Culture, Waterways // 5 min Read

Set Sail with the Ladies of the Bluff: Miranda, Estelle & Grace

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Jul 8, 2022

Naming a sea vessel is an important tradition, and the boats at Palmetto Bluff are no different.

The majority of vessels are named after significant female figures: either a tribute to an important woman in the captain’s life or a historical figure—not only to pay homage, but with the idea of safety and protection. Important historical figure or personal tribute, selecting the right name must be done carefully and with thoughtful consideration.

So, when it came to naming the fleet at the Bluff, we stayed the course—looking to the Bluff’s storied past for inspiration!

Hinckley Picnic Boat, Miranda

Formerly known as Palmetto Bluff, Miranda was renamed in 2022 in honor of Miranda Rebecca Bryan Bailey (1855 – 1948), affectionately known as “MaMa,” who lived at Palmetto Bluff in the early 20th century. Her son-in-law, James Daniel Crosby, worked for the Wilson family taking care of the mansion with the help of his wife, Estelle “Shellie” Bailey Crosby. Miranda enjoyed reciting poems, riding in the family’s Ford Model T, and indulging her sweet tooth. Her numerous descendants, including a great-great-grandson who lives at Palmetto Bluff, still share treasured stories of their much-loved ancestor.

Miranda Boat

Set sail and enjoy a cruise unlike any other along the May River to the Calibogue Sound aboard our luxury Hinckley 36 Picnic Boat, Miranda. Perfect for smaller groups, Miranda is available for private charters by contacting Wilson Landing.

Fun fact: Hinckley is convinced that Palmetto Bluff was the most photographed vessel in their inventory.

Electric Boat, Estelle

Estelle is a new electric boat to our fleet and was named as a tribute to Estelle Crosby, better known as Miss Shellie. Daughter of Miranda, she and her husband, James (the superintendent for the Wilson family until his death in 1921) lived in what is now Palmetto Bluff’s Headwaters neighborhood. Together, they raised nine children, several of whom were born on the Bluff. Miss Shellie also ran the boarding house at Big House Plantation for the Coleman Williams Lumber Company. An accomplished cook, she kept her apron pockets perpetually filled with treats for local children.

Estelle Boat

Looking for a peaceful cruise of the Bluff’s waterways? Estelle, with her whisper quiet electric motor, offers guided cruises through Palmetto Bluff’s fresh inland water trails. Spot gators, turtles, and unique birds while your guide shares fun facts and stories about the Lowcountry or enjoy a Lowcountry sunset cruise before stopping by the dockside bar, Fore and Aft . Estelle can accommodate 10 passengers and is only accessible by being a part of the Boat Club.

Antique Motor Yacht, Grace (decommissioned)

While Miranda and Estelle may be the newest kids on the block Bluff, the antique motor yacht Grace is probably the most well known.

Built in 1913 (prior to World War I), Grace lived a charmed life before finding her home at the Bluff. The 60-foot motor yacht traveled with the rich and famous on the Hudson River and Long Island Sound in the 1920s—touring with a floating theater group along desolate river towns. She then went into hiding for decades before resurfacing in the 1980s in a state of homelessness, when she finally was returned to her original glory.

Grace Boat

In the early 2000s, Palmetto Bluff was busy preserving the history of the Wilson family and searching for a period piece to reflect Wilson Village. Because the boat was built in 1913—the same year the Wilson mansion was first occupied—they purchased the yacht and renamed it the M/V Grace — to honor the sister of R. T. Wilson Jr., the wealthy New Yorker who first purchased the almost 20,000 acres that he named Palmetto Bluff.

After a distinguished career dating more than a century, Grace is no longer in operation.