Weve covered Hilton Head. Weve covered Bluffton. But if you nd yourself ghting
a case of island fever some weekend, the greater Lowcountry offers all kinds of rich,
engaging outlets, attractions and day trips that can help reveal its true character.
Heres a highly incomplete list of seven of them.
BY TIM HAGER, ROBYN PASSANTE AND JEFF VRABELPHOTOGRAPHY BY DARIA CETTI, BILL LITTELL AND THOMAS LOVE
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You have to drive to Jacksonville or Columbia for a full-on zoo experience, but for a more convenient (and less expensive!) day trip, you cant do much better than this preserve/wildlife center/maritime forest, which occupies more than 100 acres outside of downtown Savannah. Featuring self-guided tours that offer views of Lowcoun-try denizens such as alligators, deer and birds of prey as well as bison, wolves and cougars, Oatland Island has
become a favorite among both educational groups and families looking to show their kids the local wildlife. Tips: Check the website for occasional admission discounts and offers. And bring bug spray you are, after all, going for a walk in the woods.
711 Sandtown Road, Savannah912-395-1500 oatlandisland.com
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY DARIA CETTI
2monkey islandEqual parts myth, running Dr. Moreau joke and appealing mystery (albeit one you can fi gure out with Google in a few minutes), Monkey Island is a hidden sanctuary somewhere along the coast of Carolina that serves as home to a bunch of monkeys. Thousands of them. Offi cial word is that a rhesus monkey lab-breeding colony in the Caribbean was shipped to our shores in the late 1970s/early 80s, where it has remained since. Of course we are not at liberty to disclose the location, because we are not about to go messing around with a secret island full of monkeys, but, again, thats what the Internet is for. Left: Please, no pictures.
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33old sheldon church
Organized in the 1740s-50s, the Old Sheldon Church has certainly seen its share of history: It was burned during the Revolutionary War, rebuilt from its surviving walls in 1826 and burned again in January 1865 during Gen. Shermans March to the Sea. Today the structure is a striking bit of time-traveling history buried in the woods, a favorite site for weddings and a resident of the National Register of Historic Places.
Directions: The ruins are located on Sheldon Church Road between Gardens Corner and Yemassee. If youre coming from Beaufort on U.S. 21, bear left at the intersection of U.S. 17 at Gardens Corner, continue through the stop sign and go about 1/4 mile. Turn right onto Sheldon Church Road, which is directly across from Bull Point Plantation. The ruins will be on your right, about two miles ahead.
BILL LITTELL / IWL PHOTOGRAPHY
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drive-in theater is part cinema and part history mu-seum, a slice of his-tory preserved in a
celluloid time capsule, wrapped in memories and hurled at the speed of light toward an 80-foot screen.
Its rewarding because we feel were keeping a piece of Ameri-cana going, said Bonnie Barth, who owns Beauforts Highway 21
Drive-In, along with her husband, Joe. Thats the main drive for both of us.
The Barths reopened the drive-in in April 2004. But the project was a leap of faith: Neither Bonnie nor Joe had much experience in the movie business aside from Bonnies job working the conces-sion stand at the Beach Drive-In in West Palm Beach, Fla. She was 14 at the time.
As such, after buying the prop-erty, the Barths found themselves with two months to learn how to run the business. So they got to work, painting the concession stand inside and out, touching up the marquee, installing a new tile
LETS ALL GO TO THE MOVIES
Highway 21 Drive-In
BY TIM HAGER / PHOTOGRAPHY BY THOMAS LOVE
A1960S VIBE,21ST CENTURY MARKETING Find the drive-in on Twitter at twitter.com/Hwy21DriveIn
Find them on Facebook by searching Hwy. 21 Drive-In.
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Established in 1927, this massive refuge, located along U.S. 17 on the way to down-town Savannah, comprises nearly 30,000 acres of true Lowcountry goodness. Its a sprawling mix of rivers (more than 38 miles), tidal streams and creeks (more than 25 miles), mixed with swampland and countless animals. Its also a bird-watchers dream, and a frequent stopover for airborne migrators. And its dedicated to promoting education and environmental initiatives as well. (The refuge has had some drive closings and work this summer; call the visitor center for more details, if such things might throw a wrench into your visit.) Oh, and its free!
Directions: Take S.C. 170 west until it merges with S.C. 315. Continue on 315 dont turn to stay on 170 to the stop sign at U.S. 17. Turn right onto U.S. 17 and the NWR will be about 2 miles on the left.
fl oor and fi xing some speakers. They also added a playground, a new freezer, FM transmitters and a new lens for the projector. Everything else they fi gured out as they went along.
When you have to, you learn as much as you can, Joe said. Its easy if the business is doing well all the time, and you can just sit back and let it go. With this drive-in here, we really had to work at it just to pay the bills. In doing that, we learned a lot about the business, because we had to squeeze every penny out of it that we could.
Joe and Bonnie still work full-time jobs during the day and spend their nights and weekends at the drive-in. The recession actually helped their business; Joe said that 2009 was the fi rst year the theater paid its expenses. At some point, well have to see some return on the investment, so maybe we can quit working the day jobs and focus on the drive-in, Bonnie said. Thats the goal we both have.
The Barths have made a few changes to the property, including a second screen they put up in June 2006. Theyve also entered the social media age with a Twitter account and Facebook page. Theres humor in using a 21st century tweet to persuade someone to see a movie outside, 20th century-style, but the Barths are using
everything at their disposal.The movie business is an
exciting business, Joe said. You have the premieres and big movies that come out every week. Its an exciting thing to be involved with.
Still, despite being a business rooted in memories, the High-way 21 Drive-In must constantly
think about its future.We see a lot of kids that have
been coming in to the drive-in since they were in elementary and middle school, and now theyre bringing their dates, Joe said. I like the people. They appreciate the drive-in. Thats why we work so hard in keeping it going. M
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Fort Fremont is a gem for what it isnt as much as for what it is. The fort was built in 1898 on St. Helena Island to protect Port Royal Sound from the perceived threat of the Spanish fl eet during the Spanish-American War. But the war had ended by the time the fort was fi nished, and the hulking concrete structure spent the better part of the next century largely left to the elements and the imaginations of passersby.
Thats the beauty of Fort Fremont its mostly hidden from both the beach and the road, as the maritime forest has grown around, over and through it. Rumored to be a haven for rattlesnakes and a Confederate ghost, the fort was bought by Beaufort County in 2006 and is slowly being turned into a park. Thats great for accessibility, but the abandonment of the fort is what makes it so alluring. Robyn Passante
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