National Geographic : 1958 Jan
Slow Boat to Florida On Southport's waterfront we found ram bling old houses with widows' walks, like those in New England seaports. Some still bore the scars of Hurricane Hazel, and in one home we met Mrs. Jessie S. Taylor, a heroine of that big blow of 1954. Since 1900 Mrs. Taylor has been a volun teer cooperative observer for the United States Weather Bureau. She telephones weather data to Wilmington. When the first reports of Hazel reached her, she not only hoisted storm warning flags on a tower near her house but telephoned a warning to other Southport citi zens. Though there was a shelter available, she stanchly refused to evacuate her water front house. In 1955 Mrs. Taylor was summoned to Washington, D. C., by Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks and presented with a citation "for outstanding service in warning the public of the approach of Hurricane Hazel." From Southport the waterway carried us through creeks, rivers, and dredged cuts slicing between marshlands and palmetto-grown low lands. At several ocean inlets powerful cross currents swerved Tradewinds off course, de spite the helmsman's best efforts. Soon after crossing into South Carolina we fetched up at Briarcliff Yacht Basin, a tidy haven near the booming resort city of Myrtle Beach. Here we were met by our friend Fred Miles, operator of the Pine Lakes International Country Club, who treated us to a round of golf, a swim in the surf, and a tour of Brook green Gardens. Brookgreen, 10,000 acres of Carolina low country beauty, was once the home of the distinguished Allston family. From the Oaks, a neighboring plantation now part of Brook green, Aaron Burr's daughter Theodosia, bride of Governor Joseph Alston (some of the family used the single "1" spelling), set forth in 1812 for New York. Her ship never reached port. Presumably it sank in a storm, but some be lieve pirates seized it. Archer M. Huntington, who gave Virginia Riders Pause in the Avenue of Oaks, St. Simons Island, Georgia St. Simons, adjoining the more famous Sea Island, is one of the Golden Isles of Guale that edge the Georgia coast. In ante bellum days these live oaks spread moss-draped limbs across the carriage drive of Retreat Plantation, now site of the Sea Island Golf Club. Room service rides a bicycle at the Cloister, Sea Island. Waiter Benny Weems balances the tray as he pedals to the outlying hotel apartments. National Geographic Photographer J. Baylor Roberts © N.G.S . the Mariners Museum at Newport News, bought Brookgreen in 1930. He also pur chased the Oaks and two other plantations and gave the combined tract in trust for the State. The gardens contain more than 500 species of trees and plants as background for sculptures by a notable group of artists, includ ing the donor's wife Anna Hyatt Huntington. Swampy Paradise for Water Birds Between Myrtle Beach and Charleston we passed close to the many swampy islands that make up the 34,645-acre Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Thousands of egrets and ibises share the refuge with many other kinds of birds. As elsewhere along the waterway, there was almost always in view a great blue heron, the "po' joe" of the South land, patiently stalking its prey in the reeds.