This summer is already shaping up to be one of the best ones yet, in large part because we recently joined a boat club. That’s right — I am no longer standing on the dock wishing I was in one of the boats passing me by on the water, or longingly gazing at the winding estuaries and marinas as I drive over bridges to Tybee or St. Simons Island dreaming of being on a boat. I have wanted a boat for so long, and this year, thanks to a lot of hard work and much to celebrate, boating is now a reality in our lives. Here’s to working hard and living well!
Living on the Georgia coast and being around so much water, having a boat really opens up a world of possibilities and opportunities to explore. We’ve been out just a few times so far, and are really enjoying taking our time to learn the waterways in and around Savannah. One of the first destinations we visited was Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, located smack dab between Tybee Island and Hilton Head Island. Only accessible by boat or ferry, Daufuskie is a remote island with about 450 full-time residents, a few laid-back restaurants and a good bit of history.
We left the Savannah Boathouse Marina and cruised over to Daufuskie on a 22-foot Scout center console — the trip took about 45 minutes — and with clear blue skies, it was heavenly. On our way through a few of the no wake zones, we saw dolphins swimming and pelicans gliding on the wind. We docked at the Freeport Marina, and our first stop was this great little tiki bar where we met a bartender named Doc. Doc makes a mean Malibu Bay Breeze, my drink of choice, and with a PBR for my husband Kurt, off we went to have a good time.
The people on Daufuskie Island are my kind of people. At noon on a Saturday, there was live music cranking — a three-member band playing “Gimme Three Steps” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Folks were dancing on the dock, and waiting for tables at the Old Daufuskie Crab Company where we ate lunch. Hot crab, shrimp and artichoke dip with fresh fried tortilla chips, fried flounder sandwiches and hot dogs with fries were Some Kinda Good. Somehow everything tastes better when you’re wearing a bathing suit and cover up, nestled up to a lively bar on the weekend. The restaurant is all open air — no air conditioning — but there are plenty of big fans to go around.
After lunch, we rented a golf cart to explore the 5x3-mile island, visiting a few shops and museums. The island has a mix of dirt and paved roads, and getting around is easy on a golf cart or bike. In talking with the locals, we learned the late, famous author (one of my favorites), Pat Conroy, once lived on the island and taught school there for just seven months, until they say he was fired for being too progressive. We also stopped at the Daufuskie Island History Museum, where I bought Pat Conroy’s memoir, “The Water is Wide,” a book based on his work as a teacher on Daufuskie (disguised as Yamacraw Island in the book). I can’t wait to read it. We also learned about Sarah Grant, the island’s last midwife, who over a 37-year period from 1932-1969 “grannied” 130 babies, charging only $5 (later raised to $10) for her services.
On the way out to the beach, I spotted a humongous 10-foot alligator sunbathing on the bank of a lagoon, and we got out to take its picture. Just down the road a few hundred yards, the beach itself was so beautiful, with clean, clearish blue salt water. We made it out there at low tide, so there was plenty of room to take a walk. From coast to coast, you could see both the Tybee Island Lighthouse and the Hilton Head Lighthouse in view.
We cruised home around sunset with a new appreciation for this hidden gem. You can get a round-trip ferry ride to Daufuskie Island from Hilton Head. If you don’t have a boat, make it a day trip soon. It will be worth your time. Cheers to a great summer!
Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a private chef and the author of the best-selling memoir “Some Kinda Good.” Featured in Forbes, on Food Network and ABC, she writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in season.
Connect with her on social media by liking Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter. To learn more, visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.