Sunday, July 26, 2009

Marshside Mama's: Slipping Away to the Real World

Marshside Mama's is calling to us.
After three days at the Daufuskie Island Resort, we’re getting a little restless. It’s a fantastic resort – great food, cool sports bar, tennis and golf and biking and water sports – everything a civilized tourist enjoys. But the 5,000-acre island is only accessible by ferry, and after touring the Gullah cultural sites and the school where Pat Conroy taught, we’ve developed a hankering for a different taste of South Carolina culture. So we hijack some golf carts and slip away from the resort for an unauthorized field trip.
So we make our way to Marshside Mama’s (no Web site: 843-785-4755), the only place open after dark. It’s part café, part general store, part bar and all honky tonk. There are some typical redneck décor touches – Christmas lights around the room, bras stapled over the bar -- plus cold drafts, a wooden dance floor, live music and tasty Southern food (not cuisine – home cookin’).
But there are also some unusual touches -- like several families with small children enjoying dinner a few paces from the barflies and the band. The crowd includes blue collar locals, fisherman, and a good number of people like us, who’ve slipped away from the upscale resort to check out how the seamy side of island life. Out back, fires burn in sand pits close to the beach. The restrooms are in a separate old concrete building; the folks in my group put off a visit as long as they can, and they scurry back as quickly as they finish their business.
The band is one of the regulars: Southern Breeze, mixing country, blues and rock. They came over from the mainland, but they wrap up their show at 10:00 so they can catch the last ferry home. We decide to head out soon after the band does, but it’s obvious that the regulars will keep drinking and dancing to the recorded music for hours to come.
After all, what else is there to do on Daufuskie?

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