The Bluff Magazine Fall/Winter 2016

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the bluff Fall/Winter 2016




RdV Vineyards is changing the meaning of fine wine in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

A couple from Alabama turn tragedy into a joy they can share with everyone, helping them heal from their past.

Nashville-based indie band Swear and Shake give us a sneak peek at their life on the road.



WOODEN DECOYS: FROM THE BILGES OF SKIFFS TO THE BRIGHT LIGHTS OF THE MUSEUMS Who knew duck decoys could be an art form valued at several thousand dollars?


MORELAND VILLAGE: BRINGING LIFE TO DESIGN With the help of a diverse team of architects, builders, designers and thinkers, Moreland Village retains an authentic sense of place in the Bluff.


A COWBOY AND A CAMERA Local Hilton Head photographer Eric Horan discusses how he became a renowned wildlife photographer.


As a celebration of Southern foodways, new Bluffton restaurant owners anticipate the opening of their culinary brainchild, FARM.



A REVOLUTIONARY BLUFF Learn about a murderous time at the Bluff during the Revolutionary War.


HOMEGROWN IN THE LOWCOUNTRY Local produce market Davis Produce has provided fresh fruits and vegetables to coastal Georgia for more than half a century.


LOCAL CHARACTERS Palmetto Bluff Captains Ed Johnson and Herb Rennard share their inspiration and favorite places at the Bluff.


A DECADE OF DECADENCE Music To Your Mouth returns for its 10th helping, which promises to be bigger, better and tastier than ever.


TINY HOUSES Learn about the cavity box research project conducted by the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy.



FEAR THE REAPER Did you know that the hottest chili pepper in the world is grown right here in South Carolina?


RETAIL THERAPY Take a trip to Savannah’s The Paris Market to uncover goodies and treasures of all shapes and sizes.


THE KNIFE OF THE PARTY Old friends from North Carolina turn a friendly competition into a booming business.


COUNTER CULTURE OF THE HOSTESS CITY Check out The Bluff’s picks for where to grab a delicious cup o’ joe and maybe even a sweet treat in the steamy city of Savannah.


CALENDAR OF EVENTS The Bluff’s bustling social calendar is chock-full of great events. Don’t miss out!

Created by & for those who love this special Lowcountry idyll Publisher Courtney Hampson Editor Anna Jones Photography/Illustrations Megan Brantley

Rob Kaufman

Logan Mock-Bunting

Anne Caufmann

Keith Lanpher

Steve Moraco

Jack Gardner

Bonjwing Lee

Josh Morehouse

Eric Horan

Krisztian Lonyai

Savannah College of Art and Design

Michael Hrizuk

Jeff Mauritzen Writers

Amanda Baran Cutrer

Barry Kaufman

Dr. Mary Socci

Courtney Hampson

Aldo Muccia

Timothy White

Justin Hardy

Sarah Sanford

Tim Wood

Anna Jones

Dylan Sell



Amanda Lax

Sally Auguston

Teddy Shipley

Lauren Dixon

Real Estate Sales

800.501.7405 Inn Reservations



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Written by Anna Jones / Photos by Jeff Mauritzen & Logan Mock-Bunting

In early spring, when the crisp of the morning air evokes a memory of warmth, when the gently sloping foothills of Virginia’s slice of the Blue Ridge Mountains become awash in a cloak of green, that is Rutger de Vink’s favorite time of year. “In the beginning of April, the buds start swelling, and a little green comes [on the vine]. And then by the end of April, the buds come up. The anticipation of the growing season … that’s what gets me excited,” Rutger said.


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“Within the first week, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.� 7

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Rutger owns RdV Vineyards, a winery set snugly on the side of a hilltop in the mountainous region of Virginia, finding his joie de vivre in mastering the art of fine wine in a part of the world little known for such luxuries. Since opening his winery a little more than five years ago, Rutger has risen to the top in the world of high quality wines, earning a reputation for making an elegant, sophisticated selection that rivals those made in Napa and Sonoma. I first met Rutger and his wife Jenny at Music To Your Mouth’s event at The Dabney in Washington, DC, this past summer. A power couple in the humblest sense of the phrase, Rutger and Jenny brought some of RdV’s most delicious Bordeaux-style blends from 2010 to pair with the delectable dishes served to hungry DC diners. I introduced myself to Rutger and Jenny and was immediately intrigued by the pair. Rutger is tall and tanned, with an easy, confident manner that fits somewhere

A Millennium Choice Although Rutger has owned RdV Vineyards since 2004, his professional life until that point was not filled with winemaking. Rutger spent the first four years of his career serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, which he described as, “not really a job, but a way of life.” After his service in the Marines, he earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and upon graduation he went to work for a venture capital firm. “So many people said, ‘Oh you must be having a great time.’ But for me, that wasn’t a way of life, it was a job. I was always focused on my time off and away [from the job]. It was at a New Year’s Eve party in 2000 – you know, the millennium – when I decided I’ve got to change my life. I’ve got to do something with my hands, in the sun and get dirty.”

between dashingly debonair and seasoned outdoorsman. Jenny is petite

And as a man of conviction, that is exactly what Rutger did. He quit

and bright-eyed, and she speaks in an eloquent, thoughtful manner – the

his corporate life and began searching for a way to satiate his thirst for

kind that always makes you stop what you are doing to listen because you

something new, something real and something he could create with

know what she’s saying is going to be good.

his hands. Rutger began an apprenticeship with Jim Law at Linden

We sat next to each other during the dinner, devouring plate after plate of food, washed down with a different wine at each course. When the

Vineyards, one of the most prestigious vineyards in the region and one of the founding fathers of the contemporary Virginia wine scene.

wine from RdV was served, both Jenny and Rutger beamed at the bottle

“Within the first week, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life,”

like it was their newborn baby, and they explained the composition and

Rutger remembered.

story of their wines to me with a passionate fervor that was refreshingly

He stayed on at Linden Vineyards for the next two years, working side

uncomplicated and, better yet, without a hint of the usual wine snobbery.

by side with Jim, whom Rutger fondly calls the “Godfather of Virginia

For me, it was love at first glass, enjoying the wine as well as its makers.

wine” for his professional approach to running a vineyard in an area not

As guests sipped their luscious wine, examining the deep color and

known for such endeavors. During his time at Linden Vineyards, Rutger

tasting the rich, velvety notes each sip revealed, Rutger discussed with

gathered the essentials of viticulture and winemaking from Jim, who

the group his vision for bringing fine wine to Virginia, and the lengths

also impressed upon him the importance of choosing the correct site

he and his team take to reflect that special terroir. Unsure of the exact

for a vineyard: “The wine comes from the site; it isn’t manipulated in the

meaning of terroir, a French word, in this context, I asked him to explain

cellar,” Rutger said.


From Virginia, Rutger then traveled to Bordeaux, France, where he

“Terroir, in French, means of the earth,” Rutger replied.

surrounded himself with experts in his new venture and studied

“With wine, it means you can taste the earth; you can taste the land

winemaking intensely, seeing firsthand the effect terroir has on wine. A

that particular vine grew from.”

few years later, he was ready. Rutger began scouting sites to start his own

I took another sip of the 2010 Rendezvous, and my untrained, immature palate searched for a taste of terroir. Nothing. I sipped again, this time concentrating feverishly on the deconstruction of what I was digesting – wait, what was that? Something full, something rich, something with substance. Is that terroir? Oh, who am I kidding? I have no clue. Then Jenny smiled at me, and I realized what it was – the taste of fulfillment of one’s life purpose in the form of a simple grape.

vineyard. His search started on the coast of Sonoma and then north of Santa Barbara, both of which are world-renowned for their grape-friendly soil, but neither spoke to him. He spent three years looking for the perfect site, and finally, he found one – on a rocky hillside in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, just 60 miles from Washington, DC. He knew his work was cut out for him. The dry, arid climate of Napa and Sonoma in California make the soil there ripe for growing grapes that make wonderful wine, but the temperate, rainier climate of Virginia? Not quite the same story, but the

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granite hilltop he chose does provide the well-drained soil in which grape vines thrive. But that was just the beginning. Rutger and his team spent the next two years preparing their 16 acres of land for its next adventure of growing grapes. After the soil was ready, the real fun began. The RdV team planted row after row of grape vines, carefully positioning each plant to ensure its longevity and fruitfulness. Divided into 11 parcels, RdV cultivates cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot vines. And the team who manages the vineyards still maintains intimate care of each plant all these years later. “We spend the most time in the vineyard, treating each plant like a bonsai tree,” Rutger said. “We consider ourselves sophisticated farmers of sorts.” He says ‘sophisticated farmers;’ I say miracle-workers, but that’s neither here nor there.

A Signature Silo With a vineyard as special and unique as RdV, the actual structure of the winery had to be just as exceptional. “You can make great wine in a warehouse, but our investors wanted to do something more special,” said Rutger. “We wanted to build a winery that was more modern, but paid homage to our roots.” As the focal point of the painting that is RdV Vineyards, the winery is centered around a towering silo, which serves as a nod to American agricultural history. On the outside, a visual of rough-hewn siding is presented, garnering the expectation that the interior will follow this traditional aesthetic as well. But just the opposite occurs. The inside of the winery embraces a modern, minimalist approach in its architectural structure and décor. The fermentation room is an extension from the silo, filled with vats of wine preoccupied with aging to perfection. There is also a room for bottling and one for storage (each wine is stored for two years), both of which reflect the contemporary design of the 5,000-square-foot winery. But Rutger and his team recommend exploring RdV yourself. Tours of the remarkable facility and vineyards along with a tasting of RdV wines can be arranged Thursday through Sunday for just $50 per person.

An Old World Wine in the 21st Century And finally – the wine. Priding itself on maintaining the highest quality in all it does, RdV produces two main wines: Lost Mountain and Rendezvous. “Lost Mountain is our showcase wine, our expression of cabernet sauvignon,” said Rutger. “It has a powerful structure and finesse. It’s a little austere in the sense that it is very structured, but that’s our age-worthy wine.” Showcase wine indeed – at $95 per bottle, you’ll certainly want to imbibe this blend slowly and purposefully. Composed primarily of the cabernet sauvignon fruit Rutger and his team work so diligently and passionately to nurture, Lost


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Mountain is as strikingly robust as the cliffs that surround the RdV

[The consultant] Eric has taught me a lot about starting with great fruit.

vineyards are steep.

Starting with beautiful grapes, then the wine will be fantastic. It’ll turn

Next on the RdV wine list is the Rendezvous, a carefully curated

into something very special.”

composition of the four different grape varieties RdV grows. Each year a different blend of Rendezvous is created, based on the fruit harvested,

A Wine-ding Road

making each vintage a custom recipe.

After producing several successful seasons of award-winning wine,

“It’s a new-world style wine and more approachable,” Rutger explained. “It’s rounder, fleshier than the Lost Mountain, and the one we usually

“We’re finding our style in wines,” Rutger said. “As the vines mature

pour at wine dinners, like the one we did in DC.”

more, they are able to produce something a little more sophisticated.”

At $75 per bottle, the price is a bit more palatable for those wishing to

And others would agree. At a recent wine conference (yes, such things do

drink fine wine without crossing the $100 threshold. “It’s what Jenny and

exist) Rutger attended, he received the highest praise from a colleague.

I drink together at home,” Rutger confided.

Rutger introduced himself to a group as a winemaker from Virginia, to

And because there’s no sense in wasting perfectly delicious grapes, RdV creates a small batch of what Rutger lovingly refers to as the Friends and Family blend, sold at just $35. “It’s [made from] the stuff that doesn’t

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which one Napa winemaker replied, “Have you ever heard of Rd … RdV? It’s a Virginia wine?” When Rutger nodded and claimed it as his own, the winemaker responded, “That shit’s the bomb!”

make it into the other two wines. It’s not bad; it just doesn’t quite fit. I

In retelling this story, I could tell that this unsolicited (and rather

don’t want to say it’s the ‘kitchen sink,’ but it is,” Rutger chuckled.

colorful) compliment was as good as it gets for Rutger. “When you say

As each wine RdV creates is made from a blend of grapes, Rutger relies


Rutger and the team at RdV seem to have found their stride.

you’re from Virginia, you’re kind of the odd man out,” he laughed.

on the expertise from professional consultants from Bordeaux who, after

Moving forward, Rutger continues to realize his life’s passion day in and

much extensive research and tasting of that year’s harvest, craft the delicate

day out, but it’s not without its lessons, and he’s grateful for each one he

composition of the Lost Mountain and Rendezvous wines. There are 11

learns along the way.

parcels, or blocks, Rutger calls them, and each block grows a different variety

“The less you do, the more it shows,” Rutger said thoughtfully. “It’s kind

of grape. Currently, they grow four blocks of cabernet sauvignon, three blocks

of ironic for me being from the military where you always work harder,

of merlot, three blocks of cabernet franc, and one block of petit verdot.

but the thing I’ve had to learn over and over again is ‘less is more.’ Let the

“Each block tastes very different after the fermentation,” Rutger said.

wine shine on its own.”

“So we’ll have figure out, ‘OK, this one will marry well with this one,’

And as for reflecting the much sought-after terroir? You’ll just have to try

and so on. This is where the artistry, the craftsmanship, comes in.

it for yourself.


Designing Custom Homes in Palmetto Bluff for over 12 Years 912.234.8056

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Written by Sarah Sanford / Photos by Krisztian Lonyai 13

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It would probably still be up there if I hadn’t climbed back into the hayloft to get the pocketknife to cut into the hay bales for the horses below. In the shadows and covered in dust and cobwebs, the bulging old burlap sack was practically invisible, but the beam of the flashlight caught it just right. It was treasure that I’d found: a baker’s dozen of old wooden duck decoys, still

That was when, in 1973, the auction of the collection of William J. Mackey,

rigged with rotted string and tied to the rusty nuts and bolts that my dad had

Jr. of Bedford, New Jersey, occurred. Still considered the most comprehensive

used for weights. Even in the dim light I could see the hand-painted wings

national collection of American decoys, it was the auction that transformed the

and eyes, the carved initials on the bellies of the birds, and the patina of their

duck decoy market. Gary Guyette, president and founder of the preeminent

having been hauled around in a sack and tossed onto the floors of rowboats

decoy auction house, Guyette & Deeter, explains, “In his meticulous research

destined for 1940s duck blinds.

for his book, American Bird Decoys, 1965, author and collector, William J.

They were spectacular. They were art. And that is exactly what decoys are considered these days, one of the oldest forms of American folk art. Just watch an episode of PBS’s Antiques Road Show, and you’ll see that the decoy experts are from the major auction houses’ American folk art departments. Former director of the American folk art department at Sotheby's in New York, Nancy Druckman, explains, “Decoys are interesting in that they are utilitarian objects and also works of art, a quintessential American art form, with pleasing sculptural qualities.” Decoys have been made here in America since long before the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. We know this because in 1924 a team of archaeologists found 11 intact decoys stored inside two woven baskets in a cave in Humboldt County, Nevada. The decoys were nearly 2,000 years old – the oldest decoys on earth. Okay, so you might not find any of those in Grandpa’s back shed, but you might well find what I did: a remarkable, special, and maybe even valuable collection. From Cobwebs to Collections Wooden decoys have become valuable because they have become increasingly scarce. In 1918 Congress passed the North American Wildlife Act and the North American Migratory Bird Act that significantly limited all hunting and completely banned commercial hunting for most migratory species. Like a light switch, the demand for decoys was all but switched off because the commercial hunters were the biggest customers for the decoy market. Fast forward to the 1950s and ’60s when plastic molded decoys flooded the sportsman’s hunting market. These decoys were lighter, more easily transported, and even more lifelike! Sportsmen – like my father – were thrilled not to have to lug around the old wooden blocks in burlap bags any longer, and many old wooden “throw-away” decoys ended up being burned or tossed into the dump as worthless. It wasn’t until the ’70s that these relics became recognized as the collectible folk art that they are regarded today.

Mackey, Jr. of Massachusetts, identified that there were ‘pockets’ around the U.S. of decoy collectors centered around sporting hotspots. Mackey studied and collected from each of these.” Mackey organized his collection around six regions, each with its own style: the northeast; the mid-Atlantic down to South Carolina; Louisiana; the northern Great Lakes area; the Illinois River area south of Chicago; and the West Coast (from San Francisco up through the Columbia River area in Oregon). Mackey’s influence was profound. Appreciation for his collection gave structure to what had previously been a pretty random collector’s world. Guyette continues, “It was the first time that individual collectors from all over actually came together and recognized that there were other ‘pockets’ of [decoy] collectors out there. Folks who were used to getting what they wanted now were bidding against each other – and suddenly, for the first time, individual decoys pushed past the $10,000 point.” It was an eye-opener for collectors – a “hey, we’re onto something!” moment, and a new collector subculture was born. Organization helped set value, and after 1973 duck decoys began to behave in the marketplace more like commodities. In the ensuing years collectors’ opinions evolved on the question of what makes decoys most valuable. Initially, value was driven largely by the sensibilities of sportsmen, meaning that the most valuable decoys were the ones that were actually carved specifically for hunting – the ones that would best attract ducks. In fact, if the patina included a pockmark or two from actual shot, that was an additional endorsement, said the experts. This holds true in part today, as the market has diversified, for those collectors who particularly value “hunting patina.” However, as in all collectibles, decoy collectors also value specimens that are in mint condition. So a great decoy can be one that was made for hunting but never went to work, instead sitting in a box in an attic (or in my case, a barn). Or, as the market has evolved and carvers from the various regions became regarded more as artists than woodworkers, a great decoy at auction now is often one that was carved and rigged as a decoy, but the carver, beginning to appreciate decoys as the art we see them as today, actually carved it for display.

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Hunter Collectors to Connoisseurs As tastes for collectable decoys have further matured during the 1980s – and a few decoys have brought eye-popping prices at auction – it became clear the market isn’t driven by sportsmen anymore. Dixon Merkt, an author and expert in decoy collectibles, says, “Now the key players are art collectors whose standards are different than those of the original hunter buyers. The expectations are more nuanced and sophisticated with sculpture playing a larger and larger role.” Merkt explained that decoys carved with the bird “in action,”

well-heeled sportsmen have traveled to local plantations and farms around here to enjoy our world-class upland and waterfowl hunting, and the company of like-minded sportsmen from around the globe. Some of the decoys they left behind, and more and more from elsewhere every year, can be seen at the Southeastern Wildlife Exhibition (SEWE) Decoy Auction that occurs every year in February in Charleston. If you’re wondering what you have, you may

those that are now most highly prized by collectors.

want to reach out to Guyette & Deeter. In

looking for important additions to their collections and are willing to pay accordingly,” he says. And the prices are staggering. “But that top tier of decoy buyers is very thin,” Merkt chuckles. “Gather them all together, and they’d fit into a Volkswagen. And if it happened to go off a cliff, the market would dry up for a while!” So the number of folks who might have bid in the 2007 auction for the Lothrop Holmes red-breasted merganser hen that sold for the record $856,000 is pretty small. Just like in the rest of the art world, big names bring big prices, too. Perhaps the most famous practitioner was Elmer Crowell (1862-1951), a masterful carver and painter who lived on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod. His decoys generally have carved wings and glass eyes, and he often used a rasp to imitate feathers on the back of his decoys’ heads and on their breasts. Crowell is largely considered the greatest of all the decoy carvers. Other big names at auction are: the Ward brothers, Captain Chauncey Wheeler, Harry V. Shourds, Mason Decoy Factory, Joseph W. Lincoln, Lothrop Holmes, and many more. Excellent examples of the work of well-known carvers can bring up to $50,000 to $250,000 at auction on a regular basis these days.


fact, you might have already seen them as they manage the auction and decoy show at SEWE each year. Just snap a couple of photos of the decoy you want to have identified and email the shots to them at

“The market is influenced by the demand of top collectors who might be looking for important additions to their collections and are willing to pay accordingly.” They’ll appraise it at no charge. In a surprisingly quick amount of time, they’ll return to you what in real estate would be called “a windshield appraisal,” along with their advice as to how best to liquidate the carving, should that be your direction. For more information, go to Most antique decoys aren’t signed or dated. So typically what you’ll hear from them, and other appraisers, is that the standard-looking wooden duck decoy from unknown hands that has seen some action ends up in the $25 to $1,000 range. Okay, so there are those stories of sportsmen who bought one at a yard sale for $5 and flipped it for $500. But for most of us, like for me and the best of my dad’s baker’s dozen, the highest and best use for the decoys we find in the hayloft is on a mantel or bookshelf. It’s a little difficult to put a number on sentimental value, so I’ll just say mine are priceless. I get to think of my dad, and just enjoy the sight. Because every decoy is art.



A.E. Crowell

Preening Pintail






Slot Neck Canada Goose





A.E. Crowell

Hissing Canada Goose


Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter



A.E. Crowell

Nesting Canada Goose





A.E. Crowell

Preening Canada Goose





Mason Decoy Factory

Wood Duck


Guyette & Deeter




Eider Drake





A.E. Crowell

Preening Pintail Drake





A.E. Crowell

Feeding Dust Jacket Black-Bellied Plover


Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter



Lothrop Holmes

Red-Breasted Merganser Hen


Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter (jointly with Christie’s)



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place to come across a wide variety of duck decoys. For nearly two centuries,

doing things such as preening, nesting, feeding or resting (yes, that’s action), are “The market is influenced by the demand of top collectors who might be


Merkt says that our neck of the woods here in South Carolina is an excellent




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moreland village:

Bringing Life to Design Written by Courtney Hampson | Photos by Anne Caufmann,

Michael Hrizuk, Keith Lanpher, Bonjwing Lee & Krisztian Lonyai

The beauty of this place is in the way that the limbs of the live oaks dip, the way the Spanish moss moves in the breeze. And in that smell – of salt and

the sea, warmed by the sun. Once you are here you understand it – the South Carolina Lowcountry and Palmetto Bluff, that is.

In Moreland Village, Palmetto Bluff ’s next village, the goal is to blur the

lines between indoors and out. To bring life to the landscape by creating and celebrating the crossroads – whether waterways, wooded trails, driveways or

an oyster shell path that snakes along the marsh and ends at a hidden fire pit. Here, there is opportunity for self-discovery – where one might explore on

their own, their attention caught by a trail that they couldn’t help but follow.


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With idyllic views and more than 17,000 linear feet of marsh edge, the raw

Boundary Street, located in downtown Bluffton. This space will serve as a

materials at Moreland are simply stunning. And in the core of the Village,

recreational village center with a game room, bowling alley, restaurant, bar,

the focus is on the details. Roads and paths are paved with crushed oyster

lounge and art loft.

shells. Fifty-six custom Bevolo lanterns designed to reflect a nautical theme ®

dot the streets of the first phase of the Village. Each structure is subordinate to the landscape and capitalizes on views, breezes and sun position. A focus on outdoor living encourages outdoor kitchens, expansive porches, day beds, showers and a place for the dog to wash his paws, all with convenient access to the river, as well as the walking and nature trails. The Moreland green is very different from the Wilson Village Green because it serves as the connector among all of the public spaces. The “Crossroads,” as the green has been dubbed, lives as the hub of the Village, the place where people will intersect naturally, and probably even stop and sit. The Outfitters will serve as the perfect jumping-off point for outdoor exploration opportunities and will be a place of learning, especially conservation and environmental education. It will also be the new home to the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, the non-profit organization started 13 years ago to manage Palmetto Bluff ’s 20,000 acres. “The Boundary” social hall was named to pay homage to the Cole family, the last owners of Moreland Plantation who also had a summer home on

With this nod to history, it was only natural for us to think about the people too. The lake that folks will pass as they cross into the Village has been named Lake Bales in honor of Charlie Bales, who spent his entire career taking care of this land, first for Union Camp, and then for Crescent Communities. He retired nearly two years ago, and this was our gift to him for the invaluable contributions he made to the Bluff over his career. The residential homesites on the marsh here are called Dove Field – because we never want to forget what was here first – and that spot was a hunting field. According to Jay Walea, Director of the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, it was “the best dove field in the country at one time.” So that one is for him. In this place, where history, people, culture and tradition will all come together to create community, the stories are rich. As such, we needed the experiences to be even richer. So, we assembled an impressive team of architects, builders, makers, artisans and visionaries to focus on the details of creating place. Through this process, we learned that by focusing on creativity and out-of-thebox thinking, we’ve been able to create a unique spot rooted in authenticity.

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Joe Thompson

chase allen

INFUSE LOCAL ART Chase Allen, coastal sculptor and owner of The Iron Fish Gallery on

The visual power of this technique is a result of the repetition of shapes

Daufuskie Island, was commissioned for a sculpture installation in the

and textures, all combining in an intensely active visual composition. The

Outfitters. When completed, the installation will consist of more than 100

layered quality of the work will respond to variations in light intensity and

abstract steel birds that will be suspended overhead, running more than 70

direction. At night, the work will be illuminated to create strong contrast and

feet from the entrance of the building to the exit. This concept is a forced

accentuate the rhythmic qualities of the project. The monochromatic paint

perspective that will no doubt be a one-of-a-kind definitive collection of art.

will allow for a clear understanding of shape, rhythm and form. This sculpture

At The Boundary, an 8' x 20' sculpture will serve as a focal point of the reception hall and bowling alley. As the backdrop of the bowling alley, the piece will be fabricated from thousands of monochromatic wooden elements arranged to compose a tableaux of the natural environment, with pieces being stacked to create a layered effect and cut to produce curvilinear forms.


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is being made by Joseph Thompson of Greenville, South Carolina. After making several visits to Palmetto Bluff to scout for the project, he returned to his Greenville studio to translate this remarkable landscape into a visually powerful and evocative installation.

HISTORIC MATERIALS One of the building materials incorporated throughout Moreland Village is

versions influenced by Gullah culture in South Carolina. Despite the different

tabby, a building material that has been used throughout the coastal areas of

varieties, the Moreland project team decided to discover a way to replicate the

South Carolina, Georgia and Florida for centuries. Tabby was used initially in

original tabby effect and incorporate it into Moreland Village.

structural fortifications and later employed in residential structures during the 1700-1800s.

The final selection of tabby used in Moreland Village was based on a construction technique that uses a special blend of oyster shells of varying

Originally composed of lime, water, sand, oyster shells and ash, tabby was used in

sizes combined with Portland cement and poured into forms to create “lifts,”

colonial home construction because it was a durable, plentiful building material.

similar to the way it would have been created centuries ago. This “revival

There are many adaptations of tabby still used today – from the early Spanish version found around St. Augustine, to “Oglethorpe Tabby,” or “Spalding

tabby” is found within fireplaces, foundation walls, bars and the bowling alley cladding in Moreland and was installed by builder Choate Construction Co.

Tabby,” seen in ruins around the coastal Georgia islands, as well as other

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FOOD TRADITIONS In the South where barbecue is a staple, the Smokehouse at The Boundary

Unlike most bowling alleys, The Boundary’s bowling alley is flanked by walls

may very well be the exclamation point in Moreland Village. Using

of glass and tabby to provide a visual and physical connection to the natural

quintessential Lowcountry architecture, the Smokehouse is framed in

setting just outside, in addition to providing lots of natural light for the space.

white-washed Southern yellow pine timbers clad with durable and beautiful

When given a chance to reflect on the unique nature of the space, the design

old-growth cypress siding, set on a solid foundation with revival tabby

team felt that it could be more than just a bowling alley. What if it could

veneer. Ipe decking and a wraparound screened-in porch with wood-framed

become an event space, too?

bronze screening offer guests tranquil views of Moreland Village, the Crossroads, surrounding wetlands and the marsh beyond. The Smokehouse uses traditional ideas about form and space and blends them with new ideas around community programming to activate the space in a way that engages guests. Normally sequestered in an area inaccessible to the public, the Moreland Smokehouse was repositioned to be adjacent to The Boundary’s dining room. The Smokehouse offers a marsh-front venue for a display kitchen where guests can learn and taste the best in barbecue.

GET CREATIVE Like many projects, unforeseen constraints necessitate unique solutions. Such was the case in building The Boundary in Moreland Village. Because preservation of the surrounding natural setting was paramount, and the site boundaries of the building were fixed, we looked for ways to optimize the use of indoor and outdoor spaces alike. One space where a little ingenuity and a lot of collaboration went a long way was the bowling alley in The Boundary.


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A conversation with bowling alley manufacturer, Brunswick, revealed that no one had ever asked them to consider converting a bowling alley to an event space before. That conversation, however, also led to an inventive solution. Brunswick segmented the gutters and capping of the alley such that they could be removed and replaced with flooring to fill in the gaps. One of the most remarkable things about this engineering for the flooring is the tight constraints within which Brunswick designed: each bowling lane panel is within 1/10,000th of an inch of the next one. Storage for the gutters and capping also allowed the design team to get creative. An underfoot custom vault was crafted to store panels, ball return equipment, furniture and more. In the end, there won’t be another bowlingalley-turned-reception-hall like it anywhere else. This space has been designed not only for guest receptions and bowling, but also for temporary art exhibitions, movie showings and a variety of village gatherings.

INSIDE-OUT DESIGN The concept for the Outfitters is to serve as a hub for outdoor and educational

thousands of sinker logs. The wood that is harvested from these sinker logs

activities. As the ecology around the Outfitters borders “the living edge” -

is stunning and ranges in tone and color from a rich dark grayish-green to a

the multiple ecosystems that make up the transition from saltwater creek to

caramel color, creating a durable yet beautiful finish.

maritime forest – this provides the ultimate place for remarkable outdoor experiences. The building’s design leverages those unique site opportunities

Creating to cONSERVE

to create a collection of buildings that blur the lines between indoors and

The Moreland Outfitters complex was built using the highest efficiency

outdoors, featuring large expanses of dynamic window walls that allow occupants to be inside while never losing the connection or experience of being outside. When guests move from one building to the next, they are immersed in the surrounding environment through covered porches.

systems. The mechanical system uses the consistent temperature of the earth to minimize the energy needed to cool and heat the complex. The ground source open loop well system uses underground water that has a consistent temperature and is run through a plate exchanger to take advantage of

A key component of the complex of buildings that make up the Outfitters is

the cooler temperature before it is put back into the same aquafer from

the use of sinker cypress logs. Sinker cypress logs are named for the journey

which it was borrowed. The water is never touched or changed other than

the trees took to the bottom of river beds. These are logs that were cut during

taking advantage of the temperature difference. This geothermal system,

the harvesting process and were floated to the mills for processing. The more

in conjunction with the variable refrigerant flow, creates a highly efficient

dense “sinker” logs sank while on the trip to the mill, and because so many

mechanical system that significantly reduces the energy used by the

logs were floated down the river, no one bothered trying to save the logs

Outfitters complex without sacrificing comfort or performance. As an

that had sunk. Fast-forward 50 years and resourceful wood connoisseurs

added bonus, the system is also very quiet.

discovered that the rivers used to float timbers to the mills were littered with

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PROGRAMMING AND PARTNERSHIPS The soon-to-be-launched Masters in Residence program in Moreland Village,

select winners for the annual awards in six categories: style, outdoors, food,

a partnership between Palmetto Bluff and Garden & Gun magazine, was

drink, home and crafts.

uniquely designed to celebrate the arts, foster creativity and offer a hands-on

The partnership kicks off at Palmetto Bluff in November 2016 with the Made

education. The inaugural program invites notable guests, including winners of Garden & Gun’s Made in the South Awards, to stay in a dedicated cottage in Moreland Village. Here, artists will relax, revitalize and continue to hone their craft as they create a piece of art during their stay.

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in Residence program begins in January 2017. Garden & Gun will invite Masters to stay on-property for up to two weeks at a time. During their stay, Masters will keep office hours for community drop-ins, host a small welcome

Masters will include makers featured in the pages of Garden & Gun

reception as well as a handful of events including workshops, readings and

magazine, namely winners and judges of Garden & Gun’s Made in the South

trunk shows. Some events will be exclusive to Palmetto Bluff property owners,

Awards, an annual contest that celebrates the best Southern-made products,

while others will be open to the public.

craftsmanship and design. A panel of Garden & Gun editors and guest judges


in the South Awards party hosted in Moreland Village, and the Masters

“The Nationals” Silver Award • 370 LightHouse & Finalist Awards • Pinnacle Award Finalist & Merit Winner • Small Business of the Year • Multiple “Best Builder” awards

20 YEARS OF BUILDING EXCELLENCE H2BUILDERS.COM 843.815.GOH2 (4642) f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


Birds are the subjects of photographer Eric Horan's most famous photos.


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and a



Dylan Sell

Eric Horan

A man steers his boat through a narrow tidal creek in the wee hours of the morning. As the hum of the motor echoes through the delta, an orange sun rises in front of him. Suddenly, a bird calls, and he shuts off the motor. As he sits quietly, two black skimmers glide across the sky above him, darting back and forth, completely unaware of his presence. Silently, he retrieves a camera from his bag and points it at the birds. *Click* What exactly is the life of a wildlife photographer like? What does it take to make a career taking pictures and educating people about the natural world? Pictures of a soaring egret or a nesting bluebird are iconic, but what type of person goes out and captures these shots? How does a photographer develop the eye to meld the movement, the drama and the artistry of the natural world and capture this in a nanosecond?


Hilton Head-based photographer Eric Horan grew up on a 120-acre ranch in the Switzerland of America area in southwest Colorado. The stomping ground of his youth was the surrounding countryside, in all of its mountainous and rugged glory, where he explored the landscape and fell in love with nature’s intricate beauty. “My brothers and I used to ride in rodeos in Arizona,” Horan says. “We would rope calves and run the bulls; we did team roping and all the cowboy stuff. I was always outside.”

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rom his childhood spent in the great outdoors, Horan’s passion

Part of working for Colorado Parks and Wildlife meant that Horan had

for the natural world bloomed. He earned his degree in

to learn the habits and habitats of each animal, and the field biologists

Commercial Art and Photography at Colorado Mountain College,

who accompanied him on his expeditions were happy to help teach him.

and immediately after graduating, he landed his dream job. When

Understanding the life histories of his subjects was the first step toward

the Colorado Parks and Wildlife documentarian became ill, Horan

becoming a naturalist. But all good things must end, and the state didn’t

was brought on to fulfill the documentarian’s remaining year-long

have enough money to pay for two full-time photographers. After about a

assignment to photograph the state’s parks. His career as a wildlife

year, when the documentarian had fully recovered, Horan had to move on.

photographer was born. “It was an amazing opportunity. I was just this green boy thrust into a man’s job,” Horan recalls wistfully.

Horan worked in construction between jobs, and in his free time, he skied in Aspen. While there he met athletes and photographers, and

For one of his first assignments, Horan was asked to photograph an elk

slowly began to pick up work as a freelance sports photographer. “I loved

count. The best time to count the local elk population is during their

it. It was action-packed. I was photographing the best people in the world

rut, a period in the fall when mating occurs, and males fight for females.

and what they do. I was green again,” Horan remembered. “There was

Horan and the rest of the survey team traveled on horseback to find the

a whole group of photographers who just do that. They pick a sport to

elk herd, and they camped there for two weeks. “[The elk] were big, and

specialize in, and they are really good … and they would take me out and

there were about 1,500 of them. We were there observing, doing counts

show me the ropes.”

... doing a visual inventory of all the animals,” says Horan. “We camped right next to where the herd was. So after a long day of photographing and counting, we would hear them at night. They allowed us to be there.”


Skiing was always his favorite sport to photograph, although he emphasized that it was also risky. Standing in the wrong place could end terribly, and so he followed the leadership of the more experienced

As wonderful as it was to explore nature on a horse, working from

photographers. “We photographed people on the downhill going 70

horseback had its drawbacks. One time, a coyote spooked his horse, which

miles an hour,” he says. “We were on the course, and they were coming

could have ended in disaster. But ever the photographer, Horan’s first

toward the camera ... but [we] got some spectacular pictures.”

concern wasn’t for himself. “Luckily,” he says, “the camera was unharmed.” As he finished his documentation of the elk herds, Horan moved on to a project photographing Colorado’s bighorn sheep, which brought a change in topography and added a new challenge. Instead of

“Believe it or not, there really are a lot of similarities between wildlife photography and sports photography. It’s peak action stuff. You really have to learn enough about the sport [or] behavior ... to know when is the optimal time to take a picture.”

photographing the grasslands of the western Great Plains, he was now capturing the steep Rocky Mountain habitat of the sheep, and Horan had to take his photographs from a helicopter. Or rather, below the helicopter, in a special rig with a seat, so that photographs were not obstructed by the glass windows of the cockpit. An umbrella-like shield protected him from the chopper’s downdraft, but he still felt terrifyingly exposed.

His endeavor in sports photography took him around the country, from the slopes of Colorado to the shores of Rhode Island and Florida, where he photographed sailing regattas. Through it all, he continued taking pictures of wildlife and learning about the natural world. “I got really into birds,” he says. “People would see my landscape photography and my birds, and they’d sell it to the resorts. The birds really helped [me]

Horan called the man for whom he was standing in. “[Fortunately] I

become a total marketing package.”

could talk to him on the phone. He just said, ‘Oh, don’t be ridiculous. You know how to work the cameras. You’ve got all these people around you who have done this before.’ I sort of just eventually became comfortable being able to do this. I thought it was all really fun.” As well as documenting new material, Horan was exposed to new techniques. “I shot film and stills. I hadn’t done any movie-making at all in school, so that was a first,” he said.


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By the time Horan moved to Hilton Head Island, he knew the photography ropes much better than he had as a young apprentice at Colorado Parks and Wildlife. After working various lifestyle photography jobs in the area, he decided to open his own studio. On Hilton Head, though, he faced a new set of challenges. “Colorado is big. It has a huge dramatic beauty with its elevations. When I got to the Lowcountry, I was

Horan's photo captures a bird bringing food to her young. f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


like, ‘What do I do with this? It’s so flat! You know what I need? I need

It’s this depth of knowledge, Horan emphasizes, that helps the

a ladder, a plane and a boat.’ So I started to get out and get nice water

photographer be successful. “You have to get people to educate

scenes. I started hiring an airplane and getting pictures of the land from

themselves on what they want to photograph.”

high above. I could do that by climbing mountains as a kid, but now I learned to love flying.”

Although his photography studio now occupies much of his time, Horan says that his focus has shifted from photography to education. “I can

Just as his mentors had known years ago where to get the best photos of

take people to awe-inspiring imagery and maybe help another person get

Colorado wildlife or competing skiers, Horan needed to know where he

connected and become part of the management team that it will require

could get the best photos of the Lowcountry birds and other wildlife. To

to save the earth.”

hone these skills he enrolled in the Master Naturalist Program through the Clemson Extension at the Lowcountry Institute. “I took the class because it was a natural fit after my younger years. It was more than just a commitment to my practice and making a living in wildlife photography.”

When Horan leads tour participants on his boat to an optimal location, he advises them to turn off their cellphones. The silence and the visual beauty are breathtaking, and relaxation comes easily. “My participants accuse me of having all the birds on the payroll. I just share what I know so others

Using his local knowledge of native wildlife, Horan continues his love for

hopefully can get their creative juices flowing and their passion going …

photographing birds. “Right now I’m taking pictures of spring shorebird

We are making them focus on the here and now. It is gratifying to do that.

migrations. After they are gone, we go into seabird nesting season, which

Even if I just move them one step further on their path, it is gratifying

[involves] seven species of birds. Birds that nest communally on the

for me to be a part of that.”

islands. There are brown pelicans, three different kinds of terns, laughing gulls, oystercatchers, and of course, black skimmers.”

Eric Horan has recently published his stunning photography in a new book, “Beholding Nature.” Copies can be purchased through his website at To sign up for one of his wildlife tours, visit his website.

A black skimmer, one of Horan's favorite bird species to capture, skims along the water in search of food. 29

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Written by Courtney Hampson Photos by Jack Gardner

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This is a feel-good story. A story about family who found their roots at Palmetto Bluff. Those roots were nourished while walking row after row of the adjacent Lowcountry Farms property. We actually started this story four issues ago, when we told the tale of local

“When the doors came in, it was a moving experience. I hadn’t seen them

farmers, highlighting those farms in which the chefs of the Bluff ’s many

before they were in the building, so to see it come together was moving,” said

restaurants were sourcing local products and finding inspiration for their

Carter. “Especially in an experience that has been so humbling.” By ‘humbling,’

menus. Back then, it was Chef Brandon Carter who would spend hour upon

Carter meant the roadblocks they’ve experienced in building a new business

hour each week with farmer Ryan Williamson. Conversations paired with

as well as a new building. “You take things for granted that others will do, and

picking vegetables can apparently create quite the bond.

then when people are responsible for a wider scope, you realize what it takes to

The two wondered if one day a restaurant collaboration would be in the cards. Until then though, they kept planting and tasting and talking. Fastforward two years, and the duo, plus a third partner, are opening the doors to their new, 45-seat restaurant in Old Town Bluffton, dubbed FARM. And, oh, those doors. Custom-made with materials reclaimed and deconstructed from a 100-year-old barn in Mount Vernon, Ohio, the exposed and oxidized face on all of the lumber was preserved to create the rich, rustic charm of a time gone by. Sounds silly, but the heirloom quality of those doors almost tells you all you need to know. My father used to tell me that you can judge a restaurant (and your impending culinary experience) by the bread. If the bread was good, you knew the rest would be great. I still agree with the bread theory, but I felt similarly the first time I saw the doors to FARM. I knew something special was going to happen behind them. The doors had recently been installed while extensive work was still happening on the inside. Amidst the flying

put something like this together. So, when I say ‘humbling,’ I mean ‘humbling, but positive’ – I will appreciate it a lot more. This entire experience will help me to be a better chef in the end,” Carter said. I am not sure he needed any help being a better chef, as I still dream of the first dish he ever made for me. Scallops seared just enough to have a caramelized shell, over a bed of spinach sautéed with garlic. He basically had me at ‘hello.’ Back then to hear him talk about his dream, it wasn’t about notoriety or owning his own restaurant – it was (and still is) all about the food, the ingredients and the people. After all, his family and food experiences growing up were what shaped his career path which, in addition to Palmetto Bluff, has included The Ritz-Carlton Naples in South Florida, the Belly General Store and Mumbo Jumbo Bar and Grill. With people being paramount, it is no surprise that Carter bonded so quickly with Williamson and their third partner, Josh Heaton. Their philosophies are oddly (or ironically, or harmoniously) similar.

dust and dozens of craftsmen putting the finishing touches on the interior

The men in Williamson’s family taught him to love cooking. He grew up

space, I saw only the doors. They appeared to be rich with history, and their

doing most of the grunt work – heading shrimp, picking crab, tending to

texture reflected their age – suggesting decades of stories to tell. But I could

the garden – in and around the kitchen and at large family gatherings. His

also feel the immense amount of work that went into restoring the doors, a

father and Uncle Johnny enjoyed hosting and entertaining as many people

story in itself.

as they could talk into coming to a party (a trait they had inherited from

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At FARM, we intend to connect our guests to the stories behind their food and engage diners at a whole new level.


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Seared Hopper Shrimp, Toasted Garlic, Chili, Georgia Olive Oil, Oregano

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their father), and thus, it was only natural that Ryan would follow in their

a long time ago, by whom, I do not know (but it was almost certainly a

footsteps – toward foodways.

person). We are dependent on the talents and hard work of people whose

Williamson’s mother taught him everything else – about hard work (she often worked two to three jobs to make ends meet), and family, and

stories are too often unknown or untold. At FARM, we intend to connect our guests to the stories behind their food and engage diners at a whole

Williamson ran operations for Savannah Bee Company until 2011 when

cocktail doesn’t come from a bottle, it comes from people,” said Heaton.

his triplets (yes, triplets!) arrived, and he became a stay-at-home dad. In

Gives you chills, doesn’t it?

the importance of a big heart, of connecting with and giving to others.

June 2013, Williamson and his wife Joanne purchased a five-acre farm next to Palmetto Bluff. Lowcountry Farms shares a border with the community, but that’s hardly Williamson’s only connection to Palmetto Bluff. He and Joanne were married there in 2008, and it’s been a perennial favorite destination ever since.

new level. A

As I type, opening day is looming, and Carter is testing recipes. He notes, “We had all these plans to create this restaurant that we could see in our head, but didn’t know what it was going to look like. And every time another piece of the puzzle is put in place and starts to reveal what the picture is ... it’s moving.” Like the wood-fire oven that will take center stage in the space. It

Heaton, who will handle front-of-house operations, dubs himself a forager.

is Williamson’s favorite part of the entire restaurant. “I’m very much looking

I would dare to add cocktail master and pickler/preserver to his resumé

forward to seeing what Chef Brandon can create with such a versatile piece of

as well. A resumé that includes his relocation from Southern California

equipment. The dishes that come out of it will certainly be rustic yet refined.

eight years ago, when Starbucks Coffee Company assigned him to a

As a lover of cooking toys myself, this was an easy addition to the kitchen,”

then-struggling location on Hilton Head Island. After implementing

Williamson said.

strategies that led to growth in Starbucks’ top key performance measures, Heaton went on to do the same at the high profile location in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District. An inspired home cook, Heaton loves to uncover and tell stories about where our food (and drink) comes from and what it takes to bring them to the table. Heaton’s home garden is also something of a showpiece. Kiwi vines, muscadine grapes, asparagus, blueberries, raspberries, hops, and other food producing plants have been flourishing since his arrival in Bluffton. When I asked Heaton what the most crucial ingredient for a restaurant was, his response was immediate, “People.” When asked to explain, he used his “Pear Necessity” cocktail (recipe below) as the example. “The gin was crafted by Tony, who lives on Hilton Head. The ginger is grown by family farmers

As for the menu, Carter says, “It has been in my head my whole life. It will be fresh, simple, and clean – so you can go out to eat and still feel good about yourself.” Carter said he has been writing down five or six ideas every day – “What if we did this?” His approach to the menu includes a lot of questions to Williamson, “Can you grow this?” While testing recipes with other chef friends, Carter has changed the way he approaches food, but back to the ‘people’ part, his management style has shifted a little bit, too. “The menu doesn’t have to be about me or my idea. There is a vision, but everybody has input – bartenders, servers, cooks – we can all collaborate, and this can be our restaurant.”

Spade and Clover, [who live] up on Johns Island. The kombucha mother

He’s giving his kitchen team the leeway to run with stuff (under a watchful

culture was gifted to me by my buddy Scott. And the pear tree was planted

eye so they don’t derail something). He believes that if someone is the owner

Pear Necessities 1½ oz. Bullrush Gin ¾ oz. homegrown pear & ginger syrup Shaken, strained and topped with house-brewed kombucha. Garnish with preserved pear and ginger, pickled in homemade malt vinegar. What is kombucha? Great question. Kombucha is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drinks that are commonly intended as functional beverages for their health benefits.

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of a dish, chances are that dish is always going to be made better. It will always be special to them. “This is an unconventional way of thinking for me, but turns out – I like it,” said Carter. The FARM concept is so much more than farm-to-table, but first, it actually is farm-to-table, which many claim, but few execute authentically. Many of the ingredients will be grown just a few miles down the road at Williamson’s Lowcountry Farms or in Heaton’s backyard garden. And with a commitment to building community through food, Carter looks throughout the Lowcountry region to source the best product, and works with other local chefs to share ideas. “I work with Clayton at Lucky Rooster a lot, even though we are in the same market, we are working toward a common goal,” Carter said. “I like to source my chickens through Grassroots Farm. I introduced them to Clayton, and now he works with Grassroots too. This makes it easier for the farmer; now he knows when he comes to Bluffton, he can bring 100 chickens to multiple restaurants, making it beneficial for everyone.” As I listen to each of the partners tell their story and

Black Grouper Ceviche, Crimson

Watermelon, Hearts of Palm, Ginger, Lime, Basil

Poached Asparagus, Agrumato, > Sourdough, Parsley

their purpose, my enthusiasm for FARM grows (see what I did there?).

Yellowf in Tuna and Heirloom Tomato Crudo 1 lb. Yellowfin tuna, sushi grade, cut into 2x2 blocks 1 lb. mixed heirloom tomatoes, sliced into random shapes 1 cucumber, sliced into rounds 1 shallot, sliced thin 10 basil leaves, torn 2 tbsp. good quality red wine vinegar 1 tbsp. lemon zest, brunoise Georgia olive oil, for drizzling Charleston flake sea salt Slice the tuna into 16-20 even slices and arrange them on 4 separate plates. In a medium size bowl gently toss the tomatoes, cucumbers, shallots, basil, vinegar and zest with a little olive oil, season with sea salt. Arrange the salad along the edge of the tuna and spoon the juice in the bowl over the top of the salad. Sprinkle some sea salt on the tuna, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy.


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Floral The most beautiful creations are, at times, the reward for overcoming the most inconceivable pain. And thus, a metaphor is at the core of every piece of artwork Shannon and Megan Brantley create.

Written by Tim Wood Photos by Megan Brantley

This page:

Wooden Hair Forks, $40 f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


Their burgeoning woodworking crafts business,

personal connection to their customers is the more

savor forever,” Megan said. “I think about my

Flannel and Floral, began as a means to heal

important component for them. The bond that

grandmother’s kitchen and the joy we felt. I think

from two consecutive miscarriages in 2013.

the woodworking provides – the constant symbol

about the spoon I used when making a cake, the

of strength to power through pain – that is more

laughs and memories that evokes. To see that

important than anything a ledger may tell them.

light in others’ eyes as they touch our products,

“We needed to get away, so we spent a weekend at a friend’s home at the lake in Lake Martin,

“We went to our first show, the Southern Makers

to Highland Woodworking in Atlanta and bought

show in Montgomery, and we were so nervous,”

“The wood, it’s alive. That’s why we love to work

some simple tools. It was the beginning of my

Shannon said. “The first day was slow, but from

with found or reclaimed wood,” Shannon said.

emerging from this unimaginable loss. I liked

there, we made sales and connections, and I saw

“You find a piece of walnut, it has this glorious

making that spoon,” Megan said. “Shannon had

Megan coming back to me. As a husband you

knot in it. What some may see as a problem, an

made some furniture and had gotten into hand

want to fix things, and I couldn’t do that with

imperfection, I mold my ideas around that. So

tools, so we both started spending a lot of time

words here. She smiled at me after that second

when others see the beauty I see in that wood,

in our woodshop garage. We are both artists, and

day at the show and said, ‘This is the happiest

it’s so fulfilling.”

we always gave family our art, like paintings and

I have been in a long time.’ So for me, that’s

vases. This time, we gave them the woodworking,

where every sale, every creation begins with me,

and they truly loved it. Shannon’s brother and

knowing what it’s meant to us.”

wife really encouraged us to look at this as a business, and so we gave it a try.” The Brantley’s hung a virtual shingle almost two years ago, and their business was born: Flannel and Floral, made by hand and heart. In that time, their collection of hand-carved spoons, lamps home shows across the South. “The carving, it saved me,” Megan said. “To sit and focus on a mundane but intricate task, it makes your brain go silent and just focus on the beauty of creating. To know that what saved me is connecting with people, it’s amazing.”

To know that what saved

and the dating pool is sparse. They grew up 10

me is connecting with people, it’s amazing.”

realizing Shannon was more than a friend; they began dating three months later and have been

of creativity and perseverance that the couple

together ever since.

is working tirelessly to grow into a sustainable business. Megan takes the photos and builds out the web pages creating a high-definition portfolio of their works, but as beautiful and unique as the

the wood in their hands.

a guilty pleasure to sneak out to the shop when housework needed to be done. Now, the guilty pleasure is paying for the house.” Both concede they have not turned Flannel and Floral into a million-dollar business, nor do they want to. Slow growth and the ability to keep the

It’s why they have spent much of the last 18 months traveling to home shows throughout the South. As businesspeople, they see the way this travel benefits their bottom line. But as craftsmen, to see the moment when one of the dogwood scoops of pinch spoons sparks a feeling is a priceless and addictive sensation. “We live in a very disposable society, but years ago, making purchases was an investment, and everything we bought was a keepsake to

Shannon and Megan Brantley

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Their partnership began as a friendship. Megan

growing network of fans is an earned intersection

have an addiction to tools, and so I just keep

on woodworking for about 10 years. Before, it was

it took mutual friends to bring them together.

That their symbol of healing resonates with a

time when a potential customer feels the grain of

pottery at an earlier age, but I have been focused

years apart (Shannon is 39; Megan is 29), so

was actually engaged to someone else before

wants to follow,” Shannon says with a smile. “I

always been creating. That had more to do with

they have been married for just five years. Both a hamlet where everyone knows each other,

online hub is, both know that it can’t replicate the

be doing this whether we were selling or not. I’ve

on to each other’s thoughts, it’s hard to believe

“The carving, it saved me ...

“Our business model is not something anyone

making products so I can buy more tools. We’d

As the two finish each other’s sentences and add

are from the small town of Brewton, Alabama,

and kitchenware has become a quiet sensation at


it’s what drives me and the decisions we make.”

Alabama. I wanted to carve a spoon, so we drove

Their first business venture spawned the company name. The two ran a t-shirt screen printing outfit, and one of their customers commented on their own outfits. Megan wore a floral long-sleeved shirt, while Shannon sported a flannel long-sleeved shirt.

clockwise from top left:

Buckeye Burl

Tri Pendant, $60; Leopard Wood Scoop with Turquoise Inlay, $65; Leopard Wood Spice Spoon, $45; African Mahogany and Turquoise Scoop, $55; Walnut Spoon, $55; Walnut and Turquoise Measuring Spoon Set, $165

“It’s so representative of our personalities. I have

“He’s just the greatest dog. He’s always by our

“I created a lamp that our fans have loved. It

this picture of us wearing the shirts and holding

side and inspires us to keep dreaming up new

combines my love of wood and my Pop Pop’s love

hands, and we aren’t PDA people. We never do that,

ideas,” Shannon said.

of electricity. And around the holidays last year, I

but it’s one of my favorite images,” Megan said. “So when we tried to find a name that told our story, that picture popped into my head immediately.” Their love of family was a mutual attraction. Shannon’s father is his best friend and passed on the value of being a tradesman. His ‘Pop Pop’ was an electrician, his dad a marksman with metal who taught him just about every craft skill except for woodworking. He escapes down the road to his father’s farm every moment he can. His many aunts and cousins are ever-present. Megan’s brothers are equal parts protectors of their sister and fun-times wingmen.

The ideas and the power they feel in sharing their lives through their art create the driving force behind the business. Neither aspire to be on “Shark Tank” anytime soon.

after lamp after lamp,” Shannon said. “That’s about as close to an assembly line as this will get, but at the core, even through the monotony, we still thank God for the gift of creating, of taking

“We want to always have our handprint on

ideas or suggestions from others and making

everything we create. It’s been such a blessing

gifts that people treasure.”

and so humbling to see this grow, but we’re not looking to let the growth take over. Dollars don’t fuel us,” Megan said. “We’re not hippies – we like comforts – but creating and sharing our work is so much more fulfilling. “When I see a child, especially, pick up our work and say, ‘Hey that’s cool,’ that’s special,” she

The Brantley’s house is a gathering place for both

said. “Kids are honest; they have no filter so that

families, for day-long food fests and celebrations.

praise is truth. And in an age of Walmart hysteria

The house itself is a work of art, remodeled,

where there’s always the next thing to buy or app

crafted and expanded one piece at a time.

to download, when a kid gives you praise, you

The workshop is their happy place within

was like an elf in Santa’s workshop, making lamp

They have their products in a handful of specialty stores throughout the South and are working to expand that reach. But just as the woodworking helped them heal, creating those gifts has inspired them to keep trying for a family of their own with the help of a fertility doctor. “All our parts are working just fine,” Megan said with a smile. “So we’ll keep trying. Our fans, they have been such a family for us. We can’t wait to share our family with them.”

know you’re getting somewhere.”

the happy place, where inspiration abounds

The workshop isn’t quite the respite it used to be

alongside their trusted canine baby, Levi, a

as passion and livelihood are interconnected.

“purebred mutt,” as Shannon calls him.

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BECAUSE WE ALL SHARE A DEEP APPRECIATION FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY LOWCOUNTRY SETTING OF PALMETTO BLUFF, we tend to think of the Bluff as a unified, quiet place. And, in some ways, it has been for more than 100 years. As far back as the Civil War – although, at the

All of the May River Forest and Point

was not unusual: many of the English and

time, Palmetto Bluff was split into a number of

neighborhoods were once part of a plantation

Scottish colonists who had made the coast

plantations, each owned by different individuals

known as Montpelier, a 640-acre tract owned

their home were Loyalists, including John Kerr,

– the plantation owners were united in their

by Josiah Pendarvis. The main house of the

the owner of the plantation to the south of

support of Secession. One by one, men enlisted

plantation, perched on the bluff just north

Montpelier. (Kerr’s plantation would later be

in the Confederacy’s army or navy, and some,

of the Canoe Club pool, was ideally located

known as “Octagon.”)

like Henry Hartstene and Nathaniel Crowell,

to receive cool breezes and to provide an

resigned their Federal commissions to do so.

expansive view of the May River. Pendarvis’

Their families left for the safety of Savannah,

three children, Richard, Elizabeth and Josiah,

and their slaves fled to freedom on Hilton Head

Jr., grew up in the home at Montpelier. In 1778,

Island, where Federal troops had arrived in

when Richard, the eldest, was ready to run his

November 1861. Throughout the war, the Bluff

own plantation, his father split the Montpelier

was largely empty, except for the Confederate

property and sold his son the northeastern 200

pickets who kept watch on the May River. Even

acres. Richard built his home overlooking the

when Union soldiers burned Bluffton in June

May River just north of Hope’s Neck Drive.

1863, the Confederate lookouts at the Bluff

And in 1780, that is where he brought his

observed the scene undisturbed; they were too

bride, Margaret Martinangele of Daufuskie

few to warrant Federal attention, and the Bluff

Island, to live.

escaped becoming a battlefield. But 80 years earlier, the Revolutionary War had revealed a different landscape. The divided loyalties of the Bluff ’s plantation owners – British Loyalists and American Patriots – brought bloodshed to what is now the May River Forest neighborhood in Palmetto Bluff.

In fact, the British were counting on loyalties such as these for their “Southern Strategy” to be successful. They believed that Loyalist support was strongest in the South, and that after they regained control of a few key cities and towns, the colonists of the Carolinas and Georgia would quickly abandon any thoughts of independence. Therefore, after some defeats in the North and the entry of France into the conflict, the British focused their military efforts on the South. And for a while, anyway, the “Southern Strategy” appeared to

Perhaps because Richard’s family had a

be working: Savannah fell to the British in

century’s history in the Carolina colony

December of 1778, and thousands of colonists

(he could trace his ancestry back to the

willingly returned their allegiance to the

earliest English settlers), he was fiercely

Crown. Sixteen months later, Charleston was

loyal to the Crown and remained so when

also under royal control. Pendarvis, Kerr and

the Revolutionary War broke out. In the

South Carolina’s other Tories probably believed

Lowcountry of South Carolina, being a Tory

that they had made a wise choice.

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Pendarvis seems to have made little effort

That may have been the case in late 1780, when

the ground. As he lay injured, but still holding

to hide the fact that his loyalty was to the

Pendarvis set in motion a murderous plot that

his gun, Dougherty asked his assailants to

King of England. Well before the surrender

would end at Palmetto Bluff.

come to him and at least shake his hand. The

of Savannah, Patriot patrols noted that along the May River, “correspondence is carried on between some of the inhabitants and Georgia,” where there were some strong Loyalist sympathies. In July 1778, a local militia leader complained in a letter to his superior that Pendarvis, Kerr and others had sworn allegiance to Great Britain and that Pendarvis at least should face trial for his actions. (There was no explanation as to why Pendarvis was singled out as being particularly traitorous.)

Richard Pendarvis was the leader of a Tory militia group based along the May River. In December 1780, he set off with his men to “apprehend one Dougherty,” who lived on “Bear Island,” which probably referred to the mainland near Pinckney Island. (Captain James Dougherty was a Patriot officer who refused to comply with British regulations after the surrender of Charlestown.) At the approach of the Tories, Dougherty and the six or seven men with him opened fire, killing one of Pendarvis’ men and wounding another. Pendarvis and the Tories returned fire, killing Dougherty

neck and suspended him repeatedly, trying to force him to divulge the whereabouts of the others. Leacraft refused, and finally, because they admired the boy’s courage, they let him go. (This version of the event is told in Joseph Johnson’s Traditions and Reminiscences Chiefly of the American Revolution in the South published in 1851.)

Savannah on January 4, 1781.

courage and honor, but what is certain is that

and his gang to set out to kill Dougherty. Dougherty, however, was warned that a group of Tories was coming to murder him, so he

the Patriots retaliated. Four months after the skirmish on Bear Island, Captain Leacraft led a Patriot militia unit, known as the “Bloody Legion,” to exact revenge for his brother’s torture and his uncle’s death. The Loyalist newspaper Royal Georgia Gazette had this account of what happened:

decided to ambush his attackers. Dougherty

“Last Friday afternoon Capt. Richard Pendarvis

recruited Captain Thomas Talbird and two

was shot dead within 90 yards of his house on the

of his own nephews, Captain James Leacraft

River May, where one William Patterson was also

and his younger brother, 14-year-old William

barbarously murdered. The perpetrators of these

Leacraft. It was evening as they were leaving

murders consisted of a Rebel Officer and five men;

the house to set the trap, but they were too

the names of four of them are Leacraft, a prisoner

In the Lowcountry, skirmishes between Tory

late, and the Tories had already arrived in the

on parole; Blackwood, Bettison, and Nathan

and Patriot militia units became more frequent

yard. From the darkness, the Tories asked, “Are

Gamble, who had received and were then under

as the war progressed, and men often found

you Captain Dougherty?” Dougherty warned

protection. The villains afterward went to the house

themselves sighting down their muskets at

his companions to flee as he stayed behind

and insulted Mrs. Pendarvis with opprobrious

neighbors and former friends. In some cases –

to answer in the affirmative (and give his

language, and on leaving the plantation took with

because the individuals involved knew each other

companions time to escape). The Tories opened

them three horses and Capt. Pendarvis’s gun.”

– the clashes between Loyalists and Patriots

fire, and Dougherty fell wounded to

(April 19, 1781).

a colony as the royal government assumed. Patriot resistance remained high, and even after the surrenders of Savannah and Charleston, British control was tenuous and did not extend to the countryside between the two cities.

led to retaliations marked by personal enmities.

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Leacraft. They strung a rope around the boy’s

unfolded, or who, if anyone, acted with

had once been friends, which led Pendarvis


Dougherty’s house where they found William

that appeared in the Royal Georgia Gazette of

between Pendarvis and Dougherty, though they

was not nearly as committed to remaining

killed. Pendarvis and his men then entered

It’s not at all clear how the encounter actually

different; a “bitter and deadly hatred” arose

the British could count on, but South Carolina

responded with gunshot, and Dougherty was

as the Patriots fled. At least that’s the story

The American version of the encounter is quite

Pendarvis was certainly one of the men whom

Loyalists (knowing full well that it was a trap)

Two Revolutionary War soldiers are buried in

Screven County in Georgia

Montpelier Cemetery near the Canoe Club pool:

is named for John Screven’s

John Screven and George Hipp. Screven, who was

brother, James, who died near

married to Elizabeth Pendarvis, bought Montpelier

Midway, Georgia, shortly

Plantation after his father-in-law’s death. George

after being shot during a

Hipp owned the plantation after Screven.

battle with British forces.

In October, members of the The Capture of Savannah was fought on December 29, 1778, ending in the British seizure of the city.

Daughters of the American Revolution will place markers on the gate of Montpelier cemetery recognizing the Patriots buried there.

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According to the family history, when

Legion, although it seems that they were not

in September 1783 and ratified by Congress in

Pendarvis realized that the Bloody Legion had

present when Pendarvis was shot.

January 1784.

However, the Mongins were present a few

At the Bluff, at least, the war’s end seems to

months later when the Bloody Legion again

have brought about resolution to any lingering

retaliated for the death of a Patriot at the

resentment. Many former Loyalists, such as

hands of Loyalists; this time it was the killing

William McKimmy, who owned Octagon

of Charles Davant of Hilton Head by Tory

Plantation after the war, became staunch

Captain Phillip Martinangele (brother of

supporters of the young country and formed

There are no surviving accounts of how

Pendarvis’ widow, Margaret) of Daufuskie

friendships with Patriots such as John Screven,

Leacraft and the Bloody Legion fled Pendarvis’

Island. Leacraft, the Mongins and others went

despite being enemies only a few years prior.

plantation, but if they made their way by land

to Daufuskie where they found Martinangele

Perhaps the best evidence of the absence of

(as they probably did, since they stole three

lying ill in bed. They shot Martinangele and

bitterness is the marriage on May 25, 1783,

horses), they would have passed through

then, according to the British Royal Gazette in

of Margaret Martinangele Pendarvis, whose

neighboring plantations that were sympathetic

Charlestown “plundered Mrs. Martinangele and

husband and brother were killed by the Bloody

to their cause. John Screven, who owned a

her children of almost everything they had.”

Legion. On that day, the young widow married

tract of land in what is now Mays Bend, was

( January 30, 1782).

William Edwards Mongin, brother of one

arrived and that there could be no escape, he turned to face his attackers, saying “shoot and be damned!” Leacraft fired, and Pendarvis fell dead. (Pendarvis was killed in front of his home on the northeastern tip of what is now the May River Forest neighborhood in Palmetto Bluff.)

an early supporter of the Patriot cause and had served with his brother in the Georgia militia. Ironically, John Screven was married to Pendarvis’ sister, Elizabeth. Two members of the Mongin family, who owned plantations along the New River, were members of the Bloody


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By the time Martinangele was killed, the war was nearly over. Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown in October 1781, followed by other defeats elsewhere, led the British to accept American independence as a basis for peace talks in 1782. The Treaty of Paris was signed

Bloody Legion member and uncle of another. From this and other relationships between 18th century families at Palmetto Bluff, it appears that the birth of the new nation brought with it a fresh start for its citizens, whatever their previous allegiances may have been.

Thank You

To our Homeowners

Working in only one community, we are “only as good as the last cocktail party� so we want to take this opportunity to thank all of our homeowners for their trust and confidence in allowing us to help them build their home, as well as for their support within the community. Without you, we could not have achieved our success. On behalf of myself, my staff and my family, thank you.

46 Wharf Street | Bluffton, South Carolina 29910 | 843-706-5001 | I n t e r I o r D e S I g n B y L e a h g B a I L e y I n t e r I o r S o f S ava n n a h


P h oto By K e L L I B oy D P h oto g r a P h y f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


A SNEAK PEEK at DAVIS PRODUCE Written by Amanda Baran Cutrer / Photos by Krisztian Lonyai


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THE CULTIVATION OF AMERICAN CULTURE THROUGH PRODUCE Besides winding creeks, salty river edges and live oaks dating back before our

From these clean-living and clean-eating ideologies that have recently, and

great-great-grandparents, roadside produce stands arguably have been one

thankfully, become a larger part of our society – OK, OK, the South may still

of the oldest staples of the Lowcountry. They have always offered a place to

have some catching up to do, but fried chicken is so good – also come those

buy and sell homegrown produce, plants and local artwork, while boasting an

who are passionate about seeking out the best local farmers, buying their

unscripted meeting place that allows your neighbors to turn into your friends.

crop and selling it to lucky consumers like you and me so we can enjoy the

Because the rich and moist environment of the U.S. Southeast promotes such

richness of our land.

fertile soil, we get an impressive variety of plants and produce that thrive

To wit: the birth of Davis Produce, a roadside stand on Talahi Island right

in this area. Farmlands abound, and many people have learned to cultivate

outside Savannah, Georgia. It’s a place that is hard to miss while on the way to

their land – extracting some of the most vibrant fruits, vegetables, flowers

the beach at Tybee Island because of its usual booming parking lot, oversized

and more. Even average folks who may not consider themselves “farmers”

boiled peanut kettle and big red tomato painted across the top of the building.

are starting to experiment with produce, herbs and flowers on the balcony

It’s a roughly 1,300-square-foot, non-conditioned, garage-style store that was

terraces of their downtown apartments.

designed by owner Randy Davis and has been in the same location for 22

In fact, our entire American culture overall has seen a movement toward acquiring locally grown foods and developing healthy eating habits, all

years. It developed from a roadside table of fruits and vegetables a few days a week into a well-established market that is now open seven days a week.

stemming from its regional gardens and crops. From schools to hospitals to

As I walked through the market this summer, my senses were intrigued

restaurants, it is trending (and rightly so) to be more conscious of the foods

with the smells and colors of peaches, butter beans, cucumbers, bananas,

we are putting into our bodies.

lemons, limes, melons, nectarines, tomatoes, squash, boiled peanuts, jams and pickled everything! (Just to name a few.) I wanted to sample everything, but

f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


remembered first-things-first – I was here to interview – not to eat and/or shop.

who now provide for the bustling produce market have been in business with

(Although, I did just that, afterward. It was nearly impossible for me to turn

this pioneer produce family since Big Da’s time.

down their perfectly salted boiled peanuts. I’ve been stopping there to get them hot out of the kettle since I was a little girl.)

SAVANNAH ICON: HEZEKIAH POLK Hezekiah Polk is a name that many Lowcountry natives may recognize. For

It’s no surprise that Davis Produce has a parking lot full of folks no matter which day of the week you go. They offer year-round produce, unlike many produce stands, because a number of farmers they do business with plant a second crop in August and pick again over the fall months, which in turn provides Davis with gorgeous winter squashes, citruses and sweet potatoes.

46 years, Hezekiah “Big Da” owned a small produce market in the heart of downtown Savannah, Georgia, that he called “H. Polk Produce,” affectionately

The owners and staff also consider their customers to be family, and it’s sure

referred to as “Polk’s” by the locals.

easy to feel that love as soon as you walk in and meet Mrs. Sherry Davis.

Big Da spent the majority of his life hauling produce all over the Southeast


and beyond. “He followed the crops,” explained Sherry (Polk) Davis, co-owner of Davis Produce and granddaughter of Hezekiah, “much like we do now.” From years of traveling for the freshest of the fresh, the family respectfully learned which states provide the best fruits and vegetables during particular seasons and traveled near and far (mostly North Carolina to Florida) to load up their trucks and bring the juicy goodness to us on Talahi Island.

After following Sherry around the store for an hour and observing her interact with her customers, I soon realized the Davis family is much bigger than just the immediate family who share the same last name. The Davis family extends to neighbors, friends, employees and customers – some of whom stop by one time a year on their way to vacation on Tybee, and others who show up religiously every week. One man

As the downtown Savannah store grew, Big Da realized

and his toddler daughter walked in while I was chatting

he needed more help. In 1982, he hired 14-year-old

with Sherry, and she immediately ran over to speak to

Randy Davis to help with day-to-day chores. When

them and hand the little girl a peach. She walked back

Hezekiah’s granddaughter, Miss Sherry Polk, met Randy,

over to me after a few minutes, watched the daddy/

“I couldn’t stand him!” she chuckles. “He used to annoy

daughter duo load up in the car, and lovingly said,

me so bad!”

“People have stuck with us like family. I get attached to

Now, after 25 years of marriage, the two can chuckle at

them. I really love our customers.”

how their relationship started and eventually grew into a

The walls of their steamy establishment tell the story of

beautiful marriage rooted in juicy tomatoes, voluptuous

their lives. The walls are lined with fans (because let’s be

peaches and hot summer days.

honest, it’s hot down here), photos, newspaper articles and an extremely eclectic array of “antiques.” I noticed an old, well-used


mop hanging from the ceiling in one area and couldn’t help but ask. Sherry

The ever-growing demand for fresh produce left Randy and Sherry with no

was quick to tell me it had belonged to Big Ma (Hezekiah’s wife and her

other option but to venture off and open a second produce stand in 1990.

grandmother). She called it her “sweepa” and would sing while she cleaned.

As word spread of this mouthwatering table on the side of the road that locals

Near the mop is a decent-sized piece of old Styrofoam (another head-

were starting to rely on for weekly produce, the couple knew it was coming

scratcher) which was a part of Sherry’s life jacket when she was a little girl.

time to create an actual establishment. So they took their table and turned it

There is an old green purse

into a brick-and-mortar store in 1994. Randy, with inspiration from a Florida

that Big Ma used to carry

produce stand that he frequented when hauling produce, drew up some rough

around, which apparently has

plans, and they built a garage-style market that is now thriving with business.

an old pair of her shoes inside.

So much so that locals actually line up to buy produce directly off the trucks

A giant Jamaican banana …

when deliveries are made on Tuesdays and Fridays.

a guitar case … horse gear … signs galore … I could go on,

And as expected, the Davis’s still remain in close contact with all of Big Da’s friends, farmers, clients and customers. In fact, the majority of the farmers


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but you get the point.

Davis Produce owner Sherry Davis poses next to her prize tomatoes with a colleague.

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With no advertising besides shirts, this humble family has become a staple of the Savannah barrier islands simply by word-of-mouth because they have provided delectable goods to our area for more than half a century.

HOME OF THE KILLER TOMATO AND AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF BOILED PEANUTS When in Georgia, it’s expected (and almost a duty) to bite into a fresh, juicy peach, and Davis Produce keeps them stocked for just that reason. However, Sherry couldn’t help but smile when the conversation went from peaches to tomatoes. It’s her signature thing – the market carries vine-ripened

STOP BY FOR A SPELL With an impressive number of local Lowcountry markets now providing fresh produce, meats and herbs to consumers and restaurants, it is becoming more common than not to have a variety of local, organic, homegrown foods both at home and at a restaurant, and I think we can all appreciate folks like the Davis family who help to make that possible. “If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and say ‘hi!’” says Sherry. And when you do, get a killa tomato, a bag of boiled peanuts or a juicy peach – you won’t regret it.

tomatoes all year long. “One of our beloved customers walked in one day and said ‘Lemme get some of those killas,’” explained Sherry, “And it stuck. We became the home of the killer tomatoes. It’s even painted on our building.” They also carry a nearly endless supply of one of my favorite summer/fall addictions: boiled peanuts. If you’ve never sat on the beach with a bag of warm boiled peanuts and your favorite ice-cold brew, I’d suggest you do so. Very little compares, in my opinion.


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Monday–Friday: 10 AM–7 PM

Friday & Saturday: 10 AM–7 PM

Saturday: 9 AM–7 PM

Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

Sunday: 10 AM–5 PM

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Written by Amanda Baran Cutrer / Photos by Rob Kaufman

Captains Ed Johnson and Herb Rennard have both been

I asked where they wanted to do the interview, they

with Palmetto Bluff for five years, actually starting the

simultaneously replied, “On the Grace.” Grace is Palmetto

same week. Although they didn’t know each other prior to

Bluff ’s 103-year-old antique motor yacht as well as Ed’s

their employment at the Bluff, they knew they would be

and Herb’s pride and joy as her captains.

fast friends when, after their first day of work, they walked to their pickup trucks and noticed that both not only had a green Coleman cooler (without the hinges on it) in the truckbed, but both coolers were packed with Bud Lights ready to be cracked open. And thus began their friendship.


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As they walked onto the community dock that Grace calls home, Herb said, “Welcome to our office.” We checked out her impressive top deck first before settling into the air-conditioned cabin for the interview. It wasn’t long before the jokes were flowing, and I realized that these

It was a beautiful sunny day when I sat down with Ed, a

two fellows were definitely in their element, both on the

Hilton Head native and retired fireman of 30 years, and

water and in each other’s company. And amid their stories

Herb, a Charlestonian and former commercial fisherman,

and banter, it was also evident with their vast knowledge

to chat about their adventures as boat captains at Palmetto

of the land and sea that each captain had conducted his

Bluff. We met at the Bluff ’s Wilson Landing, and when

own due diligence.

Captain Herb and Captain

Ed at the helm of the Grace. f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


Grace, Palmetto Bluff 's antique

motor yacht, was built in 1913.


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Q: WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF PERFECT HAPPINESS? Ed: (After pausing a few seconds, Herb chimed in, “What floats ya boat, Eddie?”) I have six grandkids and four daughters. Having my family around makes me truly happy. Herb: A fish on the end of my line.

Q: WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR MIND AS YOU DRIVE TO WORK EACH MORNING? E: I always look to the left at the Headwaters neighborhood to see what the tide’s doing. I think about my schedule, and I also love the way the sun filters through the trees. It’s a calm ride and sets my frame of mind for the day. H: Yesteryear. I’m always wondering what folks before our time were doing on a beautiful morning like this.

Q: AND ON THE WAY HOME? E: I try to reflect on the day and critique myself. Always thankful for good days and examine what to do differently if it wasn’t such a good day. H: Same thing.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE? E: Probably something pretty simple. My daughters always say ‘He’s just a simple man!’ But, I’d say an extra-large bowl of vanilla caramel ice cream. (“That’s what I was going to say!” Herb added.) H: Ice cream. I eat it every day. (“Unless there’s banana pudding available!” Ed chimed in.)

Q: MOVIE THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND? E: Woodlawn. H: In the Heart of the Sea.


H: Well, there already was a movie about my life called The Perfect Storm, and George Clooney played me. Joke!

Q: WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT? E: The day I saved a man’s life. (Writer’s note: Ed humbly told me a captivating story in which he used his Emergency Medical Technician and firefighter expertise to free a man from a car that had plunged into a lake in 2006. It’s a story worth hearing if you see him around the Bluff.) H: My daughter. She’s an historian in Charleston.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR MOST MARKED CHARACTERISTIC? E: My faith. H: I always speak my mind. Sometimes I sugarcoat it, sometimes not.

Q: WHAT IS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? E: The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy. H: Tombee: Portrait of a Cotton Planter by Theodore Rosengarten.

Q: IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE “SUPERPOWER” WHAT WOULD IT BE? HOW WOULD YOU USE IT AT WORK? E: I am trying to envision a Marvel superhero – Aquaman. H: I would want to see through water to point out dolphins to guests and catch fish on my line.

Q: WHEN YOU’RE NOT HERE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? E: I’m kind of a homebody with my wife and family. My wife works for UPS. I love spending time with her and being Mr. Mom. H: Fishing.

Q: WHAT WORD DO YOU USE MOST? E: “Yes!” As in “Yes, I’ll come in …” or “Yes, I’ll do that …”

Q: WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? E: Herb. H: People catching a fish makes me happy.

Q: TOP FIVE ARTISTS/MUSICIANS? E: Robert Cray Band, Johnny Cash, The Eagles, Al Green, Sidewalk Prophets. H: Taj Mahal, Jimmy Buffett, Zac Brown Band, Willie Nelson, Bob Marley.

Q: FAVORITE SPOT ON THE BLUFF? E: Right here on the Grace. H: The Grace.

Q: BEST PALMETTO BLUFF MOMENT? E: To date, I’d have to say the day we came back from Beaufort on the Grace after her renovation, and there were 250 people cheering for her return. H: I’d have to second Ed. Coming back from Beaufort and pulling back up to the dock, being escorted by all the property owners with their private boats. Amazing.

H: Darling.

Robert Redford.

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Written by Courtney Hampson & Anna Jones | Photos by Bonjwing Lee

This year is the 10th helping of Music To Your Mouth –

rooted in much, much more than just grits and sweet

we know, we look really good for our age – and we are

tea. (Although we love both of those dearly.) Through

celebrating in an epic way. As a toast to the wonderful

Music To Your Mouth, we bring together some of the

memories we’ve made over the past 10 years and to

biggest names in Southern food, drink and music – and

those personalities who’ve helped make them, we’ve

pick up some newcomers along the way – to explore old

brought back the most popular Music To Your Mouth

recipes, new traditions and stories that make the South

events, chefs, winemakers and more. Southern food is

so special. We then wash it all down with libations from

something special, and we’re going to honor it in the

vintners, distillers and brewers who hone their craft and

only way we know how – by throwing a ridiculously

pair their punch with stories of discovery. We specialize

good party.

in delighting the senses and tickling your taste buds

In our 10th year, we’ve gone a bit nostalgic. Over the past 10 years, we’ve created more than just amazing food, drink and music, we’ve fostered a family of people who take Southern food and culture just as seriously as we do, and who understand that Southern fare is


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with a bevy of innovative and traditional Southern food, drinks and music, making sure you leave with food in your belly, a jig in your step and a piece of the Lowcountry in your soul. And after 10 helpings, you’ve earned a permanent seat at our table. Join us.



9 7







Justin Devillier


Rob McDaniel


Steve Satterfield

Owner & Executive Chef

Executive Chef

La Petite Grocery


Co-Owner & Executive Chef

New Orleans, LA

Alexander City, AL

Miller Union

John Currence

David Carrier

Atlanta, GA


Owner & Executive Chef


Owner & Chef


Certified Burgers and Beverage

Owner & Executive Chef

Breakfast, Bouré, City Grocery, Lamar

Sea Island, GA

Tybee Island Social Club &

Lounge, Snackbar, The Main Event Oxford, MS


Kurtis Schumm

City Grocery Restaurant Group, Big Bad

Tybee Island Fish Camp


Owner, Chef & Author

John T. Edge

Red Beard Restaurants,

Founder & Director

Gunshow & Revival

Southern Foodways Alliance

Atlanta & Decatur, GA

Oxford, MS

Tybee Island, GA

Kevin Gillespie


Anne Quatrano Owner & Chef Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafe, Little Bacch, Star Provisions, Summerland Farm, W.H. Stiles Fish Camp Atlanta, GA

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11 17 16





Allan Benton Owner



Jeremiah Langhorne Partner & Chef


Scott Crawford Owner & Executive Chef

Benton’s Country Hams

The Dabney

Crawford & Son

Madisonville, TN

Washington, DC

Raleigh, NC

Karl Worley Owner & Chef


Craig Rogers


Bill Smith

Owner & Lamb Shepherd

Executive Chef

Biscuit Love

Border Springs Farm

Crook's Corner

Nashville, TN

Patrick Springs, VA

Chapel Hill, NC

Julian P. Van Winkle, III Owner


Ashley Christensen Owner & Chef

Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery

Beasley’s Chicken + Honey,

Frankfort, KY

Chuck’s, Fox Liquor Bar, Poole's Downtown Diner Raleigh, NC

returning crowd

Favorites 65

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Bourbon & Bacon Grace Cruise Thursday, November 17

Ladies' Night Wine Dinner Thursday, November 17

Nosh on Benton's Ham with Allan Benton and other pork plates while sipping some Pappy with Julian P. Van Winkle, III as you sail down the May River on this two-hour cruise aboard Grace, Palmetto Bluff's antique motor yacht built in 1913.

Guest Chefs Ashley Christensen of Poole's Diner in Raleigh, NC, and Chef Alex Raij of Txikito of New York, NY, will create the perfect plates to match with wine selections from Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards in this Ladies' Night reboot. Together they will tempt your taste buds and open your minds as they spin the stories of the most influential and inspirational women in their lives. This night is about celebrating women in food and wine, but women and men are both invited.


Facts It typically takes three times to stuff a swag bag for the Farm and Whole Hog guests before we are happy with how it looks.

20 18 19

21 22

In 10 years, the MTYM team has tied more than

15,000 ribbons on swag bags, menus and other gifts.

$118,994 has been donated to Second Helpings.


Jason Carlen Sommelier & Midwestern


Alex Raij Owner, Chef & Author

Sales Manager

El Quinto Pino, La Vara & Txikito

Miner Family Winery

New York, NY

Napa, CA

22 19

A Moreland oyster roast requires

4,000 oysters.

Sarah Simmons

Dave Miner

Founder & Chef

Founder & Owner

CITY GRIT Culinary Salon

Miner Family Winery

New York, NY

Napa, CA


Jasmine Hirsch General Manager Hirsch Vineyards Cazadero, CA

1 = The number of times the team argued over glassware.

Stink & Drink: The Comeback Cruise Friday, November 18

Culinary Festival Saturday, November 19

Embark on a two-hour tour aboard our antique yacht, Grace, for a wine and cheese tasting with Dave Miner of Miner Wines and Chef Mike Lata, both revered Music To Your Mouth veterans.

This is the big show, the icing on the cake, the cherry on top. The Culinary Festival is a gathering of culinarians, winemakers, growers, and artisans, brought together to accentuate the abundance of ingredients from our surrounding waters, woods and local farms. They showcase their finest nibbles and nectars and take our guests on a sensory experience that can only be called Music To Your Mouth.

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30 29


Second Helpings

A Thank You

to Our Partners After 10 helpings of Music To Your Mouth, it is important to recognize our valued partners who have helped us along the way. Here are a few we’d like to give some love to:

As our charitable recipient of a portion of MTYM ticket sales, you might think that Second Helpings is just there collecting the monies. Think again. Not only do the volunteers of Second Helpings allow the MTYM team to use its refrigerated box truck for the week of events, Second Helpings makes a major impact on our local community by saving surplus food from grocery, and other, stores in the area and delivering it to people who need it most. Over the past 10 helpings of Music To Your Mouth, the event has donated nearly $119,000 to this worthy organization, and we look forward to continuing our partnership in the years to come.


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Jeremiah Bacon


Ross Hardigan


Executive Chef

Beverage Manager

Executive Chef

The Macintosh

Montage Palmetto Bluff

Zero George Street

Charleston, SC

Bluffton, SC

Charleston, SC

Nathan Beriau


Matt Jording


Rodney Scott

Executive Chef

Owner & Executive Chef

Montage Palmetto Bluff

The Sage Room

Scott's Bar-B-Que

Bluffton, SC

Hilton Head, SC

Hemingway, SC

Scott Blackwell & Ann Marshall


Raymond Lammers Executive Sous Chef


Proprietor & Pitmaster

Damon Wise Partner & Chef


Montage Palmetto Bluff

Feathertop Kitchen & Café,

High Wire Distilling Company

Bluffton, SC

Scarecrow & Wise Buck

Charleston, SC

Smoked Meats

31 26

Vinson Petrillo

Partner & Chef

Executive Chef & Author

FIG Restaurant

Husk Charleston, Husk Nashville,

Charleston, SC

McCrady’s & Minero Atlanta, GA, Charleston, SC &

Charleston, SC

Mike Lata

Sean Brock


Teryi Youngblood Chef de Cuisine


Nashville, TN

John Lewis

Passerelle Bistro

Owner & Pitmaster

Greenville, SC

Lewis Barbecue


Charleston, SC

Frankie Denmark Owner & BBQ Master Hawg Wild Barbeque Ridgeland, SC


Orchid Paulmeier Owner & Chef One Hot Mama’s Hilton Head, SC

Southern Foodways Alliance Located in Oxford, Mississippi, the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) is a non-profit organization that documents, studies and explores the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. Based at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the SFA collects stories from around the South to document the intricate connections, traditions and histories of the gloriousness that is Southern food. As experts in the aforementioned gloriousness, we rely on the SFA as a trusted food partner and for its network of established and up-and-coming chefs, vintners, brewers and artisans to ensure MTYM is always in the food-know. f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6



A crush on celebrity chef Tyler Florence turned into our first Music To Your Mouth weekend, which consisted of four events. Back then it was dubbed “Tyler Florence’s Palmetto Bluff Lowcountry Celebration.” It was also the year when the temperatures dropped below freezing, guests wore bathrobes over their clothes to stay warm, and the sprinklers went off under the main tent essentially encasing everything in ice.


Ticket sales increased by 354%. We hosted a dozen media on-property for the weekend, and suddenly Palmetto Bluff became a household name. Courtney blew out a flip-flop walking on stage and still has to pretend it didn’t happen.

a look back at Our 10 Helpings


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We tripled the number of events, quadrupled the number of planning meetings, and the acronym TFPBLC was put into place for internal meetings. And some team members began to call the event “Cram It Down Your Gullet.”

We ventured off on our own. TFPBLC adopted the event’s tagline “Music To Your Mouth” as the official event name, and we didn’t look back. An unnamed chef crashed his golf cart on-property, thus instituting a travel-via-bike policy moving forward. The event’s Sommelier Smackdown was born.

2015 2011

We partnered with Southern fashion designer Billy Reid on Music To Your Mouth shirts and swag, and he hosted a pop-up shop in our Farmer’s Market. The Stink & Drink yacht cruise made its second appearance on the event schedule, was the first event to sell out, and everyone stopped doubting the name.


We kicked things up a notch by adding a surprise concert to the festivities and were tickled to take the stage and introduce “one-half of the multiplatinum, Grammy Awardwinning duo Sugarland, Mr. Kristian Bush.” Kristian was joined by his brother Brandon, former Train band member and epic pianist. It was kind of a big deal.

We hosted 34 different events and stirred the pot – pun intended – adding a series of Culinary Salons, intimate experiences between foodie and chef to learn about the stories and recipes of the tastiest Southern food and drink. More than 800 guests enjoyed the sounds of Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley at our Saturday night concert, and we officially surpassed the $100,000 mark donated to Second Helpings.




We added “Potlikker” to the Block Party, officially partnering with the Southern Foodways Alliance and paying homage to the delicious legacies of Allan Benton and Julian Van Winkle. Every guest got a shot of Pappy at the Block Party, and frivolity ensued. The James Beard Chef Dinner sold out in less than an hour, and the team spent the subsequent three months apologizing for not having “any extra tickets laying around.”

We hit the road, and the Music To Your Mouth team made stops in Austin, TX and Lake James, NC, picking up some of our favorite chef friends along the way. The inimitable Holly Williams joined us on stage with her hubby, Kings of Leon instrumentalist Chris Coleman. It was also the year Anna, our marketing manager, almost died from ticket fulfillment.

The 10th annual Music To Your Mouth sent our team on the road to visit our friends in Washington, DC and Charleston, SC and sample the flavorful foodie scenes of these great cities while thanking the chefs who have helped put MTYM on the map. In November you’ll find a re-boot of our most popular events over the last decade. Get ready, it’s going to be big.

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sponsors Our sponsors make the Music To Your Mouth world go round, and for that we are very thankful.

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tiny houses Written by Justin Hardy / Photos by rob kaufman

Good research is all about thinking outside the box, coming up with novel ways to find answers to difficult questions. But one research program at the Bluff has the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy thinking outside the box by thinking inside the box.


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The lumber for the cavity box research project was generously provided by The Friends of the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, a non-profit organization. The Friends of the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy also provided 20 motion-activated trail cameras, which allow research to continue when staff cannot be present to monitor activity. f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


he Cavity Nest Box Program is an ongoing research project that

snake skins into their nests, it is believed that it may serve as a deterrent to

began in December of 2013 to better understand cavity-dwelling

predators that may endanger their eggs and chicks. Interestingly, after the

animals in the Lowcountry. Cavity dwellers rely on natural holes in

chicks have grown to maturity and left the nest, the raptor feathers and skins

trees in which they raise young, sleep or feed, with little threat from predators

are removed from the box. They are not simply discarded, however – if that

on the outside. These holes may develop naturally in healthy hardwood trees

were the case, they would be found at the base of the tree on which the box

or in dead or dying trees of any species, or the holes may be excavated by

hangs. In the 2016 nesting season, which lasted from May to July, we marked

woodpeckers, which prefer trees with soft or rotting wood. In many cases,

the raptor feathers found in great crested flycatcher nests with permanent

more than one cavity can be found in a given tree.

marker. If these same feathers are found in the boxes in 2017, it will indicate

Climbing trees to look inside natural cavities poses a large variety of obvious safety and time concerns, so the Conservancy needed a more controlled way to study cavity-nesting wildlife. The solution: artificial nest boxes, mounted on mature trees. Each box is two feet tall, with a 10-inch square floor, and a

that the flycatchers store the feathers in a safe place until they can be used the following year – which would be an amazing feat, considering these birds would have to remember their hiding place at Palmetto Bluff during the six months that they spend hundreds of miles to the south.

hole 3.25 inches in diameter. A roof keeps out rain, and a door on the side

After the first wave of great crested

allows researchers to check on the occupants (or clean out old nests at the

flycatchers, two species of mammals

end of summer). The boxes are constructed from cedar wood, as it weathers

began nesting in the boxes: the southern

much more slowly than other raw woods.

flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) and the

In order to study different ecological settings, we placed five boxes in four different habitat types: mixed pine/hardwood uplands, hardwood bottomland, pine flatwoods and evergreen wetlands. Each of these habitats is characterized by unique flora and fauna, providing a diverse array of potential occupants for the cavity boxes to provide a variety of data for our research.

eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). On Palmetto Bluff, flying squirrels almost exclusively use Spanish moss as nesting material. Gray squirrels also use Spanish moss, but they add in clippings from tree limbs or shrubs for stability. Both types of

After the initial work of scouting locations and hanging boxes in January of

squirrel are inquisitive and highly aloof

2014, four months passed before tenants began moving into this prime real

mammals. We have noted on several

estate. But then suddenly, in May, nests made of pine straw appeared in six

occasions that a squirrel might have a full litter of pups

separate boxes. The pine straw, however, held no clues as to who or what had

in the box, but upon interaction with human researchers,

left it there. Was it a bird? A mammal?

it will pack up the whole clan and move to another nesting site (never to be seen again). The mother accomplishes this by

Two weeks later, we found some evidence of the builder. On top of each nest

carrying one pup at a time in her mouth to the new location.

were large feathers from wild turkeys, red-tailed hawks, and barred and great horned owls – all species that couldn’t possibly fit through the hole of the box

On the rare occasion that the squirrels do not flee after being disturbed,

because of their size. Along with the feathers were assortments of snake skins

we are given a unique opportunity to gather information. Though we still

nestled in the pine straw. Beneath all of this, in the center of each nest, was a

have much to learn about them, there is one discovery that can be presented

depression the size of a golf ball, in which we found five or six beautiful eggs,

with absolute certainty: opening a box-o-squirrels while standing on a

patterned in crimson and yellow. After discovering the eggs, we hurried back

10-foot ladder is ill-advised! On one occasion, I opened a box, and the

to the office to do some research. A little digging produced an interesting

mother gray squirrel exploded out of the leafy nest and made a mad dash

answer: the nests and the eggs were from none other than the great crested

for the top of the tree. That alone was enough to raise my adrenaline level.

flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus).

Upon further inspection of the box, I discovered that four pink, hairless baby squirrels were neatly arranged in the pillow-soft nest. I finally mustered up

The great crested flycatcher is a robin-sized bird with brownish-gray wings and body and a lemon-yellow belly. These birds are found at Palmetto Bluff only during the summer when they hunt insects in the treetops. Ever the travelers, they spend their winters in Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula. Though no one knows precisely why they incorporate raptor feathers and


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enough grit to pick up and examine one of the baby squirrels. The squirrel pup began to squeal softly, and when the mother heard this, she charged back down the trunk of the tree, sternly barking and growling as she came.

Humans generally have nothing to fear from squirrels, but when a human is precariously balanced on a 10-foot ladder, delicately handling an infant squirrel, the playing field is much more level. Fortunately, both the squirrel and I made it out unscathed. Opening a box of nearly-grown squirrel pups is even more startling; it is no wonder that a group of squirrel pups is called a “scurry.” Squirrels, flying and gray, have up to four pups per scurry. This December will mark a significant milestone in the cavity nest box research on Palmetto Bluff. It is the anniversary of two important events: the birth of the project and the first appearance of an eastern screech owl in our boxes. The eastern screech owl (Megascops asio) is the smallest owl species found on Palmetto Bluff, standing only five to nine inches tall. They can be gray or rusty red in color. Like other owls, screech owls are silent, effective hunters. Territorial disputes for cavities and mates begin in December and last until nesting season in the spring. After the eggs have hatched, the female stays with the chicks, and the male brings in the groceries with impressive effectiveness. Together, they can raise up to four chicks per clutch. By early summer, the young owls leave the nest. In the Conservancy’s first encounter with eastern screech owls in December of 2014, a former Conservancy intern and I were making a slow approach on a box in the mixed pine/hardwood uplands. As we drew nearer, we noticed a gorgeous gray screech owl perched on the hole of the box. The owl remained there as we climbed out of the truck. For several minutes the three of us looked back and forth at one another. It was clear that no one, human nor owl, was sure what the next move should be. Eventually the standoff was broken when the owl dropped back into the box in a fluid, silent motion. Not wanting to scare the owl away, we decided to move on to the next box and let the owl have his or her space. We made it about a mile before deciding that we couldn’t go on with our day without at least one peak inside the box. I climbed the ladder, opened the door slightly, and cautiously peeked into the narrow opening, and there it was: an adult screech owl sitting erect, feathers puffed out in an attempt to appear larger. The owl’s eyes locked with mine with laser precision. All around it on the floor of the box were tree frogs, small birds, lizards and mice. The owl, presumably male, had them all laid out like a buffet line – common practice for bachelors attempting to impress a potential mate. He clacked his beak together aggressively, producing a sound like a finger snap. My heart was still pounding from the squirrel attack earlier that day, and I decided it would be wise to close the box and move along.

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All boxes in the project are mounted at a height of 10.5 feet, for a highly scientific reason: Conservancy ladders are 10 feet tall.

Since that December, we have become much more familiar with screech

for sustenance, and an abundance of cavity-producing hardwood trees. The

owls and their habits. We’ve found that owls will only utilize a box after

female wood duck lays nine to 15 eggs, which she incubates for about a

another animal has built a nest (owls, in general, prefer to take over nests

month. After the female has laid her eggs, she will pluck downy feathers from

built by others). On Palmetto Bluff, we’ve discovered that red is the dominant

her belly and chest and cover the eggs for an added layer of insulation. This

color phase in the pine flatwoods, and that gray-phase screech owls are

allows her to leave the cavity and feed freely. When the chicks hatch, the

predominant in the mixed pine/hardwood uplands. Surprisingly, of all the

mother leaves the nest, lands on the ground or water beneath it, and calls for

creatures residing in the boxes, the screech owl is the most docile when

her young. The babies hop to the opening of the cavity, pause for a moment,

it comes to interactions with humans. The owls almost always retreat to a

and launch themselves fearlessly into the air — regardless of the height of the

corner of the box, close their eyes, and rely upon their camouflage. If there

nest. Fortunately, their fluffy feathers prevent them from falling too fast, and

are chicks in the box, the mother will gather them up as tightly as she can

they land unscathed, where they are reunited with their mother. After that, the

and cover them with her wings. The chicks, lacking

family of ducks never returns to the nest.

camouflage and uneducated in the ways of the world, can’t resist lifting their heads and peering at the observer with noticeable curiosity. We have several more research projects in the works to better understand these creatures.

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box contents, make repairs if necessary, and record changes within each box. More active boxes are checked every two weeks. Each time we climb up to one of the boxes, open the door, and peer inside, we learn something new about the wild inhabitants of Palmetto Bluff. Each

Wood ducks (Aix sponsa) are other common residents

time we spot a great crested flycatcher, eastern screech

in our nest boxes. Wood ducks are some of the only

owl or wood duck, we can’t help but wonder if it is one

waterfowl found on Palmetto Bluff year-round. The drake,

of the dozens born and raised in our cavity boxes.

or male wood duck, of the species is one of the most

(And I can’t help but wonder, every time a squirrel

vibrantly colored ducks anywhere, with

chatters angrily at me, if it has heard stories of a

iridescent green on its head and a bright red

Conservancy team member who once cradled a

bill. Typically, wood ducks prefer evergreen

hairless pink squirrel pup in his hand.)

wetlands, which provide fresh water, acorns


Each month, Conservancy members set out on an all-day excursion to check

PO Box 1928 | Bluffton, SC 29910 | (843) 247-5452 | f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6



From left to right: Adam

McHeffey, vocals, guitar and

banjo; Kari Spieler, vocals and

guitar; Shaun Savage, electric bass. 79

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By Timothy White / Photos courtesy of Swear and Shake

When you think of Nashville, Tennessee, you probably think of

At the front of Swear and Shake is Kari Spieler, whose constant

country music – after all, it is home to the Country Music Hall

smile is both charming and mischievous. When she speaks,

of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, as well as bands like Lady

her voice is lower than you’d expect, and fuller – you can tell

Antebellum and the Everly Brothers. But Nashville’s music

at once that she can sing. Kari provides lead vocals as well as

scene is far more diverse than that: from the pop-punk group

guitar and songwriting.

Paramore to the alternative-rock band Kings of Leon to the folk blues quartet Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, many talented musicians call Nashville home.

Her bandmates, Adam McHeffey and Shaun Savage, sport mid-length dark hair and matching, neatly trimmed beards. Adam co-writes most of the songs with Kari and plays guitar

A few years ago, Swear and Shake, a three-person band from

while Shaun plays bass guitar. The men provide backup vocals,

New York, joined the Nashville indie scene, bringing with

harmonizing perfectly with Kari’s lilting voice. The three

them their own unique sound. Their style transcends musical

formed Swear and Shake in 2010 while attending the State

genres, combining the Southern twang of a folk-style banjo

University of New York at Purchase, fondly referred to as

with smooth, soulful vocals and three-part harmonies. Swear

Purchase by many students. Purchase is known as a hub for

and Shake has spent a good deal of time touring the country,

talented artists, producing such powerhouse musicians like

and they even performed live at Palmetto Bluff ’s Music To

Regina Spektor and Moby. Currently on tour, Swear and Shake

Your Mouth last year as well as producing a song for Crescent

gave The Bluff a backstage pass to life on the road.

Communities’ Holiday e-card, too.

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What prompted the formation of Swear and Shake? Adam: Shaun and I grew up together, and I met Kari while attending

Purchase. We recorded our first song, “Johnnie,” a week before graduation.

Did you always know you were going to be musicians? Kari: I did. I’ve always wanted to be a singer since I was a little girl, and I studied music production at Purchase.

What’s the meaning behind the name of your band, Swear and Shake? Shaun: The name Swear and Shake came from some lyrics in an older

song of Adam’s [when he was a solo artist] back before the band began. The line went, ‘Swear and shake me endlessly,’ and when Kari and

Adam were brainstorming on what to call their new project, they liked the way those words sounded together so they chose it as the band’s

name. Since then, the name, taken out of the context of that song, has

developed its own meaning. ‘Swear and Shake’ is a sort of testament to our shared commitment to the project — it’s like we’ve all sworn and

shaken on the fact that we’re on this crazy journey of making music our career and lives together.

Some of our readers saw your performance at Music To Your Mouth 2015, but others are probably unfamiliar with your music. Where should they start? Kari: I’d say start with our record “Maple Ridge.” We’ve got a new record coming out next season, but there’s something special about our first full-length album.

You’ve identified your style as “Big Hook Americana.” Can you give us an idea of what that means? Adam: We’ve always written catchy choruses — sort of pop-inspired — that’s the “big hook” part. At our inception, we were heavily influenced by folk music, and we used that set of instrumentation. That’s the “Americana.”

The three of you come from different stylistic backgrounds. Does that lead to conflict? Or cooperation? Shaun: I would say more cooperation. Those different backgrounds

are really just more tools in the toolbox when we sit down to write or

arrange. It’s really helpful to be able to call upon them to add color and depth to an otherwise one-dimensional arrangement.

Do you think your move to Nashville has had a major impact on your music? Have other bands inspired you? Kari: Absolutely! There’s a very supportive community here that just wants to play music and hear music.


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Musically, you’ve got a nice breadth of style both in lyrics and in melody. But which comes first? Do you set out with an idea for a theme — say, one of your particularly unique ones, like “Humming to a Sea Snail” — and write music to match, or does the tune inspire the lyrics? Adam: We typically play around with a few chords and let a few words come out of our mouths, letting the song take shape on its own. When there’s a little story or something to work with, we start sculpting.

Are some songs easier to write than others? Who comes up with most of the ideas? Shaun: It sure seems like it. Kari and Adam do the writing – the ground-

level, foundation of the songs. We all arrange them, find the structure and

the feel and mood of the song together. Sometimes the songs seem to write themselves, where the direction is so clear and easy and natural that they just sort fly out of Adam and/or Kari and through the arranging process

like a breeze. Others will take months to get right and need a lot of work to get them to a place where we’re happy with them.

What’s the most exciting thing happening with Swear and Shake now? Kari: We’re most excited about our second full-length record. It’s been successfully funded on PledgeMusic! We are all so proud of the songs and can’t wait to get into the studio.

How do you like touring? Kari: You’d get a different answer depending on who you speak to in the

band. Personally, touring is my absolute favorite part of being a musician.

AT FIRST SOUND Written by Aldo Muccia

I just love to perform every night.

After first hearing Swear and Shake at an event in Nashville,

You’ve been pretty successful – making a full-time career in the local Nashville scene, releasing several records, and even touring the country. Do you have any advice for local musicians trying to make it?

Tennessee, I couldn’t get the band’s cool, rhythmic melody out of

Shaun: Well, I don’t know if I’m really qualified to give advice about

“making it,” but I will say this: just get out there and play. Make yourself heard, because what you’re doing is important. And be nice, too.

Do your shows get crazy? Any fun stories you’d like to share? Adam: Ahh, now that’s the sort of thing you have to see for yourself at a live show.

my head. Kari’s voice is absolutely amazing. She has a way with tone – alternating the highs and the lows – putting her own spin on a classic tune that keeps you wanting more. Swear and Shake’s sound is without a doubt like no other, thriving as a modern twist on traditional soul and folk music with unbelievable vocals. At the concert, I kept asking myself, ‘How does she sound so powerful yet angelic at the same time?’ The energy of the band as they perform is genuine and authentic, and you can tell they truly enjoy doing what they do. Check to see if Swear and Shake is performing in a town near you – you won’t regret it.

Anything else you’d like readers to know? Adam: To hear our latest releases and follow along with the new record, visit That’s our primary spot for keeping fans apprised of the Swear and Shake developments.

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How South Carolina’s own Ed Currie weaponized food and created the world’s hottest pepper. Written by BARRY KAUFMAN

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THINK BACK TO THE HOTTEST PEPPER YOU’VE EVER EATEN. Recall how immediately your every fiber recoiled with that first bite,

Now, take that same level of gastronomical torture and increase it by

the way the incendiary sensation tore across the nerve endings of your

half. What you will wind up with is a 1.569 million Scoville-rated gut

mouth, inflaming you with agony that no amount of water could douse.

punch of a pepper that goes by the name of the Carolina Reaper. Far

What you were feeling is capsaicin, a nasty little compound produced by peppers that your body thinks is poison. Because it assumes (sometimes rightfully so) that it’s being attacked, your body responds

that its inventor, Smokin’ Ed Currie, is so cavalier about eating them. “I eat them every day. I eat stuff made from them every day,” he said,

out. It’s something only the foolhardy push too far.

before conceding. “Most people would not consider putting this in their mouth.”

heat units (SHU). Depending on your tolerance, the hottest pepper you

But Ed Currie is not most people. The owner and chief mad scientist of

ever ate was probably a habanero, which runs between 80,000-600,000

the PuckerButt Pepper Company in Fort Mill, South Carolina, Currie

SHU. For comparison, Tabasco® Original Red Sauce runs between

has long been fascinated by plants, a life-long devotion nurtured by his

2,500-5,000 SHU.

mother, a master gardener. Although he’s always had a green thumb,

Maybe if you were adventurous, it was the legendary ghost pepper, which can run a million. Pretty hot, right? That’s right about the same Scoville range, for perspective, as pepper spray. Which, you might note, is not a foodstuff. It’s a weapon.

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line between gastronomy and punishment. Which is why it’s so crazy

by lighting up pain receptors pretty much all over your body, inside and

The amount of agony a pepper will leave you in is measured in Scoville


beyond spicy, the Reaper is in a class by itself of peppers that tread the

Currie actually started out in the financial industry. He still kept up his gardening, but it was of a distinctly covert nature, and one that is not legal in most states.

“I got really into growing pot in the ’70s and ’80s,” he said candidly. Don’t worry, he just sticks to peppers these days, especially since his research into these tiny yet painful wonders proved that they may just be the cure-all for mankind.

to no cancer or heart disease,” he said. “They smoke; they drink; they do all the things they tell us not to do here. I could standardize everything they had in common, and one of them was chilies.” In fact, PuckerButt isn’t just devoted to scorching taste buds. Currie devotes a

of chili peppers. The scale is an empirical measurement


slew of resources to researching health

dependent on the sensitivity of testers. Here’s a quick guide to peppers from around the world: from blasé to blazing hot.

Carolina Reaper 2,200,000 SHU

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion 2,009,231 SHU


“People around the equator have little

The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency

obesity. A powdered blend of chilies Currie created was found to increase metabolism and block fat absorption in overweight children, a key to

Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) 1,041,427 SHU

fighting childhood obesity. And while his devotion to the pepper as science is laudable, it’s his devotion to creating the most powerful peppers in existence that earned


benefits of peppers, from cancer prevention to fighting childhood

Habanero Pepper 100,000–350,000 SHU

Bird’s Eye Chili (Thai Chili) 100,000–225,000 SHU

unique and exotic peppers from all over the world. Like a botanical Frankenstein, he started experimenting about 15 years ago, blending different strains and cultivars and combining peppers to see what genetic marvels he might unleash on the world. When he created the world’s hottest pepper, it was almost by mistake. But given the Carolina Reaper’s lineage, it probably should not have

Jamaican Yellow Pepper 100,000–200,000 SHU

Cayenne Pepper 30,000–50,000 SHU


Thanks to his reputation in the pepper community, Currie receives


him the nickname Smokin’ Ed.

been a surprise. The Reaper’s mother is a habanero, but a particular type of habanero with lava in its veins, growing as it does only on a volcano. And the Reaper’s father is a pepper so deadly some think it’s a myth.

Serrano Pepper 10,000–25,000 SHU

Pakistan,” he said. “He says it’s a Pakistani naga; a lot of people say there’s no such thing. But if you go to Pakistan, and you go to the

Black Hungarian Pepper 5,000–10,000 SHU


“The paternal side is a naga that was given to me by a doctor from

market, you’ll see it’s full of nagas.” The maternal plant, a habanero whose exact genetic makeup is a closely

Jalapeño Pepper 2,500–10,000 SHU

guarded secret, was grown on a volcano known as La Soufrière on the island of St. Vincent.

f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


“The Jackson family owns a resort on the island; Joan Jackson brought me a pepper saying mine weren’t hot enough,” said Currie. He calls it simply a habanero, but his guarded words say there’s more to the Reaper’s mother than he lets on. “It’s a cross; we’ve had it tested, but we haven’t released any of those results. It’s more fun watching people guess.” The Reaper’s exotic and dangerous heritage almost assured that any offspring would pack a mean and lingering punch. That was Currie’s hope when he started pairing, but even he admits that what was produced from that unholy union went way beyond what he was expecting. “I had no idea it was going to be that hot,” he said. “I had a rush through my body, all the hair stuck up on my arms … This thing brought me to my knees. I said, ‘Oh, I’ve got something here.’” What he’d unleashed on the world turned out to be the pepper that would topple the fiery Trinidad moruga scorpion from its throne as the hottest pepper in the world (more than 1.4 million SHU). And while the Reaper’s overwhelming volume of capsaicin did a lot of the work, the act of getting the pepper properly enshrined required Currie to give the

Ed Currie, owner of Puckerbutt Pepper Company, poses with his

people at the Guinness World Records an education.

Guinness World Record for the hottest chili pepper in the world.

“We introduced a scientific method to Guinness,” said Currie. “One of the previous records, and I won’t say which one, was established by guessing. For one of them they tested one pepper. You can’t get a valid

“The pain is some of the most intense pain I have felt in my life,” said

result from one pepper. I can get one pepper to go 4 million Scoville.”

Algenio. “My stomach took two weeks to fully recover.”

Instead, Currie engaged in a four-year fight with the brewing company

Currie’s personal record sits at 10, but he’s quick to add that they were

and keeper of records to prove why, scientifically, the Reaper was the

fairly large peppers. “I did it for the Discovery Channel, and I’ll never

hottest. He collected three years’ worth of data from a single plant,

do it again. I was in pain for two days.”

from which Guinness pulled the lowest average yield: the recordbreaking 1.569 SHU. The highest, for the record, was 2.189 million, which may as well be napalm at that point. (In fact, Currie has nine total strains ready to go, running even hotter, just in case some upstart tries to unseat the Reaper.) And just in case you think that’s the only time Guinness came knocking,

Yes, even though he happily chows down on the unholy pepper he created, Currie still feels the Reaper’s wrath, equating it to an MMA fighter. “When you get punched in the nose, it hurts, no matter what. But if you get punched in the nose enough times, you don’t stop what you’re doing, you keep fighting.” “But it still hurts. It hurts bad.”

at this point we should note that Guinness-certified Wayne Algenio of


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Queens, New York, for his record of eating the most Carolina Reapers in

Carolina Reaper sauces and seeds can be found at

60 seconds: 22 peppers.


Bluffton 843-815-3266

Charleston 843-243-0790 f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


RETAIL THERAPY: Written by Anna Jones / Photos by Rob Kaufman

Located on the stately corner of Broughton and Whitaker Streets in the historic downtown of Savannah, The Paris Market welcomes passersby into its bustling shop filled from floor to ceiling with treasures of all kinds. Owned by Savannah transplants Paula and Taras Danyluk, the colorful collection of curated home goods, jewelry, fashion accessories, kids clothing, and more, sourced from all over the world, can turn a brief moment of window shopping into an afternoon of easy exploration. Stop by the espresso bar for a vanilla latte, and then begin to peruse the worldly wares that have made The Paris Market a highly sought-after Savannah tourist destination. After you take your initial leisurely loop upstairs, be sure to take a peek downstairs to see the collection of one-of-akind home goods that are sure to make their way home with you. Go on, indulge yourself.

WRITE AWAY Rifle Paper Co. Birds of a Feather Notebook $8

Rifle Paper Co. Bon Voyage Journal $16.75


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AROMATIC ACCESSORIES The Paris Market Savannah Candle $23.50 Block Soaps $11.50 each

THE PERFECT TOTE Bruno Tote with Wristlet $80

BELLY UP TO YOUR BAR Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic $30

Scratch and Sniff Whiskey Book $22

Shake Rattle and Roll Cocktail Shaker $45


Made With Love $24.95

The Cheesemonger’s Seasons $35


Turquoise Royal Cauldon England Dinner Plate $12

Haviland Cup and Saucer $15

Solid Brass Flatware Place Setting $22.50

Pencil Set $13.50

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Hand-forged oyster knives made from recycled materials make the perfect companion for

shucking even the most stubborn of oyster shells. 91

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Knife of the Party When heat, hard work and artistic vision come together, amazing things happen. Written by Barry Kaufman Photos courtesy of Carolina Shuckers

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he history of mankind, who we are and what we’ve accomplished, began with metal. It began in the very first forges, and the very first brilliant sculptor who dared to get close enough to the flames to take the elements of the earth itself and bend them to his will.

That might seem grandiose, but it’s still true. The act

And while the methods and techniques may have

to prove it. While the two live roughly 180 miles

of ripping the raw material from the soil, holding it

been refined somewhat since that first ingenious

apart – Waller in Hillsborough, North Carolina, Kirk

to the flames until it glows like the angry core of a

blacksmith molded bronze over wood flames, there

in Morehead City, North Carolina – the distance does

volcano, then shaping it while it still burns, molding

are two ingredients that have linked every piece

nothing to dilute their shared artistic vision or weaken

it with brute strength and the relentless blows of a

of metalwork from ancient Egypt to the wickedly

a lifelong friendship tempered as strong as steel.

hammer, quite literally made us who we are.

twisted works of functional art coming out of the

This one innovation lifted us from the Stone Age, as these sculptors forged bronze ore into the tools

Davis and Waller combine those two elements into a

lifestyle behind. They also created the metals we

host of extraordinary creations at Carolina Shuckers.

used to make for sculptures, works of art that have

There are the aforementioned railroad-spike-turned-

survived millennia. These pioneering blacksmiths

oyster-knives, cleverly named the Mother Shucker,

eventually traded bronze for iron and steel, creating

Mama’s Boy and Cluster Shucker. (“We had to come

more durable and everlasting works from the earth

up with names to differentiate them; we figured

and shaping mankind’s advancement along the way.

we might as well have fun with it,” joked Waller.)

Carolina Shuckers, eventually they would bring this act of creation full circle, taking a finished product,

There are also oyster knives forged from solid bars of carbon steel, hammered to a fine edge and twisted to an ergonomic and stylish diamond design.

say, a railroad spike, and turning it into something

Then there are the pigtails, meandering slivers of

even more useful to mankind: an oyster knife.

metal that end in a curved point designed to flip

You might argue that lifting mankind out of the Stone Age and creating timeless works of art are more important than having the coolest-looking

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a lotta hard work,” said Davis.

mankind used to farm and leave our nomadic

As for Michael Waller and Kirk Davis, co-creators of


dual forges of Carolina Shuckers: “A lotta heat and

your steaks with skill and precision. And then there are the bottle openers, if you really feel like owning the spotlight at the next oyster roast.

knife at the oyster roast. To which we would

Each of these magnificent pieces is handmade by

respond: “You’re not from around here, are you?”

either Davis or Waller and stamped with their name

“We’re like brothers,” said Waller. “We can go months without talking and then fall right back into place, and everything’s fine.” Their brotherhood began as children growing up together in Kinston, North Carolina, a small town made famous by the PBS series “A Chef ’s Life.” (“We made a knife for them,” noted Waller.) Best friends through high school, they followed one another through community college then to East Carolina University, where they both graduated with degrees in sculpting. After graduation, the pair admits that they drifted apart, each pursuing their art down separate paths. But their shared love of sculpture and oyster culture assured they would never stray too far.

Careful attention to detail is paid to each oyster knife

created by Waller and Davis. f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


We’re artists, and this is what we do ... I don’t mind doing the work.

Each forged his destiny separately, until the bottom

After that, according to Waller, it started

Waller, on the other hand, takes a more utilitarian

dropped out of the economy, and the two found a

snowballing. Waller’s wife built them a simple

approach. Using a special tool and a 1942 vintage

lifeline in each other.

website overnight, and almost right away they got

pedal-powered hammer, he adds his signature

their first order. From California.

thumbprint to each knife, letting a person’s hand get

“In 2009 the economy was tanking, and the sculpture and architectural metalworking work sort

“I asked him ‘How did you even find us?’ He told

of dried up. We both said ‘What can we do?’” said

me he just typed ‘custom oyster knives,’ and we were

Waller. The answer came, as all great answers do,

the only thing that came up,” said Waller.

over a muddy table of oysters. In between their work as artists and sculptors, Waller and Davis dabbled in

“I could do his style; he could do my style, but it wouldn’t be the same,” said Waller. That dedication to technique is a big part of what

turned into big business, with products in 26 retail

sets Carolina Shuckers apart. As much as they’ve

stores, partnerships with Orvis and Rogue Brewing,

grown, they are still able to operate as a small

Waller explained, “I went to Kirk and said ‘Why

and even a nod from Martha Stewart, whose

business, offering a lifetime guarantee and a hands-

don’t we come up with four designs and try to

Martha Stewart Living site nominated them for an

on approach that few others can.

market this thing and see how it goes?’”

American Made award in 2013.

It went, to put it mildly, very well.

For such a lofty enterprise, you’d never know it

before it’s in the bag,” said Waller. “If there’s

started with two friends trying to outdo each other

something wrong, we can fix it before it goes out.”

the coolest knife to the next oyster roast.

The pair came up with four designs and debuted them at the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival in

at the oyster table.

“I have each piece in my hand six or seven times

That same dedication to the customer extends to

Little Washington, North Carolina. In three days,

“We never really expected that we were going to

the craft itself. Friends in the industry and at trade

they sold $2,000 worth of knives.

make oyster knives,” said Waller.

shows and festivals have hounded the pair to start

“We knew it was a big hit when people were lined up

And now, while the pair still pursue their dreams as

to buy them from us. That was kinda cool,” said Davis.

sculptors, they just happen to run this wildly successful

For two artists, the sudden and unexpected success of something they made just as a demonstration to each other was completely unknown territory. But as the saying goes, you have to strike when the iron is hot. “Coming from this background, knowing these festivals, we didn’t really want to do them at first,” said Waller. “We didn’t want to be in production art anyway, but it just kind of took over. We did Charleston, a few more and couldn’t keep up.”

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that unwieldy shell.

industry, Carolina Shuckers soon found their hobby

oyster knives for fun to try to see who could bring


Pioneers in what has since grown into a cottage

the perfect grip on the blade when wrestling with

business together. What’s fascinating is how these two lifelong friends each maintain their distinctive style under the banner of Carolina Shuckers. As an example, Davis uses a torch to soften each piece between firings, allowing him to add his signature “acid twist” to each piece. The result is a snazzy-looking set of back-and-forth switchbacks, running the length of the handle.

outsourcing, to let foundries in China and Mexico build their blades cheaper and faster. Thankfully, these two lifelong friends have resisted, knowing that cheaper and faster would come at too steep a price. “We’re artists,” said Waller. “And this is what we do. This is how we make a living. I don’t mind doing the work.”

Some of your best memories have yet to be made.

Here, where moss-draped oaks and meandering rivers dance with the spirit of the lowcountry, montage palmetto Bluff has charmed guests with experiences indigenous to the area for years. our historic resort now includes 200 thoughtfully designed guestrooms, suites and cottages; multiple pools; six inspired restaurants; and a soulful Spa montage and Salon. experience all that’s new at montage palmetto Bluff, and make some history of your own. (866) 706-6565

mon tag e ho t e l s . c om

B e v e r ly H i l l S | D e e r va l l e y | K a pa l u a B ay | l a g u n a B e a c H pa l m e t t o B l u f f | l o S c a B o S

(Opening Late 2017) f a l l / wi n t er 2 0 1 6


E R U T L U C R E T N COU Y T I C S S E T S O E H OF TH s Photo

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nes na Jo by An n ign e s t e t i D Wr rt and A f o ollege nah C


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You might not think that a city notorious for its extreme heat and humidity would play host to a burgeoning community of coffeehouses, but then again if you know Savannah at all, you’ll know this ironic state of affairs is just another page in its long book of quirky, concentrated culture. Home to more than 10 different coffee places in its Historic District alone, you might say that serving coffee is Savannah’s cup of tea. And the locals would agree with you – as much as Savannah loves to throw a good party, its myriad coffee selection helps nurse a late night out with a strong cup o’ joe. But with so many options, how do you know which coffeehouse is right for you? See The Bluff’s picks for the best places to grab a cup of coffee and taste the local flavor of the Hostess City. No need to thank us, we’re delighted to be your coffee filter.


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THE COLLINS QUARTER What do Australia, Brooklyn and Savannah have in common? Besides being great travel destinations, they also cross cultural coffee paths at The Collins Quarter, a delightful restaurant in Savannah’s downtown Historic District owned by Australian native Anthony Debreceny. The Collins Quarter features an extensive coffee bar and menu. Specializing in quality espresso and coffee sourced from Toby’s Estate Coffee in Brooklyn, New York, the coffee bar at The Collins Quarter features the usual lattes and cappuccinos (and delicious ones at that), but also ventures into unfamiliar coffee territory such as the Spiced Lavender Mocha and the Matcha Latte, the former being the most popular drink on the menu. If you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up, try The CQ Affogato, a delectable concoction of vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso poured on top, finished with dark chocolate ganache and cinnamon. The steaming espresso melts the ice cream, and the ice cream cools the espresso to create a dreamy coffee ice cream. Or if you’re in need of the

MUST TRY: House Made Chai Latte with Skim Milk and a strawberry cream cheese croissant. Ask for the latte to be made in a 16-ounce cup to make the deliciousness last longer!

hard stuff, consult any one of the cold brews for an instant caffeine lift. The Collins Quarter also serves up one of the best brunches in Savannah throughout the week, so bring your appetite, too. | 151 Bull Street,

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ART’S Owned and operated by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Art’s coffee shop is what you’d expect from a world-renowned university that fosters artistic talent. Located inside a restored British double-decker bus,


Art’s serves up quality espresso and coffee drinks to SCAD students and locals alike, serving as a hub for afternoon

The “Green” – a green

study sessions and early morning caffeine surges. Art’s also has a wonderful selection of wraps, salads and soups

smoothie with spinach,

that keep it light but delicious. You can’t miss the SCAD swag displayed on the entrance table and the walls – don’t

apple juice, avocado and

be afraid to get a t-shirt to show your school spirit. Go for the coffee, but go again for the smoothies. Known for

banana – and a flat white.

made-to-order smoothies with delightfully fresh ingredients, Art’s makes it easy to grab a great breakfast on the go. Or if you’re in the mood to do some people watching, take your coffee and smoothie outside to one of the café tables on the sidewalk and watch the Savannah afternoon unfold before you. | 345 Bull Street,


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GALLERY ESPRESSO Neatly tucked away on a quaint corner of Chippewa Square, best known as the home to the famous bus stop bench in Forrest Gump, sits Gallery Espresso, one of Savannah’s oldest coffee houses. A curious collection of mismatched sofas, chairs and tables, entering Gallery Espresso is like stepping into your grandmother’s living room – if your grandmother also moonlighted as a fortune teller or a palm reader. And with a menu as extensive and eclectic as its interiors, you are certain to order just the right thing to quench your coffee craving. Locals come here for the signature Gallery Espresso Dark French Roast coffee – the proprietors wouldn’t dream of taking it off the menu for fear of a riot – and the deliciously dangerous array of desserts and pastries all made in-house. Also known for its varied assortment of teas – most of which fancy themselves

MUST TRY: Any one of the homemade cheesecakes with a cup of the Gallery Espresso Dark French Roast.

French coming all the way from Paris – Gallery Espresso has the perfect mix of everything a proper coffeehouse should have with the unique, Savannah twist. | 234 Bull Street,

SAVANNAH COFFEE ROASTERS As one of the few coffee shops in Savannah that roasts its own coffee in-house, Savannah Coffee Roasters takes “locally sourced coffee” to the next level – or down the hall. An open space with high ceilings and a quiet, peaceful ambiance, Savannah Coffee Roasters is a great place to catch a caffeine buzz at any time of the day. Owner Lori Collins, an Australian


native, and husband/roastmaster emeritus John Collins, a U.S. Air Force veteran, serve not only a great cup of coffee, but

The London Fog, a steaming

breakfast, lunch and dinner, too. Nigel Gardner, a former U.S. Navy commander, now serves as the designated roaster. He

cup of Earl Grey tea with

roasts and flavors all the coffee inside the facility, producing more than 15 flavors of delicious coffee from beans originating

frothy milk and a dash of

in Africa, South America, Indonesia and more. And with a cold brew fermented in-house for 24 hours, you are certain to find

vanilla, and a Pavlova.

exactly what you need to get your caffeine fix. There are three different pastry chefs on-site who bake a cornucopia of fresh pastries and desserts daily – like the ever-present croissant, which the chefs make from scratch every day. The signature pastry is the Pavlova, an Australian pastry made with Chantilly cream and mixed berries – it’s a must – and an array of cheesecakes may tempt you to indulge your sweet tooth. You’ve been warned. | 215 West Liberty Street,

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THE COFFEE FOX The Coffee Fox, owned by former SCAD professor Jen Jenkins, has everything you could hope for in a coffeehouse – strong coffee, friendly staff, scrumptious pastries, comfortable nooks – oh, and a happy hour menu complete with craft brews and cheese plates. Sourcing its coffee from locally owned Perc Coffee, The Coffee Fox takes pride in its innovative approach to coffee roasting and service. Locals love the freshly made baked goods by its sister restaurant Foxy Loxy (located in the up-and-coming Starland District) and the Horchata Latte, a twist on the run-of-the-mill latte with Mexican sweetened milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and, of course, espresso. And then there are the kolaches – the kind of pastry that other pastries want to be when they grow up. Traditional Czech pastries, kolaches are made with soft, pillowy dough encasing some sort of delicious filling. The Coffee Fox offers a variety of kolaches, from cream cheese and peaches to bacon, egg and cheese, all made fresh daily. Don’t walk – run to get these kolaches. | 102 West Broughton Street,


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MUST TRY: A nitro cold brew (served on tap and infused with nitrogen for a creamy, Guinness-like consistency) and the peach and cream cheese kolache.

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calendar of events




Grand Opening of Montage Palmetto Bluff



Buffalo Run Traverse the wild maritime forests of Palmetto Bluff in the

The wait is over – the new and expanded Montage Palmetto

third annual Buffalo Run, a race that twists and turns through

Bluff is finally here and open to the public. Book your next

the untouched, unspoiled backwoods of the Bluff. Choose

weekend getaway with us today and experience the luxury and

from a 10K, 30K or 50K run on Sunday, October 9, to benefit

serenity of the new Montage Palmetto Bluff.

the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, the non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting this land. Hear that?

First Friday Lecture: Water Quality

The trails are calling your name.

Join the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy for a talk by Kim Jones, head of the Town of Bluffton’s environmental team, about the health of the May River and the effects of storm water runoff. No reservations required.


Oil Painting with West Fraser West Fraser is a beloved American plein air painter known for his Lowcountry scenes. Join the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy as we learn how to reduce a complex scene to its essence.

Brown Bag Lunch: Turpentine

Reservations required. Email the Conservancy at

Moonshiners weren’t the only ones with stills in the woods to register.

of Beaufort County. The still just off Camp Eight Road in Palmetto Bluff was once a part of a turpentine camp and an industry that at one time dominated the economy of the South.




Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival

Come and find out from the Conservancy’s archaeologist, Dr.

The 12th annual festival is a weeklong event showcasing

Mary Socci, how turpentine was made. No reservations required.

the locally harvested seafood, delicious Lowcountry cuisine, rich history, culture and art of the area and

Explore PBC: Lower Ponds

Southern hospitality found only in Bluffton. Visit

Take a step back in time on a hike along the Lower Ponds of for more information.

Palmetto Bluff, which were once fields of the famous Carolina Gold Rice. Learn about the history of these fields and what they offer for our wildlife today. Reservations required. Email


Field Trip to Pinckney Island national Wildlife Refuge

the Conservancy at to register.


Palmetto Bluff Conservancy

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is spectacular any 22nd Annual Beaufort Shrimp Festival

time of the year, but fall gives us a chance to spot some migrants

The 22nd Annual Beaufort Shrimp Festival celebrates the

as well as native birds. Join the Conservancy as we explore this

delicious shrimp caught locally in the Beaufort area sponsored

treasure only 30 minutes away. Reservations required. Email the

by the South Carolina Shrimper’s Association and Main Street

Conservancy at to register.

Beaufort. The event will be held in the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in the Historic Downtown District of Beaufort.


Explore PBC: Cemetery Walk Join Bluff archaeologist Dr. Mary Socci and the rest of the Conservancy team for a walk to some of the Bluff ’s historic cemeteries. Reservations required. Email the Conservancy at to register. No RSVP required for ghosts.


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Golden Marsh Painting with Wine and Design


Explore PBC: Doughboy Island Feeling daring? Join the Conservancy for a hike across the

Bring your friends and your favorite bottle of wine to class

marsh to the spectacular Doughboy Island. Reservations

and enjoy a relaxed introduction to painting. A local artist

required. Email the Conservancy at

will guide each student with stroke-by-stroke instructions to

to register.

ensure you paint your own unique masterpiece, while sharing the experience with your fellow classmates. Reservations required. Email the Conservancy at to register.



Music To Your Mouth Festival Get your belly ready for the 10th helping of Palmetto Bluff ’s Music To Your Mouth Festival. We’ve gathered the best and the brightest chefs on the Southern food scene for a singularly

Watercolor Magic with Peggy Ellis

lip-smacking experience right in the spectacular South

Add some magic to your painting! For the more experienced

Carolina Lowcountry. Check out

painter, this class focuses on capturing landscapes. Peggy

for more details.

will demonstrate a variety of techniques to enhance and improve your work. Reservations required. Email the Conservancy at to register.


First Friday Lecture: The Savannah Wildlife Refuge Complex Refuge biologist, Wayne Harris, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the coastal refuges in our area. No reservations required.




Christmas in the Village Get into the holiday spirit with your favorite Christmas movie on the big screen with your friends and family on Palmetto Bluff ’s Village Green. Sip hot toddies, munch on s’mores under

Savannah Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon,

the stars and take in a classic holiday movie to start the magic of

Half Marathon and Two-Person Relay

the season.

The famous Savannah marathon returns for another year of running, competition and entertainment. Visit for more information.


Brown Bag Lunch: Fur-bearers Bring your lunch to the Conservancy and learn more about otters, minks and the other fur-bearing species of the Bluff. No reservations required.

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