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The State of Daufuskie Island

CHARLIE SMALLBefore writing this article on the state of Daufuskie, I did what I do most every month — tour the island in its entirety. As usual, I ended my tour with the same one-word description: Magical. 

I don't believe I know of another place that has the charm, history, nature and unique sense of community that Daufuskie Island offers. That being said, it’s a place that needs to be seen to get a sense of why people who choose to live on an island love it so much. Now, with the potential advent of an all-island ferry system on the horizon, more people from off the island can visit and experience the unique beauty of this timeless place.

One thing for people to remember is that Daufuskie is much more than a tennis and golf community. It's a place where a huge volunteer organization does the majority of the work, making this island seem familial where everyone pitches in to make it work.

That being said, Daufuskie suffered like every one else during the real estate crisis and is now just beginning to rebound with a renewed energy. Home sales are up and new businesses and old seem to be flourishing.

A few to highlight are Daufuskie Wine and Woodworks, a state-of-the-art facility teaching islanders how to build kayaks and canoes. Attached to the facility is a wine store offering great organic wines at reasonable prices.

Further down Haig Point Road is the well-known Daufuskie Island Rum Company, handcrafting five types of rum here on our island. The rums are made with all-natural ingredients sourced from the United States and certified as made in the United States. Visitors enjoy tours, tastings, the gift shop and, of course, the rum.

And we can’t forget some old island landmarks, such as Chase Allen’s Iron Fish Gallery & Studio, known for its metal artistry and original pieces sold locally and internationally. And, of course, the Daufuskie Community Farm that welcomes one and all to experience a sustainable farm with all its wonderful animals, gardens and orchard and future plans for an artisan village where local artists, weavers, potters and other island luminaries will display their talents.

Of course, there also is Marshside Mama’s, Freeport Marina, Daufuskie Crab Company, Melrose Beach Club and Eagles Nest restaurant. All open and doing well.

Finally, and of utmost importance, the thing Daufuskie is most noted for: Its rich history and colorful past. The Daufuskie Historical Foundation, which is an all-volunteer organization, works tirelessly in keeping people engaged and educated to the importance of our heritage.

The Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation was founded in 2001 to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of Daufuskie. To improve public knowledge of Daufuskie Island, the foundation has acquired and restored historic buildings, established an island history museum, created a self-guided trail of historic sites, and begun an archive of island history.

One final piece is the Daufuskie Island Conservancy, which is also an all-volunteer organization educating all islanders to the importance of sustaining our natural resources and developing a sense of just how important each of us is in maintaining this beautiful natural environment.

How is the state of Daufuskie? I think it's pretty good. In fact, when you see it, you may not want to leave.