We loved this place. After our sea life encounter at the beach we were furthered wowed by the marsh lands and its inhabitants at this wildlife preserve. We road our bikes around here too, and meet and avid bird watcher who directed us to a marshy pond with a white ibis rookery. There were about 100 birds and their young nesting right before our eyes! They didn't seem to be bothered by the snooping. They were well protected by alligators below, which we did not see but the bird watcher told us so. We continued our ride and found a sweet little butterfly garden and a ton of sand crabs all around the ground there. Another great free place with more appeal than fee-based "entertainment".
We stopped here on our way out of Hilton Head. At the time we were there construction was going on for the expansion of bird habitat (photo 5). The refuge entrance is located on U.S. 278, 0.5 miles west of Hilton Head Island.
The refuge was established in 1975 and open to the public in 1985. Pinckney Island is the largest of four islands in the refuge, and the only one open to the public. In addtion to Pinckney, the 4,053-acre refuge includes Corn Island, Big Harry and Little Harry Islands, Buzzard Island and numerous small hammocks.
There are concentrations of white ibis, herons and egrets and wading bird rookeries and osprey nests can be found on the island. Two of the island's freshwater ponds were ranked in the top twenty wading bird colony sites of the South Carolina Coastal Plain during 1989 and 1996. Bald eagles are not an uncommon sight. Nearly 67% of the refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks. A wide variety of land types are found on Pinckney Island alone: salt marsh, forestland, brushland, fallow field and freshwater ponds.
The island was once included in the plantation of Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a prominent lawyer active in South Carolina politics from 1801 to 1815.
The second photo has a sign which says:
" Inhabited for some 10,000 years, Pinckney Island was known as Espalanga Look-out and Mckey's prior to about 1775. Alexander Mackey received two Proprietary grants for land on the island in 1710. Charles Pinckney later owned the island and willed it in 1769 to his son Charles Cotesworth who became a successful planter here.
We saw Fort Mitchel as a part of the Coastal Discovery Museum tour. The fort is located inside Hilton Head Plantation which restricts access.
Fort Mitchel was built in 1862 to interrupt trade between the South and England, but it never really saw that much action
It was one of two earthen forts (the other was Fort Holbrook). The walls were of dirt rather than masonry because of experience at nearby Fort Pulaski. The earthen mounds are now home to live oaks. Walkways on them provide a place to look out to Port Royal Sound and Pinckney Island.
The marker in photo 5 says:
"Accompanying the Union invasion force was Captain Quincy Adams Gillmore, US Army Engineers , 1849 West Point graduate, who immediately after the reduction of Fort Walker was sent by General Sherman on reconnaissance to to determine essential fortifications for securing the island against Confederate counterattacks. Among others, Gillmore recommended a small fort capable of mounting five or six cannons to be built atop the bluff overlooking Skull Creek just south of Seabrook Landing.
"Work on Fort Mitchel began early in 1862 under the direction of Captain Gillmore, who was promoted to brigadier General 28 April 1862 for his engineering work which resulted in the reduction of Fort Pulaski near Tybee Island Georgia. Construction on the fort was accelerated when rumors surfaced that the Confederate gunboat Savannah was en route via inland waters to attack Seabrook Landing coaling station.
"General Sherman was relieved of his command 30 April 1862 amid considerable criticism for what the northern press called "pick and shovel soldiering.
"Kentuckian Major General Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel, 1829 West Point graduate was named commanding Officer, Department of the South 17 September 1862, arriving 22 September on the steamer Arago. He ordered the construction of Mitchelville for the care of black contrabands. Though well liked by his command, he contracted yellow fever and died 30 October 1862. Fort Mitchel was named in his honor.
Daufuskie Island is only accessible by boat. There are no bridges. If we took the ICW, we would pass it going south after Hilton Head. Unfortunately I have no digital photos of it.
Before the Europeans arrived, the island was populated by Yemasees Indians and they called the island Daufuskie, which meant land with a point. The island was home to several plantations until the Civil War, and then it was abandoned. Although the island after the war was populated mostly by Gullah who are the descendants of freed slaves there is no truth whatever to the story that the island name is Gullah for "The First Key".
Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel has done several pieces on the island including a30-minute segment in "Great Hotels & Resorts " and "Best Island Hotel's in America" in 2004. Apparently Jen Schefft, of the "Bachelorettes", went to Daufuskie Island Resort & Breathe Spa, for her fantasy date in November 2004, but I don't/didn't watch that show, so I don't know about that.
There is a private ferry service and the Daufuskie Island Club runs a ferry which is also contracted by the county to provide public ferry services between Hilton Head (Salty Fare Emabarkation Center) and the Melrose Landing on Daufuskie. You can also take tours from Hilton Head. Day Trip Costs on the ferry are $36.75 for Adults and $18.90 for Children 6- 12 years old. Children 5 and under ride free. People with reservations to stay on the island get to use the ferry for free.
Residents use golf carts and bicycles to travel around the island, although there are a handful of cars and trucks on the island. Personal vehicles are not allowed in some areas.
There are two historic lighthouses on Daufuskie Island. The Bloody Point Lighthouse built in 1883 and the Haig Point Lighthouse built in 1873 (photo 2)
This is the only real Hilton Head Light. It is the Range (Rear) Leamington Light. Although both the lady at the condo units and the guide for the museum tour said that we could not get in to see it, we were able to visit it on our way out of Hilton Head by going to Palmetto Dunes and requesting a pass. I think there is an osprey or eagle nest on the top.
The existing tower is the historic light.:
* Year Light First Lit: 1880
* Is the Light Operational? NO
* Date Deactivated: 1932
* Foundation Materials: CONCRETE FOOTINGS
* Construction Materials: CAST IRON
* Markings/Patterns: WHITE
* Shape: SKELETAL PYRAMIDAL W/CENTRAL CYLINDER
* Tower Height: 94
* Present Optic: SODIUM VAPOR (DECORATIVE)
* Year Present Lens Installed: 1985
* Height of Focal Plane: 136
Modern Tower? NO
Existing Keepers Quarters? NO; RELOCATED TO HARBOR
Other Structures: OIL HOUSE (1892), CISTERNS
Current Use: RESORT ATTRACTION
Open to the Public? YES GROUNDS ONLY - BY APPOINTMENT
Access: ARTHUR HILL GOLF COURSE/PALMETTO DUNES RESORT
National Register Status: LISTED; Reference #85003349
Name of Listing: REAR LIGHTHOUSE OF HILTON HEAD RANGE LT STAT.
On State List/Inventory? YES; Year Listed: 1980
FRONT RANGE WAS DEMOLISHED; REAR RANGE RESTORED IN 1985 BY GREENWOOD DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, PARENT COMPANY OF PALMETTO DUNES
If you enjoy bargain hunting, then here a few tips for you. The Eclectic Collection on arrow road is in my oppinion one of the island's best kept secrets. Full of all sorts of decorative items and treasures.
The Habitat for Humanity sells donated furniture and decoration at the Bluffton warehouse. Located on Route 46 in Bluffton, a 30 minute drive from the island.
Off Island Thrift in Bluffton offers second-hand clothing and household items for sale, proceeds are donated to cancer research.
For more tips visit www.hiltonheadislander.com
There are many places to rent bikes on the island, and there are plenty of shaded trails to ride on. It's a nice thing to do in the middle of the day when the beach is very hot. Rentals are not too expensive.
One path I always take is Forest Beach to Cordillo Parkway to Pope Ave. It's a big triangle, with lots of shade, and probably about 4 miles altogether. Also, there are TONS paths in Sea pines.
Savannah is only about 2 hours away . . . Great little town . . . Remember the book 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil?' . . . Well, this is where it all took place . . . If you are lucky you might catch Lady Chablis' act