Go back in time on the history-rich Daufuskie Island
Nestled between Hilton Head Island, SC and Savannah, GA, Daufuskie Island may be small (approximately 11 square miles) but it packs a large punch. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in personality. From tales of Indians to root doctors to snake wranglers, Daufuskie has a storied past that comes to life on Outside Hilton Head’s Daufuskie Island Artisans Excursion. With Licensed Master Captain Charlie Thorn, you’ll get a taste of the Island’s culture, past and present.
The day begins as you board the Outside Adventurer, a Carolina Skiff that will carry you across Broad Creek and into the Calibogue Sound (and keep your eyes out for bottlenose dolphin). After docking, you’ll kick-off the tour at one of the Island’s most popular landmarks, Marshside Mama’s, once an oyster factory, now the Island’s nightlife hotspot and waterfront café. From there, you’ll travel the dirt roads with both historical and artistic stops along the way. To name only a few:
- White School House
Built in 1913 by Beaufort County for the white children on the Island, the school was open at times even for just one child. Since its closing in 1962, the schoolhouse has also served as a residence for the principal of the black school, the fire department and even an Island library.
- Silver Dew Pottery
Hand-spun right on Daufuskie, the gallery’s owner, Lancey Burn, was born and raised on the Island. And beyond the beautiful pieces that are available for sale, you won’t believe some of the tales Lancey has collected over the years including those of his stories from the high seas with the Blue Gypsy, a sailboat that he has sailed across the Atlantic 5 times, perched proudly behind the studio.
The Iron Fish
Bring home a piece of artwork that makes a bold statement with one of Chase Allen’s metal sculptures. From mermaids to alligators to woodpeckers to Chase’s staple fish, there is a huge selection. And don’t fret if there isn’t anyone in the shop during your visit. Chase operates on an honor system – just slip a check under the door for the amount listed on the piece you plan to venture home with.
Mary Fields School
This two-room school house, built for the Island’s black children in the early 1930’s, was brought to the big screen in the film adaptation of Pat Conroy’s The Water is Wide, a novel that recounted his year as the first male and first white teacher at the school.
The day concludes with light snacks (and a cold beer from Marshside Mama’s if you’d like) before you head back to Shelter Cove Harbour where I’d suggest grabbing a late lunch to cap off a great day!
The Daufuskie Island Artisans Excursion ($85 per person) is a 4.5 hour tour and is offered year-round and is, for the most part, rain or shine. Make sure to bring sunscreen and bug spray with you, and you’ll want to arrive 15 minutes prior to departure.