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The Venacular Architecture Bluffton vs. Hilton Head A Tribute

PAT CONROY Southern Exposure

with our favorite “weather girl”

Annelore Harrell

Our Homes and Community Deserve the Best! SPRING 2016








26 32 features 12 ACTIVITIES



Shannon Tanner: Lowcountry Lovable

Southern Exposure

Architectural Q&A Part 1 Bluffton

32 PEOPLE 18 LOCATION A Largely Untold History of the Lowcountry SERIES Part 2

Pat Conroy ... A Tribute

38 CHARITY The Literacy Center




46 WINE & DINE An Unlikely Story Of An International Wine Competition on Hilton Head Island


48 18

38 departments 4,5














PUBLISHER Premier Lowcountry Magazine, LLC Mylene Owens

To receive monthly e-news go online to and add your email address. And, if you are not currently receiving Premier Lowcountry magazine at your home, please provide your name and address and we’ll make sure you are added to the mailing list.

EDITOR Tamela Maxim

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jeff Gerber Annelore Harrell Tamela Maxim Glen McCaskey

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Tamela Maxim Glen McCaskey Mylene Owens

SALES Mylene Owens

GRAPHIC DESIGN Barbara Bricker of Small Miracles

Premier Lowcountry Magazine, LLC P.O. Box 3480 Hilton Head Island, SC 29928 Phone: (843) 415-5143 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. Premier Lowcountry Magazine, LLC is not responsible for any statements, services and products made by advertisers.

Printed by Martin Printing, USA 6






publisher’s note MYLENE OWENS

I hope that reading this issue of Premier Lowcountry inspires you to find your passion. Let me stop and explain what I mean by finding your passion. My passion for the South Carolina Lowcountry runs deep. As owner and publisher of this magazine, my lowcountry roots began back in the early days of Hilton Head, when everything was a bit simpler; everyone knew everyone and crime was so low that a lot of us didn’t even know where the keys to the house or the car were. I was born on April 9, 1984 at Beaufort Regional Hospital. Most of my childhood was spent in Bluffton and Hilton Head in homes located on some of the small, dirt roads that are now paved and lined with fancy landscaping and luxury homes and offices. I remember walking the side line of the woods in the direction of a dirt road that all of the children were scared to walk down. The rumor was that an old man who lived in the woods down that road liked to kidnap little children. Looking back now, I realize it was an urban legend created by moms and dads to keep us out of any trouble we might find in the woods, not because there really was an old geezer waiting to grab us, and it worked. So, instead of going down the scary dirt road, we used to ride our bikes and play on the swings until the street lights came on and then we knew it was time to get our “you-know-whats” home. Now, when I drive that same no-longer-dirt road called Leg O Mutton, in the direction of Indigo Run from Marshland Road, the pavement is smooth under my tires and there are three-story homes in Victoria Square where the scary woods used to be. The scenery sure is a lot different now. It’s not really a good or a bad kind of different, it’s just that there are some things about what it was like twenty-three years ago when I was nine that I’m nostalgic about from time to time. When I was twelve, Bluffton didn’t have a single stoplight, just a four-way stop in the center of town. I remember when there 8



were only two gas stations – Nickelpumpers and Messex. I don’t think very many of us realized just how developed Bluffton was going to be. Now when I drive up and down Highway 278 (which also used to be a dirt road) and I see all the development that has grown up on either side, it’s still a little overwhelming when compared to what it was like only a few decades ago when Ulmers and Crosbys were still picking tomatoes where houses are now; everyone bought their groceries at Scott’s Meats and there was almost never a line at the post office except at Christmas. I can also remember when there was only one place to shop unless you wanted to drive 26 miles to Savannah. The Hilton Head Factory Outlet stores were built in Bluffton in the 90s and the area grew so much that it attracted Mr. Tanger who bought the shopping center in 2005. Like most people who have lived here all their lives, we have a love/hate relationship with growth, but isn’t that understandable? I’d be less than honest if I told you that I don’t wish that some things had never changed, but we take the good with the not-so-perfect and make the best of it. Hilton Head will always seem a little glamourous to me even though it’s my first home. People from other places just assumed that everyone on Hilton Head was rich, but along with the Hilton Head workforce who lived (and still do) up to a couple of hours away and came by bus to work in restaurants, hotels and such, there were also many like my family who lived in low-rent areas on Hilton Head. My single mom did what she could to provide the best for us; money was usually pretty tight. So, what about passion? I believe that the Lowcountry has its own very special beauty and all of us: newcomers and those who’ve been here all their lives, whether on Hilton Head, in Bluffton, Beaufort, Okatie or Sun City – we are a great community and we’re proud to call the Lowcountry home. Our goal at Premier Lowcountry magazine is to bring

the best in content and advertising to you – whether you are thinking about having your HVAC system replaced or repaired (because we all love that humidity in our homes), need your teeth cleaned or replaced, want that spring clean shine on your windows, have the desire to show up the neighbors with fabulous landscaping or just want to know about the shops that are geared towards what you want and need – we want you to have the faith that Premier will showcase all of the very best that the Lowcountry has to offer – the premier businesses that belong in the premier magazine. As for the content we provide – it’s written for you from the heart. Every writer has their own unique background and desire to bring exciting and interesting content to you and they show that passion with every word they write. I hope the excitement and enthusiasm they weave into their writing is something you will enjoy and look forward to every quarter when the magazine comes out in January, April, July and November. Please continue to let us know what you like best and what you’d like us to share with you in the future. Wishing you a wonderful Springtime and may the gnats and chiggers (“redbugs”) never touch you,








Nicknamed the “Wine

Born and raised in Savannah,

Glen McCaskey has been

Tamela Maxim is the

Bubba,” while at the Aqua

Georgia, Annelore Harrell,

deeply involved in the

author and illustrator

Grille & Lounge, Jeff Gerber

nee Stelljes, spent summers

evolution of Hilton Head

of Nellie Jelly and the

is the Director of the Hilton

at her parents’ cottage on

since he and wife Ginny

Jelly Well, a book for

Myrtle Island. She married

moved to the island

children. She was born in

George William Harrell, Jr., a

in 1970. He was vice

Savannah, Georgia and as

regular Army JAG officer in

president of Sea Pines for

an Army brat spent her

1953, had five children and

the years the company

growing up years living in

traveled from post to post

became internationally

Georgia, North Carolina,

for the next thirty years. A

acclaimed for its ventures

Virginia, Hawaii and 10

real estate broker by trade,

in the Caribbean and

years in Germany, where

to himself as the Certified

active in several civic and

Southeast USA. Today he

she attended both the

Specialist of Wine. He has

community organizations,

owns Community Visions,

University of Maryland in

been taking wine seriously,

she is a graduate of

LLC and has consulted

Munich and the University

serving as a wine judge for

Leadership, Bluffton,

throughout this country

of Stuttgart. She returned

almost twenty years, but

Hilton Head and South

and in Mexico, Eastern

to the United States in

tries not to take himself too

Carolina. She has appeared

Europe and Southern

1976, living in Bluffton

seriously – after all, he lives in

in numerous theatrical

Africa. He and Ginny have

and attending Armstrong

the Lowcountry.

productions, hosted a weekly

been married 42-years

in Savannah, where she

cable television program and

and have been blessed

received her Bachelor

currently writes a column

with two children and two

of Science degree in

SOMETIMES for Bluffton


Elementary Education

Head Wine & Food Festival. He has run several wine programs since 2005 at CQs, Aqua Grille and Bomboras. When someone asks for the sommelier, he usually refers

Today. Living in a river house,

with a double minor in

she proclaims is ‘Not old

German and Art. She lives

enough to be historic and not

on Myrtle Island with her

new enough to be energy

husband Nicholas and

efficient,’ is just exactly

their german shepherd.

where she wants to be.






Shannon Tanner: Lowcountry Lovable! 12 PREMIER SPRING 2016

Shannon Tanner will be wearing his trademark beanie hat when his Family Show returns to Shelter Cove Harbour on Hilton Head for the 28th season of HarbourFest. The first shows will be on Saturday and Sunday, May 28th and 29th and will continue nightly Monday-Friday for the rest of the summer through September 4th. Shows are from 7:00-8:00 pm and 8:30-9:30 pm, which is a change from last year because it was still too doggone HOT at 6:30! The Parrot Palooza Sunset Celebration Show with Shannon Tanner and the Oyster Reefers band is in its 3rd season (also at Shelter Cove) and will be on Thursday nights from June 16th – August 18th. Fireworks are every Tuesday at dusk from June 14th – August 16th and instead of Tuesday, July 5th – fireworks will be a day early on Monday the 4th.

activities TAMELA MAXIM

There is always plenty of parking and it’s FREE! And, ahoy there matey! Shannon Tanner’s Most Excellent Pirate Expedition sets sail every Wednesday and Friday morning from June 1st until September 2nd. The mermaid knows where to find the key to the treasure chest and the ever elusive Ghost Dolphin will help locate Stinky Slimy Slim, that horrible excuse for a man who stole the treasure! WARNING: Capn’ Tanner’s super scary (NOT) expeditions involve fun “battles” with swords (nerf) and cannons (large water guns) and we’re pretty sure that someone will be forced to walk the plank! Of course my favorite part is finding the treasure --- lots of gold (chocolate) coins! YUM! Tickets can be purchased at the Shelter Cove show or ordered online at www.shannontanner. com. If you think you have enough

guts to be a pirate – buy some tickets and go to the Shelter Cove Gazebo at 8:30 am where you will be provided with a nerf sword, pirate doo-rag, eyepatch and pirate tattoo. Kids 3-14 $25, Adults $30, Pirates under the age of 2 are FREE. The boat leaves at 9:00 am and returns at 10:30. Strollers can be taken on board and boats have two bathrooms and plenty of shade, but dress for warm weather and listen to your mother if she tells you to wear sunscreen! We weren’t surprised that the Pirate Expedition received the 2015 TripAdvisor Award of Excellence! Shannon also performs during the cool, cold and colder months in Colorado and is currently playing at the Powder 8 in Beaver Creek where my husband Nicholas and son Nicky enjoyed

the footstompin’-hand-clappin’ performance last month. Nicholas and I also enjoyed the show when we were there in December and noticed that although everyone (including us) was on the tired side of exhausted at the end of a long ski/ride day, Shannon was a crowd-pleasin’-audienceparticipation kind of performer and the response was energetic, enthusiastic and woo-hoo kind of fun. There were funny jokes and stories in between songs and southern style call-outs to the audience, many of whom he knew by name and more than a few who have been coming to his show for decades. Unlike the family shows on Hilton Head, there are no beanie hats or kiddie songs and along with his large repertoire of covers from rock to country, some of SPRING 2016



the best are his originals – one of which he wrote for Toby Keith who just happened to be incognito in the audience one night when he made the announcement. Toby was touched – loved the song and now “Big Dog Daddy” himself shows up from time to time and joins Shannon onstage. So what is it about him that is wonderful and why do we love him so much? He was born and raised in Ridgeland, SC, where he married his kindergarten sweetheart Kendall, who is the Executive Director for the Jasper County Chamber and holds down the family fort while her husband is


away. They have two children, a son: Taylor (27) and daughter Hailey (18). Taylor works for the Greenery on Hilton Head and Hailey is a pre-med student at Clemson with a 4.0 GPA. Taylor says his sister has the brains and he got the brawn. And, yes, Taylor was named after James Taylor. When JT was told about his namesake, he laughed and said that he thinks naming kids after him simply shows a lack of good judgment by the parents. Are Shannon and Kendall’s children musically gifted? Yes! Hailey plays piano, Taylor plays guitar and they both sing, although Taylor has to be coaxed to be on stage. I found

Taylor singing Garth Brooks, “The Dance,” and Hailey singing a sweet duet with her dad, “Marry Me,” by Train on youtube. How did Shannon get his start in music? Shannon started playing drums when he was 12, and guitar at 14. By 16 he was playing full-time at Pelican Point and Crazy Crab on Hilton Head 6 nights a week. He was working on his step-father’s shrimp boat and they tied up at Hudson’s and he started out by playing songs from the boat. The manager offered him $40 a day if he’d promise to come back every day and keep the customers happy during the long wait for a table. $40 plus tips – that was




a LOT of money back then. He was hooked! Shrimping was hot, sweaty work; music was fun and the money was great. After high school, he tried college, but didn’t really like it and on impulse, he decided to go to Vail, where one of his first stops was at a Mexican restaurant for lunch. He played a couple of songs and snagged a gig for $50 a night. Just a few hours later, he met a girl from his hometown Ridgeland, population 3,500. She gave him a ski pass and told him she was looking for someone to share the rent. In less than 3 hours he had a job, a place to stay and a ticket to ride! When he came back to Hilton Head a few years later he landed the job with Greenwood Development playing at Shelter Cove and has been going back and forth between Colorado and South Carolina ever since. Eventually he also added performances at The Cloister in Sea Island, Georgia and in Palm Springs, California, making memories for locals and vacationers. What are his influences and passions? I asked Shannon about his favorite music. He said he likes to stay current, but artists like James Taylor, Glenn Fry and the music of the 70s and 80s have had the biggest impact on him. Glenn’s death really grieved him; he told me that hardly a day has gone by when he didn’t sing something by the Eagles; that Glenn’s music has always been especially meaningful for him. When asked about what charities he supports, he told me 16 PREMIER SPRING 2016

that bringing smiles and laughter to children with life-threatening illnesses during his 12 years with the Make a Wish Foundation was wonderful, (www.worldwish. org) and that he and his family continue to sponsor children through Compassion International, taking sponsorship very seriously – getting to know each child personally as he/she grows up. (www.compassion. com). What else does he care about? He makes people happy for a living and is grateful for being given so many opportunities to have a career where he gets to make a positive difference in the world. He’s a man of strong faith, and told me that he relies on that beacon of guiding light from God for inspiration. But what makes Shannon happy besides God, family, music and helping others? He loves, loves, LOVES football! But, not just the game. As a coach, he was given the opportunity to be

a positive role model. He was head coach of the JV football team at Thomas Heyward Academy in Ridgeland and told me that he counts investing in the lives of those young men as one of the most rewarding times of his life. His team had one undefeated season out of six years, but if you ask Coach Tanner, ALL of them were winning seasons. About 200 young men still come up and address him as “Coach,” and when he gets phone calls, sometimes in the middle of the night, he considers it an honor that they look to him for answers to their life questions, no matter when they call. His son Taylor also has the sports “gene” and rushed for 1,411 yards and 21 touchdowns in his senior year (2007), then played in the NCAA Division II at North Greenville University where he scored 5 rushing touchdowns in 11 games and finished 3rd on the team with 510 all-purpose yards. Now, besides work at the Greenery, Taylor is also a collegiate level sports coach, training young men and women of all ages to improve their fitness and sport-specific performance. Best way to reach Taylor: And the big news from Taylor is that Shannon and Kendall will be grandparents soon! Shan Tan, the Guitar Man, Capn’ Shan, the Pirate, and Granddaddy Shan, the Family Man – whatever you call him, he’s our kind of Lowcountry!




location GLEN McCASKEY

A Largely Untold History of the Lowcountry The more windows the more light! Our first look at the past of the Lowcountry, in the last issue of Premier Lowcountry, was full of fascinating disclosures, but it also came packed with more mystery than a Tom Clancy novel. The reason is that the further back we go, there is just so much we don’t know. There are just too few windows shedding light on those times. Archaeology, scientific information about flora, fauna, ocean levels and to some degree customs, folk tales and traditions, — those are the windows we look through before the arrival of recorded history, before written or even pictorial documentation of the lives and times of our 18 PREMIER SPRING 2016

forbearers on these shores. This second in a series of glimpses into the intriguing history of the Lowcountry will move from the poorly illumined era of history into that which is surprisingly welllit, but for reasons of language, international prerogatives and economics, is just now having the curtains shading the light thrown back. Our last installment plunged back 12,000 years, when the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean was still 50 or so miles east of the Harbour Town lighthouse. In this chapter, we start where the ocean is today, but still before when the stories of our history were being committed to writing. It is not because it was before writing. It was because writing had not yet arrived. And it will arrive in this second installment, aboard ships.

Fill the Valleys, Flood the Creeks Recorded history would not start here until the valleys had been filled by the encroaching ocean where prehistoric people would hunt mammoths and had turned them into what mankind has since named Port Royal, St. Helena and Calibogue Sounds. Fresh water creeks became tidal rivers now revered as the May, Colleton and Beaufort. But once that happened, even before there were prehistoric people living here full-time, a visitors’ pattern of supposedly “primitive peoples” started to emerge in this Lowcountry, a pattern which oddly preceded that of the sophisticates of 2016. Calling those indigenous people groups who built the mysterious Indian shell rings here, “tourists,”

A Largely Untold History of the Lowcountry SERIES Part 2 of 4




would be a stretch, but their annual seasonal ritual of relocating to these sea island and lowcountry shores with their canoes, hunting gear, investment in short term lodging and displaying a voracious appetite for seafood . . . well, call them what you like! {To read more about the prehistoric story of the Lowcountry in the last issue of Premier Lowcountry, find it online at www.premierlowcountry. com) Archaeology suggests that fulltime Native American populations didn’t join the alligators here until around the start of what has been designated, The Mississippian Period of pre-history, a.d. 1100 to a.d. 1600. During this span of 500-years, Native-Americans making the several days travel inland were experiencing major changes in what we might call cultural, political, religious and even military institutions. What once were small and isolated family group,s increasingly


became part of larger tribes and nations for the sake of mutual security and provision. But along the coast, the old extended family-sized tribal patterns seem to have largely remained. Even so, as we frequently say in our own day, “The world was getting smaller.” The Sudden End of Things Prehistoric While “tribal nations” were becoming the new normal, the still small lowcountry tribes lived on the outer edges of all the progress, sometimes having informal distant affiliations with the distant bigger tribes. But an unexpected cataclysmic event would explode into these emerging trends and bring in a whole new level of shrinking “worldness” to the native life of the coastal islands. It caused a rapid relocation from the mysterious fog of pre-history, into the realm of documented history,

and European styled at that! This completely unexpected event was triggered by an “out of the box” Genoese (Italy) sea captain who obtained funding from Spain’s royalty to search for the long sought back door to China and the Far East. Touting a much ridiculed proposal of sailing west to find it, instead of east, it was part of a Holy Grail magnitude search of 15th century global powers to find a shorter route to the riches of the Far East. It was something like JFK’s all-in, high risk race to the moon in the middle of the 1900s. Similarly, the Spanish bought into the low-odds, expensive exploit because of the unparalleled economic upside. So, in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed out of Spain in one life-boat sized and two larger vessels. After the famous voyage, they landed in Hispaniola where Columbus sent a party ashore to determine the location of the Chinese emperor. The vision may

have had a problem or two, but it brought history into contact with what had been prehistory for a very long time. Amazingly, this Spanish sponsored business endeavor would very quickly have a direct impact on the Lowcountry. Columbus’ sponsors lost no time in capitalizing on their 1492 investment. Within four years, they had planted San Salvador, Hispaniola, as the first permanent European community in this hemisphere. They had dispatched exploration parties to the Bahamas, the Caribbean and to Cuba, Mexico and Peru. Florida was discovered in 1512 and the history era of the South Carolina story would not be far behind. Giants in the Lowcountry Even though the “Moon Mission” of that day did not land on the right orb, the results were monumental, including documented insights into Native Americans at the end of the Mississippian Period. Just 24 years after the Columbus landing, the Spanish would be exclaiming about the enormous tides of the Lowcountry, while they were there looking for gold, silver and giants, especially giants. A sugar planter on Hispaniola, Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, sent out an exploration northward up the coast of Florida/North America to locate additional laborers for his rapidly expanding sugar cane business. The original indigenous work force, the Arawak tribes, had suffered catastrophic losses due to European diseases. The expedition apparently landed somewhere between Tybee and

Edisto Islands and returned with reports of a “Land of Giants,” a land brimming not with gold and silver, but with large, strong men (compared to the diminutive Arawak), men who could literally do the heavy lifting on Hispaniola. A second expedition was soon dispatched, headed by Francisco Cordillo, to bring back a load of “alien” workers. These early people-traffickers found the Land of the Giants was actually named, the “Land of Chicora,” the tribal name for a host of small but united tribal families. Cordillo deceptively lured 60 natives on board and returned with them to Hispaniola. It was not a good beginning for Spanish-Lowcountry relations. The Westerlies Strategic Value But Spain soon determined the Lowcountry was vital to their explosive Americas initiative for far more important reasons than being a source of worker giants. It

was vital because of the Atlantic Westerlies. These were the West to East winds that were the returnto-Europe power source for the same shipping that had previously taken the trade winds to the new world, blowing east to west. Before catching the Westerlies, the great Spanish sailing ships sailed north to Cuba, from Mexico and Peru, to restock for the long crossing to Spain. Then they caught the Gulf Stream North until hitting the Westerlies, off the Lowcountry coast, that took them to Cadiz. The strategic value of the Lowcountry was that whoever controlled it, could create a strategic settlement and port from which they could safely protect shipping on the Westerlies trade route. Of course, conversely, it could be effectively used as a nearby home base for privateers, which were increasingly pirating the Spanish shipments of looted treasures returning to Spain. SPRING 2016



450th Anniversary of the Founding of Santa Elena Celebrated in the Lowcountry April 15-30, 2016 Americans normally relate to the 1607 founding of the Colony of Virginia at Jamestown, Virginia as the actual beginning of the United States. It was indeed the first permanent colony established. Plymouth Coligny in Massachusetts was settled later, in 1620 and was abandoned in 1691. But here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the Spanish followed a short-lived French settlement of a year or so on Santa Elena Island in the middle of the 16th Century, 1566. Santa Elena, now Parris Island, home to the United States Marines since 1915, actually became the first capital of the Spanish Provence of La Florida, which spanned the entire east coast of the present United States. The story of Santa Elena will be told in the next issue of Premier Lowcountry. The community peaked at around 500 residents, including men, women, children, farmers and military troops until the Spanish relocated the capital to St. Augustine to be closer to their strategic forces at Havana, Cuba and to avoid a growing English naval presence in the area. The month of April will begin with a regatta for the Jean Ribault and Pedro Menendez Cups, hosted in Port Royal Sound by Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club. Then on April 15, scholars from around the United States will confer on Beaufort to provide a day-long Scholars Conference supported by Beaufort County at The Arts Center of Beaufort. Finally, at the end of the month, on April 30, the ribbon will be cut, the public will enjoy the inaugural exhibit, and a BBQ festival and celebration will be held at the corner of Bladen and North Streets.

Mark your Calendars for these headline events

APRIL 15: Scholars Conference at The Arts Center at USCB For more information:   APRIL 20: Replica Flagship of Pedro Menendez sails into Port Royal Sound

This floating destination will dock in Port Royal (Beaufort) for 10 days. Menendez settled an outpost at St. Augustine in 1565 and he was the first Spanish Governor of La Florida. APRIL 30: Grand Opening of the Santa Elena History Center and Inaugural Exhibit 11:00 am Ribbon-Cutting 12:00 pm BBQ festival with music, food and fun To learn more about the new Santa Elena History Center, visit, and for the Exploring Joara Foundation, visit www.  


France, England and Scotland were the main sources of privateers: government sanctioned pirates. Starting as early as 1526, the Spanish spent several decades attempting to plant a settlement in the area of today’s Port Royal Sound. The Spanish had named it the Harbor of Santa Elena, Santa Elena being today’s Parris Island (yes, the Marines). None of these early attempts succeeded, primarily due to failures of the Spanish bureaucracy. In the Spanish culture of that day, key government jobs were determined by lineage and influence, with almost no consideration of ability or accomplishment. Probably the most glaring example of this was when a very specific and urgent command from the King to plant a settlement at Santa Elena was carried out on the Gulf Coast of Florida by mistake, not even on the Atlantic Ocean or remotely near the Port Royal site. A Bold French Initiative Meanwhile, the French were giving Spain some serious competition in La Florida. Being aware of Spanish reasons to establish a military post at Santa Elena, Gaspar Coligny, Admiral of France and leader of the protestant French Huguenot faction at the French court, took the initiative to establish a colony. In 1562, Captain Jean Ribaut, arrived at Santa Elena with two ships and 150 men. They claimed Santa Elena Island and the Lowcountry for France and built a fort and barracks on today’s Parris Island and proceeded to befriend the native inhabitants, learning how to cope with the local semi-tropical climate and preparing

to defend against well-armed Spanish corsairs full of angry Spaniards. The French renamed the sound “Port Royal,” for it was a magnificent body of water worthy of royalty. Given the months long crossing of the Atlantic, it took the French a half year to even learn of the French initiative and more than another year before a Spanish response could be coordinated. But during that year and a half, things went badly for the French settlement. They had not suffered any Spanish attacks but they weren’t needed. The failure of France to resupply the base, due to a civil war back home, and some movie caliber intrigue with England involving an English plot to hijack the Spanish gold operations, left the 28 men at their Charlesfort outpost on Santa Elena out of supplies. Also having come to the end of the helpful neighborliness of local Indians and midst a mutiny, the surviving 25 Frenchmen somehow managed to build a ship without any shipbuilders. It consisted of local wood, was corked with Spanish Moss, and was tied together with grape vine; the men’s shirts were turned into sails and they set out for an Atlantic crossing in April 1563 without a navigator or navigational equipment. Somehow, even after some cannibalism on the crossing, most of them actually made it home, but kept the forts abandonment secret from the Spanish. In June of 1864, a Spanish expedition arrived at Santa Elena prepared to wrest it from the interlopers, but found it long abandoned, save for a single Frenchman who wouldn’t join the

Atlantic crossing seeing the long chances for success. Next Issue: In the next issue of Premier Lowcountry, we will pick up the intriguing history of the Lowcountry by returning to this abandoned French outpost on today’s Parris Island and tell the story of how it became the capitol of Spain’s La Florida, a new world European Provence that ran from the Florida Keys to the Canadian border. This settlement well preceded the 1607 Jamestown. Virginia English Colony and had a population of 500 men, women and children. The full story of both the French and Spanish settlements on today’s Parris Island are just now being fully understood, many of the historical Spanish documents only recently being translated into English.






Mameem and Maudie Our store is named after our great grandmother Mameem and great aunt Maudie, who lived in Columbia, South Carolina. Our father, Dr. Ben Gilham nicknamed his grandmother Mameem and it stuck, so that’s what everybody called her. Our parents built a home on Hilton Head in 1965, which they still own, and Mameem loaned them the money to build it. Mameem and Maudie loved visiting our family at the beach on Hilton Head, especially Maudie. She would be out on the beach bright and early every day. It was always an adventure when they came to visit and we also enjoyed going to Columbia to stay with them overnight. Mameem was a fantastic cook! Creamed corn, butterbeans, fried chicken, and homemade biscuits was one of our favorite dinners.  She also made delicious thumbprint


cookies which made us popular with the neighborhood kids. Mameem liked to play cards and taught us many a card game. Oh the memories! Maudie fixed us ice cream with warm chocolate syrup and Oreos and when we were in Columbia she took us to the Five and Dime and let us buy office supplies and afterwards we would come back to their house and sit on the screen porch and play store and office. Mameem was 99 years young when she died and Maudie was in her early 80s. Their home on Devine Street in Columbia is now a Realty company. We hope you will visit us at Mameem and Maudie in Old Town Bluffton where our goal is to provide a heartwarming atmosphere reminiscent of the good old days when life was a little slower and people took the time to make fond memories for the future. We’d love to have you drop in for a visit!



Premier Lowcountry’s Realtor Daniella Squicquero of Charter One Realty is our Premier Lowcountry realtor and I decided to find out a little more about her so I could share it with you. She is from a large family and most of them still live in her original hometown of Pittsburgh. She lives with her husband Dr. Adam Squicquero of Howard Family Dental and their three dogs. She and Adam became friends over the internet discussing their favorite philosophers. Friendship turned quickly to dating and the decision to get married was made within weeks, although they waited four years for the ceremony since they were both still in college. They had an intimate ceremony in a beautiful courtyard at a Bed & Breakfast in her hometown. She made all of the desserts (she once considered becoming a pastry chef). Adam’s father officiated, they wrote their own vows and they even made their own wedding bands. Now, they are living happily ever after and their blended families, including the in-laws and siblings are all close friends. I wanted to know what she loves (besides Adam): Cars, especially if they are black, fast and fairly exotic. Her brain is mathematically and scientifically wired. She can take almost anything apart and put it back together again – even a car, given the chance. There is a special place in her heart for animals and she belongs to three adorable rescue dogs (she showed me the photos). If a creature needs extra love – she’s first in line to give. Fashion is her super power, and, yes, she’s done some modeling. She is fascinated with wine, especially if it’s a full-bodied, dark red with hints of earth, leather and tobacco, but of course, it depends on the food that goes with it. First chance she gets – she’s going to become a sommelier. She loves politics, physics (especially astrophysics), music, most of the sciences and she’s also a literature fiend. If you are hungry for something that looks beautiful and tastes delicious, I don’t know if it’s true, but I heard that Martha is jealous. And, she LOVES the South Carolina Lowcountry. She told me that this is the first place she’s ever lived (and, she’s lived in a LOT of places) where it really feels like home. She likes our climate (of course), but she also said, “My love for this area goes far deeper than a sunny day. I love the way the air smells, the

variety of outdoor activity options like hiking, camping, sailing, paddling and fishing.” Lowcountry architecture and history are also high on her list of things she likes. The list of what she doesn’t like is pretty short – just one item – she misses mountains. But, as she told me, “that’s hardly a reason not to live here!” She doesn’t even complain about heat, humidity or gnats and mosquitoes. She knew paradise when she got here and now, as a realtor for Charter One Realty, as it says in her advertisement - she gets to live the LC every day. And, the mountains really aren’t that far away. Daniella has a diverse background, partly because she likes variety, but also because she’s so doggone smart that if she takes an interest in something, it doesn’t take long before she’s done the research, taken the classes or done the DIY version, gotten the diploma or the t-shirt and signed up for something new. In other words, despite the large number of things she is expert in – she’s not a dabbler who knows a little about a lot. She’s one of those amazing people who know a lot about a lot. She’s also the Director of Business Development at the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce which means that she is available to assist chamber members. Research and relationship building are two of her strengths so helping members determine the why, what and how of growing their businesses makes her a terrific asset to that organization. Daniella is a strong believer in giving back to the community and her compassionate outreach was recognized when she was honored with the 2015 Realtor Service Award for her first year in that industry, plus she received the Top Networker award for the last quarter of 2015 from her BNI (Business Networking International) chapter. The philosophy of BNI, which is “Givers Gain” fits Daniella perfectly. Also, no surprise that she was chosen as Membership Chair on the Board of Bluffton Rotary. As for real estate – Daniella prides herself on offering a full-service, start-to-finish approach. The personal attention she provides to each client makes the buying and selling process the best that it can be because she is dedicated to taking all of her skills and knowledge, plus the advantage of working with stateof-the-art technology to make sure that everyone ends up with their little slice of that heaven that we call the Lowcountry.





Southern Exposure

If air conditioning had been available in the 1940s, it’s just possible we would not have come looking in Bluffton for a place on the Maye River, where life moved at a more placid pace and more importantly, was cooler than in Savannah’s debilitating summer heat. Today, in our lowcountry summer life, air conditioning is taken for granted. Setting the thermostat is a matter of choice. Want it comfortable at night for sleeping? There’s a program for that. Going away for the weekend and don’t want the unit working at full blast for an empty house? There’s a program for that. Years ago, somehow we managed home temperatures in the summer. Not by the mechanical means of today, the lovely central cooling that flows through our homes and keeps tempers at an even keel on the most miserable dog days of summer, but we managed by old-fashioned tried and true adjustments. We had practical means of combating heat. A perfect example of southern 26 PREMIER SPRING 2016

defense against the extreme temperatures of July and August is the Church of the Cross on Calhoun Street in Bluffton. When the church vestry in the early 1800s advertised in a Charleston, SC newspaper for someone to design and build a church ‘up off the ground on brick to seat 500 and not cost over $5,000,’ they didn’t mention they wanted the design to have cross ventilation or a southern exposure. That was understood. The church they built so long ago, sits lengthwise on the bluff overlooking the Maye River. For each window in the main body of this gothic design, there is a matching window on the opposite wall so that when the windows were thrown open to the meekest of breezes coming off the river, the air would flow straight through. This was a summer church, meant for summer people who had come to Bluffton from inland where the temperatures hovered at least ten degrees hotter and

from Savannah whose busy streets and brick buildings threw off heat even after the sun had long set. Fortunately, the church has been blessed with a central air conditioning system so that the methods of cooling 19th century style are now only a matter of historical interest to the active year-round congregation of today. But, in the ‘40s, we bent our lives to the heat. We walked slower. We talked slower. We closed windows and pulled down shades on the east side of the house in the morning and reversed the order in the afternoon to cheat the sun’s blasting heat. Only in the cool of an evening or after a cleansing thunderstorm were all the windows opened. In Savannah, during summer months, stores closed at 1 PM on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, except for the first Saturday of the month. Only a few restaurants and Gottlieb’s Bakery were open on Sundays. After church, we

took time off to rest, to take to the river, the ocean, the beach, to relax and concentrate on staying cool. The hours between one and three when it was simply too hot to move around were lazier than most. If you were lucky, as soon as school was out for summer vacation, you managed to leave the city. Some families escaped the heat in the mountains of North Carolina, but most stayed near home. The men wanted to be able to drive into the city in the mornings and return in the evening to share the relative coolness of their summer cottage. Tybee Island became popular because it was only 18 miles from Savannah, an easy commute. The ocean breezes even on the hottest of days were a delight as refugees from the heat sat on the wide porches with their

ubiquitous swings and rocking chairs, never far from the rustle of palm trees and soft murmur of incoming breakers. Some of our friends bought property south of Savannah, down at Pine Harbor, Shellmans’ and Yellow Bluff, where tannin tainted the rivers the color of coffee. Cousin Henry, an avid fisherman, went to South Carolina and bought a riverfront lot down the road from Camp St Mary’s where the Okatie River meets the Colleton. We tried them all. None compared to Bluffton. We wanted a place of our own and trying to find something in those war years of the early 1940s was difficult, to say the least. Gas was rationed, but as soon as we collected enough coupons, we

were off every chance we got. Surely, there was a place for us so we would no longer be dependent on the kindness of friends or worry about the dubious summer rental market. Houses for sale were out of the question. With the war effort, every available space was occupied. We looked for land. And we had special needs. Mama couldn’t swim. She never had, and she had no intention of ever learning. Not for her, the oldfashioned breast stroke Cousin Eunice favored, moving lady-like through the water, hair tucked into a rubber bathing cap, strap fastened firmly under her chin, a protection that would keep her once a week shampoo and set completely dry, but left her with zig zag ridges around the edge of her face. Swimming was not a talent SPRING 2016


Mama aspired to. We would need a place with a beach. Not on the ocean, mind you. She didn’t care a thing about being near the ocean. She wanted a nice quiet river, a gentle river. No swift currents or big fish. She did like to catch crab and until Mama was in her 80s, she rowed our bateau for Daddy to throw a shrimp net. She never left to go on the river without her life preserver cushion or forgot to remind us to take ours. Daddy, on the other hand, was a typical Aquarian. Loved the water, in it, on or near it, any kind of water, fresh or salt. He did insist on the land being high ground.  His father had told him to always buy land that sat high and he was most positive about not buying any land that looked as though it might be susceptible to flooding. Their last consideration was 28 PREMIER SPRING 2016

that they wanted their property to face south. They knew of the prevailing breezes from the ocean and again in those days of no air conditioning, this was most important no matter how much cross ventilation you designed. We found a real estate broker in Bluffton - Mrs. Colcock, who knew everything and everybody and would be most surprised to learn that she was wrong about anything. She led us all over God’s earth. She simply could not understand us. She showed us a lot that faced south with a beach and on deep water. She showed it to us at high tide. When we went back later at low tide to check what we suspected, what we saw was an expanse of mud for a beach and not a speck of water to be found. Then, there were the lots she showed us where the channel ran close and swift to a high bluff, a bargain at ten dollars

a front foot, $600 for a 60-foot lot. There was no beach at all and the property faced due west, sure to be sweltering in the afternoons when the sun began to set. It was most discouraging. Finally, one afternoon, she drove us over a rickety wooden bridge onto Myrtle Island. The half sand, half crushed oyster shell excuse for a road ended in a circle at the tip of the island. We parked the car and walked to the edge of the bluff. There was no road here, only an overgrown path where cars had beaten down the underbrush, evidence of what we later found to be a frequently used lovers’ lane. ‘Except for the end of this island, which is $4,000, there is only one lot available for sale,’ said Mrs. Colcock. When Mama heard $4,000, I thought she was going to pass out. Our custom built threebedroom brick house in Savannah

had cost $6,300 and Daddy had just happily paid off the FHA loan. Mama wasn’t too excited about this property anyway. There was only one house at this end of the island and it wasn’t close. There was no electricity. There was no water. We’d have to dig a well. You couldn’t even really tell one end of the property from the other. But, Daddy persevered. He loved it. The lot was reasonable, priced under $2,000 and had 200 front feet on the river. Mrs.

Colcock forgot to mention the lot was pie shaped and went to almost nothing at the back. You couldn’t see much. The lot was completely wooded, a tangle of vines. What we did see was a beautiful beach, yellow sand, wide and slanting carefully to a slow moving river, green and clear in the winter cold. Mama would have no trouble sitting on that beach. And there was a high bluff. A fact that really pleased Daddy. We ignored the fact that the property faced almost due north. We bought that lot. And we finally found our own on the River Maye.









Photography courtesy of Pat Conroy’s family and friends 32 PREMIER SPRING 2016

Pat Conroy A TRIBUTE

On March 5th 2016 I woke up out of a deep sleep and looked at my phone to see what time it was – 2:00 am. Wide awake and feeling as though something was wrong, I unlocked the phone and the first thing I saw was the Island Packet report that Pat Conroy had died. March 4th, I thought to myself – didn’t Jerry Jenkins just post on Facebook yesterday about how the date is the only one on the calendar that is also a sentence? “March forth.” As sad as I felt at the loss of our “Prince of Tides,” I smiled at the relevance of his leaving us on a date that seemed so perfect – so military – so literary – so Pat. I never got the chance to meet Pat Conroy. I’ve been around his sweet sister Kathy a few times

and I spent an evening bantering with his father at a party, but my chance to meet Pat slipped away just a few weeks ago. One of my writing assignments for this magazine was to interview Pat. My deadline was December 15th. I asked his sister Kathy to help and she assured me that she’d relayed the message and that hopefully he’d call me soon. Of course, Pat’s illness was a secret, so I didn’t know that he wasn’t ever going to be able to meet me or do an interview until I looked at my phone in the wee hours of the night on the 5th. When it was obvious that I wasn’t going to make the Winter issue deadline, I asked Jerry Jenkins if he could help. He was also on deadline, but told me

that if I would send him some questions, he’d be honored to answer them. Whew! Not only did I score a terrific interview, but I also found out that Pat is Jerry’s favorite southern author. My next deadline was March 15th and I had been holding out hope for that interview with Pat. After adjusting to the sad news of his death, I decided to work on writing a tribute to his life, his great heart, his tremendous love for the underdog, his fabulous writing and to ask a few people if they would share something about him or something they had written for him. Like many people, I responded to Pat’s last Facebook post and sent him a Get Well card. I decorated it with dried flowers



and sent him a little shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day, plus I wrote a limerick that I hoped would cheer him up. I hope he read it. It was silly, but that was the idea. I sent his address to my friends and asked them to write. I asked Jerry Jenkins to send me a copy of what he wrote so that I

could share it with you. Shannon Tanner posted a lovely poem in his honor, which I also thought you would appreciate, especially since it touches on the one thing that a lot of Pat’s readers have in common – we feel as though we knew him - he was so transparent and vulnerable in his writing that even though we never met, he seemed like a close friend. Ellen 34 PREMIER SPRING 2016

Malphrus was close to Pat, so I was glad that even though she is grieving the loss of her mentor and good friend, she was willing to contribute – and, what she wrote is beautiful and touching. So here goes. I’ll start with a story that my sister-in-law shared in October and then my silly rhyme, followed by tributes from Ellen, Jerry and Shannon. I hope that you enjoy allowing us to share what Pat meant to us. A lot of people have a Pat story. This is mine: My sister-in-law Cappi worked with Pat on the South Carolina Aquarium project in Charleston and they became friends. My mother used to be a Real Estate broker and drove Pat around the lowcountry back in the 80s. Be patient, and I’ll explain why those two sentences go together. Our family camps on Hunting Island every October. Cappi came to the campsite late because she wanted to get a copy of Ellen Malphrus’s book, Untying the Moon signed by both Ellen and Pat. There was a long, LONG line of people waiting to get books signed at the Heyward House that day. When Cappi got to the end of the line (2 hours later) she handed

over 3 books – one for herself, one for her mother-in-law and one for me. The conversation went something like this: “Please sign this one to Annelore.” Pat – “Do you mean THE Annelore?” Cappi: (big smile) “Yes, THE Annelore.” Pat then told her that my mother had shown him a photograph of me with my sisters Anne and Melanie back in the 80s and that he had declared that he wanted to marry all three of us and hoped that my mother didn’t object to polygamy! I’ve told that story more than a few times and I thought I might get to laugh about it one day with Pat. My husband Nicholas and Pat could share recipes and moan about how unfair it is that God made martinis taste so good and yet be so bad for you. Sandra could tell me what a hopeless flirt her husband is and how I’m not that special because he says that kind of thing to all the girls. Pat’s brother Tim told me to “always write with risk and passion.” Great advice and his big brother would approve. I have fretted over every word I’ve written and yet I keep doing it. Maybe we really do get to know ourselves better by spilling words and being vulnerable. Tamela Maxim – Limerick for Pat There once was a writer named Pat Who wrote about this While he wrote about that And, when he was done Having more fun than fun He laughed, ‘til he cried And, that’s that. Ellen Malphrus – Her Friendship with Pat Friendships with Dickey and Conroy James Dickey was a literary

father figure to me. He taught me about writing and humanity, and that you can’t be fully engaged in a life of the mind unless you also get your hands dirty. He taught me in the classroom and during our walks through the Horseshoe (across campus). During visits at his home or mine, in conversations under the canopy of trees. Pat Conroy was also Dickey’s student. After he published The Water Is Wide, he commuted to Columbia (where Dickey was Poetin-Residence at USC) to sit in on Dickey’s class. Some years later, Dickey was my Graduate Director for my MFA in Creative Writing and was Co-Director of my Ph.D. dissertation. He went on ahead before I completed that degree. When Conroy and I became friends, in Maine of all places, we immediately began singing the praises of Big Jim Dickey – and haven’t really shut up since. He calls me his sister-in-Dickey. After Pat read some of my work, he began gently encouraging me to complete the manuscript that became Untying the Moon. As I dawdled, his nudges turned to nags – then full blown pestering. Thank heavens for it, or the book might still be draft work. Pat’s Influence “I’m a trooper, Malphrus.” That’s what Pat Conroy said to me when he loaded up to leave Shaver’s bookstore in Savannah after our book signing in December – the one that turned out to be his last. Just the day before, he and I had given a presentation and signed books for the Women’s Association of Hilton Head Island (WAHHI) – nearly 500 women (plus Pat and my husband Andy)! He was weary and not exactly feeling his best, and I was giving him a sisterly “talking to” about

pushing himself too hard. That’s when he said it: “Don’t worry about me – I’m a trooper, Malphrus.” And so he was, in many ways. Very many ways. Pat Conroy’s generosity of spirit is also something that has impacted so many of us. At that last book signing, for instance, the very last book signing of Pat Conroy’s life, he wasn’t even signing his own books. He was signing the foreword he wrote for my novel Untying the Moon. And he was there for my book launch in October – a beautiful moss draped, blue skied garden party at the Heyward House in Bluffton. Hundreds of people showed up, and surely not just for Ellen Malphrus. They showed up because my friend and mentor was at my side. This is the gesture of a generous writer, the gesture of a generous man. He was always an advocate for other writers, especially writers who could use a leg up. Those of us who are published by Story River Books, for which Pat was the Editor-at-Large, have been especially blessed by his support. Pat also taught me, and many others, about being true to yourself and true your writing – to write from your gut and from your heart – and the devil be

damned. The Aftermath of Pat Conroy I have been privileged to so many perspectives of Pat Conroy – the author, the husband, the brother, the father, the son, the friend, the mentor – and I see beauty in all of them. Was Pat

Conroy perfect? Oh, how his eyes would roll at such a suggestion. Of course he wasn’t perfect. His life wasn’t perfect. But one of the many lessons Pat taught us is this – perfect is not normal, and normal isn’t perfect. Hurt is normal. Hard knocks are normal. But letting the human spirit soar higher than human foibles, allowing love to overpower pain, these are choices SPRING 2016



we can make – the right choices. One of the wonderful things that happened in the last months of Pat Conroy’s life is that we were able to host “Pat Conroy at 70: A Literary Festival Celebrating South Carolina’s Prince of Tides” at USCB. Hundreds of participants – local folks and folks from, literally, all across the US and beyond – gathered to talk about, tease about, and pay homage to Pat Conroy. There were scholars and writers, artists and actors, editors and agents, friends and family. For three days this circle drew closer and closer so that by the end of the festival everyone was “kinfolk.” Everyone was family. Pat, who had characteristically dreaded all the attention, was touched to the core. He knew the love we all feel for him, and we got to express that love while he was alive and well. And the call for a continued Pat Conroy Literary Festival has been heard. We’ll gather again this October, and Pat will be there in spirit, this I can assure you. The week before “Conroy at 70,” Pat and I sat down for a filmed interview. One of the things we talked about was what he has tried to do with his life and with his work. As he was closing his comments he said to me, “It’s the voyage out that is important.” Pat is on a different voyage now, but the vessel that he has built – not only with his words, which would keep that vessel afloat forever – is not just built with his writing. That vessel is built with his generosity of spirit, with his kindness, with his compassion, with his insistence to stick up for little guy, his insistence to try to help heal those who are hurt. It is also built with the love 36 PREMIER SPRING 2016

he has for his beloved wife (the author Cassandra King) and his children and grandchildren, his sisters and brothers, his friends and his readers. It’s a vessel sturdy enough to last through the ages. The ripple behind it will fan from his beloved Lowcountry rivers out to sea, and we will feel the beauty of that wake each time the tide rolls out and in again. Jerry B. Jenkins – Get Well letter to Pat Dear Mr. Conroy: I’ll be thinking of you as you face this battle. We have not met, but we have in common the best audio reader in the history of the sport, the late Frank Muller. His performance of The Prince of Tides introduced me to both his and your work. So captivated was I with your respective masterpieces that I personally tracked him down and insisted that my publisher hire him to read my novel—Left Behind. They made me pay the difference between what they usually paid and what the reader of Pat Conroy (and Stephen King and Anne Rice and John Grisham, et al) charged— until my series went on to sell more than 60 million copies. I was so obnoxious about The Prince of Tides that—knowing it would be impossible to meet you—I badgered Frank into letting me come to his home and listen as he read my book. I was honored to become his friend. How unspeakable was his loss to the artistic community. In My Reading Life you mention masters who forced you to merely surrender and confess, “I’ll never write like this,” which is how I feel

about you (and on the nonfiction side, Rick Bragg). I know you have no illusions about the difficulty of slogging your way through the writing of a novel while engaging in the fight of your life. But as you do, be encouraged that besides your myriad waiting fans are countless writers like me who long ago were forced to surrender to your mastery, and to whom you continue to shine as a beacon of excellence—the epitome of a lover of the language and its ineffable power. With respect and all best wishes, Shannon Tanner – Poem for Pat Deeply saddened at the passing of Pat Conroy His eloquent style of “painting with words,” my beloved Lowcountry will forever be etched in my soul ... So long old pal ... “My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.” PAT CONROY I know not what binds my soul so completely to you ... An inexplicable bond has woven us together as sure as the net man ties ... Your tides cease not…They flood and ebb in perfect rhythm ... And as sure as the moon beckons them to the sea There is an intrinsic yearning that it bare in me And it calls though I wander ... Come home … Come home … Take flight … your spirit free … And though my sails, wind doth not find … Drifting aimless... My bearings naught... I am drawn back to your creeks and marshes … Your compass true … My soul renewed …




Literacy is more than just reading, writing and numeracy. In Beaufort County it is also about shaping the lives of families! LITERACY: Using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential. NAAL (National Assessment of Adult Literacy) The name has changed a few times, but The Literacy Center, which was registered 43 years ago in the state of South Carolina as a non-profit organization is dedicated to providing literacy classes for members of our local community who cannot read, write or spell English and to help them develop basic life skills necessary to become purposeful, participating and successful members of our community. Those who transition from illiteracy to literacy are not just more functional --- they are happier, 38 PREMIER SPRING 2016

sometimes tears-flowing-downtheir-faces kind of happy. In a world where the Kardashians get more attention than nuclear proliferation, we need to re-prioritize. The Literacy Center is about changing lives and turning the tide of helplessness towards a more functional, knowledgeable and critical thinking society. This January, a terrific new program for families was launched. But, before I tell you about their latest endeavor, I’d like you, dear reader, to pause and decide whether or not you’d like to volunteer. I promise to spell out some opportunities that I hope you won’t be able to resist. No, you don’t really need to pause, but I hope that by slowing you down by a few microseconds, you won’t be too quick to reject that little voice that is prompting you to put on your hero hat and volunteer your time, talent or money.

A Little History: In the early ‘70s some Beaufort County locals and a few Catholic nuns decided that something should be done about young children who were not doing well in school. Many of the children had parents who could not read or write, which meant that there were no bedtime stories, ABC songs or other kinds of similar at-home learning activities. Once the children were old enough for homework, there was no one at home to help. To address the problem, the first literacy program for adults was created on St. Helena Island. It transitioned later into The Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry, which is now called The Literacy Center. In the mid ‘90s, the ESL (English as a Second Language) program was launched to accommodate the large number of people who moved here from 26 different countries,

charity feature TAMELA MAXIM

Family Literacy 360

Turning the Tide – Changing Lives

including Eastern Europe (after the Iron Curtain came down), Central and South America and Asia. The number of students (currently around 600) jumped from less than 200 to over 1,000 in a very short period of time. The need for ESL classes has subsided because immigration numbers have declined, but the need for educating parents of

young children remains. There are still many children who are struggling to succeed in school because of a lack of literacy skills at home. Volunteer Opportunity 1: Help the Literacy Center find illiterate adults. After all, it’s not possible to advertise literacy classes except by word of mouth. If you can read this article, then you don’t need the program, but you might know

someone who does. Volunteer Opportunity 2: Family Literacy 360 is a new 16-week program that started in January hosting 10 families with 15 children ages 3-8 at the St. Francis Catholic School every Tuesday night from 6-8 pm. Tutors (they will train you) are always needed. Volunteer Opportunity 3: Two more programs will start SPRING 2016



soon at Deep Well on Wednesday evenings and at Bluffton Self Help on Thursdays, also from 6-8 pm. If Tuesdays won’t fit in your schedule, how about Wednesdays or Thursdays? – or maybe you can help on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays! The Family Literacy 360 program places parents and their children together in a learning environment. Classes incorporate early childhood and parental instruction to prepare high-risk children for success in school. It also provides the skills necessary to help parents become their child’s first teacher and create a home learning environment. The weekly Family Literacy 360 evening begins with dinner, which gives families a chance to relax, enjoy a meal together and practice conversation skills by sharing about their day with one another. Dinner-time is followed by a series of 20-minute lesson segments. For example, family members might work on predicting skills. “The dog jumped over the fence.” What do you think the dog will do now?” Both listening and reading skills are sharpened as parents read to children and children read to their parents. Conversations are enriched as new vocabulary words are

This Charity Feature sponsored in part by ArkBuilt Nick Maxim, owner

(843) 836-5400


learned and used. Another benefit is the free take-home library and the summer reading program so that children won’t lose momentum gained during the school year. But, perhaps even better than all the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills gained – families become closer as they communicate and share! Parents need to know that they can be successful as their children’s first teachers, but many of them are unaware that there is a program that can help them break the cycle of illiteracy in their family. There are too many adults in Beaufort County who are ashamed to ask for help. How would you feel if you couldn’t read to your children or understand the labels on items in stores or if you couldn’t sing along in church until you memorized the lyrics?

Want To See Your Favorite Charity Featured? If you’d like to sponsor your favorite charity in an upcoming issue of Premier Lowcountry, please email with the name of your charity, contact information and a brief paragraph sharing why you feel the charity should be featured.

This new family program is the first of its kind in South Carolina and is partnered with USC Beaufort and USC Columbia. Dr. Beth Binkerhoff, faculty member / Early Childhood Education Department at USC Beaufort, created the curriculum and attends all of the classes. USC Columbia monitors the program and measures how much the classes have helped the participants at the end of each 16-week cycle and provides follow-up of family members after they leave the program. Volunteer Opportunity 4: Family Literacy 360 is designed in such a frugal way that any church, organization or school can implement it for under $1500. The preparation and training of volunteers is structured in a template format that is easy to adopt and implement. What about your church, organization or school? Volunteer Opportunity 5: Donations make it possible for the volunteers and staff members to do more of what they love to do. Donations, whether small or large can make a real difference. Your contribution can turn big dreams and visions for our community into reality. Let’s face it - literacy affects all of us. Lost wages, unemployment, government assistance, welfare, higher crime rates and even an increased cost to society for healthcare because people who can’t read can’t go to the internet or books to learn about how to stay (or become) healthy and if they get sick and go to the doctor, they can’t even read the instructions on their medicine containers. The hit to everyone’s pocketbook and society’s well-being is staggering, but the good news is that fixing the

problem costs far less than what we are already spending! You can be the Happy Ending: Once upon a time in the land of America there were millions of people who didn’t read a single book in a year (44% of adults) and six out of ten families didn’t buy a single book that year either. Forty-five million of them could only read below a 5th grade level. Three out of four people on welfare couldn’t read and twenty percent weren’t able to read well enough to earn a living wage. School dropouts cost the land of America $240 billion in social services expenditures and lost tax revenues. In the land of Beaufort County eleven percent of the people couldn’t read at all, but the good people in that land got together and said, enough is enough! and they contacted the people in the land of Literacy called Pam Wall (Executive Director) at 843.815.6616 in Bluffton and Mike Powers at 843.681.6655 in Hilton Head and they also sent emails to Mr. Powers at And, because The Literacy Center had more than enough volunteers and funding, everyone lived happily ever after, reading books, having interesting conversations, laughing, smiling and shedding lots of happy tears. The End.

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keeps his borrowers and other business associates up to date by sending them regular status reports by email and text. You’ll have more loan options. Dedicated mortgage lenders don’t handle checking accounts or investment accounts. Their sole focus is to help more people buy a home by providing innovative home financing solutions. In addition to conventional, Jumbo, FHA and VA loans, Caliber Home Loans, Inc. assists borrowers who have experienced a recent bankruptcy or foreclosure, and investors planning to expand their portfolio of rental properties. Your lender will explain everything in everyday terms. Successful lenders will always make sure a mortgage provides lasting affordability. That’s why you can trust them to explain the exact costs of each loan to you well before closing. You can get started right now. With

35 years of experience to share, Don DeMattio is a Loan Consultant who’s highly familiar with South Carolina housing markets and neighborhoods. And since he represents Caliber Home Loans, you’re assured of a wider range of home financing options. To learn more, call Don (NMLS # 357462) at 843-681-8668 or visit his Web site at www.caliberhomeloans. com/ddemattio. Disclosures:

Caliber Home Loans, Inc., 3701 Regent Boulevard, Irving, TX 75063 NMLS ID #15622 ( 1-800-401-6587. Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved. This is not an offer to enter into an agreement. Not all customers will qualify. Information, rates, and programs are subject to change without prior notice. All products are subject to credit and property approval. Not all products are available in all states or for all dollar amounts. Other restrictions and limitations apply.



architecture JOSEPH K. HALL

Architectural Part 1 Bluffton One of the most distinctive elements of the South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry is the architecture. Lowcountry style home architecture developed in the late 1700s and is still constructed today as the most efficient design for the hot subtropical climate of the southeast United States. Lowcountry buildings have historically been constructed of timber and set on pilings or had a raised first floor. The raised first floor was a response to the often swampy environment, high water tables, and tropical cyclone flooding. The underfloor space is often screened with lattice and used for storage or a carport. Lowcountry homes typically have broad hipped roofs that extend over deep and large covered front porches accented by columns or pillars, that allow a shady sitting area and are often used as another living space. Large windows are used to allow warm inside air to escape in the cooler evening. Most modern Lowcountry homes feature a central open breezeway through the entire house allowing a cooling breeze to move through the building. Hi! Joe Hall, here with advice for the bewildered concerning the world of all things architectural. After my request for your questions about architecture in the Winter 2015 issue, I was expecting something like this: “I have a friend who is absolutely losing her mind. She can’t decide how to re-do her kitchen. What should she do?” Signed, Worried Sick Instead, among other interesting questions and remarks, I received the following from one of our region’s leading land planners and landscape architects, Ed Pinckney: “At our habitual Saturday morning breakfast, we have been discussing your newly acquired celebrity as “Bluffton’s architectural critic.” Congratulations! If I remember correctly, either you or the magazine asked for questions, but they’re too slow to respond, so I’m 44 PREMIER SPRING 2016

& Q A

going to sprinkle a few of my questions on you.’ Vernacular architecture seems to be a frequently used term, followed by lack of specificity. With Bluffton in mind, Q. How do you define “vernacular” architecture? Pictures? Drawings? Handbook? Just words?” A. The smart aleck answer is YES There were other questions from Ed in that same email. In fact, there were enough questions that when answered properly would provide the outline for a very timely textbook appropriate for our political leaders, real estate developers, bankers, lawyers, land planners, landscape architects, architects and anyone else interested in the built environment. All of you publishers, take note please: in my opinion, the publication of such a book is much-needed and would result in a large readership. The Lowcountry is the home of some of the most creative and unique real estate development anywhere in the country. There are many communities that will provide substantial case studies for critical reading and perhaps help those who are not doing such a commendable job in the development world. Some of whom, unfortunately, are right here in our own neighborhood. The standard American development, including commercial and residential is a lot like the standard American diet. It is SAD. And the saddest part is – it flies in the face of vernacular architecture. Standard American development has found its way into the Lowcountry, riding on the coat tails of the fame of Hilton Head Island and surroundings and diluting the great work done here in the mid and late 20th century. With that being said and off my chest, back to the Q & A. About vernacular architecture in Bluffton: One more quick side note at Definition #14 for the word vernacular: “A style of

architecture exemplifying the commonest techniques, decorative features and materials of a particular historical period, region or group of people.” For instance, igloos are vernacular architecture for Eskimos. Note: the part about igloos is mine – not Okay, so here’s my answer to “How do you define vernacular architecture?” A. already took care of that with Definition #14 Next question: Q. How can I experience Bluffton’s vernacular architecture? A. Start looking for the elements described in the dictionary: • Commonest technique • Decorative features and material Next, take the Bluffton Walking Tour. The short version is a few blocks long. Starting in Old Bluffton, set your GPS to 110 Calhoun Street, The Church of the Cross, Bluffton, SC. It is on the bluff of the May River at the end of the street. The style is known as Carpenter Gothic. It was built in 1857 and designed by Charleston architect, E. B. White. Enjoy the garden. Enjoy the view of the river. Enjoy the presence of the building. Enjoy the simple board and batten construction. You will see the same technique used on the nearby residential buildings as you walk down the street. Be sure to go inside if you are there on a day when the door is open. Notice the pink stucco walls scored to look like stacked masonry units. The environmental psychologists tell us that this color soothes the troubled mind when used in architectural spaces. Was that a happy accident or did the architect in 1857 already know? Notice the stained glass windows in various shades of pink and gray. All with that same soothing environmental quality. I hope the casement windows are open on the day you visit so

that you can take in the spectacular view of the river from inside such an awesome place. Notice the transoms above the windows. Gothic shapes, with towers that look a lot like the palmetto palm fronds so ubiquitous to the landscape. What you see in this wonderful church in terms of material and details of construction will show up again in different scale and for different use as you stroll down Calhoun Street. It makes no difference if it’s the house, the place of business, or even the gas station – look for board and batten walls, simple details, repetition of colors. Heading north on Calhoun Street you will find houses with generous porches painted white — VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE. Caution — gentrification in process, overriding the abuses of less attentive dwellers at other times in the town’s history. Walk across May River Road — VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE 21st century style. Critical mass is almost there – a work in progress. It is important to remember that neighborhoods, towns and cities, like children, take time to mature. Notice the style, its variations on the theme. It is an architectural jam session. Many players playing their

part of the whole composition. The best part is that it’s full of people. Living, working, playing — all in the same place. Urbanism. A toy town —VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE – a particular group of people — remember that part about people in Definition #14? When you get a chance, take in a Sunset Party at the Old Oyster Factory Park at the end of Wharf Street, a street which has one of the few drivable boat ramps down to the river. The celebration takes place every month or two and is a collection of music, local craft beer, food booths, big kids, little kids, dogs, young people and yes — the mature, seasoned people too — the ones who have been there, done that and are back for more. It’s a good time for everyone. Community at its best! While you are there, walk a block or two in either direction on Bridge Street. More VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE. It’s where the well-to-do and the rest of the town are neighbors. VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE seems to encourage an egalitarian culture. The tour continues to New Town Bluffton – often referred to as Bluffganastan by Wags who think they

are so clever. The land planners know Bluffton as an Edge City. If Hilton Head Island is “Palm Beach,” then Bluffton is “West Palm Beach.” It is a 20th century phenomena. Without the car, it’s impossible. The Edge City is sometimes bigger than the Parent City. It has its own special charms. I’m not sure yet what they are. At other times it’s a substitute for a shopping trip to NYC. Brooks Brothers, Polo and Ann Klein are only a short drive away, along with grocery stores selling what was once only available at Balducci’s and Zabar’s in our past lives. Fording Island Road has turned into the miracle ten miles. List every major retailer in America and there they are. Just a short drive to them all. Hello America! Goodbye VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE! I’m still looking for more questions about architecture as it involves your own personal lives, whether it is about your home, your business or your place of leisure, recreation and fun. “First we shape our environment. Thereafter it shapes us.” Those parting words from Sir Winston Churchill. NEXT ISSUE: Part 2 Hilton Head



wine & dine JEFF GERBER

hen you think of a wine competition, you likely think of places like Napa and Sonoma, France and Italy. The Judgement of Paris was made famous through newspapers, books and movies. Individuals who follow the wine industry might also consider Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and Germany as hotbeds. But, Hilton Head Island?

We play host year after year to an international competition for wine. Hundreds of bottles arrive from all around the world, hoping to be acknowledged as Best in Show, receive a coveted Double Gold, or be noted with the respectable showings of Gold and Silver. In 2016, there were three Best in Show wines, 17 Double Gold Medal winners, 25 Gold Medal winners and 121 Silver Medal winners named from the entrants. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


Not, every vintner, winery, importer, distributor and wine enthusiast can win. Or even place. Competition is fierce, and I have been asked to demystify the process for the Premier Lowcountry readers. As the Judging Director for the last decade, let me tell you all of our secrets. First, the competition is part of the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival. Celebrating 31 years in 2016 and presented by Publix, this was one of our most successful years yet. The event originated with the Hilton Head Hospitality Association, but folded into our festival after the recession. Second, the why. Our local competition creates scholarship opportunities for local college students in the fields of tourism, hospitality and culinary arts. The University of South Carolina – Beaufort and the Technical College of the Lowcountry award

scholars financial support to help them with a semester or two of tuition. Dozens of students have benefited and now work locally at hotels such as the Westin, Marriott, Sonesta, local restaurants and other tourism industry related businesses. How do we create scholarships? Each entry must submit three bottles, in the event of any mishaps. Most of the time, there are no problems and these wines become extras. At the conclusion of the judgment, we make these wines available in auction lots at the Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting and Public Tasting events. The bids and donations go towards the John & Valerie Curry Educational Scholarship Fund. Please remember to come out to the event and support this fund to help our Lowcountry students in years to come. Third, the question I always get asked – “How do I become a

judge?” Well, the truth is it’s not that easy. Our panel of judges include individuals who hold certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers, Society of Wine Educators, International Sommelier Guild and Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Many judges participate year after year because of the wide variety of entrants and beauty of the Hilton Head area. As the kids say, “we are kind of a big deal.” Not to toot our own horn, but our event is unique. A few weeks ahead of the main festival, the wine competition takes place. Having both a competition and major festival is not common. We are also one of the few competitions – and the oldest on the East Coast

– making Hilton Head medals fairly prestigious. The judges also enjoy contributing to our event because they know that it helps support the industry ecosystem through the Curry Educational Fund. And, the last thing everyone wants to know is, “How are the wines actually judged?” Other events may use different scoring systems (like the UC Davis 20-point system). Then there is the 100-point method by Robert Parker that reminds you of grade school, which is used by Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate and others.

Maybe we should coin our system as The Hilton Head Protocol. Because we are so fortunate in the quality of our judges, we let them use their discernment and experience to debate placements amongst themselves. Here is how it works: A flight of wines shows up at the table, maybe five different pinot noirs and each judge has each of the five wines to taste and takes notes on all he/she knows about the wine. For example, (a) it is a Pinot Noir (b) it’s four-digit ID number (c) Aromas (d) Hints of ingredients, etc. Did you catch its ‘ID Number?” You see, all of our wines are judged blindly. It would not be fair to the smaller wineries if

they come to a consensus. Some judges may still use a more classic methodology, while others will simply take notes and write their own personal score. And, how are the best in shows decided? If all the tasting judges agree that a wine is worthy of a Gold medal, then there is a discussion on whether or not it is good enough to warrant a Double Gold medal. Should the group elect it as a Double Gold wine, then that becomes the medal award and the wine will go into the Best of Show competition. All judges onsite taste every Double Gold wine to determine which is the best of the best. The very best are identified from each category and Best in Shows are awarded.

our judges ended up being a little predisposed toward a vintage because it had already done well in competitions or because it’s a $50 bottle and ‘should be better than a $10 bottle.’ Neither price nor heritage influences our judges, just their education and palate. After they review their notes, a judge decides on Gold, Silver or No Medal. Once all the judges have finished tasting their assignments, then everyone shares his or her score and discussion follows. If our esteemed judges agree, then we have a medal decision. If there is some disagreement at the table, then the judges discuss why they gave different scores until





April 2 - The 39th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run April 3 - Lowcountry Cajun Festival April 8 - Kiawah Island House and Art Tour April 9 - Character Breakfast Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry April 9 - WWE Presents NXT Live April 22 - Widespread Panic at the Coliseum April 24 - Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival April 29 - May 7 - North Charleston Arts Festival May 7 - Annual Sheep Shearing at Middleton Place May 27 - June 12 Spoleto Festival USA June 18 - Brewhaha Festival of Craft Beer & Comedy June 27 - Naturalization Ceremony at Middleton Plantation

April 8 - A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline April 9 - The Art of Jacques Lemoyne April 13 - Wine Tour of Argentina by Ta-ca-ron Trading April 16 - Penn Center Hosts Spring Historic Campus Tour April 16 - 13th Annual Soft Shell Crab Festival April 23 - Annual Harbormaster Show April 30 - The Met: Live In HD - Strauss’s Elektra May 20 - Beaufort Children’s Theatre Presents Through The Looking Glass

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For more info:

Hilton Head/ Bluffton: April 1 - Hilton Head Choral Society’s Notes from a Small Island April 2 - Girls on the Run of the Lowcountry 4K April 2 -May 28 - Sweetgrass Basket Classes April 2 - May 21 - Coastal Discovery Museum’s Waterways Excursion Cruise April 5 and 6 - Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Symphony Under The Stars April 6-16 - Always Patsy Cline April 7-Sept. 29 - Farmers Market of Bluffton April 7-May 19 - Music and Taste on the Harbour April 9 - Premier Lowcountry magazine Thank You Party April 10 - Literacy Center fundraiser: Jazz Corner Martin Lesch Band

calendar of events APRIL, MAY, JUNE

Hardeeville/ Ridgeland: April 11-17 - RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing April 12 - May River Expedition March-October 4th Thursday - Carolina Dreamers Car Club Cruise-In April 30-May 1 - The Art Market at Historic Honey Horn April 30 - The 2016 Palmetto Heart Walk May 1 - 12th Annual Yacht Hop May 7 - 38th Annual Bluffton Village Festival May 8-9 - Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Brahms Symphony No 1 May 29 - Hilton Head Choral Society’s America Sings! Memorial Day Concert June 17-Sept. 2 Every Friday - Sunset Celebration at Shelter Cove Community Park

April 5 - Young Explorers Club of Hardeeville April 9 - Edisto Beach State Park’s Spring Survival Series April 16 & 17 - Walterboro Handmade: A Celebration of the Elements of Craft April 30 - St. Helena Culture Keepers Youth Workshops April - June, Fridays, 1-6 pm Jasper County Farmers Market June 3 - The Swingin’ Medallions For more info:southcarolinalowcountry. com/events

Savannah, Ga: March 24 - April 9 - Savannah Music Festival March 31 - April 3 - Savannah Tour of Homes & Gardens April 9 - Siege Weekend at Fort Pulaski April 16-24 - USTA Savannah Challenger April 16 - Susan G. Komen Savannah Race for the Cure April 30 - State of the Art: Savannah Style May 5 - Tea in the Garden of the Davenport House May 6-8 - River Street Seafood Fest May 6 - First Friday Fireworks May 21 - The Color Run June 3 - Savannah Blues, Jazz and BBQ June 11 - Juneteenth Festival For more info:

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Saturday, April 9, 2016 • 3-7 pm Cool Cats Lounge

32 Palmetto Bay Rd., Hilton Head Featuring Co-hosted by Cool Cats Sponsored by Tail Tamer Fishing Charters Readers, advertisers (past, present & future), neighbors, friends, children Everyone is invited!

FUN FOR ALL AGES • Drink specials for adults •Cornhole •Face painting 3-6 •Snow cones by Kona-Ice 4-6 PREMIER



Premier Lowcountry Magazine Spring 2016  

Premier Lowcountry Magazine Spring 2016