• Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine

About Us

Story By: Mary Ellen Thompson

Photos By: Paul Nurnberg

The Friday that Hurricane Matthew was heading in this direction, Daniel Gambrell, Park Manager for Hunting Island State Park, left Hunting Island under the evacuation order. He was allowed back on the island on Monday to assess the damage that had occurred to the park. “I thought I was kind of prepared from the news reports, and then seeing all the sailboats on the runway at the airport. The access to the Harbor Island Bridge had washed out so it was difficult even getting to the island, but when I got here…” He just let that sentence hang, because there probably were just not any words to describe what he felt. Daniel was accompanied by Park Director, Phil Gaines, and Coastal Regional Chief, Ray Stevens. They couldn’t get into the park with vehicles so they walked from the road through the water, under and around the fallen trees, to the campground. Trees had toppled onto the camp store; the restroom buildings, even the toilets, were filled with sand from the storm surge.

Daniel remembers, “We saw one of the largest bucks I’ve ever seen in the park, standing on a small elevated piece of ground. He looked like he was saying, ‘Hey, you guys, you have no idea what just happened here!’ It took us four hours to get to the lighthouse from the park entrance; we were wearing hip waders because the water was so deep. We tried to walk to South Beach and turn left to get our bearings because even Ray, who lived in this area for a long time and was Park Manager for sixteen years, couldn’t recognize where we were. When we got to the beach, the tide was high and there was a washout that we couldn’t get through so we walked back inland and around until we found the lighthouse. When we finally saw it  – it was perfect! That was a special moment for us to see it standing so proud; it gave us hope.

“After Phil and Ray left, I was there with just one other person for the next three days trying to cut through the debris. On Tuesday, I was walking down the road to the campground; so much water was going across it that it sounded like a waterfall, I looked ahead and saw two alligators swim across right in front of me! They didn’t even give me a second glance; the storm didn’t seem to affect the animal population.

“All six of the ranger residences were in reasonable shape. My family came back on Friday; we didn’t have power or water until then although I had a generator. You realize that you can do without electricity but not having water is another issue; we were able to get out and get water and bring it back in gallon jugs. Everything seemed so quiet – no noise from traffic on the road and even the wildlife seemed to be especially quiet at first. I would sleep for awhile and then get up and go back to work.

“My wife, Jana, and daughter, June, had left on Tuesday so by the following Friday it was exciting to have them back, and they were happy to be back. At four and a half, June was too young to understand what had happened but it was hard for my wife to see the damage and devastation because she loves the park so much. Born right before we came here, June grew up in this park. She loves the Nature Center; it is by far her favorite place on the island, not just because of the animals and the programs, but she loves the staff.”

The Visitor Center and Nature Center buildings didn’t suffer damage but the walkway to the Visitor Center had to be rebuilt and the pier at the Nature Center was pretty much destroyed. Now it only extends to the edge of the marsh and can’t even be used for fishing. The Nature Center became the hub of the park as they used it for offices, and it was the first area to re-open to the public.

The campground is still closed and it is hoped can re-open mid to late July. The camp store was saved; it had been flooded with six inches of standing water, but was able to be renovated. The two restrooms in the front were demolished, the four in the back were renovated, and the dune system was washed out. Of all the camping spaces, 88 were lost, with only 100 remaining. Prior to the hurricane, the campground generated about $1.5 million in revenue for the park, and the gate about $900,000.00, so close to half of the campgrounds revenue will be lost. For reservations that had been made, efforts are being taken to transfer them to another park if so desired, refunded, or changed to a different date.

The immediate focus is now on the North and South Beaches. The restroom building on the beach at South Beach had to be demolished, but the newer restroom on the back side of the parking lot, at the north end of South Beach is still there. The changing rooms and shower towers are still in the parking lot, but the access to South Beach is temporarily different as you have to turn right before you get to the beach and go along the back side to the far end of the parking lot and then loop back around. Cabin Road is gone, and the dunes are gone here also.

There is about a 150 foot breach where the ocean now comes into the lagoon about halfway between South Beach and the southern end of the island, at low to mid-tide you can still walk across it but not if the tide is any higher. It has, in effect, created a separate island at the southern end. There is some interesting history here as the origin of the lagoon is generally misunderstood. In his book, The Road To Hunting Island South Carolina, Nathan Cole relates the history of the island being turned into a county park with the assistance of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) back in the 1930’s. He says, “The CCC also changed the landscape of the island. A saltwater lagoon was dredged at the southern end of the island. The lagoon was opened to the sea so that it could be affected by the tide movement and allowed a large variety of ocean fish to find shelter in the gentled water.” A different source of information says that the lagoon was created by sand dredging in 1968 as the first in a series of attempts at beach renewal programs. In 1997, Mr. Cole made this prediction: “If a category three or four hurricane hits the island, the conditions are right for a new inlet to be cut from South Beach to the lagoon, thus creating a new, smaller island.”

At North Beach the dunes are also gone but the picnic shelter, the lighthouse gift shop and the lighthouse compound are all in good order. Daniel says the largest oak tree in the park fell on the one remaining cabin for rent behind the lighthouse. It has been totally renovated and is as bright and shiny now as a brand new copper penny, and has reservations for the next thirteen months. North Beach is a guarded beach with three lifeguards on duty at a time and sometimes people on foot; The Beaufort County Sheriffs Department also helps to patrol on busy weekends. There are no lifeguards on South Beach where you can surf or fish.

When asked what we can expect in terms of going forward, Daniel explains, “We are concentrating on the day use beaches first, then the campground. The use of a shuttle is still being explored. We have parking issues – we can get to maximum capacity and have to close the park when we still have room for people but not any more cars. The trails are all clear; flooded from the rains right now but all good. There isn’t any timeframe yet for repairing the pier or the marsh boardwalk. Programs at the Nature Center are being held including the Junior Ranger program, and the Ultimate Outsider Program where participants get stamps from the 47 state parks and get to experience all the differences of the parks. The loss of the dunes is of great concern and we’re hoping for a beach renewal this coming winter.”

On another note, Daniel explains that Little Blue (the last cabin on stilts that was standing out in the ocean) had been scheduled to be taken down before the hurricane because it was a safety and environmental hazard; the storm made its condition worse. The State Park Service paid for its excavation which was done at low tide while the park was closed for repairs.

“Recovery has been amazing,” Daniel explains. “The park staff, Friends of Hunting Island, local legislators, state park staff working in Columbia; it’s been a group effort. We’re working with FEMA and our insurance companies trying to get the reimbursements.

“Through the process of getting the park ready, we realized we were missing

something: visitors. Hearing voices and children playing, that was what was missing. People who haven’t been here before think it is beautiful; people who know the park see all the changes.”

Finally, after months of intense work, Daniel and his family can enjoy the park that is their backyard, again. Daniel smiles as he says, “I’m a full time daddy. We love fishing, being outdoors, cooking on the grill, and spending time with friends and family.”

You can still see the effects of the storm – fallen trees, leaning trees, trees propped up against others, cut tree stumps, yellow caution tape in some areas, backhoes and other equipment moving through the park, dark standing water along the roadside and on parts of the trails. But no one seems to mind as they head toward the beach with their towels, coolers and chairs in hand. Hunting Island State Park has opened its gates and we again have access to one of the most beautiful places we know, with many thanks to the hard work of all the volunteers, park staff and Daniel Gambrell.

About Us

Story By: Cindy Reid

Photos By: Paul Nurnberg

Take a trip, a trip back in time to when the neighborhood restaurant was truly a family run restaurant, a restaurant that served authentic local food at a great price.

Welcome to Sea Eagle Market & Good Eats, where old fashion value meets tidal rivers  and salt marshes, a place where fresh Atlantic seafood and local sourced food are served six days a week .

Sea Eagle Market & Good Eats is actually two businesses under the same roof, on one side is the fish market where you can purchase fresh caught fish and seafood to bring home and on the other is the restaurant where fresh seafood is cooked six days a week. The entire business is owned and operated by the Reaves family, who have been providing South Carolinians with fresh caught seafood for twenty-five years. This is Craig and Jana Reaves second restaurant, and as owner Craig Reaves says, “It is pretty crazy!” Craig laughs, and says “Seriously we are passionate about fresh, locally caught seafood and we wanted to open a spot where you can get a good meal at a reasonable price. A place that was like the restaurants of the past in all the best ways.”

Located at 2149 Boundary Street in Beaufort, Craig says, “The building sat empty for six years. When we first visited the space, it seemed too big for us at 5,200 square feet; but, as we drew the floor plans for the renovations, we quickly utilized all the space. We’re glad we were able to renovate a building that sat vacant for so long, which was good for us and good for the town.” Recently, honored by the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce with the Civitas Award for Community Stewardship; Craig said serving the Beaufort community “Is an honor and it is humbling.”

Fan Favorites

Craig says his current favorite dish on the menu is “The Caesar Salad topped with blackened tuna. You can also get it topped with shrimp, salmon or chicken. My Dad, Laten Reaves, loves the Deviled Crabs.” He continues, “Although shrimp baskets are king around here; we also have a great flounder sandwich; the Palmetto Pride, named after my brother’s shrimp boat. It is a fresh flounder fillet topped with coleslaw. It started as a special and was such a hit, it has now been added to the menu.”

Craig said he recently found a local sustainable source for the popular delicacy, Soft Shell Crabs, so customers can enjoy them beyond their traditional short spring and fall seasons.

Of course, you will find all the favorite seafood dishes on the menu that make Beaufort different from other coastal towns; like the famous Lowcountry Boil, also known as “Frogmore Stew” (shrimp, sausage, corn and red potatoes), fried blue crabs bathed in a garlic butter sauce, a Shrimp Burger topped with Captain Craig sauce, a crab cake made in house with fresh picked lump crab meat, and a whole whiting fish split down the back and fried to perfection.

The menu has something for everyone. It includes some traditional offerings like BLT, Grilled Chicken, Wings, Burger, Soups, Salads and a few items just for the kiddos like mini corn dogs, grilled cheese sandwich, chicken fingers and popcorn shrimp.

Seafood Choices

Probably the most popular choice for customers are the seafood baskets. You can order them in a variety of ways, so it is just the way you like it. You can choose from one to three seafood items, and they will be cooked to order (fried, grilled, or blackened) and accompanied with your choice of two homemade sides and hushpuppies. The sides alone are worth coming in for, especially the mac n cheese which is simply the best in town.

Another unique aspect to this seafood restaurant is the open steam kitchen in the front dining room. You can watch steamed items like shrimp, snow crab legs, little neck clams and blue crabs cooked right before your eyes. Just smelling the seasonings from the pots makes your mouth water.

The restaurant is doing well in spite of the Boundary Street construction happening all around it. Easier access to Sea Eagle Market and Good Eats is coming soon with the nearby traffic signal at Carolina Cove.

Craig says, “The shrimping season has been real good this year, the best I have ever seen, so come down and pay us a visit!”

About Us

Sophisticated, elegant, chic. Successful, professional, knowledgeable. These attributes perfectly describe Cora Bett Thomas, a true Southern lady and real estate dynamo. Cora Bett started selling real estate in 1974, which lead to her founding her own company, Cora Bett Thomas Realty, in Savannah in 1994. After many successful years selling property along the “100 Mile Coast,” Cora Bett Thomas Realty opened an additional office in Beaufort in 2009, which continues to grow and thrive in today’s market.

Originally from Scotland Neck, a small town in Halifax County North Carolina, Cora Bett had a career in merchandise buying that brought her to Savannah, Georgia in the 1970s. Her life took a dramatic turn when, as she says, “I married an architect builder and we were buying blocks of property in Savannah. After a time we felt we could get better service by selling our property ourselves so I got my real estate license and I started making a living selling real estate from that time on.”

The “100 Mile Coast” includes the stretch of coastal Georgia and South Carolina known as the Lowcountry. Those who find themselves drawn to visit the Lowcountry soon find themselves drawn to live there. Within the “100 Mile Coast” are a variety of neighborhoods; each with their own distinctive appeal.

After decades of success, Cora Bett attributes her company’s longevity to their deep knowledge of the area and their personal way of doing business. She says, “Our business model is not what most do. We are extremely connected; we understand this hundred mile coast, which runs from Beaufort, South Carolina to the Florida line. Cora Bett Thomas Realty is a member of five Multiple Listing Services (MLS’s) covering Savannah, Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head and down to the Sea Islands of Georgia. Our office can sell anywhere in the area. We are a ‘one stop’ place because we really know this market.”

Cora Bett says the heart of her company’s philosophy is centered on the customer. She says, “An agent’s job is to interview the customer and find out what they like. Is it tennis? Gardening? There is so much more to ‘home’ than bricks and mortar. What is special about their home is the lifestyle. That is what we help our customers define and find.”

Beaufort is the jewel in the crown of the Eastern Seaboard

When asked ‘why Beaufort?’ Cora Bett says, “I loved it from the day we stopped here many years ago. Probably my favorite place in Beaufort  is the Point, it was the first place I visited and  I know  it well. But I really can’t pick just one because there are so many beautiful hidden, secret neighborhoods all over Beaufort! It is a very special place; it is a small town with sophistication. There is such a diverse population of people, from the military, to writers and tea rooms! There is some of everybody here and that is what makes it very special. Beaufort really offers everything.”

Why do people choose Beaufort?  She says, “It is a great small town, go in any direction and you will get something different. While working with our customers, we see they want what Beaufort has, which is essentially authentic living. It is all about a real community life.”

Cora Bett Realty is there for real estate shoppers, beyond the nuts and bolts, as Cora Bett says, “We will show you the ropes, and expose you to all the things Beaufort has to offer. We make the introductions. We take a customer and we make a friend. “

Your home will be featured on the very best web sites as we push our luxury home sales listings to over 150 websites.

“And we are invested in technology.” Says Cora Bett, “We offer cutting-edge technology and personalized support, Matterport 3D property views, and an in-house graphic design and marketing team. We have a very highly trafficked and sophisticated website, online marketing, and social media programs and support”. She says, “We are always open to additional agents that have the same work ethic and are caring about people. We are an ‘agent centric’ office, we utilize all the marketing tools available and we invest in our agents, which makes them extremely successful.”

Cora Bett continues, “I want the readers of Beaufort Lifestyle to know the agents, the special people who sell here. Our agents specialize in people. That is what this is all about; relationships are what the customer is all about. It is a people business.”

Cora Bett Thomas Realty & Associates has over 30 years of experience helping clients in Beaufort. Her team is the choice for your Beaufort South Carolina real estate needs.


About Us

The real estate market in Beaufort is making a comeback. 2017 has proved to have the strongest spring in ten years by being up 139% and shows a strong indication for the second home market.


With offices on Harbor Island and in Coosaw Point, Island Realty of the Lowcountry is the leading company in sales in for Harbor and Fripp Islands. Their agents in the Harbor Island office reside on one or the other of the islands, and their agents in the Coosaw Point office live in Beaufort. Of the five principle

owners, they boast over 150 years of combined real estate sales experience in the area.


Island Realty of the Lowcountry is consistently among the sales leaders in all of Beaufort County’s MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and their twelve agents constantly have their fingers on the pulse of existing and forecasted trends.


Although Island Realty of the Lowcountry handles properties for buyers and sellers all over Beaufort, and they offer services for not only residential properties, but also commercial properties and land, Fripp and Harbor Islands are their particular specialty.


Owning a home on one of the beautiful sea islands is like having your own piece of paradise where all sorts of options abound in terms of price, style, architecture, location and amenities. All part of living away from the hustle and bustle of city life, everything slows down with golf carts and bicycles being the main form of transportation. Both Harbor Island and Fripp Island are wildlife sanctuaries.

They offer the enjoyment of deer, rare birds throughout, Snowy White Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Ospreys and Loggerhead turtles coming in each spring to lay their nests and hatchlings late summer/fall … not to mention an alligator sunning beside a lagoon drawing never ending interest from guests.


Harbor Island, with its beautiful white powder beach, offers inclusive amenities with property ownership on the island. The Swim and Racquet Club includes a community pool, fitness rooms, volleyball, party room, mini-store, tennis and basketball courts as well as a community garden.


In addition to three and a half miles of pristine beach, Fripp Island provides broader options offering a resort membership to include two top ranked golf courses, tennis, various pool complexes, restaurants, shops, and a deep

water marina. If you’re a golf lover, award winning Ocean Point and Ocean Creek golf courses will delight your very soul.



With beautiful beaches and a subtropical climate that enhances the beauty of the landscape as well as bird and animal life, each of the islands has its own character and each is a good choice for a primary or secondary residence. Many

options are available for short term rentals on both islands, making an investment there able to provide some return.


Jennifer Helms and Ken Willis have extensive history and knowledge of these islands. Ken was president and partner of the Fripp Island Real Estate Company from 1990 until 2001. The Fripp Company, under the leadership of Willis, developed and operated the island during the years that all of the current amenities were developed. He brings that extensive experience as a partner to Island Realty of the Lowcountry and has developed a strategic plan to grow and expand the real estate company. Willis, now Broker-in-Charge, sees a need for a real estate company to specialize in specific project marketing and sales. Jennifer has been Island Realty of the Lowcountry’s Broker-in-Charge since 2014 and has lived on Fripp Island since 1998. She was one of the original agents selling real estate on Fripp Island when the resort was sold. She, and co-owners Theresa Cooper, Todd McDaniel, and Coleman White, started Island Realty of the Lowcountry in 2002. They are looking forward to expansion, and with the help of Ken Willis, the company is currently in negotiations with several developers seeking to develop land in northern Beaufort County.


Homes such as the one pictured here on Fripp Island, exemplify the listings Island Realty of the Lowcountry provides. The professionalism with which they handle their clients, buyers and sellers alike, is memorable and makes working with them an enjoyable experience. Their continuous referrals from past clients and friends speak volumes of their integrity and service over the years.

About Us

story by susan lee    photography by john wollwerth

Most event and meeting planners will agree that one of the most important factors in planning an event is the venue. Choosing the right setting for a memorable gathering or business meeting will go a long way in ensuring a successful event.

One of the best venues in the Low Country is the Best Western Sea Island Inn. Located in the heart of the Beaufort Historic District on Bay Street, the inn boasts nearly 2,500 square feet of event space. In 2016, the Best Western Sea Island Inn was voted Best Hotel in the Eat Sleep Play Beaufort Awards. TripAdvisor reviewers also love the inn, rating it an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

What sets the inn’s meeting spaces apart from others in the area? Hands down, it’s the location, says  General Manager Lisa Kassuba. “We’re right in the historic district, just steps away from Antebellum homes, quaint shops, art galleries, book stores, and a variety of cafés, bistros, coffee shops and eateries,” she says. “And because we’re at the waterfront, our guests can enjoy breathtaking views of the scenic Beaufort River.”

The inn’s spacious and expertly styled meeting rooms, Room by the Bay and the Dolphin Room, make lovely settings for Beaufort area meetings and banquets. Functions ranging in size from 2 to 70 can be accommodated with ease, and audiovisual equipment is included at no additional fee. If your event requires a catered luncheon, the inn staff has access to a variety of fabulous caterers in the Beaufort area.

The Best Western Sea Island Inn’s amenities and services include:

• Room by the Bay – 735 square feet

• Dolphin Room – 1,700 square feet

• Complimentary Wi-Fi

• Audio/visual equipment

• Podium

• Easels

• PA system

• Two 42 – inch wall mounted televisions


• Flip charts

• 6-foot screen

• Coolers

• Microphones – Standard

• Microphones – Wireless

• Free local calls

• 70 chairs

• Skirting and tablecloths

• 6 and 8-foot tables

• Six 60-inch round tables

According to Lisa, both of the meeting rooms recently underwent extensive renovations. The Dolphin Room renovation consisted of all new carpeting, plantation shutters and lighting. In the Room by the Bay, everything was replaced, to include new flooring, furniture, lighting, counters and more.

Lisa has worked at the Best Western Sea Island Inn for 28 years and loves her job and the inn. “I love what we do and where we do it,” she says. “I love meeting and hosting our guests, working with our fantastic staff and doing it all in beautiful and historic downtown Beaufort.” She adds that she also very much enjoys managing such a spectacular inn, especially since “no two days are alike.”

And for meeting attendees who wish to stay overnight, the inn offers 43 boutique-style rooms that celebrate the spirit of the charming South. The beautifully appointed rooms, with either a king bed or two queen beds, include modern amenities such as complimentary high-speed internet, Bath & Bodyworks bath products and flat screen TVs.

“Our staff goes above and beyond to make sure that all of our guests have a restful and productive stay,” says Lisa. “Everyone here works hard to make sure the inn’s superior customer service, value and cleanliness are a priority.”

For more information on planning your next meeting at the Best Western Sea Island Inn, call (843)522-2090 or visit www.sea-island-inn.com. The inn is located at 1015 Bay St., at the corner of Bay and Newcastle Streets.

About Us

story by cindy reid    photography by paul nurnberg

“Beaufort is our home, real estate is our business!” Greg and Shelia Bennett have been in the real estate business since 1997 and have owned their own brokerage, Beaufort Realty Consultants, since 2001. They specialize in residential and vacation home and land sales, servicing Beaufort, the surrounding areas and the beach resorts of Harbor and Fripp Island.

Additionally, they provide both a long term residential and short term vacation property division to assist clients with investment properties. Together they exemplify the unique combination of hard earned success, good humor and laid back lowcountry living that is the Beaufort lifestyle.

They reside on Lady’s Island with their two rescue dogs, Zoey and Ruger, but how Greg and Shelia ended up in Beaufort is a story straight out of Hollywood.  It starts appropriately enough on a Caribbean island…


After resigning my commission from the Army after the first Gulf War, we wanted to pursue our dream of island living. We left Puerto Rico where we had been living and moved to Montserrat, a Caribbean island in the British West Indies, with our five month old daughter Morgan. We opened a scuba diving shop and did very well for two and a half years. But then the previously dormant Soufriere Hills volcano became active. After the volcano erupted, there was fewer than 15 square miles of livable land left on the island and non citizens were asked to leave, as it was extremely difficult for the government to feed and take care of the population. We didn’t have any other option, if you were not a native of the island you had to leave. We evacuated April 30, 1996.


We had to hire an independent pilot to fly us out to Antigua. We gave everything we had to our cleaning lady. With nowhere else to go, we went to my sister’s in West Virginia to regroup. Our plan was to open another dive shop in the United States. We were researching coastal towns by calling each town’s Chamber of Commerce. This was before the internet! Of the twenty five chambers I called, Beaufort’s was the nicest. I never knew their name but who ever answered the phone was so enthusiastic and bubbly that I knew we had to visit this town.

We bought a junker car and toured the towns on our list, ending up at Tybee Island during a heat wave, and the car’s air conditioning gave out. I was determined to drive to Beaufort and Greg was equally determined not to. He thought it was a truck stop! We had a fight and I said I am going to Beaufort, with or without you.


I was wrong- I think I had confused Beaufort with exit 8, Hardeeville! I gave in and we went to Beaufort together.


We came into Beaufort and we knew immediately it was for us. We sat on the swing at the waterfront park and I said to Greg, “How do you like this truck stop?” We didn’t have jobs but called real estate agents to rent a house. We knew this was the right place for us.

Realty Success


After we moved to Beaufort I couldn’t get a job. We were living in a small rental house with a mattress and a large tupperware container that we used as our clothing storage and dining room table. We were literally down to $785.00 when I got into real estate.  I answered an ad for a sales position which turned out to be for real estate. The rest was history. I stumbled into the right place, at the right time, in the right market. But I had a distinct advantage.

Number One- I was naïve.

Number Two- I was broke and motivated to succeed. We had $785 to our name and the rent was due.

I had worked for an executive recruiter for a short period of time and was an epic failure. But I knew how to cold call. I had no fear of the phone. I went from working at a housing development in Bluffton to being an onsite sales person at Harbor Island. I used my ability to cold call property owners and build a client base.  Three years later we opened our own real estate company. During this time, we realized it was important to us that we raise our child ourselves and back then the daycare options were very limited and we could not afford them. So Shelia stayed home during the day with our daughter and she would do things like teach gymnastics at night. (Daughter Morgan is now 22 years old and tutoring English in Rome, Italy) Everything we have achieved has been a total team effort.

By all standards, their real estate career / business has been a huge success. Greg is consistently ranked in the top 3% of Realtors in Northern Beaufort County and the top 8% of residential Realtors in the SC, NC and GA region, based on sales production.


Shelia has worked incredibly hard and smart for the last 7 years on our internet marketing, organically growing our business. She trained with the smartest guy in internet marketing, moving way beyond paid “clicks.” When the market collapsed in 2008 Shelia and our consultant worked on our online presence, achieving greater visibility via web based marketing to provide a continual flow of business to our agents.


I would rather work hard and smart than pay someone else. I am in control when I am doing the work.  I am passionate about providing the highest quality of training, technology tools and support for our agents to ensure their success. We really focus on training, mentoring and helping our agents at our brokerage. It is our responsibility and obligation to stay up to date so they can serve our clients and the consumer. We have such a wonderful group of people here, everyone is so supportive of each other and we like it like that.


At one time we had forty agents. We are now very selective about who we bring on. We are not looking for lots of realtors, just a select few who are serious about their business. We really are like a big, happy family here.


Life is too short to have it any other way.

About Us

Creations and Libations Art Studio and Gallery:
Arts, Crafts and Beyond

Carissa Doig and her husband John have lived in Beaufort for about three years. Carissa is a native of Connecticut. Moreover, the couple has babies, “fur babies”, that is, as they are avid humanitarians when it comes to rescuing animals. In fact, they have several of their own that came from local rescue shelters.
“We have a bunch of fur babies. I cannot say no to a rescue,” Carissa states.
Carissa has a noteworthy professional background. Prior to moving to the local area, she acquired a remarkable amount of career experience in the cosmetics industry, along with the digital marketing industry. This has enabled her to be successful in her present business endeavors as well. Earlier in her career, Carissa held positions as a manager, trainer, and area director for renowned national cosmetics corporations based in Canada, New York City, and California, which gave her priceless opportunities to showcase her talents in a variety of notable fashion shows all over the country. She was also involved in special FX makeup artistry on a number of B horror films.
“I loved it, and I learned so much” Carissa states.
Unfortunately, at only 24 years of age, Carissa was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), after experiencing several plaguing symptoms of the disease. Over time, Carissa had several bouts with flare-ups of MS symptoms. She was unable to continue her travels all over the country and so she attended the Connecticut School of Broadcasting with aspirations to be hired at a local TV station and become a professional make-up artist for anchors. Things took a swift turn when she unexpectedly “fell in love with radio.” Consequently, she was offered a rare career opportunity as the Digital Marketing Director at the well-known radio station, The Rock 106.9 WCCC. The radio station was a staple in the Rock N Roll industry, and made several appearances in the movie Private Parts.
Carissa laughs and says, “That was like working in a frat house every day, you never knew what was going to happen.” Interestingly enough, the station was sold some time later, and Carissa sought even more promising opportunities.
After visiting the Low Country with her husband, Carissa knew where she wanted to call home.
She remarks, “We came here, and I fell in love.”
Carissa resumed her career in digital marketing, but her illness continued to progress. Even so she still maintained her passion for life and she decided that she really wanted to “go back to her art roots.” She wanted to do something truly meaningful–she wanted “people to have fun and enjoy themselves while creating something beautiful.”
She is a proud supporter of the National MS Society, and wants those who struggle with the chronic illness to know that you should “never give up, never quit, keep moving, keep fighting. If plan ‘A’ doesn’t work out, move on to plan ‘B’, but keep going. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do something.”
Carissa knew exactly what she wanted to do with her plan B. She explained her decision; “I woke up one morning and I couldn’t see. I had a flare up and lost vision in both of my eyes for about 3 months. Then I couldn’t move my right hand or arm. I couldn’t get my limbs to listen to my brain for months and I thought to myself, what if I can never paint or do makeup ever again?” She decided that she wanted to use her former experience and expertise to provide a one-of-a –kind experience for her customers. Creations and Libations is an art studio, “not an art school.” Carissa offers customers “a place to let loose and just have fun.” Whether painting, candle making , glass painting, or making melted crayon art, there are numerous activities to enjoy. “Black Light Paint Nights” are new and thrilling! All the lights are turned off, the music is turned up and the paint glows on your canvas. The studio is an all-in-one entertainment venue. Whether customers would like to get involved with any of the activities going on during the week or just relax and take a load off, Carissa prides herself in providing an establishment with a variety of value-added things on the menu.
Adult customers are able to partake in wine & paint occasions, which is often done with friends.  However, individuals are required to bring their own alcohol for consumption.
Carissa wants all individuals to enjoy the art sessions that are offered each week. Sessions will run six times per week: once on Thursdays, twice on Fridays and three times on Saturdays. The information is posted on their website and Facebook page.
Carissa welcomes the public to visit Creations and Libations for their various entertainment endeavors. She assures them that they will have a memorable time. Creations and Libations hosts an array of events including: birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, couple’s night out and much more. Basically, if it’s sought after, Carissa will try to make it happen.
“I love to see all the different things people create. We like to say that there are no mistakes in art, only discoveries,” Carissa says.
Creations and Libations offers its customers a truly unique experience. With her creativity and innovation, Carissa is looking forward to all that is in store for the future.

Creations and Libations
3B Market #1
Habersham Market Place
Beaufort, South Carolina 29906
FB: creationsandlibationsofthelowcountry

About Us

story by Carl Joye    photography by John Wollwerth

Team with Apex and Save! Apex Team Real Estate is a Full Service company that now offers ALL the services you’ve come to expect when selling, buying, or renting your home but now at a reduced rate without ANY reduced services. We offer a professionally staffed office open at least six days a week with a staff of Experienced and Professional agents that are always Available.

As a 56 year native of the Beaufort and Port Royal, SC area, I’ve been in the real estate business all of my professional life since the eighties, first as a custom home builder working hand in hand with Sing Pappas, a top producing real estate agent with Weichert Realtors over the past 30 plus years, and over the past 12 years as a real estate agent, now Broker/Owner of Apex Team Real Estate.

I know the area, I know the market, and I know how to get your home sold in the shortest amount of time, at the best price, with the least inconvenience to you!

     Save Thousands Selling your home with our 50% reduced 1.5% Listing Commission:

Listing commissions are set by individual brokers and there is no standard listing commission. However, most sellers pay 3% to real estate companies to list their home for sale. In order to earn your business, generate buyers, and get your home sold, I’ve decided to offer an option for Sellers to pay 50% of the most common listing commission, saving Sellers thousands of dollars with absolutely NO SACRIFICE OF SERVICE!

We are not a Flat Rate Discount Broker offering a $1,999.00 special with what are described as “only subtle changes in service.” We do not post your name and number on the internet having you take the calls and schedule showings to people you assume are agents. We do not use generic lock boxes with codes where there is no tracking of who enters your home at any time. We are FULL SERVICE BROKERS who sell your home professionally!

     Save Hundreds or Thousands Buying your home with our $500 to $6,000 credit at closing:

Based on the sales price of the home you purchase using Apex Team Real Estate, we’ll pay from $500 to $6,000 of your allowable closing cost or prepaid items. This allows the Buyer to either save out of pocket cost or buy the home at a lower price. As an example, for a $250,000 home, Apex Team will credit the Buyer $1,250 and for a $500,000, the credit will be $2,500. Working with experienced and professional agents is a valuable benefit in itself that may not be realized until a problem arises. Apex Team agents are Available, Professional and Experienced!

     Price, Condition, and Exposure sells homes:

Exposure is our Specialty! 50 Quality Pictures and 800 words of Descriptive Remarks of the home and the community are guaranteed for each listing. I take great pride in the work I do to professionally market your home and get it seen by today’s demanding internet buyers. If the buyer does not have the information they want at the click of their mouse, they move on.

The truth is that all real estate agents have most of the same tools at their disposal and it comes down to how skilled they are, how they use them, and how hard they’re willing to work. Once pictures, remarks, and other information is loaded into the multiple listing service, the information is automatically fed to Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and all of the multiple internet search engines. It’s what you put in that’s what the consumer sees.

In addition to the free exposure, we enhance our internet presence on major internet search engines to better expose your home and generate buyers for your home. Our ForSaleInBeaufort.com website generates many potential buyers for your home as well with buyers who sign up and search on their own until they want a real estate agent and send request for information.

Price another factor in selling your home. Market Value is based on the most recent comparable sales over the past year and really has little to do with what a homeowner paid for their home. We work with our clients to determine market value and generate an acceptable listing that will get your home shown. If a home is overpriced, the buyer who will see it is looking for more and the buyer who would buy it, won’t see it because it’s overpriced. We list at the price requested by the Seller after advising what price we fell will generate traffic and offers for their home.

Condition is the final factor of selling a home. Some conditions can be changed easily and some simply don’t make sense based on cost or even eliminating potential buyers. We meet with our sellers and develop a plan to optimize the condition of a home without wasting the seller’s money or eliminating potential buyers.

     The truth you can handle; It’s a Win-Win:

How can Apex Team Real Estate offer what no one else in the business is offering? The truth is that we want more business and are willing to take less to get your business. More listings get us more buyers. We believe it’s a Win-Win. You save money while getting the best service available and we grow our business by providing excellence of service at a more affordable rate. Everybody Wins!

About Us

Majestic live oaks, warm marsh breezes, picturesque beaches, and abundant wildlife are all part of the Lowcountry experience. Palmetto Place is a traditional walking community nestled in the heart of Lady’s Island, minutes from historic downtown Beaufort. This classic Charleston style neighborhood offers all the finer aspects of Lowcountry living devoid of the high price tag.

Established in 2015, Palmetto Place is the brainchild of builder/developer and local family man, Benji Gecy whose vision for a unique, moderately priced community is coming to fruition. Initially started several years ago by another developer, the project stalled for several years during the unstable real estate downturn. Ben saw the potential for a unique community.

“As a builder and developer you look for well-priced land with great locations, Palmetto Place scored very high with its central location to everything Beaufort has to offer. The quality of life on Lady’s Island is attractive to a lot of families.”

With an ideal location in close proximity to downtown amenities, Palmetto Place allows easy access to festivals, restaurants, shopping, and Waterfront Park by way of bike paths and sidewalks. A lifestyle worthy of the Lowcountry, this charming neighborhood is amenable to people of all walks of life, whether a young couple just starting out, a family with children and pets, or those embarking on their retirement years. Boating, kayaking and golfing are all within minutes.

Palmetto Place’s prime location provides a unique opportunity to live, work and play in harmony with all of Beaufort’s natural resources and historical significance.

“It’s unlike anything else in the price range of northern Beaufort County. Palmetto Place allows families an affordable walking neighborhood with old Charleston style ideas and a spirit that serves the coastal vibe.” This focus is directed around outdoor living, as all floor plans have double porches, open decks and a variety of other options that blend indoor living into outdoor spaces.

Ben is familiar with the distinctive qualities of Beaufort, being a lifelong resident with a passion for the hometown in which he was raised. A scratch golfer, surfer and former minor league baseball player, Benji resides with his wife, Christina, and daughters, Gracie, Caylin and Blakely amongst the natural beauty of Cat island, one of Beaufort’s many island treasures. “It’s great having a family that supports your ideas and vision. I have worked hard to develop the Palmetto Place product and design which has created a tremendous amount of interest from my 13 year old.” Gracie, a rising 8th grader at Riverview Charter School has developed a real sense of design while helping with the first few homes in Palmetto Place. “ I am so impressed with her maturity and natural design qualities. Interior design work is definitely in her DNA.”

Benji’s business pursuits have been highly successful including ownership of a mortgage brokerage for 20 years. The breadth of mortgage knowledge combined with development expertise make Palmetto Place an optimal choice where buying and financing can be met in one place.

Always up for a challenge, Benji’s creativity saw the potential for Palmetto Place when many others passed on the opportunity. “Quality living doesn’t have to be at a high price, there should be an alternative to the cookie cutter neighborhoods. Lady’s Island has been dying for a different option for years. I am proud to say we have delivered that variety.”

Home selections offer a variety of floor plans ranging from 1300 square feet to 2500 square feet with three, four, and five bedroom options. Residents can create their own coastal dream home with oversized porches, balconies and other outdoor living areas while maintaining the necessary finished and heated space to be comfortable.

Low maintenance choices for exterior materials create a beautiful look without the burden of constant maintenance allowing residents to relax and enjoy the natural paradise around them.  “We’ve got a design for every taste. It’s been fun creating a versatile and affordable option for people in need of the outdoor experience.”

Enjoy a higher standard of living amidst the gracious coastal atmosphere of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Palmetto Place provides a sanctuary for the soul. It’s more than a housing development, it’s a lifestyle.

For more information or to schedule an appointment contact Ben Gecy at: 843.441.0668  ben@palmettoplace.com

Or visit the website at:


About Us

story by andrea antunes mcgilton

White motifs continue to dominate kitchen décor and Distinctive Granite and Marble now offers a new white quartz product that has taken the lowcountry by storm.

Called PolarStone, this quartz surface stone   requires virtually no maintenance and mimics the look and feel of classic marble.

“PolarStone has really enabled homeowners to have the white marble-look kitchens they want,” said Anneli Badenhorst, project manager at Distinctive Granite and Marble’s new Beaufort showroom on Burton Hill Road.

Distinctive is the lowcountry’s exclusive distributor of PolarStone and has seen it explode in popularity since introduced last year.

PolarStone has established itself as a revolutionary new product that combines the timeless beauty of marble patterns with quartz surface technology. The stone shows three-dimensional marble veins that change in shape, color and size throughout each slab, while achieving the identical natural translucency of marble.  The enduring spirit and beauty of white Italian marble, like Carrara and Calacatta, is flawlessly captured in PolarStone.

With an option that offers easy maintenance, white stone surfaces are increasingly popular, used to create modern, clean, open spaces that reflect natural light and provide a subtle background for art and furnishings.  White can be used to create kitchens that are modern, traditional, transitional or sophisticated. White kitchens are classic, they defy trends, and they are the perfect backdrop for punches of color or a mixture of styles.

Today, the desire for the elegance of classic white marble, once avoided in many applications, can now be satisfied without reservation.  PolarStone marries the aesthetics of marble to the surface performance of quartz.  It is resilient against scratches, stains, chips and heat, and requires very little maintenance. Traditional marble colors beyond white are also offered.

In their quest to use extend creativity in white kitchens, local designers are often opting to use white-on-white, mixing tones, textures and finishes of multiple white products within the same space.  A stone can be finished in two to three different ways to create sophisticated and subtle differences that make a big statement about attention-to-detail and individual creativity.  White bath countertops can coordinate with white tiled floors, stone shower walls and borders in a sophisticated neutral palette that encompasses tones, textures and varieties of white products.

Beyond white, for the slightly more adventurous, charcoal greys, neutral pastels and tinted whites are attractive alternatives.  In fact, grey and silver-grey granite are now considered neutral since they pair easily with white and accent colors.  Grey can be “cool” or “warm” depending on its tone.  Grey is now a timeless kitchen and bath choice that is never outdated.

The big story here:  the options for stone use have never been more exciting or unlimited for renovations and new construction.  Even a small budget can allow new countertops or accent stone that can make substantial visual impact and provide practical upgrades.  A visit to Distinctive Granite and Marble will open your eyes to the world of possibilities available within every budget.

     *** Andrea Antunes McGilton is sales manager at Distinctive Granite and Marble, the company founded by her father, John Antunes, over 30 years ago.  Distinctive has showrooms in Hilton Head Island, Riverwalk, Beaufort and Pooler (Savannah).