About Me Fuskie Girl

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I love painting, writing, blogging, good wine, art, close friends, travel but most of all Daufuskie Island, South Carolina.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Finding your remote paradise: Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

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Intriguing, romantic, mysterious, unspoiled these are words often used to describe Daufuskie, a remote two and one half by five mile island situated on the east Atlantic coast between Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and Tybee Island, Georgia. Daufuskie's natural beauty and rich history have been the inspiration for many artist, writers and tourists.
 
Without a bridge to the mainland, Daufuskie is accessible only by passenger ferry or private boat. Located at the southernmost tip of South Carolina, Hilton Head is its closest neighbor with travel time between the two ranging from 15 to 45 minutes depending on the location of the embarkation ports. Savannah, Georgia, another historic city, is located south of the island, approximately an hour away by water.  



  Visitors to Daufuskie won't find a traffic light, a bank, a drive-through restaurant, or a drugstore.
Instead they encounter a magnificent display of nature, unspoiled by overpopulation or commercialism. Maritime forests border the beaches, and woods filled with towering pines and ancient live oaks dripping with Spanish moss characterize much of the 5,000-acre barrier island. Loggerhead turtles returning to nest on the island's beaches, alligators sunning themselves on lake banks, bald eagles scouting for afternoon meals, pods of dolphins performing daily jumping exhibitions, herds of deer dining on island vegetation, and black fox squirrels scurrying about golf course greens are common sights for residents and visitors. Traffic jams consist of more than two golf carts at an intersection, and sounds of city sirens are replaced by the serenades of hoot owls and the synchronistic peeps and croaks of tree frogs. Because there are few lights on the island, night skies produce dazzling displays of shooting stars and far-off galaxies while sunrises and sunsets paint the skies with a spectacular array of colors every dawn and dusk. Crowds on Daufuskie's quiet beaches are likely to consist of scavenging seagulls rather than sunbathing tourists. The Daufuskie Island Conservancy, founded in 2005, is a good resource for more about the island's natural environment and the programs that are in place to preserve and protect it.
Instead they encounter a magnificent display of nature, unspoiled by overpopulation or commercialism. Maritime forests border the beaches, and woods filled with towering pines and ancient live oaks dripping with Spanish moss characterize much of the 5,000-acre barrier island. Loggerhead turtles returning to nest on the island's beaches, alligators sunning themselves on lake banks, bald eagles scouting for afternoon meals, pods of dolphins performing daily jumping exhibitions, herds of deer dining on island vegetation, and black fox squirrels scurrying about golf course greens are common sights for residents and visitors. Traffic jams consist of more than two golf carts at an intersection, and sounds of city sirens are replaced by the serenades of hoot owls and the synchronistic peeps and croaks of tree frogs. Because there are few lights on the island, night skies produce dazzling displays of shooting stars and far-off galaxies while sunrises and sunsets paint the skies with a spectacular array of colors every dawn and dusk. Crowds on Daufuskie's quiet beaches are likely to consist of scavenging seagulls rather than sunbathing tourists. The Daufuskie Island Conservancy, founded in 2005, is a good resource for more about the island's natural environment and the programs that are in place to preserve and protect it.

Historic Frances Jones House Nears Completion

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When summer strikes Daufuskie, visitors come from all over to see all the island has to offer. And this summer, tourists and islanders will have a new way to experience the island’s beautiful beaches and unique Gullah culture. The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, South Carolina’s statewide organization interested in protecting, preserving and advocating for our state’s historic structures, is launching its Daufuskie Endangered Places Program, which will introduce tourists to Gullah history and roots while preserving some of Daufuskie Island’s most significant home places.



How does the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program work?
Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation has partnered with descendants of original Gullah families who have owned these homes for generations. The Trust then leases the homes from the owners, rehabilitates the homes in a manner that respects the historic integrity of the structure, then rents the home to travelers who want to experience the Gullah heritage and Daufuskie Island’s natural beauty.
The homeowners gain a renovated, livable structure when many of these homes had been in disrepair and can enjoy their ancestor’s homes on a scheduled basis. Once Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation recoups the original investment incurred to rehabilitate the income from rentals and donations to DEPP, the owners of the homes and property can choose to cancel the lease and use the home as a vacation home or continue to rent the home and gain income from rentals of the vacation home as originally established.
With future plans for more cottages available for rent, the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program’s first home place, the Frances Jones house, will be available for rent this summer.
The Frances Jones House is currently undergoing renovations with plenty of modern amenities, but to maintain authenticity, the home’s floors will still creek and the home is situated under mammoth Live Oaks, which Daufuskie and South Carolina’s Lowcountry are known for. Rental rates will be affordable for families and travellers interested in experiencing the Gullah lifestyle on the South Carolina coast.

Q&A with Michael Bedenbaugh

Michael Bedenbaugh, Executive Director of The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, has spent much of the last year on the ferry traveling to Daufuskie to get the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program underway. Bedenbaugh, who crisscrosses South Carolina weekly in an effort to preserve our state’s most important structures and buildings, came up with the idea for the program when he visited Daufuskie five years ago. Read on for his thoughts on helping Daufuskie’s Gullah families preserve their homes for generations to come.

How did you come up with the idea for the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program?

When I first visited Daufuskie, I was astonished at how much of the historic fabric still existed on the island. But, I was immediately concerned with how endangered some of these Gullah family homes were. They were at risk of being destroyed by new development or just by being vacant, in disrepair and left subjected to the elements. I wanted to come up with a program that would create incentives to allow investment in these historic properties while maintaining native ownership. I knew the Gullah families needed to retain ownership of the properties to be interested in working with Palmetto Trust.

Why did the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation feel the need for Daufuskie Endangered Places Program?

You know, preservation is all about maintaining a property’s sense of place and uniqueness. On Daufuskie Island, that’s also about the impact of the Gullah culture and the fact that these families own properties that were a hard fight for them to gain ownership of a century ago. To protect these homes means to respect the ancestors’ plight to own property and their culture and way of life. The Gullah culture and these authentic home places are a part of the fabric of South Carolina and a piece of history that’s so unique to the Lowcountry that it was absolutely worth saving. The Palmetto Trust got to work finding investors and raising funds to make the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program possible.
Daufuskie is a community made up of a diverse group of people though, and I had to spend time here to get to know the people on the island and develop relationships to even find out where these homes were. I got to know the families and really let them know that Palmetto Trust wanted to help them save their family homes without taking away their ownership. Anything regarding real estate is most successful when you find a way to respect the indigenous people, and bring something to the table for all parties involved. Native ownership is so important to the success of the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program, and even though we’re just getting started, that will always be a hallmark of the program.

Tell us about the Frances Jones House.

The Frances Jones House is the pilot home for the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program. The house will tell the story of Frances Jones and her importance to the Gullah community through framed articles about her that we found in the home during renovation. Guests who rent the house will find two bedrooms and one bathroom, as well as a pullout sofa, a kitchen, a gas log fireplace and more.
The accommodations are very comfortable, kids can watch tv and have access to the beach and all the amenities Daufuskie Island will have to offer. But even though the home has been renovated with all kinds of modern amenities, we also attempted to retain all of the authenticity so that families and vacationers can really experience what it was like to live in a Gullah dwelling. The floors still creek and the home still retains a lot of the appeal, visually, that it did decades ago.

What’s next for Daufuskie Endangered Places Program?

The Frances Jones House is the first house available for rent, and we hope to work with other Gullah families on the island to help preserve their homes while offering comfortable accommodations to travelers interested in learning about Daufuskie and the Gullah culture as well.
We envision this program being available to any historic homeowner looking for a way to preserve their family’s Gullah home place. We expect every relationship with homeowners to be different, though, because every family and their needs are different. We want to know how we can tie together their family’s home and the Gullah culture in a way that preserves it for future generations. The Frances Jones House’s owners have been wonderful to work with. We’re working together to preserve their family home.

How has the Daufuskie community responded?

Several organizations have been so helpful and we couldn’t have gotten this far without them. The support of Haig Point, the Daufuskie Island Historic Foundation, the Daufuskie Island Conservancy, the Binyah Foundation and the leadership of the Community Farm have made the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program and the Frances Jones House a reality. And private supporters of the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program have also made this possible by making donations through our website. After Pic:


How can anyone interested find out more about the Frances Jones House and the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program?

We’re really happy to partner with Daufuskie Island Accommodations (www.daufuskieislandrentals.com), who will manage rentals for the property. And to learn more about the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program, visit daufuskieendangeredplaces.org and follow us on Facebook.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Daufuskie Island Rum Company

South Carolina Top Blogs

Everyone is super excited for the opening of the Daufuskie Island Rum Company. I can't wait until my 1st tasting. Be sure to join their facebook page to keep up with the progress of the company. Here are a few fun pictures of the new building.

 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer Drive-In Movies at Bloody Point

South Carolina Top Blogs

From Bloody Point:
Join us this Saturday, 8/2, at 8:30pm for a Drive-In Movie on the Clubhouse Lawn!  We will be showing The Lego Movie. Bring your golf cart or picnic blanket! We'll provide snacks, ice cream, and beverages for purchase. Admission is free. In the event of rain, this event will relocate to the screened-in porch on the back of the Clubhouse. Feel free to call  843-341-5505 if you have any questions.
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Daufuskie Farmers Market 
Saturdays 11:00AM - 1:00PM
Public dock parking lot next to Marshside Mama’s.
Vendors welcome.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Architectual Digest did a great piece on John Mellancamps Beach House in Daufuskie Island.

South Carolina Top Blogs
The Gothic Revival House is in Bloody Point on Daufuskie Island, SC 29915. The back of the house is my favorite part. It opens up to the wide Atlantic Ocean with an infinity pool and two beautiful covered porches, both with fire places. An outdoor kitchen offers year round relaxed living right on the beach.



John Mellencamp's South Carolina Island Getaway

The musician's Daufuskie Island retreat, designed by Monique Gibson, is a striking complement to his all-American songs


Some 30 years ago John Mellencamp discovered Daufuskie Island, a relatively unspoiled spot in South Carolina, just across the border from Savannah, Georgia. Fascinated by the island's history (until the 1980s it had been inhabited largely by the Gullah, descendants of freed slaves) and enamored of its privacy (it can only be reached by boat), the singer-songwriter purchased several acres on the Atlantic Ocean. But the land sat empty for more than a decade. "I had every intention of building a house—I just never got around to it," says Mellencamp, who is also an accomplished painter, occasional actor, Farm Aid cofounder, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. (The recently released box set John Mellencamp 1978–2012 features 19 of his studio albums, including 30 Billboard Hot 100 singles.) Then one day he snapped a photograph of a church in Myrtle Beach, and the structure's shape inspired him to finally hire an architect.
The finished residence—the work of Neil Gordon, whose office is on neighboring Hilton Head Island—bears ample evidence of that church's influence, with pointed-arch windows and doors and a navelike central living hall that is ringed by a gallery reminiscent of a choir loft. Mellencamp filled the rooms with odds and ends from storage, but the home, like the property before it, "just kind of sat fallow," he says. It's not that he didn't love the area. Two of his five children grew up nearby, and he has lived part-time in the region for more than half of his life. But this particular house never felt right. Mellencamp's girlfriend, actress Meg Ryan, however, thought the place had promise, and asked last year, "Why don't you make it as beautiful as it can be?" Energized by her enthusiasm, he called New York City interior designer Monique Gibson, with whom he'd collaborated on three previous dwellings, including his Indiana home base.
The decorator headed to Daufuskie "to let the house tell me what it needed," she says. "I'd walk around on the phone and tell John, 'This kitchen makes no sense' or 'These doors are too small.'" Thus, the kitchen was redone, the doors were enlarged, and the woodwork was stained to give it depth. Gibson played off the peaked windows by incorporating their shape into the metal base of the 27-foot-long table that bisects the living hall. On one side of that space is a library rich with art books; on the other is a movie room, where classic films are a regular after-dinner feature. Mellencamp is notably partial to movies with screenplays by Tennessee Williams—he can recite whole stretches of dialogue from Baby Doll, and a prized possession is a poster of The Fugitive Kind, a gift from his friend Joanne Woodward, who starred in it.
One of Gibson's first clients was Elton John, so she is especially comfortable working with creative powerhouses. (Jon Bon Jovi is another client.) On their first project together, long ago, Mellencamp gave the designer a tight budget and a six-week deadline, all without actually meeting her: "The first time I saw him was when he rang his own doorbell," she says. Fortunately, he liked what he walked into. "John's a tough businessman, and he's very clear about how he wants to live," Gibson continues, adding that the musician's not above making his own contributions. During the improvements on the Daufuskie house, Mellencamp inquired if she had selected any art for an unusually large expanse of wall in the living hall. "When I said, 'Not yet,' he got his stencils out," the designer recalls. The result is a mural that reproduces the lyrics to his song "For the Children."
"I meant it as a blessing for the house," Mellencamp says with a grin. "Then my kids saw it and laughed at me."
Artworks by Walt Kuhn, Marvin Cherney, and Jack Levine are displa ed everywhere—from the shelves in the kitchen to the wall above the headboard in the master bedroom—the expressive social-realist portraits evoking the characters in Mellencamp's gritty songbook. (The musician is currently working on his first solo album in four years, with producer T Bone Burnett.) Mixed among that boldface art are cherished bits of ephemera, such as vintage signs from a now-demolished mental hospital; the gilt letters of one spell out the institute for wayward young women.
Gibson added warmth and texture to the airy interiors and generous porches with lots of linen and leather upholstery and furnishings that are either sculptural, comfortable, or both. But she remained acutely aware that the house serves as laboratory for one man's rampant creativity. "There is always something going on in that big brain of his," she says. "He's always making something: music, art, houses, chaos!" Mellencamp often paints in a studio located on the second floor; nearly 40 of his works were recently exhibited by the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, in a show that will travel in the fall to the Museum of Art–DeLand, Florida.
While Daufuskie is Mellencamp's refuge, he readily throws open the five guest rooms to friends and family, proof that a once forlorn and overgrown piece of real estate has become absolutely essential. "John really uses this place now," Gibson notes. "I take that as a huge compliment."


John Mellencamp

Singer-songwriter John Mellencamp at his retreat on South Carolina's Daufuskie Island; he stenciled the wall with lyrics from one of his songs. The home was designed by Neil Gordon Architect and decorated by Monique Gibson Interior Design. For details see Sources.
 

Dining Area

The dining table displays an assortment of glass vessels from Balsamo Antiques; RG Ironworks made the French doors.
 
 

Screened Porch

The screened porch includes furnishings by RH (the dining and cocktail tables, dining chairs, sofa, and club chair); the platter is from Balsamo Antiques.
 
 
 

Have you visited Daufuskie Island?

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