With the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge covering nearly a half-million acres, it can be a little intimidating knowing where to start exploring but if you truly want to experience the swamp, one of the very best ways is a guided tour out on the water with Mrs. Sheila. A Chesser descendant who has grown up with swamp water in her veins, she knows the waterways like the sun-weathered wrinkles on the back of her hands. There are women who pave new ways and there are others who preserve the past ways, Mrs. Shelia is one of the precious later who is dedicated to the preservation of Southern traditions. From baking homemade fluffy biscuits and flakey pies to low country cooking over an open fire in cast iron and grinding sugar cane into syrup, Mrs. Shelia is determined to pass on the knowledge of old ways for future generations to discover and cherish.
Presently the co-owner of the Cane Pole Cafe in the heart of downtown Folkston Georgia, a place where you can enjoy sweet and savory southern comforts. She started working as a camp chef for the May Bluff hunting club in 1991 and has been there ever since. Seven organized dog hunts each year come together for a weekend of adventure and for over 30 years you’ll find Mrs. Shelia cooking homemade southern meals 3x a day for the men and women who have traveled here from around the country. If you are looking for an adventure, look no further. Take a break from the fast-paced life in the 20th century and set aside a weekend to soak in the history of Chesser Plantation and immerse yourself in the exploration of the Okefenokee out on the water. Don’t forget to stop by the Cane Pole Cafe, you might just get to meet the Swamp Lady herself.