SHELL STATIONIt’s winter in the Lowcountry, and you know what that means: Huddling up under heavy wool blankets around the fireplace. Wait, no! Leave that noise to the folks who winter in the Midwest; here, nature barely cracks a window for the cold air before bathing-suit season returns again. Besides, the chillier months bring some of the best locals’ events around: oyster roasts, where friends and neighbors celebrate the kind of Lowcountry heartiness that refuses to cede the outdoors, even when the rest of the country is snowbound. But how can you make sure your oyster roasts with the best of them? We asked Russell Anderson — owner of Captain Woody’s, the site of monthly oyster roasts for more than a decade — for a pro’s primer:

10 steps to avoiding burnout

10 steps to avoiding holiday burnout

The holidays are stressful to just about everybody — and despite what it sounds like, that’s not a generalization. A Harris Interactive “holiday stress index” survey found that 90 percent of Americans feel anxiety this time of year. The funny thing is, the holidays don’t have to be stressful, and you can begin approaching the season with more excitement and less dread right now. Let us count the ways...

We may be lacking in the snow department around here, but with choice Christmastime tunes, you can still make your island holiday plenty bright. A few favorite yuletide numbers, as selected by Monthly writers.


In what’s become a legendary television goof, CBS originally gave Guaraldi’s pitch-perfect and snowfall-soft soundtrack an ungracious thumbs-down (along with the entire special inexplicably), but four decades later, nearly everything here — especially “Skating,” “Greensleeves” and the hastily assembled “Christmas Time Is Here” — has become required listening. (A wonderful 2006 reissue cleaned up the sound and added alternate takes of four tracks, well worth the upgrade).

Heritage Organic FarmWhen Shirley Daughtry opened the Heritage Organic Farm, it was the first of its kind in the state. To fill what she saw as a void in the local organic produce market, Daughtry launched a form of community-supported agriculture in which subscribers paid to have locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to their homes or neighborhoods. Today, the 20-acre property in Guyton, Ga. (just outside of Savannah) is at the center of a national movement, and in January it will re-introduce service to Hilton Head and drop off goods at the Sea Pines Montessori Academy. Daughtry talked about what it’s like to champion organics in a world where processed food is still king.

Q. Why did you start the farm?
A. I bought the farm in 1980, when I was middle school principal at Savannah Country Day School. I bought it mainly because my daughter was interested — she had a degree in large animal sciences from Virginia Tech. It just so happened that people in Hilton Head heard I was growing organic food. They reached out and asked that I sell to them. Before then, it was a hobby.

Good turkey huntingFor a lot of people, turkey hunting means surreptitiously slipping through the frozen-foods section at Publix to cut off the other shoppers.

But real turkey hunting — the kind that involves waiting in the woods, making funny sounds and avoiding snakebites — is one of the oldest pastimes in the Palmetto State, one that has grown in the past two decades as the turkey population has rebounded. So what makes South Carolina’s turkey population such a gravy train for hunters?

We asked Charles Ruth, turkey project supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources.

It’s much more of a joy to share it.’

Dr. Joe and Kaye Black, co-chairs of the United Way‘Our time and talent was never meant to be used selfishly.

Each year, the United Way of the Lowcountry embarks on a fundraising campaign to support its work in Beaufort and Jasper Counties — efforts that support 39 local charities and programs. But support at this level requires a lot of money — this year’s goal is $2.6 million — and the success of the campaign is predicated on the work of talented, dedicated and passionate teams.

To steer the campaign, the United Way has looked to co-chairs Kaye and Dr. Joseph W. Black, a dynamic duo of tireless energy, dedication, compassion and knowledge. The couple’s Lowcountry roots were set in 1978, when Kaye opened Curry Printing, the company where she remains president and owner. Joe is a pathologist who is retired from his post at Hilton Head Regional Hospital, but who remains active in the local medical community. Given the schedules of a small business owner and physician, it would be understandable if the Blacks wanted to take some time off and get a little rest, but they see things differently.

Five steps to a wise retirementThough everyone may define their exact retirement goals a bit differently, one aim seems universal; to live independently — and comfortably — for as long as possible.

Yet achieving that goal takes more than just sound financial planning — it also involves asking some rather difficult questions about your health, interests, and what form of care and assistance you may require as you age. A continuing care retirement community may be the right solution.

Assisted living facilities, which are designed for those already in need of care, and nursing homes, designed for patients requiring round-the-clock care, are available for individuals who cannot currently live on their own. But what if you aren’t there yet? While many retirement communities cater to people seeking a social, independent lifestyle, not all offer the ability to age in place.

AlligatorSo you’re in town from Ohio, quietly enjoying your week on the beach and devouring page after page of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” when you glance up to see a GIANT GATOR emerging from the ocean. This, most likely, was not in the brochure. Luckily, Clemson associate professor Richard Blob can help.

Alligator sightings are hardly a rarity around here, but the emergence of a 9-foot-long minidinosaur on a busy day at Coligny Beach this summer caused quite the stir among beachgoers; pictures of a wrangler removing the beast even went viral online. To find out more about unusual places that alligators have come out of, we spoke to Richard Blob, an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Clemson who studies gators — specifically, how their bodies handle movements:

A call for an end to candy tamperingAs far back as I can remember, a big bowl of Halloween candy has always come with a side of fear.

When I was a kid, it was the perceived terror of a madman pushing pins into candy bars to hand out to unsuspecting boys and ghouls. I’m told there was a time when Halloween trick-or-treating was an evening of innocent fun, but that ideal is as much a myth to me as the “razor in a candy apple” may be.

I was 9 years old the year some sadist put cyanide in Tylenol capsules, heightening a public panic that has never really ceased. The urban legends of Halloween candy-tampering have made neighbors wary of each other and shifted post-trick-or-treating rituals from gleeful to grim. Instead of children dumping their bounty onto the living room floor for sorting, parents took the first pass at the goodies, sitting under the hot glare of the dining room light to inspect each snack-sized bar for trouble.

What compels six mild-mannered local professionals to occasionally transform themselves into a Rolling Stones tribute band?

For most people, being a Rolling Stones fan means kicking back with the radio. For the guys in White Liquor, it means clocking out of work, changing into rock ‘n’ roll clothes and giving a performance that, for many people, will be as close as they’ll ever get to the Glimmer Twins.

White Liquor

Over its 15 years, White Liquor has played tons of oyster roasts, barbecues and late-night bars, but it’s not like they’re spending a lot of down-time preening and fine-tuning their moves: They’re big enough Stones fans that it all comes naturally. Though they only perform 10 or 12 shows a year these days, its members say they barely practice.  “We just kind of show up and whatever happens, happens,” said lead singer Rick Saba. “Sometimes it sounds good, sometimes it doesn’t sound good.”