Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head – Smiling Faces and Beautiful Places

Saturday, Oct. 6  – 

flagMy brother Jeff is finishing up his masters degree in Accounting, and had a fall break at school. He is in his last semester and will graduate this December. I just recently started graduate school myself for my MBA. We both desperately needed a vacation.

Jeff came over from Birmingham on Friday night before we left on Saturday for Georgia. After passing through Atlanta we drove down I-75. We stopped for lunch in Macon, before taking I-16. Wow, the Georgia Highway Patrol had speed traps set up everywhere! Just before Savannah, we took I-95 north and later drove over the Savannah River into South Carolina and through Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. Not longer afterwards, we exited on Highway 278.

South Carolina’s Low Country is gorgeous and has an interesting character, completely different than the Carolina hill country. People speak slowly and the annunciations don’t have the twang but they instead have a slow-as-molasses draw.

Then we crossed the large bridge across the Intercoastal Waterway on to the island. Headed down Highway 278 we arrived in the Sea Pines resort area of the island. Sea Pines, is the largest plantation on the island for guests and residents. The whole island is a tourism hotspot and has approximately 12 beautiful miles (19 km) of Atlantic Ocean beachfront. The well-planned town of Hilton Head is known for being eco-friendly and has preserved greenery and trees – especially towering pines and palmettos. The buildings have the same style and almost 70 percent of the island resides in gated communities.

During the Civil War, the island was occupied by Union troops who made it an important base for the blockade of Charleston and Savannah. Hundreds of ex-slaves, named Gullahs, came to Hilton Head and brought much of their own cultural identity and famous cooking. On the island they enjoyed liberties like education and being landowners.

Curiously we saw remnants of another war – but one that never came. We saw large concrete gun platforms on the Atlantic coast of the island. They were built to defend against an invasion by Germany during World War II.

Upon arriving at the Marriott Resort that evening, we relaxed for the evening.

Sunday, Oct. 7, 2001 –

Today, Jeff and I decided to tour the island. We went to the Harbor Town community of the Sea Pines area. There we saw the historic and famous lighthouse overlooking the harbor. The red and white striped lighthouse guides many ships in the area and is a landmark symbolizing Hilton Head Island. Then we ate some low-country Carolina barbecue that was absolutely amazing in a nearby restaurant!

heritage-lighthouse-041610-640x360

After lunch, we continued our driving tour. We were amazed by the number of beautiful Palmetto trees seemingly everywhere. The people in South Carolina are very friendly. Their motto of smiling faces and beautiful places is dead on accurate. That afternoon we decided to play mini-golf with a pirate theme nearby. We were terrible putting, but it was fun. We had some seafood at a restaurant nearby which was outstanding. Then we came back to the resort and watched television before going to the pool.

Monday, Oct. 8, 2001 –

Today we slept late. After a quick lunch at a nearby Chik-Fil-A, we went to see an afternoon Monday matinee movie. When we came back, we borrowed some rackets and played some tennis on the Marriott’s courts.

palmetto dunes

After dinner at the resort, we went to the pool before visiting our beach at sunset. We saw some sea turtles, pelicans and snowy egrets on the beach. The water was cold but the beach sands were a pretty white. Unfortunately a big wave knocked me down and caused me to lose my cycling sunglasses in the ocean. We couldn’t find them, but oh well! We strolled among the sea oaks and boardwalk back to the pool where we relaxed for a while. We went to bed at a reasonable time because this was our last night.

Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2001 –

This morning, we checked out of the Marriott and began the drive off the island. We said goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful Hilton Head Island. We headed back down I-95 and then up I-16 to Macon. We stopped for lunch along the way. After we arrived back in Buckhead, Jeff and I ate dinner before he headed back to Birmingham. What a fantastic break. I cannot wait to return to Hilton Head Island and the beautiful Atlantic beaches of South Carolina again!

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