Skygazing on Hilton Head

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By Erin Laytham Lentz

Skygazing is among the oldest leisure activities. The night sky has fascinated people for centuries. On any starry night, people can enjoy the mystery and beauty of the heavens with a pair of binoculars and a chair. People enjoy gazing at the sky for pleasure or with an astronomical interest. Even naked eye observations of the sky can reveal a great deal about the basics of astronomy. Taking your chair to the beach can produce some spectacular night time sky gazing on Hilton Head Island.  Bringing along a telescope can further enhance the opportunity to peer at distant stars, planets and even other galaxies. Read More

Coastal Provisions: Winter Retail Guide

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By Erin Laytham Lentz

 

Lifestyle is significantly different on the coast and in the winter months the locals and visitors are still out on the beaches, biking and even enjoying paddle boarding, fishing and boating. The swimsuits and sunscreen are no longer required as the finicky weather can start out and end with cold, brisk air but yet still provide abundant sunshine and mild midday temps. It doesn’t take long to discover that layers are your best friend. There are some essentials that work with the casual and comfortable feeling of coastal living. If you are visiting Hilton Head from Canada or Ohio you likely own a closet filled with wool sweaters, coats and outerwear. Don’t pack them. A sweater may be all you need on a chilly winter night in coastal SC. Take a peek in most local’s closets and you will find some outerwear that is consistent with the subtropical climate.

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Family Traditions

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By Joanna Harrison

 

7 Family-Friendly Holiday Traditions

1. Save a Piece from the Bottom of Your Christmas Tree

This is a super fun tradition for newlyweds or families with young kids. Start this year and watch the collection grow for decades.When you purchase your Christmas tree you can ask them to cut off a little sliver from the bottom to take home – You can save them until you’ve built up a big enough collection to do a project, or do something creative with them each year. Don’t forget to put the date on each one! 

Here are a few ideas:

Wood Ornaments – Decorate and drill a small hole with a ribbon to hang

Coasters – Directions here

Wall Décor – If you’ve got an artist in the family, do a small painting each year

Mount for Family Photos – cut a family photo into a circle and use decoupage glue to seal it on the piece of wood. (These could be ornaments too!) Read More

Happy Tailgating Y’all

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By Erin Laytham Lentz

 

The southern way is steeped in traditions and pride. It is often referred to as “a way of life.” The most notable are the signature wide porches, sweet tea, bourbon and fall oyster roasts. College sports, particularly football, occupy a role at the center of daily life in the South. This is especially true if you grew up in South Carolina. Driving America’s football obsession are some areas boasting a high concentration of fans. Alabama leads the way and are joined by Mississippi, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Some even say college football is just better in the South. Even in the states where there are NFL teams, college football reigns supreme. Why is it so revered?? The intensity of the fans stems from the southeastern conference; a 76 year old coalition of 12 universities in nine southern states. The games deliver wild and exciting entertainment and often hours of preliminary tailgating, a social occasion and long held tradition. Tailgating is about supporting your team, but also about eating and drinking with kindred spirits. Game day grub consists of favorite southern beverages, as well as treats such as bbq ribs, buffalo wings, sandwiches, and of course, beer. Clemson and University of Georgia top the list of the best colleges for tailgating according to Southern Living Magazine. Read More

The Mystique of the Sea Turtle

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By Erin Laytham Lentz

The sea turtle is one of earth’s most mysterious and time-honored creatures. Only one in 1,000 baby sea turtles makes it to adulthood, so when summer hatching season comes along the SC Department of Natural Resources does all it can to ensure their shot at survival. Deep grooves in the sand are a first sign a sea turtle has chosen a spot in the sand to lay her eggs. Nesting season can last for several months and sometimes volunteers will move nests to safer spots nestled in the dunes. When the turtles hatch, there is merely 48 hours for them to journey down the beach into the water and about 40 miles out into the sea to their food source. With the light of the moon guiding them the tiny creatures find their way but distractions such as artificial light can disorient them and send them the wrong direction. People can help the turtles chances of survival by keeping lights off at night, and on the beach filling in holes and picking up any trash. Sea turtles lay around 100 eggs per nest, and between 3-7 nests per summer nesting season. Read More

Fall Into Fun In The Lowcountry

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By Erin Laytham Lentz

Sourcing fun things to do in Fall in the Lowcountry is a breeze. The area, rich in history, traditions, food and culture is bursting with fun outdoor festivals, educational destinations and family friendly events. Aside from all of the vibrant selection of water activities, bike trails, preserves, beaches, golf, shopping and restaurants there are some seasonal happenings to explore. The splendor of the off-season is rooted in the perfect, mild weather and the area’s unique historical identity. Fill your Fall calendar with activities that will please the entire family. Read More

Majestic, Mossy Oaks

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Many say, if trees could talk, imagine the stories the Southern Live Oaks could tell. These majestic trees are considered an emblem of the south because they flourish along the coastal plains where the first settlers lived. Their natural beauty is in their wide stretching branches draped with Spanish Moss. The 40-80 foot tall trees provide the perfect place for climbing, book reading or picnicking. Known as the state tree of Georgia, Live Oaks thrive in coastal soils. The term live refers to the fact the evergreen oaks do not go into dormancy in the winter months as with other oak varieties but instead stay green. They shed their leaves once a year but only after new leaves have formed. The leather-like leaves are tough and resistant to salt spray and the roots of the tree can withstand storm surge. Its wood is ideal for shipbuilding because it is so strong and heavy.

The graceful trees are a welcome addition to the sometimes oppressive southern heat as they provide great shade with limbs that can stretch up to 120 feet wide. Surprisingly, the hardy trees can live for several hundred years. The wide stretching canopy provides shelter to various birds, reptiles and mammals. Without their ecosystems, most maritime forests would not exist. The silver-grey moss that hangs on the branches creates a haunting look at night while filtering sunshine in the day, setting the trees aglow.  

Visitors coming to the coastal areas of the south are awe struck by these magnificent trees that have been featured in films such as Forrest Gump, filmed in Beaufort, SC.  Seeing them up close is part of the experience of southern living. No Lowcountry tour would be complete without a stop to see the Live Oaks. A coastal tree tour will acquaint you with some Lowcountry oaks with well-known history, scattered around the coastal empire and only a short drive from Hilton Head Island.

magical_mossy_oaks

CANDLER OAK on Drayton and E. Gaston St.  Savannah, Ga  is thought to be one of the oldest living landmarks in the area.

 ANGEL OAK, 3688 Angel Oak Rd. John’s Island is located just outside Charleston, SC. It is rumored to be 1500 years old.

MIDDLETON  located northwest of Charleston at Middleton Place is part of one of the oldest gardens in the country,

WORMSLOE historic site in Isle of Hope is home to an avenue of oaks. The state run park is picturesque and rich in history.

AVENUE OF OAKS 100 Retreat Avenue at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island was the longtime entrance to Retreat Plantation filled with flower gardens and long known for its production of sea island cotton.

DRIFTWOOD BEACH & LIVE OAK GROVES located on Jekyll Island, Ga. requires a $6 park fee but gives visitors a peek at the undeveloped live oak groves.

COLLETON RIVER PLANTATION in Bluffton, SC. is a private golf community known for its’ 4- mile scenic drive through tidal creeks and street lined live oaks.

OLDFIELD in Okatie, SC is a community set along the banks of the Okatie River under a canopy of live oaks.

Southern Eats

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The south is known for its friendly accents, laid-back people, humid temperatures and feel good food. Incorporating food into a Hilton Head vacation is part of the Lowcountry experience. Southern food is just as much about the people as it is the recipes. The food culture dates back to agriculture, slavery and multicultural regions which have shaped what people now describe as comfort food.  To truly enjoy southern cuisine, one must put aside the fixation on calories and turn their focus to taste and gratification.

Generally, southern food takes on its own flair depending on who is stirring the pot. A universal southern dish often begins in a skillet. Bacon lovers will rejoice because there is no other location on the planet that bacon finds its way into more entrees, appetizers, side dishes, and desserts; and yes, even adult beverages! Here are a dozen favorite local dishes to try while here in the Lowcountry:

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8 Creative Pool & Beach Games to Keep the Kids Busy for Hours

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Vacation Goals: Keep the kids active, happy, entertained, and (most importantly) tired out by sundown. The suits are on, the sunscreen’s rubbed in, and you’re parked in your beach chair. Having a go-to list of game ideas for the munchkins means you get to relax longer and with minimal distractions. We’ve got the ideas; you just worry about finishing that book that’s been on your nightstand for a month.

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2017 RBC Heritage presented by Boeing

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“Get Your Plaid On” April 10-16 for Hilton Head’s legendary golf tournament!

By Blanche T. Sullivan, Contributor

Hilton Head Island has a well-established reputation as a premier vacation destination, but did you know that it was a golf tournament that helped to secure the tropical hotspot’s place on the world map nearly 50 years ago?

The late Charles Fraser, considered by many to be the pioneer of Hilton Head, was a passionate visionary and entrepreneur who believed that hosting a prestigious golf tournament with golf icons would spotlight the island’s beauty and garner positive attention regarding its unrivaled offerings. Fraser’s plan was to have the initial Heritage golf tournament take place Nov. 27-30, 1969, during Thanksgiving weekend, on the island’s newly created Harbour Town Golf Links.

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