Orthodontist in Daufuskie Island, SC

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A smile is such a simple thing, but it can hold so much power. Smiling is universally considered to be a way that humans display joy. Smiles communicate to others how we’re feeling and are often the best way to break the ice when meeting a new person. A good-natured smile can work wonders, but if you’re like most folks, your smile may not be perfect. Every day, we hear stories from people who feel embarrassed, ashamed, or even scared to flash their smile. In fact, 75% of prospective orthodontic patients could benefit from straighter teeth. Thankfully, Winning Orthodontic Smiles offers affordable orthodontic solutions that give our patients a healthier mouth, more self-esteem, and more confidence.

At Winning Orthodontic Smiles, your smile is our passion. Our orthodontists and hygienists are dedicated to providing you with the best orthodontic care possible in a stress-free, comfortable setting. We know what a difference a beautiful smile can make, which is why we are so dedicated to giving our clients a winning smile they love.

Having served the Lowcountry for more than 30 years, we know that no two patients have the exact orthodontic needs. That’s why we offer a variety of treatment options to correct each patient’s unique concerns, along with payment plans that make braces affordable for every family. You can rest easy knowing that our team specializes in the latest innovations in the field of orthodontics. This allows us to treat our patients in the most efficient, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing ways possible.

A few of our orthodontic treatment options in South Carolina include:
  • Invisalign®
  • Invisalign® Teen
  • Clear Braces
  • Traditional Braces
  • Early Treatment
  • Adult Treatment

If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Daufuskie Island, SC, who is professional, trustworthy, and compassionate, look no further than Winning Orthodontic Smiles. Your pathway to a beautiful smile starts by selecting the orthodontic treatment option best suited for your needs.

Service Area

Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign® Treatment in Daufuskie Island, SC

Over the last few years, Invisalign® has become one of the most popular and effective orthodontic treatment options in South Carolina. For those looking for a convenient, comfortable, discreet way to realign their teeth, Invisalign® should be on your shortlist.

What Is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is a treatment used by orthodontists in Daufuskie Island that straightens patients’ teeth without traditional braces. Invisalign® works using a succession of custom trays that cover your teeth, which gently pull them into proper alignment over time. Each custom tray brings your teeth closer to their final position. Treatment times vary depending on how severe your case is but typically don’t last longer than two years. Once treatment is complete, you may need a retainer for the longest-lasting results.

Since they are clear, most patients find Invisalign® less noticeable than traditional braces. Unlike metal braces, Invisalign® can be removed while eating, meaning patients don’t have to worry about damaging their trays with certain foods. Invisalign® is great for people of all ages and has become a top choice for teens and adults alike.

Invisalign® works well for patients who have:
  • Crooked teeth
  • Gapped or spaced teeth
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Overbites, Underbites, and Crossbites

How Does Invisalign® Work?

Invisalign® works for most patients in a three-step process:
Initial Consultation

Initial Consultation

You will meet with your Invisalign orthodontist in Daufuskie Island, SC. During this consultation, your doctor will take a 3D digital scan of your teeth. From there, they will put together a comprehensive treatment plan customized to your needs. The best part? Before you leave, they will give you a sneak peek at your new smile using an innovative scanner.

First Fitting

First Fitting

During this step, your orthodontist will make sure that your custom aligners fit correctly. If you have any questions, this is the perfect time to ask. Before you leave, your doctor will let you know what to expect over the coming weeks and months. Treatment completion times will vary for patients, but you should see early results in just a few weeks. During this, you will check in regularly with your orthodontist.

Love Your Smile

Love Your Smile

Love Your Smile – Once your treatment is complete, it’s time to show off your new smile to as many people as possible! Be sure to ask your orthodontist if you will need to use a retainer to keep your teeth straight over the long haul. The last thing you want is for your teeth to shift gradually back into their original positions.

Invisalign® vs. Traditional Braces – Which is Right for You?

With so many great teeth straightening options available today, it can be hard to settle on a treatment choice. One of the most common questions we get revolves around which treatment is better: Invisalign® or traditional braces? The answer to that question is nuanced since every patient will have different needs. A younger patient with slightly crooked teeth might benefit from the discreet features of Invisalign®. On the other hand, an older patient with a severe underbite might benefit more from the reliability of traditional braces.

Invisalign® vs. Traditional Braces–Which is Right for You?
Keep in mind the following highlights, which will help you remain informed when doing your research:
Are They Removable? Invisalign® trays can be removed. Traditional braces cannon.
  • Treatment-Length-icon

    Treatment Length

    Invisalign® treatment can last anywhere from six months to two years. Treatment times for traditional braces can last from one to three years. Each time frame can vary depending on the patient’s individual case.

  • Orthodontic-Visits

    Orthodontic Visits:

    With Invisalign®, patients visit their Invisalign dentist in Daufuskie Island, SC, every three months. With traditional braces, patients can expect to visit every month or every other month.

  • Cleaning-icon


    Regular brushing and flossing is recommended for patients using Invisalign®. A specialized floss threading tool and regular brushing and flossing are recommended for patients with traditional braces.

  • Benefits


    Invisalign® is discrete, comfortable, can be removed, and doesn’t require any food restrictions. Traditional braces offer consistent progress, are effective for severe cases, have time-tested reliability, and can be a good choice for cost-conscious shoppers.

Ready to learn more about Invisalign® in Daufuskie Island, SC? Give our office a call, and we would be happy to get you scheduled for your first consultation.

Contact Us

Adult Orthodontic Treatment

Are you craving a beautiful smile but feel that you’re too old for braces? You wouldn’t be the only adult to have that thought. However, the truth is that 25% of our orthodontic patients are now adults. At Winning Orthodontic Smiles, you’re never too old for braces!

We want you to know that a healthy, stunning smile is attainable no matter what age you are. Our orthodontist in Daufuskie Island, SC, offers several treatments that are perfect for working adults and can help you decide if braces are right. If you decide that adult braces are the way to go, we have a number of options for you to consider. From traditional metal braces that offer time-tested results to more discreet options like Invisalign®, your new smile is more attainable than you might think. During your initial visit with our doctor, we will review all of your treatment options and help you choose the one you need for optimal results.

Adult Orthodontic Treatment

Benefits of Adult Braces

Most patients understand that a straighter smile is more aesthetic; however, not everyone knows that properly aligned teeth can improve your oral health. Here are just a few reasons why so many adults are optimizing their oral health with adult braces:

More Confidence

More Confidence

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your teeth look, you’re not alone. Millions of adults around the U.S. aren’t happy with the way that their oral aesthetics. Adult braces help restore your confidence and can give you a smile that you’re proud to show off. When you like the way your teeth look, you’ll be more likely to smile. This simple act makes you feel happier, reduces stress, and can improve your mental health. Plus, it makes people around you feel great too.

Less Bad Breath

Less Bad Breath

Few things are as nasty as speaking to someone with bad breath. We’ve all been there, but it is never any less embarrassing when someone tries to subtlety offer you a mint for your breath. What most folks don’t know is that misaligned teeth and bad breath are often connected. That’s because when your teeth are crooked or over-crowded, bacteria can find their way in between your teeth. This is an area that most toothbrushes can’t reach. With time, that bacteria builds up, and your breath begins to stink. When left unchecked, these bacteria can cause serious health problems.

Better Oral Health

Better Oral Health

When you have poor oral health, there are a number of health risks that should concern you. Misaligned teeth can cause bacteria to build up. Over time, harmful bacteria cause serious problems like cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Thankfully, orthodontic treatment can help you avoid severe tooth decay, gum recession, and bone loss. You can even reduce and prevent irregular tooth enamel loss pain associated with TMJ and TMD.

Enjoy More Foods

Enjoy More Foods

If you have never had a major problem with your teeth, you might not know that eating can be painful if you have misaligned teeth. This causes some patients to avoid foods that cause them pain. Adult braces can straighten your teeth and correct over and underbites for patients with severely crooked or crowded teeth. When you don’t have to worry about painful chewing or biting, you can experience the full joy of eating a delicious meal.

Improved Speech

Improved Speech

Having crooked teeth can make you feel self-conscious about your smile, but they can also affect how you pronounce certain words. If you’re having problems pronouncing words because your teeth are severely misaligned, adult braces can change your life. This is especially true for working professionals who speak publicly, take part in Zoom calls, and work over the phone. If this sounds like you, speak to our trusted Invisalign orthodontist in Daufuskie Island, SC, about discreet ways to improve your oral health and speech at the same time.

Early Orthodontic Treatment

Your child’s early and teen years are a great time to consider orthodontic treatment. According to The American Association of Orthodontists, the optimal time for a child to receive their first orthodontic treatment is by age seven. When you treat your child for braces early, you have the opportunity to discover and correct oral issues before they become serious. Doing so gives your child a leg-up on their peers and saves you time and money in the long run.

The overall goal of early orthodontic treatment is to intercept the possible issue, eliminate the cause, oversee facial and jawbone growth, and make sure there is enough space for adult teeth. Depending on how your child’s teeth develop, they may need a second course of treatment after their permanent teeth have formed.

Early Orthodontic Treatment

A few common orthodontic problems that may require treatment for children include:

  • Crossbites – this happens when your child’s jaw shifts to one side.
  • Underbites – this occurs when your child’s front lower teeth are ahead of their front upper teeth.
  • Excessively spaced teeth
  • Extremely crowded teeth
  • Extra teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Teeth that do not meet properly or don’t meet at all
  • Pacifier, finger, or thumb-sucking that affects your child’s jaw or teeth growth

The best way to learn whether your child will need early treatment is to speak with your orthodontist in Daufuskie Island, SC. Dr. Travis, Dr. Katie, and Dr. Gavin are trained to spot subtle problems, even in young children. During your child’s initial consultation, you can expect one of three outcomes:

  • There is a problem that early orthodontic treatment may correct.
  • Treatment may be necessary in the future. We’ll keep an eye on your child’s oral health while their face and jaw matures.
  • There is no treatment necessary at this stage.

Latest News in Daufuskie Island

Parking, traffic, a potential lawsuit: What’s the future of the Daufuskie Island ferry?

Almost a year after Beaufort County officials revealed three options for a permanent embarkation location, the future of the ferry that shuttles residents and visitors to Daufuskie Island is still unsettled.The ferry’s current location at Buckingham Landing has served as a temporary facility since 2017, and county staff were tasked last year with finding a better, more permanent place.But residents, and county offic...

Almost a year after Beaufort County officials revealed three options for a permanent embarkation location, the future of the ferry that shuttles residents and visitors to Daufuskie Island is still unsettled.

The ferry’s current location at Buckingham Landing has served as a temporary facility since 2017, and county staff were tasked last year with finding a better, more permanent place.

But residents, and county officials, are still split about where it needs to go.

Since 2017, Buckingham Landing residents have complained about the parking and traffic problems caused by Daufuskie Island ferry operations near their Bluffton neighborhood.

The location is dangerous, they say, and it hasn’t gotten any better in almost four years. They want the ferry to find a new home as soon as possible.

However, some Daufuskie Island residents argue that moving ferry operations to a temporary location while a permanent place is built will create the same problems in a different place.

“I would like to see us stay [at Buckingham Landing] until we have a permanent location at Pinckney Island, hopefully in the deep-water Intracoastal Waterway,” said Leanne Coulter, chair of the Daufuskie Island Council.

The choice of a new ferry location has been delayed over the past year as Beaufort County and Hilton Head Island officials deal with the planning for the U.S. 278 reconfiguration, which will likely affect the construction of a new ferry facility. A large turnover in county staff and the COVID-19 pandemic also were factors in the delay.

Now, Beaufort County officials are looking for a temporary spot to house the ferry until a more permanent place — most likely Pinckney Island — can be built. While officials consider moving operations across the bridge temporarily, the county’s public facilities committee agreed last week to seek proposals from ferry companies that could operate out of a new, short-term location.

If no one submits a proposal, the county will have to move forward with a temporary facility on Pinckney Island, said Brian Flewelling, chair of the public facilities committee.

“We’ve got to get off Buckingham Landing,” he said. “It’s just not fair to have this in their neighborhood.”

After Hurricane Matthew damaged its location at Palmetto Bay Marina in 2016, the ferry to Daufuskie Island was moved to Buckingham Landing on Mackay Creek.

The ferry leaves from the area four times daily.

There are 85 parking spots on site. The county also offers full-time Daufuskie Island residents shuttle services to 60 remote parking spaces at the county’s government center in Bluffton.

Overnight parking is offered on site for $10 per night or $100 a month.

In 2018, Beaufort County purchased the waterfront property, which includes the old Sea Trawler restaurant, for $2.2 million. However, neighbors say the increased traffic from ferry customers has made the area dangerous.

Alisa Ware has lived in the Buckingham Landing neighborhood for three years.

Since then, parking problems, increased traffic and noise have been a way of life. Hundreds of cars zoom past the area daily, making it a dangerous place to live, she said Friday.

“It’s so incredibly disruptive,” she said.

About a year ago, Beaufort County promised Buckingham Landing residents that the ferry would be moved by this November, she said. It’s now the end of November, and Ware says those talks have stalled.

“In January, it seemed like a cut-and-dry ‘we’re moving it,’” she said. “And then I don’t know what has changed, maybe the movement of [former County Administrator] Ashley Jacobs, but there definitely was a shift in their position.”

The biggest issue, Ware said, is that the ferry shouldn’t be allowed to operate even temporarily out of Buckingham Landing.

Beaufort County’s code of ordinances states that the Buckingham Landing location should be preserved only for residential uses and some home-based businesses. Though it says that public boat landings are allowed, structures are not permitted.

Ware said she and her neighbors are considering a lawsuit against the county for what she called an “illegal” zoning use.

An email chain obtained by The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette shows that county officials discussed ways of mitigating a potential lawsuit by the Buckingham Landing residents.

In a Sept. 30 email to County Attorney Kurt Taylor, Special Projects Director Dave Wilhelm and Council member Chris Hervochon, then-County Administrator Ashley Jacobs described the problems with the Buckingham Landing location and asked whether the residents had grounds for a lawsuit.

“The residents at Buckingham want the ferry landing moved because they feel that the traffic and illegal parking are a nuisance and that the presence of the ferry landing is an illegal zoning use,” the email said. “The question for you is whether the residents of Buckingham Landing have a basis for a lawsuit against the County.”

An hour later, Taylor responded that he’s been to Buckingham Landing and “seen the parking issues.”

“Yes, they could possibly have a cause of action for a public nuisance, and for violation of the zoning ordinance,” he wrote. “However, it would be difficult for them to describe what damages they have suffered (maybe diminution in value of their property, etc.). And, if the county can show the plans for the new landing are about to be worked on, that should placate the neighborhood, and would minimize damages and also show a judge that the county is working in good faith.”

Ware said she understands that the ferry is essential to Daufuskie Island residents. She said she has no problem with full-time Daufuskie residents using the parking lot.

The problem is the tourists who pack the lot.

“It’s the short-term and long-term tourists that use it,” she said. “Our position is that the county does not owe the tourists anything. We feel like we’re just not being listened to, and it’s mind-boggling to me that our main issue is that [the ferry] shouldn’t even be there.”

Called Thursday, Council member Chris Hervochon, who represents residents of Buckingham Landing, agreed that the ferry needs to be moved.

“I support the residents of Buckingham Landing and their effort to move the ferry because it has been a burden on them,” he said. “I also support the residents of Daufuskie Island because they need a safe place to travel from.”

Council member Flewelling said the county needs to “get [the ferry] out of there.”

“It’s dangerous where it is,” he said.

Richard Inglis with Daufuskie Island Ferry Services, which contracts with the county on a month-to-month basis to operate the ferry, told The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette in December 2019 that Buckingham Landing has been a “fantastic solution” after the storm destroyed the previous location at Palmetto Bay.

Inglis did not return a call for comment Friday.

The difficulty that faces the county, Coulter said, is finding a location that has deep-water access and has a parking lot large enough to handle 150 to 300 cars.

“Daufuskie Island’s economy is based on tourism, and so what we need is parking,” she said. “Now we are looking at the southern end of Pinckney Island” for a new, permanent location.

Daufuskie’s historic district is growing at a “nice sustainable pace,” and visitors and residents need a parking lot to handle that growth, she said.

In an Oct. 1 email to county officials, Council member Mark Lawson, who represents Daufuskie Island, argued that a temporary ferry structure on Pinckney Island would be “dangerous and deadly.”

“I am concerned that the rush to provide the Buckingham Landing residents quiet enjoyment is being put ahead and above the safety of the Daufuskie Island Residents and the other ferry users at this time,” he wrote.

Lawson did not return a call for comment Friday.

Coulter said she hopes the county can move quickly with building a permanent facility, but she knows it’ll take years.

“I understand the difficulties of people living in the Buckingham neighborhood. I understand completely,” she said. “The alternative is what do we do? Where do we move?”

She said the Daufuskie Island Council will be working with Beaufort County to plan for the permanent ferry spot.

“It’s going to take time to make sure that once a facility is built, that it’s a safe spot for people due to the increased amount of traffic that’s going to happen,” she said. “I’d love for the problem to be solved. I think we’ve got a vision, and I’d love to see how we can take the vision and put it on a timetable.”

This story was originally published November 23, 2020 4:35 AM.

Daufuskie’s iconic Marshside Mama’s has sat vacant for years. Residents want it open

Marshside Mama’s Cafe, the iconic watering hole frequented by locals and tourists on Daufuskie Island for two decades, has sat vacant for three years.In its heyday, patrons would stop by, grab a drink and a round table and swap stories. Some stayed so long they watched the sunrise.Retired Island Packet columnist David Lauderdale wrote in 2017 that the rustic bar “defined the edg...

Marshside Mama’s Cafe, the iconic watering hole frequented by locals and tourists on Daufuskie Island for two decades, has sat vacant for three years.

In its heyday, patrons would stop by, grab a drink and a round table and swap stories. Some stayed so long they watched the sunrise.

Retired Island Packet columnist David Lauderdale wrote in 2017 that the rustic bar “defined the edgy vibe” of the remote island. It was a place where people could come by boat for a bowl of gumbo or a “rocking night of live music,” he wrote.

Three years after longtime owner Beth Shipman closed the bar’s doors in 2018, the building is expected to open under new management — with a new name — this spring. Bluffton resident Charles Huggins said he plans a soft opening for “D’Fuskie’s” — a restaurant and combined general store on the property — in March, with a grand-opening Easter weekend.

But progress has been slow and controversial.

Animosity has been brewing among some island residents since 2019, when Beaufort County, the landlord of the property, granted Huggins the lease. Residents accuse the county of circumventing its purchasing process and giving a “sweetheart deal” to Huggins over island locals. It’s been over a year since he signed the lease for the restaurant and general store, and both are still closed.

Some argue that Huggins isn’t familiar enough with Daufuskie residents’ needs. They worry about the future of the famed restaurant.

“The guy that came over didn’t understand Daufuskie,” said Bill Scott, an island resident who also bid on the lease. “After 14 months you should have the store and the restaurant open, and it just sits there. You can blame Beaufort County and the Daufuskie Island Council. They didn’t do their homework.”

The bidding process, he said, ”was bad news.”

Leanne Coulter, chair of the Daufuskie Island Council, said the COVID-19 pandemic has likely played a part in the business’s delay.

“I think the people that won the bid have worked in good measure to try to have the building open. I think COVID stopped everybody,” she said. “There were hurt feelings, I understand that, but I do think things are moving forward. I don’t think it’s solely on their shoulders. I think it’s partially circumstantial.”

Huggins remains optimistic about the restaurant and store’s progress. He said he understands the disappointment of the residents who bid on the property, but said no one has approached him with any animosity.

It’s taken awhile to get through the permitting process — he experienced a few “hiccups” — along with significant renovations, he said. COVID-19 also “slowed everything down.”

“The county had guidelines that we had to go through, and we met all those guidelines,” he said. “Everything’s good. Everybody’s excited. The county and I have a good relationship. We’re pleased with everything.”

Huggins added he doesn’t “have any fingers to point at anybody.”

“Our main concern is to get a good store for the citizens that they need over there,” he said. “We’re hoping that when the restaurant opens, it will ease a lot of needs of people that live on Daufuskie Island. They will have access to milk, bread, daily sandwiches and supplies that they’re in great need of right now.”

When Shipman closed Marshside Mama’s in 2018, she said it was time to move on, and she had no one to blame.

She added that she could not continue to work on a month-to-month lease with Beaufort County, the building’s owner.

Tyler Gerow, a Daufuskie resident who was affectionately called “Dockside Daddy” when he worked at Marshside Mama’s, said the island is quiet without the energy and nightlife that the popular restaurant provided.

“Let’s get something open,” he said Thursday. “We all need some place else to go.”

In 2019, Beaufort County Council awarded Huggins and Pointed Feather LLC a lease to the restaurant through a request for proposal. Pointed Feather offered the county $900 a month for rent and $100,000 in capital investments to the building with a 10-year lease.

Months later, Beaufort County amended the lease, effectively giving Property Management Company LLC and Huggins control of the adjacent general store as well as the restaurant for no additional money.

That decision drew the ire of several Daufuskie residents, including Chase Allen, owner of The Iron Fish Gallery & Studio and Tour Daufuskie LLC.

Allen, who wanted to bid on the general store, said it’s “extremely unusual” that the county didn’t put the general store out for bid. “They just gave [Huggins] the property,” he said.

Now, more than a year later, he said the tourists who visit the island are left wondering what happened to the popular restaurant.

“There’s not a restaurant there, the [outdoor] restrooms are not open and available for public use, and, of course, we have no store,” he said. “The property has been vacant for two years.”

The 10-year lease between Beaufort County and Huggins was officially signed on Oct. 1, 2019.

The lease states that the premises have to be used and occupied “exclusively” as a restaurant called “Marshside Mama’s 2” and a general store.

“Neither the Leased Premises nor any part thereof shall be used at any time during the lease term by Tenant for any purpose other than as Marshside Mama’s 2 and the general store,” the lease says.

Called Friday, County Attorney Kurt Taylor said the name of the restaurant “seems to be pretty specific in the lease.” He said if Huggins wanted to change a part of the lease, he would need to submit a proposal to the county.

The lease also includes several provisions related to the “special character” of Daufuskie. It requires Huggins to make the property available for Daufuskie Days celebrations, community Thanksgiving dinner and the community’s Christmas Parade and Santa event.

Huggins said most of the renovations of the property have been to the general store. His team also renovated the porch to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The restaurant will sell pizzas and daily sandwiches, he said, adding the he’s looking to sell food “a little more on the healthy side.”

Allen said his hope is that someone runs a “reputable and thoughtful” business at 15 Haig Point Road. Something the island can be proud of.

This story was originally published February 8, 2021 4:40 AM.

This Small Island Community, Off The Coast Of South Carolina, Is Perfect For Nature Seekers

Nature-filled retreats, where stillness and repose beckon, aren’t the only yearnings for today’s modern traveler. Folks are also seeking community, human connection. Enter: Haig Point, a private member-owned luxury haven on 1,050 acres of South Carolina’s historic Daufuskie Island. Only reachable by ferry, this little island between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Georgia feels like a world away.A...

Nature-filled retreats, where stillness and repose beckon, aren’t the only yearnings for today’s modern traveler. Folks are also seeking community, human connection. Enter: Haig Point, a private member-owned luxury haven on 1,050 acres of South Carolina’s historic Daufuskie Island. Only reachable by ferry, this little island between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Georgia feels like a world away.

As you’re driving your golf cart on the tortilla-colored sandy trail along Calibogue Sound, past the Haig Point Lighthouse, winding around two golf courses, and ending up at the equestrian facilities where horses poke their heads out of barn windows while a cat mews below, you’ll notice the culture of hand waving and smiling among neighbors. No kidding. People here make eye contact, say hello, and seem to be genuinely interested in that oh-so-charming small town way.

“Do you want a lemon?,” a fair-haired woman asks as she makes her way over to my parked cart. “I have plenty to share and they’re delicious.”

I make my way to Strachan Mansion, just off the dock at Haig Point, and learn that this window-studded guesthouse with wrap around porches, built in 1910, was moved here from St. Simons Island in Georgia in 1986. It took two barges three days to transport this yellow-hued stunner. This is my home for the next couple of days. (For those interested in the lifestyle at Haig Point, attend the island’s Discovery Experience and stay the weekend in either the mansion or at the lighthouse.)

The greenery and wide open spaces allure, with moss-draped trees, more than 160 species of birds, dozens of lagoons and ponds, lakes stocked with bass and bream, and dolphins frolicking off the coast. Member vehicles aren’t allowed at Haig Point, and there are no bridges connecting the island to the mainland, which makes for a peaceful and insulated environment where children and pets are free to roam without worry.

I decide to leave the gated community and explore the island’s outer reaches. I meet Sallie Ann Robinson, a sixth-generation native Gullah—a term which refers to the descendants of African American slaves who settled in the Lowcountry. Robinson, the island’s most celebrated resident, works hard to preserve her culture through her cooking—she has multiple published cookbooks—and via historic island tours where she makes stops at significant spots around the island and contributes her personal insights.

“I’m happy to leave a legacy, it’s not in my blood to not do nothing, it keeps me going, makes me proud,” says Robinson. “We had very little, but you can get involved, make a difference now and give others the opportunity to know.”

We stopped at the Oyster Union Society Hall, which was founded by the oyster workers in 1893 and used for meetings and social events until pollution in the Savannah River destroyed the oyster beds, devastating the island’s primary economy at the time.

“I want to restore the inside, let others know of the history of this place,” says Robinson.

Next, Robinson pointed out family members buried in the Mary Filed Cemetery, the largest Gullah cemetery on the island, with gravesites dating back to 1926. “See the sunken parts?” Robinson asks. “That’s where wooden caskets collapsed. I want to get this cemetery restored.”

The Mary Field School, where Robinson was taught by Pat Conroy, an author who wrote about teaching on the island in his book, The Water is Wide, is still standing. This two-room single-story white building, which was built for the island’s black children in the 30s and stayed in operation until 1997, is now home to School Grounds Coffee and Daufuskie Blues, an indigo textile artisan shop.

Robinson points out her grandmother’s house, tattered and tucked in the dense woods, where nature has reclaimed her place and the no-see-ums threaten. “I want to make this an Airbnb,” Robinson says. I hope she does, not only to safeguard her heritage, but also, to hold sacred beautiful and wild places.

At the end of our excursion, Robinson shows off her bright blue vintage Gullah house, built in the 1860’s by freedmen, framed with an enormous live oak tree with Spanish moss-covered branches that stretch to the ground. I try to memorize the way she laughs, full-bellied and with infectious joy.

I’m still curious about the island’s other historic and natural sites. Part of what makes Daufuskie so captivating is the freedom to go down one dirt road or another, where you’re almost daring yourself to get turned around. It feels like an adventure to explore one sandy path marked with a crooked wooden sign nailed to a tree that reads, “The Road Less Traveled”. Of course, I followed it, hoping that my electric cart would hold its charge.

I see the Sarah Grant Home, where the former midwife who was married to an undertaker lived; the First Union Baptist Church, built in 1884, which is still in use today; and Bloody Lighthouse and Silver Dew Winery—the winery was once the wick house, where the oil, wicks, and lamps for the lighthouse were stored. I shake hands with artist, Chase Allen, and peruse his hand-cut, hammered and painted metal work at The Iron Fish Gallery & Studio.

The next day, I rode a horse on the beach, past washed up jellyfish, broken shells and kids digging clamorously in the sand, an experience everyone should try at least once.

Lunch at Lucy Bells, where deviled crab, okra, fried tomatoes and southern favorites are on the menu, was the ideal spot to fuel up and rest under the shade of an oak tree.

Rounding out the day, I learned about the natural side of the island with an Eco Tour with Tour Daufuskie, where edible mushrooms thrive near the marsh and marine ecosystems. We spotted alligators, wood storks, and Grey Fox Squirrels and took our time getting from point A to point B.

Lead guide and managing director, Anna Clark, tells me about the guided kayak tours that explore the rivers and tidal creeks that surround Daufuskie Island, where there are egret, great blue heron, eagle, and osprey sightings. I make a mental note in case I ever find my way back here again.

While Haig Point is manicured and stylish, with delectable dining experiences—The Calibogue Club is unrivaled, yoga and tennis offerings, two swimming pools and a fitness center, the rest of the Daufuskie is an inimitable adventure, wild and overgrown in parts, where you wonder how many snakes are burrowed under the vegetation. There’s one golden thread, however, that connects all parts of the island into one glorious tapestry: community. Locals, no matter where you’re at on Daufuskie, will warm your heart and make you feel like you’re a part of something. Maybe it’s simply small town life, conducive to relationship building, or maybe it’s the magnetism of Daufuskie.

“Seasons of Daufuskie” emphasizes, visualizes change on the sea island

RIDGELAND, S.C. (WTOC) - A new exhibit at the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage visualizes the transformation of a local island.“Seasons of Daufuskie” showcases photographs of the Gullah sea island taken from 1977 through 1982 by photographer Jeanne Moutousammy-Ashe. Kayleigh Vaughn, Director of Educations and Programs at the Morris Center, says at the time Daufuskie remained largely secluded.“A lot of the native islanders ...

RIDGELAND, S.C. (WTOC) - A new exhibit at the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage visualizes the transformation of a local island.

“Seasons of Daufuskie” showcases photographs of the Gullah sea island taken from 1977 through 1982 by photographer Jeanne Moutousammy-Ashe. Kayleigh Vaughn, Director of Educations and Programs at the Morris Center, says at the time Daufuskie remained largely secluded.

“A lot of the native islanders had left the island to find work, but this was also before Daufuskie became the island that we know of today,” Vaughn said. “So these images are really capturing an era of time that was just on this edge of, like, transformation.”

In preparation for this exhibit, museum staff recently took photos of some of the same island landmarks photographed by Moutousammy-Ashe. These new pictures are displayed in contrast with Moutousammy-Ashe’s original prints.

“You know, now it’s really an island that has a lot of development. People see it as a tourist destination,” Vaughn said.

That doesn’t mean everything is different.

“The First Union African Baptist Church, which is the iconic church that is on the island, we visited that place and were able to photograph it, and really it has not changed much since the building was first erected,” Vaughn said. “It’s probably one of the most untouched buildings on the island.”

“Seasons of Daufuskie” is on exhibit now through July 31.

Additional programming is planned to accompany this exhibit. That includes a conversation with Sallie Ann Robinson. Robinson is a chef and who grew up on Daufuskie Island and still lives there today. She was also a student of Pat Conroy, and her grandmother’s portrait is part of the exhibit.

Since most of the residents featured in the photos were elders, many of the subjects of the exhibit have since passed away.

“She thinks these photographs are so important because they are capturing the essence of these people and who they were, especially since they’re not around anymore,” Vaughn said.

During the interview, Robinson gives her input on the collection of photographs and reflects on her childhood on the island.

“Most people on the mainland depended on other people, where as we depended on ourselves and we had all we wanted,” Robinson said. “We weren’t limited because as much as you put into it is what you got out of it.”

Other events include a book club discussion about “The Water is Wide,” Pat Conroy’s memoir about his time spent teaching on Daufuskie, as well as a conversation with the photographer. All of these programs are free. The conversation with Moutousammy-Ashe is available for Morris Center members only. To see a full schedule and sign up, click here.

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Beaufort County OKs shortened Daufuskie ferry contract after neighborhood sues county

The Daufuskie Island ferry will operate out of Bluffton’s Buckingham Landing for at least one more year despite a new lawsuit against Beaufort County, council members decided Monday night.The council’s 9-2 vote to continue the county’s ferry services contract with Haig Point Ferry Co. came three days after 22 Buckingham Landing residents filed a lawsuit against the county....

The Daufuskie Island ferry will operate out of Bluffton’s Buckingham Landing for at least one more year despite a new lawsuit against Beaufort County, council members decided Monday night.

The council’s 9-2 vote to continue the county’s ferry services contract with Haig Point Ferry Co. came three days after 22 Buckingham Landing residents filed a lawsuit against the county.

The plaintiffs are claiming the ferry operation is in violation of the neighborhood’s zoning and has caused traffic and parking problems that lower property values.

Originally, the proposed contract was for a five-year term. But Mark Lawson, who represents Daufuskie Island along with parts of Bluffton and Pritchardville in District 9, proposed a compromise with a shorter contract term and parking restrictions.

After Hurricane Matthew damaged the ferry’s former home at Palmetto Bay Marina on Hilton Head Island in 2016, the county moved ferry operations to Buckingham Landing on Mackay Creek on a “temporary” basis under a month-to-month contract with Haig Point Ferry Co.

Originally, the county rented the dock on that property, which includes the old Sea Trawler restaurant, for $10,000 per month. In 2018, it purchased the property for $2.2 million.

There are 85 parking spaces for ferry riders at Buckingham Landing that cost $10 for overnight parking and $100 for monthly parking, and additional parking is four miles away at the county’s Bluffton Parkway government center.

The council will have the option to renew the contract, worth $259,000 annually, for a second and third year.

Under the new contract, tourists will have to park remotely and be shuttled in to the ferry, while residents can continue to use the 85 parking spaces at Buckingham Landing designated for the ferry.

Haig Point Ferry Co. will have to enforce remote parking for tourists as a result of the vote, County Administrator Eric Greenway said Monday.

Leanne Coulter, the chairperson of the Daufuskie Island Council, said during public comment that the number of permanent residents using the ferry every day was “minimal” and that she didn’t “think it would be a huge imposition on the residents” of Buckingham Landing.

“The residents of Daufuskie would like more than a one-year contract,” she said. “But after what was stated tonight, I think a one-year contract (where we) see how it moves forward, with the option to renew several more, would show good faith on everyone’s part.”

Councilmembers Chris Hervochon — who represents Buckingham Landing along with parts of Hilton Head and Bluffton in District 8 — and Logan Cunningham voted no on Lawson’s amendment and the contract.

They respectively made and seconded another motion that would have moved all ferry parking to a remote location, prohibited the rezoning of Buckingham Landing, placed “clear info” on the ferry company’s website regarding parking and made the contract nonrenewable after one year. They were the lone “yes” votes on their proposed amendment.

Dozens of residents from Daufuskie Island and Buckingham Landing showed up at Monday’s council meeting to weigh in on the debate.

Buckingham Landing residents say traffic to and from the ferry, which leaves the landing at 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. every day, means they “are being damaged on a daily basis,” according to their lawsuit.

“This community has paid the price for 4 1/2 years,” said attorney Thomas Taylor, who is representing the Buckingham Landing plaintiffs, during public comment. “And now what everybody can feel circling here is the new excuse that we can’t do anything until the bridges. And that’s just wrong.”

Several council members argued that the county plans on moving ferry operations to Pinckney Island in the long-term but needs more time to do so while officials finalize plans for the $300 million project to rebuild U.S. 278 and the Hilton Head bridges.

The preferred alternative will be released by the S.C. Department of Transportation in late July. The alternative likely will recommend realigning the bridges over Pinckney Island.

“The bridges are delineated some time this year,” council chairperson Joe Passiment said Monday. “It is going to take several months before contracts are let and the final pinpoint area of where those piers are going to go (is determined). So I do not see that we can definitively tell these people one year from today we’re out of there.”


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