keller traveled to over 40 countries with Sullivan, and met every U.S. President from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon B. Johnson, who in 1964 presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was friends with many famous figures, including Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain.
The May River Theater production of “The Miracle Worker,” directed by Ron Ruckle, is a must see, even if one has seen the movie and knows the story. Ruckle and his strong cast, including Elliot Lentz who plays Helen, Rebecca Donaldson as Anne, J.T. Chin as Captain Keller and Christine Grefe as her mother Kate Adams Keller, bring the energy, depth of feeling and understanding of this iconic and powerful play. It appeals to all ages, and the message it portrays brings hope and courage to all. There will not be a dry eye in the audience.
May River Theatre presents “The Miracle Worker” at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sundays at the Ulmer Auditorium at Bluffton Town Hall, August 12-28. Tickets for the show are $25 and are available at mayrivertheatre.com or by calling the box office at (843) 815-5581. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Written by Randolph Stewart.
If you have seen the Lowcountry from the waterways, you may have been audience to some remaining maritime forest. You may have been lucky enough to stand in the maritime forest if you looked toward the waterway. Have you ever noticed that in the natural areas of Beaufort County, all the trees and shrubs are the same mixture of species at the water’s edge? That they are always green, even in the middle of winter?! These evergreen trees and shrubs develop waxy coatings on their leaves to resist wind carrying sand and salt spray. Their root system manages to hold firm and find nutrients in sandy soil. They may be shaped to accommodate a howling wind from the ocean, or a gentle breeze near the protected waterway. The tree canopy is dense and understory growth is comparatively sparse, but nature does everything deliberately. Many of the barrier islands have been developed, and the natural landscape has been altered. Even before Beaufort County was a resort destination, much of the land was clear cut to be cultivated, so most of the present growth is secondary. By the way, if you see a bright red leaf on the bluff in the fall, it probably came from Home Depot!
Trees common to the maritime forest are live oak, loblolly pine, slash pine, cabbage palmetto, southern red cedar, and magnolia. Water oak, sweet gum, and laurel oak may also be found nearby. Instead of describing each individual tree, I am going to concentrate on what they have in common. Their purpose is to survive in a harsh environment, stabilize the barrier islands, and provide shelter and food for the wildlife living beneath their canopy. The tall trees grow side by side and interlock their branches for stability against prevailing winds. This density of branches provides a platform for travelers in the tree tops like squirrels, birds, lizards, spiders, and palmetto bugs. The strong branches give nests the security that they need. Acorns falling to the floor are a food source from the live oak tree. Pine needles carpet the forest floor and the canopy keeps the overall temperature of the forest cooler. The shade provided is important for the wildlife when it is 100 degrees outside!
Shrubs common to the maritime forest are American holly, wax myrtle or bayberry, yaupon holly, saw palmetto, and beauty berry. Since the tree canopy is so dense, little sunlight reaches the forest floor, and the shrubs are less likely to cover the ground. However, these shrubs are extremely hardy and provide safe spots for ground dwellers to hide. Some of the plants have protective qualities like the saw palmetto. Have you ever tried to grab one of those to move it out of the way? Ouch! Most of the shrubs mentioned produce berries that are a food source for raccoons, squirrels, deer, and birds foraging on the forest floor. The scientific name for yaupon holly is Ilex vomitoria, and the deer tend to leave that one alone for obvious reasons.
South Carolina has approximately 35 barrier islands and Georgia has about 15. Together, we are located in the South Atlantic Bight, a slight indentation landward. Due to a combination of this protected inlet and the substantial offshore distance of the Gulf Stream (70 miles away), we do not typically experience devastating tropical storms compared to other states on the eastern seaboard. A forest fire sparked by dry lightning would be more likely to impede this maritime forest. The South Carolina Lowcountry has an extensive rage of approximately 145,000 acres*, but there is a threat to this unique ecosystem. Waterfront property is prime and we are perilously developing the South Carolina maritime forest. I think that it is important to remember that our impact is more detrimental to the barrier islands than we think. Some developments have made efforts to preserve the natural landscape—on Hilton Head, Sea Pines designates 605 acres to allow wildlife to remain on the south end of the island. I love to see the deer bounding through the dunes on early morning sea turtle patrol in front of the beachfront luxury homes—the irony. Yes, they are overpopulated because we eradicated big game predators (subject for later discussion). But, it gives me hope that we may still have a hint of what is natural. If you have never seen a functioning maritime forest, I encourage you to visit Cumberland Island, GA. It is spectacular! If you are impressed, plant a couple of saw palmettos in your yard for a memento and you will be amazed at how well they take care of themselves!
*Biological Technical Report 30. May 1995. Ecology of the Maritime Forests of the Southern Atlantic Coast: A Community Profile. U.S. Department of the Interior
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn with photos by Andrea Six.
By Amber Hester Kuehn, owner of Spartina Marine Education Charters
The first time I saw snow was in December of 1989. Due to the fact that there are no hills in Bluffton, four-wheelers pulled tubes and hydro-slides attached to ski ropes. Thrilled teens sailed through three inches of snow covering dirt roads. It melted quickly and effortlessly.
This time, I’m 43 and own a house with the potential for bursting pipes, heavy snow-laden oak limbs overhead and a car with no garage. It was not as fun as I remembered, and it lasted a week!
The Weather Channel called it Winter Storm Grayson, named for effect. Meteorologists called it a “bomb cyclone” and “weather bomb,” using the term “bombogenesis.” I call it “the second time I have ever seen snow and hopefully the last!”
Call it whatever you want. The January 2018 East Coast winter storm resulted from the collision of a low-pressure cyclone drawing cold air from the Arctic into the Lower 48, where it met warmer air hovering over the Gulf Stream. Such a “difference of opinion” or tight temperature gradient caused a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure. If the pressure drops 24 millibars in 24 hours, it is considered “bombogenesis,” creating an angry storm spinning counterclockwise and wreaking havoc on anything in its path. It looks like a hurricane on the radar, but it is formed in a completely different way—and much closer to land. Due to the fact that it strengthens so fast, the result is harsher weather conditions in a shorter period of time. It is usually followed by a polar vortex, with Arctic air escaping from the North Pole.
Some scientists believe that the Jet Stream, the air current that separates Arctic air from moderate and tropical temperatures, is becoming unstable. It is strong when temperatures on either side are very dissimilar, but as they start to equalize due to warming of the polar ice caps, the Jet Stream is weaker, resulting in intense weather patterns. Other scientists say that these storms help to redistribute pockets of heat and cold more evenly around the globe.
Things seem to be bombing more often. In recent years, we have experienced average rainfall amounts, but they are “rain bombs,” a large amount of rainfall in a short amount of time with longer intervals between storms.
“Don’t confuse weather—which is a few days or weeks in one region— with climate, which is years and decades and global,” said Jason Furtado, a University of Oklahoma meteorology professor. “Weather is like a person’s mood, which changes frequently, while climate is like someone’s personality, which is more long-term.” Yet, your mood can be a reflection of your personality. Our planet is dynamic and we cannot expect it to stay the same when we are changing the landscape so rapidly.
According to global temperature data, the 10 hottest summers on record, in order, with 2016 being the warmest, are: 2007, 1998, 2009, 2013, 2005, 2010, 2014, 2017, 2015 and 2016. Sea level rise resulting from melting ice caps cannot be ignored. Coastal communities will be forced to renourish beaches more often and build up low-lying urban areas. Storms will be larger and more intense.
Being informed about the subject is the least we can do. Participating in environmentally sustainable programs, such as bringing your shopping bags to the grocery store and recycling, can be your contribution to reducing waste in landfills. I think of these small efforts as taking a little load off a planet that has bigger things to hash out. Every little bit counts.
Storm Wrap Up:
Reports of iguanas falling from trees and hundreds of sea turtles washing up cold stunned in the Gulf were not encouraging. However, only one sea turtle (“Snow” is recovering at the SC Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center) and one manatee succumbed to cold water temperatures dipping to 38 degrees in Beaufort County. Several spotted sea trout were lost to the extended cold snap, and I presume that many crustaceans also suffered significantly. On the plus side, palmetto bugs took a hit.
By Jevon Daly
The influence of African Americans in popular music has had a huge impact on all of our lives. As part of Black History Month, I will delve into what kind of impression black singers, songwriters and entertainers have had on me.
I’m sure a lot of you out there have experienced some of the same feelings I have. The more I hear people talk about how different we all are in America these days—choosing sides and becoming angry—it makes me sad. This article—and most of the ones I write—will continue to celebrate one of the things that has and will continue to bring us together and make us feel like one big family, despite our different colors, religions and politicin’: MUSIC.
I think the first real music I got into when I was young was Run-DMC. My cousin Maria must have had a tape when she came down to visit in 1984. I heard the rapping and the simple beats and was instantly a fan. It was new music back then. There was no Vanilla Ice or gangsta rap out at that time. It was fun, but also had an underlying message about the streets far away from my Hilton Head Island home. The struggle was in the music, but these guys had fun, too. Fat shoelaces and Kangol hats, man! Super chemistry when MCing on the microphone was great.
There was an explosion of hip hop culture, and I’m trying to piece all the early stuff I saw on TV together in my brain without using Google. When did I see the movie “Beat Street”? I somehow got some Adidas and had to learn to break dance a little. My brother Gavan was better at both breakdancing and surfing, but I had fun and it made me who I am today: a music fan. A fan of style. A fan of culture. And a fan of rapping.
I recently interviewed Charlie Daniels for South magazine, and when I mentioned that “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” may have been the first rap/country hybrid, he paused. He then told me they were just going for something new. Is it rap? If I was an alien visitor, I would probably say yes.
The clothing and slang has become a part of how America speaks. Moms tell their kids to “chill.” It’s household terminology nowadays. Disagreeing with me is fine until you have a few beers at the bonfire and find yourself blasting Drake or Nelly on the way home from the game.
I also heard guys like Muddy Waters at my house. The blues is something I think “bores” a lot of people out there, but without it there would be no Jimmy Buffett. No Faith Hill. No funk, no jazz, no rock—the blues is the Father Daddy Boss. Muddy Waters and dudes like B.B. King and Buddy Guy paved the way for Pink Floyd guitar player David Gilmour. Led Zeppelin ripped riffs right off of recordings they heard by Howlin’ Wolf and Willie Dixon. Keith Richards might live forever, but he owes the devil more than just his life…he owes him for the gift of the blues. Spooky, sometimes hypnotic, groove music that was later smoothed out and homogenized for white audiences and repackaged with cool haircuts and beards (yuck)!
After high school, I gave jazz a chance and was blown away by the rock and jazz fusion album, “Bitches Brew.” The album had the beat. The cover freaked me out a little. The trumpet blown by Miles Davis blew my head clean off—poof! I was a changed man, again. Another thing to get into. The wild solos and frenetic piano I heard from guys like Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner left classical piano music in the dust, as far as I was concerned. This piano I was hearing from Monk was alive, breathing and red hot. I know nowadays jazz has kind of been softened and plays mostly during cocktail hours at weddings, but men like William Parker and Craig Taborn are still moving forward. Sucker MCs must call them sire.
Miles Davis had a real issue with his own demons as he aged. But he also found himself falling in love with Jimi Hendrix, jamming with Prince and stealing Sly and the Family Stone rhythms and beats for his own music. Michael Jackson came along and thrilled us all with dancing and exceptional music from the time he was 7 or 8, up until he put on the red jacket and did the zombie shake.
This article could just go on and on. From Robert Johnson to modern-day cowboys like D’Angelo and Questlove, it just keeps on tickin’. The beat of a different drummer we can all dance to. Black music will always be. Walk this way or dance that way—it’s all the same big beat rockin’ down the street.
Freedom is something I think most musicians are aware of. We can show up a few minutes late to work and it’s not a big deal (unless you are performing at a wedding). We are fed, given beer and have a special place in this creature comfort friendly world we live in. People can be out of work, but “they still gon’ drink.” And that is where the musician comes in.
“Sing me something I know, so I can tell if you’re any good or not.”
And therein lies the debacle. Do musicians have as much freedom as we think? I picture a ball and chain and a long-haired dude with a guitar churning out all the hits: “Benny and the Jets.” “Jack and Diane.”
“Freebird!” is yelled from the back of the bar. People laugh.
“Play ‘Rocky Top’!”
“Dedicate this one to the troops!”
Then there is a silence onstage. Maybe there isn’t even a stage. Now what the guitar player does next is what we are talking about. Does he play what people want, or is this guy so slick that the tricks up his sleeve will take this in another direction?
I remember going to see Ozzy in 1991. I wore out my copy of No Rest for the Wicked a few years prior to the concert. When I got to the show, I knew all the words to “Miracle Man” and “Breaking All the Rules.” So, after playing a few songs off the album, I wondered why “Crazy Train” came oozing out of the giant guitar amps onstage. OK, maybe oozing isn’t the right word.
But then I noticed something. Hands instantly went up in the air. Screams scraped my ears. My hair stood up on my neck. Maybe I fell in love with the new album, but “Crazy Train” is played at Super Bowls. I learned something about myself and most of us out there in the audience that night. We want to be “hit over the head” by these big songs when at a music show. Just GIVE IT TO US.
I’ve noticed after playing “Rocky Top” or “Wagon Wheel” that audiences are like wild animals. Throw them a piece of meat and they will listen to you. That is the time to play the song you wrote about the place they’ve never heard of or that girl who broke your heart into little crumbs. Freedom. I often wonder what songs DJs will play at weddings in 100 years. Will there even BE weddings in 100 years?
I joke. No one laughs. The crowd turns to their phones.
“I’m going outside to smoke a cig,” says another patron.
But, if I have that song—the “Simple Man” or, God forbid, a song that I WROTE that can get that person to sing along or stop texting—then I win for the next five minutes. That “win” makes hearing a request for “Brown Eyed Girl” from that little 14-year-old on vacation with her mom at the Tiki Hut easier as an “artist.”
As a musician, I have learned (still learning) that people just wanna hear songs they know. They wanna feel like you are including them in your day. And, yes, usually original music is boring to the average guy with his kids from Wisconsin or the drunk chick at the bar you’ve been playing at for five years.
“Learn your craft” is what Michael Kavanaugh, a veteran player of 25 years on Hilton Head Island, says. “But, if the chance to be yourself arises, do it. But get in and get out.”
Living in America, sometimes we lose sight of how much freedom we have.
Pierce that septum if ya want. You won’t be burned alive. There are guys and gals fighting every day in strange places for your right to wear your hair blue. Paint your car in DayGlo paint. Kiss a boy or a girl. You can go to college to be a DJ or a surfer these days.
Do I think it’s OK to acknowledge the troops in song? Why not? Zach Brown has it down to a science.
A soldier returning home just wants to re-connect and plug back in to society. If watching guys in wigs sing “Pour Some Sugar on Me” helps make that transition back to normal life, then heck yes. Some of the biggest supporters of music in my life have been men and women who have served our country. They love life, they love beer, and they need music. We all do. Take the music away and the natives get restless.
Written by Jevon Daly.
From traditional Southern meals to sugary sippin’s and late night nibbles, the Lowcountry’s culinary scene is vast and growing immensely nationwide. But you don’t have to spend a fortune at restaurants to sample some of the South’s specialties.
Fried Green Tomatoes:
This simple golden side dish peaked in popularity when the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” came out in 1991. Though considered Southern fare for years, this dish has its own secret backstory, emerging from Jewish immigrants in the Northeast and Midwest before becoming a star of the South. Some of the first recipes found published on this traditional American tomato dish were in Jewish cookbooks, before showing up in cookbooks in the Midwest and newspapers. No matter where they’re from, we’re just glad they’re here and you can find them on menus all over the Lowcountry from Charleston to Bluffton.
Shrimp & Grits:
A staple on any Southern table, Shrimp & Grits is another hot dish you won’t want to miss. This regional specialty hails from the Lowcountry, with origins in the Native American Muskogee tribe who ground corn in a stone mill, giving it a gritty texture. It wasn’t until 1985 when Craig Claiborne of the New York Times visited North Carolina and published a recipe about them, that the Shrimp & Grits we know today gained widespread popularity. From hole-in-the-wall diners to upscale eateries all across the South, this plate is made many different ways, each pleasing palates of many different people.
When strolling by the candy kitchens and confectioners in the Lowcountry, you can’t help but smell the sweet aromas sifting through the air of fresh pralines. Though they’re known for their caramel color and crunchy pecans in the United States, these delights actually hail from France, where they’re much firmer, made with almonds and caramelized sugar. When they were brought over by French settlers to Louisiana, local chefs substituted the ingredients for the ample pecans and sugar cane. They’re in abundance here in the Hostess City of the South, so be sure to grab some sugar when you’re in Savannah!
Georgia may be called the “Peach State,” but did you know that South Carolina actually grows more of this sweet, succulent fruit? As of 2017, the state of South Carolina produced 11,000 tons of peaches. Whether you’re in the mood for peach ice cream, peach cobbler or just some fresh peaches from a roadside stand, be sure to get some of this fuzzy fruit while you’re here!
Daufuskie Island offers a rich cultural experience and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of its structures are long gone, but there are many buildings that are centuries old and are still standing and have a great significance in Lowcountry history.
1. Brother and Sisters Oyster Union Society Building
From the turn of the 20th century until pollution in the Savannah River ruined the oyster beds in the 1950s, the primary economy of the Island was harvesting and shucking oysters. The oyster workers established the Oyster Union Society, a benevolent and burial society that held meetings and social events—often enhanced by moonshine or homemade wine—in this 1893 building. The building was restored by the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation in 2012.
2. Mt. Carmel Baptist Church No. 2 and Billie Burn Museum
Built on the north end, Church No. 1 was destroyed by a hurricane in 1940. At that time, the declining population caused the church to close. In 2001, the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation bought the property, restored the building and opened the Billie Burn Museum, named after the longtime Island resident, author and Island historian.
3. First Union African Baptist Church
This church is the oldest building on the Island, and dates back to 1881. It was destroyed by fire in 1884 and rebuilt in 1885, on the grounds of Mary Field Plantation (a former cotton plantation) and owned by John Stoddard. He divided the plantation into 12-acre lots and sold them to freed slaves for the purpose of building a church and cemetery. The church still holds regular services.
4. Mary Fields School
The two-room building was built for the Island’s black children in the 1930s. Scraps were used to make the desks. The school was integrated in 1962 after the last white child graduated from the White School House. It was immortalized by Pat Conroy in “The Water is Wide.” Closed in 1997, it has been renovated and is now used for church and civic activities.
5. Sarah Grant Home
Sarah bought this home in 1910 from Fuller Fripp and had it moved to its current location for a total cost of $40. Sarah was the Island midwife and her husband was the Island undertaker. When he passed in 1962, she took his place. It was said that “Granny bring ‘em an’ she take ‘em away.” It was later restored by the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation.
6. The White School
The White School House was built in 1913 by the Beaufort County Board of Education for white children who lived on Daufuskie Island. Whether there were 20 students or just one, a teacher was sent. The school closed when the last white child graduated in 1962. Since then, the White School House has been used as fire department headquarters, an Island library and thrift shop. Currently, the White School House is home to the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation‘s archives.
7. Silvery Dew Winery
An iconic building, Silver Dew Winery dates back to 1883. It was originally constructed as a “wick house,” a building used to store oil, wicks and lamps for nearby Bloody Point Lighthouse. In the mid-1900s, it was converted to a winery by Arthur “Papy” Burn. Papy made wine from grapes, scuppernong, pears, and elderberries in the shed until it was closed in 1959. Recently the Silver Dew Winery and Bloody Point Lighthouse were purchased, and are now open to the public.
8. Frances Jones Home
The core of this vintage Gullah home is believed to have been built in the late 1860s by freemen who moved to the Island after the Civil War. Over the years, additions were made and the house become the home of beloved Frances Jones, teacher of the African-American children on the Island from 1939 to 1969. She was lame from a childhood accident but still managed to teach as many as 96 children in the morning and afternoon sessions, often the sole teacher. The building was restored in 2014 by the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation.
9. Tabby Ruins
Tabby is a building material made from a mixture of ground oyster shells, sand and water. Many slave quarters were constructed of wood and have long since disintegrated, but remnants of structures made from tabby can be seen to this day, especially at Haig Point.
Photos Courtesy of Michael Hrizuk & Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation
By Michele Roldán-Shaw
“The Water is Wide”
Pat Conroy is generally better known for novels like “Prince of Tides and Beach Music,” but an early work of nonfiction about his days as schoolteacher on Daufuskie Island is, in my opinion, by far the standout. Although Daufuskie is called “Yamacraw” and the names of characters are changed as well, the unflinching portrayal still ticked off a lot of folks around here when it was published in 1972. Conroy spoke the truth about what he saw: little black children on an island of isolation and poverty, whose education had been so sorely neglected that they couldn’t even recite the alphabet or name the country they lived in.
In a pitiful drafty schoolhouse with outdated textbooks cast off by mainland white schools, they were beaten and called “retarded” by their only other teacher. So Conroy promptly instituted his own unorthodox methods—such as taking them across the water on field trips to an outside world about which they had an astounding ignorance—until his job was threatened by patriarchal powers of the school board. Despite its treatment of such heavyweight issues, the book is an absolute joy to read, full of the warmth and humor of Daufuskie’s native islander community. And the kids—you can’t help but love the kids! Conroy perfectly captures their hilarity, innocence and mean streaks; their tragedy, potential and hope. The Lowcountry is better for having this book.
William Elliot’s “Carolina Sports by Land and Water”
First published in 1846, here is a genuine primary-source window into a past that is so often discussed here: the days of gentlemen rice planters. “I am a hereditary sportsman,” Elliot writes, “and inherit the tastes of my grandfather, as well as his lands.” Elliot is absolutely typical, keeping to all the social norms and prejudices of the era. He built his fortune on the backs of slaves, whom he felt certain would burn the whole place down if he didn’t crack the whip; later he went into politics; his passion for “sportsmanship” contributed heavily to the wanton 19th-century slaughter of wildlife that nearly exterminated deer, bear and panthers from the South. But at least the way Elliot tells it, he’s a hero.
Here are rollicking tales of the hunt in which he kills two bear with one shot, chases down and strangles a deer with his bare hands, and lands any number of epic bass and drumfish that would make the modern angler gape with envy. Of particular interest are his stories of “the mightiest, strangest, most formidable among them all for its strength, the devil-fish; then rarely seen, and deemed, even down to our own times, scarcely less fabulous than the Norwegian kraken!” Elliot liked to harpoon these monstrous manta rays, then hold fast to the line while they towed his little boat on a wild ride all over Port Royal Sound! Politics aside, there’s just no denying he knew how to spin a good yarn.
This Daufuskie Island author has a way of telling stories that perfectly suits his habitat: thick and tangled like the woods, weaving in and out like tidal creeks, grand as a plantation, full of shabby history like an old praise house, dubious as something you only thought you saw in the moonshadows, dirty as a dirt road yet somehow sacred too, like golden light on the marsh. You’re never quite sure what his stories are about, but boy do they give you a feeling—like being up in a deer stand before dawn, or down at Marshside Mama’s after dark (Daufuskie’s infamous juke joint). And they are NEVER politically correct.
A seventh-generation Lowcountry native son, Roger Pinckney is authentic; he’s got both the pedigree and the checkered past to lend just the right sensibilities to his work. Characters include bootleggers, outlaws, “root doctors” (Lowcountry voodoo men), unscrupulous developers, and of course more than a few beautifully dangerous women. His novels are titled “Reefer Moon and Mullet Manifesto,” and his collections of essays include “The Right Side of the River, Signs and Wonders,” and “Seventh Son on Sacred Ground.” He even has a fairly scholarly work entitled “Blue Roots,” which tells all about Gullah folk magic from Roger’s own experience. Read him to escape into a tale, to understand the Lowcountry, and to be reminded that we must appreciate and protect what has always made this place great: the water and the land.
“Scarlet Sister Mary”
Highly controversial in its own time, this novel will still raise eyebrows today. It is the story of a young black woman whose true love does her bad, so in his wake she gives free reign to her passions with a long string of casual lovers by whom she bears nine illegitimate children. She rears them on her own with strength, courage and a sort of homely dignity, even as she is ostracized by her church-dominated community. The book is set in post-emancipation coastal Carolina, but with a twist: there is not a single white character in the book. It has been compared with other pioneering novels (such as “The Color Purple” and “Their Eyes Were Watching God”) for its celebration of rural Black-American culture on its own terms, in its own language.
Here is an intimate, three-dimensional portrait of a Gullah community where people’s lives carry on absolutely independently of their recent masters—yet it was written by a white woman, making the book very revolutionary for its time. Due to this, and to the sensual nature of its content, it was labeled obscene and banned from at least one public library in South Carolina. Its author Julia Peterkin, a plantation mistress who grew up around Gullah folk and knew how to perfectly render their dialect and humor, became the first South Carolinian to win the Pulitzer Prize when “Scarlet Sister Mary” was selected in 1928. (A detractor promptly resigned from the jury in outrage.) But none of this is the real joy of the book. Read it for the colorful language and laugh-out-loud humor that bring to life this troubling, yet warmly loved slice of Lowcountry folklife.
J.E. McTeer’s “High Sheriff of the Lowcountry”
He is a local legend, along with his arch-nemesis (and in a way admired friend) the infamous Sea Island conjure man Dr. Buzzard. McTeer became head lawman of Beaufort County in 1926 at the age of 23, replacing his deceased father, and went on to serve in the position for 37 years, garnering respect and affection from both the black and white communities of that segregated time. But where else in America could you find a sheriff who was also a self-professed “white witch doctor” and who openly did supernatural battles with the criminals he was trying to bring down? McTeer authored the “Fifty Years as a Lowcountry Witch Doctor,” “High Sheriff of the Lowcountry,” “Adventure in the Woods and Waters of the Low Country,” and “Beaufort Now and Then,” vintage classics you can find in any local library. The pages brim with matter-of-fact accounts of hexes, counter-hexes, and court witnesses who couldn’t complete their testimony because they started convulsing and foaming at the mouth after someone “put the root” on them. McTeer’s long quest to bring down the flashy-dressing, purple-spectacled, third-generation rootman Dr. Buzzard – who in particular was helping draft dodgers by administering small doses of arsenic to give them heart murmurs, a malpractice that McTeer couldn’t abide—resulted in much trading of threats and spells, and ended only when Buzzard’s son ran his car into the marsh and drowned. (In his books McTeer insists this was a coincidence, but nevertheless it sealed the fame of his powers.)
Sensational as all this may sound, McTeer was an extremely intelligent, rational, shrewd and insightful person who had a deep understanding and sensitivity toward the people of his community. He called himself a “poor man’s psychiatrist,” and after his tenure as sheriff, he continued to see patients who came from several states around to seek his counsel in a little back “root room” of his real estate office. He was truly an icon of a unique era that is now past (you could never get away with this stuff now!) but which continues to hold sway on popular imagination. There is a new book by Baynard Woods entitled “Coffin Point: The Strange Cases of Ed McTeer, Witchdoctor Sheriff,” and it’s reportedly being made into a TV series by Will Smith’s production company. Sounds great!
“Rambler’s Life: The South” and “The South Reloaded”
These back-to-back underground classics are the rarest books on the list, written by a hometown girl (me) and available in limited handmade editions at Cahill’s Market. They chronicle secret histories and little-known stories of the Lowcountry—as well as the real-life South beyond it—told in the words of everyday people who you might actually know. If you like moonshine, folk art, BBQ, gospel, snake experts, bluesmen, rednecks and people who wrastle gators with their bare hands, you will enjoy “Rambler’s Life”; if you like rubies, treehouses, backpacking, kung fu, island-hopping, Buddhist meditation, sacred healing waters and intelligent conversation you will also enjoy “Rambler’s Life.” There is a lot going on in the South, once you get beyond ugly stereotypes on the one hand, and overcorrection of being too polite on the other. An indie writer with no agenda and the willingness to get down and dirty for the story is just the person to report on these complexities—here is Huckleberry Finn reborn as a girl with a pickup truck and a notebook, on an epic New South odyssey.
Support your local authors so they can keep telling their truths!
By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery
The Hungarian word for wine is bor, but one thing for certain is that with its fascinating history, unique growing conditions and range of flavors, Hungarian wine is anything but boring.
Like all renowned European wine regions, around the fifth century AD, the Romans brought grapevines to the land known today as Hungary. During the Ottoman occupation, new vines from France and Italy were introduced. In the late 1800s, when Ottoman power was ceded to Austria, grapevines with Germanic origins were brought to the area. All of these historic influences helped shaped Hungary’s unique wine offerings.
However, just when the region’s wine production was thriving, the deadly Phllyoxera epidemics of the late 1800s decimated most of Europe’s vineyards. Meantime, just as scientists found the remedy for this scourge, two world wars slowed the recovery of the wine industry throughout Europe.
Most of Europe’s wine regions thrived after World War II, while Hungary’s wine country languished due to the priorities of the Communist regimes. It wasn’t until 1989, when renewed interest and investment in the wine regions brought Hungarian wines back to world-class prominence.
An old Ottoman legend is captured in the wines of the Eger region, located just north of Budapest. The rich, spicy red wine Egri Bikavér means “bull’s blood.” It is said that during the Ottoman siege of Eger, Hungarian troops drinking the red wine had so intimidated their attackers with their bloodshot eyes, red-stained beards and fiery temperaments that they insisted the Hungarians were not to be messed with because they drank the blood of a bull.
Many Hungarian wines have trouble breaking into markets because the wines and grapes used are seemingly esoteric. Wines from the Villany region are the exception. This warm region situated on the southernmost tip of Hungary features wines similar to French Bordeaux blends.
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the featured grapes, bottled either on their own or blended together. With a nod to regional history, some winemakers add Austro-Hungarian grapes such as Kadarka and Kekfrankos to give these wines a unique Hungarian twist.
Tokaj is Hungary’s oldest classified wine region and home to the world-class Tokaji Aszu. This sweet, topaz-colored wine has intense flavors of honey, citrus and apricots, and was one of Europe’s most highly prized wines in the 18th and 19th centuries. While this region has moved on to produce excellent dry white wines known as Furmint, a bottle of premiere Tokaji Aszu can fetch around $50 per bottle. Furmint wine styles can vary widely, with some tasting like an off-dry Riesling and others evoking an aged Chardonnay.
The next time you’re in a wine shop, take the time to peruse the Hungarian wine section. Since they are under-hyped, you will find delicious wines steeped in history at great values.
The perfect bottle of handcrafted artisan wine awaits at Island Winery on Cardinal Rd., Hilton Head Island. Complimentary tastings, wine by the glass and cheese platters are available Monday-Saturday from 12:30-5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 12-4 p.m. (843) 842-3141 or www.islandwinery.com.
As an artist, I suffer from this problem—it’s an issue with focus. Not that I can’t focus on something, it’s that I have a tendency to focus on everything. It can be very distracting and lead to many started and unfinished tasks. I had a professor who I was helping with research and, while we were discussing which subject I would assist with, he asked which piqued my interest. I simply smiled and said, “That’s the problem, all of them.” They all sounded fabulous and I knew I wanted to learn more about each. He laughed and immediately knew he had to rein in the situation before it got out of hand, assigned me to a specific task and sent me on my merry way.
Many artists run into this very same “problem.” The term “starving artist” might come to mind. Most are uniquely brilliant souls who simple don’t understand the importance of one simple truth: “The #1 reason most businesses fail is because of a lack of focus.”
This statement is something Daufuskie local, Chase Allen, shared with me. He was a business major with big corporate plans and landed his first job out of college in the marketing department of Haig Point. In his downtime, he started to “sneak outside the gates,” into the untouched areas of Daufuskie. His curiosity initially led him to question why anyone would want to live there. Being a remote island, it lacked many of the basic necessities we’ve grown accustomed to. Making a living on an island with no real industry is no small feat. But this later became part of his inspiration.
His senior year in college, Chase was thrown a curve ball—made of mud. Well, clay. Well…slinging clay, more specifically. He took a pottery class and felt the thrill that working with your hands can bring. The gravitation of being able to create is a pretty powerful draw. I believe while each of us wishes to follow the path which inspires us, few have the courage to do so. But, when you stumble upon something that changes the way you think and ignites a hidden chamber within, you have to give it attention. Energy flows where attention goes.
As a business major, Chase understood the importance of keeping your day job while you chisel your way through the doors blocking your path. He continued to work with Haig Point and pursed his artisan interests in his spare time. He apprenticed with Bluffton’s Potter, Jacob Preston. Jacob was an inspiration with his worldly travels, fearless adventures and ability to turn his passion into a way of life; a way to actually successfully support his life.
Larry and Emily Burns of Daufuskie were mentors, as well. Fellow potters and owners of Silver Dew Pottery, they welcomed Chase to the Island and shared their “story” with him. Not wanting to step on any toes, he began to dabble in other artistic studies to find what, in addition to pottery, interested him. One evening tech course in welding and ironworks later, he had his path laid out before him and started The Iron Fish Gallery.
The more time Chase spent on Daufuskie, the more the Island opened its arms and nourished his creativity. Chase desired to be an artisan who was unique, one that people would seek. If you’re on Main Street in a big city and someone walks into your gallery, it’s easily accidental or purely out of convenience. But, if you’re off the beaten path, that person who walks through your door does so with purpose. They have either sought you out or they’re a kindred spirit.
Chase claims he cannot take credit for his success on Daufuskie. “The Island either harbors you, or it doesn’t,” he explains. “It was a divine a plan,” not his. Not only did he find his career path by sneaking through the gates of the norm, he found his wife and partner, Rachel, on Daufuskie.
Rachel was a high school Spanish teacher on the Island. She studied at UGA and was on the equestrian team. Her interest in horses led her to the position she holds now, Director of the Equestrian Center at Haig Point. Rachel would be one of the kindred spirits who happened upon Chase’s path.
From personal experience and observations, it’s better to set some guidelines—outlines, if you will—and let your story write itself. Staying within the safety and comfort of the gates and vaults, may keep you safe from harm, but it limits the outlets you could explore. This leads back to focus. Most artists are easily bored. We see something shiny and are enthralled for a bit, and then something else catches our eye. In order to master something and be successful, you need to be able to focus and follow through. Chase has stayed true to The Iron Fish Gallery and focused on the success he wanted to achieve. Separating and allotting time for hobbies is a must for most artists, but being able to decipher a hobby from a career can be the challenge.
Daufuskie has provided Chase his home for the past 17 years, one in which he has no visible neighbors and always a welcomed knock at the door by someone who desires to see what he’s created now, which pressures him to better and further his trade. Asked if he’d ever move, he said, “No. [Daufuskie] has provided him with everything he needs.”
“It’s not the Island or lifestyle for most, but it’s worked for me,” he added. Chase has a way to support a life he loves, can fill his freezer with freshly caught fish, and has his partner by his side. What else can a person want?
Article by Claire Thompson. Photos Courtesy of Michael Hrizuk.
Welcome to the Palmetto Bluff home of Connecticut native, John Howard. So many elements inspire the design of a home: site and natural surroundings, the owners’ dreams, and the imagination of the designer, to name a few.
When John Howard found Palmetto Bluff and settled on the site for his vacation home, he enlisted the insights of his friend and architect, Geoffrey Bray, with whom he had previously worked in New England. The location offered many advantages, including a wonderful climate, golf, Lowcountry beauty, large private lots, the surrounding rivers and marshes and many amenities close by in a small, old village named Bluffton. The design of this home was intentional and purposeful, as illustrated by this philosophical quote by Architect Geoffrey Bray:
“Form doesn’t follow function. Great design allows both form and function an equal footing. Great design is not about preconceived notions or style. It is the understanding of the client’s needs, prioritizing them, and working within the framework of the situation—cost, location, history, and surrounding environment to create a timeless solution that meets the particular challenges of use for decades to come. And, of course, to look good doing it. Private residences in particular are very personal projects to me as the architect and client must become one in order to successfully create a house from which the client can then make a home…”
I was pleased when Bill Mischler, exceptional craftsman, master builder and person, offered to show me the Magnolia House, a special house he felt Breeze readers might like. I have known Bill for close to 20 years. He is passionate about his work, family and friends, and has made a permanent mark throughout the Lowcountry, including his work with regional custom homes, the Oldfield Nature Center, the Palmetto Bluff Chapel and the restoration of the 1732 Bonny Hall Plantation in Colleton County, South Carolina.
After turning on a dirt road and driving a short distance through flanking arbors, we entered a circular, pebbled motor court, surrounded by buildings arranged in an arc. My first impression was one of Lowcountry exteriors complementing the natural surroundings, simple materials and elements and large, stylized overhangs. Built as a compound, the carriage house is in the center, main house is to the left and guesthouse to the right. In somewhat of an epiphany, I realized that the foundations, porches and concave roofs all follow the same radius as the drive and perimeter landscaping. At the center of it all is a young magnolia.
I asked Geoffrey to share what inspired him to utilize the magnolia. He explained, “The circular format for the site is intended to be an eclectic interpretation of the traditional family compound which reflects the natural evolutionary development which reflects the historical development of plantation living as it breaks down the mass of the main, or big house with the other supporting structures in an organized fashion beyond the ring of live oaks that, in time, will overhang and frame the driveway as it has in countless superb homes over the centuries.”
Once inside, we see the space’s Colonial influence, evidenced by simple wood paneling and subtle details. It is apparent that John, Geoffrey and Bill (along with another Connecticut friend, Interior Designer Wendy Kirkland of Savannah) teamed together to create something unique. Magnolia House’s exterior is pure Lowcountry, and the interior inspiration comes from New England, representing John’s two worlds—north meets south!
Geoffrey left no stone unturned. He says of Magnolia House:
“The main house takes natural ventilation to another level when the weather permits by inducing cooling breezes to enter and exit through front and rear porches through sets of mahogany French doors connecting to the interior. Additionally, through natural convection as cool air comes into the house on the first floor and exhausts through remotely operated windows in the cupola, which sits atop the ridge of the main gable roof. The cupola also provides controlled natural light into the great room below throughout the day, regardless of the sun’s location. Both houses use the judicious placement of operable window units within interior walls to enhance ventilation and share daylight in areas which otherwise would have none or limited natural light. Lastly, the openings expand the perceived size of the spaces as they are visually open to adjacent spaces while still offering acoustic and visual privacy when so desired.”
The central cupola provides light to a second floor gallery that opens to the ground floor. It introduces a “sea captain” element with the painted paneled walls, beaded moldings, “nickel and dime gapping,” beamed ceiling, timber framing, and warm, wide-board pine floors. This design is carried throughout the 3,200-square-foot main house, and the two-bedroom guesthouse. Details abound in a subtle sense of quality. The paneling was painted with a brush, and the trim was sprayed the same color, but the different approaches resulted in a slightly different sheen. Each painting and print was carefully selected, planned and placed. Interior windows allow light into the hall, and the timber framing provides both form and function. Black iron rods that support the gallery beams provide another subtly unifying detail, another example of an element that provides both form and function.
The curved roofs, porches and facade of the three structures surrounding the magnolia can best be seen from the guesthouse porch to the main house and garage. Because of the radius, each roof panel, ceiling board and decking board had to be cut at slight angles. Each rafter is a different length, and the roofs are a combination of zinc-coated stainless steel and cedar shake. The siding is shiplap cypress with mitered and joined outside corners. The trim, paint, windows and doors match each component of the compound.
Note the attention to detail in the shot to the right—how the beaded parting mull at the transoms, continuing to the paneled walls. Each board is precisely gapped and continuously aligned throughout the room. The ceiling molding is separated from the ceiling with a nickel. This subtlety is a nice effect, but it also keeps the caulking from cracking, as it might if the molding touched the ceiling. All of the panel walls are separated with a dime. As the temperature and humidity of the house changes, older tongue and groove walls would contract and expand at differing widths.
Because Geoffrey understands the South, he used these details to keep the spacing and gapping the same, adapting his construction techniques for the change in climate. Small details, like the recessed shoe mold that sits under the baseboard instead of on top; the artwork, fixtures and accessories are all carefully considered. The Sheraton chairs are elegant and their simple, classic design echoes the owner’s taste. There is no clutter, and every space and room in both structures connects, unifying the design with light and natural views.
The dining room is flanked by oversized stone fireplaces and light flows in through the gallery and cupola above. The exposed ceiling joist supports the upper floors, and is painted on the bottom and stained on the top. In keeping with the centralism concept, one can see the magnolia tree through the living room, the front door and porch beyond.
The design target for the kitchen, as conveyed by Geoffrey, was to create a space where John could both cook and entertain in a setting for guests who could either help or sit a comfortable distance away in the breakfast area. While modern in terms of equipment, he wanted the look to be casual, classic and befitting of Lowcountry style. The best example of this is the custom wood cabinet that hides the stainless refrigerator and freezer. The craftsmanship required to reinterpret a classic antique is extraordinary. The Il Fanale fixtures over the island were selected specifically by Wendy because of their timeless simplicity. The pattern of the wood ceiling creates a very subtle sense of separation between the kitchen and breakfast area.
The guesthouse is the smaller sister of the main house. The stained and varnished mahogany entry doors and transoms open into a paneled, small foyer with awning windows that allow interior light into the kitchen, all mirroring the symmetry and balance essential to the central magnolia theme.
After speaking with Geoffrey and John, I have better insight into what makes the Magnolia House such a special place. As time goes by, and the magnolia and live oaks grow, it will only get better. A winning design, Magnolia House is an excellent example of what can happen when north meets south.
Article by Randolph Stewart and Geoffrey Bay with photography by Bryan Stovall.
Architect: Geoffrey Bray, New Britain, Connecticut, www.bray-architects.com, [email protected]
Builder: Bill Mischler, Genesis Construction, Bluffton, SC, www.genesis-construction.com, [email protected].com
Interior Design: Wendy Kirkland, WDK Designs, Connecticut/Savannah, www.wdkdesign.com
Mayfest is an amazing annual celebration of regional artists and artisans, but local painters, potters, sculptors, woodworkers, jewelry makers and craftsmen make Bluffton the “HeART of the Lowcountry” every day.
In addition to the colorful galleries, eclectic shops and tasteful eateries lining Calhoun Street and adjacent avenues, new public art occasionally pops up in Old Town. Recently, a painting of a mother and baby dolphin leaping out the water replaced D. Pierce Giltner’s weatherworn shrimp boat image on the corner of Bridge and Boundary Streets.
Giltner, an esteemed local artist who operated Gallery Without Walls next to The Store on Calhoun Street for several years, asked Michele Roldán-Shaw to create a new installment on the former Town bulletin board; prepping the wood, providing the paints and studio space and even installing the finished piece.
“It was his kind way of lending a hand to a fellow outsider artist—meaning we don’t have formal training or a lot of slick marketing behind us, so we have to be innovative and make our own way,” she explains. “I’m very grateful to Pierce for giving me this opportunity!”
Perhaps best known as a freelance journalist (and longtime Bluffton Breeze contributor), as well as the author of two true adventure tales called “Rambler’s Life,” Roldán-Shaw’s first love was art.
“I have been doing art for as long as I can remember,” explains the avid outdoorswoman. “However, I have no formal schooling—I just follow my own muse! When I moved to Bluffton 13 years ago, I started painting the local flora and fauna I saw in my explorations.”
For instance, her Lowcountry mural at the Coastal Discovery Museum includes a black snake slithering up a palmetto tree (a memory from a visit to Hunting Island), as well as a pod of dolphins with one tiny, black newborn fin in the center (as seen on Bull Creek). She also spent several years showing her art at various Calhoun Street galleries while painting more murals for businesses and private residences.
Today, Roldán-Shaw’s primary focus is on her writing, although she still does commissioned pieces and original artwork for family and friends. A table she had painted long ago with a mother and baby dolphin provided iconic inspiration for her most recent project.
“[Dolphins] are one thing NOBODY ever gets tired of seeing,” she says. “I am very pleased with how the painting has been received in the spirit of town beautification that everyone can enjoy.”
To view Roldán-Shaw’s gallery of artwork, inquire about painting commissions or learn more about her books, call (843) 304-3460 or visit ramblerslife.com.
Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. In a show of support, all Coastal Restaurant and Bars (CRAB) locations will be collecting donations of gift cards for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent flooding. They will accept gift cards for national chains such as Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. Any denomination is welcome, but smaller denominations are preferable so that we can help as many people as possible.
We all know the devastation a hurricane can bring long after the storm has passed. Let’s show others that #HHIStrong stretches beyond our island borders.
Bring your donation to any CRAB location. For more information, call CRAB at (843) 536-8600.
Like Bluffton itself, the local music scene continues to grow and evolve.
By Jevon Daly
Bluffton has been going through major changes lately: new breweries, new boutiques, new bands and new venues. As 2018 gets underway, I would like to take a few moments to give props to the dedicated local musicians and venues that have made it another great year here in the Lowcountry.
How great it is to live in an area where Johnny O and Doug Marshall play at local establishments every single week? Guys like Harry Santana are smiling and singing songs they love right down the street from Zack Stiltner doing a gig and flippin’ his flowing locks. And then there’s Whitley Deputy being all smooth when he’s not makin’ videos. And David Carroll with Jarrod Valenti smokin’ on the sax.
Mike Schultz and his son are killin’ it. Irritating Julie and their biggest fan, Julie. Liam, I did not forget you and your dad. The Chiggers always put on a fun show. Tim Horan has had bands in the area for 20 years.
Savannah E and Chris Broome are doing their thing over here, Brad Wells is rockin’ over there. Daubert, Korbar, Coyne. The cats from La Bodega are always giggin’. Groove Town Assault doesn’t play here enough! Cranford Hollow and Angie Aparao are always pullin’ in the peeps at The Roasting Room. Ben Hughey sings his heart out! Tommy and Trevor’s duo, Ross 2. LCB. NGITW. Jeff Gilmer and Muddycreek, doin’ their thing. I’m just scratching the surface of Bluffton’s growing music scene.
Our local music culture includes all kinds of dudes and ladies. Dude looks like a lady sometimes, too, Jani St. James. John Blanken puttin’ on the house shows. Bob Myhre and his two boys are spreading the love. Chris Jones playing guitar, bass, trumpet and crazy fast guitar lickety splits.
This is the Bluffton music scene. The Corks-Calhoun’s-Dispensary–Cheap Seats–Fat Patties–Peaceful Henry’s–Roasting Room–Gastropub–Wild Wing thing. All kinds of us musicians out there rockin’, yachtin’, twangin’ and, most importantly, giving the people their music.
Local music fans love going to see their friends, hear their favorite songs and shake their tail feathers. Drink the Bud Lights and Ultras. Dance to some Sublime, skip over to this place and watch homegirl belt it out.
The venue owners make it happen. The Bens and Jons and Joshies. The Jordings and Burts. It’s all part of what makes things go bang in the night around here. The bands and bartenders hang out.
This is what we have in Bluffton. Is it just getting started? Definitely.
What’s to come in 2018? More music, more smiles.
I urge all the musicians to learn a few new tunes. Write a song. Make a shirt. Do a request. Tell a bad joke this year. Buy your bud a Bud.
Most of all, I just want the music scene to grow. What can you do to help? Support live music. Look for new CDs comin’ out and buy ‘em. All of us make this place what it is. (I’m sure I forgot a few of “us,” and for that I apologize.)
Be safe in 2018 and, if you start getting too big of a beer belly, just tell ‘em you’re keepin’ the baby!
The staff of Covert Aire™ shared an enormous amount of good will, love, positivity, and inspiration by performing random acts of kindness all over the Lowcountry throughout the month of July. Ten random acts were planned in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Covert Aire™.
The random acts of kindness (RAKs) valued at over $1,000 in total ranged from paying for groceries for strangers, sharing quarters and detergent at a local laundromat to supplying tennis balls for dogs at the Sun City Dog Park and giving away free iced tea at the Bluffton Farmers Market. Through these acts, the Covert Aire employees as well as President, Mike Covert, hoped to brighten the day of those around them and with a simple message of ‘pay it forward’ to someone else.
“It was so rewarding, really heartwarming for our entire team,” says Mike Covert. “We couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate our tenth anniversary than by spreading joy to our community that helped build Covert Aire into what it is today. We believe we successfully reached out to over a thousand people through this campaign.”
Other acts of kindness included paying for haircuts at Great Clips, paying for coffee at Corner Perk, surprising a single mom with childcare for a week and a gas card for her long commute, and buying lunch for patrons at a local restaurant.
“One of the most surprising results of the campaign was how the people who were touched by our kindness, in turn, reached out and spread that kindness to others,” said Melanie Thomas, Mike Covert’s Executive Assistant. “That was our hope all along…to encourage others to show kindness as well. Each time we shared a RAK, we left them a sticker or card that explained what we were doing and encouraged them to pass it on. Best of all, we know that took place. Each time a RAK was given, social media had major activity from others going with the momentum.”
The RAK campaign kicked off on July 4th with gifts and surprises to residents of Sun City and it closed with school supplies for teachers at H.E. McCracken Middle School.
About Covert Aire™
Covert Aire™ is a family owned business based in Bluffton, SC, and serves the SC Lowcountry and midlands, sea islands and sand hills of GA. Covert Aire provides heating, ventilation and air conditioning products and services for residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, healthcare, and retail. The staff is Nationally Certified by organizations such as NATE, EPA, NIULPE, ACCA, ASHRAE and other certifying organizations.
We were always bored. I think 12-year-olds are destined to be disenchanted, but when the keys to the motorboat were relinquished, things changed.
“Be careful,” Mom said as we rushed down the dock. The tube hit the water as fast as you could say, “I’m first!” and we were off. What was she thinking? The entire goal of tubing is to destroy the rider—to throw them off so that their bodies bounce across the water like a skipping stone. How in the heck did we not injure each other? Not only was it dangerous, it was the most fun I have ever had.
My second best memory? Exploring the May River. Little did I know that these expeditions would shape my career.
We didn’t have a depth sounder, GPS, cell phone, bottled water or even a current registration, but we survived somehow. When we hit a sandbar, we had to figure out a way to get the boat to float again after collecting all of the items that flew off after hitting the sand at 20 mph. Thank goodness a Boston Whaler is “unsinkable.” After hitting the sandbar a second time, we were sure to remember it. Most of my knowledge of bottom topography in the May was ingrained during these episodes.
“Do NOT take the boat out at night,” Mom said. The boat had no running lights and drifted quite nicely down the river before we cranked the engine.
Nighttime brought new and interesting things to the water’s edge. One tool that is old school enough to be applied is the flashlight, with a bulb. LED was not available yet, but shining a somewhat dim light into the marsh grass at low tide was like plugging in Christmas lights. Of course, we were terrified and our screams scared the animals away—but they were there the next night and we were prepared to be brave. A glimpse of body shape and fur revealed that the owners of glowing eyes were raccoons, mink and river otters. Also, deer made an appearance in the background at the high marsh, closer to solid ground. That is as far as my childhood interest extended.
I didn’t wonder why the animals were there, and I’m pretty sure that they didn’t care to see children in the middle of the night shining lights in their eyes. We were interrupting their dinner of fiddler crabs and snails.
Though deer are vegetarians, they do not eat marsh grass. It is too tough and they prefer the plants you paid money for—chewy with exotic flavor. Adults may be interested to learn that deer lick marsh grass to add a mineral to their diet that they would otherwise get from rocks: salt. (FYI, rocks are not found naturally in the Lowcountry. They have all been brought here from somewhere else.) Marsh grass is the only plant on the Eastern Seaboard that drinks salt water and excretes salt out the blade. I remember thinking that marsh grass had shiny diamonds (actually dried salt crystals) on its leaves when the summer sun was strong. But again, I did not wonder why.
To me, it looked like an oyster grew branches to make the cluster. I will have to say that this is quite logical, but incorrect. Larval oysters attach to a hard surface when they are ready to settle down. Since there are naturally no rocks in the Lowcountry, the available hard surface is each other. Crassostrea Virginica, or Eastern oyster, are abundant on the Atlantic Coast, but look and taste different in a variety of ecosystems. Oysters in Beaufort County filter water from the nursery of the ocean, consuming millions of microorganisms floating in the water column—that is what you are tasting. They grow long and slender because they are growing so close to one another in the cluster. The Blue Point oyster in Connecticut is the same species, but is singular and round as there are plenty of rocks to attach to and room to spread out. Their diet is very different outside of the salt marsh estuary and, therefore, they taste different.
I also didn’t understand why my fiddler crab collection never made it past three days in a bucket with sand. In hindsight, I should have made the connection: The tide never comes inside the bucket. Without sea water to moisten their gills, the fiddler crabs dry out. Despite all of the attention that I gave them, I didn’t know to add salt water.
Another thing I didn’t quite know was the location of a blue crab’s mouth. It is between the eyes, but isn’t it logical for a child to think the mouth is the pincer on the claw? Please say yes. I thought that the crab’s teeth were the jagged sharp edges that bit you. Then they swallowed the food at the pincer and it traveled down the claw and into the belly. Actually, the pincer delivers the food to the mouthparts, which also move back and forth to force water inward and over their gills. If I had slowed down for two seconds, I may have figured these things out more quickly.
I did think from time to time about things that made no sense.
My mom told me to go wash off with the hose when I was sticky after swimming in the river. She said it was the salt drying on my back that made me uncomfortable. I HATE washing my hair—still do—but when I skipped my hair during the hose down, I thought to myself: “Salt doesn’t smell bad and water doesn’t smell bad so I’m good.” However, something was very wrong with this theory. It was the microorganisms from the ocean’s nursery still in my hair that produced the unpleasant smell. When you get out of the water in the Lowcountry and you feel sticky, it is not only salt. Just so you know.
Looking back, I wish that I had been more patient and observant, but then I was a teenager (enough said). Enjoy the river; it is more entertaining than you can imagine.
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn, Owner of Spartina Marine Education Charters
May is National Preservation Month, and the Town of Bluffton is presenting “Bluffton — Past, Present and Future,” the Second Annual Preservation Symposium on May 25, 2017 at Town Hall. We felt it only appropriate to contribute a feature on the eight antebellum homes that survived “The Burning of Bluffton” in 1863. The photos and history are from the The Bluffton Historical Preservation Society’s archives and reprinted with permission.
The Huger-Gordon House, 9 Water Street, c. early 1800s
This is the only antebellum house on the bluff overlooking the May River that survived the Federal burning of Bluffton on June 4, 1863 and the house still has Federal forces’ musket balls lodged in the front door studs.
The frame one-and-a-half story building, built around 1795 and later enlarged, is placed on a low brick foundation of piers with a gabled roof and interior chimneys. A one-story veranda with a shed roof and chamfered posts runs the width of the house on the river side and the central dormer has glass doors cut into the eaves of the roof and veranda.
The owner, Colonel Ephraim Mikell Seabrook, sold the home in 1863 to Dr. Joseph Alson Huger II and it remained in the family for over 100 years. Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Gordon made alterations to the interior and exterior of the home in the mid-1970s. The house is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kent Collins.
The Cole-Heyward House, 70 Boundary Street, c. 1840
The Cole-Heyward house is an example of early Carolina Farmhouse style brought by planters from the West Indies. The earliest part of this home was built by John J. Cole and his slaves in the 1840s as a summer home for his wife, Caroline Corley, and their children. The original house started as a north parlor with a bedroom above, and was expanded in 1860 to more than twice its original size by doubling the front and side windows in the front rooms and expansion of the dining room and back bedroom.
The Cole family left the Bluffton area in 1874 and sold the house to the DuBois family, who then sold it to Mrs. George Cuthbert Heyward in 1882. The home stayed in the Heyward family until it was sold to the Bluffton Historical Society where it now serves as a museum and the Official Welcome Center for the Town of Bluffton.
Seven Oaks, 82 Calhoun Street, c. 1860
The first owner of record was Colonel Middleton Stuart who resided here prior to the Civil War. Col.
Stuart’s wife was Emma Barnwell Stoney who inherited Otterburn Plantation from her father, Dr, George Mosse Stoney. The Stuarts did not return to Bluffton following the war and the property was sold to Francis Marion Edwards. The house was subsequently owned by Ephraim Mikell Baynard and E.J. Harrison.
During the heyday of Bluffton’s prosperity as the commercial center of Beaufort County in the 1920s, Mrs. Elizabeth Sanders operated Seven Oaks as a popular boarding house for salesmen and summer visitors.
A horrible brawl occurred one night in the boarding house, resulting in a gunshot death. It is said that you can still see the blood stains on the floor in room number 13.
Examining the foundation, one sees hand-hewn beams, and a fireplace foundation that is arched for strength, typical of Italian masons. Seven Oaks is now the administrative offices for Church of the Cross.
The Allen-Lockwood House, 94 Calhoun Street, c. 1850
This cottage was built by William Gaston Allen on the northwest corner of Calhoun and Water Streets in the early 1850s for his wife, Susan Virginia Bolan, and their six children. It is a classic example of a Lowcountry summer cottage with its gabled roof, commodious high-ceiling rooms and windows used for cross-ventilation. The home is raised, and sits on brick piers. It features a wide porch spanning the south facade.
By 1866, Colonel Allen was bankrupt and a forced sale of the home resulted in his daughter, Susan Virginia, (Mrs. Thomas Postell Lockwood), buying the home for $10. It remained in the family until 1953. Currently the home is owned by Outreach Ministries, Inc. of the Church of the Cross.
Squire Pope’s Summer Home, 111 Calhoun Street, c. 1850
This lot was the summer residence of Squire William Pope of Coggins Point Plantation on Hilton Head Island. There is no record left to tell us what he home looked like, but it was undoubtedly large and handsome, as the Squire was wealthy with a big family. It went up in flames on June 4, 1863 with the wholesale burning of Bluffton’s waterfront.
Following the war, Mrs. Pope and her daughter returned to Bluffton. Virtually destitute, they found the only structures that had not been destroyed were the carriage house and a smaller building nearby (c. 1850). They had them joined together to form the present structure where they lived out their days. The Town of Bluffton has recently purchased the property.
The Card House, 34 Bridge Street, c. 1825
The origin of this antebellum house is difficult to document; however, it is believed to be one of the oldest homes in Bluffton still standing. The first owner of record is William J. Graham, who owned it until 1847. Another deed shows the property was owned by Sarah G. Norton. One William Norton, of St. Helena Island, moved to the Bluffton area around 1800 and resided here until his death in 1817.
Why is it called The Card House? One story says that in the late 1840s, during a high-stakes poker game, William Eddings Baynard won the deed to the 1,000-acre Braddock’s Point Plantation on Hilton Head Island from the unfortunate owner, a Mr. John Stoney. From that point on, it has been known as The Card House. The home is currently the owned by Albert Scardino.
The Fripp House, 48 Bridge Street, c. 1830
This three-story frame building on eight-foot piers is believed to have been built by James L. Pope. The earliest records show the property was owned by him prior to 1847. James L. Pope died in 1863 and his son, James Jr., inherited it.
The property remained in the family until 1883 when Mrs. James L. Pope, Jr. sold the house to Rebecca Sims. In 1885, Mr. and Mrs. William J. Fripp acquired the property. The Fripp family owned the house for 34 years; hence the name, “The Fripp House.” Up until 1999, it was used as a bed and breakfast.
The Seabrook House, 47 Lawrence Street, c. 1850
John Archibald Seabrook is believed to be the original owner of this home, built in the 1840s-50s. The home is a typical Lowcountry style—two-story frame weatherboard on six-foot piers. There are two dormer windows on the north and south sides of the steeply pitched gabled roof. On the north side are two tall brick chimneys, and the old summer kitchen (previously detached) was raised on piers and attached during the 20th century.
In 1876, the property was sold to Egbert and Kate H. DuBois. In 2000, the house was purchased and carefully restored by Mr. and Mrs Van DuBose who won the BPHS Caldwell Award for Historic Preservation. The home is presently owned by Cynthia Minard.
When I did my first solo show at The Roasting Room, I got a whole new appreciation for the solo-guitar-player-life.
I practiced. I recorded my rehearsals. I rehearsed the songs over and over in between checking Facebook and fielding bookings on the phone and email. I also stared into space a lot and tried to avoid the practices altogether. Oh, the things I would do to avoid rehearsals (basically skipping my own practices)! My number one hooky move was pickleball. I would tell myself not to play, then end up there anyway. The guilt, the guilt!
Finally—at some point in the day—I ended up playing the harder songs (the ones with four chords), more often than not over coffee (no cream); or worked on writing new songs for the show. I had a wonderful teacher at Hilton Head High back in ‘86 who taught me some important lessons, and I decided to turn her seriousness into jest, as I normally do in my songs—“You Suck at Life” was my opener. It worked out well, I think. The other new song I debuted that night was called “You Kiss My Daughter, I’m Gonna Kiss You.” Do the math.
I have been involved in six recordings locally since the first Daly Planet album came out in 1996. My brother and I wrote a bunch of songs. Andy Pitts contributed one or two great ones, as well, and we sold them at our gigs. Shows. Whatever musicians call them these days. Since then, Lowcountry Boil has done four discs of original music.
When I do a demo for a song, I typically throw in everything I feel shouldn’t be there sonically. Distorted bass guitar, silly drum parts, obnoxious guitar parts…really wonky stuff. When Jordan Ross booked me for The Roasting Room show, he said he was really excited and hoped I had a CD.
I had been talking to Stu Enscoe, a young producer on Hilton Head Island, and things just fell into place to make a CD. Stu and I had been talking about what we could do together for a while without really knowing it.
Recording the JEVON—GENRE album was a lot of fun. It is on iTunes and YouTube, so take a listen. Don’t search for Jevon Daly. There are no liner notes or track listing. Stu was able to make the songs all sound like they lived in the same neighborhood, or at least the same zip code. [Editor’s note: “Genre breaking alt country meets beats in a woofer shaking amalgam of song” is how the album is described on CDBaby.com.]
On the album, there are some fun tunes you have probably heard at our gigs. The songs are all very important to me. I co-wrote the “Keith Richards Just Keeps On Livin’” song with Greg Critchley on Skype. “Mudd” is a Gary Pratt/Jevon collaboration. “Ease My Mind” features my wifey singing. “Unlucky” is a re-examination of the song on our last LCB album complete with BIG STU TREATMENT. “Jump Yer Bones” is a fun one, too. You can check out the local page Slowcountry Tunes on Facebook, if you need a day brightener. Jessie Renew made some super sweet videos for a few of the songs.
We are very lucky around Bluffton to have venues and people we love so much. If I think about it too much, I have to get in the fetal position with a plush Pokemon and sing Michael McDonald songs. Seriously, it really is great.
Playing solo is a scary, exciting adrenaline mess. My next show at The Roasting Room is in November. Start growing your mustache.
Jevon Daly has been performing in the Lowcountry since 1986; first with the HHHS Marching Seahawks and now with a number of different local lineups, including Lowcountry Boil Bluegrass Band, Unicorn Meat, Shakey Bones, Silicone Sister, JoJo Squirrel and The Nicest Guys in the World. He has slept on floors whilst traveling the East Coast on tour with LCB, a group that has played here since 1997. A class clown, fiddler, hair metal enthusiast and self-proclaimed “Biggest Deadhead on Earth,” Jevon lives in Bluffton with his wife and three kids. To find out where he’s playing next, check out Jevon Daly or Slowcountry Tunes on Facebook.
By Kathleen McMenamin Vicars, Master Naturalist
Wood storks can be seen gracefully soaring over marshes or feeding in the shallows during low tide all over Bluffton. These large wading birds are the only breeding species of storks found in the United States. This once-endangered species is currently making a great comeback along the Southeast coast and especially in Beaufort County.
Wood storks, Mycteria Americana, have the distinction of being the largest wading bird in the United States. They stand at almost four feet tall with an impressive five-foot wing span. Also known as Wood Ibis, these birds are all white with black tips on their wings and tail. They have a buzzard-like face with a dark grey neck and head. Wood storks have a long, thick black bill used for tactile foraging. They tend to gather in colonies, whether feeding or foraging in shallow water or low tidal marshes.
Wood storks are found from South Carolina to South America. Prior to the 1980s, they primarily nested in Florida during the late winter and spring. The birds migrated into South Carolina’s marshlands as a post-breeding foraging area. Human development in their natural nesting habitat in Florida has moved them further north into South Carolina for all stages of life. Currently, South Carolina coastal areas offer an ideal nesting and foraging ground for wood storks.
The first nesting colony was documented in South Carolina in 1981. By 1984, the wood stork was put on the Endangered Species List. As of June 2014, these birds have been downgraded to threatened, rather than endangered. In 2014, there was an increase of 500 nests, bringing the total South Carolina nest number to 2,501. Beaufort County boasted 9 nesting colonies in 2014, the largest number of colonies in the Palmetto State.
Large colonies of nests are found in the upper branches of black gum and cypress trees rooted in standing water. Nests are made out of live willow sprigs and then cemented together with Spanish moss and guano. Breeding wood storks can be identified by their pink feet. Females will lay between three and five eggs. Both the male and female will incubate the eggs for 30 days.
The hatchlings stay with their parents for about 55 days before fledging. On average, two of the young will make it to adulthood and will begin breeding between three and four years old. The placement of wood stork nests in standing water is very important to the survival of the young. Mammals are a common predator of eggs and young, and the standing water prevents them from accessing the nests.
Wood storks are known as tactile feeders, as they dip their open beaks into shallow water and feel around for fish and crustaceans. Due to this type of feeding, they prefer shallow water no deeper than 20 inches, which is why they are commonly seen foraging in estuaries at low tide. While wading in the water and dipping their beaks, the wood storks will use their feet to rustle animals out of the soft mud. On average, a wood stork will consume up to one pound of fish a day. During breeding season, a pair of wood storks can forage 400 pounds of food for themselves and their growing young.
While in the Lowcountry, keep your eyes out for ›this impressive wading bird. You won’t be disappointed!
H2O Sports is a great place to spark curiosity and inspire learning in all ages, offering eco-adventure tours and live alligator exhibits. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour, please call (877) 290-4386. For information, visit H2OSports.com.
If you have any connection to environmental issues in the Lowcountry, you have likely heard that Hilton Head and Beaufort County are considering ordinances that would ban single-use plastic bags. What you may not have heard about is a bill, pushed by the plastic industry, that would prevent local governments from passing ordinances that regulate the sale and distribution of plastic bags—the so-called “Ban on Bans” Bill or H. 3529.
The State House of Representatives voted in March of this year to table this bill until January of 2018. The bill violates Home Rule (the ability for local governments to set their own rules) and sets a disturbing precedent. If the state passes this restriction on Home Rule in January 2018, our local governments will be prevented from addressing the problems plastic bags are causing in our communities and in our ecosystems. We will continue to see bags floating on the waterways, removed from the intestinal tract of sea turtles, snagged by oyster reefs, blowing in the streets and adorning the trees in the median. Does this picture sound like scenery we are proud to call home?
Of course not. That’s why Beaufort County is considering a ban on single-use plastic bags—the kind you get at the checkout counter. The County has not suggested banning all plastics.
Single-use plastic bags catch wind and travel great distances. When they end up over the marine environment, settle on the surface of the ocean and submerge, they resemble jellyfish, a major food source for leatherback sea turtles.
There have been Planning Commission meetings and several County Council meetings—with and without public comment—where a ban on plastic bags received overwhelming support from the community. A survey conducted by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce also conveyed the majority opinion that we could live without the single-use plastic bag.
The community supports the ban, the local government does not want to lose Home Rule and the environment will benefit. So why this push for a “Ban on Bans” at the state level? A plastic bag manufacturer that maintains administrative offices in South Carolina argues their industry takes precedent over the wishes of local citizens, the health of our environment and our water quality. But, here in coastal South Carolina, where the salt marsh estuary pervades our Lowcountry for miles inland, we understand why we should implement policies ensuring Spanish moss is hanging from our trees—not plastic bags.
Isle of Palms and, later, Folly Beach have already initiated a ban on plastic bags and look like rock stars. They are trailblazers and have been successful with the backing of communities that value the unique Lowcountry ecosystem. Folly Beach took an extra leap and banned Styrofoam and balloons on their beaches, as well. This is an example of proactive citizens working to solve a problem in their community with real results. Their decision will be grandfathered in, even if South Carolina defeats the Home Rule Act.
It’s time to protect what is beautiful in our coastal towns and the scenery we enjoy every day. It is a call to action to assist the sea turtles that are confused by the floating plastic. You can make a difference. Tell your local elected officials you support banning plastic bags. Tell your representatives and senators that you oppose House Bill 3529.
Home Rule: Home Rule is the right to self-govern. In the 1970s, South Carolina amended the 1895 State Constitution to delineate the powers of local governments. The Home Rule Act was enacted in 1975. “Local solutions to local problems.”
Article by Amber Kuehn
A fourth-generation Blufftonian, Amber Kuehn is a marine biologist and owner of Spartina Marine Education Charters. The manager of Hilton Head Island’s Sea Turtle Protection Project, she is also an active volunteer for the SC Marine Mammal Stranding Network and performs dolphin necropsies in the field for the National Oceanic Services (NOS). In October, Amber was a featured speaker at TEDxHiltonHead. To schedule a Voyage of Discovery with Captain Amber, call (843) 338-2716 or visit spartinacharters.com.
While you are enjoying your lovely beach vacation with the family this summer, please keep an eye on your children because Poseidon is greedy and will try to steal them, if he can. Make sure they’re wearing at least three life jackets at all times and don’t let them wander. In fact, maybe put a leash on them. I remember exactly one beach vacation from my entire childhood, and I was almost dragged out to sea.
It was a perfect vacation, if that is any consolation. I was eight and my parents and I took a trip to Costa Rica with two of their friends. It was magical. We explored rain forests and saw monkeys and macaws. We even watched a sloth cross the street! Well, we watched it get halfway across the street. Then we got bored and left. They are very slow animals.
We had made it through nearly a week without any major incident. Sure, we got lost in a grocery store parking lot, but we had covered a lot of ground since then. We were world explorers, by this point. That’s when my Dad got the brilliant idea to go body boarding in the middle of the night. He and his friend Matt were pretty drunk and I was kind of just happy to be along for the ride.
So the three of us snuck by the hotel’s office and stole a couple of boards and took off for the ocean. Now, it may have been all the alcohol or a complete misunderstanding of very obvious foreshadowing, but my Dad was completely undisturbed by the giant lightning storm not far off the coast.
We plunged headfirst into the choppy, pitch-black surf. Giant cracks of lighting filled the sky occasionally, but never let us see whatever massive sharks were surely lurking around waiting to rip our legs off. As the waves threw us about, we proved to be about as graceful as ice skating squirrels. Slipping, sliding and getting lost beneath the waves.
For roughly 20 minutes, we tempted fate itself to fumble around in the ocean. We survived without incident, but after that I was hooked. Anytime we stayed near the beach on that vacation, I’d race out into the waves with a boogie board in hand.
We arrived at the Look Out Inn near the end of our stay. After settling in a bit, we befriended a hotel staff member and convinced him to walk us down to the beach so that I could get my next fix.
He dropped us off and turned to walk back to the hotel. When we asked him to stay, he just sort of laughed like a low-rent Bond villain and continued to leave. Suddenly, the ocean felt less like an old friend and more like an ex who arrives out of nowhere with cookies. Sure, we’d had good times before, but there’s a good chance those cookies were baked with rat poison, instead of love.
But we were stubborn fools and made our way down to the shore. I was told to wait and let the older men test it out first. The tide crashed in with force, like a toddler throwing a fit in the toy aisle. My dad walked out and you could tell that the current was stronger than anything we’d seen so far. Our friend Matt swam for a few moments before the waves spat him back out against a giant chunk of driftwood. Our last trip to the beach was going to be a bust.
We were getting ready to pack it in, but somehow I ended up near the shore. Water crashed in around my tiny 8-year-old ankles and before I could turn around back to my parents, it grabbed hold and ripped me down. Now, I’ve spent more time behind a sewing machine than I have on a football field, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it felt like to get hit by a linebacker.
I laughed for a moment, “Ha, ha, okay, you win Poseidon. I will not tempt you today.” But the laughter quickly turned to panicked screams as the undercurrent latched onto me and began to tug my body back toward the ocean like jungle cat pulling its kill away to eat later.
Salt water smashed into me again and again, as I felt myself get dragged away. Everyone stampeded toward me, yelling for me to get to my feet, to get out of there. I tried to get up but I couldn’t find the strength to battle the water. I’d get to my feet and immediately be pulled back down on my back or my stomach. My Mom and her friend Terri pulled at my arms and I felt like I was going to be ripped in two like some sort of medieval torture device.
No matter how much the two women tried, my tubby little body was too much for them. I could hear the God of the Ocean laughing at me in the distance as I cried, desperately not wanting to die over a stupid activity I wasn’t even good at. I clawed at the sand. I cried. I promised my Mom that I would do the dishes for like a month if she saved my life.
It could have been two minutes but it felt like five hours.
Eventually, I think through the combined might of four grown adults, I was pulled from the clutches of the ocean and onto the relative safety of the beach. We limped our way back to the hotel and cursed our guide for not talking us out of our own hubris.
So now I spend my summers locked safely away in the comfort of my own apartment. Far away from the sunshine and evil draws of the sea. But, if you attempt to brave the fearsome waters, take precautions. Invest in sandcastle building materials, show your children “Jaws” on the car ride over or sacrifice a small goat to the Ocean God. This summer, your children’s safety is what is most important.
Chase S. Wilkinson is a humorist/superhero. His bumbling alter ego graduated with a degree in writing from SCAD in 2014. Now he spends his time rescuing humanity from its own self-consciousness through laughter and dance! With self-deprecating charm, he vows to remind everyone that it’s okay to laugh at yourself.
Whether you’re just learning to play golf or you’ve been teeing off for decades, it’s important to realize that golf is a sport that can take a lifetime to perfect. There are always new ways to refine your swing, practice your putt and improve your score. Fall’s refreshing weather encourages golf improvement.
As temperatures cool on Bluffton, this is an ideal time to refine your golf game and get “back to basics.” Here are a few of my top fall golf tips, to help you make the most of your game:
1. Don’t let the muscles in your hands, wrist and forearms provide the power for the swing. When you use those small muscles, your club and your swing get out of rhythm and sync. The body’s larger slow-twitch muscle fibers are more dependable under pressure. They provide the consistency you need to hit more shots with greater accuracy on the green and the fairway. When you swing slow, the ball goes fast. When you feel out of control, you are in control.
2. Stay relaxed. Encourage your body to stay relaxed and to allow the club to do its job. Respect the weight of the club, keep your body loose and keep your elbows close to your body. I recommend you stretch daily, starting with your hips, hamstrings and wrists. Frequently, in a lesson when the student becomes tense and performance deteriorates, I change the atmosphere by asking questions about other hobbies or vacation activities. This melts the tension away and performance improves.
3. Adjust your grip, depending upon the shot. For smaller shots, grip the club down low, put your weight on your left foot and use a modest backswing. For bigger shots, be sure to grip the club up high, widen your stance, use a long back swing and transfer your weight back and forward for more power. Let the club do the work. Fun-Da-Mentals make golf fun.
4. Don’t procrastinate. Your short game is where you have the greatest opportunity to reduce your score. I invite you to take my Shortgame 1 Class or a private lesson at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, which will help you refine your skills. Most students say after the lesson, “Why didn’t I do this year ago?”
5. Think positive. So much of golf is mental and psychological. Feed relaxed, affirmative thoughts to your subconscious mind in order to maximize your swing. If you choose encouraging messages to guide you and apply solid fundamentals to your game, you’ll be able to succeed. Try our Mental Golf Workshop Class to make the most of your game.
Fall and Winter are one of my favorite times of the year in the Lowcountry. It is not too hot or too cool. You still need to stay hydrated, wear a hat and apply high-SPF sunscreen.
Make the most of your time on the golf course. I’ll see you out on the course!
By Doug Weaver, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
Ranked the #2 Instructor in South Carolina by Golf Digest and a former PGA Touring Pro, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy and leads “Where Does the Power Come From?” a complementary golf clinic and exhibition on Mondays at 4 p.m. For details and reservations for golf clinics, classes, lessons and on-course instruction, call (888) 322-9091 or visit palmettodunes.com.
Did anything good come out of our brush with Hurricane Matthew?
Driving to Hilton Head has been rough. Heck, Bluffton got pretty “tore up,” too. Some places got hit super hard, other places untouched. But some things went down that I am here to report.
There was no power for a while. So, what did people do with themselves besides arm wrestle, take cold showers and cook on open flame?
The day the iPods and iPads died, people wanted music. I had a fire one night and we sat around and played music with no lights on. It was so different from what I am used to. I really forgot what it was like to play music for a couple of people in the quiet nighttime.
Most of what we do these days is shrouded in technology and crowds. Noise from cars and folks playing each other’s YouTube videos has created a new hum in the air.
The Monday we were all allowed back to our homes after the hurricane was very peaceful. The music we all heard that night was calming. Trees were down everywhere as I drove down Alljoy. Power companies were out, but it was quiet.
This article wasn’t really meant to go in this direction, but cell phones have made it much harder to connect with a crowd of fresh faces you have never seen before. For years, I have been writing songs that stick out and make people laugh. Nowadays, when I look around, the bored tourist from Pittsburgh is doing something new!
They stare at their phones while us musicians “pour our hearts out” onstage. Then, when you do succeed in getting their attention, they wanna make a video THAT THEY WILL NEVER WATCH.
OK…I’m done venting.
The greatest present you can give yourself and others this holiday season is to put down your phone and start living in the moment instead of recording it.
Written by Jevon Daly.
An inconspicuous monument outside Bluffton Town Hall honors fallen servicemen of World War II and Korea with an engraved plaque under the American flag. The site was once the Bluffton High School, and the memorial originally dedicated to the gymnasium. It lists the names of school alumni who died serving their country, and the date it bears is Nov. 11, 1953—the Segregation Era. Elderly residents of Bluffton could recall some names that were missing; young African-American servicemen who did not attend the all-white school, but nevertheless gave their lives alongside their compatriots. Over a half-century later, with the school gone and the Town Hall taking its place, the absence of those men began to seem an injustice to their memory and their descendants.
Across the street from this monument lives local architect and native Blufftonian Ansley Manuel. For a long time, she had been in the habit of placing flowers on the plaque each Memorial Day, wondering about the names engraved there. However, it wasn’t until Ansley’s curiosity led her to do a quick internet search that she not only discovered the missing names, but embarked on a quest that continues to this day.
“Researching each of the fallen young men has been a fascinating journey,” said Manuel, who spent two years combing census and military records, digging through local newspaper archives, tracing family trees, exploring cemeteries, consulting Bluffton residents who remembered the men, and tracking down living relatives now scattered across the country. “It became a mission to piece together every serviceman’s story and see that they all get recognized,” she said. “Bluffton needs an all-inclusive monument, somewhere people can go on Memorial Day to honor them.”
Manuel formed a task group that included Laura Bush and Jacob Martin, who helped her reach out to the black community, as well as Donna Huffman, president of the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society. In addition to researching the seven men listed on the original plaque at Town Hall, the group discovered three African-Americans—one from WWII and two from Korea. They also decided to include WWI, and found three Blufftonians whose lives it claimed; and Vietnam, from which they found two.
Jacob Martin, who Manuel consulted for his wealth of living memory, can name many servicemen he grew up with back when Bluffton was just one square mile with a few prominent families. He says the absence of certain individuals on the existing monument was always considered “no big deal,” but he’s glad the new one will feature a complete list.
“There was almost an avalanche of kids who went off to serve,” said Martin, whose three eldest brothers fought in World War II. “And there have been many black Blufftonians who have served. We know the names of every one of them and they have descendants. Now that the whole issue is being resurrected and the new monument is going up, we feel good about everyone being included.”
The proposed monument will be 3 feet wide by 5 feet tall, of steeled granite with black engraved letters, and will face May River Road near the Calhoun Street intersection. This prime location, prominently visible to everyone who passes through town, was offered by State Representative Bill Herbkersman. Further assistance has come from Shellie West of the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, who is committed to making the new monument a reality.
“War can sometimes seem like it’s removed from us, and that makes it easier,” said Manuel. “It’s somebody else’s loved one who was lost. But when it’s your own community, that personalizes war. Bluffton lost seven men in World War II alone, and this was such a small town back then—what a sacrifice. Everybody would have felt it. So, to have a monument, even if all that’s listed are the names and wars, it speaks volumes without saying much.”
World War I
Nathaniel Godson (Gadsden, Gadsen or Gadson), Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1892
- Died: 1918 of disease. Buried Bluffton Cemetery.
- Personal detail: Grew up in the historic Cordray House on the corner of Calhoun Street and Highway 46. His granddaughter Ruth Brown still lives there today.
- Historical detail: The spelling discrepancies in names from this era came about because many people were illiterate, so record keepers had to guess the spellings of their names. Nathaniel was listed as Godson on his draft card, while his grave bears Gadsden, and local descendants presently use Gadson.
- Born: 1896
- Died: Of disease, date unknown. Burial unknown.
- Personal detail: Occupation on his draft card was listed as “boating,” which typically meant working as an oysterman. Green was employed by George Lowden, who had an oyster factory here.
Hardee Clemmons (Clemons), Private Pioneer Infantry US Army
- Born: 1888
- Died: 1918 of disease. Buried Bluffton Cemetery.
- Personal detail: Grew up with his brothers in an orphanage in Savannah.
- Local family: His descendants are the Cahills of Bluffton, who operate Cahill’s Market and Chicken Kitchen and continue to farm land originally purchased by Hardee’s elder sister with the money she received as his beneficiary
Ira Beach, Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1918
- Died: 1945. Killed in Action, Germany.
- On map below:
- First burial overseas, remains later returned to St. Luke’s Methodist, Pritchardville, SC.
- Personal detail: When he left for the European front his young wife was pregnant—Ira never returned to meet his son Ira Beach Jr., now living in Varnville, SC.
James Beach, First Class Seaman US Navy
- Born: 1924
- Died: 1944. Missing in Action after the sinking of USS Robin Goodfellow in the South Atlantic.
- On map below:
- Memorial at St. Luke’s Methodist,
- Pritchardville, SC.
- Local family: Ray Beach (nephew), Bluffton, SC.
Westley Cohen, Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1923
- Died: 1944. Non-battle death (cause unknown). Body returned on a ship and buried at Beaufort National Cemetery.
- Local family: Louise Miller Cohen (cousin), Hilton Head, SC.
John W. McCreary, Chief Quartermaster, US Navy
- Born: 1918
- Died: 1944. Missing in Action after the sinking of USS Herring Submarine in Northwest Pacific Ocean.
- Memorialized on Tablets of the Missing, Honolulu, Hawaii.
- Historical detail: The wreck of the USS Herring was not discovered until last year by a Russian expedition, which confirmed it sank under Japanese fire after its eighth and most successful mission. The Herring destroyed several Japanese vessels before losing contact and going down with 83 sailors aboard.
- Personal detail: Not long after he was declared missing, his wife gave birth to twin girls.
- Local family: Emmett McCracken (nephew), Bluffton, SC. “Growing up here in Bluffton, it’s not surprising he was attracted to the water and the Navy,” said McCracken of his uncle, recalling that his mother thought very highly of her baby brother. “I didn’t know him that well, but if he was anything like his two sisters he was a very gentle, loving person.”
Earl Simmons, Sergeant US Marine Corp
- Born: 1913
- Died: 1943 of Typhus fever in the South Pacific.
- Buried Manila American Cemetery, Philippines.
- Personal detail: Enlisted after being acquitted for the murder of his stepmother. Returned home and enlisted again after the death of his father in a mysterious fire.
Donald Smith, US Navy Air Corps
- Born: 1920
- Died: 1944. Lost at Sea. Memorialized on Tablets of the Missing at East Coast Memorial, NYC, and at St. Luke’s Methodist in Pritchardville, SC.
Charles Ulmer, III, Private US Army
- Born: 1925
- Died: 1945. Killed in Action, Battle of Rheinberg, Germany.
- Buried in the Netherlands and memorialized at Bluffton Cemetery.
- Local family: Alan Ulmer, Jr. (nephew), Bluffton, SC.
Ferris Brown, Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1932
- Died: 1952. Killed in Action during the Battle of Triangle Hill, North Korea.
- Buried Bluffton Cemetery.
- Local family: Barbara Brown Newton (niece), Bluffton, SC.
Frederick Graves, Corporal US Army
- Born: 1927
- Died: 1951. Killed in Action at Bloody Ridge, Korea.
- Buried Bluffton Cemetery.
- Historic detail: Posthumously awarded the Purple Heart medal, which was sent to his family with a letter of condolence stating that “he went in honor and in the company of patriots.” The letter also expressed “the country’s gratitude and admiration for his valor and devotion.”
- Personal detail: His parents lived in the Graves House on Calhoun Street and operated a local oyster factory employing hundreds of Blufftonians, including young Fred before he went off to war.
Benjamin Wilson, Jr., Corporal US Army
- Born: 1927
- Died: 1951. Killed in Action at Bloody Ridge, Korea.
- Buried Bluffton Cemetery.
- Personal detail: Died in the same battle as his comrade Frederick Graves, meaning Bluffton lost two of its native sons in just 24 hours.
Alonza W. Phoenix, Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1946
- Died: 1968. Non-battle death, Vietnam.
- Buried Beaufort National Cemetery.
- Local family: Ethel Phoenix Brown, Bluffton, SC
Nathaniel D. Mack, Private First Class US Army
- Born: 1945
- Died: 1970. Succumbed to injuries from mine explosion in Vietnam.
- Buried in Illinois, USA.
- Personal detail: Because he died after returning home, Nathanial was never recognized at the Washington Memorial. The planned Bluffton Memorial has brought great closure and comfort to his widow, who hopes to come from Illinois to see it dedicated.
To become a reality, the monument needs funding. Anyone interested in donating can visit gofundme.com/bluffton-war-memorial-monument-fund/ or go to Palmetto State Bank in Bluffton and inquire about the account that has been set up. Although the task group did a thorough search, if there is any individual not listed who lived in Bluffton and died while serving in one of the mentioned four wars, please contact Ansley Manuel at (843) 726-3480.
Meet two Blufftonians who are making a positive impact this holiday season—and throughout the year.
They say it’s better to give than to receive, and every day in the Lowcountry countless volunteers donate their time, talent, food, clothing, money and more to help neighbors in need. These unsung heroes are individuals serving in local churches, non-profit organizations, food pantries, schools, libraries and restaurants. In the last issue of The Bluffton Breeze, we focused on why people are thankful to live here. For December, we shift the spotlight to a few people who generously give back to the Bluffton community.
Paying It Forward
Joe DePatty never had a problem with giving, but swallowing his pride and accepting help when he needed it proved to be much more painful.
The California native grew up in the projects and vividly recalls his joy when people he didn’t know showed up at the door one Christmas bearing toys and gifts for his family. Although only 7-years-old at the time, “I told my sister I was going to do that when I could.”
Joe kept that youthful promise and helped the United Way after moving to L.A. as an adult. Later, he and his wife moved to Connecticut and continued their support of nonprofit organizations and helped those less fortunate in the community by providing food and Christmas presents. The couple raised their children to help those in need.
After his wife passed away, the chef and father of two young sons moved to the Lowcountry. Denied health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, Joe suffered a debilitating stroke in 2013.
“I had no money, no food and they were threatening to take my kids away,” he recalled. “I finally gave up my Italian male pride and called Bluffton Self Help. The first person I spoke to was Julie, and she was amazing. They helped me get food in the house and put me in touch with a church to pay the mortgage.”
That year, his sons also selected gifts from the Christmas Toy Shop. Just getting back on his feet a year later, Joe received a check from his sister and used the money to buy 14 turkeys, which he then donated to Bluffton Self Help for Thanksgiving.
“I felt I had to give something back for all they did,” he said. “Paying it forward. Paying it back.”
Meanwhile, his boys were thrilled to receive a thank you letter from the nonprofit organization, and the family continues their annual turkey donation tradition. Joe now has health insurance, and his blood pressure is stabilized. His sons are happy and healthy and, although he has always shied away from public acknowledgement of his charitable contributions in the past, he felt it was time to speak up.
“I want to encourage people to make donations [to Bluffton Self Help], if they can,” he said. “It kills me to see women and children in need.” Joe understands the importance of Bluffton residents helping one another, during the holiday season and throughout the year.
“I didn’t think I would ever need help, and my pride got in the way. Now I’m going to help them,” he added. “They were there for me and it was amazing. I would love for another man who is as hard-headed as I am to ask for help.”
Founded in 1987, Bluffton Self Help provides free food, clothing and emergency financial assistance to Bluffton neighbors in need, serving more than 5,000 residents annually. To volunteer, make a donation or ask for help, call (843) 757-8000 or visit blufftonselfhelp.org.
Growing up on Goethe Road, Latrese Bush played basketball with her cousins on a dirt court in the backyard, sang in the choir at First Zion Missionary Baptist Church, attended Michael C. Riley Elementary School when it was located right down the street from her house and graduated from Hilton Head Island High School.
Heading to Athens, Georgia, after graduation, the Bluffton native was unnerved by the sheer size of the University of Georgia campus, which was larger than her hometown. However, she remained unfazed traveling around the country playing basketball in front of thousands of spectators and millions of TV viewers. By the time the Lady Bulldog graduated from UGA, she set a school record playing in 16 NCAA Tournament games, including two Final Fours and a National Championship game.
Latrese went on to use her communications degree before moving to Atlanta to pursue a music career. “The ‘90s was a time for music in Atlanta. I wanted to be the next Anita Baker,” recalled the mezzo-soprano. “I came to Atlanta to sing R&B and soul music.”
Fast forward a few years, and Latrese was singing in Atlanta church choirs and gospel groups while working with “Dreamgirls” singer Jennifer Holliday, jazz icon Phil Perry, R&B star Bobby W. and pop sensation Justin Bieber. She also toured the world with Grammy Award-winner Gloria Gaynor, providing backup vocals on “I Will Survive.”
She recently released “The Collection,” an album of her own R&B and soul music, including the single “Love I Can Sing About” which reached #1 on both the U.K. and Indie Soul Charts. “Because of You,” featuring Noel Gourdin, continues to climb the Billboard Smooth Jazz chart, with parts of the accompanying video shot locally on Calhoun Street and Burkes Beach. Latrese returned home once again over Thanksgiving to headline the Oh, Give Thanks Gospel Concert at First Zion, which benefits Laura Bush’s It’s Better to Give Back Fund.
The connection is personal, as Laura Bush is Latrese’s mother.
“Talk about giving back,” said Latrese. “She used to take me and my sister around to different conferences where she would speak and we would meet people from all over the world. Growing up with someone who has given her life to giving back, I was exposed to different people, and I have never been nervous around different cultures or different people.”
Latrese credits her mother—and her hometown of Bluffton—with giving her the confidence to perform in front of large crowds.
“Traveling now and being in front of thousands or tens of thousands of people singing—I’m comfortable in all those settings,” she added. “It’s because of my upbringing in Bluffton, which would probably blow people’s minds. I was surrounded by love and a lot of family and I was protected, so it was amazing. I feel like Bluffton has given me so much, so to come back to perform for my mom’s It’s Better to Give Back Fund is definitely a pleasure. I come back whenever I get the chance.”
One of her all-time favorite gospel songs is “Stand” by Donnie McClurkin.
“No matter what you go through—the storm, the rain, heartache and pain—just stand and God will bless,” advised this talented songstress. “Atlanta is a big city, and the pace is so fast, but Bluffton, in essence, is the personification of ‘standing’ because it’s so slow. I’ll always have a place to call home and, remembering that, you can just be yourself. I’m from a beautiful place, I have a great family and I’m proud of just being who I am. Regardless of what’s going on around me, my name is Latrese Bush and I’m from Bluffton, South Carolina.”
Listen to Latrese Bush’s latest album or check out her tour schedule and discography at latresebush.com.
By Allyson Jones
Bright colors and bathing suits are back! The choirs of cicadas have returned and heat is here to stay, as well as the styles that keep us cool. Lighten the mood this Easter with pretty pastels, white pants and delicate dresses. Reinvent and revive your style with a romper when you’re out on the docks or spending a day on the water. Whether it is fashion’s favorite print—stripes—or a Southern pattern through and through, stock up with a few statement shirts to show off at the Taste of Bluffton and the Farmers Market.
It’s the season of dresses and dancing in the rain, so celebrate the arrival of April by adding some romance in your wardrobe when you head out to Old Town. Plan a date night on Hilton Head and mix it up with an off-the-shoulder dress, take an adventure and go nautical or keep it simple with solids.
Poet laureate of Bluffton, author of two poetry books and a children’s book illustrated by local school children, a respected community leader, Bluffton Town Councilman and Mayor Pro tem, Oscar Frazier served on the Board of Directors for the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club, co-founded and served as Deacon at Bible Missionary Baptist Church, as well as serving on numerous governmental and community committees. In addition, he founded The Bluffton Poets Society and worked closely with Beaufort County’s Parks and Leisure Services department to design Shults Park, a multi-sport community park and event center, which is now named Oscar Frazier Park in his honor.
Oscar was married to Marcia Renea and had four children: Jacqueline, Oscar James Frazier, Jr., Bridgette and Joshua. Ten days after being diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer, Oscar passed away in 2005 at the age of 49.
We spend most of our lives
Trying to find our identity
I often wonder why
How in the world can you not know
Who or what you are
Or what purpose for which you exist
I’m appalled when I hear people say
One day I will find myself
How do you go about doing that
You’re with yourself each and every day
One would have to lose oneself
In order to look for oneself
If one does what God wants them to
Then one would never be lost
When reading Oscar’s poetry, you see the man, his questions, the strength of his faith, an insight into his fears, the importance of family and optimism for the future.
Imagine growing up in rural Bluffton in a poor family of 12. The seven boys shared one bed with a mattress stuffed with pine straw or Spanish moss. One brother shared, “You most always have some feet in your face.”
The heritage of his parents—Oscar B., a shrimper, and Daisy Pinkney—was rooted deeply in Gullah tradition and culture where respect for each other, strict discipline and love of family was so important. The older sister raised the younger children; the older brothers picked up spare jobs for a little extra money. Everyone had chores to do—cooking, tending the vegetable patch, washing clothes or dishes—and, for Oscar, it was taking care of the chickens.
Everyone also had nicknames. Oscar’s endearing name, a cause for good-natured ribbing, was “Buckus.” We cannot divulge the reason here, but if you ask one of his close friends or family to tell you why, it will bring a grin to your face.
Buckus loved music. He was constantly teased by his brothers because he liked Elvis over Marvin Gaye. Buckus had to pay hush money to keep it quiet.
Family dinner was always special, even when there was nothing to eat. The May River gave the boys a diversion for play and seafood for that large pot of Gullah Gumbo and rice. Their clothes were always hand-me-downs. Their mother taught them morals and always told each one, “No one is better than you!”
The brothers had to look after each other at school and in town. Until they reached high school at M.C. Riley, the schools were segregated. Often it was necessary to stand up against local bullies. However, Oscar was rumored to have been good in a ruckus and it didn’t take many incidents before the Frazier family gained the respect of the local boys.
It is said his children’s book, “What Color is Friendship?” was inspired by his experience in the ninth grade at the newly integrated high school. There he made his first white friend, Bailey Bolen, a fellow member of the track team and, later, godfather to Oscar’s first child.
Faith was at the forefront of everything the Frazier family did. Do unto others, help those who are in need of help, give more than you will receive…this is the light that burned within Oscar throughout this life. His parents taught their children that you don’t find religion in church, you find it within yourself and then go to church.
All seven brothers served in the military after graduating from high school. They knew that the GI Bill was the only way they could afford to go to college. Oscar served for three years ending up in the infantry at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He returned home to Bluffton to continue his life and become the local legend that we now know.
He worked in the construction, roofing and landscaping businesses and is fondly remembered for his great food at Oscar’s BBQ, cooked and served out of the Little Red Caboose in Old Town (now moved to Burnt Church Road and used by Choo Choo BBQ Express).
During his term on Bluffton Town Council, Oscar pushed for annexation of the poorer areas so that they might enjoy the benefits of the Town’s growth and expansion. It is said Oscar was the bridge that helped close the gap of the old segregated ways and the new integrated way.
In governing, Emmett McCracken who served with him on Town Council, recounts that Oscar was a mild-mannered man; thoughtful, respectful and straightforward. Oscar stood his ground for what he believed in and gave more than he received. He loved reading his poetry to children, and was beloved by many.
On July 12, the former Mayor Pro Tempore was posthumously inducted in the Town of Bluffton’s Wall of Honor. “His legacy is still alive with his numerous projects to improve the life of Bluffton residents,” stated a post on the Town’s Facebook page. Bluffton will also honor his memory with the First Annual Oscar Frazier Day BBQ Festival at his namesake park on August 27. Money raised at the event will benefit local youth education and sports.
Oscar began writing in high school and some days would write a dozen poems. His favorite, that he learned by heart and would act out on the school bus coming home from games, was Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabel Lee.” I asked Art Cornell, a regionally known and respected artist, poet and photographer, what emotions he felt when reading Oscar’s poetry.
“Oscar’s work is genuine and heartfelt. He had a way of interpreting real life, a unique way of looking at the world,” said Cornell. “He had no pretenses and, simply put, wrote about his life with the depth of emotions that we all have, from happiness to anger, from sorrow to love.”
Here are some more of Oscar’s words—let them speak to you!
Anyone and Everyone
Anyone can tear down
But not everyone can build up
Anyone can start a war
But everyone can’t make peace
Anyone can tell a lie
But everyone won’t tell the truth
Anyone can say they love you
But not everyone actually means it
Anyone can see others’ faults
But everyone can’t see theirs’
Anyone can start something
But not everyone can finish
Anyone can make one sad
But everyone can’t make others laugh
Anyone can be a winner
But everyone can’t be a loser
Anyone can learn to hate
But everyone must learn to love
Anyone can pretend to be someone else
But everyone has to give an account for themselves
The River Runs
Can someone tell me why
The river runs to the sea
I guess it is the same reason
That blood runs through our veins
The same river that runs to the sea
Are tears some say that God has cried
Over these many, many years
I have heard many different versions
Man thinks that he knows everything
That’s why we can only estimate
As to why the rivers have undertows
They never owned more than
Twenty-two acres between the both of them
My two grandfathers of whom I’m speaking
Worked most of their natural lives
Two finer men you’ll never meet again
On this side of heaven
All they ever wanted was to be treated
With dignity and respect given to others
And to be able to provide for their families
There were both pillars of their communities
Promises were made to both of them
Which were never kept
I often wondered why
Society was so unfair then
And, by the way, they never got their
Forty acres and that blame mule.
One of the many creatures you are sure to encounter in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve is the Great Blue Heron. A Lowcountry treasure and a beautiful example of nature at her finest, this giant bird stands up to 39 inches high and is an illustrious predator.
Often, these magnificent birds can be seen on the banks of lagoons either fishing or warming themselves in the sun. The Great Blue Heron is a master fisherman and uses its long, colored toes to entice fish. When prey ventures too close, the heron uses its razor-sharp beak to strike with deadly accuracy and rarely misses its quarry. Guests on the H20 Alligator Boat often get to experience this thrilling sight up close, with a knowledgeable guide who can point out the little details that make the experience even more enjoyable. While you are bound to see a variety of other birds out on the water, the Great Blue Heron is a special treat.
The Great Blue Heron is one of the largest birds in the heron species, with a range encompassing all of North America and some of Central and South America. They mate and nest from December through March, so this time of year is the perfect opportunity to see one.
Their diet consists mostly of fish; however, they have been seen eating eels, snakes and frogs as well. The Great Blue Herons in the preserve are indigenous to the area and live within its boundaries year-round.
Great Blue Herons are an integral part of the Lowcountry’s ecosystem and exciting for families and guests to witness while visiting the area. Many other birds share the preserve with Great Blue Herons, including Egrets, Storks, Night Herons, Green Herons, Ospreys, Bald Eagles and more. However, the sighting of a Great Blue Heron is sure to be an unforgettable encounter for all who experience it.
H2O Sports on Hilton Head Island is a great place to spark curiosity and inspire learning in all ages, offering eco-adventure tours and live alligator exhibits. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour, please call (877) 290-4386. For information, visit H2OSports.com.
Bluffton is brimming with all kinds of art—and artists. From eclectic creators to plein air painters, the artists in our little corner of the Lowcountry marked by meandering marshlands, scenic shores and ravishing rivers, inspires each in its own way. These creative souls aren’t just giving the locals and visitors something pretty to take home; thanks to them, Bluffton has earned the “Cultural District” designation from the South Carolina Arts Commission and garnered state recognition. Now it’s official—the entire Old Town area, from Calhoun Street to Promenade Street, is considered a “Cultural District” by South Carolina.
Don’t just meet these creative composers and expert artisans at the Historic Bluffton Art and Seafood Festival, October 15-23, 2016; stop by these studios and galleries brandishing their beautiful works of art and say thanks!
The Filling Station
3B Lawton St.
Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
When someone suggests heading over to The Filling Station, most people might think they’re referring to a gas station, but not in Bluffton. Located in the heart of the Historic District, The Filling Station is a gallery featuring an eclectic array of art. For years, the gallery was located in what was once a service bay of a gas station, but Owner Bernie Haag recently relocated to Lawton Street. Inside this gallery, guests will find the work of more than 50 artists ranging in price from $5 to $5,000. In addition to the original art and limited edition prints, also featured are pottery, glass art, jewelry and gift items.
La Petite Gallerie
One block away, La Petite Gallerie is nestled in a lovely little space next to The Store on Calhoun Street. This intimate gallery is filled with fine local art and features six of the area’s favorite painters, as well as a woodcarver. Their special collection of art is an ever-changing delight, with many pieces spilling out into the adjacent garden. In addition to the pastel, acrylic, oil and watercolor paintings, visitors will find lovely blown glass, whimsical and soulful clay pieces, wonderful steel cattails, fish, turtles, birds and other fun garden art. Stop by this special little gallery soon and you might even catch one of the artists on duty painting or carving on the shady garden deck!
Maye River Gallery
37 Calhoun St.
Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Walk up Calhoun Street and discover a block chock full of creativity. This sensational street is home to the Maye River Gallery, where artwork is showcased in almost every charming corner of the space, all by artists local to the South Carolina Lowcountry. From fiber to photography, pastel pieces to fine paintings, this quaint gallery not only displays work in a variety of mediums, but is also home to a working studio, so don’t be surprised to find an artist absorbed in an abstract or perfecting a painting.
Pluff Mudd Art
27 Calhoun St.
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Right next door is one of Old Town’s premier art galleries, Pluff Mudd Art, voted “Best Art Gallery in Bluffton” for three consecutive years. Located in a charming cottage, Pluff Mudd Art Gallery showcases the work of 16 local artists and five consignment artists in the French “salon style” way with five rooms saturated with work from the floor to the ceiling. Upon entering this distinctive and cheerful gallery, visitors can view original paintings by artists Lynda Potter, Cheryl Eppolito, Terry Brennan, David Knowlton, Michael Pearson, Vickie Jourdan, Mary Lester and Irene Williamson. Also in-house are the award-winning bird carvings of Bob Berman, the vibrant photography of Ed Funk and Donna Varner, woodworking by Jim Renauer and Doug West, pottery by Steve White and the unique jewelry of Peggy Carvell and Marilyn McDonald.
6 Church St.
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Nestled on the corner of Calhoun and Church Streets, the SOBA (Society of Bluffton Artists) Gallery not only showcases a variety of work, but also hosts art classes, workshops and summer camps for kids at their Center for Creative Arts. A non-profit organization, SOBA was established in 1994 to promote a stimulating community environment for the visual arts and assist area students and artists in enhancing their artistic abilities. The SOBA Gallery has a completely new exhibit each month with a gala reception opening.
Bluffton Boundary Studios • Gallery
21 Boundary St.
Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Subject to Change)
Hop a street over and discover the newest contemporary art gallery of the Lowcountry—Bluffton Boundary, the Cambell Chapel AME Parsonage turned artist alcove in the summer of 2016. Featuring the work of Amiri Farris, Victoria Smalls, Dana Rose and Lynn Hicks, the space is not just a place to showcase work, but a studio spilling with experts in the eclectic, visionaries versed in visual arts and professionals passionate about paintings. Stop in and meet the artists working in their creative process and make an offer on their masterpieces.
30 Promenade St.
Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, by chance
Continue back up Calhoun Street to Promenade Street and stroll into the little red shop—Reminisce. This fascinating space is unlike the other galleries in town, as it’s a sports galore and memorabilia shop, where visitors can discover the many forms of art, whether it be a small piece in their fun collection of prints or old photographs. Art conjures up memories and that’s exactly what owner Jerry Glenn hopes to do—get guests to reminisce. The shop even features two nationally known artists: Baseball Hall of Fame Artist Dick Perez and Steven Fowler, a dog and cat artist. Custom pieces are available upon request.
Four Corners Fine Art & Framing
1263-B May River Rd.
Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Ride down May River Road and you’ll run into another set of shops steeped in art, including Four Corners Fine Art and Framing. This uniquely Southern shop is a collector’s gallery, featuring one of the finest collections of artists. With works in oil, acrylic, mixed media, photography and clay, as well as pencil and woodcarvings, the gallery is loaded with Lowcountry flavor. What started in 1998 as a framing shop has steadily grown to include a gallery space featuring both traditional and contemporary artwork. Don’t just take our word for it; stop by and see for yourself!
Coastal Exchange Furniture & Art
1230 May River Rd.
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Meander a little further down May River Road to Coastal Exchange Furniture & Art to find unique pieces perfect for your home. Discover an array of works, from found-art sculptures to paintings and photography ready to hang in a new home. Coastal Exchange ventures away from fine art with a range of fun reclaimed and repurposed décor, as well as whimsical and scenic paintings and photography. From boats to fish, birds to beaches, there is a variety of Lowcountry subjects featured in the works, which are created on everything from canvas to wood and even steel.
By Gene Cashman
One partly cloudy afternoon an inquisitive young boy looked up into the sky. His father watched as his son stood silhouetted in the late afternoon sun, index finger outstretched to determine if the wind had changed directions. “I thought so Mr. Fiddler-Crab,” he said as he walked over a colony of tiny crabs scurrying about. “I felt it in my ears.” He watched a gull, wings outstretched pitch up and down in the wind. The young boy shouted, “what’s brewing out there, Mr. Gull?” The gull, so high up, either did not hear or was unable to understand the boys question for he simply continued in the current until he was all but a small speck in the sky. The young boy, undeterred, walked along the edge of the moon-shaped sandbar for another clue. He stepped into the current and waded until the water reached his knees. This was as deep as he was allowed to go alone. The tide was now coming in at a brisk pace. Instinctively he twisted his left knee and ankle, his dominant leg, back and forth burying it in the sand to brace himself. The young man stretched his neck out and peered around the pinnacle of the bar, the view guarded by a thick patch of spartina grass. “Whoa,” he remarked to a lone egret watching him curiously from the safety of the spartina patch, “that sky looks angry.” The egret looked up at the sky and with a dry squawk spread its wings and flew deeper into the marsh.
The boy felt the firm hand of his father on the crown on his head. The father directed the boy’s line of sight to a particularly quarrelsome-looking cloud hovering over the tree line between the sandbar and home. “Cumulonimbus,” the strong voice of his father bellowed. The boy rolled the word over his tongue thinking of how his mother taught him to break words down. Her face filled his mind as he thought about the sounds he recognized in such a big word. The first crack of thunder broke his concentration. He quickly realized he was securely in his father’s big arms and not standing in the water anymore. “We’ve got to move,” his father said calmly as he placed the boy on their boats faded wooden bench, “sit tight.” Watching his father pull up the anchor was a sight he’d witnessed hundreds of times, but in this instance he noticed that his dad did not take time to carefully stow the anchor. He also failed to secure the buoys hanging over the side. “Daddy,” the boy said aloud. But before he could finish, he was overwhelmed by what sounded like the crack of a cowboy’s whip. His father pulled him in close. “Be brave,” his father said, “I will get you home safe.”
The boy, wrapped in a bright blue towel, lay between his father’s legs. The fiberglass floor of the boat was slick and filling with rainwater. The afternoon was warm, but the rain was cold, making him shiver. He nervously bit at the plastic liner on his life-vest and watched his father’s face intensely for reassurance. “That, my son,” his father shouted, “is the sound of God’s angels bowling a strike.” Every so often he would pat the boy’s head. The boy observed how the corners of his father’s mouth resembled a slight grin. It was the same look he made when the boy’s mother would playfully dance in the kitchen after dinner. This made him wonder if his father was quietly enjoying the moment. It confused the increasingly terrified boy. Each crack of thunder stressed the boy’s confidence. The boat pitched up and down in the chop of wind and tide. The young boy began to cry as the fear of the unknown overtook the last of his brave curiosity. Tugging on his father’s shorts he begged, “please daddy, please make them stop bowling.” The father pulled the boy up off the floor and held him close. He whispered wisdom in the boy’s ear. The storm raged around them.
All but giving up hope the storm would ever abate, the boy began to think about whether he would ever see his mother again. He loved her calm, sweet voice that was so kind even when he had been terrible and mischievous. He loved how she twirled his hair when they read books and how she always made sure he knew that he was loved. The boy loved the strength and adventure he so often experienced with his father, but would greatly miss the tenderness of his mother. She, after all, was the first love of his young heart. “Settle down, son,” his father’s voice reassured, “it’s all going to be okay.” Forlorn and expecting the worst, the boy held firm to his life vest and towel, face buried in his father’s chest. Then, unexpectedly the high-pitched whine of the engine let up. The boy was not expecting this. “Bow line up,” his father shouted, “let’s look alive sports fans.” The boy looked up to see home on the horizon and his heart leapt with joy. He caught his father’s eye. His father grinned and responded with a wink “make a run for it.” The boy’s feet met the wooden dock shoeless, catching several splinters as he bolted from the boat and up the ramp. At the top off the dock and fast on his way to the house he turned to watch his father secure the boat in the wind and rain. He was amazed at his father’s bravery.
Lost among the bubbles of a hot bath and the soft high of hot cocoa and marshmallows, the young boy hardly noticed his father enter the bathroom. He heard his parents’ muffled voices and watched them embrace, but mainly focused on the bubbles that surrounded him. The noise of the afternoon’s storm began to file itself away inside of him when he suddenly felt the firm hands of his father under his arms, pulling him from the soapy hot water. “Let’s take a look at those splinter’s young man,” he said with a softness usually associated with his mother. “Why weren’t you afraid dad?” The boy said, “I was so scared.” His father looked him square in the eyes, “I was too.” The young boy looked away in disbelief “but you smiled, I saw you.” His father laughed, “sometimes dads and moms have to be extra brave to protect their babies, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t scared.” The young boy nodded as if he understood and then asked, “but why the smile?” The father laughed saying, “because it reminded me of a time with my dad, when I was scared and he protected me.” The boy reached out and touched the whiskers on his father’s face. “When do I get some of these,” the young boy asked, laughing the father replied, “soon enough.”
Later in the evening a sliver of moon peaked out from the wispy clouds. The young boy gazed up into the sky. His father watched as the boy listened to the tree frogs, his teddy bear tight under one arm. “Have I ever told you,” the boy said to the bear, “the time my father bowled with the angels; and won?” The bear was either too sleepy or too lost in his own thoughts to reply, but the boy told him anyway.
Back to school…already?
The summer solstice has come and gone and soon it will be time to gather together and learn new things in the classroom. Field trips are being organized for the coming months and will provide a smooth transition from play to pay attention.
It was always exciting for me to cover my books with paper bags, buy new pencil boxes and pick out the Trapper Keeper. Although the focus has changed from actual school supplies and library cards to touch screens and virtual access, the first day of school still seems to bring the same excitement.
It has been over 30 years but, if memory serves, I’m pretty sure I never had the opportunity to take a field trip on a motor boat to learn about the local marshland and I certainly did not have access to the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston (May 2000) or the Port Royal Maritime Center (November 2014) just up the street. Our community is bringing emphasis to the Lowcountry marine environment and I am making every effort to support it.
Over the past year, I have performed several field trips aboard my tour boat, Spartina, on the May River. I have observed the things that catch the attention of a nine-year-old.
Some of them have never been on a boat and are fascinated by the wake left behind by the engine…they love to “go faster.” When I attempt to explain the basis of the ecosystem, the 200,000 acres of marsh in Beaufort County, they could care less. They want to see a dolphin and, when we find one, their attention span is about 30 seconds before they want me to find another one. The fiddler crabs that I bring along will entertain them for a moment, but only long enough for me to explain that their role in nature is to clean the surface of the mudflat when they emerge from their burrows at low tide. Then they ask, “What else do you have in the bucket?”
I attribute this need for instant gratification and excitement to the immediate access of the computer age. When I was nine, I was fascinated by the feeling of a fiddler crab running over the top of my foot, and those crabby eyes that act independently of one another…one up, one down: “Mom! He’s winking at me!”
How do we get the attention of a nine-year-old who is fascinated with things that move across a screen to notice things that move across a mud flat? Well, I have a funny, TRUE story that happened on one of my first field trips.
It was the beginning of the school year and the first time that this age group had been on the boat. One hundred second and third graders filled the Port Royal Maritime Center and teachers were frantically trying to divide them into groups. I took 20 on each trip for five one-hour boat tours. I will say that at the end of that day, I was completely enlightened—not in a good way or a bad way, just enlightened. I feel that I am more prepared for living in this unpredictable world after this experience and several subsequent ones just like it.
With this age group, I have found that in order to make an impression, there has to be a balance of fun and fact. Although sometimes they end up hating me when I tell them to get their feet off the cushions or to stop talking when I am talking, I continue to try to impress them with nature.
When I am “field tripping” for the Port Royal Maritime Center, I start with a description of the mud flat, constructed of silt and held together by the marsh grass. I proceed to explain that when the fiddler crabs emerge from their burrows at low tide, they release a gas that is the product of an anaerobic bacteria decomposing organic matter deep in the mudflat. I was pleased when one of the students immediately raised his hand with enthusiasm to ask a question. I suddenly felt pride for my attempt to spark interest in the marine environment.
The question was this: “Captain Amber, is that like a bacteria FART?”
Having no kids of my own, I had forgotten how comical toilet humor can be for this age group. After I regained control over the group, I announced, “Actually, that is somewhat accurate, but if you are going to use that analogy, you must do me a favor. When you are crossing the Broad River Bridge, roll down the window, smell the hydrogen sulfide gas emitted from the mud flat at low tide and, with your fist in the air, proclaim loudly, “THANK GOODNESS IT’S WORKING!”
When your mom asks you what you are talking about, say, “Mom, the bacteria are farting and doing their job!”
Back at the dock, I explained to the teachers that the only thing the kids are going to remember about the one-hour boat ride is the word “fart.” I apologized, but made them aware that I did not introduce the concept, they did.
They assured me, “Amber, we deal with these people on a daily basis. Don’t be shocked…we aren’t.” Now that I was off the hook, I reiterated that if they remember just that one thing, it is accurate and I may have actually taught them something.
Although I am intensely fascinated with the intricate details that work together to keep our unique ecosystem pristine and balanced, I have learned to “bring it down” to a level that nurtures comprehension in a child’s mind. This is harder than you think, especially for a biologist that is passionate about the details.
For all you teachers out there, I appreciate you more than ever. THANK YOU! I’ll see you soon.
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn with photos courtesy of Amber Hester Kuehn.
Just like an omelet, Bluffton may not look like much from the outside, but is filled with some delectable ingredients. Bluffton may be quaint and small, but it houses some of the best restaurants and shopping around the Lowcountry, making it the number one place to retire, according to Forbes. With such a small community, there are bound to be amazing, locally-owned mom-and-pop restaurants that only the locals frequent, but are worth going out of the way for any visitor. Here few that you’ll definitely want to stop at for breakfast in Bluffton:
1055 May River Road
One of Bluffton’s staples, Cahill’s Market, has been around for years serving as both a fresh market for locals and tourists alike, and as a restaurant, serving brunch and lunch during the week and adding dinner on for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Famous for their deep southern food and country atmosphere, Cahill’s provides one of the best dining experiences in Bluffton, in a barn to boot! Checkered picnic table cloths and down home cooking make Cahill’s ones of the most unique and fun places to eat, not only in Bluffton, but throughout the Lowcountry.
During the week, Cahill’s opens their market at 9 a.m. where they sell fresh produce, dairy and meats. Some of the best organic products in the area are available year round. At 11 a.m. the restaurant portion opens, serving seafood grits, chicken tenders and of course eggs benedict, but with a twist of meatloaf. Everything is homemade, just as mama does. Their fried chicken and chicken tenders are made fresh from chickens they keep out back so you know exactly where your food has been, from barn to table.
1297 May River Road
Within the last year, the Corner Perk, Bluffton’s only locally-owned and -operated coffee shop and cafe, moved into a new location at the end of Calhoun Street in Old Town Bluffton. Since the move, they have expanded into a full fledged cafe and dessert bar and expanded their coffee menu. Whether you’re looking for a place to grab a quick cup of delicious coffee, or spend the morning relaxing outside while reading a book and enjoying a delectable breakfast, the Corner Perk is the place for you. By roasting their own beans, owners Josh and Kalli Cooke are able to control what kind of flavor they serve on a daily basis. With bags of coffee available for purchase, you can brew the same coffee at home or work.
Because service is so important anywhere you go, the Corner Perk has actually lowered their espresso machines so the baristas are able to talk to you while they make your drink, and also to provide a friendly smile. The inside of the Corner Perk is modern, but cozy with coffee bean bags lining the walls and all natural wood fixtures. Every last detail was thought out, down to the espresso arm handles on each of the doors leading into the Corner Perk. On the weekends they are the only dessert bar in town, with cakes, pastries and alcoholic drinks, ranging from wine and beer to liquor. The Corner Perk covers a little bit of everything; they even host Coffee and Canines so your pup can enjoy it with you!
1231 May River Road
The Squat ‘n’ Gobble is one of Bluffton’s most known restaurants. Everyone you talk to knows about their great food and also the fact that their kitschy sign is stolen on a regular basis. A great family friendly place, the Squat ‘n’ Gobble is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, and is a favorite among the locals in Bluffton. The Squat ‘n’ Gobble has great diner fare that goes from straight off of the grill onto your plate.
Don’t expect anything too fancy, or anything that is very healthy, because that isn’t why the Squat ‘n’ Gobble is here. They are here for the wonderfully greasy, homemade breakfast food that is sure to make your tummy happy. They have the usual breakfast fare, such as eggs, pancakes and waffles, but also a southern breakfast with country fried steak, breakfast burritos and so on. They also carry a few Greek options as well as seafood. The Squat ‘n’ Gobble is all about southern comfort food and typical Lowcountry charm. Everything about the Squat ‘n’ Gobble screams local, and if you’re looking for a hidden gem off the beaten path, this is it.
25 Sherington Drive
If you love dining with Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, the Little Rascals and the Rat Pack then Stooges Cafe is for you. Come in, sit at the bar to have a nice warm cup of coffee, most likely poured by one of the owners and enjoy a great home cooked meal with fun, and local, company.
Located a little off the beaten path, Stooges Cafe sits within a strip mall of all places, but the food and service are far from strip mall food. The waitresses are your typical small town, friendly diner staff. They know everyone and everything going on around town, as well as the best dishes to order. Stooges isn’t an in-and-out kind of place. You go and sit down and truly enjoy a meal in one of the three seating areas – the bar and one of the two dining rooms. It does take a little time to get your food, but that is because each dish is made from scratch, just the way it should.
The Cottage Cafe
38 Calhoun Street
Residing in the original 1890 Carson Cottage in the middle of Old Town Bluffton on Calhoun Street, The Cottage Cafe, Bakery and Tea Room has provided Bluffton locals with delicious, healthy and homey meals since 2007. Nestled among the old mossy oaks, The Cottage is picture perfect, with outdoor seating along the old porch and small front yard and a pastry case that is refilled with fresh desserts and breakfast items daily.
More upscale than Squat and Gobble, The Cottage offers breakfast, brunch, lunch and early dinner, along with afternoon tea. They also cater and have a specific section devoted to weddings on their website. The Cottage is the perfect place to bring your mother for an afternoon lunch, or a relaxing after mass brunch. The beautifully quaint cottage and wonderfully light food, such as cilantro eggs, granola parfait, eggs Benedict, and of course french toast, all blends together for the perfect relaxing atmosphere. The Cottage also participates in the Bluffton Farmers Market, selling freshly baked loaves of bread and pastries. You can find their booth right outside of the restaurant every Thursday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
70 Pennington Drive #20
Right behind the Bluffton DMV sits the quiet and unassuming Walnuts Cafe. For over 10 years Walnuts has served up delicious fare with their own Bluffton twist. While most of the food is comfort food, the dishes pack a punch with wonderfully fresh ingredients, and made on the spot. Hidden within the Sheridan Park strip, Walnuts Cafe provides a quite and cozy atmosphere filled with rich colors, smells and flavors.
Taking classic breakfast dishes like eggs benedict, pancakes and hashbrowns, the certified executive head chef John Briody, brings fresh flavors making the food even more delectable. Famous for their benedicts and omelettes, Walnuts prides themselves on making all different kinds of Hollandaise sauce, used for many of their dishes such as the St. Patricks Benedict, English Man Breakfast and the Southern Lady Benedict.
Open for breakfast, brunch and lunch every day of the week, Walnuts Cafe has received so much good feedback that they have now decided to open for dinner every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Just before the battle, the General hears a row
He says “The Yanks are coming, I hear their rifles now.”
He looks down the roadway, and what d’ya think he sees?The Georgia Militia cracking goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.
“Goober Peas” by A. Linder excerpted from The Civil War Songbook (Dover Collection)
Named South Carolina’s Official State Snack in 2006, boiled peanuts, a.k.a. “goober peas,” have been a fundamental food in Southern states for hundreds of years. While the rest of the country may prefer their peanuts roasted, Southerners—both black and white—have been consuming this briny treat since colonial times.
According to seriouseats.com, “like okra, black-eyed peas, and so many other Southern staples, the peanut came to the region by way of the African diaspora, and for this reason piecing together its history can be challenging.” In fact, the website notes the word “goober” is African in origin; a term derived from the Angolan word nguba.
Most often praised as the preferred protein source for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, then later as a party food in small Southern towns and now as a valuable commodity at roadside stands and in gas stations, this seasonal delicacy is made by boiling raw or recently harvested green peanuts in salted water. Today, this humble legume is making headlines as haute cuisine and often served by celebrated chefs in the nation’s finest restaurants.
Like the history of boiled peanuts, the Bluffton salute to goober peas had a modest beginning as a cook-off orchestrated by local boiled peanut aficionados Jared Jester and Hannah Parrish at the Farmers Market of Bluffton.
In 2011, these Bluffton Boilers staged the town’s first formal Boiled Peanut Cook-Off “to bring better awareness to the ‘Official Snack Food’ of South Carolina and to try to generate some money for Bluffton Self Help,” says Jester.
“Heavily focused on the actual cook-off and seeing who had the ‘Best Nuts in Town,’” the first event attracted approximately 300 people, he adds.
“The World’s Largest Boiled Peanut,” which took about two months for Jester, Parrish and Clayton Colleran to build, was unveiled at the 2nd Annual Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival. Over 20 feet long and made primarily of plywood, chicken wire and spray foam, this gigantic goober pea had a starring role in an episode of A&E’s Shipping Wars and can usually be seen perched on its trailer in front of Cahill’s Market.
Over time, festival attendance grew from 3,500 to well over 7,000 in 2015, numerous activities were added to the schedule and the venue changed—first to The Promenade and then to Bluffton Village. Production of the annual event was turned over to the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce a few years ago, although Jester and Parrish are still heavily involved in the annual festivities.
“The popularity is certainly a fantastic thing and it is great to see so many people show appreciation for the next snack food on the planet!” declares Jester. “We only wish the focus was more heavily concentrated on the Cook-Off itself. To have the best peanuts in town should be quite a high accomplishment to hold.”
For his part, Jester usually makes at least one batch of boiled peanuts a week, trying out new recipes and flavor combinations; freezing a bushel after the season ends so he can continue to experiment throughout the winter months. Last year, he and Robbie Cahill (who happens to be the Festival’s Cook-Off Coordinator and creator of a custom rig able to cook over 1,000 pounds of peanuts at a time) got up at 3 a.m. to boil a ton—literally—of goober peas for the 2015 event.
Returning to its roots, this year the Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival kicks off on Thursday, September 8 with the Cracking of the Nut at the Farmers Market of Bluffton. After Jester or Cahill launch the event by breaking open a bottle of beer on the World’s Largest Boiled Peanut, Lil Miss Peanut and Lil Mr. Goober will be crowned. According to Erin Black of the Chamber, contestants range in age from 18 months to four-years-old and will be judged on cuteness and “peanutiness.”
Friday night, the party moves to the streets of Old Town for the 2nd Annual Peanut Pub Crawl from 6-9 p.m. Join your nuttiest (adult) buddies for a night of fun, music drinks and free goodies. A limited number of $25 tickets will be sold, so call the Chamber to reserve your spot.
On Saturday, the family-friendly festival takes place in Bluffton Village from 12-5 p.m. This year’s Boiled Peanut Cook-Off features four categories—Most Creative, Most Traditional, Best Overall and Crowd Favorite—with more chances to take home the coveted Golden Peanut Trophy. Those who prefer to feast, rather than cook, can enter the Peanut Eating Contest while listening to the sounds of Mixed Groove and 2016 Taste of Bluffton Battle of the Bands winner, Native. Meanwhile, little goobers can explore the expanded Kids Zone complete with carnival games, a zip line, bungee jumping, rock climbing wall, dunk tank and more.
For details on the 5th Annual Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival, Pub Crawl tickets and Cook-Off registration, contact the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce at (843) 757-1010 or visit boiledpeanutfestival.com.
Written by Allyson Jones.
The Sea Turtle Patrol stays busy monitoring nests every morning in the Lowcountry. Island visitors quickly become accustomed to the beach, the tide and their sunrise coffee, but the wildlife is often a mystery to them.
They have seen the green vehicle motoring up and down the beach every morning searching for sea turtle tracks. Usually a polite wave is exchanged but, without fail, there will be at least one mystery solved each morning. Visitors have questions and who more qualified to ask than someone operating a motorized vehicle on the beach? The “stop hand” replaces the casual wave and, wait for it…
“Excuse me, what’s up with all the dead turtles?” he asks.
I glance at my patrol partner, as I hide my expression. “Dawn, why don’t you take this one.”
“Horseshoe crabs! Those are horseshoe crabs.”
These fascinating animals have been around for about 445 million years and yet they are still a very foreign and confusing creature to many people. They are often misidentified by beachgoers as stingrays or turtles. Many visitors just have no idea what to make of this alien creature and they keep their distance as they curiously poke them with a stick…a long stick.
Yes, they might look a little frightening, but they are completely harmless. The telson (tail) is not used as a weapon, it is not a poisonous stinger and it will not hurt you. It is actually used to steer and to help the crab right itself if it gets flipped over.
Horseshoe crabs spend most of their time moving along the ocean floor like a small tank eating shellfish, worms, and dead and decaying matter.
They visit our beaches each spring during the new moon and the full moon high tides (called spring high tides). Female horseshoe crabs will crawl out of the ocean, often already dragging a male who is attached to her using his hook-like front legs. Once the female is on the beach, she will dig a hole in the sand underneath her body with her legs. As she lays her eggs, the attached male, and possibly several other satellite males, release sperm to fertilize those eggs.
A female horseshoe crab will lay about 2,000-4,000 eggs per nest. She will lay several nests per visit, and possibly as many as 80,000 eggs per season. The eggs develop under the sand for 2-4 weeks until they hatch just in time to hitch a ride on the next spring high tide.
During spawning season, many horseshoe crabs will get flipped over by the waves and stranded by the receding tide. If you see a stranded horseshoe crab, just grab it by its sides and flip it back over. Remember, it will not hurt you, but please be careful that you do not hurt the horseshoe crab. Always pick up a horseshoe crab by its sides and not by its telson.
Flipping stranded horseshoe crabs is an easy and important way to help this species.
You can also help protect this species by doing simple things like picking up trash off the beach and reporting tagged crabs. If you see a horseshoe crab with a tag on it, please call the number on the tag and report the tag number (take a picture or write it down before the crab crawls away). Reporting tags will help organizations like the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources learn more about these incredible creatures.
Historically, horseshoe crabs have been harvested and used as eel bait and fertilizer but, more recently, several important reasons for protecting this species have been discovered.
Currently, in South Carolina, horseshoe crabs may only be harvested for biomedical use by those who are permitted by the state to do so. Horseshoe crab blood contains a clotting agent called Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) that can be used to detect bacteria in pharmaceutical drugs and medical supplies. Chances are you have used something or had something used on you that has been tested using LAL. Horseshoe crabs do not have to give their lives to keep us safe. After about 1/3 of their blood is drained, they are returned to the coastal waters where they were collected.
In addition to saving our lives, horseshoe crabs play many other important roles.
They are a critical part of the food web and help to feed animals like those loggerhead sea turtles that nest on our beaches. Their eggs also help fuel a variety of migratory bird species, including the Red Knot which is a threatened species.
If you are interested in learning more about horseshoe crabs please visit the Ecological Research and Development Group website at horshoecrab.org, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website at dnr.sc.gov, or participate in a Horseshoe Crab educational experience at the Coastal Discovery Museum (offered each spring). The Coastal Discovery Museum also offers horseshoe crab programs for school groups and a Crabs in the Classroom workshop for local teachers who would like to raise crabs in their classroom and educate their students about these fascinating creatures. Visit coastaldiscovery.org to learn more.
Story and photos by Dawn Brut, curator of education at the Coastal Discovery Museum.
Captain Amber, are there sharks in these waters?
You know, there is a foolproof way to tell if there are sharks in the water, and it works anywhere on the globe. Put your finger in the water and touch it to your tongue. If you taste salt, there are sharks! Every body of saltwater has sharks in it. In South Carolina alone, there are 13 families and 38 species of sharks roaming our waters.
The first thing to know about sharks is that they have evolved over millions of years and are the oldest of fishes. Their common ancestor existed before the dinosaurs, approximately 400 million years ago, and sharks haven’t changed much in 200 million years, since the end of the Cretaceous period. They are perfectly built for their environment and purpose.
Secondly, one of the major differences between sharks and other fish is a skeleton made of cartilage, instead of bone. All species of shark are in the class Chondrichthyes—cartilaginous fishes. Cartilage is much softer than bone and this adaptation gives the shark an advantage as an apex predator, allowing it more flexibility and maneuverability.
Sharks lack a swim bladder which gives other fish control over their buoyancy. Although cartilage is lighter than bone, sharks still sink, so they must move constantly to stay off the ocean floor. Some sharks, but not all, must swim their entire lives so water runs over their gills and oxygenates their blood.
An airplane mimics the shape of a shark with a fusiform body streamlined like a bullet, large pectoral fins on each side to help with lift (wings) and a tall caudal fin (tail) and dorsal fin for stability. In addition to cartilage, elastic connective tissue called collagen gives the shark ease of motion when thrusting its tail fin back and forth for propulsion. Like stretching a rubber band and letting go, this lateral motion releases equal amounts of energy in both directions, allowing sharks to move fast with minimal effort!
Little known fact: bony fish (Osteichthyes) and sharks emerged from a common ancestor before fish produced scales. Sharks have dermal denticles or “skin teeth,” which are made of dentin, the same material found inside teeth.
However, both classes of fish have teeth, which is probably the first attribute you think of when the word “shark” is mentioned. The roots of their teeth are embedded in gum tissue, instead of jaw bone like ours. Sharks shed their teeth at every meal and a large shark may lose 30,000 teeth over its lifetime.
There are approximately 500 species of sharks on earth, which sounds like a lot, but in comparison, there are 25,000 species of bony fish. Sharks live in all parts of the ocean marine environment. Some stay in the deep, others venture close to shore, some travel great distances, some visit the surface, and some can even tolerate fresh water (bull shark). The smallest shark (dwarf dogfish) tops out at six inches when fully grown while adult whale sharks can approach 40 feet in length!
Fish typically reproduce with external fertilization meaning that eggs are fertilized after they are laid. Sharks mate with internal fertilization, the type of sexual reproduction you have to explain to your kid at some point. It is obvious when a female has mated because of the bites and clasper barb marks inflicted by the male shark. Pleasurable? Probably not. Luckily, she can store sperm for at least a year, minimizing the encounters. The bonnethead, according to an article published in the August 22, 2007 issue of Biology Letters, is one of four shark species that is capable, in rare cases, of a virgin birth (parthenogenesis).
Although they all mate, sharks have various methods of reproductive development. Some are oviparous (lay eggs after mating), others are viviparous (give live birth) and some are ovoviviparous (carry eggs which hatch inside of the female). The sand tiger shark is ovoviviparous with a 9-12 month gestation and has two uteri, producing only one offspring from each uterus. These two shark pups consume all of their siblings in the womb and continue to feed on their mother’s unfertilized eggs for sustenance. The three-foot-long sand tiger shark pup is more developed at birth than other species of sharks.
The most common sharks in South Carolina’s estuaries are Atlantic sharpnose, sandbar, bonnethead, blacktip, finetooth, scalloped hammerhead, nurse, lemon, tiger, sand tiger and dusky. Spinner, bull and blacknose sharks are also observed to a lesser degree. Sharks are usually more plentiful near shore in the spring and summer and move off shore in fall and winter.
Captain Amber, is it true there aren’t many sharks around Hilton Head Island because the dolphins scare them away?
Ummmm…no. We have plenty of sharks, but larger sharks have a greater range and move even further off shore in lean months to find fish, since larger sharks require larger food. As nurseries of the ocean, estuaries are not the best place to find large prey items. Dolphins pretty much bogart food in the winter, and there is less to share. While sharks typically don’t prey on dolphins, they may attack vulnerable pod members. However, the entire pod will defend the weaker members of their family and the shark may get more than he bargained for. Examples of sharks that would attack a dolphin would be bull sharks, tiger sharks or great white sharks, in a pelagic (open seas) environment.
Sharks feed primarily in low light or at night. Death by shark attack is rare in our area and the last fatal shark attack in South Carolina took place in 1852. It is important to realize sharks don’t seek revenge and are simply following a path leading to the most food. By the way, sea turtles are on the shark menu and sea turtles swim to shore to nest—at night! However, there have been more shark bite reports lately in the Carolinas. My theory is more sea turtles plus more tourists equals more opportunity for interaction. I do not believe that after millions of years sharks are changing their behavior, unless they are running out of food in the big blue.
Sharks live long lives and are slow to reproduce. A consistent decline in the population will not recover quickly and they are at higher risk than other fish. An essential keystone species in the marine environment, sharks maintain the health of the ocean by taking out the weak, dead or dying. There is so much we do not know about the ocean and its inhabitants, but it is undeniable that if this awe-inspiring creature is not protected, we will see adverse changes in the marine environment.
Under current South Carolina Department of Natural Resources regulations, there are only two sharks likely to be encountered under normal fishing circumstances that recreational anglers can keep:
• Atlantic sharpnose shark
• Bonnethead shark
All other species must have a minimum fork length of 54 inches. Fork length is measured from the tip of the shark’s nose to the fork in the caudal fin (tail). A shark with a 54” fork length would have an approximate total length of 5 1/2 to 6 feet.
Shark fishing from the shore is illegal. For details on shark populations in South Carolina estuaries and fishing regulations, visit dnr.sc.gov/marine/mrri/shark.
Written by Amber Hester Kuehn, Marine Biologist / Owner, Spartina Marine Education Charters. Photos courtesy of Jeff Kuehn.
One of the favorite pastimes of Lowcountry residents and visitors as they walk the beach or cruise the local waterways, is watching dolphins as they play, fish or simply swim on by. Many people don’t realize, however, that they are actually whale watching.
Most of us think of whales as large marine mammals, up to 90 feet long, like the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. But the dolphins commonly seen in the surrounding waters are true whales. They are members of the group of whales known as Odontoceti, meaning literally “toothed whales.”
The toothed whales are typically the “smaller” whales, and even include the Sperm Whale, which can be as large as a Right Whale. Despite the size differences and the lack or presence of teeth, all whales have certain common characteristics. Of course, the most striking is that they are mammals, and thus have many things in common with humans. For instance, they are warm-blooded, even though they can dive to great depths in the ocean where it is extremely cold. They can accomplish this feat due to the layer of blubber that insulates their bodies. They must also breathe air, which is when most of us have the chance to view them at the water’s surface. Most interesting, however, is that dolphins give birth and nurse their young, like all mammals do.
Despite being mammals, whales have obviously made changes to adapt to their aquatic existence. Their smooth skin is hairless, which actually aids them in swimming by decreasing the amount of friction created as they move through the water. Due to the lack of hair, all whales have blubber to keep them warm. Their nostrils have evolved to become blowholes situated on the top of the head to make breathing easier. The external ear openings are practically nonexistent. Yet the most striking changes are to the body shape itself.
Whales have a common ancestor that was once terrestrial. In addition to the other changes, their body shape changed drastically. The front limbs became flippers, while the hind limbs disappeared entirely. The tail became the broad, flat fluke used to propel themselves through the water. The general shape of whales is also torpedo-like, which again helps them to move more easily through the water. Even our local dolphins have these characteristics.
The most common dolphin spotted around the Lowcountry is the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Bottlenose dolphins can be found in temperate tropical waters around the world—as long as the fish, squid, octopus and krill that they feed on are present.
Although these animals sound bulky, anyone who has witnessed a dolphin gracefully leap above the waves knows how agile they can be. Not only are dolphins incredibly agile, they can also be quite speedy. Dolphins typically cruise at speeds from three to seven miles per hour, but have been clocked at bursts of speed from 30-45 miles per hour—a great way to elude danger, such as sharks, or to catch fish.
In our murky coastal waters, dolphins use echolocation to find fish. Echolocation works like sonar, with the dolphins emitting a high-pitched noise which then “echoes” back to the animal after it strikes an object. Echolocation in dolphins is much more sophisticated than human sonar. Dolphins can detect the size, shape, texture and density of an object by using echolocation.
Another interesting feeding technique in our regional dolphins is “strand feeding” (see photo above). During low tide, when the salt marsh mud flats are exposed, dolphins working in pairs or small groups will herd a school of fish toward the shore. In a rush of water, the dolphins chase the fish and cause them to panic and jump out of the water and onto the mud. The dolphins will literally strand themselves while rolling to their right side to snatch up the grounded fish.
After feeding, the dolphins slide back down the mud into the water and move along the shore again, possibly repeating this maneuver several times. Strand feeding is a learned behavior among the dolphins from Savannah to Beaufort and, remarkably, does not occur anywhere else in the United States.
Local dolphins are monitored by The Dolphin Project (TDP), a trained group of over 300 volunteers who collect population data (such as abundance, residency and distribution) about the dolphins from Port Royal Sound to the border of Georgia to Florida. Due to their efforts, we know that we have approximately 200 year-round resident dolphins around Hilton Head Island. Dolphins can be individually identified by their dorsal fins: each one is as unique as a human fingerprint. Additionally, the data collected by these volunteers is used by scientists and researchers with state and federal agencies, as they continue to institute policies regarding the quality of coastal waters.
Years of study have answered some of the basic questions about dolphins. Yet there are many more questions to be answered, such as, what is the status of dolphins in the ocean? Are their numbers increasing or decreasing? When dolphins strand feed, why do they they always roll to their right side? Why are some dolphins social, while others tend to be more solitary? Do they have territories they defend?
Enjoy a dolphin cruise while in the Lowcountry to observe these graceful, fascinating creatures in their natural habitat. You’ll be amazed at how playful they are and by how many dolphins call local waters home throughout the year.
FACTS about the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin:
- weighs anywhere from 300-800 lbs.
- is between 8 and 10 feet long
- typically dives between 10 and 150 feet for an average time of 3 minutes
- can live from 25-30 years
- can have a calf about every 2 years and have a gestation period of 9 to 12 months
The May River Theatre’s production of “Curtains” is like no other play they have presented in the last 15 years. To say that it is a “Must See” is an understatement. This story is more than just a musical!
Set in a Boston theater, the show has it all—murder, mystery, a play within a play called “Robbin’ Hood of the Old West”; romance, dancing, music and over-the-top comedy.
The director, young theater aficionado Bryce Cofield, has perfectly cast the performers. Cofield has an eye for the little things: the movement that is just right, the timing required for comedic dialogue and the ability to create a sense of family within the cast…a “we are all in the same boat” feeling. The actors want to do their best, and trust him in every way. Cofield has instilled a sense of confidence in the cast, so they will be ready for opening night on time while simultaneously creating a connection with the audience, so that they are part of the setting and show, allowing everyone to follow the play and thoroughly enjoy it in every way.
The music “sometimes goes this-a-way, sometimes it goes that-a-way,” but it underscores the action and is masterfully presented by Warren Heilman and his ensemble. Solos, duets and difficult three- and four-part harmonies are performed by the company. The lyrics are fun and quirky, and maybe a bit slapstick, always gaining a grin…both scene and song tell the story. The funny thing is that the leading lady, Jessica (Mary Lynn Finn), sings horribly off key, can’t dance a step or remember her lines and is murdered on opening night. You may ask, did the sour notes get her killed? Who done it?
Actors and ensemble take the dance numbers and weave them inextricably throughout the play, thanks to Jodi Joy Layman, who’s choreographic interpretation of “Curtains” brings humor into the dance numbers, yet softness, romance and athleticism when needed.
You will enjoy the story of Aaron and Georgia, composer and lyricist respectively, a divorced songwriting team that still question their love for each other. These parts are played by Dan and Debbie Cort, with assistance and encouragement from their four-year-old daughter Lilyanna, who has been named honorary assistant director. You will not find a finer family of actors and singers anywhere.
“I told you we were going to Broadway no matter what you write about us.” (You have to see the play to understand what that means.)
You will laugh out loud watching Aaron become jealous over his ex, Georgia, who has begun dating Bobby, the lead dancer in “Robbin’ Hood,” played by James Siler. Enjoy pure comedic acting from Siler and the way he plays the role. When Georgia and Aaron sing a song together, you realize their love for each other is true and lasting, both in the performance and in reality. I bet you will shed a tear!
Next, we have Detective Frank Cioffi, (Daniel Derrer, who has a degree in Theater and is the complete package—a singer, actor and a dancer who gives the entire cast a performance which holds the bar high). Cioffi figures it all out with small clues, can you? He fancies himself an actor and begins a tender romance with Niki, a chorus girl played by Jean White. (White hits some notes I didn’t even know existed. She holds a BFA in theater and dance—and her acting, singing and dancing prove it!) The feeling is mutual for Niki and he shares his “lunch counter mornings and coffee shop nights” (except Cioffi has sequestered the cast in the theater, so they have not been alone).
Carmen (Jennifer Harden-Green), is the heart and soul of the production and married to self-serving and unfaithful Producer Sidney Bernstein (yours truly). Her voice, presentation of her dialogue, movement, comedic actions and command of whatever she is doing, are exactly as you would picture Carmen to be. The show must go on!
Oscar (Bob Fitzsimmons, the only true, professional comedian and New Yorker in the cast), who financed the production using his earnings from his 1954 lingerie line, plays this role absolutely perfectly. The scene where Oscar reads the “Robbin’ Hood” reviews with Carmen, Georgia and Aaron is a May River Theatre (MRT) Classic.
You are sure to love Belling, (DA Southern) the campy director of the play, “Robbin’ Hood,” the eternal optimist, both ostentatious and hilarious; whose decisions somehow turn out right. His vast stage experience and mastery of his craft are evident in this challenging role.
The way Emily Rice plays the role of Bambi, Carmen and Sidney’s daughter, is infectious. Her voice, facial expressions, stage presence, timing, dancing, singing and energy off stage is invaluable to “Curtains.”
There are no small roles, just small actors having a minor role! Although the Ensemble normally doesn’t get mentioned, here is the entire cast: Lindsey and Stephan Brannan and Jeff Cory (who marks his tenth show at MRT both as an actor and musician). The MRT bright lights and youth include Elliott Lentz, Matthew Davey, Emily Kustak, Kat Lucena and Alyssa Ratajczyk. All are dedicated to their roles and it takes everyone to make this play as special as it is.
Lest we forget, Scott Grooms rounds out the performance’s excellence; his experience with sound and lighting is impeccable. “Curtains” is demanding and coordination and skill are required from all of the technical assistants.
Just before the production opened, everything changed. After Hurricane Matthew pounded us, the mood was different. The cast had 24 hours to hold a week’s worth of rehearsals! Between rushing to safety with family or living in a hotel room holed up like a refugee then clearing trees off homes, something special happened at that first rehearsal after evacuation. Everyone knew their music and timing, were up to date with the dance steps and all that was left was for Warren, Jodi and Bryce to work their magic.
With hard work and dedication, this cast created something together their audience will not forget. That is what is so special about “Curtains” …community theater working to help bring back normalcy to Bluffton through the arts, proving that “the show must go on” and that “there are a special kind of people called show people.” The bond formed within this company after Hurricane Matthew will last long after the curtain falls.
Written by Randolph Stewart
The following is an excerpt from the diary of Mr. John Goodwin, beginning in July 1862. He was the grandfather of Miss Mary Goodwin, a former teacher in Bluffton. Mr. Goodwin kept a record of his life in the army during the Civil War from the time he enlisted until he was shot through the right side while engaged in a battle in Virginia. Although he recovered from the gunshot wound, Goodwin was killed 10 years later by a lightning strike.
On the nineteenth of July 1862, for the first time, I got Captain Appleby to take a substitute for me to go home. I got a young nephew to take my place and ran the blockade and went home for a few days. Before the few days were up I heard that my company had moved to Bluffton.
When I went back to camp, I went to Hardeeville on the train and brother Sam met me there with my horse. It was a little after dark when we reached camp. I found the squadron all together on the bluff of the May River, a high bluff about two miles up the river from Bluffton. It was called “Camp Jackson.”
We did very well for something to eat for awhile. We didn’t get any more hog tails and fowls. Our horses, too, were well fed. This was the best camp we had been in so far. Our picket duty is some harder than at Grahamville. Our picket route is divided into four divisions viz Okatie, Footpoint, Bluffton and South May. The posts in the Okatie division are Barret’s Point, Porcheu, Kirke and Garret’s Landing.
On the Foot Point division: Foot Point, Foot Point Back Landing, Bluffton, Hunting Island, negro quarter and Buckingham Ferry.
One post on the South May division is in view of Savannah, the place where the enemy affect a landing. We are allowed only two pickets on post, while before, we had from four to six.
Bluffton in its present condition is one of the saddest looking places I have ever seen, deserted, dilapidated and lonely. Its magnificent and delightful habitations are stripped of all their furniture and what could not be moved was torn into fragments. The once beautiful flower gardens now grown up in weeds and the scattered leaves of former libraries and sheets of music tell of the refinement of its people and the vandalism of the foe.
Beautiful flowers still grow in wild profusion around deserted homes and shed their fragrance into the air. But they are only sad reminders of the past and serve to intensify the contrast with the gloomy present.
Camp Jackson is, as I have said, on the bluff of May River with a thick hammock on one side and Dr. Pope’s Plantation on the other. Dr. Pope’s dwelling was used as a squadron hospital.
Saturday morning, September 2, the enemy ran a gun boat up the river to Baynard’s on the South May and sent a few bombs toward our camps. Some fell short and some going over. They were about five miles from us by water and hardly more than two on an air line. Near enough that they might have done damage had it not been for a headland that concealed our whereabouts.
Major Stokes deemed it prudent to move further from the river, and a good idea for they kept feeling their way up the river and in a few pays passed Camp Jackson. They have been up there three times since we left, but have done no harm, except the breaking of Mr. Lawton’s Salt Works.
The first time the enemy attempted to come up May River, we left Camp Jackson and moved to Major Pritchard’s Place on the Hardeeville and Bluffton Road about nine miles from the latter place and about one and a half miles from New River Bridge. This is also a beautiful place, very high and sandy with a growth of live oaks.
When we moved to Camp Pritchard (Sept. 2, 1862), the whole squadron moved together but Major Stokes concluded, since it was a sickly season of the year, to scatter the companies. Each Captain chose his place. The companies are two or three hundred yards apart.
Soon after we settled there, our squadron and that of Major Emanuel’s were formed into a regiment. Captain Rutledge of the Charleston Light Dragoon was appointed Colonel. This regiment was known as Rutledge’s Calvary. Every man has built him a stall for his horse and most of them are covered. We are better fixed here than we have been at any other place since we have been in the service. Our duties are getting harder. So much so that it has taken me six days to record the little I have.
This being the 27th day of March, the day set apart by the President of the Confederate States of America for fasting, humiliation and prayer. The horn is now blowing for prayer and I will stop here and go to Church.
This diary excerpt was submitted by Mrs. William W. Niven for publication in the Bluffton News in 1932 and is now in the archives of The Bluffton Breeze. This entry provides interesting facts about Bluffton at that time, since this was an eyewitness account only a month after the Burning of Bluffton in June of 1862.
Art is many things: expressive, imaginative, creative, original and, often, visual; but at The Roasting Room, the art is a performance. Musicians, lyricists, singers, songwriters and composers deliver emotion that is almost palpable. From high-energy fervor to laid-back, smooth performances that go down like a great glass of wine, the art of The Roasting Room is found in its intimate setting, and the music-makers are its wondrous guitar-wielding creators.
For the last 18 months, Josh Cooke and Jordan Ross have been booking an incredible array of artists—from local faves like Jevon Daly and Martin Lesch (and Jordan Ross, of course), to Grammy-winning songwriters, such as Nashville country rock singer-songwriter Bonnie Bishop (who’s written songs for Bonnie Raitt, as well as the TV hit show “Nashville”) and John Driskell Hopkins (songwriter and founding member of the Zac Brown Band).
“We have seen between six and a dozen Grammy Award-winning singer- songwriters—people who have written songs for Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Zac Brown Band,” Josh said.
Josh and Jordan are not just booking bands at The Roasting Room, they’re recording them. Every live performance is recorded in multi-track form, which can then be sent to the artist for a future live album.
Settling into the 75-seat room is like visiting someone’s home and watching a private performance in their living room, but with better acoustics, thanks to Isaac Smith, local musician and sound engineer at The Roasting Room. Cozy and comfortable—and often unnerving—one is bound to make eye contact with the musicians, who connect with audiences in a way very different from most other coastal South Carolina venues, which include outdoor festivals, waterside restaurants and bustling bars.
“Performing on [The Roasting Room] stage, you have the sense of absolute attention, which for most artists is the pinnacle of their career. You write music in your bedroom for nobody in particular, but then you can go out and play it for 75 people that are sitting there, hanging on the words you’re saying,” Jordan explained. “To perform in a place like that is really rare and very hard to find. “
“There’s no more than 20 rooms like that in the U.S.,” Josh added. “That’s probably exaggerating. It’s probably more like a dozen.”
“Listening rooms” are venues dedicated specifically to music listening, usually with a superior sound system and often the ability to record. Success stories abound from the unassuming and iconic Bluebird Café, a 90-seat listening room in downtown Nashville. Acoustic music is the Bluebird’s signature style, and upcoming artists have been launched from their stage to become celebrities. Eddie’s Attic, another popular listening room birthed in the Atlanta area, highlights both aspiring and accomplished songwriters. Jordan and Josh have similar aspirations for The Roasting Room.
“I pray for the day when we’re able to see Darius Rucker or John Mellencamp—the people that have a presence in this area, but have made it to the big leagues—to play the room for something that people can afford,” Jordan said.
These lofty aspirations may only be possible through community support; through people with a passion for music that translates into monetary backing. Some call these people fans, but in Bluffton, they’re called friends. Josh and Jordan are looking for a few special friends—individuals and businesses who have a passion for music as an art form, and share the desire to see it flourish in the Lowcountry.
While tickets generate somewhat of an income for the artists, it takes a community effort (and businesses willing to sponsor The Roasting Room) to ensure that the venue continues to thrive.
“It’s a testament to the town,” Jordan said. “The more you support The Roasting Room, the cooler
it is going to be, the more awesome we can make it.”
It’s the audience drawn to these acoustic performances that help steer Josh and Jordan to a place of success, and it’s the audience that drives change—like the switch from 10-seat tables to eight- and four-seaters, or the move from bar-ordering to more server-oriented service.
“It’s more of a hobby for us than a business,” Josh revealed. “We’re doing it because we share a love for music. We both have jobs that are paying the bills, but we want to see this work whether it makes money or not, because we feel like it’s important to have somewhere that highlights music as an art in that form.”
Sure, you could head out for a romantic, candlelit dinner at any of our fine local restaurants, but maybe it’s time to think outside the box (of candy) this Valentine’s Day and visit a few unique, family-owned businesses which truly capture the Bluffton “State of Mind.”
Serving breakfast and lunch, there’s something for everyone at the Squat & Gobble where Miss Thing presides over the festivities dressed in her best holiday attire. Join the likes of Tom Berenger, Tony Shalhoub and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for made-to-order favorites, including Paul the Greek’s Breakfast Special with two eggs, bacon, grits or home fries and toast or The Hangover Cure, a generous bowl of grits layered with bacon, sausage, home fries, sausage gravy, cheese, tomatoes and two eggs. For lunch, the focus shifts to crab cake sandwiches, oven-fired subs, hamburgers, Greek gyros, NY-style pizza, salads, chicken finger baskets and shrimp-n-grits.
Just down the street, “all you KNEAD is love” at Twisted European Bakery, a family business that originated from Jim’s Bakery in South Philadelphia and Veneris Bakery in Athens, Greece and recently opened in Old Town.
Throughout the month of February, Squat & Gobble is offering a buy one meal, get one half price deal. With the extra money you save, you can buy your love a souvenir T-shirt, coffee cup or koozie!
Celebrate amore with a range of baked goods, including fruit pies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, French and Italian pastries, cookies, cinnamon buns, strudels, soft Bavarian pretzels, fresh-from-the-oven artisan breads, tomato pie, spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves and much more, made-from-scratch on the premises, all day, every day (except Monday), using the finest ingredients.
Give your sweet a treat with a Twisted Heart Cake made using vanilla or chocolate cake with shaved dark chocolate and dipped strawberries—enough to warm any heart—or pick up a party tray and take home petite dark Belgian chocolate, Bavarian cream and red raspberry pastries or savory appetizers. Remember, calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day and the more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap!
In the late 1600’s, enslaved West Africans were brought to the Georgia and South Carolina sea islands to tend the rice and cotton fields. As the Emanciapation Proclamation brought freedom, many fled to Hilton Head Island and its Union Army outpost to start the first freedman’s village in the United States: Mitchelville. Many of the decendants, known as Gullah, stayed on the Island. Throughout the years, the Gullah have protected their heritage through language, food and customs. Get out and explore the Lowcountry’s rich Gullah History:
• On Beach City Road, visit Queen Chapel AME Church (established in 1865 as a praise house for slaves) and the historic Mitchelville site where a new Historic Mitchelville Park is planned within the town’s Fish Haul Park location.
• Gullah Heritage Trail Tours offers a two-hour narated drive through 10 Gullah villages.
• Celebrate Gullah culture each February at the month-long Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration. Enjoy art shows, craft expos, food, film, musicals and more.
• The Coastal Discovery Museum hosts Gullah presentations throughout the year.
• The Penn Center, on St. Helena Island, is the site of one of the nations first schools for freed slaves. November’s Heritage Days event feature storytellers and music.
• SWEETGRASS SOUVENIRS: The intricate art of making sweetgrass baskets is one of the most treasured Gullah traditions in the Lowcountry. The craft has been passed down through generations for more than 300 years. A sweetgrass basket is made using a spoon handle to stitch together the sweetgrass. Buy a basket at roadside stands and craft markets in the area. You can event make one yourself at the Coastal Discovery Museum, which hosts basket-making classes through-out the year.
Article courtesy of Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce!
Old Town Bluffton, Highway 46 takes you straight into Downtown Bluffton: This delightful area along the beautiful May River is compact but loaded with Lowcountry charm. Boutiques, art galleries, upscale and casual eats, coffee spots, restored antebellum and post-Civil War homes and churches make this a place you’ll want to spend some quality time. A lively… Read More…
By Michele Roldán-Shaw How about turning off your devices and reading books this winter? While there is less daylight and a nip in the air, February is a fantastic time to get cozy are read these works by Lowcountry authors and learn more about Bluffton. “The Water is Wide” Pat Conroy is generally better known for novels like… Read More…
By Amanda Surowitz For many couples, it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without the traditional red wine and decadent dark chocolates. But did you know that there are many heart-healthy benefits that go along with delicious icons of romance? So when you’re enjoying that toast with your sweetie this year, be sure to raise your glass to everything they do for you. Cholesterol… Read More…
Even though we may have the opportunity to enjoy our fireplaces just a few months out of the year, the smoke billowing from our Lowcountry chimneys evokes fond memories of families gathering after dinner to play games or watch movies together on a chilly February evening. Fireplaces not only provide a warm focal point for… Read More…