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Bluffton Breeze The

VICTORIA SMALLS Living History PG 8

Turn UP the HEAT PG 30

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Notes From The Editor:

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his month, we celebrate The Bluffton Breeze’s 15th anniversary. Wow! What a privilege to be such an important part of Blufftonians’ lives for that long.

As editors, we think long and hard about what our readers might like to read. (After all, without our readers there would be no advertisers!) While proofing the articles, I reflected on all the great issues we have published over the years, and this month is no exception. Our great writers love what they do, and they are good at it. Let’s start with local Marine Biologist Amber Hester Kuhen. I am continually amazed at her knowledge; and her article, “Teeth, Tail Fins and Tourists,” shares fascinating shark facts that I would never have known had I not read it. Her husband, Jeff, provided the underwater photography, and as you peruse the piece you, too, will be as thoroughly entertained and informed as I was. Next, Michele Roldán-Shaw shows her real writing skills in her piece on Victoria Smalls, a true Gullah spirit and artist. A smile spread across my face as I realized how wonderfully presented this article was. What a great read! Victoria is a special person, and Michele portrays her eloquently.

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Bluffton Breeze PUBLISHER Lorraine Jenness lorraine@hiltonhead.com 843-757-9889 EDITOR Randolph Stewart randolph@bluffton.com 843-816-4005 COPY EDITORS Allyson Jones allyson@hiltonhead.com 843-757-9889 Kerry Peresta kerry@hiltonhead.com 843-757-9889 SALES DIRECTOR Chierie Smith chierie@bluffton.com 843-505-5823 GRAPHIC DESIGNER Liz Shumake liz@hiltonhead.com 843-757-9889

Our resident troubadour, Jevon Daly, talks about his upcoming first solo performance in February at the Roasting Room. Imagine playing with a band all your life and suddenly being onstage alone! I know he will be great.

ART DIRECTOR Jennifer Mlay graphics@hiltonhead.com 843-757-9889

We are also happy to present D.A. Southern’s overview of May River Theatre’s presentation of “Boeing Boeing,” opening this month. If you like to laugh, I guarantee you will when you see this play. D.A. Southern has authored 10 books, and is the director of “Boeing Boeing.”

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jevon Daly, Allyson Jones, Amber Hester Kuehn, Kerry Peresta, Michele Roldán-Shaw, Andrea Six, Randolph Stewart

Our new copy editor, Kerry Peresta, presents her first editorial in The Bluffton Breeze and, boy, can she write! In today’s world, we just don’t have the time to hang out in bars to find Mr. or Ms. Right, and since Kerry met her husband online, her tips about online dating are from personal experience. Kerry is a true professional, and we are glad to have her on staff.

PHOTOGRAPHERS, ARTISTS Amiri Farris, A Gullah Psalm, Jeff Kuehn, May River Theatre, Victoria Smalls

Speaking of copy editors, Andrea Six outdid herself this month with a great piece on three real estate couples and their love for each other and their professions. She also gave me a break by writing this month’s architectural feature (she writes much better than I do) and brings us an interesting piece about Lowcountry fireplaces called “Turn Up the Heat.” Photographs depict different designs and styles, and Ryan Skrak of Megastructures (a rapidly growing local distributor and installer of Firerock Fireplaces) gives us insight into the many fireplace options available both indoors and outdoors. Our chief copy editor Allyson Jones (who makes sure we don’t have any typos, just great copy) brings it all home with a wonderful piece about Gullah spirituals, an integral part of Gullah historical tradition that are still sung today. In addition to our writers and copy editors, we must acknowledge the glue that holds it all together—Jennifer Mlay and Liz Shumake, our talented design team. Their art and graphics direction speaks for itself when all is said and done. We are grateful to Jennifer and Liz for bringing life and breath to The Bluffton Breeze. Here’s to another great 15 years! In the January Notes From the Editor, John Blanken’s name was incorrectly listed as John Blankenship. We apologize for the error.

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CORPORATE OFFICE 40 Persimmon St. Suite 102 Bluffton, SC 29910 843.757.8877 DISTRIBUTION Bruce McLemore, John Tant 843.757.9889 The Bluffton Breeze is published by Island Communications and The Bluffton Breeze Media, LLC. All rights are reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored for retrieval by any means without permission from the Publisher. The Bluffton Breeze is not responsible for unsolicited materials and the publisher accepts no responsibility for the contents or accuracy of claims in any advertisement in any issue. The Bluffton Breeze is not responsible or liable for any errors, omissions, or changes in information. The opinion of contributing writers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the magazine and its Publisher. All published photos and copy provided by writers and artists become the property of The Bluffton Breeze. Copyright. 2017.


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CONTENTS

FEBRUARY 2017, VOLUME 15, NO. 2

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Let the Circle Be Unbroken Teeth, Tail Fins & Tourists Tek Me To Duh Watuh “Boeing Boeing” a Delightful Romp Firming Up The Deal Real Estate Power Couples Turn Up The Heat Be Excited About Bluffton Valentine’s Day The Bluffton Way Southern Nights and Dating Sites

D E PA R T M E N T S

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History Environment The May River Theatre Home Tide Chart Music Restaurant Guide 44 Humor ON THE COVER: Oyster Lady - Amiri Farris The Bluffton Breeze

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he Let t Circl

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oken nb r By Michele Roldán-Shaw Victoria Smalls is a triumph of human unity. She is Gullah, one of 14 siblings in the blended family of St. Helena Island’s firstever biracial couple. She grew up speaking Gullah and working the land; today she is a director at Penn Center National Historic Landmark District, a successful artist and a mother raising the next generation. Victoria is a living part of history. Her own story began at an interesting time. The year was 1966. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had just spoken at Penn Center, when another crucial meeting took place. “My mother saw this tall, charismatic, beautifully dark-skinned man standing 6’6”,” says Victoria, one of four children born from their union. “They started officially courting, then decided to get married.” He was Gullah and a graduate of Penn Center with six kids from a previous marriage, all black; she lived in Michigan with four kids from her own previous marriage, all white. Both their spouses had passed away. Amazingly, both were also members of the Baha’i Faith, a world religion founded in Iran that emphasizes the unity of all humankind under one God. It was at a Baha’i retreat on the grounds of Penn Center that they met. 8

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When Victoria’s mother came to St. Helena, almost the entire population was African American. Yet, she and her children were fully embraced by the love of the community and, according to Victoria, the Baha’i Faith really helped. “That is my foundation on how I live my life,” she says, “how my community should be, where I want to work and my philosophy on unity within diversity. It’s just so beautiful, and I got that foundation from my parents.” So, this huge colorful family grew up in the fairly idyllic environment of the Sea Islands, living off the bounty of land and water. All 14 cleaned fish and worked the fields together. At harvest time, their father took them around delivering extra corn or sweet potatoes to the elders, as is the Gullah way. But blended families can be difficult even without the race issue, so how did they maintain harmony? “That’s always the question,” Victoria acknowledges. “At a time when segregation was going on, not only officially but also in the comfort levels of the community, how did we all get along? And the answer is, it was us against them: kids against the parents! You know, like the Brady Bunch—that was our frame of reference at the time.”


In those days, Victoria spoke Gullah like all her friends and neighbors. She didn’t know it was another language; that was just the way they talked. But, by age nine, she began to notice that whenever they went into Beaufort—only seven miles away, yet somehow culturally distinct—when she opened her mouth, people laughed at her. “I started not wanting to speak in public,” she remembers. “I was loud because I came from the country and the fields, but I became quiet because I was made to feel ignorant and ashamed. Everything that came out of my mouth was Gullah, which to others meant ‘those enslaved people.’ Speaking Gullah, being Gullah, was not fashionable at that time. Now it’s a household name.” In response to this humiliation, young Victoria started watching the nightly news and mimicking Walter Cronkite to develop new speech patterns all on her own. This tactic worked—but initially it also gave her a stutter. Only within the last year has she realized exactly why that happened: in the Gullah language, words are cropped, final Rs are dropped, and the Th sound is replaced by D. For example, rather than saying them, that, there, she would say dem, dat, dere; rather than floor or door it was flo’ or do’. So, as Victoria worked to retrain her speech, every time she tried to say words such as these she stuttered. “It was a battle,” she recollects. “That Gullah girl wanted to come out, and suppressing her turned into a lot of pain.”

While it felt like an eternity of struggle, she only stuttered for perhaps four or five years. The turning point came one day at the post office when she ran into a local root doctor (witch doctor) who inquired about her family. Listening patiently as she stumbled over the words, at last he said gently, “You know I can help with that.” Aware of his occupation, Victoria panicked, thinking he would put a spell on her; yet his smile was so kind, and her upbringing of respect to elders won out. “Yes, Mr. Gregory,” she replied. But all he told her was, “Think about what you’re going to say before you say it. Then Victoria sing your words.” (r The Fa ight) with sibli rm in To ngs on m St. Hele It was golden advice to last a na Islan Fripp Commu nity, d lifetime. By the time she left for South Carolina State University, both the stutter and the rich Gullah accent were gone. Today, she speaks eloquently in a clear ringing voice that culture, food ways, spiritual betrays no particular origin. However, practices, maybe even supernatural this is a both a blessing and tragedy to beliefs. And the Sea Islands have been incubators with their communal family Victoria. setting like a village in Africa. So, I feel a “It’s not effortless for me to speak great sense of purpose at Penn Center the Gullah language now,” she says, because our mission is to promote and adding that she hopes reading De preserve the history and culture of the Nyew Testament in her native tongue Sea Islands.” might help restore her fluency. “To some people, Gullah might sound like you’re Most recently, Victoria was appointed to just murderin’ the English language; serve South Carolina as a Commissioner but what many don’t realize is there are of the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor. about 5,000 West African tribal words “That little Gullah girl who was stumbling in Gullah—so it is a Creole language, over dem, dat, dere,” she says, “now a blended language. Had we known she gets to speak on one of the highest it was going to be lost, we as a levels of our nation about this culture’s community would have done more significance so it doesn’t become extinct. to preserve it.” I mean I have goosebumps right now— there are just no words to express how it This delving deep into her roots goes feels to be able to serve in this capacity.” far beyond the language. Working as Director of Development for the Although she lives on St. Helena, these Penn Center is a way for Victoria days Victoria is liable to be seen around to not only stay in close touch with Bluffton. She has family here and feels a her heritage, but share the wealth strong Gullah presence. Moreover, since of it with others. “Being Gullah becoming involved with the vibrant art means you have kept most of studio/gallery Bluffton Boundary, it has your Africanisms alive,” she says. become her home away from home. “That includes the traditions, She comes here to create, learn, and share her expressions with Frissell Community House: the memor others. ia l si to

the first schoolho use at Penn Scho ol.

s’ ra Small u a L d n Elting a 968 g Day, 1 Weddin

te

“Fifteen years ago, I started painting faces that represented the hues of my family,” said Victoria, who works in pastel using her fingers to directly transfer feelings and prayers 9 The Bluffton Breeze FEBRUARY 2017


Penn Center: Past, Present & Future On January 12, 2017, President Obama declared the Penn Center on St. Helena Island a National Monument recognizing its pivotal role during Reconstruction. This timeline highlights a few important dates in Penn Center’s legacy and its current mission “to promote and preserve the history and culture of the Sea Islands.” For more information, visit penncenter.com.

1862 “Saint Helena’s Sunset”

“Our Love”

onto paper. “The beautiful darks and browns of my father’s family, the peach tones of my mother’s, and all the colors in between. But I would paint them with their eyes closed because I was going through a tough time and wanted to surround myself with the serenity of a peaceful, meditative state.” Although she originally just used the faces to decorate her own home, Victoria soon had so many she started selling them on consignment at St. Helena’s landmark gallery, The Red Piano Too. “I forgot all about them until I started getting checks in the mail,” she said. She was astonished when her work sold out completely and the owner, Gullah art maven Mary Mack, personally requested more. Not long after, Victoria started working at the Red Piano—curating exhibits, learning fine framing, and getting to know the artists on an individual level—which resulted in what she calls “the most perfect arts education.” Simply being surrounded by people who expressed their love for all things Gullah through fine arts, outsider art and crafts like sweetgrass baskets was, for Victoria, “like falling in love all over again through the artwork of our people.” Her studio at Bluffton Boundary gives her not only a special space in which to create, but an opportunity to interact with the community, in particular the youth who come for classes. She also feels fortunate to be taken under the wing of successful Bluffton artist Amiri Farris. Though right now she still mostly paints her signature faces, the words of a Gullah art icon ring in her mind: “Jonathan Green says ‘Paint what you see.’ I have a few pieces of the Gullah community, but I think I’m ready to start doing more of that.” Victoria began using pastels since that’s what her mother worked in, and now she’s passing the torch on to her own children. Her 24-year-old son is a fine artist and metalsmith in Charlotte, and her 11-year-old daughter also paints. For Victoria, losing her 17-year-old son was yet another reason creating became such a healing release. There is so much to her story, too much to cover here, plus what’s yet to be written. But anyone who’s interested can talk to her personally at Bluffton Boundary! She welcomes people just as she has been welcomed by them. “I really love Bluffton,” says Victoria. “This place is special, and the commute is not a problem because the drive is therapeutic for me. It truly is a second home.” 10

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First school for freed slaves established on St. Helena Island, South Carolina; classes held at The Brick Church; 80 pupils enrolled.

1865

New three-room building becomes first school in the South created for the instruction of former slaves; officially named Penn School. (Thirteenth Amendment added to the U.S. Constitution; slavery legally abolished.)

1865-1877

School supported by private charity comprised of primarily Quaker abolitionists in Philadelphia.

1901-1917

Hampton Institute in Virginia asked to sponsor Penn School; Center’s new leadership modeled education on Hampton Tuskegee model.

1927

Completion of bridge from town of Beaufort to Lady’s Island gave St. Helena access to the mainland.

1948

Penn School ceased to function as a school; changed to a community agency; renamed Penn Community Services, Inc.

1950

Penn School becomes Penn Center.

1960s Sponsored and hosted interracial conferences on Civil Rights; Penn Center is a retreat site for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and human rights activists. 1980s Penn Center established Land Use and Environmental Education (LUEE) Program to promote sustainability and economic development; creation of Penn School for Preservation. 1990

Penn Center placed on “most endangered historic places” list by the National Trust for Historic Preservation; mission focused on promoting and preserving Gullah cultural assets.

2006

Congress created The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor along the coast from Florida to North Carolina.


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ENVIRONMENT

Teeth, Tail Fins & TOURISTS

Captain Amber, are there sharks in these waters? You know, there is a foolproof way to tell if there are sharks in the water, and it works anywhere on the globe. Put your finger in the water and touch it to your tongue. If you taste salt, there are sharks! Every body of saltwater has sharks in it. In South Carolina alone, there are 13 families and 38 species of sharks roaming our waters.

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By Amber Hester Kuehn, Marine Biologist Owner, Spartina Marine Education Charters Sand tiger shark photography by Jeff Kuehn The first thing to know about sharks is that they have evolved over millions of years and are the oldest of fishes. Their common ancestor existed before the dinosaurs, approximately 400 million years ago, and sharks haven’t changed much in 200 million years, since the end of the Cretaceous period. They are perfectly built for their environment and purpose. Secondly, one of the major differences between sharks and other fish is a skeleton made of cartilage, instead of bone. All species of shark are in the class Chondrichthyes—cartilaginous fishes. Cartilage is much softer than bone and this adaptation gives the shark an advantage as an apex predator, allowing it more flexibility and maneuverability. Sharks lack a swim bladder which gives other fish control over their buoyancy. Although cartilage is lighter than bone, sharks still sink, so they must move constantly to stay off the ocean floor. Some sharks, but not all, must swim their entire lives so water runs over their gills and oxygenates their blood. An airplane mimics the shape of a shark with a fusiform body streamlined like a bullet, large pectoral fins on each side to help with lift (wings) and a tall caudal fin (tail) and dorsal fin for stability. In addition to cartilage, elastic connective tissue


called collagen gives the shark ease of motion when thrusting its tail fin back and forth for propulsion. Like stretching a rubber band and letting go, this lateral motion releases equal amounts of energy in both directions, allowing sharks to move fast with minimal effort! Little known fact: bony fish (Osteichthyes) and sharks emerged from a common ancestor before fish produced scales. Sharks have dermal denticles or “skin teeth,” which are made of dentin, the same material found inside teeth. However, both classes of fish have teeth, which is probably the first attribute you think of when the word “shark” is mentioned. The roots of their teeth are embedded in gum tissue, instead of jaw bone like ours. Sharks shed their teeth at every meal and a large shark may lose 30,000 teeth over its lifetime. There are approximately 500 species of sharks on earth, which sounds like a lot, but in comparison, there are 25,000 species of bony fish. Sharks live in all parts of the ocean marine environment. Some stay in the deep, others venture close to shore, some travel great distances, some visit the surface, and some can even tolerate fresh water (bull shark). The smallest shark (dwarf dogfish) tops out at six inches when fully grown while adult whale sharks can approach 40 feet in length! Fish typically reproduce with external fertilization meaning that eggs are fertilized after they are laid. Sharks mate with internal fertilization, the type of sexual reproduction you have to explain to your kid at some point. It is obvious when a female has mated because of the bites and clasper barb marks inflicted by the male shark. Pleasurable? Probably not. Luckily, she can store sperm for at least a year, minimizing the encounters. The bonnethead,

according to an article published in the August 22, 2007 issue of Biology Letters, is one of four shark species that is capable, in rare cases, of a virgin birth (parthenogenesis). Although they all mate, sharks have various methods of reproductive development. Some are oviparous (lay eggs after mating), others are viviparous (give live birth) and some are ovoviviparous (carry eggs which hatch inside of the female). The sand tiger shark is ovoviviparous with a 9-12 month gestation and has two uteri, producing only one offspring from each uterus. These two shark pups consume all of their siblings in the womb and continue to feed on their mother’s unfertilized eggs for sustenance. The three-foot-long sand tiger shark pup is more developed at birth than other species of sharks. The most common sharks in South Carolina’s estuaries are Atlantic sharpnose, sandbar, bonnethead, blacktip, finetooth, scalloped hammerhead, nurse, lemon, tiger, sand tiger and dusky. Spinner, bull and blacknose sharks are also observed to a lesser degree. Sharks are usually more plentiful near shore in the spring and summer and move off shore in fall and winter. Captain Amber, is it true there aren’t many sharks around Hilton Head Island because the dolphins scare them away? Ummmm…no. We have plenty of sharks, but larger sharks have a greater range and move even further off shore in lean months to find fish, since larger sharks require larger food. As nurseries of the ocean, estuaries are not the best place to find large prey items. Dolphins pretty much bogart food in the winter, and there is less to share. While sharks typically don’t prey on dolphins, they may attack vulnerable pod members. However, the entire pod will defend the weaker members of their family and the shark may get

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A great learning trip for kids & adults!

Voyage of discovery

Discover the local marsh habitat. See the richness of life in our tidal estuary. Learn measures for water quality. All trips led by Captain Amber Kuehn MS in Marine Biology Contact: SpartinaCharters@gmail.com or Spartinacharters.com 843-338-2716

more than he bargained for. Examples of sharks that would attack a dolphin would be bull sharks, tiger sharks or great white sharks, in a pelagic (open seas) environment. Sharks feed primarily in low light or at night. Death by shark attack is rare in our area and the last fatal shark attack in South Carolina took place in 1852. It is important to realize sharks don’t seek revenge and are simply following a path leading to the most food. By the way, sea turtles are on the shark menu and sea turtles swim to shore to nest—at night! However, there have been more shark bite reports lately in the Carolinas. My theory is more sea turtles plus more tourists equals more opportunity for interaction. I do not believe that after millions of years sharks are changing their behavior, unless they are running out of food in the big blue. Sharks live long lives and are slow to reproduce. A consistent decline in the population will not recover quickly and they are at higher risk than other fish. An essential keystone species in the marine environment, sharks maintain the health of the ocean by taking out the weak, dead or dying. There is so much we do not know about the ocean and its inhabitants, but it is undeniable that if this awe-inspiring creature is not protected, we will see adverse changes in the marine environment. Shark Fishing Under current South Carolina Department of Natural Resources regulations, there are only two sharks likely to be encountered under normal fishing circumstances that recreational anglers can keep: • Atlantic sharpnose shark • Bonnethead shark All other species must have a minimum fork length of 54 inches. Fork length is measured from the tip of the shark’s nose to the fork in the caudal fin (tail). A shark with a 54” fork length would have an approximate total length of 5 1/2 to 6 feet. Shark fishing from the shore is illegal. For details on shark populations in South Carolina estuaries and fishing regulations, visit dnr.sc.gov/marine/mrri/shark.html.

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O L D T O W N

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T

ek Me to Duh Watuh A Gullah Psalm

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uring the early 1900s, Luke Peeples, a gifted white musician, collected and arranged Negro spirituals as they were being sung in the churches and praise houses of Bluffton, South Carolina, and the surrounding Lowcountry,” reads the back cover of “A Gullah Psalm: The Musical Life & Work of Luke Peeples.” The blurb continues, “This is the story, as Luke would have wanted it to be told, of both the passing of a way of life and music, and the beauty and grace of a small Lowcountry community.” “A Gullah Psalm” by Estella Saussy Nussbaum & Jeanne Saussy Wright is a fascinating tribute to their uncle who, through his original music compositions, poetry and correspondence, managed to share the stories of Bluffton’s people—both black and white— and capture the Town’s unique character through the changes brought by Reconstruction, Prohibition, The Great Depression and World War II. A classically trained pianist who possessed absolute pitch, Peeples had always been intrigued by the songs he heard pouring out of Bluffton’s three black churches: First Zion Baptist Church (founded in 1862), Saint John in the Wilderness Baptist Church (built in 1860) and Campbell Chapel AME (originally built by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1853). After much soul searching (or “seeking” as it was called in Gullah churches), Peeples realized his life’s purpose was to write down these unique a capella spirituals, with their complex melodies and harmony sung in Gullah, so the verses and music would not be lost.

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In the winter of 1932, Miss Caroline “Lina” Huger became aware that St. John in the Wilderness was in desperate need of repair. She had recently attended a concert performed by white Charleston socialites known as The Society for the Preservation of Negro Spirituals. Their voices so paled in comparison to the rich voices of the “Bluffton Negroes” she’d heard in local churches, she


May River Spiritual Singers in front of St. John’s Church, c. 1932 immediately came up with an idea to raise money and save the church. She presented her plan to the person who knew all the Gullah singers, Luke Peeples. Enlisting the help of his brother, Andrew, Peeples assembled the May River Spiritual Singers, a choir of 30 “local Negro spiritual singers” from area churches to perform a benefit concert. The account below of their first benefit performance was reproduced from the March 10, 1932 issue of the Bluffton Newsletter: Friday night an audience of approximately 400, comprised largely of names prominent in Charleston and Savannah social registers, were delightfully entertained at Campbell AME Church with a spiritual concert-contest. The program, sponsored and arranged by Miss Caroline Huger, was the first of its kind given in Bluffton, and was acclaimed as the most successful entertainment ever presented here. An admission charge of twenty-five cents netted the three participating churches nearly eighty dollars and it was estimated by the doormen that fifty dollars more could have been realized, if there had been room in the church to accommodate the large number that was forced to remain on the outside. Each of the three choruses, composed of twelve singers, sang eight songs, after which prizes, offered by Miss Huger, were presented by James Lynah of Savannah. The judges with Mr. Lynah were Miss Margaret Stiles and Mrs. Olmstead. Campbell AME church won first prize, a sixteen-pound home-cured ham. The members of this group were Patsy Williams, Rebecca Stoney, Patsy Stoney, Estelle Johnson, Lottie Taylor, Maggie Brown, Jeanette Brown, Lula Grant, Elizah Grant, Bill Grant, Jake Johnson and George Brown. The songs sung by them were in the order as follows: “John Saw The Light”; “Give Me that Old Time Religion”: “Rasling Jacob All Night Long”: Noah Hist The Window”; “New Horn Gwine To Blow Dat Day”, “Don’t Mind Dying, If Dying Was All”; “Stand On The Wall of Zion”; and “Hold The Light”. Second prize, a water pitcher engraved with a cluster of grapes, was awarded the Zion Baptist Church, whose chorus was composed of Janie Chaplain, Sylvia Williams, Mammie Kinloch, Ida Boyles, Julia Ferguson, Julia Posey, Susannah Gadsen, Ophelia Phoenix, Geneva Bruin, Martin Allston, and James Haynes.

Third prize, a beautiful altar cloth, was awarded St. John, the Baptist Church. The singers of this group were: Amie Kinloch, Celie Carroll, Maggie Graham, Marriah Cogswell, Bertha Brown, Othelia Grant, Daugher Cogswell, Louis Graham, John Johnson, James Jenkins, Samuel Graham. An individual prize offered to the most outstanding dramatic singer in the three groups was won by Janie Chaplin of Zion Baptist Church. This dramatic character, with a blue gingham dress on and a red cloth tied around her head, made wild and oftentimes dangerous gesticulations with a large stick, which she held in her right hand, as she encouraged the other members of her group to “get the spirit” and “sing.” Her singing was loud and melodious, and with her freakish body movements as she sang and shouted, she was indeed a colorful personality that offered a major part of the evening’s entertainment. In April of 1932, the group performed at Savannah’s Municipal Auditorium to critical acclaim. “The concert was a tremendous success, the money was raised and St. John was repaired,” according to “A Gullah Psalm.” “Small groups of singers began to entertain at parties held in the Bluffton homes—at suppers, oyster roasts or any like gathering.” “At the conclusion of the performance they would simply pass around an old felt hat, as was their custom, for their recompense.” In February, the past meets the present during the 21st Annual Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration. This month-long event showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah people and their history with visual and performing arts, culinary events, interactive tours, craft expos and a music series focusing on the contributions of African Americans in music. On February 3, celebrate and honor the spiritual thread that binds the African ancestors and the Gullah of today during the Gullah Music Series featuring Modern Gospel at First Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Bluffton at 7 p.m. This kickoff to the Gullah Celebration’s annual music series celebrates the African American oral tradition with choirs and a cappella performances. Admission is a freewill offering. For details, call (843) 255-7304 or visit gullahcelebration.com. The Bluffton Breeze

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” a Delightful Romp

Photos courtesy of May River Theatre

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n the mid-60s, the movie “Boeing Boeing” featured two darlings of American cinema, Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis. This uproarious stage comedy penned by French writer, Marc Camoletti, was originally presented in London in 1962 and immediately became an international hit spawning productions across the globe, including Broadway.

The movie, like the play, centers around the misadventures of playboy Bernard (played by Curtis) who becomes engaged to three flight attendants, each working for different airlines. Their flights scheduled to arrive and leave at differing times so the women would never meet, Bernard’s iron-clad plan is thrown into disarray when their schedules commingle, allowing them to connect. When his friend Robert (played by Lewis) arrives from America,

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the situation begins to escalate, and is not helped when the acerbic housekeeper, played in the movie by the comedic actress, Thelma Ritter; keeps hilariously inserting herself into both men’s affairs. The difference between the play and the movie rests primarily in presentation. In the movie, the international flair was predominant, with the airport as the backdrop when Curtis juggled his relationships with the airline attendants. In the play, everything takes place in Bernard’s apartment, and as the women adhere to strict flight schedules that never seem to cross, Bernard is sure his plan of romancing three different women from three different countries is foolproof. But, as in the movie, the attendants do indeed begin arriving at his Parisian flat at the same time, leaving Bernard and Robert chaotically trying to prevent them from interacting with each other. This all takes place under the watchful eye of Berthe, the housekeeper, who can’t help but interject herself into the frantic machinations.

longtime May River vets, J.T. Chinn and Rob Tillison respectively, will be accentuated as each of the three flight attendants—the American beautifully played by newcomer, Catie Mengel, along with two relatively new performers to the May River stage, Mary Lynn Finn who thrills as Gabriella, and Maggie Cunningham who delights as the passionate German attendant—come and go completely unaware of each other. The women create havoc for Bernard and Robert, as well as irascible housekeeper Berthe, played by May River Theatre newcomer, Barbara Fiscarel, as they enter and leave the flat by the many doors on the set. “For the last show of the May River Theatre Season, we wanted to give our patrons something to laugh about as we celebrate the great talent who can put a show such as ‘Boeing Boeing’ together,” says D.A. Southern. “It is a physically demanding show and one that really stretches each actor. As it has been a while since we have had a pure comedy here at May River Theatre, this is a show that our audiences have definitely been asking for and it is a fantastic way to close out the May River Theatre season. The antics of the entire cast will definitely have you laughing out loud and it is undeniably an enjoyable night of theatre.”

This classic French play opened on Broadway in 1965, was revised on London’s West End in 2007 and revived once again on Broadway in 2008, earning over 10 Tony nominations and winning five, including Best Performance by an Actor (Mark Rylance, who played American friend, Robert) and Best Revival of a Play. In addition to Rylance, comedic actress Kathryn Hahn played the American flight attendant; A-list actor, Bradley presents Whitford played Bernard; popular actress Christine Baranski was housekeeper Berthe; Gina Gershon was Gabriella, the Italian attendant; and Mary McCormack played Gretchen, the German flight attendant. With its distinguished pedigree, “Boeing Boeing” arrives at the May River Theatre readying itself for takeoff with a dynamic cast that will delight audiences and leave them laughing. Under the tutelage of Director D.A. Southern, the antics of Bernard and Robert, played by

Boeing g n i e o b DIRECTOR D.A. Southern

Fridays 8 p.m. February 17, 24, March 3

THEATRE LOCATION 20 Bridge Street Ulmer Auditorium Bluffton Town Hall

Saturdays 8 p.m. February 18, 25, March 4

Sundays 3 p.m. February 19, 26, March 5

Tickets on sale starting: February 6th On Line - www.mayrivertheatre.com February 13th Box Office - 843.815.5581 ALL RESERVED SEATS

$27

BOX OFFICE LOCATION 138-D Burnt Church Road Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Boeing, Boeing is presented with permission from Samuel French, New York, NY

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By Andrea Six

E

very married couple remembers their first home, but these particular couples also remember yours. And your neighbor’s, and probably another one down the block. Taking a cue from local real estate professionals Frances and Charles Sampson and Allan and Gloria LaCoe, these powerhouse pairs are venturing out into the risky, yet rewarding, realm of selling real estate together.

Family Ties When most people think “real estate,” they might think big, expensive homes, stress over transactions and the dollars the agents rake in when a property sells. Not so for real estate powerhouse pairs Allison Cobb and David Husssey, Debbie and Daniel Cort or Eric and Hillary Dollenberg. Their focus was flexibility and making more time for their kids. These couples chose real estate so family could come first. 26

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“We were finding with a young daughter and trying to start a family that our existing demands and job requirements were preventing us from committing the kind of time that we felt was necessary to give her the attention she needed,” Daniel Cort, who works alongside his wife, Debbie, with Charles Sampson Real Estate Group of Charter One Realty, explains. Before adopting Lilyanna in 2012, Daniel was involved in real estate, but not on the home sales side. He worked for a media firm that helped developers and builders reach their marketing goals, while Debbie worked with WHHITV. In 2015, when Debbie was considering getting a real estate license, she and Daniel concluded that the real estate industry would allow them to tag team and create their own schedules—with Lilyanna as the cornerstone—instead of trying to work family time around schedules determined by two different companies. Hillary, who joined husband, Eric Dollenberg at Weichert Coastal Properties two years ago, echoes this sentiment. “The benefits are that we’re not in two worlds all day and trying to create another world at home. It’s all one universe that we’re moving in, so it makes our relationship and interactions more seamless,”


Before becoming a team, this dynamic duo often went in opposite directions. Eric specialized in extravagant estates, including gated communities, beachfront properties and second homes, and Hillary traveled almost every other week as a national trainer for Obagi Skin Care. When their first son, August Thomas, came along, followed by Frederick Charles “Fritzy” two years later, they knew something had to change. “We anticipated me staying home a little bit more but the baby dictated that I stay home a lot, so I had to leave my corporate job,” Hillary says, mentioning how this naturally led to working with Eric on real estate marketing projects, which transitioned into becoming part of the team. “If you’re not going to beat them, then join them,” she says with a laugh. Allison Cobb’s real estate roots date back to her father’s real estate career circa 1996. However, it wasn’t until she and her husband, David Hussey, moved from the Windy City to the Lowcountry that she dove into the family business. Allison’s husband David worked in the hospitality industry, and late nights were just part of the deal. But when their kids, George and Charlotte, were born, he hated missing time with them.

By working as a team, they are not only able to play off each other’s strengths, but fill in the spots where one might not be as robust as the other. Or as Hillary puts it, “I handle everything he doesn’t want to do, and vice versa.” When meeting new clients, real estate teams are able to paint a picture that individual agents can’t by giving buyers more than one perspective. “Selling as a family gives buyers and agents a two-for-one. They get two people working for them instead of one,” Allison explains. “There is always someone available for questions and showings. Being a family and working for families means we understand especially what buyers are looking for. We understand that schools are important, as well as certain features in a home.” Real estate couples can’t help but open up to their clients as they guide them through their journey to the perfect home, which often results in lasting friendships. “You spend so much time with people through these processes that almost all of them become our friends,” Hillary reveals, adding that their family even went on a trip with some friends and clients in January.

“It was a family-driven decision to bring David into business, 100 percent,” Allison says. “I needed more help, the kids missed him, he worked nights and wasn’t seeing them as much.” This decision led to the birth of The Cobb Group, Charter One Realty.

Allison Cobb with husband David Hussey and their two children, George and Charlotte.

Finding Harmony From the first moments they met—Hillary and Eric’s blind date, Allison and David’s first taste working for the same Chicago company and Debbie and Daniel’s faux romance in “The Pajama Game” on May River Theatre’s stage—these Lowcountry lovers were on the cusp of discovering what “partners” really meant. “There are particular nuances about real estate that are challenging enough. When you throw in the fact that you’re husband and wife, you live together, and add all of the personal and intimate elements into the mix, you’ve got a lot to juggle there,” Daniel Cort admits. “It’s a tremendous balancing act.” For the Corts, home isn’t just where the heart is, it’s their workplace, too. They soon learned real estate careers can easily became all consuming, and it was vital to step away and get a breath of fresh air every now and then. Although the flexibility of schedules—the ability for them to, in a sense, be their own bosses and make their own schedules—was a huge highlight, it also meant that one of them would have to miss some family functions if they got an important call from a client. “Sometimes we have a family thing planned and one of us has to bow out because we have a client that needs us—that’s just the nature of the business,” Debbie says, also pointing out that two is better than one, because, as Daniel says, “When one zigs, the other zags.” The Bluffton Breeze

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Though a significant amount of challenges accompany working together, this study found couples who share a workplace or occupation had a closeness that benefited their marriage, as they may be able to support each other in unique ways. About one-fifth of the 639 men and women recruited for the study had the same job as their spouse. Results from the questionnaires about work-family balance and their satisfaction in relation to their job and family, showed that “work-linked” couples had twice as much satisfaction.

Debbie and Daniel Cort and daughter, Lilyanna

“I think that contact throughout the day helps a good deal. If you go 10 or 12 hours without knowing what your spouse has done all day, it can be difficult to come together in the evening,” Hillary shares. “I’m much more understanding now that I’m a part of it.”

“The way we look at this is we’re helping folks prosper,” Daniel explains. “We’re the sort of intermediary between what they want and what their dreams are and sometimes those two don’t match up. We like to think of ourselves more as counselors than salespeople.”

It Takes a Village While Daniel and Debbie Cort, Eric and Hillary Dollenberg, and David Hussey and Allison Cobb may be the locomotives pulling in the business, the team behind them keeps the train on the tracks. “There’s definitely an army behind us,” Hillary states, adding their success would not be possible without the support of friends, co-workers and even grandparents. “It’s tremendously important and I can’t underscore enough our office support.” Allison attributes learning the tricks of the trade early to her father’s real estate career, which they both passed on to David when he joined them. Not only did she have incredible business partners—her dad and husband—but also supportive family members who helped with the kids when they had to meet with clients at all hours. 28

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“It’s changed our whole family dynamic and we’re thankful for Charter One Realty and our own team, that we’re able to do that, and for the company for taking us all on,” Allison says. As a “work-linked” couple, it’s the internal support from each other that solidifies and strengthens, according to Merideth Ferguson, lead author of the study, “The supportive spouse at work: Does being work-linked help?” published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

“To be able to meet incredible people from all walks of life, from all over the country, of all ages, all ethnicities and make wonderful friends—it’s the most gratifying thing I can think of,” Daniel says. “But to do it with your wife, that’s just icing on the cake.” Apparently, though, all this workingcouple togetherness can get a little sticky. Our dynamic duos agreed emphatically about one of the most important secrets to their success. What was it? Separate offices. Eric and Hillary Dollenberg with sons August Thomas & Frederick Charles, “Fritzy”

Photo courtesy of She and He Photograg]phy


Family Owned & Operated Free Pick-up & Delivery Drop off -Pick up Each Garment Inspected Dry Cleaning Shirt Laundry Alterations & Repairs Stain Removal Leather Cleaning Household Items

Bluffton Plant: 373 Red Cedar Street 843.815.5885 door2door@hargray.com Mon.-Fri. 7:30 am-5:30 pm The Bluffton Breeze

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HOME

Turn UP

the HEAT By Andrea Six

Even though we may have the opportunity to enjoy our fireplaces just two months out of the year, the smoke billowing from our Lowcountry chimneys evokes fond memories of families gathering after dinner to play games or watch movies together. Fireplaces not only provide a warm focal point for the family, but often set the style and ambiance for the room. The mantle and surround can exude a cozy, rustic charm, amp up the interior with an ultra-contemporary vibe or radiate an elegant sophistication echoed throughout the house. Fireplaces have steadily evolved. Once huge, yawning recesses large enough in which to hide a horse in the 1600s and early 1700s, they became smaller and more efficient in English homes. Half a century later, Benjamin Franklin designed a metal-lined fireplace—the Franklin Stove or Pennsylvania Fireplace—which used an inverted siphon to draw out the fumes in an effort to produce more heat and less smoke. Mantels weren’t introduced until the 1800s, and since then the aesthetics have changed dramatically.

Fireplace by Megastructure

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Courtesy of Spring Island

High Style, Hot Style Today, fireplaces are wood-burning, gas, electric or ethanol, and vary in style from the traditional, tall and classically elegant Rumford version developed in the late 1790s, to a contemporary see-through design that makes a statement. Fireplaces are common in living rooms and bedrooms, but in many neighborhoods, it is just as common to find them outdoors, complete with a kitchen, pizza oven and view of the marsh. A decision to add a fireplace to a home is not simple (or cheap). The first decision to be made is whether or not a masonry fireplace is warranted, or if a pre-fabricated, factory-built one is the right option. When masons, architects and designers tackle this project, they are crafting a cornerstone of the home, integrating an architectural feature—or “megastructure” as our friend Ryan

Located in the study of a restored home, the plaster wall and original surround were removed from the fireplace. Note the fireplace in the next room, which was rebuilt out of the reclaimed brick from the original fireplace. Both mantels are made of heart of pine beam. (Courtesy of Tom Jenkins)

Skrak calls it—not just installing the less expensive “metal box” that may be more efficient, but certainly not as long lasting. “A lot of people put in a metal box, but they don’t last because the Lowcountry has such a high density of salt air,” says Skrak, Masonry Master and Fireplace Expert, who has been building fireplaces all over the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire, including St. Simons Island, Savannah, Bluffton, Spring Island, Charleston and Kiawah Island. “A lot of people are told that it’s stainless steel, but that’s stainless, not rust-proof. It’s going to rust and then fall apart.” Masonry fireplaces will more than likely experience several owners over their 100year lifespan, whereas choosing a “metal box” shortens this period by 40 years. Whether homeowners decide to design their own fireplace with an expert or pick a prefab to match their home, find a purpose and personality that play well together.

Placed so one can enjoy the Lowcountry views, and complete with an outdoor TV, this fireplace on a screened porch can be enjoyed during most seasons. A gas starter allows for building a quick wood fire. Comfy! (Courtesy of the Dollenberg Team, Weichert Realty)

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Create a Focal Point Since a fireplace can’t be moved like a couch or credenza, it is appropriate to use it to create the layout and design of the rest of the room. Consider centering it in the middle of the wall to find balance and create a mood. Is it meant to be a cozy place to spend time with the family or entertain during parties? Should it blend in or stand out? Once these decisions are made, the design option is the next step. For instance, beige bricks paired with white bookshelves or plush pastel This classic, family room masonry fireplace with flanking bookcases was placed at the end of the room, so as not to block views. Note the big screen TV placed above it to watch the big games. (Courtesy of the Dollenberg Team, Weichert Realty)

chairs and couches can create a coastal country cottage. For a modern take on this classic style, homeowners can opt for stone instead of brick and choose a floating walnut mantel. Add a few matching wood shelves and a bench to give it a chic, contemporary look.

Share with a See-Through Whether classic or contemporary, see-through fireplaces can be of real value, as they provide a two-for-one bonus. Dress up two rooms with a unique and stylish architectural structure, instead of just one. Consider designing them differently and rein in each room according to personal preference, or let the fireplace flow through both rooms cohesively.

Stay for a Slice Instead of roasting marshmallows over the fire, consider a fireplace This segmented arch fireplace in the Pine House was restored to its original beauty inside a turn-of-the-century home on the May River. Originally coal burning, it is now fueled with gas and lava rocks, similar to the way it would have appeared. There is a matching fireplace on the back side.

meant for a more enticing meal—an Italian one! Rising in popularity, real wood-burning pizza ovens have become show-stoppers. It is becoming more common to see pizza ovens outside the home as an extension to an outdoor kitchen, and they can be an even more impressive inside, creating a cozy and picturesque pizzeria.

Take it Outside In coastal Carolina, parties are planned around oyster roasts, Lowcountry boils and backyard barbeques, which is why an outdoor escape isn’t complete without a fire ring, sturdy square brick fire pit or patio with an outdoor fireplace. “Fire pits and fireplaces are a great extension of your home. It promotes the beautiful idea of what we call ‘outdoor living,’” Senior Landscape Architect Michael Cox and Marketing Coordinator Amanda Sipala at Featuring a raised hearth for seating and flanked by antique ironwork with jasmine vines and seasonal fragrance, this outdoor fireplace is excellent for all kinds of entertaining. The outdoor kitchen is close by and dining al fresco is a few steps away.

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Sunshine Hardscape, Landscape & Nursery explain. “Adding a fire pit or a fireplace to your yard also adds functionality and a focal point to your landscape, especially in the fall and winter months.” n


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R. Stewart Design,

Residential Design Urban Planning Preservation

Works of Art You Live In From Lowcountry Classics to French Country Beautiful Design with Great Attention to Detail

View Portfolio www.randolphbarclaystewart.com 12 Johnston Way, Suite 300 Bluffton, SC 29910 843.816.4005 randolph@rstewartdesign.com

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FEBRUARY TIDES Tide chart is calculated for the May River. Full Moon February 10. L H L

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Hilton Head Boathouse Showroom: 1498 Fording Island Road Bluffton, SC 29910 Hilton Head Boathouse: 405 Squire Pope Road Hilton Head Island, 29926 36

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843-681-2628 www.hhboathouse.net


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MUSIC

BE EXCITED ABOUT

BLUFFTON By Jevon Daly

“This may come to a surprise to some, but Jevon Daly doesn’t do solo shows. Why? No one knows. What we DO know is that he’s willing to give it a shot with us for one night only. What will he do? What will be said? How will we keep our brains from falling out of our skulls? No one knows. We’re all about to find out.” —Description of Jevon Daly’s “Just Jevon” show at the Roasting Room Listening Lounge on February 9.

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o how does a small club in a small town attract big name acts or convince a longtime group musician to strike out on his own? To find out, The Bluffton Breeze turned to Jevon Daly himself for answers: As we all know, Bluffton is an up-and-coming Southeastern town, but the music scene is very diverse. While we do have bands and songwriters, most music that happens here on a regular basis is the “deck player” or solo musician. This is a very important part of the musical “food chain,” as it is how music evolves in a growing town. A few places will have a solo guy come play and, believe it or not, this is how a “scene” begins. A player can work on his craft (entertaining, singing, trying out the in-between song lines) and get paid, then may or may not work during the day in a band or writing songs. Once you have an area with enough of these cats out there meowing, then the bands can start to play at places with a bigger budget or for holidays and private events. SO… In comes a gutsy pair of dudes (Jordan and Josh) of Roasting

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Room fame attempting to give our town of Bluffton a name on the map, between places like Jacksonville or Savannah and Charleston. “Routing” through an area (other places like Raleigh, Asheville and Valdosta come to mind) gives a touring band extra cash to spend (it be expensive to travel), while we in Small Town USA gain the benefit of becoming a destination for bands or duos and solo songwriter dudes and dudettes. Just check out their website at roastingroomlounge.com to see the wide array of acts coming through our town. Move over “Wagon Wheel,” some hairy dude is gonna sing you a song you’ve never heard and you just might like it. OK, the guy or girl singer might have a shaved head and play ukulele...geez. If you didn’t get advance tickets for the sold-out “Just Jevon” show at The Roasting Room, you can still pick up Jevon Daly’s first solo disc, “Jevon” or catch him playing with Nicest Guys in the World on Thursday nights at Captain Woody’s (except February 9) or with Lowcountry Boil during Sunday Brunch at Calhoun’s. To find out where he’s playing next or to purchase “Be Excited” gear, check out Jevon Daly or Slowcountry Tunes on Facebook.


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Valentine’s Day the Bluffton Way

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ure, you could head out for a romantic, candlelit dinner at any of our fine local restaurants, but maybe it’s time to think outside the box (of candy) this Valentine’s Day and visit a few unique, family-owned businesses which truly capture the Bluffton “State of Mind.” Serving breakfast and lunch, there’s something for everyone at the Squat & Gobble where Miss Thing presides over the festivities dressed in her best holiday attire. Join the likes of Tom Berenger, Tony Shalhoub and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for made-to-order favorites, including Paul the Greek’s Breakfast Special with two eggs, bacon, grits or home fries and toast or The Hangover Cure, a generous bowl of grits layered with bacon, sausage, home fries, sausage gravy, cheese, tomatoes and two eggs. For lunch, the focus shifts to crab cake sandwiches, oven-fired subs, hamburgers, Greek gyros, NY-style pizza, salads, chicken finger baskets and shrimp-n-grits. Throughout the month of February, Squat & Gobble is offering a buy one meal, get one half price deal. With the extra money you save, you can buy your love a souvenir T-shirt, coffee cup or koozie! Just down the street, “all you KNEAD is love” at Twisted European Bakery, a family business that originated from Jim’s Bakery in South Philadelphia and Veneris Bakery in Athens, Greece and recently opened in Old Town. Celebrate amore with a range of baked goods, including fruit pies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, French and Italian pastries, cookies, cinnamon buns, strudels, soft Bavarian pretzels, fresh-from-the-oven artisan breads, tomato pie, spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves and much more, madefrom-scratch on the premises, all day, every day (except Monday), using the finest ingredients.

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Give your sweet a treat with a Twisted Heart Cake made using vanilla or chocolate cake with shaved dark chocolate and dipped strawberries—enough to warm any heart—or pick up a party tray and take home petite dark Belgian chocolate, Bavarian cream and red raspberry pastries or savory appetizers. Remember, calories don’t count on Valentine’s Day and the more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap! bluffton.com


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BLUFFTON’S RESTAURANT GUIDE Cahill’s Chicken Kitchen** Southern 1055 May River Rd. (843) 757-2921

Corner Perk** Breakfast, Lunch, Coffee Promenade St. & May River Rd. (843) 816-5674 May River Grill** Seafood Contemporary Old Town Bluffton,1263 May River Rd. (843) 757-5755 The Pearl Kitchen and Bar** Fine Dining 55 Calhoun St. (843) 757-5511 Squat ‘N’ Gobble** American, Greek 1231 May River Rd. (843) 757-4242 Toomers’ Bluffton Seafood House** Seafood 27 Dr. Mellichamp Dr.  (843) 757-0380 The Village Pasta Shoppe** Italian, Deli, Wine, 10 B. Johnston Way (across from Post Office) (843) 540-2095 Walnuts Café** Contemporary

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70 Pennington Dr., Ste. 20 (843) 815-2877 Agave Side Bar Southwestern 13 State Of Mind St.  (843) 757-9190 Bluffton BBQ Barbeque, Pork, Ribs 11 State Of Mind St. (843) 757-7427 The Bluffton Room Fine dining 15 Promenade St.  (843) 757-3525 The Brick Chicken American 1011 Fording Island Rd.   (843) 836-5040 British Open Pub Pub, Seafood, Steaks 1 Sherington Dr. #G  (843) 705-4005 Buffalo’s Contemporary 1 Village Park Sq. (843) 706-6630

Butcher’s Market and Dell Deli 102 Buckwalter Pkwy., Ste. 3G (843) 815-6328

Captain Woody’s Seafood, Sandwich, Salads 17 State Of Mind St. (843) 757-6222 

Choo Choo BBQ Express Barbeque, Pulled Pork, Ribs 129 Burnt Church Rd. (843) 815-7675 Claude & Uli’s Bistro French 1533 Fording Island Rd. #302 (843) 837-3336 Corks Wine Co. Contemporary, Tapas 14 Promenade St. #306 (843) 816-5168 The Cottage Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 38 Calhoun St. (843) 757-0508 Downtown Deli Burgers, Sandwiches 27 Dr. Mellichamp Dr. (843) 815-5005 Fat Patties Burgers, Sandwiches 207 Bluffton Rd. (843) 815-6300 Hinchey’s Chicago Bar & Grill American


104 Buckwalter Pl., Ste. 1A  (843) 836-5959  Hogshead Kitchen Contemporary 1555 Fording Island Rd. (843) 837-4647 Inn At Palmetto Bluff Continental 1 Village Park Sq. (843) 706-6500  The Juice Hive Juice Bar 14 Johnston Way (843) 757-BUZZ (2889) 

(843) 837-5111 Okatie Ale House American   25 William Pope Dr. (843) 706-2537 Old Town Dispensary Contemporary 15 Captains Cove, off Calhoun St. Pour Richard’s Contemporary  4376 Bluffton Pkwy. (843) 757-1999 (843) 837-1893

Katie O’Donald’s Irish, American 1008 Fording Island Rd. #B (843) 815-5555

Redfish Contemporary 32 Bruin Rd. (843) 837-8888

Longhorn Steakhouse American     1262 Fording Island Rd., (843) 705-7001

Sigler’s Rotisserie & Seafood Contemporary   12 Sheridan Park Circle (843) 815-5030

Mulberry Street Trattoria Italian     1476 Fording Island Rd. (843) 837-2426 Napoli Bistro Pizzeria & Wine Bar Italian, Mediterranean     68 Bluffton Rd. (843) 706-9999 Neo Gastropub - Farm To Table Fare 1533 Fording Island Rd. #326

Southern Barrel Brewing Co. American 375 Buckwalter Place Blvd.  (843) 837-2337  Stooges Cafe American 25 Sherington Dr.  (843) 706-6178  ** See the ads in The Bluffton Breeze and Bluffton.com for more info

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HUMOR

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ast February, Chase Wilkinson discussed the perils of online dating from a young, male perspective. This year, Kerry Peresta explores the pitfalls and pleasures of meeting your perfect match online with handy tips for that first offline meeting. When I was trying to maximize that brief window of time between fleeting youth and encroaching senility, I stumbled across online dating. A few online winks and flirtatious messages later, I was hooked. Considered a kind of secret obsession behind closed doors 15 years ago, online dating today has exploded. A quick glance at statisticbrain.com, reveals there are approximately 54,000,000 singles in the U.S., and 49,000,000 of them have tried dating online. From 2015-2016, 17 percent of them married someone whom they met online. I think it is safe to say the stigma is gone, but the learning curve remains. It took me a painful seven years to weed out the seriously flawed from the non-emotionally crippled. Online dating

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is a learned skill, and the path to success is often riddled with failure, but every no gets us closer to the big yes. I’ve been married to my Big Yes for nine years. The first few months of plunking around and shopping for men online was similar to that first bitter swig of coffee—distasteful at first, but eventually life seemed dull and listless without it. Several of my friends were so hopelessly entrenched in multiple dating sites, they were exhausted from late nights and romantic escapades. Our exploits were hilarious and, once in a while, horrifying. For instance, when a few of us discovered one of the men trolling online was a friend’s husband, we decided to take a sabbatical and reassess our various states of online dating addiction. The struggle was real. Perhaps the biggest learning curves were figuring out how to separate fact from fiction in the “tell us a little about yourself” profile box or trusting the photos posted on the profile were actually, um, actual.


Imagine my shock, as my eyes adjusted to yet another first meeting in a dimly-lit restaurant, when I beheld across the table a face so etched with age it put me more in mind of a SharPei than the photo I’d seen online. If only I’d had FaceTime or Skype or, even better, YouTube! In Beaufort County, the misleading photo problem could be especially heinous, since the over-50 population has steadily grown since 2010 and, of those, a large percentage of over-age-50 single men and women are looking for Lowcountry love. If you are in this age group, you might want to FaceTime before scheduling a meeting. Studies show both women and men lie about their age on dating sites. A brief scan of the area’s most popular websites revealed thatactive dating sites in the Lowcountry are as plentiful as oysters in the May River. One in particular got right to the point with a huge, featured photo of a hopeful romantic prospect topped by two prominent boxes. One box had a green checkmark and a big YES, the other a red X and a big NO. In a nanosecond, one was able to bypass a profile based solely on appearance. Seriously? Isn’t there enough instant rejection in the world already?

I

n an effort to sidestep too much emphasis on outward beauty and embrace inner depth, intelligence and personality, I offer a few suggestions for the all-important First Meeting.

Tuck a good pair of running shoes in your purse. Should the candidate be embarrassing, overly enthusiastic or bizarre in any way, discreetly escape to the ladies’ room, put them on, and run. Be prepared for prolonged non-verbal assessment of your romantic prospect because, as all women know, men love to talk about themselves. You will probably not get to talk at all. Maybe later.

3)

Wear something loose-fitting to hide your curves, and add nerd-glasses. This way, you’ll know if the man is really interested in you, the woman; or just that sexy photo you posted online, thus weeding out the more shallow and insensitive candidate.

Ask the woman a few questions about herself. Look straight at the woman’s face (and only her face) as she answers. Act like you are interested in what she has to say. This goes a long way, I promise. Try not to sling back those Happy Hour drinks too quickly, unless you already know the situation is hopeless. In that case, go for it. If you live with your mother, or your grown kids have moved back in, you might want to save this information for the third or fourth or 10th date. Ditto, if you don’t have a job or sufficient retirement income. Single Lowcountry lovebirds, spread your wings and fly! Armed with these insightful suggestions, and the vast selection of Lowcountry dating sites, finding your soulmate should be a walk in the park.

AUTHOR BIO Kerry Peresta is a suspense novelist and humor columnist who lives on Hilton Head Island. Her publishing credits include a popular newspaper and e-zine humor column, “The Lighter Side,” and her debut novel, “The Hunting,” domestic suspense, released December 2013, Pen-L Publishing. She spent 25 years in advertising as an account manager, creative director and copywriter. She is a past president of the Maryland Writers’ Association and a current member of the Hilton Head Island Writers’ Network. She has completed her second novel, and is working on her third. Learn more at kerryperesta.com. The Bluffton Breeze

FEBRUARY 2017

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The Bluffton Breeze February 2017