melrose on the beach

Grey Fox Squirrels on Daufuskie

If you have ever taken a tour around Daufuskie Island, chances are that you have seen a very peculiar animal scurrying about.  Appearing to be an over-sized squirrel with grey and black coloration, these curious creatures stop tourists in their tracks.  They are Grey Fox Squirrels, and have been prevalent on Daufuskie Island for hundreds of years.

Daufuskie Island Fox Squirrel

Daufuskie Island Grey Fox Squirrel

Why do the Grey Fox Squirrels look so different from the rest of the squirrel family?  Scientists have come up with an interesting hypothesis, and it all comes down to the relationship between the squirrels and a tree.  Fox Squirrels love to eat the seeds from cones of the Longleaf Pine tree, which used to be very prevalent on Daufuskie.  Longleaf pine cones produce some of the largest cones in the Southeastern United States (see below).  It is thought that their large body size was advantageous for the Fox Squirrel when trying to manipulate the pine cones to extract the seeds, and over time larger body sizes were selected for.  Their black-and-grey coloration may have something to do with Longleaf Pine as well.  This pine tree is extremely fire-resistant and flourishes in areas that experience fire.  In historic times on Daufuskie, leaf litter would build up on the ground and lighting strikes would cause fires.  The smokey colors of the Fox Squirrels may have helped camouflage them in a charred forest.  Whatever reason for their funky appearance, they are certainly a special species on our island!

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Longleaf Pine cone size compared to other species (Louisiana State University – Plant ID)

 

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A close relative to the Grey Fox Squirrel is the Eastern Grey Squirrel, pictured here

 

Daufuskie Island Black Fox Squirrel

Daufuskie Island Fox Squirrel

 

 

Interested in finding out more about wildlife on Daufuskie Island?  Join TD’s Naturalist in a “Wild Daufuskie” Eco tour!

23 Things To Do On Daufuskie Island

23 Things to Do On Daufuskie Island:

#1 Rent a golf cart for a self-guided tour.  With only a couple paved roads on the island, most visitors love navigating the “old timey”, tree canopied historic dirt roads that are unique to Daufuskie Island.  Of course, rentals come with a complimentary map and orientation.

Daufuskie Island Golf Cart Rentals

Daufuskie Island Golf Cart Rentals

#2  Book a guided history & artisans tour if you’d rather get the local’s perspectives.  One common denominator for all Tour Daufuskie guides is that they must be Daufuskie Island residents!

Historic Tour Jane Hamilton Bradley

Tour Daufuskie – History & Artisans Tour

#3  Book a kayaking or stand-up-paddle-boarding tour with Tour Daufuskie.  You will be able to choose from paddling the shores of the beach or navigating the turns in the rivers and salt water creeks.  Either way, nature will find you!

Kayaking Tour Daufuskie, Kayak Rental, Daufuskie Island

kayaking tour on Daufuskie Island

#4  Learn about the rich American Indian and Gullah culture by stopping by the Daufuskie Island museum as well as by touring the 20+ historic landmarks found on the Rob Kennedy Historical Trail.

Frances Jones

Frances Jones Historic Home

#5  Visit renowned coastal sculptor Chase Allen at his Iron Fish Gallery & Studio which was established on Daufuskie Island in 2001.  Allen & his artwork have been featured in national magazines such as Coastal Living, Southern Living, and Martha Stewart Living and he was the 2015 winner of the prestigious Martha Stewart American Made national contest.  Allen’s coastal sculptures are collected worldwide but handcrafted and sold exclusively on Daufuskie Island.

Sculptor Chase Allen Iron Fish Gallery

Sculptor Chase Allen Iron Fish Gallery

Chase Allen and Martha Stewart

Chase Allen and Martha Stewart

#6  Visit Lancy & Emily Burn at The Silver Dew Pottery.  Not only is their unique pottery beautiful, well respected, and very sought after, but Lancy’s stories of his life growing up on Daufuskie Island will blow your mind.

#7  Visit the Daufuskie Island Community farm which is a volunteer-run and member-supported farm.  All buildings on the farm where constructed of timbers milled directly on the property.  Currently the farm houses goats, chickens, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, a pig, two dairy cows, and a garden & orchard.

Daufuskie Island Community Farm

Daufuskie Island Community Farm

#8  Visit Daufuskie Island Wine & Woodworks.  Here, boat builder Mike Loftus handcrafts small wooden specialty boats in his beautiful state-of-the-art timber framed workshop.  Attached to this workshop is a store where specialty wines, beer, and gifts can be purchased.  Mike is usually open Saturday afternoons, so come by and see what he is working on!

Wine and Woodworks

Daufuskie Island Wine and Woodworks

#9  Take a walk or spend the day relaxing on Daufuskie’s approximately 3 mile long underpopulated beach.  Only at the height of Daufuskie’s tourist season would you see up to 300 people on the entire 3 mile stretch of sand!  More than likely, you will see so few people that you will feel as though you have arrived to your own private island.

Daufuskie Island Beach Walk

Daufuskie Island Beach Walk

#10

Visit the First Union African Baptist Church which was built in 1884.   FUABC is the only active church on Daufuskie and is one of the most beautiful historic churches you will ever see.  Church services run every Sunday at 10am.

First Union African Baptist Church Daufuskie Island

First Union African Baptist Church Daufuskie Island

#11  Visit Mary Fields School which was immortalized by Pat Conroy in his first best selling book, The Water Is Wide which was also made in to a movie called Conrack, starring John Voight.

#12  Take a tour of the Daufuskie Island Rum company where founder Tony Chase and his hard working partners distill their very own rum which is available for purchase and taste tests!   Each bottle of rum is distilled, bottled, and labeled right here on Daufuskie Island.  Tony Chase prides his company in being a soley American-made business.  Everything down to the screws holding the building together were made in the USA!

Daufuskie Island Rum

Daufuskie Island Rum

#13  Golf at Bloody Point and enjoy some of the most beautiful golf holes you could imagine.  This Daufuskie Island course is under-played, so enjoy your leisurely round with no pressure coming up from behind.

#14  Grab a bite to eat at renowned Marshside Mama’s, Lucy Bell’s Cafe, The Daufuskie Crab Company, or The Eagles Nest Restaurants.  From the classic island “dive” to fine dining, there are no wrong choices.

#15  Horseback ride on the beach!  Yes, this is a once in a lifetime experience!  Contact the Haig Point Equestrian Center for inquiries.

horse back ride daufuskie island

horse back ride daufuskie island

#16  Meet & chat with the people in the community who chose to live on this remote island with so few modern conveniences.  Daufuskie islanders are known to be fiercely independent yet very friendly and welcoming.

#17  Visit Daufuskie Peach where you can stop by Jan Crosby’s store to select from her line of handcrafted soaps or other natural body works.  Daufuskie is home to many independent & talented artisans and entrepreneurs.

#18  Ask around to see if the locals will direct you to their favorite “Devil Crab Ladies”.  If your lucky enough to find one, you will see why these ancient yet delicious recipes are synonymous with Daufuskie Island.

Daufuskie Island Devil Crabs

Daufuskie Island Devil Crabs

#19  Want the full tilt true island experience?  Rent a house and stay awhile!  Rentals vary from quaint historic bungalows to beach front mansions.  Either way is a win. Try VRBO.COM

Iron Fish Gallery Daufuskie Island Artisan

Daufuskie Island Cottage Rentals

#20  Daufuskie is a favorite nesting stop for loggerhead sea turtles.  If you’d like an informative up-close look at the beloved “loggerhead sea turtle”, book a tour with Tour Daufuskie.  This option is only available during nesting and hatching season(May-September).

baby loggerhead turtle hatching daufuskie island

baby loggerhead turtle hatching

#21  Biking Daufuskie Island is a blast!  Warning….during dryer times, peddling through the sand can be a bit strenuous so be prepared with water and bug spray in the event you need to walk through the “soft spots”.

bike tour daufuskie island

Daufuskie Island Bike Riding

#22  Bring your gear for fishing and crabbing.  You might find that it’s challenging to “hear about” the good fishing holes but trust us when we say there are many!

Daufuskie Island Fishing

Daufuskie Island Fishing

#23  How about an eco-tour?  Tour Daufuskie also offers guided birding & eco-tours.  Learn all about Daufuskie’ large bird population and also about the flora and fauna that is so unique to this pristine island.  Binoculars are included.

Birding tours on Daufuskie Island

Birding tours on Daufuskie Island

 

 

 

 

Daufuskie Island Dining & Cuisine– be prepared for post-paddling hunger!

It’s 8 o’clock. You and your family just finished a sunset kayak tour on Daufuskie Island, and you’ve just heard the youngest whimper, “I’m hungry.”

Now you think this would be the time to panic but you thought ahead and got reservations, knowing that this secluded, 2.5-by-5-mile island only has four restaurants. Before you got to this point, the real panic was not, “Are we going to eat?”, but instead, “What should we eat?”

Your family, friends, and TripAdvisor, probably had rave reviews about each place separately, so you went ahead and researched them all, starting with Marshside Mama’s at the county dock. Voted one of Travel and Leisure’s top beach bars, this so-called “dive” is quintessential Daufuskie island. Boaters can pull up directly to the dock for the famously fresh menu, or to see live music on weekends. The menu, created by owner Beth Shipman, is written daily on a whiteboard– a sign of how truly fresh each dish is.  There are a few favorites which can always be found on the menu, such as gumbo or voodoo pasta. The fresh catch is brought to the dock daily directly from the fishermen who caught it. Reservations are mandatory, and always remember: No whining, just dance!

The next place you thought to look up was the Old Daufuskie Crab Company at Freeport Marina. This restaurant, right on the water just like Marshside Mama’s, has one of the best sunset views around. This restaurant has everything from shrimp to steak to an extensive kids’ menu, and is described as “down home good eatin'”…with an island twist that only Daufuskie can offer.

Next is the Eagle’s Nest restaurant at Bloody Point, which serves lunch and dinner every day from 11am to 8 pm, with happy hour fro 4-6 pm. The Eagle’s Nest brings a self described “flip-flop luxury” to Daufuskie Island. The menu ranges from simple sandwiches to gourmet entrees, all served in a member-guest clubhouse atmosphere. Everyone is welcome at this family owned and operated restaurant; however, reservations are encouraged. And don’t forget to visit them for their weekly Sunday brunch menu– the Fuskie French Toast is to die for!

The Eagle’s Nest Restaurant at Bloody Point

The fourth and final restaurant you found during your research is the newly renovated Melrose on the Beach restaurant. Open 11am to 9 pm daily, this is the perfect place to dine “post-paddle”.  From all-you-can-eat specials every Wednesday to weekly oyster roasts and lowcountry boil on Fridays, the Beach Club at Melrose has events every week that the whole family can enjoy.  The gourmet entrees offered after 5pm daily are some of the best in the lowcountry, and even items on the kids’ menu are incredible. While you’re there, of course, you can pick up Tour Daufuskie shirts for the whole family at Tour Daufuskie’s “kayak shack” located between the pool and the ocean…naturally.

Melrose On The Beach Tour Daufuskie Daufuskie Islan

Melrose on the Beach restaurant

With no grocery store, one would think Daufuskie Island’s four restaurants might have a big problem coming up with a menu. However, that’s not the case in the slightest, and the fact that there is not a grocery store leaves no questions about one thing: everything here is fresh. So there’s no doubt that the perfect way to follow an evening paddle trip is by filling up with some delicious lowcountry cuisine found right here on Daufuskie!

Heat wave hits Daufuskie Island and we are ready!

With the sudden heat wave (or, what Southerners call “June” and “July”), islanders and tourists alike are wondering if it’s really worth it to go outside.
Tour Daufuskie is here to say, of course it is!  Why hole up in the AC all day when you can cool off in the water with the help of a stand-up paddleboard or a kayak?  With sunrise or sunset tours, as well as rentals offered every day, Tour Daufuskie makes it easy to get out, explore and cool off.

Kayaking Tour Daufuskie, Kayak Rental, Daufuskie Island

Kayaking on Daufuskie Island

Tour Daufuskie’s “kayak shack” is located right behind the pool at the Melrose Beach Club and offers a few cool items such as t-shirts and hats to protect your body from the hot sun.  Now, we even have coozies to protect your drink from the heat as well.

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Tour Daufuskie’s kayak shack and its employees, Bradley and Katie

A variety of colors and options set the background for Tour Daufuskie’s stylish, simple logo, so even the pickiest person in your family will leave satisfied. And on the way back to your cart, you can visit the Melrose bar for summer beverages and ice cold soft drinks.
The Tour Daufuskie “kayak shack” is open from 8am-5pm every day. The prices are as follows: T-shirts are $17, or 2 for $30, with long sleeve or Dri-Fit options available for a slightly higher price; hats are $20; and coozies are $5.