Dr. Leslie Sautter’s presentation on our Changing Beach

Posted on

Last week at POA weekend, Dr. Leslie Sautter came to Dewees and gave a great presentation on the history of our shoreline, changes to the front beach, and suggestions for ways to address the new inlet into Lake Timicau.  As usual, she was both informative and entertaining.  I tried to add her slides and illustrations into the videos: I recommend starting at the beginning and watching them in order. She comes to us not as a consultant but as an educator providing some framework for us to address with consultants.

She started with some historical data that she gathered using Google Earth. Since 2006, her students have done surveys, but the Google Earth tools allow some different perspectives on the shoreline.  Overflights and drone photography have made even more research possible. This first video begins with a general discussion of shoreline change and coastal processes.

The second video discusses geomorphology, or how the beach changes.  From ebb tidal deltas, to swash bars, to updrift and downdrift, she gives us some geological terms and illustrations of what is happening in Capers Inlet, and how that affects how much sand we have on the beach.

The third video discusses how shoals form, and how that changes the directions that the sand moves on the beach. Sand can build, creating a tombolo effect, which is what happened on Dewees in the 2000’s.

The fourth video looks at the specific changes on Dewees in terms of shoreline and the main channel, including previous breaches from Hurricanes David and Hugo.

In this fifth video, Dr. Sautter looks at the historical changes in Lake Timicau and the ocean shoreline, looking at the natural flow of water in that area.

Here, she looks at the current breach situation, the way it is changing every day, and some possible solutions we might explore going forward.

In the 7th video, Dr. Sautter looks at the current patterns of water in Lake Timicau. She shows us several possibilities for encouraging the water to go further north than the channel currently goes. Kiawah uses a similar “soft solution” for managing their shoreline.

This video concludes Dr. Sautter’s lecture to the Dewees community on March 24, 2019. She continues looking for alternate water areas. Some questions and answers are included. How will ecology change? Can we keep the area impounded? Will sand fences make a difference?


Golf Options for Dewees People

Posted on

editors note: I don’t know anything about golf, but I get asked about it a lot. This guest post is written by dear friend and dunes colleague Jennifer O’Brien, who has worked in the local golf industry for years. Leave comments below: Which one of these is your favorite? Where do you play most often?

Is Dewees Island Golf Accessible?

ABSOLUTELY! Dewees Island is regionally located within thirty-six minutes of ten renowned golf clubs, two of which are two of the oldest in South Carolina. Did you know Charleston is credited with bringing golf to America? Shipping records show that clubs and balls were brought to Charleston as early as the 1640s, and the Country Club of Charleston can trace its origin back to 1786.  As a novice or scratch player, Dewees Island affords you a quiet, serene beach setting not available on most islands outside of Charleston. Leaving from the Dewees Island parking lot, let’s explore the best courses for you.

Wild dunes Links Course

Wild Dunes Resort

Wild Dunes resort is the closest golf to Dewees. You can see the 17th and 18th holes from the South side of Dewees; they are just across the inlet. Wild Dunes has two courses for you to enjoy. The Harbour Course is only a six minute drive from the Ferry parking lot. Designed by Tom Fazio, the Harbor Golf Course is known for its challenging design and beautiful views, and most of all, water. From lagoons and salt marshes to the Intracoastal Waterway, this varied golf course will test all aspects of your game.

The Links Golf Course was Tom Fazio’s first. Today, it’s newly renovated and still among his favorites – and he’s not the only one. From the rustling palms lining lush, rolling fairways to a finishing hole overlooking the glistening Atlantic Ocean, the Links Course is South Carolina golf at its finest.

golf on Dewees
Wild dunes Links course

Snee Farm Country Club

Snee Farm is located fifteen minutes from the Ferry and just off the Isle of Palms connector. The Club is home to a George Cobb designed, championship golf course. The 6,834 yard, 18 hole, par 72 course boasts picturesque marsh views and offers an experience that is enjoyable yet challenging. The course is home to the famous amateur tournament, the Rice Planters. Many notable names have won and competed in this event held each June, including Davis Love III, Stewart Cink, and Mark O’Meara.

Daniel Island Club

Only 15 years young, the Daniel Island Club is one of the new kids on the block for golf in the area. As one of the top private golf clubs in Charleston, the Daniel Island Club features the country’s only private pairing of golf courses designed by Tom Fazio and Rees Jones playing out of the same clubhouse. Both nationally ranked courses are perfectly integrated into the breathtaking Lowcountry landscape.

The Beresford Creek Course is the Tom Fazio-design. At 7293 yards from the championship tees, the par 72 course traverses pristine marsh, creeks and waterways, providing incredible views. In traditional Fazio style, holes have been shaped and contoured to create challenge and drama for players at every level. Ralston Creek, Daniel Island’s second 18-hole masterpiece, is a par 72 course playing 7,446 yards from the championship tees. Opened in 2006, the course was named among the nation’s top new private courses by Golfweek and Golf Digest magazines. Once home to a stop by the tour, you may catch a glimpse of one of Charleston’s local celebrities, a few NASCAR racers and Hollywood stars who play here.

Country Club of Charleston

Charleston’s oldest club is locally referred to as The Country Club. Its present location was built on the McLeod Plantation and designed by renowned architect Seth Raynor. The number 11 hole is a replica of the 15th hole at North Berwick in Scotland and is so treacherous that Sam Snead carded a 13 and Ben Hogan, when asked how he liked the hole, replied that it should be dynamited. The Country Club has been home to several famous golfers. Beth Daniel, who grew up in Charleston. She won the US Women’s Amateur in 1975 and again in 1977. Her professional career includes 41 wins, one major, and she is an inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Henry Picard, a golf professional at The Country Club from 1925 – 1934, is also an inductee of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Henry won the Masters in 1938 and the PGA Championship in 1939. Most recently, the club hosted the 2013 USGA Women’s Amateur Championship, and will host the 2019 US Women’s Open Championship May 27th – June 2nd.

Yeamans Hall Club

Yeamans is the second oldest Charleston course, opening in 1926. Similar to The Country Club of Charleston, the course was also designed by Seth Raynor. Built as a winter retreat for wealthy families from the north such as the Rockefellers and Ford’s, the current design was restored in 2015 to Raynor’s original layout. In the 1980’s the original Raynor blueprints where found by the Superintendent in the clubhouse attic. Once you drive through the gate it’s as if you’re transported back in time. It’s like playing in a Raynor museum with all his characteristics at work here.

Bulls Bay Golf Club

Bulls Bay is a unique club, unlike any others in South Carolina. Designed by Mike Strantz, this once flat stretch of Lowcountry coastline has been transformed into a landscape reminiscent of the great links courses of Scotland and Ireland. Roughly two million cubic yards of earth were moved to reshape the site. At Bulls Bay, Strantz created 75-foot elevation changes and 360-degree views unlike any in the Lowcountry. Unofficially, the club house sits on the highest point of land in the lowcountry. The course boasts firm, sandy turf and ever-present wind off the ocean. It is a true links golf experience reserved exclusively for its members and their guests.

There are several other semi-private courses within thirty minutes of the Dewees Ferry parking lot:

Rivertowne Country Club – 26 minutes

Dunes West Country Club – 27 minutes

Charleston National Club – 20 minutes

Patriots Point Links – 26 minutes

A new program was introduced in 2016, like none other in the Charleston area! Dual and Triple Club Membership options are available with Dunes West Golf, Rivertowne and Snee Farm Country Clubs. You can enjoy all three courses and the amenities each has to offer through one membership. Rivertowne is also affiliated with the ClubCorp network which gives you access to over 200 private clubs and special offerings at more than 700 hotels, resorts, restaurants and entertainment venues worldwide. Living on Dewees Island, you have an abundance of opportunities to play several of the top courses in Charleston. A benefit to lowcountry living is that the courses do not close in the winter. You’ll be able to enjoy golf year-round. The alligators, water hazards and bunkers are ever-present on the course, but so is a cool breeze, plush fairways, and fast greens. Dewees Island is the perfect launching pad for this lifestyle. You’ll enjoy the quiet serenity of a lesser inhabited island, no crowds and the ease and relaxation of lowcountry living. Jump on the ferry to the mainland for some easy swings and the enjoyment brought on by a great round on a great course. Don’t forget to comment in below and let us know which of these courses is the best!

Jennifer O’Brien is a Dunes Agent who helps with Judy’s buyers and sellers on Dewees, and takes care of her own clients on IOP and surrounding areas.  If you’re looking for something on Dewees, you can reach her through Dewees Real Estate.  If you’re looking for something off Dewees, you can find her here. Tell her we sent you.  

Arts Council Exhibits

Local Artist Sheryl Stalnaker leads Plein Air Workshop

Posted on

Saturday brought a flurry of artistic energy as local artist Sheryl Stalnaker led her students and interested residents in a plein air painting class.
Stalnaker, who displays her work at The Martin Gallery, first came to Dewees Island a few years ago for a tour with a church group.

Sheryl’s first visit to Dewees in 2014. She says, “I  first visited Dewees as part of a women’s outing with St. Andrews Church. It was a gray, drizzly day, but we all had a fantastic time and enjoyed the peacefulness of the island. I returned with my family and another family for spring break that same year in 2014. I took my painting supplies on that trip and got up early several mornings and went out to paint on location. “

As she says in her artists statement on her website, she is drawn to wild places.

“My landscape paintings are inspired by the unspoiled places, which can be hard to find. I am mesmerized by interesting cloud formations, the light hitting a wave, or colors reflecting. I immerse myself in the landscape, gathering artistic inspiration while boating to remote areas, kayaking, surfing, or hiking in the mountains. I strive to pull the viewer into  participation with the scene, such as feeling the tranquility of a still morning or the rolling of waves in the sea. My still life and other low country scenes incorporate texture and light to make the paintings have energy and visual  interest.” 

There is a Dr. Seuss quote I like from his book Oh The Places You’ll Go that says, “It’s opener there in the wide open air.” That is the feeling I had on Dewees. I knew it would be a great place to hold an outdoor painting workshop with the added adventure of taking the ferry to the island and driving around in golf carts! There are fewer and fewer unspoiled landscapes in this area. 

So on Saturday morning, some of her regular students joined our artists group for some instruction in painting outside. Topics covered included how to gather reference material on location, how to simplify and zero in on a painting subject en plein air, and how to capture the essence of a scene quickly before the light changes or the rain moves in.

Island artist Kathy Warren lauded it as one of the best Plein air workshops she ever attended, and many others were equally enthusiastic in their praise.

Mother/daughter group Ann Sweeney and Sonya Demmler from Columbia were enjoying their first visit to Dewees, as were Chris Richardson from Sullivans Island and April Auerbach from the Isle of Palms.  Emily Painter, a senior in high school who is a home schooling student of Sheryl’s, enjoyed “Dewees’ pretty scenery”.

Susan Mashman, another island resident who had had her own art shows on Dewees, called the workshop “really inspiring. I’ve never worked in oils, and I am excited to try a new medium.” Esther Piazza Doyle, an island resident who exhibits both on Dewees and galleries in NC and Charleston’s Spencer Gallery, also had a great day outside.

As you can see, they had a perfect day for it:

The Dewees Island Arts council provides a wide variety of art shows, classes and field trips. We’re looking forward to more from this artist.

Our family stayed on Dewees the night before the Saturday workshop. We took the golf cart out towards Capers Inlet near sundown during a full moon high tide. I took the most wonderful photos of the landscape. Stay tuned for more paintings of Dewees!(to learn more about Sheryl, check out her website.)

Birds and Birding

Dewees Island of International Significance to Shorebirds

Posted on

International Recognition

Here on Dewees Island, we are working to preserve and maintain habitat for nesting, feeding, and resting shorebirds, and our efforts have gained us inclusion in the Cape Romain region site of hemispheric significance with WHSRN.  (Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network). It is a site of international significance because the entire region hosts more than 10% of the flyway population of American Oystercatchers and Short-billed Dowitchers. This week is the official start of the celebration.

The current Cape Romain Region has been extended to include all coastal lands from Dewees Inlet north though Yawkey Island Reserve into the Winyah Bay. The new site name for this expanded region (including Dewees Island and Big Hill Island) is the Cape Romain – Santee Delta Region. This region includes a total area of 119,440 acres. A map of the region is below.

This region is comprised of ownership of Federal – Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, State – Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area, Santee- Delta Wildlife Management Area, Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center Heritage Preserve, North Santee Bar, Capers Island Heritage Preserve and Private – Dewees Island and Big Hill Island.

Cape Romain shorebirds resting along a dock on Wednesday, April 18, 2018

In late February, South Carolina Audubon sponsored a trip to Panama, where we had a chance to see another WHSRN site with tens of thousands of wintering birds.  Many of our birds winter in the tropics and nest in the Arctic, using Dewees as a valuable stopover along the way.

Celebrations this Week

There are a number of celebrations this week, in conjunction with DNR, and Cape Romain, and WHSRN.  On Wednesday night, we’ll be hosting that celebration here on Dewees Island.

Please join us on Wednesday at 4:30 for a social, with a presentation from 5-6 on the History of the Coast Presentation and WHSRN Dedication, with more social activities to follow.  RSVP here.

How Dewees Island supports Shorebirds

It’s part of our community culture of respecting the environment and creating habitat for birds AND people.  We provide habitat and protection for resting, feeding, and nesting birds. For more information on identification of our birds, click here.

  • Restoring water control structures in Lake Timicau. The new management plan will manipulate water levels for the benefit of spring and fall migrating shorebirds. The Lake Timicau Restoration Project is a joint effort of the Dewees Island Conservancy, the Dewees POA, Ducks Unlimited, and USFW. (NAWCA~ North American Wetlands Conservation Act.)
  • Closing beach areas near nesting sites of Wilson’s plovers and least terns to prevent intrusion by people.
  • Placing shorebird nesting education signs on beach access paths.
  • Participating in Audubon’s Shorebird Steward program to educate island residents and visitors regarding nesting sites, dog management and bird loafing areas
  • Maintaining limits on public safety use of beach vehicles on front beach during shorebird and seabird nesting periods.

Big Hill Island

Big Hill Island is a 175 acre island of Spartina alterniflora and shell rake edge bordering the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It supports nesting American oystercatchers and fall, winter, and spring roosting shorebird flocks often numbering in the 100s. Management is primarily to close the shell rake area to human disturbance during the nesting season.

Here is the whole announcement from SCDNR.


Isle of Palms Farmers Market

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on


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

Posted on

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

Posted on
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,