Today’s Lesson: Crabbing!

Give a kid a crab and he or she will eat for a day. Teach a kid to crab and they will have fun for a lifetime! Natalie Johns and Denise Dominguez, from Owner Services, and Brays’ naturalist, Bruce Lampright, hosted a Kids Camp here at Brays Island Plantation on Thursday and Friday. The kids enjoyed activities ranging from putt putt golf to painting bird houses. And of course, they got to catch and eat crabs!

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Wildflower Meadows

Brays Island Plantation is awash in color as the spring wildflowers don their finest. The open fields are particularly beautiful right now as numerous tiny wildflowers join forces to become stunning blocks of blues, whites and yellows. Our naturalist Bruce Lampright has been kind enough to identify some of the most prolific wildflowers currently in bloom.
  1. Toad Flax
  2. False Dandelion
  3. White Clover
  4. Yellow Wood Sorrel
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Beaufort Ranked #7

Smithsonian Magazine recently released their “20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2014″ list. The list was compiled with the help of Esri, a geographical informational systems company who helped rank towns based on their strengths in categories such as history, science, visual arts, music and education. Here is what they had to say about Beaufort…

“To describe…the low country of South Carolina, I would have to take you to the marsh on a spring day, flush the great blue heron from its silent occupation, scatter marsh hens as we sink our knees in mud, open you an oyster with a pocketknife and feed it to you from the shell.”

Or you could visit Beaufort, home to the fellow who wrote those lines, Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides. Between Savannah and Charleston, Beaufort is not quite on terra firma, secreted as it is along one of the ocean channels that form the Sea Islands, among them Fripp, Hunting, Parris and Port Royal, where Beaufort was founded in 1711.

It’s pronounced “BYOO-furt,” and the place is about as Southern as it gets; the state was not only the first to leave the Union, but the first meeting to draft the Ordinance of Secession, which made the state’s resistance official, took place in Beaufort at the Milton Maxey House, a white edifice with two levels of front porches and columns. Like many local 19th-century planters’ mansions, Milton Maxey still stands partly because the American historic preservation movement gained steam a century ago in South Carolina. Today the landmarks make up a National Historic Landmark District, shaded by oaks and glossy magnolias: a 1798 arsenal; the First African Baptist Church, in continuous use since the 1860s; the Federal-style Verdier House. The Center for the Arts at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, brings plays, concerts, art exhibits and independent films.

Waterfront Park, with its Southern belle swings and flower beds, makes a handsome fringe. The greensward looks south across the wide, marshy Beaufort River, with views toward the Wood Memorial Bridge, taking vehicles from Port Royal to Lady’s Island and swinging open once an hour to accommodate Intracoastal Waterway boat traffic.

Port Royal, south of town, arguably even more historic than Beaufort, is the site of Spanish and French forts that ultimately fell to the English, and home port of the trawlers that provision area shrimp shacks. Beyond, another bridge crosses to Parris Island and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, where the Parris Island Museum is open to visitors, as are stirring graduation ceremonies at Peatross Parade Deck, with Marines in dress blue and flags waving.

There are plantations nearby (including the only plantation house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright outside the hamlet of Yemassee). But the Beaufort region speaks even more profoundly about the black experience in America as a center for the Gullah people.

Brought to Savannah and Charleston slave markets from West Africa, they have preserved their culture, history and singular language, an African word-laced English Creole. The Penn Center on St. Helena Island east of Beaufort, established in 1862 to educate freed blacks, preserves Gullah folkways and tells the story of the Port Royal Experiment, a federal program that enabled former slaves to work toward purchasing land abandoned by white planters.

Carry on from there to Hunting Island State Park, with its beaches, 1859 lighthouse, sea oats, salt marshes and tidal creeks. Bring a pocketknife in case you spot an oyster.”

Click here for the entire list.

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Brays Owners Visit Los Chanares

Los Chanares March 8 – 2014 from FlyWays Argentina on Vimeo.

Brays owners, John Breedlove and Mike and Jennifer Smith, join Guy and Stacy Davies from Holland & Holland at Los Chanares in Argentina. Living, playing and traveling with “birds of a feather” is one of the benefits of living at a place like Brays. Looks like you guys and ladies had a great time!

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Flushing Trial

Brays Island Plantation hosts an annual flushing trial for owners and their dogs. The event featured some great dog work this year, but after the smoke cleared, Margie Fischer and her lab, Jessie, took the top honors. Rounding out the top three were Bob Ariail in second and Dick Hollington in third. Go girls!

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Gun Club’s 2nd Annual Club Championship

Wednesday February 5th marked the Gun Club’s 2nd Annual Club Championship shoot. Twenty nine shooters competed in an all day event that included a unique round of 100 Sporting Clays, a round of 25 Skeet targets, and a round of 25 Trap targets. The weather was a challenge in the morning but the sun came out and made for a beautiful afternoon and evening at the Gun Club. The Ladies shot the Sporting Clays course in the morning while the Men battled it out on the Skeet and Trap Field. Once the rain disappeared the Men took to the clays course in the afternoon while the Ladies took their turn on Skeet and Trap. John Hickey bested the field and took the honor of High Over All Champion. Tracy Wilkins finished a close second and last year’s champ Bill Coleman rounded out the top 3. In the Ladies’ Division, Bev Connell took 1st place for the second year in a row, followed by Donna Ducci and Annette Mueller. The day concluded with an awards ceremony and a wonderful dinner prepared by our Food & Beverage Department at the Gun Club. Thank you to all participants for making this another successful Gun Club event and we look forward to seeing everyone again next year.

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Final Beach Ride of the Season

Tomorrow’s ride down the beaches of Hunting Island State Park will be the last of the season. Anyone interested who has yet to participate in this event should be sure to keep it in mind for next year. Here is a short video of a beach ride from earlier this winter. Hope you enjoy!

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Meet Brays’ Resident Dog Trainer

Watch as Brays’ new resident dog trainer does his thing! Brent Murphy joined the Brays Island staff as head dog trainer October 28 and is excited to be working with the dogs on the plantation. Although his specialty is steadying dogs to wing and shot, Murphy said no job is too big or too small.

“Here at Brays Island Plantation, we offer everything a dog can need,” says Brent. “We offer boarding, training, development, puppy skills. Pretty much anything that you can ask for, we offer. Any breed is welcome. If there is something I don’t know, I’ll make it my priority to find out everything I can about the dog and what I can do to fit the owner’s needs.”

Murphy offers a wide array of training including steady to wing and shot, flushing, retrieving and basic obedience. Owners can schedule a session for their dog by contacting Brent at

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Honey Smoked Shrimp, Sweet Corn Johnny Cakes and Jalapeno Apple Butter

Twice a month, Chef Ron Andrews hosts a four-course meal combined with a cooking demonstration. Featured below is a recipe for the first course from a recent Chef Demo. Bon appetite!

Honey Smoked Shrimp
2 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1½ C Water
1½ t Salt
1T Brown Sugar
1T Honey
Zest from 1 Lemon
1 oz Sweet Tea Vodka

Mix water with salt, sugar, honey, zest and vodka. Stir until dissolved. Add shrimp and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. Smoke at 300 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until shrimp are fully cooked.

Hoe Cakes
2 C Cornmeal
2 t Baking Powder
1 t Salt
½ C Flour
2 ea Eggs
2 C Buttermilk
2 T Vegetable Oil

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Incorporate egg, oil and buttermilk.

Jalapeno Apple Butter
1 C Apples, peeled and diced
1 T Minced Jalapeno
1 T Minced Shallots
1 C White Wine
1 C Heavy Cream
2-4 oz Whole Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook apples, jalapenos and shallots in wine until tender and wine is reduced by half. Add cream and reduce by half again. Add butter and stir until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

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Fieldsports Magazine Visits Brays

Thanks to Jan and Nina Roosenburg for hosting Mike Barnes, founder and editor of Fieldsports magazine. While here, Mike was able to spend some quality time in the field. For those of you who may not be familiar with Fieldsports, it is a country and lifestyle magazine based in the UK. It was a pleasure having you down Mike!

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