Tag Archives: Hunting Island

Our own private paradise

I do realize that plenty of people would think this is hell rather than paradise, but each time I get to go to Hunting Island I feel so grateful for the privilege of being there.

septic coffin

I can’t describe to you, really, how amazing it is. But I can tell you that the house we stay at now (since the other one  washed away) is not a secret and has open dates to rent. As long as you’re willing to haul sheets and towels and food and toilet paper and pillows and blankets and Scrabble and every other thing you might possibly need,  load it into a mildewed old golf cart, and bounce 15 minutes through the woods to what is increasingly an indoor camping facility. Phone’s been gone, there’s no gas now, and when the electricity goes off — which it does do — you’re pretty much end of the line since you’re one of about four houses affected. I swear I’ve seen a big orange extension cord running about a mile down the island that I suspect is connecting us. Now the county’s after the owner because the water is approaching the septic tank, but this is outrageous. First of all, the water’s nowhere near it, and second … the beach is littered with concrete septic coffins.

I can tell you that as long as there’s plumbing, I’m there.

I can tell you that there’s no goofy golf or gocarts. In fact, there’s not a commercial establishment on the island. No restaurant, no store, no souvenir shop. Actually, there is a little state park store down at the public campground that sells staples and trinkets. From the house, it would take us an hour to walk there or about 30 minutes to get there by golf cart then car. We might as well drive to the Publix in Beaufort.

For cooking, Lyta’s Easy-Bake Oven is no longer functional (gas), but you have a hot plate and a microwave. (The toaster oven doesn’t seem to work anymore.) This year, the fuses kept blowing, and the kitchen sink wouldn’t drain, which was pretty nasty. But at least there are only spiders, and not Palmetto bugs, in this cottage.

They moved this house off its posts a few years back. Guess they didn't need that septic tank, though.

Who cares? My kids have witnessed a barrier island completely transformed in the span of about 10 years. That’s geological comprehension that I didn’t get until I was about 35. By the time they see the Grand Canyon, it may just be a big yawn after watching the Atlantic lap up an entire island during the course of their childhood. It has to be pretty obvious to them, after watching palmettos fall and seeing the ocean take away houses they’ve live in, that nature is much bigger than tiny ol’ mankind.

Who cares? My dog gets to run as fast and as far as she can, chasing flocks of hundreds of birds. I’ve gotten to watch the pelican population grow from a handful to a squadron of about 40. We’ve seen the sea turtle nests build from a rare few to scores of roped-off mounds every summer. We’ve rescued stupid ol’ starfish and prehistoric horseshoe crabs, cut up hammerhead sharks, and fed mentally deranged deer. And my kids get to wrestle and roam and catch crabs in the mud and throw sand at each other all day long with no one complaining. Because there’s no one else there.

On a crowded weekend day, you might see 10 other people. Used to be these were rednecks (not that there’s anything wrong with that) who hauled their stuff from the public beach or one of the rental houses across the street. (Last year, those houses were beach front. Now they’re pretty much gone.) All of a sudden, though, since the road washed away, it’s athletic nature types who must be staying elsewhere and daytripping by car/bike/hiking boot to see some wildlife. The trail puts them out right by our house, since it’s the only dry place on the island at high tide now.

E, Cubbie, Fripp. Fripp is the only thing that mars the view. We just look the other way and are glad we're not over there.

In fact, I tend to get really incensed if other people pollute my view at all. In recent years, we’ve taken to sending the kids out to be as obnoxious as they can if anyone is dumb enough to stop for a few minutes within eyeshot of our front windows. I can tell you that this is a role at which teen and preteen boys truly excel.

I can tell you that I’ve learned more about trees here than just about anywhere else.  There are three basic and very different types: palmetto, live oak and pine. The palmettos are fragile … the fall when the sea reaches them and wash up as logs to protect what is left of the beach. The live oaks go down hard because their wide root system doesn’t support them in the sand. But their hardwood skeletons live forever in the salt and surf and are more beautiful than I can describe. The pines (I don’t know what kind they are, but they’re big) have an entirely different root system. Their tap root holds them upright longer. It’s really a group of roots that have grown together to support what’s above. When they are overtaken by the sea, their tops disintegrate quickly, but their roots hold fast. Even if they fall, the roots stay pliable and seem to take much longer to rot than what was previously above ground.

palmetto, oak, pine. These have been down for a few years now.


Lots and lots more pics (Photobucket) >




Filed under out of the bubble

Inside paradise

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And ‘specially for Davey Doke…

Leave a comment

Filed under Food, out of the bubble

Baby Cubbie goes to the beach

It’s official. I have transferred my motherly tendencies to the dog. No toddlers to make me giggle? Just treat Cubbie like a child. Downside is that she became a needy mama’s girl while we were there. It was almost as bad as having a little kid with us.

Here, Cubbie gets babytalked by 3 people named Elizabeth.



Filed under Cubbie the wonder dog, out of the bubble

Cubbie, running

that pause mid-gallop is for a big beach pee

(she’s out there — keep watching)

1 Comment

Filed under Cubbie the wonder dog, out of the bubble

Leaving the Bubble soon

Very excited to be leaving for the beach Sunday. Making piles already.


Filed under out of the bubble

Top Chef, Hunting Island

DSCN2446September 11, 2009 … I-16… Dudley, Georgia

(Lyta Norman – guest blogger and food nazi.)

We’d like to issue a formal challenge to the judges of Top Chef (yes this means YOU, Tom Colicchio and Anthony Bourdain) to bring your next contestants to Hunting Island, South Carolina.  Say goodbye to the swanky digs of New York, Miami, and Chicago – say hello to Cabin 88 “Curry Cottage.”  Watch your chefs thrill at hauling their luggage and equipment across the island since the main road has washed completely away.  Marvel at their delight in figuring out sleeping arrangements for 10 in a two-bedroom cabin.  Rattle their composure with an elimination challenge requiring them to prepare a sublime four-course meal on 14-inch-wide gas stove sporting an oven with the temperature markings missing from the dial, a.k.a. the “Easy Bake Oven.”

Quickfire challenge for chefs:  Catch your own seafood and cook it on the beach at high tide (sans insect repellent).  And pray that Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell, III drift by in their yacht and toss you a gourmet ingredient or two and a mosquito net.

Note to Bourdain:  We know you’re a badass and can handle it – but Padma, Colicchio, and the chefs?  Let’s just say the oven mitt…er… gauntlet… has been thrown.



Top this, Top Chefs!

Top this, Top Chefs!


Filed under out of the bubble

Cubbie, unleashed

DSCF7352Cubbie don’t need no stinkin’ leash! She runs like a greyhound — except with this long tongue hanging out and a big smile and her ears blowing back like the Flying Nun.

She isn’t much for the water, though. Wasn’t scared of it until she ran headlong into a few tidal pools over her head. Apparently, she has no depth perception where water is involved: the slightest wet spot is as deep as the deepest stump hole. So she stops at nothing and runs straight into deep water.

After one day, she was chasing birds like she thinks she might catch one. And she knows she’s going to catch one of those butterflies.

Beach 9-09 008CLBeach 9-09 009CL


More, and better, pics and videos as the week goes on.


Filed under Cubbie the wonder dog, out of the bubble