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the bluff Spring / Summer 2018



GET SMART The newly unveiled 2018 HGTV Smart Home balances the beauty of the Lowcountry with the latest technology in Palmetto Bluff.





Fire, the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy,

Golf Course Superintendent Chris

and the land all come together in an

Johnson of the May River Golf Course

unlikely partnership.

is a laid-back family man ready to cheer on the Buckeyes.





Take a journey through the history of

guests of the Bluff dates back further

Château Lafite and the generations that

than you may think.

Big Carol’s tradition of feeding

carried along the legacy.





Take a look back on our newest

Palmetto Bluff debuts the second year

collection of favorite memories at

of the Artist in Residence program in

the Bluff: Field + Fire.

partnership with Garden & Gun.





Donna Ireton takes basket weaving

are unique to the Lowcountry.

Learn about these furry creatures that

and puts her own spin on this classic Lowcountry art form.



Travel over the bridge to the city of


Savannah to test the best tacos (and

Elaine Burge is a wife, mother, Georgia

margaritas) in town.

girl, and exceptional artist.



EDIBLES AND MEDICINALS Take a tour through the woods and learn which plants can fill your belly or sooth an ache.

74 THE HAPPY ACCIDENT OF BULRUSH GIN Pour yourself a G&T and dive into the story of Bulrush Gin and the lesson of happy accidents.

80 HURRICANE FOALS ARE BRINGING NEW EXCITEMENT TO DAUFUSKIE ISLAND Read about the new residents, Mateo Estelita, on neighboring Daufuskie Island.

87 RETAIL THERAPY: COHEN’S RETREAT Stop by this Savannah landmark for local finds at Cohen’s Retreat.

92 BOY MEETS GIRL MEETS BAND Meet the trio behind the Charlestonbased band, The Lowhills.

98 CALENDAR OF EVENTS There’s always something new to discover at the Bluff. Here’s a look at what’s on our calendar this time of year. We’ll see you there!

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PUBLISHER Courtney Hampson

EDITOR Anna Jones




Annie Celine

Amanda Davis

Amanda Baran Cutrer

Teresa Earnest

Heather Dumford

Jessica Farthing

Hannah Horres

Katie Gates

Sarah Grubbs

Michael Hrizuk

Brandon Scharr

Courtney Hampson Justin Hardy

Rob Kaufman Holly Knight

Anna Jones

Krisztian Lonyai

Barry Kaufman

John Roberts

Jesse Rodriguez

Kristen Scott

Dr. Mary Socci

Mark Staff

Tim White

Donna Von Bruening

Jay Walea

Rusty Williams REAL





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Obtain the Property Report required by federal law and read it before signing anything. No federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. This does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy where prohibited by law. The complete offering terms are in an offering plan available from sponsor. File no. H-110005

The HGTV Smart Home 2018 Unveiled at Palmetto Bluff Written by Courtney Hampson Photography provided by HGTV THE HGTV SMART HOMES are in a league of their own. The homes are cleverly constructed with advanced technology, gadgets, and smart solutions to enhance entertaining and everyday living. The 2018 home at Palmetto Bluff is the 11th in the Smart Home series and the designer, architect, and builder carefully planned every detail of the custom construction to ensure high innovation and efficiency to attract a tech-savvy homeowner. Designed by Greenville, South Carolina-based Markalunas Architecture Group and built by Bluffton-based Shoreline Construction, HGTV’s Smart Home 2018 is a Southern coastal sanctuary. True to its setting in Moreland Village, you’ll find that interior designer Tiffany Brooks makes generous nods to the outdoors and the Palmetto Bluff lifestyle in her design. And, it can be yours. You’ll have a little competition though: the HGTV Smart Home 2017 had 87 million entries. But, if you are feeling lucky, here are the details.


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The HGTV Smart Home Giveaway 2018 In addition to the residence and all its furnishings, the winner will receive a 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e Plug-In Hybrid and a $100,000 cash prize provided by national mortgage lender Quicken Loans®. When does the HGTV Smart Home 2018 sweepstakes run and how can I enter? The HGTV Smart Home 2018 sweepstakes opens for entries on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, and runs through Thursday, June 7, 2018. Eligible viewers can enter twice per day at Full rules are available at Features of the HGTV Smart Home 2018 •

Elevated Southern style that sets the pace for living the Lowcountry lifestyle


Three bedrooms and three and a half baths with approximately 2,850 square feet

HGTV Smart Home 2018 features a

Smart technology and energy-efficient materials throughout that blend with traditional

beautiful open-concept kitchen full

Southern architecture

of unique storage solutions. The mix

Open-concept kitchen with custom storage solutions

of materials used—butcher block

Spacious master suite with vaulted ceilings, diagonal shiplap, and abundant natural

and quartz countertops, stainless

light in the bedroom, a full walk-in closet, and a spa-like bathroom that includes smart

steel appliances, brick backsplashes,

mirrors, a concealed coffee pot in the vanity, and a waterproof shower television

glass cabinet fronts—results in a

Hidden virtual reality room with a gaming system and VR headset

space that feels both rustic and

Luxurious screened porch with a dining area, a drink table, lush greenery, and a

modern at the same time, while the

concealable television

soft blue cabinets serve as a focal

Backyard features a four-seat fire pit and grilling area, bringing sanctuary and

point and pop of color for the eye.

relaxation for the perfect smart getaway home


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Master Bedroom:

Flex Space:

The master bedroom in HGTV Smart Home 2018

In a nod to both smart technology and smart

utilizes custom design to create a unique take

design, HGTV Smart Home 2018 features a

on modern Lowcountry style. With oversized

second-floor flex space that can be used as a craft

windows and four skylights providing abundant

area, a library, or even a home office, complete

natural light, elements like the diagonally

with a window bench and plenty of storage. The

oriented shiplap and floral drapes stand out

bookcase opens up to reveal a hidden gaming

against pure white walls while highlighting the

and virtual reality room with built-in lights that

room’s dramatic vaulted ceilings.

pulse and change color according to the music.

Host and Designer, Tiffany Brooks Tiffany, a wife and working mom, is the owner of a residential design firm and winner of HGTV Star season 8.

DESIGN NOTES FROM TIFFANY BROOKS What is the design aesthetic you chose for this house? “‘New Lowcountry Lake House,’ which is a term I made up! I wanted to take classic elements from what is so familiar out there and put a new spin on them. For example, you’ll see a ton of different takes on the paneling, which is normally shiplap. Instead, I used wood textures and diagonal paneling. I used modern lines in furniture, but I wanted to keep the same traditional/casual-feeling fabrics in the pieces.” In keeping with the vision for Palmetto Bluff, how did you work to blend the indoors and outdoors in this home? “Porch design and views were definitely a big consideration. A lot of time was spent making the screened porch as fashionable and thoughtful as the rest of the home. I also carefully selected window treatments and coverings that enhanced, rather than obstructed, the views of the surrounding grounds. The plants were also a part of the design story—the living greenery we used is really a tribute to the beauty of Palmetto Bluff. Casual fabrics were another piece, as I picked them carefully to make sure they gave a nod to the outdoors.”




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The way home.

PO Box 1928 | Bluffton, SC 29910 | (843) 247-5452 |

j. banks design | interior design & retail 35 N. Main Street | Hilton Head Island, SC 29926 | | 843.681.5122




FROM FAM I N E TO FORTUN E Written by Dr. Mary Socci & Jesse Rodriguez Photography by Krisztian Lonyai The late 19th century was a difficult time for the wineries of France. Mild,

from those in France and the rest of Europe and couldn’t replace the

humid weather fostered an epidemic of powdery mildew on vines that

highly sought-after French wine.

was soon followed by a devastating plague of an aphidlike insect, known as phylloxera. The pest was inadvertently introduced to Europe from the

At the vineyards of celebrated winery Château Lafite in Bordeaux,

United States sometime around 1860 and, within a couple of years, vines

France, the situation appeared especially dire. Not only was phylloxera

across the continent were dying. American grapes had developed a

poised to destroy the decades of work that had propelled Château Lafite

resistance to the sap-sucking root louse; however, European vines lacked

wines to considerable renown (even Thomas Jefferson had bottles in his

any defense (and apparently had particularly delectable roots). As the

collection), but also the new owner of the property, Baron James Mayer de

blight worsened, at one point, it looked as if nearly all wine production

Rothschild, died in November 1868, just three months after his purchase,

in Europe would end. The few locations that were unaffected—the Mosel

leaving the vineyard bereft of its leader during a time when he was

Valley of Germany and the island of Santorini in Greece, for example—

needed the most.

offered little hope: soil conditions in those locations were very different

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While considered an excellent vintage in the early 20th century, the 1899 Château Lafite achieved legendary status in the following decades. Today, although the wine is well past its prime, wine collectors spend between $4,000 and $10,000 per bottle.

Although the Wilsons (pictured right) may have savored the exquisite 1899 vintage, an empty bottle of the 1903 vintage of Château Lafite in the trash reveals that even the wealthiest and most discriminating consumer can make mistakes—wet, cold weather yielded mediocre, disappointing wines in 1903.

Rothschild was one of the wealthiest men in the world (possibly the

yielded exceptional grapes. The harvests became superlative wines with

wealthiest), but his fortune had been made in banking, not vineyards.

Château Lafite Rothschild’s vintages as two of the most celebrated wines

Although they had no apprenticeship in the art of winemaking, it was up

the winery ever produced.

to Rothschild’s three sons to manage this unprecedented disaster in their father’s new venture after he died. Fortunately, the younger Rothschilds

Richard T. Wilson Jr. and his wife, Marion, the wealthy New Yorkers

were also savvy businessmen, and that fact coupled with the discovery by

who built the spectacular home that once stood in Palmetto Bluff ’s

desperate vintners that grafting native vines onto American rootstocks

Village Green, may have purchased Château Lafite Rothschild’s 1899

would allow European grapes to grow once again meant that the wine and

vintage because of its fame. An empty bottle of the wine, discovered by

reputation of Château Lafite Rothschild, as the winery was now called, would

archaeologists in a trash pit associated with the mansion, suggests that the

survive the crisis. It would take years for the vineyards to recover, but the

wine was consumed sometime before 1926, when the Wilsons were regular

Rothschilds had the foresight (and the resources) to wait.

visitors to Palmetto Bluff. During this period, Mrs. Wilson entertained lavishly and the bottle of 1899 Château Lafite may have been served at


Poor harvests and mediocre wines were typical as the grafted plants

one of her elegant dinner parties. (Indeed, it may even have been an illicit

matured. Then, two consecutive years of perfect conditions, 1899 and 1900,

indulgence, enjoyed after Prohibition began in 1920!)


OF TE R MS GRA F T: In this horticultural technique, the stem of a European grapevine is cut and attached to the cut stem at the base of an American vine, which allows growers to take advantage of current roots.

PHYLLOX E RA : A tiny insect that lives on and feeds on the roots of grape vines. Phylloxera were largely the culprit in the destruction of European grapevines in the mid-19th century. Despite the success of the 1899 and 1900 harvests, problems were far from over for the winemakers of Europe. Two world wars and the vagaries of weather left even Château Lafite Rothschild struggling to maintain its stature as Bordeaux’s most iconic wine, synonymous with wealth, prestige, and nobility. By the middle of the 20th century, however, vineyards across the continent were recovering, and in 1974, Baron Eric de Rothschild took over Château Lafite Rothschild and returned the winery to its former prominence. Today, Château Lafite Rothschild is the largest producer of wines classified as First

B ORDEAUX W I N E C LA S S I F I CATI ON: A classification begun in 1855 that ranks wines of the Bordeaux region in order of quality. Chateaux (producers) are evaluated in various categories and listed accordingly.

Growth in Bordeaux, the highest ranking achievable in the Bordeaux Wine Classification. (This system of evaluating and ranking wines began in 1855 and Château Lafite has been at the top the list from the beginning.)

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The vinification process has evolved under Rothschild’s leadership with everything being bottled within two to four weeks from harvest. Additionally, the finished grand vin (best wine) rests in barrels for 18 to 20 months, a change from the past when the wines were aged for three months to a year in barrel. Montage Palmetto Bluff ’s Director of Wine Jesse Rodriguez has 13 Château Lafite Rothschild vintages in the River House wine cellar, including the extraordinary 2010, one of the “best Bordeaux vintages in recent memory,” according to Wine Spectator—and is perhaps reminiscent of the 1899 vintage the Wilsons enjoyed a century ago, with friends at Palmetto Bluff. Jesse Rodriguez, Montage Palmetto Bluff ’s Director of Wine



Chart your course to discover a lifetime of memories.

Discover Southern Hospitality in historic Bluffton, South Carolina. In our majestic Coastal getaway. Endless scenic waterways with early morning paddle boarding and kayaking, an afternoon of fishing. And unforgettable boating adventures under the coastal Carolina sun. Discover leisure and luxury — Discover Montage Palmetto Bluff. (855) 774-1286

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Written by Anna Jones Photographs by Mark Staff and John Roberts The final jewel in the crown that is the robust event schedule of Palmetto Bluff, the inaugural Field + Fire event joined the Bluff ’s busy social calendar from January 19 to 21. As a celebration of the Bluff ’s sporting heritage, Field + Fire was a weekend of events that commemorated the long-standing hunting and sporting traditions of the property. From falconry expeditions deep in the Bluff ’s maritime forests to fly casting lessons and sporting dog exhibitions on the Village Green, Field + Fire gave members and guests an elevated experience of the illustrious, adventurous life of sporting. Aside from the excursions and activities of the weekend, Field + Fire was anchored by a three-day market in the River House that attracted some of the best and brightest names in sporting equipment, landscape and nature artwork, wildlife photography, handmade jewelry, and more to give guests access to an assembly of high-end items not available anywhere else. We made new friends, learned new tricks (canine and human), and added more memories to our collection of favorite moments at the Bluff. Take a look.



Top Left: Day breaks on the first day of Field + Fire at the River House. Bottom Left: Participants of the Buffalo Blast sporting clays tournament at the Palmetto Bluff Shooting Club sponsored by Red Bluff Plantation.

Local favorites Cranford Hollow performed at the Beer ‘n Brats event sponsored by Taylor’s Lanscape Supply and Nursery.


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Top Left: A Labrador retriever shows off his tricks in the Retriever Dog Exhibition on the Village Green with expert handler Brett Lawson of TBL Retrievers. Top Right: Montage Palmetto Bluff Chef Jay Walsh serves up bites from Big Carol, Palmetto Bluff ’s food truck. Right: A falcon takes flight over the crowd at the Birds of Prey Exhibition with Wayne Paulk and Steve Hein of the Center for Wildlife Education at Georgia Southern University. Below: A sampling of jewelry from Gogo Jewelry’s exhibit at the Field + Fire Market.

Guests enjoyed a trick shooting demonstration after the Buffalo Blast. SPRING/SUMMER 2018


Top Left: The stunning entrance and setting for the Bourbon + Birds dinner in Moreland Village, sponsored by Richard Best Custom Homes. Bottom Left: Guests dined on five courses of various game and fowl, each paired with a different bourbon. Below: Nashville-based band Levon kept the crowd dancing all night long.


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Thank you to our 2018 Field + Fire sponsors:




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basket weaving Written by Jessica Farthing Photography by Krisztian Lonyai



Steps beyond t he quaint shops and cafes that dot Old Town Bluffton’s walkable

Lowcountry residents are familiar with sweetgrass

streets, the colorful Maye River Gallery sits

baskets crafted from the region’s natural marsh

tucked between age-old live oaks cloaked in

grasses, Ireton looks up to the treetops rather than

Spanish moss. Inside, local artist Donna Ireton’s

down to the salt marsh for her foundational basket

extraordinary coiled baskets rest among bright

making materials.

watercolors, hammered metal jewelry, and smooth gourd sculptures.

“I always admired the heavy branches of the longleaf pine,” she said. “It reminds me of a

Once essential for storing grains, meats, and other

weeping willow.”

important supplies, baskets date to the earliest modern humans. The art of basket weaving

Ireton begins each basket with six longleaf pine

developed independently among different cultures

needles or palm twigs, many dyed in calm blues

around the world, producing a range of rich styles

and lush greens. As Ireton builds undulating rings

and distinct forms that still endure today.

of needles or twigs around her foundation, the design often takes on a life of its own, following the

Ireton’s basketry style is an iconic blend of

curvature of its support or bending to the natural

organic and contemporary styles. The self-taught

direction of the coil. This natural process creates

artist’s modern works incorporate diverse natural

baskets characterized by a simple, understated

materials, from palm pods and seashells to African

form that ebbs and flows. Rich texture and earthy

driftwood and water buffalo horns. While most

colors give each finished basket a rustic appeal.


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While most Lowcountry residents are familiar with sweetgrass baskets crafted

from the region's natural marsh than down to the sal t

grasses, Ireton looks up to the treetops rather

marsh for her foundational basket making materials.




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Donna Ireton with one of her original baskets.

Of course, this close connection with the earth is also

find inspiration in her natural surroundings, she is

vulnerable to outside forces, and perhaps that’s part

already stripping the indigenous tumbleweed, dying

of what makes Ireton’s craft so special. For years, the

the branches, and weaving them into her baskets.

artist collected her basket weaving materials from a

The Southwestern influence is visible in some of

few areas where the island’s trees shed beautiful, long

her pieces now on display at the Maye River Gallery,

needles that she could easily access.

though the Lowcountry still shows through in much of her work.

But that changed in 2016, when one of her primary trees toppled during Hurricane Matthew. After the

And while her love for the Lowcountry will always

storm subsided, Ireton harvested what she could

bind her to Bluffton, Ireton relishes the opportunity

from the fallen tree, using trash bags and hedge

to experience fresh adventures and a different

clippers to collect stacks of needles and place them

lifestyle. “Don’t you ever get light feet?” she said.

into storage containers for safekeeping. Preserved in

Don't you ever get light feet?

the dark containers, the needles dried to a unique sage green. The resulting baskets mixed shades of pale mint green with tones of weathered sand. Today,

As she embarks on her next adventure in New

this palette still appears in much of Ireton’s work.

Mexico and becomes accustomed to new changes, one thing will remain the same: Ireton’s baskets

This year brought more change for Ireton, who

continue to inhabit the corners and shelves of

moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, after calling

Bluffton’s Maye River Gallery, inviting customers

Hilton Head Island home for 13 years. Always apt to

to take them home or simply ponder their stories.



“The Nationals” Silver Award • 414+ LightHouse & Finalist Awards • Pinnacle Award Finalist & Merit Winner • Small Business of the Year • Numerous “Best Builder” awards


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The Bluff’s publisher and editor go head-to-head in a gripping battle over one of the most pressing questions of our region: who serves the best tacos?

Written by Courtney Hampson and Anna Jones

Photography by Annie Celine and John Roberts



By Courtney Hampson

I also love to eat. These two traits combined often mean that when I find a

On my first date with my significant other, we went to Tequila’s Town.

restaurant I love, and a dish I enjoy, I do not stray. I am loyal. And if I must

It was a day date, a Friday, and we decided to go to Savannah for lunch.

declare my taco devotion, I vote Savannah’s Tequila’s Town every time.

We were both nervous, so my solution was to get a pitcher of margaritas (which I had previously pretested on more than one occasion) and relax.

My first visit to Tequila’s Town was shortly after they opened in 2013. A

Fun fact: Savannah laws don’t allow bars and restaurants to serve liquor

local shop owner deemed it the best spot for lunch in the city, and that was

before noon. (This was unexpected, seeing as how you can walk down the

enough for me. In my 40-plus subsequent visits, I have ordered the exact

street with a drink in your hand, but I am not here to debate the law.) We

same thing. So perhaps this also makes me boring, but that is a crown I

arrived at 11:15 a.m. (we were a little anxious, which in hindsight is cute,

shall wear proudly, because Tequila’s Town is so very worth it.

right?), which means we had to work through our nervousness with water, chips, and salsa. And we did. We played 20 questions until our pitcher of

I do not make this declaration in haste. I, like my counterpart, consider

margaritas arrived.

myself a taco (and margarita) connoisseur. My travels take me on a never-ending quest for the best taco. I seek simplicity of flavor and

That is how we got to know each other and that is why it is now “our place.”

family recipes, not pretension. In Cincinnati, it’s Bakersfield OTR. And in Telluride, it is Taco Del Gnar. I hit 10th Ave. Burrito Co. when I am in

The restaurant is always full, but we never mind waiting. Because of those

Belmar, New Jersey, and I already have Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Antojeria

aforementioned laws, we can grab a margarita at the bar and step out the

on the docket for an April trip. Heck, last year, halfway through Boston’s

front door to people watch as folks stroll down Whitaker and Broughton.

Freedom Trail, I was distracted by Mija Cantina & Tequila Bar and suddenly Paul Revere was history, but those tacos . . . they are the future.

Warm chips and flavorful salsa arrive at the table the moment your backside hits the seat. The chatter is loud. The bar is always bustling. And

Tequila’s Town doesn’t strive to be Mexican-adventurous. They don’t

the crowd is a mix of families, college kids, and 40-somethings like us

follow trends, tout farm to table, or offer daily off-the-wall taco specials.

looking to recreate their first date, again and again. The business partners

They serve authentic Mexican food that is consistent and delicious.

who crafted this experience did so because of a love for food and people. Their goal is to “create awesome bites that will keep customers happy and

The servers and bartenders haven’t changed in the four years that I have

returning.” I’d say 40 repeat visits suggests happiness.

been a patron. I’ve never felt rushed, even when we’ve lingered over a


pitcher of margaritas—on the rocks, with salt—playing 20 questions. And,

Alas, I am both happy and boring. Because this is how I do it. Every.

those 20 questions are how the obsession started.

Single. Time.

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First, we order a pitcher of the premium margaritas. The pitcher is big. And the margaritas are strong. If you’re headed right home after dinner, designate a driver. (If not, consider sitting in Ellis Square and listening to the music coming from Wild Wing Café, or if you are still hungry, take a right on Broughton and get in line at Leopold’s Ice Cream.) We’re already through our first basket of chips when we finally place our order. Sometimes, if it’s been a particularly rough day that requires additional comfort, we order queso with our second chip installment, but in the end, it is always all about the Tacos de la Calle—the “street tacos.”

We played 20 questions until our pitcher of margaritas arrived.

You can mix and match, but my order always looks like this: One Rajas taco, please. This is their veggie taco stuffed with roasted poblano, avocado, onions, a creamy chipotle salsa, and lots queso fresco, which is a light, soft cheese that is the perfect complement to roasted vegetables. It’s like a mini-quiche wrapped in a corn tortilla. (My better half always does the flour tortillas. And every time I remind him that he likes flour. I like corn. Something he didn’t pick up on in 20 questions.)

That is how we got to know each other and that is why it is now “our place.”

Don’t judge me, but I also eat them in the order in which I am writing about them. So, the Carnitas taco is up next. Beer-marinated pork is topped with radishes, cilantro, and plenty of lime juice for a bright, fresh finish. I save the best for last. The Al Pastor taco is Guajillo chile-marinated pork topped with onion, cilantro, and grilled pineapple. As you might suspect, the sweetness of the pineapple overcomes the kick of the chile pepper. As the last taco bite is savored, I am still diving into the chips and salsa. The salsa is light and on the sweet side, so it doesn’t set your mouth on fire, and instead it becomes a staple throughout the entire meal. I’m certain we’ve never taken leftovers home save for a to-go cup of whatever is left in our margarita pitcher. My mouth is watering, and we just planned a date for this weekend. Tequila’s Town and 20 questions. I can’t wait.



By Anna Jones

Yes, I’m sure many others do as well, but I’d say that my penchant

with the corn tortilla as its texture and heartiness combine

for (and success in) seeking out the best tacos wherever I am

to ensure your taco is properly encased (and won’t spill on

certainly elevates me above others who fancy themselves taco

your lap). But it’s not just a taco wrapper—these tortillas have

enthusiasts—cough, Courtney—as my discerning palate for the

plenty of personality on their own, some dyed a rich reddish

perfect taco is, well, hungry.

purple from beets while others are fried to crispy perfection for a tostada.

Fine, while I may not really know anything more about tacos than the next average Joe, I do know that my appetite

But as the saying goes, it’s what’s on the inside that counts,

for tacos knows no bounds. I could eat them every day, for

and each taco’s innards are composed of local ingredients

breakfast, lunch, and likely dinner, and not tire of them. A

that sing with fl avor. My favorite taco on the menu, for

spicy, fl avorful little bundle composed of proteins, veggies,

example, is the Aleppo Tempura Cauliflower taco, and I’m

and cheese wrapped in a warm tortilla? Yes, I could eat that

not alone—Massey said it is one of their best-selling items.

for the rest of my life and be very content. Which is why I

An ingenious concoction of tempura-fried cauliflower rolled

was nothing short of thrilled when Bull Street Taco opened in

lovingly (I feel like there is love in these tacos) in a spicy

Savannah’s up-and-coming Starland District last fall.

salsa that gives you just the kick you want—and deserve— topped off by a simple basil

A true “neighborhood taqueria,” per executive chef and co-owner Jon Massey, Bull Street Taco blends spicy, bold Tex-Mex fl avors with local produce and products to create simply delicious tacos. Massey envisioned a Cheerslike restaurant where everyone knows your name—and in this

crema. The result is a fl avor

“This is where locals eat—and that’s where we want to be, at the top of the locals’ eat list.”




takes the title for best taco in town—after all, any taco that can transform cauliflower into a crunchy, fiery fi lling deserves such an accolade, no? Or, try the Tuna Poke Tostada—a

day and age, your food allergies—

delicately crispy tostada that

and paired that with a mission to

sits underneath a pile of sushi-

source every ingredient as locally

grade tuna, avocado, pineapple,

as possible, some even coming from Forsyth Park Farmers’ Market right down the street.

and cabbage that explains why poke is such a food craze right now. No matter what you order, please promise that you will at least pair it with a house

“This is where locals eat—and that’s where we want to be, at the

margarita, which is arguably the best margarita in town, made

top of the locals’ eat list. We work really hard so that everyone

with freshly squeezed lime juice and Cointreau for a tangy,

else can relax,” Massey said.

balanced, and most importantly, strong cocktail.

And for my husband and me, it’s just that. It’s become our

For a neighborhood taco joint, Bull Street Taco strikes the

staple Friday night—we’ll sit at the bar, chat with the hilarious

right medium between casual atmosphere and elevated

bartender who swears he saw me working at Vineyard Vines,

food, something Massey wanted from the start. “If I wasn’t a

and sip our house margaritas. Sip, exhale. Sip, chat. Sip, relax.

father of two and married, I’d be on some beach somewhere

It’s our way to unwind from the week and start our weekend.

in Baja, drinking margaritas and eating tacos,” Massey said. “Everything’s going to be fresh—that’s key for us. We really

But enough about me. Let’s get to the meat of my argument—

feel like there is a great balance of food on the menu, with the

why these tacos are the best tacos in town. First of all, let’s

richness, heartiness, and earthiness of the ingredients.”

start with the tortilla. Massey and his team make their own


corn tortillas in house every day and source their flour tortillas

As for who wins best taco, I’ll let you be the judge. And when

from a fellow friend at the farmers market. I’d suggest going

you decide I win, you’ll know where to fi nd me.

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Above: Finishing touches are put on Bull Street Taco’s signature fish tacos.



local character



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n a 20,000-acre, ever-growing coastal community like Palmetto Bluff, it

is not unreasonable to consider the architecture of the custom residences first when envisioning the lasting aesthetic of this Lowcountry haven. However, the detail that goes into planning the amenities and layout of the land is just as crucial (and just as well thought out and designed) as the private homes themselves. Take, for example, the community’s 18-hole par-72 Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course—the May River Golf Course— which opened for play in 2004. This stunning course rests along the May River underneath a canopy of maritime forest and quintessential live oaks. It presents both avid golfers and newcomers with a myriad of fairways and bunkers that are pleasing to the eye and provide both a challenging and rewarding day on the course. Therefore, it is no secret that this award-winning course must be managed by someone who is not only a steward of the land, but also a golf enthusiast and sporting club advocate. Meet Chris Johnson.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF PERFECT HAPPINESS? A: To be respected, appreciated, and looked up to by my kids.


Q: AND ON THE WAY HOME? A: What do I need to remember about my “first job”—my family.

Q: WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE? A: Music and Ohio State football.

Q: MOVIE THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO FRIENDS? A: Fletch, Super Troopers, or The Big Lebowski.



A: True Life: I’m a Sports Junky and Tom Selleck would play me (from the Magnum P.I. era).

Q: WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT? Marrying my wife, having two awesome kids, and being able to provide for

CHRIS JOHNSON spent the large majority of his adolescent life, and

them. (I’m very proud of them—got to give all the credit to my wife though.)

all of his adult life so far, on golf courses throughout North America, both working them and playing them. Growing up in Ohio, he took his first


job during his sophomore year of high school at NCR Country Club—and

A: That I’m so laid-back.

has never left the industry since. He even decided to study landscape architecture and turf grass management at The Ohio State University


to better understand the science behind building and maintaining the

A: The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever.

ultimate golf course.

Q: IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE “SUPER POWER,” WHAT WOULD After his college graduation, Chris moved to the Southeast in early 1997


to work at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island. By October of 1998, he was

A: To be a big wave surfer—those guys are the baddest dudes on the planet,

hired by Cherokee Plantation, a private sporting club about an hour west of

and I would be super fit and would have more energy at work.

Beaufort, South Carolina, to manage the construction of the golf course and oversee the grow-in of the turf. Here, he held the title of head golf course


superintendent and stayed until 2004 when he took his new position, with

A: Hanging out with my family.

the same title, at the May River Golf Course in Palmetto Bluff. With this transition, he went from managing 700 rounds of golf each year to around


18,000. He also started his family during this time—he married his wife,

A: It’s actually a phrase: “Nothing to it but to do it.”

Stacey, and had two children, Maisie (10) and Turner (9).

Q: WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? “The May River Golf Course stacks up against any course in the Southeast,

A: Curb Your Enthusiasm, America’s Funniest Home Videos, and old

or the country even,” Johnson said. “There are so many new architects out

episodes of Saturday Night Live.

there who know what they’re doing in respect to designing immaculate courses these days, but still, many golfers appreciate a more traditional


approach. Jack Nicklaus is very traditional, yet this course is a stretch

A: Widespread Panic, Grateful Dead, Perpetual Groove, Leftover Salmon,

for him, with a more natural feel than many of his other courses . . .

Greensky Bluegrass.

incorporating modern characteristics with unique design of the greens, use of the land, and shape of the bunkers.”

Q: FAVORITE SPOT ON THE BLUFF? A: The 10th green at sunrise.

Oh, if you’re wondering what his favorite hole on the course is, it’s 16. It’s a classic golf hole with a great variety of trees, the perfect length, only


three bunkers, multiple tees, and a fantastic greens complex, according to

A: When Jack Nicklaus was here right after the renovation work in May 2017.

Johnson. And with a resume as impressive as his, we’ll take his word for it.

I spent five hours touring him around the Bluff and the golf course. SPRING/SUMMER 2018

41 // 843.837.5700 // Bluffton, South Carolina 42

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Written by Barry Kaufman

To residents of Palmetto Bluff awaiting any good news in that moment, Big Carol was a sight for sore eyes.

We all remember where we were in those frightful days after Hurricane Matthew. Reports of devastation to Bluffton and disarray from the storm

But then, Big Carol has a tendency to delight the senses. Just a year

were shared on social media, and for those who evacuated they returned

into her service at Palmetto Bluff, Big Carol has established herself as a

home bracing for the worst.

fixture at the many events that dot the calendar. From social gatherings to foot races, she’s there slinging out her signature array of mouth-

And then one post showed hope. Beside a shot of Big Carol, parked

watering dishes designed by Palmetto Bluff ’s gifted culinarians. And

under blue skies in Wilson Village, was the following:

this past Music to Your Mouth saw Big Carol’s coming out party in the form of Big Carol’s Big Dinner event.

“Our food truck, Big Carol, is up and running and providing meals for our residents, associates, and the crews who are working hard to get Palmetto Bluff back in

But the question most people ask themselves, once they’ve filled up on the succulent cuisine within, is just who exactly is Big Carol?

business. The sun is shining, we are in good spirits, and appreciate all of your thoughts and messages.”

Above: Palmetto Bluff Conservancy Director Jay Walea, second from left, poses with other guides at the Palmetto Bluff Lodge in the early ’90s. SPRING/SUMMER 2018


etto Bluff. inal Lodge at Palm A peek inside the orig

Guests (both two-legged and four) walk past the ruins of the old Wilson mansion.

(For his part, Bales points out with a hearty, Southern-dusted laugh that eventually he did soften the rules somewhat. “All that changed gradually over time. Jay and I Before he was the director of the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy and steward of the

and the others sat around that table in the back room many a morning.”)

Bluff ’s bucolic splendor, Jay Walea was a guide for Union Camp. Beginning as an intern in the ’90s, Walea’s job was to lead Union Camp executives into the field for

It was an act of kindness that Walea and his fellow guides revered. Their jobs would

hunting and fishing trips, navigating the creeks and fields in search of fish, elusive

take them far afield early in the day, leading executives through their hunting and

deer, wild hogs, and more.

fishing excursions, and would have them working with dogs or laboring in the skinning shed until the wee hours of the night, sometimes until one in the morning. It

In those days, there was one rule: do not feed the guides. It was a rule that then-head

didn’t leave a lot of time to head home for grub.

chef “Miss Bessie” gleefully ignored. When Miss Bessie fell ill and could no longer work in the kitchen, the task fell to her

“Miss Bessie and I were very close,” Walea said. “The guides weren’t supposed to get food or anything like that. Even though Miss Bessie worked for Charlie [Union Camp Manager Charles Bales] and that bunch, she would tell them it didn’t matter what they said. She was going to feed her Jay Baby.”


P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M

daughter Carol. The guides called her “Big Carol” and she continued her mother’s tradition of keeping the guides fed, no matter what the rules said. “When we’d show up to pick up the hunters, they’d give us pastries and have coffee setup,” Walea said. “I was the only guide allowed to go to the kitchen . . . and they would fix me two sausage biscuits. The sausage biscuits were my favorite in the morning.”

An actual menu from the Lodge, where a good sense of humor was always appreciated.

etto at Palm e Lo d g e ce to th an tr en e Th


Big Carol’s culinary brilliance didn’t just extend to contraband biscuits. Bales

“All of that helped lend to a cut above Lowcountry experience,”

remembers nights spent entertaining guests over dinners that ranged from

Bales said. “Over the years, we had a lot of faithful people who

thick, juicy steaks to Lowcountry staples like seafood, red rice, barbecue, and “the best fried chicken in the world.” What’s more, she and the rest of the crew in the Union Camp kitchen were locavores before it was hip, sourcing local vegetables from area farmers and their own gardens. “It was always interesting. The folks in the kitchen were always trying to come up with all kinds of different things from chicken wings to frog legs or boiled shrimp, you name it,” Bales said. “The cool thing was that at least one evening meal, usually the second or third evening meal, they served down in what we called the barbecue pit.”

worked a lot of long hours.” That goes for both the chefs like Big Carol and the guides they fed, and Walea knew no matter how long he was out in the field, Big Carol would always have something waiting for him when he returned. “Carol would make crab balls using blue crab, like little miniature crab cakes. She made her own cocktail sauce that would blow your mind.” With a tinfoil bowl of cocktail sauce and a handful of crab balls, Walea would return to the field fed and ready for more. Little surprise, then, that when Palmetto Bluff began plans for its first food truck, Walea was quick to suggest

Tucked down near the water at the head of a pond, this outdoor

the name of his culinary benefactor from the old Union Camp days.

oasis gave guests during the Union Camp days a chance to sample Lowcountry cuisine at its finest, under a blanket of stars.



With just minutes to go before the gates officially opened at Big Carol’s Big Dinner, the Big Carol team had a lot on their plate—literally. For her (un)official debut into Palmetto Bluff society, Big Carol and this culinary cotillion was joined by a handful of fellow food trucks around the Wilson Village treehouse in an atmosphere kept rocking by the leisure-suited stylings of Yacht Rock Revue. Once the crowds started filing in, the Big Carol crew worked their magic with seamless grace inside. Two fryers saw hand-crafted gourmet corn dogs flying out the window as fast as they could be cooked to golden deliciousness. The griddle sizzled and popped with mouth-watering chorizo and ground beef, ready to be transformed into succulent sliders. Throughout the night, Big Carol’s chefs kept crowds fed even as the line stretched four deep, then eight deep, then back to the fire pit, then nearly all the way to the doughnut truck. And as the night wore on, the band played on and the line for Big Carol ebbed and swelled. Palmetto Bluff ’s resident food truck was given a proper introduction. Just as the original Big Carol had kept her mama’s Jay Baby fed, her namesake food truck is giving Palmetto Bluff a quick, delicious bite to enjoy before heading out afield. •


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Big Carol posted up by the May River, ready to serve guests.




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The inaugural year of Palmetto Bluff ’s Artist in Residence program brought a series of artisans from across the South to the Bluff ’s Moreland Village—from the rolling hills of Alabama, the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia, the clear waters of Daytona Beach, the familiar streets of Charleston, and more. All 11 artisans loaded up their handmade works and made their way to the Artist Cottage for a week’s stay. While they were here, they told us their stories—the secrets of their trades, the history behind their work, and the reasons why they do what they do. And finally, we learned their passions, made new friends, and perhaps found a new craft. It was a good year indeed. As we embark on 2018, we are thrilled to announce a new lineup of artisans. In collaboration with Garden & Gun, we look forward to filling the Artist Cottage again with renewed creativity and fresh faces.




Oliver Thames BULLS BAY OYRO McClellanville, South Carolina When Made in the South Award winner Oliver Thames couldn’t find the perfect cooker for his Lowcountrystyle oyster roasts, he decided to build his own. Pulling inspiration from his childhood, Thames brings the traditional open wood fire into the modern era with an eye-catching, and game-changing, cooker primed to cook a whole host of oyster roasts—and more.

MARCH 19-24

Mick Matricciano CANNONBOROUGH BEVERAGE CO. North Charleston, South Carolina Changing the modern soda world, Mick Matricciano of Cannonborough Beverage Co. set out to bring interest, freshness, and playfulness back to soda. With the help of Lowcountry farmers, each bottle of soda contains locally pressed juices, herbs, and fruits that bring soda back to its natural— and Southern—roots.


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APRIL 23-28

Ben Ross Jeff Plotner BRACKISH BOW TIES Charleston, South Carolina When avid outdoorsman Ben Ross got married, he wanted to switch up the traditional black-tie tuxedo at his wedding, so he crafted a turkey-feather bow tie for each of his groomsmen. Today, Ross and one of his groomsmen, Jeff Plotner, create these unique ties in dozens of styles—from pheasants to guinea fowl and peacock to quail, elevating any evening look.



MAY 7-12

Suzanne LeRoux ONE LOVE ORGANICS St. Simons Island, Georgia Off the coast of Georgia, Suzanne LeRoux created a skin care line produced in microbatches called One Love Organics. In this pristine lab, LeRoux and her team aim to create a variety of products that embrace the natural healing power of plants and organic materials to enhance your daily skin care routine.

JUNE 18-23

Christina Jervey CHRISTINA JERVEY JEWELRY Mount Pleasant, South Carolina In a studio on the bluff overlooking Charleston Harbor, Christina Jervey launched her custom jewelry line in 2008. Her line of handmade jewelry features her signature structural style and includes casually elegant earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings.


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JULY 23-28.

Mary Campbell WE TOOK TO THE WOODS Greenville, South Carolina Mary Campbell and her team handcraft their candles from start to finish in Greenville, South Carolina. Each hand-poured candle is inspired by the changing seasons with a cozy and inviting scent that stirs memories of the past and creates memories for the future.

AUGUST 13-18

Elizabeth Seeger Jolly SATCHEL Savannah, Georgia Elizabeth Seeger Jolly and her team of “Satchelettes” run a hybrid studio and store in Savannah’s Historic District that specializes in making handmade leather goods—from handbags to clutches to gun cases—right in front of shoppers’ eyes for a unique and personal experience. SPRING/SUMMER 2018



Colin O’Reilly TERRANE GLASS DESIGNS Spruce Pine, North Carolina Made in the South Award winner Colin O’Reilly set out to create “something for drinkers that doesn’t take away from the experience of the bourbon or whiskey.” After much trial, error, and experimentation, O’Reilly has now mastered the art of refined and elemental glass design, which he is expanding into light fixtures, too.


Sandy Steve Schoettle SEA ISLAND FORGE St. Simons Island, Georgia Sandy and Steve Schoettle share a vision of creating a line of masterfully created legacy pieces that focus on bringing together family and friends. Outdoor gatherings around a roaring fire and simple, meaningful traditions are the cornerstones of the Sea Island Forge lifestyle, which are made easy with their one-of-a-kind fire kettles.


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Brian Noyes RED TRUCK BAKERY Marshall, Virginia From a 1954 Ford farm truck bought from fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and a lifelong passion for baking, Brian Noyes created Red Truck Bakery in the northern Virginia piedmont. The bakery is now a renowned showstopper for sweet treats and especially known for its unique pie and cake flavors.


Jael Rattigan FRENCH BROAD CHOCOLATES Asheville, North Carolina Founded in 2008, this bean-to-bar chocolate company blends the flavors of imported cacao with its Asheville roots by lacing each bar of chocolate with local ingredients such as sorghum, strawberries, and malted barley—a natural pairing considering its suds-soaked hometown.



Written by Tim White Photography by South Carolina Wildlife magazine


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Drive along Old Moreland Road and you may see a black, house-cat-sized, bushy-tailed animal bounding along the grassy edge and then hastening up the side of a pine tree. If you slow down for a better look, you may find what appears to be a large, panda-colored squirrel regarding you from the safety of the tree. If you do, you’ve been lucky enough to spot one of the Lowcountry’s resident fox squirrels.

Fox squirrels are so named because in much of their

But despite their predilection for forest margins, fox squirrels

range, their fur is orange-brown—and they’re not

are perfectly designed for life in the treetops. They have sharp,

much smaller than a red fox. The subspecies found

curved claws that allow them to hang onto tree bark, even upside

in the Lowcountry region, and in Palmetto Bluff in particular,

down. Their wrists and ankles are extremely flexible, allowing

usually shows little or no orange. Instead, they are marked

them to rotate their feet 180 degrees to facilitate climbing at

with gray and black, with a white nose and ears. The Bluff ’s

almost any angle. Like other rodents, their front teeth grow

fox squirrels are just as big as the red subspecies though,

constantly—a useful trait for an animal that wears down its teeth

and they have the same bushy, foxlike tail. For their size, fox

by chewing through tough hickory nut and acorn shells.

squirrels can be surprisingly elusive, remaining silent as they move through the treetops. They are big, strikingly patterned,

To shelter themselves from the elements, sleep, and raise their

and charismatic. One of their most endearing habits can be

young, fox squirrels construct leaf nests, known as dreys. They

seen on warm, sunny spring afternoons, when fox squirrels

may also use tree cavities—although, as you can imagine, it’s

can often be found lounging in the sunlight, lying flat on a

hard to find a cavity big enough to house an entire family of

branch, legs dangling. Unlike their smaller cousins, the gray

large squirrels. (The Palmetto Bluff Conservancy has begun an

squirrel, fox squirrels are laid-back, lazy, and sometimes

initiative to provide artificial nest boxes for wildlife at the Bluff—

completely unfazed by human presence. In some places,

but despite success in attracting flycatchers, owls, and flying

they’ve become tame enough to accept food right out of

and gray squirrels, no fox squirrels have moved in yet.)

people’s hands. At Palmetto Bluff, they’re a bit more skeptical of humans, but they will still sometimes allow for a close approach

In spring, female fox squirrels give birth to small litters of pups.

(and the occasional lucky photo op). Where gray squirrels may

The newborns are tiny (weighing only around half an ounce)

be a nuisance at bird feeders, fox squirrels are exciting visitors,

and helpless, and their eyes remain shut for the first month of

stopping by occasionally, but rarely causing much annoyance.

their lives. In some years, a mother may raise two litters, one in early spring and one in summer. Pups remain with their mother

Fox squirrels adapted to more specific habitats than gray

for several months before setting out on their own. Adult fox

squirrels, which explains why we don’t find them as often in most

squirrels are solitary animals, so the pups usually move away

of the country. They prefer mature, pine-oak forests with open

from their mother as soon as they can fend for themselves.

understories and few shrubs. They’re unlikely to spend much

Sometimes, finding a territory of their own can take a few

time deep in the forest, though. They like to forage at the edges

weeks or more, so young squirrels may wander into unusual

of fields, where they break apart pinecones and hickory nuts to

habitats, including gardens. Occasionally, they’ll find their way

get at the seeds within. (They particularly love the May River

to Palmetto Bluff residents’ yards.

Golf Course and grassy, woodland edges of Palmetto Bluff!)

SS P PR R II N NG G // S U M M E R 2 0 1 8


foxy glow Unique among mammals, fox squirrels accumulate a pigment in their bodies that causes their bones to glow pink when exposed to ultraviolet light. At first, that fact may seem inconsequential—after all, it doesn’t affect most of our interactions with them. But in the context of Palmetto Bluff ’s archaeological history, it can be quite meaningful. The Bluff has been home to people for thousands of years, from Native Americans to European settlers to the modern day. Many of the early societies depended on hunting for sustenance, and fox Over much of the eastern United States, fox squirrels are a vanishing species. Once common in woods bordering farmland, they were left with few suitable habitats after the expansion of suburbs and the mechanization of agriculture. In some regions, they are listed as endangered. Even in South Carolina, reintroduction attempts are being made in areas where they have disappeared completely. Palmetto Bluff is a remarkable exception: the development strategy of leaving old-growth trees intact, coupled with the open fields and golf course, means the Bluff is the perfect environment for these uncommon creatures. (A combination of hunting and habitat loss in nearby areas, including Hilton Head and Daufuskie Islands, led to the elimination of fox squirrels on these islands. A few years ago, conservationists came up with a plan to reestablish fox squirrels on Daufuskie: mainland squirrels would be captured and then released on the island. Any guesses where the squirrels were captured from? That’s right. It was Palmetto Bluff! So, if you’re ever visiting the historic district or playing golf on Daufuskie Island, keep an eye out for squirrels. They might look familiar. . . .) Wherever land is being developed, certain species can act as indicators of whether too much habitat has been destroyed. Fox squirrels are one of these indicator species, and the fact that they have thrived at Palmetto Bluff is a testament to careful land management and thoughtful building practices. We’re lucky to have the opportunity to live alongside such creatures. From their striking colors to their curious nature, fox squirrels are some of the Bluff ’s most interesting animal inhabitants. Whether they are bounding across a field or visiting a garden bird feeder, they’re always an exciting find, and with continued stewardship of Palmetto Bluff ’s forests and fields, they’ll be a part of the Bluff ’s animal community for years to come.


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squirrels were sometimes taken for food. For archaeologists, sorting through the leftovers from a thousand-year-old supper isn’t an unusual undertaking. But identifying what animals were on the menu can be difficult, particularly because bones are often tiny, fragmented, or incomplete. Even some intact bones can be tricky, like ribs, which share many characteristics across species. When it comes to fox squirrels, though, there’s never a question: if it fluoresces pink under a handheld black light, it’s from a fox squirrel. It’s remarkable that the pigment lasts as long as it does—some bones from up to 7,000 years ago still show a faint pink glow.

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Twenty Pieces The Art of Elaine Burge

Written by Sarah Grubbs Photography by Kristen Scott, Holly Knight, and Donna Von Bruening

It all started in a small town in Georgia. A kindergarten class was given the task of creating their own drawings of the local rodeo, and the best drawing would win the student artist tickets to see the rodeo in person. What was intended to be a one-day project turned into overnight homework for one little girl—as she drew the horse with the cowboy holding on tight, she became enthralled by the scene of the stadium, drawing each member of the crowd one by one. That little girl, Elaine, not only won tickets to the rodeo, but she discovered a passion for art through her love of animals that never went away. When Elaine graduated high school, she embarked on a new journey to the bigger town of Athens, Georgia. In Athens, everything revolves around the University of Georgia Bulldogs where football is a religion. Here, Elaine continued to develop her love of creating and received a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design while sprinkling in painting and drawing classes every chance she could.

It Takes a Village Fresh out of college, Elaine began working as a web designer in Atlanta but continued to paint, receiving commissions to create art for various friends, family, and clients. Her husband, a wildlife manager, encouraged her to chase her passion for art, and her desire to have a tangible product from her creativity and her continuous support from her family pushed her toward pursuing her dream. On one Saturday evening, Elaine was live painting at a wedding and heard about the Gregg Irby Gallery in Atlanta. Promising they would only look and not discuss business, Elaine and her mother-in-law strolled into the gallery one afternoon to look around, and soon after, Elaine mustered up the courage to introduce herself to Gregg. After reviewing Elaine’s art, Gregg tasked Elaine with creating a cohesive body of work to display at the gallery—20 pieces, no less. And while Elaine’s experience was mostly in portraiture, there was something special in her animal paintings. Cows, baby fawn, and hunting dogs are just a few of the animals that come to life with layers upon layers of acrylic paints—a childhood love of animals popped off the canvas with every brush stroke. And upon Gregg’s deadline, Elaine’s body of work was complete. Gregg placed Elaine’s collection in her gallery and to this day, Elaine maintains a collection of work in this space.


P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M Right: “Paul, Amy, Ed and Annie”




P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M

Left Top: “Taylor, Muffin, Aden, Patricia, Leah and Sage” Left Bottom (Left): “Lavender and Laundry” Left Bottom (Right): “Ayita” Right Top: Elaine at her studio Right Bottom: “Reba IV” coloring the walls of this Southern home

The Process “I start with a sketch,” Elaine says. “But then I cover up the canvas in color.” I start to giggle, and Elaine says, “It’s intimidating! Just a white canvas. I just have to cover it up with color to get started.” As intimidated as Elaine sounds by the stark white canvas, her process in its entirety is humble and requires patience. Starting with a hand-drawn sketch, Elaine quickly covers the canvas with her medium of choice, acrylic paint. As she works, if there is something she doesn’t like, she just “covers it up.” “It’s a process,” she says. “I cover up what I don’t like about the piece and just keep adding until I like it.” Through the process, a lot of patterns develop in her pieces. These hand-drawn and imperfect patterns are inspired by textiles, specifically Elaine’s love of old patterned quilts, which add dimension to her work.



Left: “Strawberry Fields” Right: The colorful pointer known as “Reba IV”


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Over the Years Starting in portraits, then adding a 20-piece body of work in animal paintings and eventually transitioning to landscapes and abstracts, Elaine has found the secret to making her work accessible to a multitude of clients. Wide-open spaces extend into her landscape work, where you truly feel like you are in the middle of a field with wind blowing across your sun-kissed cheeks. Her animal paintings pop up off the canvas in a way that makes you want to look where the pink, blue, and green dog is pointing so that you, too, can see the quail. Lately, Elaine has taken a leap into abstract work. While she calls it a break from the norm, her abstract paintings feel natural and draw inspiration from animals. With

“Not only are you creating a

special piece of art,

but it captures a memory of something your client truly cares about. “

every intuitive brush stroke, Elaine creates a whirlwind of color that makes you look twice and find something new each time. Although her work has grown over the years, her passion for portraits remains steadfast. These moments captured, no matter how big or small, burst off the canvas in a swirl of color. From a bride and groom embracing during their first dance to three men coming in from their morning hunt to a little girl twirling in her Sunday dress, each of these moments memorializes a special moment in time for her clients. This responsibility is not lost on Elaine: “Not only are you creating a special piece of art, but it captures a memory of something your client truly cares about.” Elaine’s daily life is full of inspiration for her work. Her husband shares her love of the great outdoors and her little girl is a true bundle of joy. With four dogs, nine chickens, and two cats, Elaine has ample inspiration for her animal paintings. And moving forward, you will find Elaine staying true to her roots while adding in more layers, fabrics, and patterns to her works of art. When asked what her advice for younger artists would be, she said, “If you have the urge to create, make the time to do it. You’re doing the world a disservice by not sharing your art.” Elaine’s goal of sharing joy through her painting is truly a gift to all those who see it. Whether it be a moment captured in time, a sense of freedom in rolling hills, or the comfort of man’s best friend, Elaine’s work feels like home.


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Left Top: “Estelle, Ella and Edith” Left Middle: Elaine live painting at a Palmetto Bluff wedding. Photography by Donna Von Bruening. Left Bottom: “Tuesday and His Girls” Right: Elaine at home in Reidsville, Georgia SS P PR R II N NG G // S U M M E R 2 0 1 8








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Written by

Jay Walea Photography by

Krisztian Lonyai SPRING/SUMMER 2018


For over a millennium, people have gathered in the low-lying land that makes up the South Carolina Lowcountry. Native Americans settled here for its bountiful wildlife and temperate climate, while colonists lived here for its proximity to water and coastal breezes. The Lowcountry has always provided sustenance to its inhabitants, and not just through food and shelter—there are hundreds of plant species growing wild in this part of the country with medicinal properties that promote good health, too. Several plant species native to the Lowcountry, and Palmetto Bluff in particular, promote human health not just in being edible, but also in their chemical makeup. So the next time you find yourself with the common cold, you might not reach for the medicine cabinet—you might just venture into your backyard instead. An assortment of sassafras leaves

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a small deciduous tree that grows in abundance on Palmetto Bluff ’s upland areas that has been used for both edible and medicinal values for centuries. This tree species has three different leaf patterns that appear all on the same tree: a regular ovate leaf, a leaf shaped like a kitchen spatula, and a leaf shaped like a mitten. Yes, you are reading that correctly. But the real medicinal values lie in the root of the tree, which has been used for hundreds of years to produce sassafras tea, a refreshing drink enjoyed by many. Historically, in the South, sassafras was used as a cure-all for treating everything from acne to urinary tract infections. The root was also used to make tonics that aided in stomach disorders and for calming fevers. Sassafras was even used in the production of root beer, but was banned in 1960 by the FDA because it was found to be a slight carcinogen. The leaves of the sassafras can also be dried and used as the thickening agent in gumbos and salads.

Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) is a small evergreen tree that grows in the ancient maritime forests of Palmetto Bluff. This plant species is a fastgrowing evergreen that is often utilized in native plantings around homes. Wax myrtle leaves are a natural insect repellent and can be crushed and rubbed on the skin to aid in repelling biting flies and mosquitoes. This tree is also known as a bayberry. Fragrant bayberry berries are made into candles, capturing their beautiful aroma, and also serve as food for wildlife during the fall and winter months. Bobwhite quails, eastern wild turkeys, and Carolina wrens are all species that feed on these berries. The root bark of this plant has many medicinal properties. The bark was used to fight infectious diseases, and tonics made from this bark aided in curing diarrhea as well as treating convulsions, colic, and seizures.


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Camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora) is a non-native evergreen tree species found along the East Coast that has also made a home here in the Lowcountry. This species made it to North America from China around 1875. Brought here because of its healing properties, the camphor tree has flourished, so much so that it is even considered invasive in some areas. The oil from the leaves and the bark is where the healing properties are derived, which is used in wound healing as well as sinus and respiratory infections. Camphor is also a natural insect repellent and is used as a fleakilling substance.

Common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

is a

deciduous tree common to Palmetto Bluff. This species takes both male and female plants to produce fruit, which is eaten by all Lowcountry wildlife, from the smallest mice species to the white-tailed deer. The fruit resembles miniature pumpkins and is delicious. The sweet, pulpy fruit is used for making pies, jellies, and cakes or can be eaten alone—but be forewarned, the fruit must be allowed to ripen completely before eating due to its tannic acid content in its early stages of growth. The fruit can be found on the tree starting in the fall, but doesn’t ripen completely until the winter months.



Red bay (Persea borbonia) is an evergreen tree species that is abundant in Palmetto Bluff. This species is edible, and several parts of the plant can be utilized for different purposes. The leaves of the red bay can be dried and used to season a variety of foods, from hearty stews to grilled proteins. The wood has been used for hundreds of years to smoke meats. It is said that the best smoked fish from Florida is the smoked mullet that locals smoke entirely with red bay wood. Red bay is also commonly used as a native landscaping plant.

Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) is a small native evergreen tree that resides in the Bluff ’s maritime forests that has been used for hundreds of years for its medicinal properties. Native Americans made a tea they coined “The Black Drink” and utilized this tonic as a part of their tribe rituals. This species is the only native plant species in North America that has a natural caffeine—America’s first Red Bull. Yaupon tea is produced by boiling the dried leaves and provides a caffeine kick akin to coffee. Our European ancestors also made a purgative out of the red berries to induce vomiting. Years ago, it was believed by many that one could purge him or herself of an illness simply by vomiting the illness out, which can be induced by eating the berries, hence the Latin name vomitoria.


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Written by Barry Kaufman Photography by Michael Hrizuk



y now you’ve more than likely heard of Bulrush Gin;

Undeterred, he chose to stay. “Once you land in a place like the

perhaps you’ve even tasted it. The local’s gin of choice, it

Lowcountry,” he said, “you don’t want to move.”

boasts its Lowcountry cred with every sip, approaching

the classic juniper note with a Carolina-inspired twist of lavender and

But staying meant fi nding his own road forward. His was Bulrush Gin.

citrus. Area bars and restaurants have been quick to respond, with

It was a risky move, seeing as he’d never formulated a gin before, much

Bulrush cocktails showing up on menus from Bluff ton to Hilton Head.

less distilled one. And despite years in marketing, he’d never launched a brand from scratch.

But as much as the Lowcountry has embraced its hometown spirit, and as much as craft spirits have grown in the last few years, Bulrush

Nonetheless, armed with a little knowledge gleaned from his days in

Gin was never a sure thing. In fact, it very nearly never left founder

the industry and backed by his friends at Six & Twenty Distillery, he put

Tony Bagnulo’s kitchen. The end almost came in the middle of 2015, as

his own money into the fi rst batch of Bulrush Gin, all 300 gallons of it.

Bagnulo and his wife were preparing to take the fi rst sip of a business


venture that represented something of a Hail Mary.

And now came time to taste.

After 15 years of bouncing around the country as a liquor marketer,

In celebration of the grand unveiling, he purchased the fi nest tonic

pinballing between New York and Atlanta with a stop in Fort Lauderdale,

and the freshest limes for a release party consisting of his wife and

he’d landed on Hilton Head Island, where he’d recently been let go from

himself. He chose to ignore the odd aromas coming off the fi rst pour,

the job that brought him here.

something he attributes to an “entrepreneurial delusion.”

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“My wife took a sip and the look on her face was just No. She’s a very


candid woman, and she just told me, ‘This is awful,’” Bagnulo recalled. “At that point, I thought I was done.”

That fi rst bad batch was still running through Bagnulo’s mind hours later when inspiration hit.


The base of Bulrush’s recipe came from an old Dutch manuscript Bagnulo had come across from the 1860s, one that he likens to finding the Holy Grail. Among the directions in this antique tome’s arcane spiritual alchemy was a litany of ingredients and botanicals, including licorice. “In my mind, licorice was star anise. That’s not licorice. Licorice is that actual licorice root,” he said. Realizing his error, he got on the phone to his distiller the next morning at 6:00 a.m. with good news and bad news. “The bad news was we had a really bad gin. The good news was

He would be proven spectacularly wrong in the fi rst of many happy

we had a really good anisette.”

accidents that have come to defi ne Bulrush’s rise to prominence in the Lowcountry.

The even better news was that after the disastrous batch, Bagnulo leaned hard into perfecting the ingredients of his gin. He now carefully sources his ingredients, drawing them locally when the season allows, from regionally harvested ginger to lavender from the upstate. He’s even released a batch using satsumas from his neighbor’s tree. The mandarin sweetness of the satsumas adds a decidedly citrusy tone to Bulrush, one of many flavor notes that sets it apart. “The thing that people love about gin is also the thing that people dislike about gin, and that’s that heavy juniper-piney flavor,” he said. “We’re a proper gin, so we have that. But I wanted to make something that had a little bit more lavender, a little bit more citrus and generally be more approachable than your old-style types of gins.” Creating that approachability calls for a carefully curated array of ingredients, and Bulrush combines an entire world of botanicals in each bottle. Juniper and angelica from Bulgaria, cassia from Indonesia, cardamom and orris root from India, and licorice root (not star anise) from China intermingle with ginger and lavender from South Carolina and Georgia. “We spend a lot of time perusing farmers markets,” Bagnulo said. “A lot of it is sourcing botanicals on nose and taste so that it’s going to have the same notes as what you’ve been using before.” And if you want to hear about a happy accident, ask Bagnulo how he wound up sourcing his coriander. “When we made one of the first batches, I screwed up and had the coriander shipped to my house instead of the distillery,” he said with a laugh. Since they were distilling the next day, there wasn’t time to have it sent to Six & Twenty, where Bulrush is distilled, so Bagnulo had to improvise. “We just started driving around and found this Indian market that has the best coriander in the world. They just had bags and bags of it. It was a hundred times better than anything we could have ordered.”



from strong roots The name Bulrush was carefully chosen to reflect the brand’s Lowcountry roots and partially inspired by Bagnulo’s background in landscape architecture. (“I love plants,” he explained simply.) These reedy, aquatic plants are found in all parts of the Lowcountry, making their way into Gullah crafts and lining the shores of rivers and lagoons. And like any plant, Bulrush has strong roots, but can adapt to grow anywhere. The same can be said for its namesake gin. Already the spirit has infi ltrated nearly every restaurant worth visiting in lower Beaufort County, has made inroads into Georgia through Savannah, and is popping up on liquor store shelves everywhere in between and beyond in both states. And, it’s also available in Ohio, for some reason. “A good friend of mine I’ve known literally since we were seven is the craft spirits distributor for a big distributor in Ohio. He reached out and asked if I knew any brands that wanted to launch in Ohio. And as it happens, I did,” Bagnulo said. “The good thing about Ohio we’ve found is that when you say things like Hilton Head and Lowcountry, they know what that means.” But don’t think Bulrush has forgotten where it comes from. Over a Bulrush gin and tonic, lightly flavored with wildflower honey, at Bluff ton’s FARM, General Manager Josh Heaton recalled a time when that personal touch made a huge difference for him. Bulrush had recently released a limited run of Bourbon Barrel Gin aged in Six & Twenty barrels, and Heaton was having a hard time fielding questions from guests about the unique product. “All I had to do was shoot Tony a text saying, ‘A guest has a question about the bourbon barrels. Please don’t make me Google it,’” Heaton said. “The guest I was talking to just ate [that] up, that I could just text the guy who owned it. “When we fi nd a really good product with a really cool story behind it, and you can shake hands with the guy who built it, that’s what we’re all about.” For Bagnulo, as wide as Bulrush Gin reaches, it will still always be about where it’s rooted. “We celebrate the spirit of the Lowcountry,” he said. “We try to celebrate the culture around here, from the food to the lifestyle to the notion of getting on a boat and hanging out. We’re probably one of the few gins you would ever drink on the May River sandbar.” And to think, it all started with a happy accident.


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1 2




Bulrush Gin

oz Fresh lime juice




Basil leaves

Simple syrup



Slice of cucumber

Dash of tonic

Add lime juice, one shredded basil leaf, and cucumbers to shaker and muddle. Add Bulrush Gin, ice, and simple syrup to shaker. Shake vigorously then pour all ingredients into rocks glass. Top with a dash of tonic. Garnish with second basil leaf. SPRING/SUMMER 2018



Satsuma Coupe




Bulrush Gin



Orange curaçao oz (or Grand Marnier)

Satsuma orange (or mandarin orange)


Dashes of orange bitters

Add ice, Bulrush Gin, orange curaçao, and juice from one satsuma orange to a shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into coupe or martini glass. Add 2 dashes of orange bitters.


P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M

The Experience you Expect, The Quality you Deserve, A Family you can Trust 40 Persimmon St. Ste 103, Bluffton, SC 29910

O 843-837-5133 F 843-837-5134 SPRING/SUMMER 2018


Founders Erica Veit and Tony Geyston are thrilled to introduce the newest member of the Daufuskie Marsh Tacky herd.




Daufuskie Island Written by Jessica Farthing Photography by Hannah Horres

Erica Veit and Tony Geyston, founders of the Daufuskie Marsh Tacky Society, sit perched on stools at lunch, oblivious to the crush of tourists surrounding them at Freeport Marina. The bright, garish artwork and clash of conversation, clanging dishes, and music doesn’t distract them from each other. They give off an air of waiting, a portent of events to come. Frequently, visitors stop by their seats at the bar, and they turn, ready with smiles and a reply that they are still waiting for the birth of two Marsh Tacky foals, the fi rst of these endangered horses to be born on Daufuskie in at least 45 years. Back at the barn, two pregnant mares, Reina and Carolina Moon, graze in the green pasture with bellies swollen to capacity. The sire, Lowther’s Lucero, proudly stands in the field watching over the expectant mothers. The birth of the new Marsh Tacky horses is a big deal. With a population today of around 400, full-scale efforts to restore their numbers and save the breed have been in action across South Carolina since 2007. The special history of this horse makes it unique and a valuable link to the earliest European settlements of the state.



A Special History The Marsh Tacky traces its early roots to the Spanish Conquistadors. While there is an argument on whether the horse arrived in the Lowcountry through trade, shipwrecks off the coast, or abandonment

Francis Marion

from the unsuccessful Spanish colonists, DNA results trace the lineage of these animals to fi ne Spanish mounts. These horses survived primitive conditions, adapting to forage the scrub grasses in the

Who was he?

marshes and wetlands of the coastal plain. The Native American population captured and tamed the nearly feral but well-bred animals, and early settlers reported seeing them riding the mounts through the maritime forests. The sure-footed Tackies were able to carry heavy weights with steadfast determination and were found to be well-suited to a variety of tasks like hunting and, even later, racing to prove speed

The ship sunk after being rammed by a whale. The crew

and endurance. They were the farming animal of choice for the Gullah

survived, but they were at sea for a week before reaching land.

population, performing tasks such as plowing, transportation, and

After this experience, Marion preferred land.

mail delivery. In World War II, these reliable mounts were used by the Coast Guard to patrol the local coastline, protecting residents from spying and invasion from enemy troops. Had any landed, the mounted

warfare methods and a style of fighting similar to our special forces. His unconventional style of surprise attacks on a larger

That wasn’t the fi rst time Marsh Tacky horses had been used to further

army earned him the recognition of troops today.

a war effort. It was Francis Marion, the general called the “Swamp Fox,” the mount’s ability to step through local plough mud bogs proved a

character portrayed in the movie is considered to be Marion.

horses. The word “tacky” also means “common,” but even though there was nothing ordinary about their ability to work on little forage in harsh conditions. The Tackies are known to be comfortable under saddle as well, so much that Dr. Molly Nicodemus from Mississippi State University began, in conjunction with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC), to study their gait to see what made such a seamless ride. The results showed more of a connection to their Spanish lineage, as the characteristics of their trot were in line with the National Horse of Brazil, the Mangalarga Marchador. Now recognized by the ALBC, the particular style of movement exhibited by the Marsh Tacky needed a name. In 2010, the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association designated it the Swamp Fox Trot with a nod to the general who recognized this horse’s value. Later that year, the Marsh Tacky received its official recognition by Governor Mark Sanford as he signed in a bill that made them the South Carolina State Heritage Horse.


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Inspired Mel Gibson’s character in The Patriot While Hollywood took liberties with history, the basis of the

sure advantage in outmaneuvering the British with their larger, heavier these horses were prevalent in the early bit of South Carolina’s history,

Considered one of the fathers of the U.S. Army Rangers In the Revolutionary War, Marion was known for guerrilla

horsemen would have been our immediate line of defense.

who coined the name Marsh Tacky. During the American Revolution,

Took a job at age 15 on a ship headed for the West Indies

Showed his Southern hospitality in a different way After completing tense negotiations for the exchange of prisoners, he invited a British officer to share his humble breakfast of sweet potatoes. It is said the officer was so impressed that he changed sides.

17th century equestrian portrait featuring the famous Spanish-type horse from which the Marsh Tacky breed descends.

Diego Velรกzquez (b. 1599) Equestrian Portrait of Count Duke de Olivares (1636) Oil on canvas / 313 cm (123 in) x 239 cm (94 in)



A few years ago, Erica was fi nishing up course work at the College

The Daufuskie Marsh Tacky Society has plans to expand in the coming

of Charleston, studying non-profit management. She missed living

months. Already adding additional acreage for the expanded herd,

on Daufuskie, an island off the coast of Hilton Head with no bridge

Erica has on her list to develop an office and retail spot at Freeport

connecting it to the mainland. With the goal of helping restore the

Marina. She wants to continue to breed Tackies and plans to raise each

dwindling Marsh Tacky population, she combined her love of horses as a

horse in the fresh air and freedom that Daufuskie provides.

former equestrian athlete and her education in charitable organizations to develop the Daufuskie Marsh Tacky Society with Tony at her side.

This rare but brave animal is a tribute to survival, supporting families

Together they expanded four acres and a lean-to into a gorgeous barn

through farming and foraging and protecting soldiers fighting and

and pastures located next to a thriving commercial area. Erica met her

patrolling our shores. They have been involved with all factions of

goal and her charity’s mission of educating the population, as you can

South Carolina residents from the American Indian to the Gullah

scarcely visit the island without seeing the horses frolicking in the field.

living on sea islands to the soldiers of several wars. While they once ran through the Carolina Lowcountry and barrier islands freely, they

Care of domesticated horses on an island only accessible by boat is

are now a rare sight on domestic farms. They played a great role in the

difficult to organize. Every heavy item needs to be barged over and

history of the state, and with the help of people like Erica and Tony, they

often they are found waiting for supplies and equipment. Erica is

will play a strong part in its future, providing an example of adaptability

constantly planning ahead, making sure the needs of the animals in

and resourcefulness to future generations of animal lovers.

her charge are covered. In 2016, nature decided to take an unexpected path when Hurricane Matthew came to visit. Erica and Tony tried to

To learn more, visit

evacuate the horses but ended up moving into the interior of the island to an abandoned equestrian facility at Melrose Resort for the animals’ safety. The storm ravaged the island, tossing trees and debris onto the charity’s new barn, forcing the horses to seek shelter at Melrose for several months. Such close quarters were unusual for the Marsh Tacky herd, and shortly after the move back home, Erica noticed that two of her mares were pregnant. She was excited about the birth and anxious to see the positive impact for Daufuskie. “At this point, we know the horses bred successfully while they were evacuated for Hurricane Matthew. In that light, these foals are a symbolic silver lining to the storm for our entire community.” Already an exciting but harrowing event, the impending births had so much more importance to the critically endangered line of the Marsh Tackies. Every preparation was made and reproductive specialists monitored the progress. Each day, Erica and Tony watched over the herd. The press was waiting and calling, and the island residents wanted to know when the babies would come. Just like that, in the early hours of November 10, 2017, the waiting came to an end and Daufuskie’s newest resident, Estelita, was born. A dainty buckskin fi lly with a tiny forehead star, she has a dorsal stripe like her mother. Six days later, again in the morning, stout and quick Mateo was born to Carolina Moon. Erica is glad the horses were born as nature intended. “We narrowly missed the window of time to be present for the actual foaling for both occasions; however, we arrived just in time to see two-hourold foals already standing and sucking. This was the greatest feeling of relief, accomplishment, and joy that I have ever felt.” All that waiting was worth the end result of healthy births, despite their absence, and since that time, there has been a flurry of attention for the horses and charity alike.




7 Johnston Way, Suite 2A + Bluffton, SC 29910 + 843-815-2021 + 86

P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M


r e ta i l therap

b y

s a r a h

s g r u b b

photographY by Rob Kaufman AND COHEN's RETREAT

It was the beautiful arched windows that initially caught my eye each morning as I drove past. A brick stairwell flanked by four white columns leads to the front door, and a fountain rests in the middle of the front lawn. An iron fence reads “Cohen’s Old Man’s Retreat” and that is where the real intrigue began.

SS P PR R II N NG G // S U M M E R 2 0 1 8


Colleen Kaney Smith


he namesake of this building, Percy Cohen, was a successful Savannah

Tucked into the built-in shelving across the market, unique items and gifts made

businessman serving as the chief executive officer of Savannah Compress

from local artisans provide a variety of options to peruse—something for a friend,

Company, a cotton export company. Always known as a philanthropic man,

something for your home, something for yourself. Pillows galore grace every nook

when Cohen passed away in 1927, it was no surprise that he gifted his entire

created with fabric from Savannah’s own Curry & Co. Hand-poured candles from

fortune to various charities around Savannah, including a gift of $50,000 earmarked

Nashville, Tennessee, scent the air with calming fragrances like eucalyptus and

to “construct a facility where men would not die old and lonely”—a place where men

sage. Trendy animal hide rugs come in every shape and size and in a variety of

could find fellowship in the twilight of their lives—and so became Cohen’s Retreat.

prints, adding a stylish accent to any living room.

When construction began on the structure in 1933, the idea for the building was certainly not to become the restaurant, market, and event space it is today. But when Colleen Kaney Smith acquired the space decades later, inspiration struck. Cohen’s Retreat transitioned from a retirement home for elderly men into a place for artistic inspiration. It begins when you walk through the front door. The creativity in the

Savannah landmark and scrumptious food brings

interior design is evidenced by the luxurious furniture, rich artwork, and layered

people together over a meal. And while the inside of

accessories as well as the unique way it is all pieced together. From the mismatched white china plates hung on antique wooden boards to a

Cohen’s Retreat may look differently than it did all those decades ago, we think Mr. Cohen would

painted portrait of Mr. Cohen himself, the interiors and artwork in Cohen’s Retreat

be proud of the haven it has become

are eclectic—an aesthetic that continues throughout the building into the restaurant,

for the heart of Savannah.

bar, event space, and Brown Dog Market.


Artisans near and far bring their own flair to the

P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M

Brown Dog Market



Art Jami Ganem Originals Green 8 × 8 $150 Dark Blue 4 × 12 $150 Light Blue 6 × 6 $115

Home Mist Ink Blot Pillows $65 each Eucalyptus & Sage Candle $19 White Stripe Terra Cotta Vases 8.25" $26 / 7" $18 Longhair Deer Hide $438

For her While Folding Clutch by John Powers $86 Oyster Shell Necklace by Z&Z Designs $78

For the littlest ones Noah’s Ark Mobile $76 Lamb Blanket $70 Navy Storage Drum $50

Kitchen Violet Napkins $12 each Grey Poppy Napkins $12 each Round Bird Plates $12 each

For over 30 years, Distinctive Granite and Marble has been the leader in granite, marble, quartz and natural stone. Distinctive is the area’s largest resource for stone, with thousands of slabs in hundreds of varieties. Plus expert fabrication, installation, personal service and affordability.

Stop by a Distinctive Showroom today. Riverwalk

Hilton Head Island

516-A Browns Cove Rd.

33 Hunter Rd.




843-379-5012 39 Burton Hill Rd.



950-B Morgan’s Corner Rd. Bring us any legitimate written estimate and we will meet it. Apples to Apples. SPRING/SUMMER 2018



P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M

Written by Anna Jones | Photography by Dreampop Media Childhood memories run deep. Mental snapshots of nostalgic times gone by capture a moment in time, their clarity and poignancy brought back to life sometimes by a smell, sometimes a smile, sometimes a song. For Lauren Bevins Cahill, singer and frontwoman of Charleston-based band THE LOWHILLS, the twang of bluegrass melodies floods her mind with memories of being with her father as a child and where her love for music began.



Cahill vividly recalls when her father would take her to local bluegrass jams as a child—intimate, spur-of-the-moment get-togethers among Southern bluegrass musicians who just wanted to play their favorite songs. Once a month they’d choose a location outside city limits to gather and play bluegrass. “It was usually in a big, old house, and on one Friday every month, everyone who wants to play bluegrass goes and plays,” Cahill said. “They were beautiful places out in the country where people get together and bring food and play music together all night. That’s where I learned to love the mandolin and, of course, bluegrass.” Cahill was a naturally gifted musician from an early age—she played piano starting at just seven years old. But it wasn’t until she reached her formative years that the twangy hum of the mandolin took hold of her, and it’s a hold that remains just as strong today. She’s one part of the four-member group whose fresh, sultry sound she describes as “jazzy soulgrass.” Cahill laughed immediately at her description of the band’s music saying, “That’s just the way I describe it because it’s sort of like R&B, but it’s based in bluegrass, but also super jazzy. It’s hard so I make up our own genre,” she said, laughing again. “But it’s really rooted in Southern soul music.” THE LOWHILLS have been making waves up and down the Lowcountry coast and across the South at weddings and events as well as at their own performances. The band caters to its crowd, playing feel-good covers everyone knows as well as original songs too, some of which aren’t even recorded or released yet.


P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M

Cahill is the lead singer and mandolin player of the band, joined by singer/songwriter Joe Marlow, bassist/drummer (and her husband) Matt Cahill, and drummer Wes Towers to form THE LOWHILLS. Together the group forms a dynamic combination of raw musical talent and unique melodies truly worthy of its own genre of music. And each member has their own story for how they ended up in the group. Joe and Matt have been best friends for years, growing up together in Nashville, Tennessee. The duo played together in a variety of bands and dabbled in different musical genres, even performing in a rock band at one point. They moved around together across the South, finally landing in Charleston, South Carolina, where they first met Lauren, and then Wes, through mutual friends who hosted bluegrass jams. After playing together—or “picking,” as it is known in the bluegrass world—they decided to form a band. Fast-forward six months, and Matt and Lauren began dating, and then another six months, and they were married. The pair just celebrated their five-year wedding anniversary in August 2017 and have a four-year-old daughter together, Mona, who loves to play the drums. And even though Matt and Lauren are married, Joe and Matt remain best friends, and their families vacation together. “They are like brothers. They were married first, and for way longer!” Cahill said.



Their family vacations serve a dual purpose: to get away and make memories, sure, but also to write songs. Joe’s wife, Andrea, will watch the kids (they have two), and the songwriting process begins. Joe usually writes the song lyrics and then together they create a song piece by piece—first creating an arrangement, then lacing together the harmonies, and finally forming a real song. “We really like to put three-part harmonies on our songs that we write together. That’s our favorite type of harmony,” Lauren said. And their favoritism shows— these original tracks spin together a medley of their voices to produce a soulful sound that hits all the right notes. So far, they have produced two EPs for a total of 10 original songs, but they have plans for much more. “We’re thinking about doing a live album where we can record all the tracks in

Being in the South, I think it has a real impact on us. For our type of music, I feel like there is a lot of it in the South. It didn’t originate here, but it’s rooted here . . . . Cooking and playing music and hanging

a live studio with a bigger band to back it up—that’s what I want,” Cahill said.

out—that’s my favorite thing to do, and the And throughout it all, they keep their Southern roots at the forefront of all they accomplish. “Being in the South, I think it has a real impact on us. For our type of music, I feel like there is a lot of it in the South. It didn’t originate here, but it’s rooted here . . . . Cooking and playing music and hanging out—that’s my favorite thing to do, and the South is the best place to do it.”


P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M

South is the best place to do it.






Help the Conservancy team check the cavity nest boxes


located around the Bluff. It’s always a surprise what may decide to call the boxes home. Reservations are required.



Avian expert Dr. Ken Meyer gives us an update on the avian


research at Palmetto Bluff and where our swallow-tailed


ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Swing by the Artist Cottage for this month’s Artist in

kites have been spending the winter. No RSVP required.



Residence—a week full of events that celebrates the arts, fosters creativity, and offers hands-on learning experiences.

PALMETTO BLUFF MARATHON Hidden away among an intricate maze of rivers, islands, and maritime forests, the Palmetto Bluff Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K are flat, fast, and chip-timed races.




The newly unveiled 2018 HGTV Smart Home THE BENEFITS OF FIRE


balances the beauty the Lowcountry with Bringof a lunch and join Palmetto Bluff Land and Wildlife Manager HardyBluff. for a discussion on the benefits of the latest technology in Justin Palmetto


FIRST FRIDAY LECTURE: SEA TURTLES Join local captain Amber Kuehn for a discussion on the

prescribed fire and to gain a better understanding of why

marine ecosystem of the Lowcountry and sea turtle

fire has been used as a management tool at Palmetto Bluff

nesting. No RSVP required.

for decades. No RSVP required.






Swing by the Artist Cottage for this month’s Artist in LOCAL CHARACTER Residence—a week full of events that celebrates the

Swing by the Artist Cottage for this month’s Artist in

Fire, the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy,

Golf Course Superintendent Chris arts, fosters creativity, and offers hands-on learning and the land all come together in an Johnson of the May River Golf Course experiences. fosters creativity, and offers hands-on learning experiences. unlikely partnership. is a laid-back family man ready to Residence—a week full of events that celebrates the arts,

cheer on the Buckeyes. 16 BROWN BAG LUNCH LECTURE: ALLIGATORS South Carolina Department of Natural Resources




Biologist Willie Simmons discusses the thriving alligator population of South Carolina. No RSVP required.




Take a journey through the history of

Big Carol’s tradition of Help feeding the Conservancy staff with their American alligator guests of the Bluff dates back initiative further by spending the morning catching research

Château Lafite and the generations that

than you may think.

and tagging animals for a study on the population size and range of Bluff resident gators. Jay may even wrestle

carried along the legacy.

one. Closed-toe shoes, long pants, and reservations are required. RSVP to





Take a look back on our newest

Palmetto Bluff debuts the second year

collection of favorite memories at

of the Artist in Residence program in

the Bluff: Field + Fire.

partnership with Garden & Gun.





SUMMER CONCERT SERIES Enjoy a mid-summer concert at the Crossroads in


Moreland Village benefiting Family Promise of Beaufort County. $25 per car (load ’em up!) at the gate.

6 SOUL OF THE ART AND A FINE FOX MARK AND RECAPTURE FRESHWATER FISH OF THE BLUFF 7 TURTLE Learn about these furryHelp creatures that BASKET WEAVING the Conservancy team with their turtle research by Aquatics expert Wade Bales explains how he stocks the FIRST FRIDAY LECTURE:

aresome unique Donna Ireton takes basket inspecting traps, marking captured turtles, and checking lagoons and weaving inland waterway with fish and where greatto the Lowcountry. to see if we have any recaptures. Reservations are and puts her ownfishing spin holes on this classicon property. No RSVP required. are located required. RSVP to .

Lowcountry art form.





Bring a lunch and meet Jay for a fun-filled talk on his



experiences in the turkey woods. Learn the biology of this

Swing by the Artist Cottage for this month’s Artist in

amazing creature and the tales that go along with the

Residence—a week full of events that celebrates the arts,

TACO SHOWDOWN TWENTY PIECES: fosters THE creativity, ART and offers hands-on learning experiences. pursuit of this game species. No RSVP required. Travel over the bridge to the city of OF ELAINE BURGE SERIES Savannah to 19 test CHAPEL the bestCONCERT tacos (and

Elaine Burge is a wife, mother, Georgia

Enjoy an acoustic concert in the Wilson Villagegirl, chapel. margaritas) in town. and exceptional artist.


P A L M E T T O B L U F F. C O M



BROWN BAG LUNCH LECTURE: SNAKES The Conservancy team explains how to identify the common snakes of the Lowcountry and why even the venomous ones


are important parts of our ecosystem. No RSVP required.

4 TH OF JULY CART PARADE Break out the decorations and take your golf cart for a spin in Wilson Village for the 2018 4 th of July Cart Parade.


RISE AND RUN Start your morning with a brisk run through the ancient


maritime forests of Palmetto Bluff in preparation for the


fifth annual Buffalo Run.

Join Dr. Eric Montie for a fascinating lecture on how the fish in the May River communicate with each other, what they are saying, and how their conversations have changed


ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Swing by the Artist Cottage for this month’s Artist in

during his study. No RSVP required.

Residence—a week full of events that celebrates the arts,


fosters creativity, and offers hands-on learning experiences.

SUMMER CONCERT SERIES Enjoy a mid-summer concert at the Crossroads in Moreland Village benefiting Family Promise of Beaufort County. $25 per car (load ’em up!) at the gate.


ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Swing by the Artist Cottage for this month’s Artist in Residence—a week full of events that celebrates the arts, fosters creativity, and offers hands-on learning experiences.


TURTLE MARK AND RECAPTURE Help the Conservancy team with their turtle research by inspecting traps, marking captured turtles, and checking to see if we have any recaptures. Reservations are required. RSVP to



FIRST FRIDAY LECTURE: THE MAY RIVER Kim Jones, head of the Town of Bluffton’s environmental team, explains how the water quality of the May River is monitored and what steps are being taken to keep the estuary healthy. No RSVP required.


RISE AND RUN Start your morning with a brisk run through the ancient maritime forests of Palmetto Bluff in preparation for the fifth annual Buffalo Run.



BROWN BAG LUNCH LECTURE: THE WILSON FAMILY The Conservancy’s archaeologist reveals the rags to riches story of the Wilson family, owners of Palmetto Bluff in the


early 20 th century. No RSVP required.

FIRST FRIDAY LECTURE: SNAKES OF THE LOWCOUNTRY Bring the entire family—and your camp chairs—to the lawn


Enjoy an acoustic concert in the Wilson Village chapel.

at RT’s Market to hear Tony Mills, Spring Island naturalist, and Conservancy Director Jay Walea discuss the native snakes of Palmetto Bluff. And, of course, there will be live


snakes! No RSVP required.


SUMMER CONCERT SERIES Enjoy a mid-summer concert at the Crossroads in Moreland Village benefiting Family Promise of Beaufort County. $25 per car (load ’em up!) at the gate.


NEW HOME TOUR Explore the intricately designed Lowcountry homes of Palmetto Bluff during the New Home Tour.


ARTIST IN RESIDENCE Swing by the Artist Cottage for this month’s Artist in Residence—a week full of events that celebrates the arts, fosters creativity, and offers hands-on learning experiences.



Profile for Palmetto Bluff

The Bluff Magazine Spring/Summer 2018  

The Bluff Magazine Spring/Summer 2018