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Weddings

Goat Island Gatherings
 Weddings are a special occasion on Goat Island. 
Surrounded by water and a canopy of palmetto and oak trees there’s not much need for many extras. You and your guests will take pleasure in what nature has to offer on this small piece of paradise. 

Barrier Island Eco Tours provides boat shuttles for your guests.  
Traditional southern cuisine offerings include but are not limited to freshly roasted local oysters, barbecue, grilled steak and chicken, Frogmore Stew, fish stew, blue crabs and stone crabs. 

All of these delicious foods associated with the coastal region and old fashioned southern hospitality, are presented in antique wooden bowls and served with the sides of your choice. 
Our on-staff wedding coordinator is also happy to assist you with rentals, decor, budget, vendors, catering and anything else you may need to make your vision a reality.

 Please visit our package page for more options.

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Wade Spees // The Post and Courier

“My granddaughter made that — she just loves this place,” said 88-year-old Ethel Nepveux, indicating a “Welcome” sign. Nepveux, first started coming to Goat Island with her husband in the early 1960s. They built this cottage to replace the one destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

GOAT ISLAND -- The skinny strip of sand bluff is a place of tides, and the people who live here instinctively are in tune with the water's ebbs and flows.

They have to be, because boats are the only way on or off.

Ethel Nepveux and her husband Felix first stepped foot on Goat Island in 1960, lured by an ad selling affordable waterfront lots. Two things happened -- they found a lot where the front porch view would be the sandy beach and waterway across to Isle of Palms, and the back porch view would be live oaks, palmettos and the beach out to Gray Bay.

The other thing that happened was people they had never met walked on down and invited them over.

"The people," Nepveux says a half-century later sitting on that front porch, "make Goat Island."

Goat Island is the quirky enclave motorists see to the north as they climb the Isle of Palms Connector bridge over today's Intracoastal Waterway. It's only two and a half miles long. In places, it's barely wide enough to support little more than a home, well and septic tank. You barely see the homes, tucked away in the trees. You see the docks.

The island is legend. Its early 20th century settlers were goats moved off Isle of Palms, and then a man and his wife who simply squatted amid the feral herd and lived much of their life au naturale -- the "goat people" who would scream at intruders.

The island remains a throwback to a time when life on a coast was a rustic retreat, hammocks were the furniture of choice and kids fussed over who got to sleep on the bed on the screened porch. Isle of Palms is a collection of trim lawns and upscale beach tourist rentals. Goat Island is the maritime woods. There is electricity but no paved road.

A lot of the houses are snug little beach cabins, weekend and summer places for people who live somewhere else. A handful of people are "full-timers," living there year-round. Like the island itself, they are unique -- painters, musicians, skilled carpenters and crafts people who make things like flying staircases.

It says a lot of what you need to know about Goat Island that the father of third-generation islander Laura Watkins, a painter, used to joke that he never had to change her diaper as an infant; he just took her down to the water and dipped.

It says the rest of what you need to know that the view from Nepveux's porch now includes resort golf course holes and the distant roofs of fancy Isle of Palms waterfront manors.

An adventure

The island is a place where you do for yourself, so doing for others comes naturally. A neighbor working with a handsaw will stop, come across the yard and caution a visitor walking down the rickety dock next door that he should stay atop the joists.

"You go to Goat Island, you have to bring it with you," says Lane Mack, a friend of "Miss Ethel."

The year after the Nepveuxs arrived, neighbors brought the Goat Man and his wife a small hut, because they were getting too old to live in their driftwood and palm frond lean-to. After Hurricane Hugo tore apart the place in 1989, neighbors fetched their own and each others' belongings from their yards and rebuilt, sometimes using pieces of the wreckage of each others' homes.

People value their privacy and their community. For Christmas 1990, the island held its inaugural Tour of Homes, a take-off on tony Charleston Historic District tours. Party-goers went house to house to admire the hurricane renovations and feast. The tour is still held.

It's as primitive a residential island as there is left around Charleston. The goats are gone, but deer still leave hoof marks down "The Leisure Trail," the lone dirt track running along the length. Raccoons and smaller critters scavenge with enough impunity that island residents keep dogs and cats as deterrents.

It is a place where dogs run free, and not just dogs. Watkins checked on the barking one time to find rare red wolves in her yard, temporarily absconded from their former breeding grounds in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge to the north. Red drum tail in the reedy shallows. Dolphins and pelicans cruise past.

Miss Ethel's dog, Coby, once came across a badly injured red-tailed hawk, which was rehabilitated at the former Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, returned to the island and released, in the middle of a release party, of course.

Watkins keeps an eye on 3-year-old Wahoo, her son. As a kid's life goes, the island is an adventure. Watkins grew up hunting fossils and Indian pottery in the salt marsh. Wahoo doesn't go anywhere without a pair of binoculars. Her children have found a pygmy rattler on the porch and she had to pick up a daughter in diapers when she spotted an alligator sunning in the yard.

"Not all kids have to get up in the morning and put on a life preserver," she says.
Goat Island idyll: Rustic life draws hardy few to call community home
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