• Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine

story by cindy reid    photography by paul nurnberg

Although we live in one of the country’s most picturesque coastal locations, South Carolina boasts magnificent pine forests and mountain country as well. Jewelry maker Laura Davis has tapped into that woodland beauty and created a handcrafted jewelry company called ‘In the Pines.’ Her one-of-a-kind pieces are elegantly wrought and reflect her nature-inspired aesthetic. Laura says, “I love the mountains and forests, and while I do create the occasional coastal-style piece, I always come back to the forest motif.”

     Although she started ‘In the Pines’ in October of 2016, Laura has been working on her craft on and off for years. She says, “I took a metalsmithing course while attending Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and did a little jewelry making at that time. I was also a Geology major initially. I think I have always had an affinity for organic materials.” Laura became an English Literature major and after graduation she went on to a career in publishing, and then established a freelance copy editing business. She says, “They may not appear to be related, but both copy editing and jewelry making require some of the same skills, in that you have to be extremely detail-orientated and have the ability to perform methodical work.”

     After Laura and her husband, Eric, moved to Beaufort, she took a metalsmithing class in Savannah. She says, “I started off in copper, which I liked, and I worked with that for a while.” She continued to hone her craft, creating pieces that include beading and leather working, eventually expanding to silversmithing. Her latest work is crafted from sterling silver and turquoise. She says,   “I am getting more adept at silversmithing and soldering as my work evolves.” Much of her current work is delicately detailed and involves intricate cutouts like pine trees and other forest motifs from sheets of silver. She says, “The meticulous cutting out of the tiny trees with my jeweler’s saw is actually a favorite part of my work.”

     Like many artists, Laura draws out her creations first in her sketchbook, then also references an “inspiration board,” replete with collected objects and interesting finds. The loveliness found in a butterfly, a feather, a sand dollar or a fragile piece of fern, all inspire and inform her creations.

     Recently, Laura created a pine tree and stone pendant. She says, “This is one of my favorite designs and I was able to use a gorgeous piece of Damele variscite. Variscite, like turquoise, is a hydrated phosphate mineral, formed when acidic water trickles through arid ground, leaving behind trace minerals. These little bits of mineral fill cracks and crevices in the ground, leaving colorful veins and nodules that can be cut for jewelry. Unlike turquoise, variscite does not contain copper.”

     Laura’s line of pieces is not exclusively forest-inspired; in fact she used the natural elements of gold, pearl, oyster shell and moonstone for a long coastal-style necklace. “I’m not one to use glitter and glitz but I do appreciate the look of gold in a piece,” says Laura, “and I think the moonstone really sets it off.”

At Home

     Laura and Eric have been in Beaufort for the last three years. Eric is a Marine Corps pilot currently deployed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier. But military life has long been a way of life for Laura and Eric because, as she says, “We were both military brats, and nothing fazes either one of us. The longest I have lived anywhere is three years.” She met Eric in Geology class in high school. “We were in one class together—Geology. It was the only class we had together but we were both there on the morning of September 11. Both of our fathers were in the Pentagon that morning, and waiting to hear (ultimately good) news created a strong bond between us. But then I moved away and when I was in college he found me on Facebook, so we stayed in touch. Eleven years after our class together, he was living in Texas and I was living in Boston. He invited me to the Marine Corps Ball, but at the last minute he wasn’t able to attend due to work obligations. I traveled down anyway and as soon as I got off the plane, we just knew. We were married one year later and celebrated our four year anniversary this October.” Rounding out their family are two spirited labs, Ellie and Aero.

Heritage

     “My Grandfather was a metal smith and artist as well,” says Laura, “and after he passed away last year I asked if I could have his jeweler’s box of tools. I was already making jewelry and I was very fortunate to get several of his tools and be able to use them in my work.” One tool she often uses is her grandfather’s saw, and she also inherited some stones he hadn’t utilized. “I was able to make a ring for my mom using his stones.” This led her to create her “Heritage Collection,” which sprang from a desire to create pieces that represent each of her aunts from both sides of the family.  “I sent them all a survey so I could gather inspiration and ideas unique to each person. I asked about things like their hobbies and spirit animals and what legacy they want to leave for future generations. “ She says, “One necklace I made for this collection is a quilt square with a tiger’s eye stone, which came about because one aunt is an avid quilter. She had made a carpenter’s star quilt for her friend who was fighting cancer and then later we lost my dad (her brother), also to cancer. I replicated the carpenter’s star for her piece, which was the perfect representation of her caring nature and the struggles we’ve all faced in recent years.”

Beautiful Beaufort

     “I really like Beaufort, it is one of the top two places I have ever lived—the other being Boone, NC. I think of Beaufort as the coastal equivalent of Boone. I like the size, where I can still be close to nature because it’s not a large, overpowering city,” Laura says, “I like the small-town feel and you actually get to know people. But the best part of Beaufort is being surrounded by the great outdoors.”

     The Rising Tide Society, a national organization that connects creative entrepreneurs, was part of Laura’s journey into creating her own jewelry business. She says, “I was commuting to Charleston for meetings one evening a month for six months, and then a chapter got started in Beaufort, which I now lead.” As for the future, Laura says, “I am making jewelry for self-fulfillment and to stay engaged. This time next year I will still be growing the business piece by piece, one collection at a time. My pieces will never be mass produced.”

     Some of Laura’s jewelry pieces can be found at the Beaufort Art Association gallery located at 913 Bay Street in Beaufort, and at the Alderson Artisans Gallery in Alderson, WV, and online at madeinthepines.etsy.com. ‘In the Pines’ can also be found on Facebook and Instagram as madeinthepines.

Story By: Carol Lauvray

Photos By: John Wollwerth

The Cuppia family business, Modern Jewelers, located at 807 Bay Street is a downtown Beaufort institution that’s now celebrating 70 years of service to the community. The story of their business reflects the evolution of downtown Beaufort from the late 1940s to the present day, and is also a story of adapting to the changing times and economic environment in our small, historic town. At the heart of the business are three generations of the family who have owned, managed and worked at Modern Jewelers during most of its existence. Rosemary and Kevin Cuppia, the current owners, recount the history of seven decades of their business and their family’s roots and involvement in Beaufort and the community here.

70 Years of Serving Beaufort

     Modern Jewelers was founded in downtown Beaufort in 1947 just after World War II, by Lester and Virginia Hiers at another downtown location—909 Bay Street. The Hiers owned the business until it was purchased in 1964 by Palmetto Management Corporation, comprised of four business leaders in Beaufort at the time: Lawrence Davis, Jim Rentz, Forrest Jones and Ed Pike. Rosemary Cuppia’s father, Carson Rembert, managed the store when that group owned it. In 1966, Rosemary’s parents bought the business, and so Rosemary Rembert Cuppia has been involved with Modern Jewelers at one location or the other on Bay Street for more than 50 years. She recalls unloading merchandise for the store as a child.

     Rosemary says at the time her parents, Carson and Rosemary Rembert, bought Modern Jewelers, Beaufort had no tourists so the store’s customers were either local residents or people stationed here in the military. “When I was growing up, everyone came downtown on Saturday—it was the place to be. Beaufort had a small-town feel and a real sense of community. In those days, the store sold electric guitars and guitar strings, drum sets, electric shavers, toasters, irons and American Tourister luggage, in addition to jewelry,” she said. “It was in the 1970s that the store transitioned to selling only jewelry and giftware, and during the 1970s and 1980s, we had a huge bridal registry business,” Rosemary added.

     Rosemary attended Beaufort Academy for 12 years. She met Kevin Cuppia when he moved to Hilton Head Island and began commuting every day to attend Beaufort Academy while he was in the 9th grade. They started dating when Rosemary was a sophomore and Kevin was a junior. After graduating from high school, Kevin attended Wofford College for a year and then transferred to the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where Rosemary was going to school. Both earned business degrees as USC. The couple was married in 1981 and lived in Savannah, where Kevin worked at 84 Lumber and Rosemary worked for Levy Jewelers.

     Carson Rembert told his daughter and her new husband of his plan to retire from Modern Jewelers at the end of 1981 and asked the couple to become partners in the store, which they did in 1982. Kevin laughed as he explained, “Then Carson stayed on in the business and did not retire until 1995, when we moved Modern Jewelers to its current location at 807 Bay Street.”

     A transformational event for both Beaufort and downtown merchants, including Modern Jewelers, was the opening of the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in 1979. The Waterfront Park, combined with a much-improved sewage system that cleaned up the river, additional improved city services and facilities, and the preservation of historic buildings, all helped Beaufort become the tourist destination it is today. Rosemary recalls that as a teen, she sat in the front window of the store at 909 Bay Street and watched the construction of the park through the alley across the street. However, at the time she had no inkling of the impact that the park and the other city improvements would ultimately make on Beaufort and her family’s business.

     Although Belks department store and Edward’s Five and Dime left Bay Street in the 1980s and many of the businesses downtown were struggling then, Modern Jewelers increased its inventories as tourists began to come to Beaufort after the Waterfront Park opened and as Dataw Island was being developed by Alcoa in the 1980s. Kevin explained that Dataw Island brought new affluent residents to the area who adopted Beaufort’s downtown and began frequenting its stores. Modern Jewelers even opened a second jewelry store for a time in the Cross Creek Shopping Center in the early 1990s, before deciding to close that store and focus on their downtown Beaufort location.

     During the 1980s, while both Rosemary and Kevin worked at the family business, they were also starting their own family. They have a daughter, Katie Cuppia Phifer (33); a son, Chase Cuppia (32); and a son J. C. Cuppia (28). All three of their adult children live in Beaufort. Katie, who is a financial advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors, is married to Matt Phifer and they have a daughter, Riley, who is 3 ½ years old. Chase is married to Emily and their son, Rhodes, will be 2 years old in January. Chase works as a jeweler at the family store, along with his parents. J. C. works in property management.

     Modern Jewelers has continued to evolve and add new services. In 2004, Stan Hudson joined the business to provide both in-store and in-home jewelry appraisals. Chase Cuppia, the third generation to work in the family business, came to work here in 2008 after graduating from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. His arrival during a down period in the economy provided a new facet to the family business—complete custom design for jewelry. His mentor was local artisan Jim Schroder, who had a shop on Lady’s Island and in downtown Beaufort.

     When you visit Modern Jewelers, you’ll probably meet the store’s mascot, Chase’s 10-year-old English Bulldog-Boxer mix, Woodrow, who spends much of his day at the store. Chase smiled as he related an anecdote about Woodrow, “I saw a 6-year-old girl sitting on the floor in the store one day with a Dairy Queen Blizzard and she was feeding Woodrow. She said she had asked her grandmother to buy Woodrow his own Blizzard!” Rosemary added that Woodrow has quite a following and many folks who come to Beaufort annually on vacation, make it a point to stop by the store to see Woodrow each time they visit town.

Investing in the Community and Treating Customers Like Family

     Rosemary says her family’s continued success in the jewelry business over the years is due largely to their commitment to supporting the Beaufort community and the personalized service they give their customers. “Kevin is a long-time leader in the business community. He served on the Main Street Beaufort board for more than three decades, as well as serving on many other nonprofit boards, including the Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort, Historic Beaufort Foundation, and Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation,” she explained. In addition, Kevin served as the Commodore of Beaufort’s Water Festival in 1996 and he and Rosemary chaired the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation Valentine Ball in 1998. The couple lives on Lady’s Island and they are members of the Sea Island Presbyterian Church.

     Kevin says, “Our business is exciting because we get to be a part of people’s happy moments, like birthdays, anniversaries and engagements. Our customers are like part of our family—sometimes I know that someone is getting married before their parents know,” he explains.

     Everyone at Modern Jewelers is very customer-focused and service-oriented, says Kevin. “We want to do all we can to help people make special memories. Several years ago when the local carriage tour companies were still driving down Bay Street, a young man and I planned a special engagement surprise. He and his girlfriend were riding in one of the carriages down the street and just as the carriage made a stop in front of the John Cross Tavern, I walked over to the carriage and gave him a box with an engagement ring, then he asked his girlfriend to marry him in front of everyone riding in the carriage. She said yes!”

     The Cuppia family’s business, has been all about family and the Beaufort community for decades, and with a fourth generation of Cuppias now coming along, it’s likely that the business will be all about family and the Beaufort community for years to come!

Lowcountry UNITED,

One Year After Hurricane Matthew

While the piles of debris left from Hurricane Matthew last year are no longer visible along our roadways, what does remain and perhaps is stronger now is that Lowcountry spirit which unites us all.   “This past year we saw our community come together like never before after the devastating impacts of Hurricane Matthew,” says Tina Gentry, United Way of the Lowcountry President & CEO.  “We saw people throughout our community step up in a variety of ways to help our neighbors in need, demonstrating what it truly means to live UNITED.”

     As our community continues to rebuild, Gentry says United Way of the Lowcountry (UWLC) continues to help meet the needs of people in our community and create positive, lasting change.  “Through the support of our community, United Way helps to meet the immediate needs of our neighbors in Beaufort and Jasper Counties through our funded partner agencies and our internal HELPLINE,” says Gentry.

     UWLC has a memorandum of agreement with Beaufort County and is designated as the agency responsible for collecting, administering and distributing funds for disaster services. “We are proud to partner with Beaufort County and serve our community in this capacity,” says Gentry.

     In the first few weeks following Hurricane Matthew, the call volume to the HELPLINE increased by 1,000 percent.  “It was a humbling time as we saw clients who never needed assistance in the past, call our HELPLINE as a result of the hurricane,” says Chrystie Turner, Vice President of Community Impact for United Way of the Lowcountry.  “Some of these clients were donors to United Way and never imagined they would be on the receiving end.  Many just needed a helping hand to make ends meet due to lost wages and evacuation costs.”

     UWLC expanded the existing HELPLINE and partnered with Beaufort County’s Alliance for Human Services to address the rising needs of those impacted by the storm.  Through the HELPLINE, they assisted residents and provided referrals to those with unmet needs as a result of Hurricane Matthew including food, clothing, shelter and other needs.

      “Through our partnership, United Way’s HELPLINE serves as a bridge to provide guidance while navigating through government programs, as well as an avenue to a variety of local resources,” says Pamela Cobb, Disaster Recovery Coordinator with Beaufort County.  “Citizens are able to obtain an assortment of information, access to a variety of different agencies and resources.  It provides resources to our citizens before and after FEMA.”

     In response to the increased need for assistance following Hurricane Matthew, the UWLC Board voted to allocate an additional $100,000 from its endowment fund to front-line partner agencies including Salvation Army, HELP of Beaufort, Bluffton Self Help and the Hilton Head Island Deep Well Project to provide immediate assistance to those impacted by the storm.  The funds were used to help those impacted by the hurricane with emergency/ temporary shelter, utility assistance to prevent disruption of service, propane gas charges for heating and cooking and rental/mortgage assistance to prevent eviction.

     The lessons learned from Hurricane Matthew were tested in September with Tropical Storm Irma.  Although the Lowcountry was fortunate Irma did not impact the area to the extent Matthew did less than a year earlier, Gentry says the storm displaced some families from their homes.  In the wake of Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Irma, preparations are underway for any storm that may come our way.

     “There are still improvements that can be made once citizens come back into the county after an evacuation. Our goal is to provide more immediate resources to provide a smooth transition which will ultimately expedite the recovery process for disaster survivors,” said Cobb.  “Having this existing relationship between the county and United Way makes preparing for natural disasters smoother but also provides an infrastructure that is prepared to assist citizens every day of the year.”

Looking for assistance?  The United Way of the Lowcountry HELPLINE provides information and resources to those needing assistance and is available by calling 843.524.HELP.

Dining Feature

1635 On The Avenue

Created With Passion

Story By Julie Hales     Photos By Paul Nurnberg

When Randy and Lorett Hayes moved to Beaufort to live out their retirement several years ago, Lorett just wasn’t ready for that. She has a passion, and her passion needed an outlet.

      Lorett loves making people happy….and her favorite vehicle to bring happiness to others is a plate of food. Food, good food, is her passion.

      “She can’t leave food alone,” says Randy, “She just wasn’t done.”  And, that was the beginning of her restaurant, 1635 on the Avenue.

      Opening a restaurant was not anything new to Lorett Hayes.  The couple had owned three others in the upstate prior to their move to Beaufort.

     They began with an old fashioned ice cream parlor, which later started serving lunch. With the addition of the lunch venue, it didn’t take long for Lorett to find her new love.  She recalls, “That’s when I got the passion for what I do. We are all given a gift. My gift is food.”

     The couple’s next adventure was a Bed and Breakfast which also housed a 65 seat dining room. Then, came another restaurant, which is where they decided to “retire” from.

      “Retire” was just not something Lorett was ready to do! “I thought we were done with the restaurant business, but I could see it coming, here we go again,” Randy said. And again, they did it…or, the correct statement would be, she did it.  He adds, “I am just an occasional handyman. This is her child and she has done such a great job raising it.”

     1635 on the Avenue is approaching their three year mark, and still going strong. Lorett says, “We have locals and tourists who come in to eat, mostly locals.  And, we have people who are still just finding us.”

     “Our customer base is so broad. We have customers who come from Callawassie Island, Spring Island, St Helena and as far away as Fripp and Hilton Head. It is quite humbling.  It is astounding that they drive that distance when there are other restaurants they can go to. Yet, they choose us. That’s pretty cool,” she adds.

     What’s even cooler than that is these customers are sending new customers. They are talking about the quality of food and great service they received at 1635 on the Avenue. And, that’s why they are still growing, quality food, great service, excellent price points and consistently good….consistency is a must.

      What will the sale of the port bring to 1635 on the Avenue? Randy says, “The sale will be great for Port Royal. When we were looking for property to buy for the restaurant, from a business stand point, we both felt Port Royal had the greatest potential. We knew it would change, by direction or fault, it had to with everything going on around it. We are delighted that the administration of Port Royal is on board to guide the town through growth.”

      Lorett adds, “I am ecstatic about it. When there was a gas station on every corner, where did you go? You went to the place where the guy knew your name and gave you the best service.  He took care of you, so you were faithful to him. It’s the same way with a restaurant or any other business.  When there’s one, it’s just going to bring more people to you when there is two or three more down the street.”

    It is very obvious that Lorett knows what her customers like. She is not just the owner, she is the chef. She has an excellent menu that has a great variety of starters, small plates, soups, salads and entrees. The customers have plenty to choose from. Her homemade Meatloaf is definitely a popular item, and the Ribeye Steak has been said to be the best steak in town.  But, the most popular items on the menu are Shrimp and Grits and the Grouper.

     Even though Lorett is in the kitchen making sure your dish is perfect before your server brings it out, she always finds time to come to your table and personally speak to you.  She wants to make sure that her customers are happy and nobody leaves 1635 with an issue.

     The menu does change periodically, and they always have a weekly special.  1635 on the Avenue is open four nights a week and there special is served all four nights.

      1635 on the Avenue may be a small restaurant, but it’s definitely one with BIG taste. It is a place you can feel comfortable…from dressy attire to shorts and flip flops. It is a place you can linger after a good meal and enjoy a conversation with your family or friends. It is comfortable.

      “I am just a girl with a passion. I love sharing the experience of 1635 on the Avenue with everyone, from our modest prices to our exceptional food quality. There is no greater joy to me than hearing a customer say that there meal was delicious,” states Lorett.

     She adds, “We serve dinner Wednesday through Saturday and we are no longer open for lunch.  We are not open on Sundays either. Reservations are appreciated, but not required.”

      1635 on the Avenue is located at 1635 Paris Avenue, Port Royal, South Carolina.  Their number is (843)379-0607.

     Call today for your reservation…experience southern comfort with a twist!

Welcome To Frogmore

Frogmore is an unincorporated community on St. Helena Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States, along U.S. Route 21.

     Located halfway between Beaufort and Hunting Island State Park, the Frogmore area is primarily rural but is considered to be the commercial center of St. Helena Island. Frogmore is also the name of a plantation that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The plantation is located off Seaside Road on Frogmore Manor Drive and is significant for its association with Laura Towne and Ellen Murray, the founders of Penn School.

     Frogmore is renowned for being home to the Penn School Historic District, known as Penn Center, a National Historic Landmark. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. studied and lectured at Penn Center during the formative years of his career as a civil rights leader. The museum at Penn Center is a noted cultural attraction and attracts tourists worldwide who are also interested in learning more about this region of the coastal Southeastern United States.

     Frogmore Stew, a popular Lowcountry dish originated in the Frogmore community.

     In addition to Frogmore Plantation and the Penn School Historic District, the Emanuel Alston House, Dr. York Bailey House, Coffin Point Plantation, Coffin Point Plantation Caretaker’s House, The Corner Packing Shed, The Corner Store and Office, Eddings Point Community Praise House, Fort Fremont Battery, Fort Fremont Hospital, Edgar Fripp Mausoleum, St. Helena Island Parish Church, Isaac Fripp House Ruins, The Green, Mary Jenkins Community Praise House, Lands End Road Tabby Ruins, The Oaks, Orange Grove Plantation, Pine Island Plantation Complex, Riverside Plantation Tabby Ruins, St. Helena Parish Chapel of Ease Ruins, St. Helenaville Archaeological Site, Sams Plantation Complex Tabby Ruins, Robert Simmons House, and Tombee Plantation are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.          ~Wikipedia

Frogmore Culture

     A local dish that  residents of the Sea Islands have been enjoying for more years than anybody can count has become a favorite to some in other parts of South Carolina, and other states as well.

    Frogmore Stew, named by the natives of the coast, has become a household favorite.  This dish is a ritual for some as the main ingredient of their family “barbecue.” This folk dish is a highly seasoned stew of such combined ingredients as sausage and shrimp and crabs plus some other things like corn on the cob and potatoes.

The dish gets its name from a place that once  had only a post office on one side of the road and a two-story white country store on the other. Frogmore is the mailing address (ZIP code 29920) for the residents of St. Helena Island, one of the few islands on the South Carolina coast that are still relatively undiscovered.

A Drive Through Frogmore

     A day drive along the roads of St. Helena in South Carolina’s Lowcountry offers exciting original history, beautiful views, quaint shops and delicious food.

     You can spend all day driving the mere 14 miles loaded with live oaks dripping Spanish moss, glimpses of salt marshes and brilliant blue skies.You’ll meet the nicest people along the way and learn about the vibrant Gullah culture in a collection of historic buildings, known locally as “the corner.” The general area is also known as Frogmore named after a nearby plantation.

     Just down from “the corner” is another lovely historic building. Originally the Sea Island Cotton Exchange building, one of the front rooms used to be the post office for the area, it now houses MacDonald Marketplace. Now owned and operated by members of the Sanders family, this historic building has been completely restored and has a beautiful array of wares from local artisans.

     Next door to MacDonald Marketplace sits the Bella Luna Cafe, featuring delicious Italian cuisine.They now serve  breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything is made from scratch, nothing processed, frozen or from a can. They purchase all their  produce from the local farmers and their seafood from local fishermen and shrimpers. All  desserts are “made with love,” featuring multi-layer chocolate cake, cheesecake and Italian gelato!!

     Just down from them, past the red light sits Octopus and Bellavista.  They offer gift items, home decor, coastal accessories, gourmet foods, garden, bath, apparel, furnishings and other accessories, These two stores are owned by Lauren and Robbie Deloach. Lauren makes gorgeous furniture and is an accomplished artist. His furniture has a simple, powerful design and is in Bellavista nestled amongst the antiques and home decor items.

     And, back down the road, across from the Marketplace, you will find the Foolish Frog, another great restaurant.  They specialize in fresh seafood, smoked ribs and fire grilled steaks. They serve lunch and dinner…and they have a Sunday brunch menu. They are open year round. They also offer dining   outside on their deck where you can enjoy gorgeous sunsets and local entertainment.

Join MacDonald Marketplace, Bella Luna Cafe, Foolish Frog, Bella Vista and Octopuses and ‘Hop’ around the block for an evening full of local food and libations from Noon to 7pm on Saturday, October 28th.

Each local business will have some complimentary Lowcountry sea island food including our community’s namesake Frogmore stew, Pat Conroy’s pickled shrimp, gumbo and lots more. MacDonald Marketplace will be hosting a free wine tasting; live music hits the deck over at Foolish Frog from 6 to 9pm and each spot will be handing out candy to all the little trick or treaters all day long.

There’s lots of culture and tradition in Frogmore and you’re invited to come on by and experience some of it for yourself and get to know a few of the fantastic local businesses at the same time.

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Noon to 7 pm

Sea Island Parkway & Martin Luther

King, Jr. Blvd, Frogmore SC

Conrack, the musical based on Pat Conroy’s memoir The Water Is Wide coming to USCB’s Center For The Arts

I am thrilled to be bringing CONRACK, our musical adaptation of The Water Is Wide, to the stage in Beaufort, Pat Conroy’s adopted home town,” states Granville Wyche Burgess, bookwriter and lyricist for the musical and director of The Beaufort Theatre Company production of CONRACK.

     The show begins in 1969 with Beaufort’s superintendent of schools’ desperate search for anyone to teach school on Yamacraw Island. The school there has been totally neglected by the school system-no books, no blackboard, no attention being paid to the students.  One has to take a boat from the mainland to even reach the island.

     Into this hornet’s nest walks Pat Conroy, almost thirty, idealistic the way only a 60’s hippie could be, and recently fired from his twentieth job in five years. He is only too happy to answer the ad for a teacher, especially since Dr. Piedmont informs him that “no experience is exactly what I’m lookin’ for.”

     When Conroy meets the children-Cindy Lou, Mary, Prophet, Anna, Top Cat, and Richard, he discovers that they can scarcely read or write. They know little math and are wildly undisciplined. But their anger barely conceals their desperate need for a teacher who will actually care. Conroy is determined to be that teacher.  Taking the kids trick or treating on the mainland provokes a crisis, and Conroy learns he must let go of the children, but not before they have learned the courage to succeed and the will to keep on learning.

     Professional film and stage actor, Blake Logan, portrays Pat Conroy. Other cast members include Pat’s students: Jackie Brown, Lelia Green, Austin Majors, Jamari Young, Dashia Lucas, Christopher Jenkins; their grandparents: Waynda Mayse, Natasha Robinson, Hank Herring and Curtis Dansby; the school principal, Mrs. Brown, played by Shelia Jenkins Ward; Dr. Piedmont, played by Brad Ballington, and Dr. Jackie Brooks, portrayed by Ali Salters.  Production team includes: musical director Jordan Plair, choreographer Chris Crabb, stage manager Elaine Lake, set designer Greg Rawls, costume designer Pat Willcox, and scenic artist Mary Ann Ford.

     CONRACK will be on stage at USCB Center for the Arts October 13 and 14 at 7:30 PM, October 15 and 22 at 3pm and October 21 at 4 PM.  Ticket prices vary.  For more information, call the box office 843-521-4145 or go online to www.uscbcenterfortheart.com

     CONRACK is made possible by our sponsors, the Pat Conroy Literary Center and Quill Entertainment Company, a nonprofit whose mission is “Teaching America’s Heritage Through Story and Song”.

     CONRACK is part of the 2017 Pat Conroy Literary Festival, October 19 – 22.  The festival theme for the 2017 is “The Transformative Power of Education.”  Authors from all over the southeast will be participating in the three-day festival, filled with panel discussion, lectures, book signings and workshops. For more information about the festival, visit patconroyliteraryfestival.org

Second Helping, Anyone?

Local non-profit group has been helping feed the hungry for over twenty-five years.

Story By David Pena

In 1991, Guenther and Louise Hecht noticed that enormous amounts of surplus food were being discarded on a regular basis by local grocery stores and restaurants. So using their own transportation, the Hechts, along with a small band of determined volunteers, started collecting the discarded food and delivering it to local food pantries. After six months of driving their own cars, they purchased their first refrigerated truck to help with the workload. Twenty-six years later, the organization known as Second Helpings is now a nonprofit food rescue and distribution network with over 250 volunteers whose primary goal is to totally eliminate hunger in the Lowcountry.

     Second Helpings is a very unique type of 501c(3) charitable organization in that it serves other nonprofit agencies, as Executive Director Lili Coleman explains. “We don’t directly serve the general public. Rather, we provide food to other agencies who then disperse it to those in our community who are in need of food.”

     And although it’s still run by the volunteers themselves, the organization is guided by a Board of Directors who help to oversee every aspect of the food rescue operation from recruitment of volunteers to funding development and logistics. Palmetto State Bank president Jan Malinowski, who also serves as President of the Board for the non-profit group, says, “Our board is in place to set long-term goals and strategies for Second Helpings. We basically do all the supporting activities necessary to keep the trucks running, which are manned by our wonderful volunteers, many of whom have been with the organization for over fifteen years.”

     Second Helpings’ army of volunteers operates a fleet of eight trucks each day of the week, fifty-two weeks a year. The volunteers are divided into teams, who are then equipped with their own refrigerated truck for their assigned pickups and deliveries. “Many of our volunteers are retirees who have moved to Dataw, Fripp or Hilton Head Islands and who have banded together to support the efforts of Second Helpings. Most of them come with a wealth of knowledge and experience,” explains Malinowski, “and everyone feels really grateful for the opportunity to help members of our community who are unable to put food on their own table. There’s a lot of camaraderie and fellowship that’s generated.” Each day the teams, led by their day captain, pick up excess food inventories and deliver the food products to various recipient agencies, which include local churches, food pantries and soup kitchens in Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties. Malinowski adds, “I’m very satisfied to be involved with an organization that helps so many in need in this three-county area. During my three years on the board, the people I’ve met, from the volunteers and fellow board members to the financial supporters and food providers, have all been terrific and really fun to work with. Everyone is extremely committed to the mission of Second Helpings, and it’s really great to be a part it.”

     In addition to the food distribution, Second Helpings also has various fund-raising and awareness activities throughout the year. The organization recently held its second annual ‘Share the Bounty’, a well-attended fund-raising event held on Hilton Head each year.

     “We promote the month of September as Hunger Awareness Month, and we recently held a paper plate awareness campaign with our agencies to spread the word,” says Coleman. “We’ve also launched another program called Healthy Food Initiatives, which allows us to buy much-needed fresh produce through private grant allocations.”

     Additionally, board member and Dataw resident, Donna Klein spearheads the second annual Hunger Games, a fund-raiser that also serves as an awareness event for the organization. “Dataw Island is proud to be a very active supporter of Second Helpings with close to fifty volunteers who live here, and Hunger Games was a perfect way to get more of our residents involved. This year we will have fifteen teams competing in games that are not at all like the movie version’s. We obviously don’t hurt people,” Klein says with a smile. “There will be timed events involving the teams. We’ll be doing single elimination, so by the end of the event we’ll have a shoot-out with foam rubber arrows shot into targets to determine our winning team. This is not at all like the standard silent auctions and sit-down dinners that are commonplace (on the island). Instead, it’s a unique way to get people physically outside doing something fun and competing against each other for a good cause. It’s just a perfect fit for this active community.”

     The Hunger Games will be held October 29 at 3:00 pm on Dataw Island at the gazebo next to the marina. Prior to the start of the games, there will be a parade involving all the participating teams to collect canned goods. The event includes a dinner as well as a silent and live auction that will include a ‘Build a Truck’ event, which allows attendees to make bids that help cover various  maintenance costs for one of the eight delivery trucks.

     While Second Helpings has experienced tremendous growth in its volunteer base and resources throughout its last quarter century, the organization’s mission has remained the same: namely to redistribute  and provide food for those who need it most. Surprisingly, in the South Carolina Lowcountry the need is greater than ever before, as Jan Malinowski explains. “It’s worth pointing out that even in the Beaufort County area where we have tremendous wealth, there are some very poor areas,” he notes. “Many low income residents live in northern Beaufort County, Jasper County as well as Hilton Head who desperately need the efforts of Second Helpings. A good many of them work at the Plantations or on Hilton Head for minimum wage and can barely feed themselves and their families, so the food pantries and churches help to bridge the gap between a full dinner table and a partial dinner table.”

     Thus, the organization basically acts as a liaison between the area’s food sources and the people who need food the most. Second Helpings has collected over 2.5 million pounds of food annually from 30 donors while serving about 60 area agencies and non-profits. Last year alone, an estimated 22,000 people benefited from the services that the organization provided, equivalent to over two million meals. To date, the non-profit group has distributed well over thirty million pounds of food to the needy.

     For its efforts, Second Helpings has been awarded “Angel Charity Status” by the state of South Carolina, a distinction given by the Secretary of State to non-profit organizations whose administrative costs don’t exceed 10%.

     Amazingly, Second Helpings has never solicited any agencies for the food that it provides, and the organization has never received any government funding. Instead, it relies solely on the generosity of donors in the community to fund its program, and over 80% of the donations goes directly to support the group’s food network operations. Volunteers help to keep the organization’s overhead low while still allowing its recipient agencies to use their funds toward their core missions with no overlap of services. Malinowski explains, “We raise funds for operating costs like gas, oil, tires and insurance for our trucks as well as for our targeted initiatives such as our Health Food Initiative, but we can always use more volunteers for our trucks, events and committees. We also invite members of the public to lend their support by giving donations, volunteering for a spot on a team, or just helping to expand our network.”

     For all the great work that Second Helpings has done over the year, Executive Director Coleman would like to make one clarification about the organization. “Some people think that we’re part of the Lowcountry food bank, but we’re actually an independent agency and the only non-profit in the area that ‘rescues’ food and gives it away free of charge. We’re so very proud to be the agency that keeps good food from being put into landfills. However, without our food partners like Wal-mart and many others, we couldn’t do our job, so I want to  sincerely thank them for their participation. We also want to discourage people from wasting food because it can really make a difference in someone else’s life.”

     For more information about Second Helpings or to become a volunteer, contact Lili Coleman at (843) 689-3616

Story By Cindy Reid   Photos by Susan DeLoach

Something sensational is coming to town and it’s going to be a blockbuster! The Beaufort Film Society is presenting an eight-week series of films with the catchy name of ‘Shorts at High Noon.’ From the first Wednesday in October through Wednesday, November 29, the Beaufort Film Society will present films from its vast collection of short films, student films and animation films. The collection consists of submissions to the Beaufort International Film Festival over the last ten years, from 2007 to present and contains everything from audience hits to hidden gems.

     Ron Tucker, President of the Beaufort Film Society, says they wanted to create a showcase for some of the many Beaufort International Film Festival films, giving viewers a chance to see a film they may have missed the first time around, or enjoy a second viewing of a favorite film.

     Ron says the idea for the new series came while he and wife Rebecca, VP of the Beaufort Film Society, were attending a popular local cultural event. He says “Rebecca and I attended a ‘Books Sandwiched In’ program at the University of South Carolina in Beaufort and we were struck by the large audience turnout. This got us to thinking that we could do something similar with films, a ‘Movie Sandwiched In’ style program. And so we came up with ‘Shorts at High Noon.’“

     The film program will consist of at least one short, one animation and one student film. The weekly program is always one hour long, so each film had to be chosen carefully for time limits as well as content.

     All screenings will take place at the Plaza Stadium Theatre, 41 Robert Smalls Parkway, Beaufort, SC from noon to 1:00 pm. Arrive early as check in time will be 11:30am. And the best part- admission is free!

     Ron says, “Thanks to the generosity of Paul Trask, the theatre owner, we are able to provide the series at absolutely no charge to the community.”

     Adding to the excitement, several filmmakers will be attending the screenings of their film. VW Scheich will be on hand for the screening of his award winning film, Wallenda, which was a huge audience favorite, on Oct 18. Another filmmaker scheduled to attend is Tracy de Leon from the Student Film Danny Freud. Most of the filmmakers are located too far away to make it to Beaufort, so Ron and Rebecca  came up with a great idea. He says, “We hope to be able to have a handful of filmmakers attend via video, so we can do a ‘where are they now’ segment after their film screening.”

     Ron and Rebecca can be called Beaufort’s Film Ambassadors for their tireless work on behalf of the lowcountry’s film community. Since 2004, with the creation of the Beaufort Regional Film Commission, and subsequent founding of the Beaufort Film Society in 2009, they have sought opportunities to shine the spotlight on Beaufort and the surrounding Sea Islands. They recently spoke to an audience of filmmakers at the Carolina, Film Network in Columbia and previously spoke with aspiring writers and filmmakers at Furman University in Greenville, SC where they were able to share their knowledge and experience about BIFF’s history and future growth.

     Ron says, “We love spreading the word about BIFF, filmmaking in the state of South Carolina, and what the Lowcountry can offer filmmakers.”

     They  will also be busy teaching a class this fall and spring at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI),  where they will discuss the history of BIFF and the benefits of being part of the Beaufort Film Society.   Included in their presentation is a recap of the growing pains, and why many filmmakers consider acceptance at BIFF as a critical confirmation of their work.

Beaufort Film Society

Truly a lowcountry treasure, the Beaufort Film Society (BFS) is a nonprofit, 501(c) 3, member-supported organization, which is dedicated to providing the highest levels of entertainment and education to the public from all areas of the film industry.  Through the Beaufort International Film Festival and other programs, coupled with fun and thought-provoking events and series, the BFS provides the sea island community with a commitment to entertainment, outreach and education through film. Their dedicated members, along with volunteers and staff, make all of this possible. Anyone is eligible for membership, and becoming a member includes many year-round benefits such as advance ticket sales and discounts on screenings, services and products; discounts and advance enrollment for professional development classes and networking events; and invitations to special preview screenings. If you love film, join the BFS for a world of opportunity all year long.

BIFF

The Beaufort Film Society’s biggest event is, of course, the annual Beaufort International Film Festival (BIFF). MovieMaker Magazine listed BIFF as one of the Top 25 “Coolest” Film Festivals in the World in 2013 and most recently, Film Freeway, ranked BIFF as the #9 Best Reviewed film festival in the world and #1 in South Carolina. The twelfth annual Beaufort International Film Festival will be held Feb 21- 25, 2018. For further information about the film festival, special events, the film society or the complete schedule for ‘Shorts at High Noon’, check out beaufortfilmfestival.com.

The Beaufort Film Society and the Beaufort International Film festival can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Shorts at High Noon

Where: Plaza Stadium Theatre, 41 Robert Smalls Parkway, Beaufort, SC.

When: Check in time is 11:30am. Program starts at 12:00 Noon and ends at 1:00 PM

Tickets: Admission is free. Concessions will be available for sale.

Schedule of Films

OCT 4: Pardon the Intrusion (Short), At Ease (Student), Splash (Animation)

OCT 11: A Letter From Home (Short), Swipe Right (Student), Almost Everest (Animation)

 OCT 18: Wallenda (Short), Perspective (Student), Grounded (Animation)

OCT 25: Mia (Short), Love Sick Lonnie (Short), Shut Up and Kiss Me (Student)

NOV 1: The Deadbeat (Short), Great Personality is Only Skin Deep (Short), Detention (Short), Death and the Robot (Animation)

 NOV 8: Birthday (Short), Danny Freud (Student), My Light is Gone (Animation)

 NOV 15: Clown Nose Theory (Short), The Collegians (Student), Light Me up (Animation)

 NOV 29: Another Love (Short), Long John (Student), Sebastian’s Voodoo (Animation)

Story By Maura Connelly, Pat Conroy Literacy Center

The second annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival will be held October 19 -22 at USCB’s Center for the Arts, celebrating the transformative power of education. Few people embody this theme with as much passion and grace as educator Dr. William Dufford. Teacher. Coach. Principal. Superintendent. He has assumed all of these mantles in varied venues: classrooms; playing fields; school hallways. It was his role as mentor  that took on a mythical quality for so many of his students, especially his years  at Beaufort High School in the early 1960s. For the students of the era, these were the “Camelot” years. They also included the arrival of one of BHS’s most famous graduates, Pat Conroy.

     Pat Conroy arrived in Beaufort in 1960 at the age of 15, and entered BHS for what would be his junior and senior years. He came to the lowcountry as an insecure and fragile young man, but he would graduate a confident citizen and as president of his class. After years of parochial schooling and rigid classrooms, Pat had finally arrived at a school that welcomed him and fostered his burgeoning literary interests. And at the center of this new universe was principal Bill Dufford. “I was in the middle of a childhood being raised by a father I didn’t admire. In a desperate way, I needed the guidance of someone who could show me another way of becoming a man. It was sometime during that year when I decided I would become the kind of man that a whole town could respect and honor and fall in love with – the way Beaufort did when Bill Dufford came to town to teach and shape and turn their children into the best citizens they could be,” wrote Conroy in the essay “The Summer I Met My First Great Man” appearing in A Lowcountry Heart and first delivered as an awards ceremony introduction for Dr. Dufford.

     Pat graduated from Beaufort High School as president of his class, “Best All Around,” a member of student council, the literary magazine, and the National Honor Society. He was also voted Mr. Congeniality. It was Bill Dufford who shaped and guided his new world, the man who held the torch for Pat.  “When you went to Bill Dufford’s school, the one thing you knew was that you were one of his kids, and…[that] you had a responsibility to your school because it was your community, your part of the world,” Conroy told a group of USC students in a 1995 address. “I never saw anyone get this across better. And I went into teaching because of Bill Dufford, because he had convinced me that there was no way a human being could live upon this earth and do anything better than to teach young people. It affected me and I’m simply one of the hundreds it affected.”

     And Pat did go on to teach, emulating many of his BHS mentors. After graduating high school, Pat went to college at the Citadel, graduating in 1967. He taught for two years at BHS before his storied year as the first white school teacher on Dafauskie Island, which became the inspiration for his book The Water Is Wide. In the book, Pat describes teaching as a noble endeavor and shares Dufford’s view on education “as holy a profession as the priesthood. It was one of his greatest gifts that he [Dufford] could convey his sense of mission about education to the kids who came under his jurisdiction. A whole tribe of us went into teaching because of his influence.”

     Pat was just one of thousands of students who came under Bill Dufford’s influence. Leighton Cubbage, another former student of Dufford’s in Sumter, describes Dufford’s “raw leadership” in Dufford’s forthcoming memoir, My Tour Through the Asylum: A Southern Integrationist’s Memoir, in collaboration(see sidebar). “Dufford’s attitude [about school] of joy, happiness, love, and inclusivity is what makes organizations work best. That’s the right type of fuel to drive any culture. People can talk about that ideal inside a church or in a pew, but there’s a guy who had the courage to do it in a school.”

     The best summation of Dr. Dufford’s passion for the empowerment of education, the passion for teaching, and the role of surrogate parenting also comes from Pat Conroy, by way of a letter written to Dufford in the summer of 1968 and rediscovered in October 2016. “Everything I have done since leaving Beaufort has been a reflection of the summer I spent with you digging those damn ditches and painting those damn bookcases. I have never understood the dynamics of hero worship – maybe it was the discovery of the father I never had as a youth and finally found in you, a father who was not only stern but tender, a father of both the storm and the sun. It is important for you to know this effect you have had and I believe you know it but in the shortness and horrible brevity of life I want to get everything said – everything. This is immortality. For what I have learned from you I will pass on, and it will be passed on, and it will be passed on and passed on.”

     William Dufford will make two appearances at this year’s Pat Conroy Literary Festival. He will join others from Pat’s BHS days in a panel discussion on  Thursday, October 19, 5:30 – 6:30 at Beaufort Middle School (2501 Mossy Oaks Road).  He will also be in conversation with another former BHS student, attorney Carl B Epps III, at USCB’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, October 21, 6:15 – 7:15 pm, following the festival’s performance of the musical Conrack. Following both events, Dr. Dufford will sign copies of My Tour Through the Asylum: A Southern Integrationist’s Memoir.

William Dufford, now retired, served as a school principal in Georgetown, Beaufort and Sumter and later as the superintendent of schools in York. He also served as an educational consultant for the Boston school system and as the director of field services for the University of South Carolina Center for Integrated Education. Dufford has been recognized with the South Carolina Governor’s Award in the Humanities and the South Carolina Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor. He remains actively involved in Newberry College’s annual Dufford Diversity and Inclusiveness Week and in the Newberry Opera House’s Dufford Center for Cultural Diversity.

     The Pat Conroy Literary Festival is the signature event of the Pat Conroy Literary Center, presented in partnership with the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts. For Tickets: 843.521.4145 or www.patconroyliteraryfestival.org uscbcenterforthearts.com