Wick Scurry has had a busy year. Thus far he has opened a second outside bar at the Old Daufuskie Crab Company, added 600 feet of dock space; planted small plots of indigo and sea island cotton; added a full package liquor store; purchased the Delta Lady, an historic reproduction river boat and most recently closed on the purchase of the Bloody Point Lighthouse and Silver Dew Winery.
His next step at Freeport will be to move the two existing pink and green cabins to another location on the property and replace them with an “assembly hall” that will have 1800 square feet of interior space. Skirted by lattice work, the structure will be slightly elevated with high ceilings, feature heart pine floors, a large front porch, and floor to ceiling windows for water views. According to Scurry “We would like it to be a space for our patrons to mingle and eat that is fully heated, air-conditioned and bug free.” Contingent on Beaufort County permitting, he hopes to have the building ready next Spring.
The purchase of the Delta Lady was necessary when repairs to the Calibogue proved to be cost prohibitive. “I thought if I had to spend money to buy another boat, why not buy one with more versatility for year round use.” says Scurry. The Delta Lady is 80 feet long and can hold up to 146 people. Purchased from Gillian Ship Builders in North Carolina, it was built from the hull design of an 1850’s river boat. Licensed to serve beer and wine, it is available for charter. In addition to ferrying people to Daufuskie, Scurry would like to use it for private parties and catered events.
“Scurry is also working to add a diesel fuel pump at the end of his floating dock. “It doesn’t sound like much, but it is a major undertaking,” he says. While he has seen a tremendous increase in business, he says “The number of people who get on our boats to come here is flat.” He states that this increase in business is due to increased dock space he has built. “Whereas years ago 60% of our business came from tourists using our boats, that number is now only about 20%. The majority of people that come over to tour the island dock their own boats free of charge.”
Addressing recent speculation that he is looking to bring a car ferry to Daufuskie Scurry states, “That is correct, but I am not doing it so tourists can drive around in cars. After all, I am in the cart rental business. I would like to do it so workers, residents and service vehicles can be ferried everyday and cut the cost of doing business on Daufuskie. And why not have the family come out to Daufuskie for their vacation with their SUV and all their luggage? It can be parked on Daufuskie where we have plenty of parking and they can get their golf cart.”
Scurry’s largest purchase this year occurred in August when he bought the Bloody Point Lighthouse and Silver Dew Winery. He believes these are arguably the most historic structures on the island. “There are of course, the tabby ruins in Haig Point and the lighthouse there, but those are not available to the general public.”
His decision to acquire the Bloody Point Lighthouse was driven in part by a problem he has encountered with his tours. He says the area on Beach Road, bordering Bloody Point is a favorite among his patrons. “Although this is an historic island, often sites of interest have limited or irregular hours or are not open for viewing at all. People want to be able to see what we are referring to when we talk about the history of the island. That is the reason we planted indigo and sea island cotton. They often wished to see more of the winery but it was frequently closed. The lighthouse could only be viewed from a distance and was not open to the public when it was a private residence.” he explained. Originally used as a wick house to store lamps, wicks and oil for the lighthouse, in 1926 the small building now called the Silver Dew was purchased by Papy Burn who used it for wine making. Scurry plans for one of the two small winery buildings to be a wine shop while the other will be used to sell nautical items. The lighthouse itself will be a restaurant/bar that is fully open to the public. “Now people will be able to have a look around inside and enjoy a glass of wine. It will also be a great place for our tour guides to tell the story of the Bloody Point massacre.”
He plans to establish a grape arbor on 4 acres of the property, eventually producing, bottling and selling wine made from grapes grown on Daufuskie. To that end he is currently running ads in a Napa Valley publication to find an arborist to help with the endeavor.
In addition to the three existing buildings, Scurry hopes at some point to rebuild an observation tower that once stood on the property and would allow visitors to view not only Daufuskie but Tybee and Hilton Head Islands. He explains, “The tower was 100 meters tall. The pad it was on is still there. I now have the original drawings but have no earthly idea what it would cost to build yet. I want the property to be and look as it did 130 years ago. I had the archeological department of USC out three days ago and they were excited and pledged their help.
Despite all of the plans he is currently working on, Scurry does not believe the unique character of the island will be affected. When asked where he sees Daufuskie in ten years, Scurry answers “Daufuskie Island works in its own way. People who try to change it can’t. It has its own personality.”