Isle of Palms Farmers Market

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For the first time ever, Isle of Palms has their very own farmers market, located at the county park on Thursday’s from 4-7 through the end of October. Since I started reading about this (and hearing about the variety of vendors!) I couldn’t wait to check out the IOP farmers market. This past Thursday, after the boys and I decided to have a delicious dinner at the 450 Pizza Joint followed by their fantastic homemade ice cream, we figured we would do a walk through to get a feel for what the market offers.

First things first, there is an option for free parking. So if you don’t want to spend $10 per vehicle, you can pull into the municipal parking lot and quickly walk right over. It took us less than 5 minutes and we got to glimpse a good size kids park with lots of slides and swings that we will spend some more time at on our next visit. We got there about 5 pm and it was not very crowded (it was also about 90 degrees, so that might explain the lack of people!)

 IOP farmers market

There were a few stands that had some great looking fruits and vegetables, a couple of local food trucks, and even a grocery store on a bus!


We also saw a few vendors selling meat and seafood and one that only sold popcorn (Cole’s favorite food!)

Ian and Cole thought this was the coolest part of the “carnival” and went through the school bus several times thinking it was a game. Thankfully, the people who worked there were extremely pleasant and sweet about it!

We definitely can’t wait to go back again and bring some of the local goods back to Dewees!

Editor’s note: Welcome Alicia Reilly to the blog writing team.  When she said she was headed over to check out the IOP farmers market, I thought I would get her to write up her experiences here.  Interested in being a guest blogger or reviewer?  Shoot me a quick email/



New Dewees Island App is ready for Download

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We are excited to announce the roll out of the Dewees Island app.  We’re still adding things every week, but it is ready for download on both IOS and Android devices. The app should replace the old texting system to stay up on events, as well as provide helpful information for you and your guests while on the island: things like weather, a field guide, tide information, the ferry and emergency phone numbers, etc.  Now, if you have a guest coming, you can have them download the app, and they will have handy information (like the ferry schedule and phone numbers, tides, fishing tips, etc.) right at their fintertips.

Dewees Island App screenshot


To download on your device, just click the button on the bottom.

We have a few options we haven’t enacted yet. For example, you don’t currently have to register. We may add registration in the future, because that lets you opt in (and out) of specific types of notifications, like real estate listings or calendar events, orientation for renters, or a field guide to the birds. Is registration an unwanted hassle? Or would you rather be able to specify content just for you? We are eager to hear from you.

And we’d like to know how you think it could be improved~ what needs to be added? Are there some features you would rather see on the main screen?

Our vision is that you’ll use the Dewees Island app to find out what you need to know while on the island, and you’ll share it with guests, especially if you’re sending them to Dewees unaccompanied.

Island Living

Holiday Photos

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We get a lot of questions about the holidays on the island: Is it too cold to play outside ?(no) How would someone get a Christmas tree out there? (by boat) Is it crowded? (yes, by Dewees winter standards, which means you’ll have fun running into a few neighbors on the beach or soccer field).  Is there anything to celebrate New Years eve with? (yes, and more yes: from fireworks on tv to chili cook-offs to oceanfront porch dancing; it’s hard to keep up.)  In the past, we’ve had polar bear plunges and oyster roasts, simple trees and hefty ones, foggy days and snowy ones and tropically warm ones, as well as gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.

This year’s contributed photos involved card games and treasure hunts, frisbee golf, new drones, holiday decorations, new hammocks and new friends, big fishing moments and little ones, oyster roasts, beach yoga and sunrise mochas, great sweaters, and the fun and relaxation that comes with simple times with friends and family.

dewees island holiday

dewees island holiday

dewees island holiday oyster roast

dewees island holiday decoration


dewees island holiday yoga


dewees island holiday party


The good weather was a far cry from 5 years ago:

Dewees Island Snowfall from Judy Drew Fairchild on Vimeo.

Island Living

Sweets for the Staff

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Last Tuesday some island residents got together to prepare boxes of cookies for our beloved helpers here on Dewees.


After a night of baking, we had made a variety of 40 dozen cookies ranging from pecan pralines to chocolate pretzels.

The boxes were decorated to the nines (thanks to the island kids) and arrays of sugary goodies were all lined up like little toy soldiers ready for battle.

We all gathered around the Jakes’ dining room table to assemble the boxes.

When they were filled to the brim we packed them up and delivered to the ferry office and to public works.

Joyous grins filled the faces of the people we love and lean on everyday when they received the holiday goodies.




Island Living

Holiday Decorating Inspired by Nature

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Holiday decorating

deck the hallsThe holiday decorations are up around the island, and the tree in the Huyler House is decorated for all to enjoy.  This year’s design, envisioned by Jane Savage and executed by the ladies of the round table with Emily Fairchild, features a tree full of origami birds.  Jane was inspired by the way our vegetation is often literally covered in birds, especially around Huyler House Pond.  White birds like great egrets, snowy egrets, wood storks, little blue herons, night herons and more roost on that pond in the evenings, and often flock for feeding in other areas.

Emily researched different origami patterns and came to Ladies Roundtable to teach us how to fold them.

The staff helped us find and install a tree, and Barbara McIntyre took care of getting it set up in the corner with lights.  Then Emily, Barbara, and Jane put all of the origami birds on:

It really does look like the trees around Huyler House pond.  When the door opens, the birds rustle around, just like they do in real life on the pond.  With appreciation for all the roundtable helpers!  Below are photos of vistas that contributed to Jane’s inspiration.




Click here to see how Dewees residents have gotten trees home in years past.  And here for last year’s wreath descriptions.

Island Living

Decking the Halls with a Native Plant Wreath

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native plant wreath
Dewees Island Ferry Dock wreaths

The ferry dock was sporting these gorgeous wreaths this week.  I went for a closer look, and discovered this native plant wreath, a lovely mix of Spanish Moss, Yaupon, American Holly, Eastern Red Cedar, and grapevine.  I asked Catherine, the island administrator, who was responsible, and she gave Lori the credit for the idea but said they had a great day of arts and crafts on Friday.  Here in the coastal South, we don’t have fir trees growing naturally (the one in my living room came from North Carolina) but we have Eastern Red Cedar, which often grows in the traditional Christmas tree shape.

Lori and Catherine were generous enough to demonstrate for me, so I went over to have them teach me.  Lori says the hardest part is gathering the materials.  All of these plants are native to Dewees Island, so I went out to find some.  Then she showed me how to weave a grapevine wreath, and put the wreath together:

Lori and Catherine working on wreaths
Lori also has this to share about the plants used in this project: for even more information, click the photos:



Vitis sp. – Grape
Image-1 (2)

Fruit food source for white-tailed deer, raccoon and birds such as northern cardinal, northern mocking bird and cedar waxwing.  -+Grape leaves forage for White-tailed deer.


Tillandsia usneoides – Spanish Moss

spanish moss

Provides cover for wildlife such as bats, spiders, snakes and birds.  Birds will use Spanish Moss to build or conceal their nests and some species will make their nests in the actual hanging clumps of moss.  Larger birds such as egrets will use Spanish Moss for nest bedding.


Ilex opaca & I. vomitoria – American Holly & Yaupon Holly

Image-1 (1)

Fruits consumed by Cedar Waxwings, Brown Thrasher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Mockingbird and Blue Jays as well as Raccoons.  Since the fruits persist on the plants into the winter they are an important winter food source for songbirds.  Ilex opaca fruits are consumed by White-tailed deer.  The dense foliage provides cover and nesting habitat for songbirds.



Juniperus virginiana – Eastern Red Cedar

red cedar

Provides nesting material and cover.  Fruit consumed by songbirds such as cedar waxwing and small mammals such as rabbit and raccoons.  Dense thickets provide cover for deer.  Eastern Red Cedar trees help protect soils from wind erosion.




Forest Plants of the Southeast and their wildlife uses by James H. Miller & Karl V. Miller

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center,


Birds and Birding

How to use ebird to learn what birds you might see on Dewees

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ebird Dewees Island yellow warbler
Yellow Warbler

It’s migration season, and there are wonderful birds passing through.  If you’ve ever wondered what you might expect to see, you can use ebird as a great resource.  In fact, you can even use it to find out when the birds you MOST want to see will be on the island.

Northern Gannet in Charleston Harbor

Here’s how to use ebird to find out about a particular species:

Ebird is an incredible database out of Cornell University.  Anyone can use it without being a member, although there are some benefits that make membership worth it.  Suppose you were fascinated by Northern Gannets, who migrate through the area in winter and spring, and you wanted to time a visit to see them.  You could use ebird to help you plan when to come to the island.  Here’s how:

Start by going to  Click on explore data.

how to use ebird

Then, select species maps:How to use ebird

Then enter the species name that you’re interested in:

How to use ebird enter species name

Use the zoom tool to focus on where you’re traveling:

ebird 4

Keep zooming until you can see buttons where people have entered data.

ebird 5

Click the buttons for detailed lists:

ebird 6

While you are exploring ebird, you can find some other amazing resources, from interactive maps to migration “forecasts” to rare species.  If you decide you’d like to enter data on ebird, every piece of information helps us track and understand birds– from migration patterns, to climate effects, to species in peril.  Reach out if you need some help!  You can also click here for an weekly record of specific sightings on the island:



Summer Activities: Use our texting system for program alerts

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Creatures of the Dock, photo Laura HeinzOur summer schedule is well under way, with lots of great activities planned. Want to get a text to remind you of what’s going on? Or receive an alert when a turtle nest is discovered? We’re using send-hub again to send you program alerts of fun stuff going on. To enroll, text this number: 843-588-5508 with the word deweesfun (no caps, no spaces) and you’re automatically enrolled.  When you go home and don’t want to hear from us, simply text unsub deweesfun to the same number, 843-588-5508.

Would you rather subscribe to the calendar (or do both?)  Check out the last post, How to subscribe to the Dewees Calendar, or simply follow the calendar by clicking the activities tab you see at the top of this screen.

Island Living

Tropical Storm Ana keeps hanging around…

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IMG_9355There is a storm (Tropical Storm Ana) sitting off the Carolina coast right now, and it’s actually creating some gorgeous weather conditions.  It’s also causing the ferry to sit out an occasional run, which provides island residents with either an extra hour to watch the beautiful weather from the island, or a chance to hang out at Morgan Creek Grill and grab a snack and beverage with your friends.  “Tropical Bands of Moisture” have been wandering across the island (although there has been no precipitation today) with some pretty intense downpours, and the pattern is set to continue through tomorrow evening. So, since we know here that we have friends from across the country that have been watching the national weather and wondering, we’re sending some photos to update you on the weather conditions today.

from Storm Team 2

Dewees Island, with Charleston County, is now under a Tropical Storm Watch, while areas to our north, starting at the South Santee river, are under a tropical storm warning.

Truly, it’s gusty on the beach. Forecasters have been saying all along that the biggest threat from this storm to the Charleston Metro area will be mostly in the form of rip currents and beach erosion. This post from 2010 has a lot of information on rip currents. As for beach erosion, we are really thankful that Dewees Island has the setbacks it does: they are often 3x what they are on neighboring islands. So while Isle of Palms is bracing with sandbags:

IOP beach in the Post and Courier this morning: photo by Anne Chandler

(click here for the whole story), the Dewees beach (which has actually grown significantly since Irene blew by in 2010) looks like this:IMG_9332
And elsewhere on the island, the combination of moisture rich tropical clouds and intermittent sunshine has provided us with some lovely views:
The impoundment
Sand blowing on the front beach
Huyler House pond
view from the bird blind

Dewees History

Holiday Celebrations past and present

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In the tradition of online media’s “Throwback Thursday,” wherein people post photos of past events and wardrobes, I thought I would share this photo from (probably) 1926, when the Huyler Family lived on the island, and went out with Jane the mule to chop the Christmas tree.

Bringing Home the Christmas Tree circa 1927

Getting to the island with a tree still takes some logistical maneuvering, but Santa manages to find us anyway. These photos show the O’Leary family getting their tree to the island this week:


Jack Huyler left us his memoirs of living on the island. He remembers a Christmas Eve as a young boy, worried that Santa wouldn’t find them on Christmas (something my own children can probably relate to!) It’s easy to see Declan’s excitement in the above photo and imagine a youngster his age, frantic with worry when his family ran aground on Christmas! He writes,

At high tide the trip from Charleston to Dewees with building materials, furniture, and/or food took approximately an hour and a half; three when the tide was low. Twice that long for a round trip if we did not run aground. On Christmas Eve we ran aground!

The most exciting voyage of the season was the trip to Charleston in the V-V to fetch Dad that Christmas Eve.

I was in a dither. What if we were not back by the time Santa Claus came? … Off we went in plenty of time for Gwyn, Charles, Coulter, and Mum to do last minute Christmas shopping in the city, as well as for Mum essential grocery shopping. As you can imagine, we did not voyage to the city frequently, because of the 3-4 hours required just going and coming.

All of us were at the railroad station in plenty of time to see Dad step down from a Pullman Car. While all the hugging and kissing were going on, I danced up and down, “Dad! Dad! Let’s go! We’ve got to get to the boat so we can be home in time for Santa Claus, Dad!”

What was the matter with Coulter, Charles, and Gwyn: they didn’t seem worried at all. What’s the matter with them? “Dad! Dad! Let’s go!”

Dark was descending rapidly as the V-V left Adger’s wharf, crossed Charleston Harbor, and headed into the channel. I was beside myself! Santa might be coming right then, and we weren’t home. Things got a bit better when someone assured me that [the staff] would see to it that Santa left our presents… But we really ought to be there.

Mr. Moore at the helm puffed imperturbably on his pipe as he steered from one channel light to the next. Then it happened! The V-V ran aground. The grownups said that one of the channel lights had burned out. There we were; and we had struck ground on an ebb tide! It would be 12 hours before the V-V would float free on her own. If I was worried before, I was anguished now. Over the side into the cold water went Coulter and Charles and Dad. As Mr. Moore reversed the engines, the man and two boys pushed as hard as they could. Dad was a powerful bull of a man. Every minute there was less water as the tide carried it to the sea. The V-V was grounded at the prow; so Mum and Gwyn moved all the cargo and themselves aft.

By some miracle and every ounce of their strength Dad and those teenage boys managed to move that boat an inch or two; then six; then she floated free and the three men climbered aboard, [sic] wrapped themselves in the Army blankets which Mum always kept at hand for emergencies; and hovered over the stinking engine for warmth.

The spark of hope was re-ignited in me. Maybe– just maybe– we would reach home before Santa Claus did… We reached home shortly after midnight to a roaring fire, a hot dinner, and some tears of relief.

Jack Huyler’s entire Dewees memoir can be read here. Jack died in early 2014– you can read more about him here. We have a lot of these cards printed as holiday cards– let us know if you’d like some.