Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

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It’s a Day for Gullah Grub

Wednesday November 20, 2013
Hunting Island State Park and Frogmore South Carolina


Today continues the cold spell.


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It’s not  the temperature alone but the  wind is between 20 and 30 mph all  day.  So it is chilling  outside.  No sun at sunrise or all  day.  Thick clouds, rough water, big waves.
I am able to catch this little bit of color before the clouds all merge together and it is gray, gray, gray.   STILL a gray day at the beach is better than a gray day anywhere else.

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Is this another sequester victim?

After walking on the beach, having some breakfast and just piddling around watching the waves we decide it seems like a good day to run some errands given the wind.  We try to stop by the post office to get some stamps but we get there at about 2:05 and they close on Wednesday at noon.  Guess  this is also part of the sequester.  Wonder if they will extend it or cancel it.

On a cold day, we need some warm grub.

Time for lunch and we want to try some Gullah cuisine so we stop at Gullah Grub.  Apparently the owner/chef Bill Green is famous in these parts for his secret marinades and sauces he uses in his chicken and ribs.  He also gets high marks for his Crab Chowder.  While  we are there he is in and  out of the kitchen so I am not able to get a picture of him myself.  This one  is off of the web.  
We sit at a table near the back where there is an ongoing loop of Bill’s cooking demonstrations being played on the TV.  Bill shows you how  to fix his macaroni and cheese and his baked ribs and chicken which he swears you won’t know from fried.  The secret is Bill’s Rub and Sauce which he will of course sell to you for your own use. 



Gulla Grub restaurant
Gullah Grub opens at noon on Wednesdays and there are only two other people inside when we come  in.  Two more follow us in. 
The friendly young waitress brings us fabulous cornbread while we look at the menu. I already knew what I wanted when I walked in. 




There’s no more crab – sniff….sniff!


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But when I order the Crab Chowder which is THE  thing I want, I’m told they are out of it?  In two hours?   Since they are open from noon until five, I’m thinking Bill doesn’t make it every day after “the season”.  DARN!   If you want to be sure you get some, my advice is to call  ahead and make sure it will be there.
I try the Shrimp Gumbo and as gumbos go, it is good but I’m not really a gumbo fan.   I’m a crab fan.  David has the fish chowder with red rice and fresh green salad.   All  of his food is excellent.   I should  have ordered Bill’s BBQ ribs or chicken.




Since there are so few people  in the restaurant, I don’t feel comfortable taking many inside pictures or using the flash to correct the  difficult lighting but I do want to remember the lovely front windows and the walls lined with  information and paintings for sale.

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The Gullah people have a long proud heritage.

In previous trips to this area, I learned that the Gullah are the descendents of the enslaved  African people of the low country in South Carolina and Georgia, primarily of the 79 Sea Islands.  Their language is called Geechee and they are often referred as the Gullah-Geechee people.   They have preserved much of their African linguistic and cultural heritage.  They speak an English based Creole language containing many African words and sentence structures known as Sea Island Creole.  Gullah cuisine, music, folk traditions and beliefs, crafts, farming, fishing and story telling traditions exhibit strong influences from West and Central African areas such as Angola, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.


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When the Civil War began with Fort Sumter in nearby Charleston harbor, the union rushed to blockade confederate shipping.  White planters on the sea islands fled and when union forces arrived in 1861, the Gullah people of the Sea Islands were the first to be freed.  Many served with distinction in the Union Army’s First South Carolina Volunteers.  Long before the Civil War ended union missionaries came from Pennsylvania to start schools for the newly freed slaves.  The Penn Center, now a Gullah community organization, was the first school.

After the civil war, the sea islands fell out of favor as a hot mosquito infested hostile environment and the Gullah were able to continue their traditional life style with little outside influence until the later 20th century.  Since the 1960’s resort development of the Sea Islands has threatened to push the Gullah people off lands they have owned since emancipation.   You know how it goes, get a toe hold, develop, raise property values, raise taxes, force the poor people off their land so you can buy it and continue the cycle.  In recent years the Penn Center and other community groups have led the struggle to keep control of their traditional lands. 



 One of these years, I’m going to remember to plan so I can attend in spite of crowds I know  will be there.



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There is a Gullah Heritage Festival each year in early November to honor their culture and traditions.  It is sponsored by the Penn Center on St. Helena’s Island near Beaufort.   Other cultural festivals are held each year up and down the Low Country.  Hilton Head Island, SC hosts “A Gullah Celebration” in February,  Beaufort hosts “The Original Gullah Festival” in May.  Others are celebrated on James Island SC and Sapelo Island Georgia.

The Gullah are well known for their grass baskets as well as their cooking.  There are a group of beautiful baskets for sale on the front porch and when we first arrive a woman  is sitting in  one of the rockers weaving.  These are works of art and as such the prices reflect it.  They really are stunning.


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This year I discover something I didn’t know.  Gullah groups have made three “homecomings” to Sierra Leone(1989 1997, 2005), the heart of the traditional  rice growing region of West Africa where many of the Gullah ancestors originated. Bunce Island, the British slave castle in Sierra Leone, sent many African captives to Charleston and Savannah slave markets during the mid- and late 18th century. These dramatic homecomings were the subject of three documentary films—Family Across the Sea (1990), The Language You Cry In (1998), and Priscilla's Homecoming (in production?).  I hope to be able to locate some of these to view.  I wonder if they show them at any of the festivals?


The name Frogmore  just makes me smile!!



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After our late lunch we head for the grocery.   On the way home I realize in going over my list that I forgot to pick up garlic.  Cardinal sin in our cooking.  Pretty much everything  has tons of garlic.  So we stop at the Low Country Store which like Bill’s Gullah Grub is located in Frogmore South Carolina.  I love the name.   Wouldn’t you love to write that as your address?  Frogmore, South Carolina.

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I think we all should – definitely – Frog More.


  1. Love gumbo! Those baskets are beautiful. No room in the motorhome! The painting reminds me of Grandma Moses' work.

  2. Frogmore! That is a riot :) I wonder where that name came from. That's too bad Bill's did not have the crab -it does seem strange that he ran out only two hours after opening and definitely makes me wonder if he had any to begin with... Anyway, what a neat history - I had no idea about the Gullah. I am glad they are still there despite the white man's greedy ways. Sounds like you found some neat things to do and learn on your windy/gray day!!

  3. I bought a Gullah cookbook when I worked at Ft. Pulaski near Savannah, and the recipe for shrimp & onions (with grits) is out of this world! The cookbook has lots of information such as how the Gullah cooks put love into what they cook. I try to remember that when I'm cooking. I love the baskets but I'd have to take out a loan to buy any!

  4. Postal Service is not affected by sequester as they, presumably, support themselves. Think I would have gone for the ribs. I love the delicious combination you put together of history and food.

  5. Found this on the web: By statute, the U.S. Post Office is an “independent establishment of the executive branch of the Government of the United States. So while the Post Office is privileged under U.S. law (it has a monopoly on the delivery of first class mail, for example), it’s not technically run by the government nor is it funded by taxpayers. In fact, the Postal Service hasn’t received federal subsidies from taxpayers for more than thirty years (with limited exceptions related to voting).

    Now I have to go look for a Gullah artist I saw on Sunday Morning several years ago. I love love love his work. Will let you know who it is and hopefully you can find some of his art around there

  6. Found him! His name is Jonathan Green. I somehow imagine that if you see any of his art you will love love love it as well.

  7. You need to try Frogmore Stew...aka Low Country Boil. I wonder if it originated in Frogmore;o)) Having lived in the outskirts of Charleston, SC we met many Gullah people. Love to hear them speak and try to figure out what they were saying. Very interesting language and very proud hard working people!!!

  8. Looks like that Lowcountry Store is one of those "if we don't have it, you don't need it" kind of stores. Hope you found your garlic! LOL! We have a Frog Level here in Tennessee. Always thought that was an interesting name for a community!

  9. Frog Less is my motto!

    We've ran across quite a few small town post offices that are closed early on Wednesdays. Sorry you didn't get the meal you wanted.

  10. Haha..wonder if there are frog legs on the menu? It is here! Have to read up on the Gullah, sounds interesting.

  11. We took a Gullah tour a few years back, really enjoyed our time there. Our post office in VT closed everyday for 1.5 hours which is when I would inevitably try to go there. Ribs would have been my first choice, garlic is a must in our household too.

  12. Bill Green of Gullah Grub restaurant makes a mean fish chowder and very fine sweet cornbread. Yum!

  13. What? No Gullah J-M-C??? Bill Green surely missed the boat on that one! ;c)

    On Marti's father's side, she has an old English ancestor pirate who's last name was Bunce, also her maiden name. I wonder if the pirate had anything to do with Bunce Island?

  14. Never heard the Gullah stories… how interesting … ! not a seafood fan nor gumbo but I would have eaten there… love that kind of place.

    Yes, I think Frogmore, South Carolina is a wonderful address… ha … what fun

  15. Great history of the area. We actually have some of those sweetwater baskets we got years ago in Charleston. We got ourselves a small one and our parents a larger one that we inherited after they died. They are really nice. Sounds like some good down home food, but I would have liked the crab chowder too!

  16. I'm not a gumbo fan either and would've preferred the crab chowder. Bummer they were out of it. (???)

    Frogmore -- what a hoot! Some of the names of the towns we come across are pretty interesting. Makes you wonder how they come up with them.

  17. Frogmore! I would definitely like that address since I am not only a dog fan but a frog fan as well. What a shame about the Gullah people slowly being forced from their land. Hey did you check out the Blue Dog Cafe??? XXXOOO

  18. Oh- is there a rule against a double post???? There is a Golden Retriever Rescue somewhere near there. Golden Retriever Rescue of the Low Country- I've looked at their website many times.


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