Boneyard Beach, the Martello tower and the wildlife of Bull’s Island.
These attractions and more are why the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is allowing the public to spend a weekend in the Dominick House at the center of Bull’s Island, an opportunity that hasn’t been allowed since 1969.
“It’s just an amazing, unprecedented opportunity to go out to Bull’s Island and stay the night,’ said Chris Crolley, owner and operations manager of Coastal Expeditions.
This reopening will mark 43 years since the house has been open for overnight guests.
The Cape Romain refuge recently allowed this overnight stay to give people the chance to learn more about the island.
“Years ago, people came from all over the world, not just from across the United States,” said Tricia Lynch, visitor service manager of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
“Researchers would come down to study the island. For us to be able to open the Dominick House again, it’s a great thing.”
The house consists of a large dining room, a large living area, four bathrooms, a conference room and five bedrooms.
Some of the bedrooms contain double beds, while others have bunk beds.
In 2004, the house went through interior and exterior renovations, according to Sara Dawsey, refuge manager of Cape Romain NWR.
“It is such a beautiful house,” Lynch said. “To go out on the island and to truly experience it is wonderful, whether it’s in the late evening, early morning or the middle of the day.”
Dominick House was built in 1925 by New York Sen. Gayer Dominick as a vacation home after purchasing Bull’s Island.
He also chose Bull’s Island for its hunting ground, as he was an avid outdoorsman and loved to hunt, Lynch said.
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website, the house was conveyed to the U.S. government in 1936 and served as a bed-and-breakfast for fishermen, birders and naturalists until the 1960s.
While the history of the house dates back to the 1920s, the history of Bull’s Island extends further back to the 1600s,
“The history behind Dominick House is part of the story, but it is by far not the whole story,” Crolley said.
Bull’s Island was where the original settlers who came to Charles Towne landed, according to Molly French at the Charleston County Library.
Back then, the island itself was originally called Onesicau by the people who lived there.
“The settlers were led by a group of Native Americans to what’s now Charleston Harbor and settled on the west bank of Ashley River for 10 years,” Crolley said. “So it all started on Bull’s Island.”
The overnight stays will begin in October and run through May.
Each stay will be limited to 12 people every third weekend of the month.
The stay will include meals, transportation and guided tours of Bull’s Island, allowing attendees to absorb its history.
“The interaction between the visitors and people within Cape Romain is the next manifestation of that history” Crolley said.
For more details, call 881-4582.