Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kilkenny, GA and Daufuskie Island, SC

This is a lengthy post but I hope you will take the time to read it, especially the Daufuskie Island part. 

After spending 4 days in Darien, GA we needed to get moving again.  We stopped in Kilkenney, GA for personal reasons more than anything - we lived there from 1984 to 1986, so we did the memory lane thing again which is always special for us.  And Daufuskie was a unique stop, like an island lost in time, really interesting.

Anyhow, leaving Darien was like most of coastal Georgia - tides and islands and rivers and sounds and cuts and marsh and beaches and different combinations of those over and over again.  And if you don't pay attention, this could happen to you.  If you run aground with a swift outgoing tide, it's hard to get off and if you don't do it quickly you just have to wait for the next high tide.  This pic was taken with about 2 more hours of the tide still going out, so they were "high and dry" big time.

This was a nice shot crossing St. Catherines  Sound.

This is the south end of Ossabaw Island as we made our turn toward Kilkenny.  We used to bring our ski boat here to enjoy the beach - usually no other activity there except some wild horses and boars.

Kilkenny is a small village/marina about 45 miles south of Savannah.  The Kilkenny River branches off of the ICW, and a large shrimp fleet operates upstream from here.  Here's "Help Me Rhonda" docked at the "rustic" marina.  It hasn't changed a bit since we lived here and is still run by the same family since the 1960's.

When we moved to Savannah, we rented a home on Whitmarsh Island while we built a new home at Belle Island.  But before we started building, I looked at this old antebellum home for sale at Kilkenny which was owned originally by some of the Ford family and later relocated to Kilkenny - it was right on the Kilkenny River and exactly what Rhonda has always wanted, BUT it needed lots of work.  We had 2 young children, I was training at a new facility, and it just didn't seem like the best option at the time.  Rhonda still has not forgiven me for not buying it and she reminded me of it frequently while we were there!!!!!

And if you like the house, check out the road to the house.  

And that same road next to the house.  Yes, I screwed up and I know it.

So instead, we built a nice home on Cabbage Creek which branched off of the Kilkenny.  We had the waterway right behind the house and a great view across the marshland.

There is no way to get a shot of our home from the marshland because of the sharp turns in Cabbage Creek, but here's another shot of the waterway that is typical for all of the homes there on Belle Island Road.

There's a community dock and a small park also.  In summary, we had a great time here, lots of crabbing and shrimping and raising Adam and Scott in their early years.

And the view across the marsh was beautiful.

Now this will look like a regular old country road to most of you but it's special for us. When we built our home, it was on a 2-mile dead-end dirt/sand road so we had to take Adam to this road nearby to learn to ride his first bike.  Remember this Adam?  It appears to have stuck with him - he's an avid cyclist today, rides around 5000 miles a year, and has ridden a couple of 100-mile days.  

Sorry Scott, we don't have much for you here since you were just a baby, but I do recall your favorite word.  You were fascinated with heavy equipment, especially bulldozers which you called "dudos."  And if we asked you a question, you ALWAYS responded with "Ooo (you without a Y) tell me."

We were fortunate to be here on a Sunday and were able to attend church at one of our favorite church homes of all times, Corinth Baptist Church.  The pastor's family and almost everyone we knew here have moved on but still some great memories.

It was a small country church and very pretty inside.

Rhonda asked me to get a picture of the nursery since she spent many days there.  And there is a "Scott memory" in this room - when Rhonda and some of the ladies were painting the room once, Scott knocked over a gallon of paint for them!  

OK, all of this is probably boring for anyone reading this except me and Rhonda.  Sorry, but we hope you understand - we all have our memories of good times and this blog is for us too!  Moving on, after we left Kilkenny, we met a large barge on the way to Savannah.  Haven't seen one of these in a while.

And we had to include SeaRay of Savannah for Scott since he owns one now.

The miles through old Savannah (Skidaway Island, Isle Of Hope, and Thunderbolt) were beautiful.  We could have taken hundreds of pics to show you, all with the old Savannah look, but here's just one to give you an idea.

And a couple of closing thoughts for Georgia.  One of the waterway guides says the last 140 miles we covered are "the most physically challenging on the Atlantic coast."  Well, I guess we did OK then huh?  And you want to know one of the differences between boating in Florida versus Georgia?  If you recall, we commented on sign after sign after sign in FL, only to be followed by more signs and signs and signs.  Well, Georgia has only a few.  Here's one in Savannah (note the plug for the 1996 Olympics venue, does that really need to be there?)

So, the difference in FL and GA is that in FL you just get more signs and usually just a different set of restrictions.  In GA you get a "Thanks" for complying with the restriction!

We had planned to stop in Savannah for a couple of days but it was a 16-mile round trip off of the ICW and the marina could not guarantee us a slip until we got there so we did not like that possibility.  Also, we've seen Savannah many times already so we decided to go ahead and cross the Savannah River into South Carolina and check out Daufuskie Island, something different.  Here's the Savannah River.  It was good to be crossing it back into my home state of SC.  I grew up in Lancaster, SC and left there in 1971 to attend college at Wake Forest University in NC.  I met Rhonda while she was at UNCC in Charlotte.  Her family lived there and we were married in Charlotte. We have never returned to SC since then to live but have visited family/friends on many occasions over the years and my roots will always be here in this great state.

I know the blog is long but don't quit reading now.  Daufuskie Island is really interesting.  It is only accessible by private boat or ferry.  This one is named after Calibogue Sound which separates Daufuskie from Hilton Head Island.  

The south part of the island is the southernmost point of SC.  For many years, the island was sort of "lost in time" as the island was inhabited by plantation owners and slaves in the 1700's and was never frequented or influenced by other civilization. When slavery ended, the plantation owners left and the slave families remained there and descendants of those families still live there today. The book and movie "The Water Is Wide" is about this very topic, written by Pat Conroy, the first male teacher and first white teacher on the island beginning in 1969.  Here's the Mary Field's School where he taught.  It was originally built for the black children on the island in 1933.  A separate school had been built for the white children of plantation owners when they inhabited the island.  The first school integration occurred in 1981 when 3 white students moved to the Mary Field's School. 

Here's the white school before the integration occurred.  You'll note that the buildings are pretty small.  There are only about 200 full-time residents even today.  

As an example of the history on the island, there are several cemeteries and we found one tombstone with Mary Martinangele "departing this earth" on April 2nd, 1790.  Her birth date was not noted.  Apparently the Martinangele family was prominent on the island and one of the roads is named after them.

Speaking of roads, most are still sand and very few vehicles are allowed on the island, mostly available only to original land/homeowners.  Bicycles, horses, and golf carts are the other options.

There were several "Unknown" grave markers in the cemeteries.

The "historic district" of the island is mostly some of the original homes, many barely standing and several have simply collapsed on themselves over time.  There are no grocery stores, shops, or anything like that on the island.  Everything is ferried in and the residents say you get pretty good at making lists of needed supplies.

Aluminum can recycling on Daufuskie has a little different twist than what we generally know and expect!

There is a 500-year-old oak in the yard of the undertaker's home of the time.  He married the midwife of their day and the old saying was "she brought them in and he took them out!"

Here's one of the few "businesses" on the island - a metalworker with an assortment of "originals" on display and for sale.

The building in the background that looks like an outhouse is not an outhouse and had to be labeled as such!

There are a couple of emails circulating these days about things we remember from our generation's past.  Anyone remember these, climbing bars?

And one of our favorite historical stops was the old First Union African Baptist Church.

The inside was beautiful, even had a balcony.

We believe these to be some of the serving dishes for The Lord's Supper services.

It's a little hard to see but the ones below have grapes hanging from the vine (left), the wine symbolic of course of Christ's blood shed for us and the bread symbolic of the body He sacrificed for our sins.

Here's an old painting of the Geechee people of the day baptizing in the local waters.  (I had to take the picture from the side to cut out lots of the reflections).

So, you get the idea, lots of serious history on the island.  Now, there is also stark contrast with limited development also going on, pretty much stopped in its tracks with the economic troubles we've all seen the past few years.  There are three main developments - Haig Point, Bloody Point, and Melrose, with some golf courses to go along with them.  One resident we spoke with said it is still kind of like Hilton Head 40 or 50 years ago.

The beach at Bloody Point is beautiful.

One of the few homes on the beach has the right idea.

And the rules for the beach are a little different.

We found a few shells, a pretty piece of purple coral (sea fan maybe?), lots of sand dollars, and even one starfish.  

The starfish was still alive so we left it alone of course.

We left Daufuskie and headed north for Beaufort, SC but this post is long enough already.  We'll cover that later.  Did I say it is good to be back in SC yet?

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