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!)

2. Traveling Gnome

This tradition is awesome for bigger families who are spread out over the country, and only get to visit with each other a few times a year during the holidays.

How it works: every Christmas (or any holiday) someone gets assigned the “traveling gnome” to keep with them for the year, or until the next family get together. They take it with them on any fun trips or to special events, like weddings, birthday parties, any travel, etc. and document it with photos. Example: photobooth at a wedding, seeing the Grand Canyon, or photobombing your prom pictures.

At the next holiday you share the photos, add them to a big family album, and pass it on to the next family member!

Tip: You don’t have to use a gnome. Anything fun or silly that is somewhat easy to transport.

3. Recreate a Photo Every Year

This is a trend in the last few years that we absolutely love. You may already have a funny or sentimental photo from the past that you can re-create, or you might just think of something new! You could get a set of matching holiday pajamas, sit in the same spots on the front porch, make a pyramid in front of the Christmas tree… whatever your imagination comes up with. After years of taking the same photo it will be really cool to see how everyone has grown and changed over time.

4. Holiday Pillowcases

The holidays are the most magical time of year for kids, and this annual tradition is a great way to really “kickoff” the season. The kids will love getting to switch them over from their regular pillowcase to their special holiday pillowcase. Pick a special time – maybe after decorating the tree, before Thanksgiving dinner, or December 1st when you start you advent calendar. For a little extra holiday tradition, pick out a new holiday kids book every year, and make a cozy book night out of it. 

You can make them at home with some fun holiday fabric that you all pick out together.

Or you can buy them online. You can even get them customized with names.

5. Christmas Morning “Find the Pickle”

This is a great tradition for families with several kids, especially those who have a fun competitive side! “Find the pickle” comes from an old tradition where the parents hide a pickle ornament on the tree on Christmas Eve, and the first one to find that ornament in the morning wins. You can really adapt this tradition to be about finding anything – another ornament, Elf on the Shelf, a decorated plastic egg… anything that you can hide is fair game!

The first one to find it gets an extra gift, or a special piece of candy. Or maybe just bragging rights.

6. Give Back

The holiday season is really tough for parents who want to provide gifts for their kids while struggling to make ends meet, the homeless, the elderly without family, etc. It’s also the season of giving and being grateful for what you have. There is no better time than Christmas to teach your kids about giving back and sharing with those that are less fortunate.

Here are a few ideas for how you can give back.

“Adopt a family” through the Doing Good Together organization. The kids will love getting to pick out gifts for other children (you learn their age and gender when you are assigned the family).

Bake cookies together as a family and deliver them to a local retirement community or Boys and Girls club.

Pick out some toys to donate to Toys for Tots

7.  Christmas Eve Hot Chocolate Bar

Seriously, who doesn’t love hot chocolate? Parents: don’t worry, you can toss a little Bailey’s in there, we won’t tell.

The kids will love being able to pick out a variety of different ingredients – Different cocoa mixes (chocolate, vanilla, peppermint), marshmallows (large, small, colored), candy canes, chocolate chips, cinnamon sticks, powdered peanut butter, caramel, whipped cream… The world is your canvas!

Shopping and setting everything up might even be more fun than drinking the hot cocoa! Well, let’s not go that far.

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.

The intertwining of college football and southern culture is most obvious on game day. When a big game is scheduled everything stops in the south and fans flock to stadiums to the best place to spectate-the bleachers. These passionate fans extend their love through alumni donations, season ticket and apparel purchases. Adorned in face paint, team colors and an unmeasured enthusiasm they show their allegiance to their team. It so deeply permeates the culture that it is not uncommon to see evidence of homes divided in their team loyalties.  From screaming fans to memorable signs be sure to wake up early so not to miss the show. There is nothing that compares to the energy of attending a game but many choose to watch from the comfort of their homes or their favorite, local sports bar. Local favorite spots such as Casey’s Bar & Grill, British Open Pub and Reilly’s are great spots to enjoy game day.

To reverse the trend of popularity, other conferences would have to acquire better players. The south has the highest paid coaches and the best players. In the south college football isn’t merely a tradition, a religion or wonderment. It is all of those things in one and unites the entire region. The 2017 season began the weekend of September 2nd with 14 games. The schedule included two games on non-traditional days with Tennessee playing Georgia Tech and Ole Miss visiting Mississippi State on Thursday, November 23rd.  It will mark the first year to play the Ole Miss-Mississippi State game on Thanksgiving night. The season will end with the first SEC Championship game played in the new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sat., December 2nd.

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.


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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Take a Walk on the Wild Side!

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Your Guide to Hilton Head Island’s Diverse Wildlife


Hilton Head Island was recently voted #1 Island in the Continental U.S. by Travel & Leisure magazine – with over 12 miles of sunny beaches, hundreds of fantastic restaurants and bars, and picturesque landscapes. The lowcountry is also home to an abundance of wildlife – from the iconic American alligator, to the elegant Great Egret. A trip to Hilton Head is the perfect time to enjoy nature, and spot some beautiful animals in their natural habitats. Here you’ll find details about the local critters, where to go for the best views, and a fun checklist for the whole family to keep track of what you’ve seen!

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