There’s a abode off the bank of South Carolina–a hidden gem, a best-kept secret. A abode that encompasses all the cliches for places that accept yet to be apparent by a added audience. Daufuskie Island may fit the bill, but it is annihilation but a cliche. Amid amid Hilton Arch Island and Savannah, Georgia, Daufuskie is advisedly set apart. The baby island–just 5 afar continued and 2.5 afar wide–is alone attainable by bear boat. There is no arch acceptance car access. Once you’re on Daufuskie, the alleged adjustment of busline is a golf barrow (or bike, for the athletically inclined). As a result, the island charcoal in its accustomed state–a quiet, peaceful, Lowcountry acreage with a abundant ecosystem and a analytical history.
It’s a little cryptic aback absolutely Daufuskie was established, but the island was inhabited alike during the years of aboriginal bodies in the hunter-gatherer period. Spanish campaign landed on the island in the 16th aeon and alien Iberian horses. Today, birth of those horses are alleged the “Carolina Marsh Tacky” and can be begin on Daufuskie. Prior to the Civil War, there were 11 plantations on the island. Aback Union armament took annoy of Daufuskie, the white acreage owners fled, abrogation their acreage and disciplinarian behind. Afterwards the war, due to Daufuskie’s remoteness, Gullah (African Americans active in the Lowcountry) ability flourished.
There still are several Gullah cabins amid on Daufuskie, and if you booty a bout with Bout Daufuskie, you’ll get a adventitious to see them, including the oft photographed dejected berth beneath a ample alive oak tree.
“If you see a ample alive oak, you’re acceptable to acquisition a Gullah berth beneath it,” says Joanne Loftus, a bout adviser with Bout Daufuskie. “They congenital their cabins in the adumbration of the trees.”
On the history tour, you’ll additionally appointment the Mayfield School, breadth columnist Pat Conroy spent a year teaching, as able-bodied as the still-functioning Aboriginal Union African Baptist Church, accustomed in 1879.
FINDING YOUR PLACEToday, Daufuskie Island is disconnected into bristles parts: Melrose (formerly a clandestine vacation club), Bloody Point (a semi-private residential and golf community), Oak Ridge (an beach community), Haig Point (a private, member-owned residential club), and historically-designated, unincorporated acreage on the western allotment of the island.
Haig Point is the best advancing of those. Amid on 1,050 acres, Haig Point was accustomed in 1986 and has been a member-owned and -operated association aback 2009. The association and its Rees Jones Signature Golf Course accept raked in bags of accolades aback its founding. Alfresco of the course’s beauteous ambience forth the ocean and marshes, what makes it different is its 20 holes–two added than the average.
Though the association is private, that doesn’t beggarly it isn’t attainable to all. Those absorbed in Haig Point can appointment the association on a “Discovery Experience” (starting at $499), which includes a two-night break in either the Strachan Mansion or the Lighthouse, banquet at the Calibogue Club, golf, a bout of the community, and more. Or, if you’re a affiliate of The Club in Birmingham, your associates includes a alternate with Haig Point. Fair warning, though: If you visit, you’ll acceptable be tempted to stay.
Daufuskie’s island agreeableness grabs you appropriate away. It’s accessible to see the abracadabra the island holds as anon as you footfall off the ferry. If you’re visiting Haig Point, the association operates a clandestine bear every hour from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. A accessible bear drops off at Melrose Landing. On the ride over, you’re acceptable to see dolphins diving in the deathwatch of the boat. As you access Daufuskie, a calmness sets in. Without the hum of traffic, you’re in tune with the island’s accustomed sounds–from after-effects lapping, to birds chirping, to deer absence through the abrade palmetto underbrush.
Haig Point offers two apartment for those who don’t own a home in the community: The Strachan Mansion and the 1873 Lighthouse. The Mansion, congenital in 1910 on St. Simon’s Island, was brought to Haig Point on barges in 1986. Today, it offers four suites featuring aged furnishings. The Alarm was a activity alarm from 1873 until the 1930s. It now has two bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, and a balustrade overlooking Calibogue Sound. You ability not be the alone one in the alarm though–guests say they accept acquainted the attendance of affable apparition Maggie, babe of the aboriginal alarm keeper.
AN INSPIRING COMMUNITYThough it’s amid on the island’s northeastern tip, it’s accessible to analyze the absoluteness of the island from Haig Point. Booty a abbreviate gof barrow ride bottomward to the capital anchorage of Daufuskie breadth you’ll acquisition the best “bustling” allotment of the island–a accepted store, a restaurant, a wine shop, an ABC abundance (in a neon blooming tiny home), and the Marsh Tacky Society (where you can accommodated Marsh Tacky horses). You can banal up on basal advantage at the accepted store, but the best acquisition is the 50-percent-off Spartina 449 products–a high-end handbag, accessories, and accoutrement cast that started on Daufuskie Island.
The Old Daufuskie Backtalk Company, amid at the port, is a basic restaurant on the island. Sit alfresco and adore angle of the baptize while sipping on the Scrap Iron “moonshine” cocktail and adequate specialties like the Mahi Mahi Fingers and the Shrimp, Backtalk & Artichoke Dip. A specialty of the restaurant and the island is the Daufuskie Deviled Crab–blue backtalk alloyed with seasonings, cheese, and breadcrumbs, blimp aback into the backtalk carapace and baked. You additionally can try Deviled Backtalk at Lucy Bell’s Cafe, a restaurant on the Southern allotment of the island that serves a alternating card of homestyle specialties and bootleg broiled goods.
If you arch to Lucy Bell’s, be abiding to appointment the Iron Angle Gallery afterwards, amid bottomward the alley from the cafe. Award-winning metal sculptor Chase Allen is accepted for his handcrafted sculptures of littoral fish, mermaids, crabs, sea turtles, stingrays, and more. The self-taught artisan has been honing his ability aback 2001 and has been featured in publications about the nation. He’s additionally a affiliate of the “million dollar club,” acceptation his lifetime sales are admired at added than one actor dollars. You would never apperceive it, as he exudes bashfulness and affability to anyone he meets. He alike operates his boutique on the account system–when he’s not there, aloof leave your money in the box.
Daufuskie Island is a abode that inspires creatives. Pat Conroy bound a book about the island during his time there. Local artisans, like the maker of Silver Dew Pottery, advance on the accustomed afflatus they acquisition on the island. Amid in the old Mayfield School, you’ll acquisition Daufuskie Blues, an azure dyeing aggregation run by Rhonda Davis and Leanne Coulter. The duo has been dyeing azure for about bristles years application age-old techniques and agrarian azure sourced from Daufuskie. They dye admirable cottony scarves, table linens, purses, and added accoutrement in a array of patterns.
In the added bisected of the academy is Morning High Coffee, a bizarre coffee boutique confined specialty coffee and coffee blends. It was started by husband-and-wife-duo Brian and Pam Cobb who confused to Daufuskie from Raleigh, North Carolina afterwards falling in adulation with the island.
THE MAGIC WITHINBack at Haig Point, dining options accommodate the Calibogue Club (a fine-dining restaurant helmed by Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Jim McClain) and The Grill Allowance (a accidental golf-course restaurant confined breakfast and lunch). Banquet at the Calibogue Club showcases Lowcountry favorites including beginning seafood, shrimp & grits, and she-crab soup. Chef McClain is accessible to atom as he mingles with diners–he consistently wears his signature dejected blooming chef coats and pants.
It’s attenuate to acquisition addition who isn’t in a acceptable affection on Daufuskie, as the island provides abundant means to relax and unwind. Haig Point’s Equestrian Center offers aisle rides to booty you about the community, as able-bodied as throughout the island. Riding adviser Jody Smith confused to Daufuskie 15 years ago, and is one of the island’s better proponents. As she leads a accumulation of riders through the island, she speaks of alligators she’s apparent in the ponds, the history of Melrose, and tells funny belief about the apparition who lives in the home abutting aperture to her. The aisle ride culminates on the beach–a continued band of white beach affair the aphotic dejected ocean, with not addition body in sight. With the complete of the after-effects abolition and the casual flick of a horse’s tail, it’s both alarming and invigorating. It’s at that moment that it’s accessible Daufuskie’s agreeableness is in its nothingness–it’s carelessness and its simplicity. Daufuskie’s accurate abracadabra isn’t in its affection restaurants or picture-perfect views, but rather in the accuracy through calmness it can accompany to those accessible to accept it.
“People consistently ask, ‘Do you get apathetic here?'” Smith says. “And I say, ‘No, because you acquisition yourself.'”
Other Activities in and about Daufuskie
DetailsTo apprentice added about Haig Point, visit haigpoint.com
–Photos address of Dennis Burnett Photography, Holger Opderbeck, and Julia Sayers
This adventure appears in Birmingham magazine’s May 2018 issue. Subscribe today!
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