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

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Environmental Committee works for sustainable living at Haig Point

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The residents of the Haig Point community on Daufuskie Island are united by their love of the area’s natural beauty. And for the past four years the community’s Environmental Committee has been working to make sure its natural beauty endures.
 “We want to be recognized for being a sustainable and green community,” said Yvonne Clemons, chairwoman of the seven-person group that has brought recycling and water conservation initiatives to the residential development where electric golf carts are the only mode of private transportation.
 “The things we are doing are good for the residents and good for the community,” she said.
 The committee also has positioned Haig Point to be a leader in building environmentally sound homes, complete with water conservation methods and native plants that will reduce the amount of water needed for lush, green lawns.
 And while South Carolina is still behind the curve when it comes to recycling, Haig Point now has a community program where recyclables are collected from each household on a regular schedule.
 “It can be hard to break old habits, but we have to rethink our ways, Clemons said. “Recycling was the committee’s first initiative and we have made great strides, and we have saved the community money in the process.”
 The committee also is seeking recognition for its Rees Jones Signature golf course as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. And its members are revitalizing a nature trail in the center of the community that winds through an old Gullah cemetery.
 On an island-wide scale, the committee shares a common bond with the Daufuskie Island Conservancy that includes five Haig Point members on its board and has more than 100 members total.
Recycling is a once-a-week collection at curbside for each homeowner. In addition, there are recycling bins at other businesses around the island inclduding the restaurants, golf club, visitor center and mansion. The recyclables are then collected, loaded on a ferry and delivered to a company on Hilton Head.
 “You have to love this island first,” said Clemons, who relocated with her husband, Michael, to Haig Point from Columbus, Ohio, seven years ago. “I was in the fashion industry, so this is like a whole new second life to me. I love this place. And I want it to look this beautiful for a long time to come.”

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2014/02/19/2958697/environmental-committee-works.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, January 30, 2014

HAIG POINT RESIDENTS WORKING TO SAVE AND ENJOY ISLAND’S RICH HISTORY

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HAIG POINT RESIDENTS WORKING TO SAVE AND ENJOY ISLAND’S RICH HISTORY
CELEBRATING-GULLAH19

Jo Hill and her husband Jack relocated to the private community of Haig Point on Daufuskie Island from Atlanta because of the quiet lifestyle and the beauty of the natural surroundings. But once they settled in as full-time residents in 2005, it was what they didn’t know that got them hooked.
Together, they explored outside of the community gates and learned more about their surroundings.
“We rode our bicycles all over the small island and we got to meet people outside our gates,” Hill said. “We began to understand that this was a historical district. I had an interest in history, but never got that involved in anything like this.”
But, times have changed for Jo Hill. She now is president of the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation, and more than twothirds of the residents of Haig Point are duespaying members of the organization that was formed in 2001 to preserve and protect the rich history of the island that stretches just 12 square miles. Additionally, about 30 Haig Point members volunteer at the museum that was wonderfully restored through private donations from the Haig Point community.
Many Haig Point members also serve on the foundation board, including noted historian Nancy Ludtke, a long-time member at Haig Point, who serves as executive director and secretary of the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation.
“This island is unique,” Hill said. “Without a bridge to the mainland, many people know nothing about Daufuskie Island. And being here, we have a sense of responsibility to protect and preserve the past culture. We have a responsibility to learn from it and hold on to it.”
History tells of nomadic tribes on Daufuskie Island thousands of years ago. And in the 1800s, there were 11 working plantations on the island, with harvests of rice, indigo and cotton. Slaves from West Africa worked the plantations in large numbers until after the Civil War when freed slaves, better known regionally as Gullah, established their own identity on the island and forged their simple lives through fishing and crabbing. In the 1890s, the island was home to a large oyster canning factory and island oysters were sold around the world.
But with a change in the economy and new opportunities off the island, the Gullah population diminished from nearly 2,000 to 13 today. The Gullah people and culture are dying.
In another generation, the Gullah lifestyle will only be known through its history. So, the Historical Foundation is doing its part to keep that history alive.
“We are at a crossroads,” said board member Paul Vogel, a Haig Point resident of more than 20 years. “We have a limited time to save and record this history and culture or we will lose it.”
Members are recording oral histories with a few of the island’s life-long residents, some of whom are descendents of Plantation slaves. They have historical artifacts on display at the museum, and even have restored other significant historical buildings in the local district.
Today, the museum welcomes about 5,000 visitors a year who mainly come to the island through the one-day “Discover Daufuskie” tours from Hilton Head. The museum is open from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, visit the organization’s website at www.daufuskieislandhistoricalfoundation.org.
Among the artifacts the visitors enjoy is a broken pottery piece dating back 5,000 years. There is also a collection of tools and coins from the indigenous population of about 1,000 AD. There is also a self-guided historical tour of the island named for Rob Kennedy, the firs president of the foundation. Kennedy was a long-time Haig Point member who passed away in 2009.
“It has been fascinating to learn of the history of this place,” said Vogel, who oversees the upkeep of the museum. “In fact, our grandchildren have even found Indian pottery pieces and Civil War items.”
Private donations from Haig Point members were used to restore an old pump organ from the turn of the century that is part of the museum collection. And their funding helped restore the Brothers and Sisters Oyster Hall that was used as a meeting place for workers in oyster harvesting industry until its demise in the late 1950s.
A joint future project of the Historical Foundation and Haig Point Club will stabilize the Tabby ruins of slave cabins from the 1830s that stand inside the club gates.
“I always tell people when they come here to find something they love doing,” says Hill. “For me, it is important to give back and make a difference.”
Most of the residents at Haig Point Club clearly feel the same.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Random Pics of Daufuskie Island, SC 29915












 Old Gullah Cottage
 Gator was actually on the Bloody Point Golf Course. Hopefully he has since been relocated.







Thursday, January 23, 2014

Minor fire reported on Daufuskie ferry

rlurye@islandpacket.comJanuary 22, 2014 Updated 14 hours ago

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2014/01/22/2906769/minor-fire-reported-on-daufuskie.html#storylink=cpy



A fan in a Daufuskie Island public ferry caught fire Wednesday afternoon as the boat was returning to Hilton Head Island, according to the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division.
Fortunately, a fire chief was among the ferry's 50 passengers, Hilton Head division Battalion Chief Mick Mayers said.
Daufuskie Island Fire District Chief Eddie Boys used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, which originated from a fan in the bathroom shortly before 4 p.m., Mayers said. The fire was out by the time the boat arrived at the Haig Point Embarkation at 4:06 p.m., Mayers said.
The fire, which spewed smoke throughout the ferry's cabin, caused about $1,000 in damage, he said.
No one was injured.

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2014/01/22/2906769/minor-fire-reported-on-daufuskie.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hilton Head Island liquor store owner, distiller team up with Gullah women to produce moonshine




Hooch, White Lightning, Hillbilly Pop, Radiator Whiskey and Mule Kick are just a few nicknames for moonshine, an illegal spirit distilled in backwoods Appalachia since the 1800s.
Moonshine has Lowcountry roots as well. On Daufuskie Island, the Gullah called it "scrap iron," perhaps for the metal still it was made in or the iron will it took to drink it.
If the self-explanatory monikers are any indication, then moonshine is not something one consumes quickly or easily.

The original name, "moonshine," is said to emanate from bootleggers who illicitly distilled the unaged corn whiskey by the light of the moon, far away from the prying eyes of Prohibition revenuers.
Thanks to new South Carolina micro-distillery laws, moonshine is now legal -- if the appropriate taxes are paid -- and coming back in a big way.
In accordance with its increasing trendiness, its nicknames are getting more inviting. At Sea Pines Liquor and Market on Hilton Head Island, moonshine goes by Midnight Moon, Tillman's Baby and Black Spirit.

It used to come in one flavor: alcohol. Now, the mind-bending proofs are sweetened with the flavors of apple pie, raspberry and lemonade.
"The first perception of moonshine is that it's made in a radiator and that it'll blind you. Once people get past that and actually taste it, they realize it's as tasty as anything they've ever had," said Jeff Gould, the owner of Sea Pines Liquor and Market.

Gould is one of the handful of South Carolinians taking advantage of moonshine's new legality.
Two years ago, Gould had two varieties of moonshine available in his store. Now he has more than 100.
"We see the whole liquor store turning into moonshine," he said. "It's amazing where this has gone in just a short period of time."

As a top moonshine retailer in South Carolina, Gould is working to rapidly expand his business, even shipping cases of 'shine overseas.
Gould owns five distilleries, two of which are in South Carolina, and a spring in the North Carolina mountains, because "moonshine is meant to be made with pure mountain spring water, just like Kentucky bourbon is made with limestone water," he said. He also owns an orchard in North Carolina that provides the fruit for the apple pie moonshine, his best seller.
"What you're seeing here is a new twist to an old industry," Gould said. The twist is the abundance of flavors, the fancy, health-code-abiding distilleries and the aggressive business plan. But the base is a collection of old family recipes and an appreciation for where moonshine came from. Both Gould and his wife, Debby, are from North Carolina and familiar with moonshine.

After opening a retail store on Daufuskie Island, Gould discovered the Gullah had a similar appreciation. He approached three Gullah sisters about adding their family recipes to his moonshine.
Janice Gordon, Amelia Stevens and Cynthia Murray grew up on Daufuskie Island. Their grandmother used to sell moonshine made from a still their uncle operated. Moonshine was a part of their family and their culture. It was used in times of sickness and in health, in celebration and in sorrow.
When someone took sick on the island, they would send for Meme, or Lemon, as their grandmother was called by non-family members. Before leaving, she'd grab a couple jars of roots brewing in moonshine and a handful of dried herbs for making a Gullah hot toddy.
"I didn't go to the doctor until I was 13. Any ailments I had, my grandmother treated. It apparently worked," Gordon said.

People up in the mountains of North Carolina have moonshine in their medicine cabinets, too, Gould said. "When I came here to the Lowcountry and found out the Gullah had done the same thing, I saw the link between the two," he said.
When someone died on the island, friends and family of the deceased would have a "sittin' up," where everyone would stay awake through the night, sipping moonshine and telling stories. It was also a big part of Christmas season, for visiting relatives and sharing a drink.
But most importantly for the sisters, it was income.

"Meme had to make a living off the island and its surroundings," Gordon said. She would sell crab and shrimp to tourists from Savannah, along with her moonshine, but only if they knew to ask. She kept it in brown paper bags hidden under the table until it was requested. A half pint cost 75 cents.
Eventually, revenuers discovered their uncle's still and destroyed it, bringing the family's moonshine business to an end.

Now, Gordon, Stevens and Murray are reviving it, with Gould's (and the law's) help. They created Meme's Fuskie Gals, a homemade moonshine and wine label with products that will be made in Gould's distilleries and sold in his stores.
Their homemade wine, called Black Spirit, is already available, and they have three moonshines coming out in March.

There will be a Black Spirit 'shine, Fuskie Mysteek, which is intended to be used for medicinal purposes, and Ole Red Eye, for the reddish color moonshine took on when tree bark was added to it.
"We're committing as much time to it as possible," Stevens said. "This culture is near and dear to us, so this is a venture that we're very proud of."

Like Appalachian moonshine, the Gullah spirit didn't have much flavor, so the sisters are working off the family recipes and tweaking them.
"It's reimagining the moonshine we grew up with," Gordon said. "The moonshine business was good to our family while it lasted. Looks like the good times are here again."
Follow Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2014/01/21/2904564/hilton-head-island-liquor-store.html#storylink=cpy
 

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2014/01/21/2904564/hilton-head-island-liquor-store.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

If you are a golfer Daufuskie Island is for you.

With three amazing courses: Haig Point, Bloody Point and Melrose on the Beach, Daufuskie Island has something to offer every golfer.




Thursday, January 2, 2014

Preservation two-step: Saving a home and its current ownership

Robert Behre
Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013 9:00 a.m.



DAUFUSKIE ISLAND - David Helmuth steps between the hodgepodge of exposed floor joists and walls studs inside the early 20th-century cottage here at 188 School Road, as he finishes removing the last of its termite-damaged wood.

Helmuth, a contractor, is working for the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, a state preservation group working to save this remnant of the island's once-thriving Gullah culture.
Photo Gallery


Daufuskie Island

This cottage is more historic than most because it once was home to Frances Jones, a revered community figure who taught black schoolchildren on this remote Sea Island and who also helped many of their illiterate parents.

But the most significant aspect of this ongoing restoration is not Jones' story, nor the uniqueness of the structure itself.

Instead, it's the innovative deal that the Palmetto Trust struck that not only aims to restore the home but also to preserve its ownership by Jones' descendants, even though they currently cannot afford the repairs.

Michael Bedenbaugh, the trust's director, came up with the program to try to save a historic house while also preserving its ownership by a family whose ancestors created a thriving community here a few generations ago, when timbering and oyster factory jobs were plentiful.

"The hope is it goes beyond this house," he says, "and there will be others."

How it works

The Daufuskie Endangered Places Program was made possible through a $150,000 grant from the 1772 Foundation, a Connecticut-based nonprofit that supports preservation work across the country.

The grant is helping the trust finance the current restoration work, which is expected to be finished in June. The Palmetto Trust is leasing the house from Jones' family for 30 years and plans to rent it out to island visitors for about $150 a night.

Bedenbaugh says that income - and other donations - will help the Palmetto Trust recoup its costs over time.

"If we do it right, we might raise more money from donations" than rentals, he says. "While we do this, they (family members) can stay there any time it's not rented."

The Palmetto Trust has received support beyond the 1772 Foundation. Haig Point, a private development on the island's northern end, has helped Bedenbaugh with logistics, and many island families also have helped out.

Once the trust gets its investment back - which could happen in just a few years - it will end the lease and turn the home back to the Jones family with a protective easement. The family could keep leasing it out or just enjoy it privately.

And the trust then would hope to restore another home here on similar terms. The island's historic district still has about 16 black-built cottages from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bedenbaugh says the next home could be leased out as a residence or it could become a restaurant or distillery or have some other income stream.

"We see ourselves as nurturing this systematically and letting it go," he says. "I think it will work, but the mechanism will show itself going forward."

If it works, it could prove an important new strategy for preserving historic buildings owned by Lowcountry families who don't have the means to repair them but also don't want to sell the land.

Frances Jones

In some homes here, Jones' picture hangs on the wall alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy.

She taught school for many decades, and her retirement opened a teaching slot filled by a young white Citadel graduate named Pat Conroy, who chronicled his time here in his 1972 memoir, "The Water is Wide."

Despite Jones' status as a leading figure, her home was modest. Its foundation included mostly cinder blocks stacked on the ground - and an occasional tree stump. Its wall joists show markings of plaster and lathe - a sure sign they were salvaged from an earlier building. The house's bones also show its oldest part is an 11-by- 18-foot cabin that was added to over time until it reached about 900 square feet.

Bedenbaugh says the restoration aims to keep as much of its old charm as possible while creating two bedrooms and a working kitchen and bathroom.

"We're going to keep it on the concrete blocks," he says. As he talks, he and Helmuth debate where would be the best place to put a washer and dryer. They agree only to discuss it more in a few weeks, and the work is expected to continue at least through May.

"We've got a ways to go before we get down to the lip gloss and makeup," Helmuth says.

Will it work?

Bedenbaugh knows a lot is riding on the success or failure of Jones' house.

This island, reachable only by ferry, once was inhabited mostly by blacks, descendants of slaves and those who came here to work in the oyster factory.

But in recent decades, that population has dwindled as private resorts have cropped up. The changing nature of these islands, and the gradual loss of black residents and black-owned properties, have created a political tension.

Leon Love, chair of the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission, is among those excited by the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program.

"When you say Daufuskie, people think of Hilton Head a long time ago. There's a natural suspicion that someone is trying to take African-American-owned land and turn it into a resort," he says. "What Daufuskie needs is a victory. If they take the Jones home and make it work, it could serve as an example for others."

Love says the impact could even extend beyond the island.

"There's a lot of heirs property and a lot of property people can't afford to maintain," he says. "That's why I think the method they're using on Daufuskie is so creative. You're maintaining ownership even though you're sharing it with a developer."

But Ervin Simmons of the Daufuskie Island Foundation is not so sure.

The foundation continues the tradition of the Daufuskie Day celebration that Jones first held in 1976.

"My concern is land, and the risk of blacks losing land," he says. "I've said it many, many times. We've had a lot of land stolen from the black community or manipulated or swindled or however you put it."

Simmons says while he doesn't know all the deal's details, he is concerned that there are strings that could lead to the property changing hands.

Bedenbaugh says he accepts that the only way to counter such skepticism is to make the program succeed by preserving not only historic homes but also longtime family ownership.

"We'll see if it works. It's better than sitting back and watching them fall back in and rot," he says. "There's no place left like this on the coast of South Carolina."

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.


South Carolina Top Blogs

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Daufuskie Island highlighted in Fox News article

BY STAFF REPORTS
info@islandpacket.comDecember 20, 2013

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2013/12/20/2858888/daufuskie-island-highlighted-in.html#storylink=cpy




















Daufuskie Island was included in a Dec. 16 Fox News story that spotlighted "Eight American beaches that are warm NOW."

Along with mention of the beachfront, the article noted the First Union African Baptist Church, the historic Haig Point lighthouse and live music at Marshside Mama's Cafe.

Other island beaches listed were Amelia Island, Fla.; Avery Island, La.; Caladesi Island, Fla.; Catalina Island, Calif.; Molokai, Hawaii; South Padre Island, Texas; and Tybee Island, Ga.

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2013/12/20/2858888/daufuskie-island-highlighted-in.html#storylink=cpy


South Carolina Top Blogs

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

8 American beaches that are warm NOW


South Carolina Top Blogs

 http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/12/16/8-american-beaches-that-are-warm-now/


The snow is piling up and all you want to do is escape to a warm beach? These islands are perfect for a winter beach vacation—and closer than you think.
You don't need to splurge on a trip to the Caribbean to spend time on the beach this winter. These eight U.S. islands have the sandy shores, seafood shacks, and sunny skies that will have you thinking it's summer—even when there's snow on the ground back home.
Take a tour of the islands

AMELIA ISLAND, FL
Average highs of 65/71 in February/March
About as far north as you can go and still be in the Sunshine State, Amelia Island's 13 miles of beaches are mostly deserted until March—so it's easy to find a spot where there are no other people in sight. Horseback riding along the sand is one of the most popular off-season activities. Kids have a blast exploring the nooks and crannies of Fort Clinch, one of the country's best-preserved 19th-century fortifications. It was also one of the last of its kind, as new weapons made brick forts obsolete during the Civil War. Boutiques and lovingly restored Victorian mansions make up the historic district.
Sleep The Seaside Amelia Inn is steps from the beach and has a rooftop terrace perfect for taking in the sunset. Rooms start at just $69 a night.
Refuel Grab one of the umbrella-shaded tables in the courtyard of Joe's 2nd Street Bistro, where the menu leans, naturally, toward seafood.
Easy Escape From Jacksonville (33 miles), Gainesville (101 miles).

AVERY ISLAND, LA
Average highs of 65/72 in February/March
Things get hot here, and not just because of the steamy weather. It's home to the Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory, where you can taste the fiery mixture during the free daily tours. (If you come on a Friday, you won't see the sauce being made, however.) E.A. McIlhenny, son of the company's founder, converted his private estate into a bird sanctuary, which he opened in 1935 as Jungle Gardens. McIlhenny was intent on saving snowy egrets, then endangered because their plumage was popular for ladies' hats. You can still see the brilliantly white birds inside the sanctuary and out. Surrounded by bayous, the mostly undeveloped island is also a great place to spot alligators, deer, and raccoons. You'll want to base yourself in one of the nearby communities; New Iberia, a half-hour drive north, has a good selection of restaurants and gracious homes transformed into B&Bs.
Sleep A bungalow dating from the early 1900s, the Estorge-Norton House in New Iberia is chock-full of antiques. Rates start at $85.
Refuel Landry's Cajun Restaurant specializes in Cajun camp cooking with a menu offering all the classics like gumbo, crawfish etouffee, and oyster po'boys.
Easy Escape From Baton Rouge (85 miles), New Orleans (140 miles).

CALADESI ISLAND, FL
Average highs of 73/77 in February/March
The three miles of white-sand beaches on this pristine barrier island offer some of the best shelling on the Gulf of Mexico. And because it's a state park, you won't search for sand dollars in the shadow of high-rise hotels. In fact, there's not a single place to stay on the island, unless you count the 108-slip marina. There are no cars, either. Once you disembark the ferry ($14 roundtrip from Honeymoon Island, a short drive from Dunedin), the only way to get around is with your own two feet. Not a bad way, actually, as the boardwalk nature trail passes through stands of mangroves and around sand dunes. As you stroll, you may spot one of the rare gopher tortoises. Kayaking around the bay side of the island is a popular pastime, as the sea-grass flats are populated with ospreys, herons, and other birds. Pack a picnic lunch because there's just one small concession stand on the island.
Sleep You can fish from the dock at the Sea Captain Resort on the Bay in nearby Clearwater, a small city popular with water sports enthusiasts. Winter rates start at $101 through the end of January and at $122 for February through April.
Refuel On the mainland, very close to Caladesi Island, Dunedin's kitsch-filled Casa Tina serves surprisingly authentic Mexican fare. A local favorite is the Veracruz-style fish, sautéed with tomatoes and onions.
Easy Escape From St. Petersburg (20 miles), Tampa (24 miles), Orlando (103 miles).

CATALINA ISLAND, CA
Average highs of 64/65 in February/March
You won't entirely escape the state's notorious traffic on this island 22 miles off the southern California coast. But since golf carts are just about the biggest things on the road, you probably won't mind. You can get your own cart through Island Rentals ($40 for an hour rental plus a $40 deposit), but to explore the island's rugged interior, you'll need to rent a two-wheeler from Brown's Bikes ($20 per day) or enlist the help of an outfitter like Discovery Tours. Spotting one of the island's bald eagles, which were almost entirely wiped out by chemical contamination a few decades ago, will put a feather in your cap. The island is an hour and a half from Dana Point on the Catalina Express ferry ($74.50 round-trip), which drops you off at the town of Avalon, a pleasant place for window-shopping. That cylindrical building on the edge of the harbor is the Casino, an art deco movie house that still screens the latest releases.
Sleep On Avalon's main drag, the Hermosa Hotel welcomed its first guests in 1896. Standard rooms start at $75 per night from December through February and $100 March through November. Cottages with their own kitchens start at $100 from December through February and $150 March through November.
Refuel This is California, so the home cooking at Original Jack's Country Kitchen includes free-range chicken, and beef and pork raised without antibiotics or hormones. Sound too wholesome? Try one of the gooey doughnuts from its adjoining bakery.
Easy Escape From Los Angeles (60 miles), San Diego (66 miles).

DAUFUSKIE ISLAND, SC
Average highs of 61/67 in February/March
Still weaving baskets from the sweetgrass that grows wild along the coast, Daufuskie Island's tiny Gullah population—descended from slaves—carefully tends to its traditions. You can take a peek into local life at landmarks like the white clapboard First Union African Baptist Church, built in the 1880s and still in use today. Less than a quarter of this 5,000-acre island has been developed, leaving plenty of open spaces to explore. (And we mean exploring by foot or by golf cart, as no cars are allowed.) One especially nice excursion point is the Haig Point Lighthouse, which has a tower extending from the roof of an antebellum-style house.
Sleep As you might guess, Daufuskie isn't an all-inclusive-resort kind of place. A good option is the two-bedroom Daufuskie Island Cottage, a vacation-rental property that's on a quiet dirt lane in the historic district. In January and February, the rate drops to $115 (two-night minimum), including use of a golf cart.
Refuel There's nightly live music at Marshside Mama's, which one local calls a "put-your-feet-up place." The ladies in the kitchen ladle out a tasty low-country gumbo.
Easy Escape From Savannah (44 miles), Charleston (116 miles).

MOLOKAI, HI
Average highs of 76/77 in February/March
When Hawaiians talk about Molokai, they often say it's "how the islands used to be." It's true that there are no traffic lights or sprawling hotels. The least visited of the major Hawaiian islands has a rugged northern coast with the world's highest sea cliffs, a southern coast that gently wades into the sea, and a rocky interior punctuated by three extinct volcanoes. The biggest town, Kaunakakai, has barely 7,000 people, along with a three-block-long main street and a tiny airport. The top tourist attraction is the former leper colony in what is now Kalaupapa National Historic Park, a peaceful place reachable only on foot or by mule. The scenery is exhilarating, and the remaining buildings, such as the pair of squat churches, are thought-provoking. There's also a nearly endless string of beaches, including the lovely Papohaku, a three-mile-long stretch of glimmering gold sand.
Sleep Lodgings are limited and can be expensive. Try Kaunakakai's Hotel Molokai, a cluster of A-frame buildings set in a tropical garden. Winter rates start at $159 if you book online.
Refuel A local favorite is the Paddlers Inn in downtown Kaunakakai. Enjoy island specialties like mahi-mahi on a breeze-cooled patio.
Easy Escape From Honolulu (50 miles).

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TX
Average highs of 70/75 in February/March
Here's one place where the building industry is in full swing—if you count building sand castles, that is. Professional teachers have specialties ranging from one-on-one instruction to creating huge sculptures for weddings and other special events. Sons of the Beach, which has been around for more than 20 years, charges $25 for private lessons. This barrier island off the southern coast of Texas also attracts kids with rowdier activities in mind—spring breakers. Don't worry, though. Get there before the college crowd, and it's still a sleepy beach town. Among the dive bars are boutiques selling goods like rustic pottery and silver jewelry, much of it from Mexico.
Sleep The Palms Resort is a hipped-up beach motel with an oceanfront café and a heated pool. Off-season rates start at $75 a night.
Refuel The menu at Cap'n Roy's is exactly what you would expect from a pirate-inspired restaurant on a barrier island. Try the famous Camaronitas Diablitos—shrimp wrapped in bacon with cream cheese, jalepeño, and pineapple.
Easy Escape From Brownsville (26 miles), Corpus Christi (179 miles).

TYBEE ISLAND, GA
Average highs of 61/67 in February/March
Unlike many nearby islands with higher profiles (and higher prices), Tybee Island isn't out to impress anyone. It's more akin to Coney Island than Jekyll Island, and therein lies its nostalgic charm—imagine boardwalks, food vendors, and stalls selling beach-themed kitsch. This is the kind of place where the restaurants have place-mat menus and the lodgings are of the park-at-your-door variety. There's a wooden pier where you can stroll and five miles of sugary beaches fringed by sea oats. The Tybee Island lighthouse was picture-perfect enough to make it onto a postage stamp. On nearby Cockspur Island is Fort Pulaski National Monument, where you'll find a magisterial brick fort used during the Civil War.
Sleep The Ocean Plaza Beach Resort has been thoroughly updated, but it still reminds many people of beach hotels from when they were kids. Even the rates are retro, starting at $69 in low season.
Refuel The Crab Shack is a local institution that's all it's cracked up to be, serving you-shuck-'em steamed oysters. One favorite is the seafood low-country boil, filled with shrimp, sausage, and potatoes.
Easy Escape From Savannah (17 miles), Richmond Hill (34 miles), Charleston (124 miles).

Have you visited Daufuskie Island?

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