Join Us on a Discovery Experience!
Located between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Daufuskie Island is the southernmost Sea Island in South Carolina. It is five miles long by almost three miles wide – approximately 5,000 acres. With over three miles of pristine beachfront, Daufuskie is surrounded by the waters of Calibogue Sound, Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean. Haig Point is located at the northern tip of the island.
Daufuskie Island offers a quiet, secure environment, yet also a rich cultural experience, with its environmental preserves, quaint Gullah houses, diverse art galleries and history dating back to the “Daufuskie Fight” during the Yamassee War of 1715–1717. The island is also the setting of Pat Conroy’s novel “The Water Is Wide,” recounting Conroy’s experiences teaching on Daufuskie in the 1960s. The residents of Haig Point have long declared their commitment to preserving a way of life unique to Haig Point and Daufuskie Island. The archaeological restoration of historic properties and passing along of folklore surrounding the history of the island proves this spirit is alive and well.
Archaeologists have traced the inhabited history of the island back 9,000 years and have discovered pottery remnants dating to 7,000 BC. The first inhabitants were the peaceful Cusabo Indians.
In 1664, English sea captain William Hilton first sailed the waters of the South Carolina coast, writing in his log, “The air is clear and sweet, the country very pleasant and delightful; and we would wish all that want a happy settlement of our English Nation, were well transported hither.” English traders soon followed and settled in the area.
Of course, there are many facts and legends that surround our mysterious and magical island. It’s worth a visit to the Billie Burn Museum to travel through time. Established in 2003 by the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation, the museum is staffed by volunteer island residents.
What’s in a Name?
There is an old wives’ tale suggesting the island was named by the Gullah people as being “da fus cay” out of Savannah. More likely, Daufuskie was named by its earliest inhabitants – the Cusabo Indians. Their native tongue can be translated to “pointed feather” or “land with a point.”
First Union African Baptist Church
The development of the First Union African Baptist Church, now listed as a historical landmark, began in 1879 when John I. Stoddard divided the Mary Field plantation into lots and sold 12 acres to former slaves for the purpose of building a church and developing a cemetery. The land was purchased in 1881 for $82 and the first church was built. The original church building burned in 1884 and was rebuilt in 1885.
From the early 1900s through the 1930s, the church building supported worship service as well as a schoolhouse for the island’s children. With islanders seeking employment on the mainland, the island population decreased substantially in the 1950s. During that period the church was closed. In 1968, under the leadership of Rev. C. L. Hanshew, services resumed in the church.
Daufuskie Community Farm
Since 2010, Daufuskie Community Farm and Artisan Village has devoted its energy to passionately advocating sustainable living on Daufuskie Island. With the initial introduction of the community farm that attracted those desiring to have a hands-on way of producing food for their community, a growing desire has occurred to make a difference. The local community has contributed to the planning, construction, and growth of this thriving work by expanding the farm from animals into gardens, orchards, and the new Artisan Village! Please enjoy browsing this informative site and consider how you can be a part of the progress of this exciting work.
Daufuskie Art Scene
The Iron Fish Gallery & Studio
Situated along a dirt road deep in Daufuskie's maritime forest, Chase Allen's shop, The Iron Fish Gallery & Studio, is a treasured local landmark. Visitors will find a yard filled with handcrafted metal coastal sculptures and a historic Gullah constructed house covered in vintage finished iron fish, crab, lobster, and mermaid sculptures. More often than not, they'll also find the self-taught "coastal artist" himself, hammering, cutting, forging and welding under the shade of a moss-draped oak.
Silver Dew Pottery
Silver Dew Pottery, owned by husband and wife Lancy and Emily Burn, has been in business on Daufuskie over 15 years. The Burn family roots run deep on the island, and Lancy’s grandfather, Papy, was the Bloody Point lighthouse keeper. Papy spent his time wandering the shores, forests, and dirt roads of Daufuskie, collecting ancient pottery shards and other Native American island artifacts. These were the inspiration for Lancy to make pottery. To this day, Lancy shares his father’s impressive collection of shards and artifacts, along with fascinating stories about Daufuskie Island’s history, with visitors at Silver Dew Pottery. Beautifully simple and wholly functional, each piece of pottery is signed and many pieces have become treasured collectors’ items.
Daufuskie Wine & Woodworks
Daufuskie Wine & Woodworks is located on the north end of the island next to Freeport Marina. Daufuskie Wine and Woodworks is owned and operated by Mike and Joanne Loftus who spent 30 years in the northeast and are now full time on Daufuskie.
The couple operates their business out of their beautifully designed post and beam barn, which can also be rented for private events and gatherings. The woodworking shop builds wooden kayaks, surfboards, canoes, and paddleboards. The quaint wine shop operates out of an attached building where many wines and craft beers are curated, and where you can also enjoy organic, sustainable, and low production wines from vineyards throughout
Daufuskie Crab Company
At the Freeport Marina a crushed oyster shell lane leads you past an outdoor bar and sitting area to the Old Daufuskie Crab Company Restaurant. At the end of the lane is the Freeport General Store. Here you will find everything from cold drinks and snacks to t-shirts and gifts. This is one of those unique little stores found only off the beaten path.