daufuskie island Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
December 7th, 2007 – by: kingelvis14
Daufuskie Island is a sea island sitting between Savannah, Georgia, and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It is said that time stands still on this island and I wanted to see that for myself. Native Americans lived here over 5,000 years ago but by the 1730's it was home to plantations of indigo, rice, and sea island cotton. At the time when the Civil War broke out, there were seven working plantations on the island belonging in the most part to descendants of wealthy English families. During the first year of the war, the Union Army gained complete control of the island and thousands of Union soldiers camped there for the duration of the war. Slaves living on the island were freed by the Union and when the war was over, Daufuskie was inhabited primarily by these freed slaves.
After purchasing our tickets, we had a little bit of time to kill. The ferry was due to return from its early morning run to the island in about thirty minutes, so we meandered in and out of the different boat slips while waiting for our ride.
Our ferry was visible in the distance, making its way slowly down the river towards us while its wake rolled off into the surrounding marshland. After we climbed up the stairs and entered the toasty warm enclosure, we noticed that only one other couple had boarded with us. This was early December and the off season, but the ferry was running just the same, whether it had a full load or only one passenger.
The ride out to Daufuskie took about 45 minutes. As we idled down the river towards open water, the mansions on the riverfront were visible through our window. Impressive. And very expensive. Definitely out of our price range. Dolphins were playing close to the shore. Sea birds were diving for their lunch. And my worries and cares were slipping far, far away.
Disembarking put us out on the island, where we had to walk just a short distance to pick up our golf cart. Yes, that's right ~ golf cart. For a small price, we would get to ride the roads (mostly dirt or gravel) as opposed to walking. That proved to be a very good decision because the island covers eight square miles.
Daufuskie Island is home to two historic lighthouses, the Bloody Point Lighthouse built in 1883 and the Haig Point Lighthouse built in 1873. Remember me telling you that Jerry is anal about his car? Well, he is also very anal about crossing over private property. He just will not drive or walk anywhere if there is a remote possibility he might be on private property. Maybe he thinks someone will come running out of the bushes wielding a double-barrell shotgun in his direction. I don't know, but I DO know that this has been the root of many arguments and quarrels over the past thirty years.
We were rambling along the dirt road at a snail's pace and I was keeping my eyes wide open, watching for a reason to yell, "Pull over here." No other vehicles meant we could stop alongside the road without worry of getting run over. I noticed an unusually large live oak tree off to my left and I wanted a picture. "Stop, stop," I asked and Jerry pulled over and let me crawl out. "That looks like private property. You better not go over there," was his warning to me that I chose to completely ignore.
We continued to ride the roads and enjoy the day. The beautiful white beach was absolutely deserted and we were able to pick up shells and sand dollars as we strolled along. Lunch was a simple meal at Marshside Mama's Cafe. Located at the end of the dirt road and very close to the marsh, the eatery is actually a very popular night spot and has live music on weekends. It is housed in an old frame building that is in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint, inside and out, but no one is complaining.
Bald eagles are seen from time to time around the island and we had been told to watch out for a nest high in the treetops on the beach road. Unfortunately, Daufuskie Island is being developed into several different resorts offering first-class accommodations as well as a top-rated golf course. For some reason, the eagles had chosen a pine tree right next to the golf course for their homesite. With all the undeveloped forest on the island, why would they choose this spot? When I got off the golf cart to take pictures of the nest, there were numerous fresh deer tracks in the soft mud on the road. I guess they like the fresh green grass on the golf course.
It had been a wonderful day of exploring and relaxation. Hopefully, we will be able to make a return visit to this very special place some day soon.
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