A roadside visit in the low country.

Rambling down the the road in the low country, on the side of the road, under the shade of an old live oak tree in Hollywood, South Carolina, you may find Tobias. Tobias is a man of many talents and a wealth of life experiences. He came of age during the ’60’s in the Boston area. Later he lived for a time in a tree house in Nova Scotia, then moved to Key West where he worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker.

roadside art

We originally stopped by to check out Tobias’ paintings and the interesting walking sticks I had heard about. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was surprised at his gift of painting.

walking sticks local sc artist

Incredible, intricate works of art.

bird paintings

This was my favorite. low country artist

Really good stuff y’all. And on the side of the road?

The walking sticks are super cool. They’re made from trees intertwined with vines.

carved walking sticks

Tobias removes the vines revealing a coiled indention then carves the walking sticks working with the nature-made patterns. Tobias sometimes adds creatures for interest.

homemade walking sticks

The walking sticks are not only functional but beautiful works of art in their own right, each with its own personality.

We soon learned that Tobias is a musician too. He plays the piano and guitar, and is teaching himself to play the fiddle. Or is it a violin? Fiddle, I think, is what he’d call it. Thankfully we happened to have a guitar with us so Tobias treated us to an impromptu concert. He’s quite a guitarist.

Tobias playing guitar

My husband was fascinated by his unique finger style…playing the bass line with his thumb and melody with three fingers.

playing guitar

Here, why don’t you check it out for yourself.

Pretty cool huh? Did you catch that bit about Shel Silverstein? We had a nice visit with Tobias under the live oak tree. And Randy bought me an early Christmas present, one of Tobias’ walking sticks.

So, next time you’re out galavanting around, be sure to pay attention to the roadside. You never know what you might find. You may even make a new friend.

Love ya like a sister!

Or a brother. 😀

Sign Up for Email Updates

Subscribe here to have all updates delivered to your email.


  1. 1

    Michelle (What's Cooking) says

    Wow! His bird images were amazing. What a wonderful treasure :-)

  2. 2


    Amy – you found a treasure in Tobias!!! Beautiful artwork. His walking sticks are gorgeous. I’d actually love one myself. Not that I need it or anything, just that it is so gorgeous.

  3. 4

    Yogag33k says

    Cool post! My favorite piece was definitely the ocean one too! Thanks for posting the video too…what a cool dude. xo

  4. 9

    Patrice says

    Wish we had a Tobias on the side of the road. What an interesting character!
    His whiskers made him look old, but his hands didn’t. Curious.

  5. 11


    Love that painting that was your favorite. And those walking sticks are really neat, wish I could get one of those around here. They’d be a great present!

  6. 12

    Betty says

    One man – many talents and we in Hollywood (SC) are proud to have him around. I saw one of his walking sticks that he made the top into a rose and it was gorgeous. He also sets up a booth at our “Christmas in the Country Craft Show” that our Church puts on in the fall. This year it will be November 6th, 10:00 – 3:00.

  7. 14

    Teri says

    How interesting.

    Gotta admit that I’m usually in such a rush to get where I’m going that I don’t take the time to appreciate the little stuff that can turn out to be so interesting.

    Thanks for the reminder

  8. 15

    Tickled Red says

    Thanks so much for sharing Tobias…love his work! Which cane did you pick out love?

  9. 16

    Alison says

    Very cool and I love your butterfly photo! So great to meet you in person! Please keep in touch and hope you have a safe trip back!

  10. 17

    Jami Mullikin says

    Man what great find! I love seeing stories like that, makes me want to carry a guitar in my car too.

  11. 18

    Suzan says

    I represent Tobias and he is a rare gem alright. I believe he’s one of the best “unknown” artists in SC, but not unknown for long! He has an upcoming show at the ALCHEMY coffee shop in Avondale off HWY 17 the month of Feb. Opening reception is FRIDAY 28th of Jan. He’ll be playing music as well. Tobias would like to thank you all for your comments and positive feed back. Come out to Hollywood and see him any sunny weekend…he’ll be there!

  12. 19

    Dandy says

    Wait a minute… he lived in a treehouse?!

    The man is incredible and so is his artwork. My speakers aren’t working here so I’ll watch the video when I get home!

  13. 20

    Robert s Price Sr says

    Tobias McGregor Wow! Thank you for this video . I just look at my year book and there tobias . on the wake to school i stop to see my friend at his house and he was always playing the piano. good time and good memory .I hope to see you in my travel.

  14. 21

    nancy stout beaupre says

    toby was in my class i am sorry i never recognized how talented he is-best to you toby

  15. 23

    Linda says

    I use to see Tobias everytime I visited Key West. He would paint on Stock Island on the docks by the Hog Fish Resturant. He would paint the most beautiful water and beach scapes. I miss not seeing him. I enjoyed your encounter with him. He is a simple man with so much talent. I love his art work and how he builds up the depth of the water. He is missed in Key West. If I ever get to Hollywood I will look him up. Hello Tobias from Linda

  16. 24

    Kelli says

    Wow! You are ringing some bells. My family has known Tobias from the early seventies in Nova Scotia onward. My mom sent me this link from Nova Scotia. It is good to see him and “what you found on the side of the road” is so interconnected. You see, I left my sweet, sweet home of family and friends in Hollywood and Meggett a couple years ago. I am writing from Orangeville , Ontario. Thankyou for sharing and may you be blessed.

  17. 25

    mandy oliverio says

    i used to live in the same marina as tobias in key west. I loved walking by his studio and peeking in while he painted. he also sang and played guitar and piano at restaurant/bar at the end of our dock called the hogfish. i miss tobi!!!!!!!

  18. 26

    arthur woofenden says

    It is with great pride I read this article, having known Tobias for quite some time in Key West. Toby is truly a man of many talents and his incredible drive to accomplish his goals are an inspiration to all of us. His album “Yes Indeedie” and his paintings are a true testament to his incredible artistic talent and a reminder of his message to us from many years ago to pursue your passion whatever it might be. And he did, congrats Toby you deserve all the acolades that come your way.

  19. 27

    Russell Quinn says

    I met Toby in 1979 in Key West Fla. We became friends. He asked me back then if I new of Bear River Nova Scotia as that is where he and his wife and children homesteaded in the 70s. I did not know Bear River N.S. However, Bear River has been and still is my home now for 13 years.IRONY.Toby is a one of a kind character,artist,musician,carpenter,,,OH man!The guy can do just about anything well.
    If at all possible Toby,I would love to hear from you again.
    I will never forget the old military bus you converted and were living in the parking lot of one of the sea side beer joints with your family in Key West.
    p.s. Toby you said you would never cross back over the 7 mile bridge again. I guess Key West was enough. Great to see you still creating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *