Greetings from McClellanville, South Carolina and the Leland Oil Company
Hello Ordinary readers and writers. Have you been staying warm? Mon Tiki and I have spent the last two nights waiting out this cold snap at Leland Oil Marina on Jeremy Creek in McClellanville, South Carolina.
McClellanville is a fishing town just off the Intracoastal Waterway, but not really near anything else, and it’s seen it’s shrimping fleet decline by about half in the last decade. But a la James Fallows’ American Futures series, there is an interesting story of rebirth and reinvention here in McClellanville.
McClellanville sits equidistant from Georgetown SC (about 30 miles to the north) and Charleston (about 30 miles to the south), making it an ideal stop over for cruisers traveling the IWC. The town’s sleepy sense of place is protected on the water side by the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and the Santee Coast Reserve, and the dirt side by the Francis Marion National Forest. No threat of being subsumed by suburban sprawl here.
The local private elementary school has recently been reborn as a public charter school, attracting one of the Leland family’s wayward sons back to his hometown, along with his wife (teaching forth grade at the charter school), and their 8 year old daughter. The school features place-based eduction, drawing from the cultural and commercial history of the town and the natural environment in which McClellanville sits. The community maintains a small, but well kept museum with artifacts going back to pre-columbian time.
Leland Oil, a commercial fuel dock where I’ve been staying for the last few cold nights has also be remade as Leland Marina. It still provides fuel to the fishing boats, and even as a few tied to the dock. But in 2012 the family made substantial investment in new pilings, a floating dock, and many of the other fittings that attract transient yachtsmen. And yes, that same returned son (who is also a professional musician) is involved with the daily running of the marina, with visions of oyster roast fueled music festivals. The 300 year-old, spanish moss draped oaks are already here and oysters in abundance, along with a thriving local arts council, it’s not hard to imagine the rest.
And the word is spreading about the marina as a comfortable and safe stopping place. At a time of year when the dock should be empty, there are three high-end motor-cruises tied and hooked into the 50 amp electrical service. I won’t be surprised if by the time I’m headed north if the musicians and audience are here too!
After I hit POST Mon Tiki I are headed towards Charleston SC. We will probably be there a few days. If you’re in the area, we’d love to meet you!
Above: the remainder of McClellanville’s shrimping fleet and the fish-packing house. Below: One motor yacht passing Mon Tiki as she leaves Leland Marina; another even bigger, newer cruiser on Mon Tiki’s stern.