Easter brunches and dinners to try all over Beaufort County this weekend

The Island Packet
By Madison Hogan
Online Article Here

There are good reasons you might choose to dine out on Easter. You might despise the cleanup, or plan to be out on the course watching the RBC Heritage, or have just given up on impressing your in-laws.

What better way to celebrate the holiday after a church service and before an Easter egg hunt than a nice hearty brunch?

Below are many of the restaurants in Beaufort County taking the lead to feed your family with special menus this holiday.

Hilton Head Island

Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar: Customers can enjoy an appetizer buffet, one entree to order and dessert buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at $32 per person ($16 for children 12 and younger).

Poseidon: This Easter brunch buffet includes omelet station, carving station, raw bar, sweets and more. Adults will pay $25 and children only $12.

Skull Creek Boat House: Easter brunch will begin at 10 a.m. and the restaurant’s 7th annual Easter egg hunt will begin at 11 a.m. The hunt is free to children 8-years-old and younger and includes complimentary face painting and pictures with the Easter bunny.

Red Fish, Hilton Head IslandDiners will be able to order from a three course prix-fixe menu from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $34. A children’s menu is also available.

OMBRA Cucina RusticaThe Italian Easter brunch will commence from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Visitors can dine on a three course meal for $36.99.

Old Oyster Factory: From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Old Oyster Factory will offer a three course Easter brunch for $27.99 per person.

Ela’s Blu Water Grille: The seafood and steak grill will offer special Easter dishes, including omelets, salads and entrees, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


12 awesome events you should attend this April in Beaufort County

The Island Packet
By Mandy Matney
Online Article Here

Spring has officially sprung in the Lowcountry and there are plenty of events this April to celebrate the beautiful weather.

This April, there are a ton of family-friendly events across Beaufort County (from both sides of the Broad River) that you should definitely mark your calendar for.

Here are 12 events you should attend this month:

CFW Fashion Show

April 7
Check out the hottest fashions from local stores and enjoy live music, food, and cocktails at the Chamber Fashion Week Fashion Show 7 p.m. April 7 at the Rooftop Bar at Poseidon (Hilton Head Island).

Taste of Bluffton

April 8
Celebrate local food, artwork, and even the opening of an ice cream shop at the 6th annual Taste of Bluffton on Calhoun Street in Old Town Bluffton 11 a.m. to 4 p.m April 8.

Gullah/Geechee Visitors Center grand opening

April 8
Celebrate the dedication of the new Gullah/Geechee Visitors Center 1908 Boundary Street at the intersection of Highway 21 and Ribaut Road in Beaufort, for an afternoon of food and fun 1 - 4 p.m. April 8.

4th Annual Bridges Block Party - Shrimp and Grits Cook-off

April 8
The 4th Annual Bridges Block Party will feature a Shrimp and Grits Cook, Kids zone, beer tent, live music and more from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m on Paris Avenue in downtown Port Royal. General admission is free.

14th Annual Soft Shell Crab Festival

April 15
Celebrate a Lowcountry favorite food at the 14th Annual Soft Shell Crab Festival April 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Parris Ave. in Port Royal.

Attend an awesome Easter egg hunt.

Here are a few local events:
Skull Creek Easter Egg Hunt 11 a.m. April 16 at Skull Creek Boathouse (Hilton Head Island)
The Salty Dog Easter Egg Hunt 10 a.m April 15 Sat 10 AM · The Salty Dog (Hilton Head Island)
10,000 egg Hunt: Shipwrecked edition 12 p.m. April 8· Jarvis Creek Park (Hilton Head Island)
EASTER EGGstravaganza 10 a.m. April 8 Shelter Cove Community Park (Hilton Head Island)

RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing

April 10-16
The PGA Tour comes to Hilton Head for the biggest sporting/ social event of the season at the Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island April 10-16. Get your plaid ready!

Special Olympics Spring Games- Track and Field April 21

The Special Olympics South Carolina Area 8 Regional Spring Games will be held at May River High School, at 10.a.m April 21. Over 350 Special Olympics athletes of all ages from Bluffton, Hilton Head, and Beaufort will compete in track and field events.


You’ll freak when you hear about this fab grand opening at Shelter Cove Towne Center

The Island Packet
By Madison Hogan
Online Article Here

The shops at Shelter Cove Towne Center are about to meet a new fashion-forward boutique this April.

Kelly Welch, one of the co-owners of the new Atlanta-based fab’rik franchise at the shopping center on Hilton Head Island, and her partner Molly Senn will open the first fab’rik in Beaufort County April 20 and celebrate its opening from 6 to 9 p.m.

“We’re going to have small snacks ... a DJ and we’re going to have beverages,” she said.


Welch said one customer will be chosen at 6:30 p.m. to win a 30-second shopping spree to fill a bag full of free merchandise.

The newly built 2,100-square-foot store sits next to Jane Bistro and alongside the future Talbots and Spartina 449 store.

“We’re going to be fresh and new and exciting for sure,” she said. “Definitely like a fresher new look, I think.”

Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/business/article143081249.html#storylink=cpy

Here’s one way to win two free RBC Heritage Clubhouse Badges

The Island Packet
By Madison Hogan
Online Article Here

The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce will kick-off RBC Heritage and celebrate National Tartan Day with a Plaid ParTee from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 6 at the Rooftop Bar at Poseidon on Hilton Head Island.

Those who RSVP to the event on the chamber website will have the chance to win a pair of clubhouse badges to RBC Heritage. Tickets are $10 for chamber members and $20 for non-chamber members. Both tickets are $5 more at the door.

Guests can wear their plaid and play in Wii contests for prizes. The price of the tickets includes drinks, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment.


Chamber of Commerce celebrates National Tartan Day with Plaid ParTee

The Island Packet
By Madison Hogan
Online Article Here

It’s time to pull out your plaid shirt or maybe event that kilt in the back of your closet.

The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce will kick off RBC Heritage with a Plaid ParTee on National Tartan Day on Hilton Head Island, according to a news release.

Guests can don plaid, enjoy complimentary drinks by Tito’s Vodka and Sea Glass Wines, hors d’oeuvres, and entertainment and see models from Chamber Fashion Week from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 6 at the Rooftop Bar at Poseidon in the Shelter Cove Towne Center.

The event costs $10 for chamber members and $20 for nonmembers.

Need a job? Hilton Head’s Kroger is looking for workers

The Island Packet
By Madison Hogan
Online Article Here

The Kroger located at Shelter Cove will hold a job fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Hampton Inn at 1 Dillon Road on Hilton Head Island.

Kroger is seeking to fill more than 110 full- and part-time positions, including cashiers, courtesy clerks, deli clerks, grocery clerks, and meat and seafood clerks.

Applicants should fill out an application at www.jobs.kroger.com prior to the job fair.

Southern Living ranks Hilton Head a top 10 island, and shows lots of love for the Lowcountry

The Island Packet
By Mandy Matney
Online Article Here

Here in the Lowcountry, we take pride in our slice of paradise — from the enchanting streets of Charleston and Beaufort to the breathtaking beaches of Hilton Head Island.

So it’s no surprise that a lot of the islands, cities, restaurants and hotels listed in Southern Living’s first ever South’s Best awards are concentrated in the area.

Hilton Head Island was named the South’s fourth-best island, while Beaufort was named the best small town. Here’s the full list of The South Best Islands, according to Southern Living’s 22,000 subscribers:

▪ The Outer Banks, N.C.

▪ St. Simons, Ga.

▪ Florida Keys, Fla.

▪ Hilton Head, S.C.

▪ Chincoteague, Va.

▪ Kiawah, S.C.

▪ Jekyll, Fla.

▪ Sanibel, Fla.

▪ Galveston, Texas.

▪ Tybee, Fla.

According to the listing, which comes out in print March 17, Beaufort County is located between the two best cities in the South. Charleston ranked No. 1 on the list, while Savannah came in second.

Other area highlights:

▪ The Grey (Savannah), Husk (Charleston), Hominy Grill (Charleston), and FIG (Charleston) made the list for best restaurants in the South.

▪ Charleston GardenWorks and Charleston’s The Common both were listed among the top 10 best shops in the South.

▪ The Sanctuary (Kiawah Island) was listed as a top resort in the South.

▪ The Bar at Husk (Charleston) was named one of the best bars in the South.

▪ Wentworth Mansion (Charleston), The Inn at Middleton Place (Charleston), and Foley House Inn (Savannah) were all listed among the best inns in the South.

▪ Mansion on Forsyth Park (Savannah) was named one of the best hotels in the South.

Savannah boutique owner to introduce fashion label in Belk stores

The Island Packet
By Madison Hogan
Online Article Here

A new clothing line featured in Belk’s spring collection is a little closer to home than you think.

Emily Bargeron, a Savannah boutique owner and Georgia Southern graduate, recently won a competition to have her own fashion line featured in Belk stores across the country, according to WTOC.

Fifteen pieces from Bargeron’s Mamie Ruth label will be sold in Belk stores and online. She describes her clothing as bright, bold, unique and vintage-inspired.

“Southern also has a stereotype of being very preppy. I think I kind of break that mold with my collection. It’s obviously very bohemian,” Bargeron told WTOC. “It’s all peachy, which is perfect for the South.”

There are two Belk stores located in Beaufort County, one at 332 Robert Small Parkway in Beaufort and another at 28 Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 100, on Hilton Head Island.

Guess what list Hilton Head-Bluffton-Beaufort made this month

The Island Packet
By Kelly Meyerhofer
Online Article Here

Another day brings another report confirming life in the Lowcountry is enjoyable year-round.

The 2016 State of American Well-Being, published this month, placed the collective Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort community ninth of 189 communities nationally, according to surveys by Gallup, which published the report.

The Well-Being Index is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where zero represents the lowest well-being and 100 represents the highest. The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort metro area scored 64.9 points.

The index also ranks each community in five categories — purpose, social, financial, community and physical.

Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort came in first for social, defined as “having supportive relationships and love in your life,” and ninth for purpose.

The Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin metro area, 41st on the national list, was the second highest-ranked South Carolina community. Charleston came in at 49 and Myrtle Beach at 71.

Data for the report came from more than 350,000 interviews conducted in 2015 and 2016.

To read more about the report, visit www.well-beingindex.com/2016-community-rankings.

'Cool Carolina Cities Tour' kicks off with a trip to Shelter Cove Towne Centre

Aiken Standard
By Christina Cleveland
Online Article Here

HILTON HEAD ISLAND — Taking a trip from Aiken to scenic Hilton Head Island, a group of Aiken County and City of Aiken leaders along with Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce and community members headed to Shelter Cove Towne Centre on Thursday to kick off the Chamber's Cool Carolina Cities Tour. 

Shelter Cove is the first leg of the tour, which will take groups of around 50 people on subject-based one-day trips, said Chamber President and CEO J. David Jameson.

According to the Chamber website, the tour will also visit Hartsville and Charleston.

The Aiken Mall property is expected to undergo a similar redevelopment as the lifestyle center in Hilton Head, which also was once a struggling, enclosed mall, mall officials have previously said.

Southeastern Development Associates, of Augusta, which formerly did business as Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial Corporation, is behind both projects.

Southeastern CEO Vic Mills and Vice President Jason Long led the Aiken group on a tour of the 42-acre redevelopment in Hilton Headl, which consists of 290,000 square feet of retail space, 220 upscale apartments and a 5-acre linear park, according to information provided by the development firm.

They then had lunch with leaders from the towns of Hilton Head and Bluffton to learn more about private/public partnerships. Last year, a group with the Chamber took a similar trip to the retail and dining center. 

It followed the news of Southeastern acquiring mall property in Aiken, which has seen a decline in tenants and foot traffic in recent years. Shelter Cove had a similar size and footprint as the Aiken Mall, Mills said.

"What we're going down today to see what it looks like to convert a mall into a lifestyle center," said Jameson. "I need people to visually see what the difference is, where everybody knows what to expect."

Mills has said the development team is working on nailing down its tenant list and that would help them with site plans. They will then start with elevations and Mills said he's hopeful that people will start seeing demolition at the mall by the end of the year. 

It is a long process, according to Mills, noting it has been around five years since Southeastern started the project at Hilton Head, and it is in the process of building upscale apartments as a part of the redevelopment.

Jameson noted that project in Hilton Head occurred in phases and similarly in Aiken, people may see the enclosed mall come down at the same time but it may not see the retail go up at the same time. 

It will be built back in phases as the market demands it, he said.

Belk will stay open during the redevelopment, Mills said, and though he did not provide names, he said other anchor tenants could drive the rest of the retail stores.

Dining also will be a part of the redevelopment in Aiken and possibly walking trails, according to Southeastern.

Representatives from Woodside Plantation, which is located near the mall property, were along on the Hilton Head Trip on Thursday.  Mary Shultz, who serves on Woodside's POA board of directors, complimented Hilton Head's development's concept, citing the diversity of stores and dining options.

The architectural component, she said, is something Aiken would have to work on, but added Woodside is "looking forward" to a good redevelopment in Aiken. 

She believes a few town halls or public discussions will help facilitate questions residents may have.

Public/private partnerships

Hilton Head and Bluffton officials talked to participants during lunch about the importance of those discussions, where they touted the benefits of private/public partnerships.

Town of Hilton Head Island Town Manager Stephen Riley said the town once formed a stop development and now is collaborating with developers.

"But that is the beauty," he said. "A very kind of gut reaction to, 'This island is developing too fast. Developers are evil. Development is bad,' to a realization that developers can be good to developers can bad. Some are very good." 

Riley said it's also about "knowing what you want," and working together. He later added that the redevelopment became something the public is "exceedingly proud of."  

This is not the town's first public/private partnership, he said. Its first joint venture was with Wal-Mart on its north end. The company had an idea of how it wanted to lay out its property, and the town "had a had a bigger vision for the road network to flow through there and flow by there and interconnect with other things, and it was a joint venture that we did," Riley said. "This was far more aggressive."

At Shelter Cove, the town has invested in a park that the public uses and where other marketing events occur. 

"We have used tax-incrementing financing on some other deals," Riley said. "We did not do that here. We did a land swap.

"We owned land next door, but it was underutilized and poorly situated, and this was a vision that we had as staff to try to integrate this all together and create a true gathering place, and what we came up with here was a cash investment swap of land and an investment in a park that we, today, are the owners of."

TIF may have worked, he added, but council felt in this case splitting the cost to build a park the town was going to own and benefit from worked well for them.

Riley reiterated to accomplish what the town wants, there has to be a collaboration. He and Town of Bluffton Director of Growth Management Heather Colin, who also spoke, said the same. Colin said there has to be a lot of meetings not only with the town but with the public.

She said the Town of Bluffton is working with Southeastern on redeveloping what she described as a "failing" multi-industrial park in the town, which suffered due to the downturn of the economy. 

Aiken County Council member Andrew Siders said he believed Aiken residents are going to be pleased with the redevelopment of the Aiken mall. Younger residents like John Lamprecht said he enjoyed Hilton Head, as well, more specifically the entertainment aspect.

He believes that could drive millennials to the revamped center in Aiken and not to other nearby cities like Augusta or Columbia.

"I think that would be beneficial," he said.

Mayor Rick Osbon said since beginning talks with Southeastern around a year ago, he can say "on behalf of City and staff based on conversations that the relationship we've developed has continued."

"I think this project is going to be terrific," Osbon said, later thanking Jameson and the Chamber for organizing the trip. "We really walk away with a sense of what we're talking about in Aiken and a uniqueness. Just as this is unique in Hilton Head, I think the project we're going to do in Aiken is going to be really special for our residents."

This year's tour

The Cool Carolina Cities tour comes after the Aspirational Cities Tour organized by the Chamber two years ago.

In 2015, they visited Greenville, South Carolina, and Raleigh and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Those trips were also subject-based, with Jameson saying the goal was not on the cities themselves, but ideas they have implemented.

In Greenville, he said the group learned the City has a vision from the public sector that the private sector responds to. Winston-Salem is a private sector he said the "City tries not to get in the way of," and Raleigh is a combination of those ideas. 

Through Greenville and Raleigh, he said Aiken saw there could be more density in downtown living and Winston-Salem showed innovation, saying a bio-tech incubator provided ideas for the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative planned at USC Aiken.

The AMC, he said, could drive development on the Northside of Aiken. From that trip, the City began public conversations and is working from a collaborative angle that will include the community, Jameson said. 

On March 29, the Cool Carolina Cities Tour will visit Hartsville, and with a stop in Camden. 

11 awesome things you must do around Hilton Head and Bluffton this March

The Island Packet
By Mandy Matney
Online Article Here

Ah, spring has sprung in the Lowcountry.

Well, not officially. That’s March 20 this year. But the weather is warming up, the azaleas are popping out, the days are getting longer, the grass is getting greener and, well, the pollen is pretty much everywhere.

On top of all that, the Lowcountry social calendar is filling up.

With the awesome festivals, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and endless outdoor activities, March is looking pretty epic this year.

Here are 10 things to do around Hilton Head and Bluffton this March.

Soak up spring at a daffodil farm.

Daffodils are already blooming here in the Lowcountry. Make a trip to U Pick Daffodils and make the spring season a little brighter.

Sip up at the 32nd Annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival March 8-12

This event is a wine lover’s paradise with two days of sipping, strolling, wine, more wine and a little dining, too. The Sip and Stroll kicks off Thursday, March 9, in Harbour Town where you can get a taste for the big event. Saturday’s public tasting offers wines from more than 250 (!) wines for you to try, a waiter’s race, a bartender challenge and a silent auction.

Celebrate St. Paddy's island style at the Hilton Head St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 12

Get your green on early this year on March 12 for the 34th annual Hilton Head Island St. Patrick's Day Parade. A crowd — estimated at 25,000 in past years — lines Pope Avenue for this festive community event of parades, live music and parties. Hilton Head Town manager Steve Riley is this year’s parade marshal.

Shuck and slurp oysters

while the getting is good.

Though you can safely eat oysters year round in the Lowcountry, March is generally the last month for oyster roasts. Here are a couple events to get your shuckin' and slurpin' in before the season ends:

Shop local and eat fresh at a farmer's market or U-Pick farm.

March is an excellent month for fresh produce in South Carolina with the warm breezy weather and new spring fruits and vegetables in season. Check out these local spots:

Dempsey U-Pick Farm: 1576 Sea Island Parkway St. Helena Island (open for strawberry season

Farmers Market of Bluffton: Thursdays 1-6 p.m. F Carson Cottages in Old Town Bluffton, 40 Calhoun St. 

Port Royal Farmer’s Market: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Ribaut Rd, Port Royal

Go big at Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day, March 16- 18

One of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country is just a short drive — or boat ride — from Hilton Head and Bluffton. More than 500,000 people will invade Savannah for the four-day Irish event with green beer, live music and shenanigans. Don’t miss the parade, one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the nation, through the historic district on March 17. Here’s everything you need to know about parking and transportation.

Chow down at Wing Fest March 25-26

Hilton Head Island Wingfest kicks off Friday, March 25 with a laser show in Shelter Cove Community Park. The big event takes place March 26, also at the park. Chow down on sweet, spicy, tangy and delicious chicken wings from more than 15 local restaurants as they compete for the 2017 Best Wing of Hilton Head. There will be a wing-eating contest, live music, kids activities and TVs so you won’t have to miss March Madness. 

Get active — and explore the outdoors

  • Get ready for swimsuit season (that’s kind of already here, but whatever) by signing up for a fun run or a not-so-typical outdoor workout. Here are a couple to choose from:
  •  Annual Sandalwood Run for Hunger: March 25 at Fish Haul Park Hilton Head
  • Shamrock 5K Run: March 18 at Coligny Plaza Hilton Head
  • Kayak Cardio: March 25 at Island Water Sports Hilton Head
  • Beer and Yoga: March 4 Southern Barrel Brewery

Get your taste buds ready: Hilton Head Island Wingfest set

The Island Packet
By Sandra Ross
Online Article Here

Get ready to get messy at Wingfest as 7,000 pounds of chicken wings will be prepared for this year’s event on Hilton Head Island.

The main event, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 25, will be preceded by the Wingfest Laser Light Show from 5 to 9 p.m. March 24. Both events will be held at Shelter Cove Community Park.

On March 25, 15 to 20 local restaurants will compete for the title of 2017 Best Wings of Hilton Head. Last year’s winners, One Hot Mama’s and HH Firefighter’s Association, will be defending their titles.

The second annual Wing Eating Competition will take place, as well as a kid’s version of “Bobbing for Wings.”

Activities include a kid’s zone, rock climbing wall and bungee jump. There will be live music, with Zack Stiltner Trio and Groove Town Assault performing Friday and Souls Harbor Trio, Deas Guyz and Matt Parker and the Deacons performing Saturday.

The Wingfest Laser Light Show will be an evening of music, kid-friendly events, restaurant rivalry, a big-screen television to watch games, and a laser light show to conclude the night.

Admission for the 2017 Hilton Head Wingfest presented by Hargray is $7 with children 10 and under free. Concessions and activities are priced separately.

For more information, go to www.hiltonheadwingfest.com or call 843-681-7273.

5 Reasons to Love Hilton Head

The Huffington Post
By Carolyn Burns Bass
Online Article Here

Nowhere else in the mid-Atlantic coastal region can you find such a selection of world class resorts as on Hilton Head Island. A recent stay at the Sonesta Resort here introduced me to this legacy brand, while confirming Hilton Head as a year-around playground for people of all ages and interests.

Hilton Head Island sits among the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina like a sneaker pointing at Georgia. At the heel is the entrance to Port Royal Sound with Beaufort just across the water. Named after the English sea captain William Hilton, who brought the island to the attention of English plantation owners in 1663, Hilton Head was largely unknown and undeveloped until the 1950s. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that Hilton Head began to coalesce and the island emerged as a haven for sea, sun and sport lovers.

You’ll find a wide variety of accommodations on the island, beginning with budget brands such as Hotel 6, Super 8 and Days Inn. Those traveling with families may fare better at one of the island’s condo or beach house rentals. Mid-range brands such as Holiday Inn, Best Western and Red Roof Inn dot the island from toe to heel. There’s a class and a price point for visitors of all statures.

Hurricane Matthew blew through Hilton Head last October leaving uprooted trees, downed powerlines, wrecked boats, damaging most of the island to some degree. Clean-up and restoration happened quickly and efficiently and within a month, most of the damage had been repaired to the island infrastructure, homes, resorts and businesses.

While there’s plenty to love about Hilton Head Island, here are five things that helped put—and keep—Hilton Head on the map of great vacation destinations.



Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island stretches across a natural lagoon to the Atlantic.

1. The Resorts

We’re starting with resorts because visitors need somewhere to shower and lay down their head after a day of fishing, golfing, tennis or beaching. As previously mentioned, Hilton Head is the only seaside destination in the mid-Atlantic that offers truly world-class resorts with a full range of services and expansive oceanfront properties.

At the Sea Pines Resort you’ll find luxurious accommodations at the Inn and Club at Harbour Town, a boutique hotel as distinctive as the island itself. Those seeking a familiar brand can stay at one of the many Hilton or Marriott properties spread across the island.

I’ve stayed at the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island twice, each time enjoying the experience enough to feature them with confidence. I love the footprint of the resort set along the Atlantic side of the island in the Shipyard Plantation. Its sprawling pool is surrounded by chaise lounges and cabanas, herons perch and turtles sun on the edges of a natural lagoon, and just beyond the lagoon you’ll find the beach. In the spirit of world-class resorts, the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head has fine dining at Heyward’s, casual fare served indoor, alfresco or poolside; a fitness center equipped for beginner to serious athletes; the Arum Spa with its myriad massage, body and facial treatments; a full-service nail salon; a comfortable business lounge with computers and printers; and a kiddy club with activities all day long. Sonesta is a smaller, family-owned chain of hotels and resorts which puts guests first in ways other brands only talk about. You’ll find L’Occitane bathing amenities, Keurig coffeemakers, plush bed linens, twice-daily maid service and turn down, private balconies, and other bespoke services, including hand towels monogrammed with the initial of your last name. But it’s the little things that make big impressions when traveling, and the fact that every day my housekeeper remembered that I liked extra decaf coffee and fresh cream in my room went far in my appreciation of the Sonesta.



Michael Smalls, a descendant of the Gullah people, demonstrates the art of weaving baskets from native sea grass at the Coastal Discovery Museum.

2. History and Culture

During the colonial period and then the Old South, king cotton ruled Hilton Head Island with plantations worked by slaves. Planters cleared the virgin forests to make fields for crops. So far removed from society and disliking the harsh environment, island planters built only work houses on the island, preferring to live with their families in Charleston or Savannah.

Hilton Head fell to the Union early in the Civil War and occupied the Confederate Ft. Walker throughout the duration of the war. After the war ended the troops and various fort attendees went home, leaving hundreds of freed slaves who had taken refuge there. Cut off from the mainland, a distinctive culture emerged among the people which became known as Gullah. The Gullah people worked small farms, fished and collected oysters from the plentiful beds surrounding the island. They made watertight baskets from local seagrass to carry their crops and treasures using techniques brought from Africa by their ancestors. Today many of the Gullah people support themselves by making these artisan baskets, which can sell for several hundred dollars in Savannah, Charleston and Hilton Head. A visit to the Coastal Discovery Museum is well worth the time for anyone interested in the island’s history and the Gullah culture.

Up until 1956 when the first bridge connecting the island to the mainland was built, Hilton Head was accessible only by boat or ferry. It was an undeveloped coastal locale covered in sky-high pines and majestic oaks dripping with Spanish moss (the trees having regrown to maturity after the plantation economy collapsed mostly because of the boll weevil plague on cotton). A group of investors called the Hilton Head Company bought the island and commenced logging operations. In 1956, Charles E. Fraser bought his father’s share of the company and began a long-term development project. A lawyer by profession, Fraser introduced something unheard of in its time, restrictive covenants designed to protect the natural environment. Fraser’s vision included building codes so that structures would blend seamlessly into the landscape, that no building could be taller than the surrounding trees. This vision is evident throughout the island where Hilton Head plantation style architecture now demands its own glory. There are many fine shopping areas, but you won’t find garish strip malls and even the big box stores are low key.



Hilton Head Island sports 12 miles of Atlantic Ocean facing beaches.

3. The Beach

Hilton Head beaches are wide, the sand soft enough to schooch into comfortably, yet hard enough to ride bicycles upon. The tide can be extreme, so if you want your spot right at the water’s edge, be willing to move up or down depending on the tidal changes. Gently sloped, many of the beaches have undulations that fill with water as the tide goes in and out, often revealing sandbars which you can swim out to. The offshore sandbars act something like a breakwater which brings milder wave action, but don’t be fooled—rip currents can be problematic under certain conditions. While you’re swimming, watch out for jellyfish and stingrays and the occasional shark. Lucky beachcombers can find a variety of shells, including whelks, sand dollars and cockles, while it’s not uncommon to see a horseshoe crab washed upon the shore.

With a very generous pet policy, Hilton Head beaches allow dogs all year long on or off leash (voice control) after 5 p.m. Dogs are allowed on the beach all day long during the off season between October 1 through March 31.

With 12 miles of Atlantic facing beaches, all of them open to the public from various access points, safety is a significant concern. Shore Beach Services offers lifeguards at various locations, along with chair and umbrella rentals, and you’ll often see their red jeeps patrolling the strand. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed at any time, nor are BBQ grills and fire pits, fireworks, driving motorized vehicles, or horseback riding.



Golf, tennis, boating, fishing, biking and other sports enhance the Hilton Head visitor experience.

4. The Active Life

It’s all here. Championship golf. World-class tennis. Sport fishing. These are the biggies that bring in thousands of visitors each year for tournaments both professional and amateur. You can golf two of the finest courses in the world from the Sea Pines Resort (Harbour Town Links and Heron Point). As for tennis, Hilton Head boasts 360 courts, though many of them are private. You can’t go wrong at the Van DerMeer Tennis Center with its indoor and outdoor courts and teaching professionals available year-around.

Fisherfolk love Hilton Head for its vast fishing opportunities from drop line, deep sea, sport fishing, surf fishing on the beach and even fly fishing in the marshes. Fishing boats leave from several locations around the island and charter boats are plentiful. If you only like watching sea life, rather than fishing it, you can take a dolphin excursion to view the dolphin who visit the waters of Hilton Head year around. Sailboats can be chartered or rented to capable sailors. Like to waterski? Take out a ski boat for an afternoon.

If you’re not into one of the big three mentioned above, never fear. Hilton Head is a veritable playground for active people. Explore the waterways and inlets around Hilton Head in a kayak; take to the sky in a parasail; rent a jet ski to skim across the sound; paddle board, surf or swim.

Cut throughout the island are walking and biking trails connecting beaches to the island center, through woods, marshland and housing plantations. You can rent bicycles at several locations throughout the island, or if you like the feel of the earth beneath your feet, rent inline or roller skates.

In 2012, ZipLine Hilton Head opened its first course, taking visitors on a two-hour zipline experience with eight lines over and through trees, across waterways and above the canopy.



Try something Southern while in Hilton Head, like the tomato pie and fried green tomatoes from Poseidon Coastal Cuisine

5. Dining and Nightlife

When you’ve played all day, you’ll need to refuel for another day. You must expect an island to excel in seafood and Hilton Head does it from heel to toe. Start with oysters. The muddy flats surrounding the marshes are rife with these briny treasures. Area restaurants offer them raw, streamed, broiled, smoked, roasted, fried and just about any way you can imagine. For an extensive selection of oysters try the Old Oyster Factory.

A destination with world-class resorts drawing international guests must have commensurate dining options. While Hilton Head restaurants have yet to earn a Michelin star, you’ll find gastronomic adventures to excite even the pickiest palate. Red Fish draws on Lowcountry heritage with what they call an eclectic blend of fresh seafood and steaks. They have one of the finest wine lists on the island, too. Frankie Bones brings classic Italian dining in an upscale, but not stuffy, atmosphere and an extensive menu of antipasto, seafood, beef, pork and pasta. For a take on French cuisine, try Charlie’s L’etoile Verte where American sensibilities meet French inspiration. Poseidon Coastal Cuisine over at Shelter Cove shakes it up with a fusion of international selections from firecracker pork and noodles, to San Francisco style cioppino, to Maryland style crab cakes.

Don’t leave Hilton Head without sampling some Lowcountry specialties such as tomato pie, fried catfish, Lowcountry boil (also known as Frogmore stew), and perloo. Head over to A Lowcountry Backyard for a stack of fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, potato chip meatloaf or island crab cakes. Wash it all down with moonshine punch. Décor is homey and family friendly, as are the prices.

Swing by Big Bamboo Café for entertainment featuring local, regional and national acts. The Jazz Corner was named among the “Top 100 Great Jazz Rooms” by Downbeat magazine and serves food and beverages until 11 p.m. Poseidon Coastal Cuisine is family friendly during the day, but its Rooftop Bar is one of the hottest spots for the younger crowd when the lights go dim. Daniel’s Steakhouse Tapas Bar and Nightclub stacks away the tables and chairs after dinner for a DJ powered dance party. Comedy Magic Cabaret bills its comedy review as “funny, not filthy.” The upscale showroom has a full bar with a menu of appetizers and desserts. You can expect fabulous mixology all over Hilton Head Island, with signature cocktails, small batch spirits and craft brews.

Getting There

Hilton Head is about halfway between NY and Miami. While there’s a small airport on the island offering limited passenger service, most visitors prefer to fly into Savannah and rent a car or hop on a shuttle for a 45 minute ride into Hilton Head.

Mobile mammography center to visit Hilton Head

The Island Packet
By Staff Reports
Online Article Here

The BelkGives on the Go Mobile Mammography Center, a screening center on wheels, will stop next month at the Belk stores on Hilton Head Island, according to a news release.

The free mammogram screenings will be offered from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 14 at Shelter Cove Towne Centre.

Women age 40 and over with no breast concerns, who have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months and have a primary care physician are eligible.

After receiving their mammograms, women also can visit the Intimate Apparel area in Belk to receive complimentary bra fittings.

All screening exams are performed by Charlotte Radiology’s licensed, female mammography-certified technologists. A board-certified radiologist, specialized in breast imaging, will interpret the mammogram. Confidential results will be sent to the patient and her primary care physician.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 855-655-2662.

The 5 Best Live Music Spots in the Lowcountry

South Magazine
By Barry Kaufman
Online Article Here

Most people wouldn’t associate the Lowcountry of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton with a killer live music scene. And that’s understandable – just across the river, Savannah stands tall on its reputation forged by great names like Johnny Mercer and sustained by the world-famous Savannah Music Festival. And just a few hours north, Charleston has been carrying a musical tradition since its namesake dance blew up in the 1920s. Today, it’s ground zero for a thriving indie scene.

But in between those two musical meccas, Hilton Head Island and Bluffton are emerging as musical powerhouses with a healthy local scene and venues welcoming artists from all over the world.

The Jazz Corner

The elder statesman of island music has to be The Jazz Corner, founded in 1999 and rightfully named one of the top “100 Great Jazz Rooms” in the world by DOWNBEAT Magazine. A rotating lineup of local regulars complements an outstanding array of touring groups and Grammy-winning jazz acts at a place where the atmosphere is timelessly hip and the cuisine is just as pulse-pounding as the music.

The Tiki Hut

The Tiki Hut is one of those venues that doesn’t need to hang its reputation on its musical acts, but does anyway. Not that you need any more of a reason to hang out by the shore watching coeds play beach volleyball and sipping on some outstanding frozen drinks, but the rotation of musical acts here is superb. The brisk tourist season on-island attracts some top-shelf talent, and this is where they go to play in the sun.

The Boardroom

Those talented musicians, drawn here by steady work during the tourist season, have coalesced into a tight-knit family, and few venues have championed them as well as The Boardroom. During the summer or year-round you’ll find some of the best local acts playing out front of the ultra-hip lounge tucked away just around the back of the infamous Bar-muda Triangle (note: You may hear the young whippersnappers refer to this area as “Tribar.” The name goes back to when there were only three bars there. If you really wanted to get into semantics it should be a quadrabar).

The Rooftop Bar at Poseidon

The newest venue staking its claim in the lively Hilton Head Island music scene is the Rooftop Bar at Poseidon. Part of the complete reinvention of Shelter Cove Towne Center, this venue offers amazing views across Broad Creek and a stellar lineup of local and touring musicians.

The Roasting Room

That’s not to say Hilton Head is the only place helping build a thriving music scene. Off-island, The Roasting Room (so called because it sits above a coffee shop) is amassing a huge reputation for its live acts. Custom-built with floating floors and walls and insulation to be damn near acoustically perfect, The Roasting Room is proving popular with a slew of regional acts, bringing some huge names in music to this sleepy little river town.

Have you been to Hilton Head Island or Bluffton to check out a show? Share your story in the comments below.

Hilton Head named top 10 US island to visit this winter

The Island Packet
By Mandy Matney
Online Article Here

Locals know how great winter is in the Lowcountry, and travel experts are sharing the secret.

Fodor’s Travel experts listed Hilton Head Island as a top ten U.S. island to beat the blues this winter on an MSN article.

Catalina Island, Calif., Key West, Fla., South Padre, Texas, and Amelia Island, Fla. were others listed.

The travel website recommended taking a swing at the golf courses, biking the beach, and kayaking for the active travelers or and catching a performance at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina for those art lovers.

Recently, Hilton Head Island was named the No. 7 “Happiest Seaside Town” in America for 2017 by Coastal Living magazine Friday.

Last year, TripAdvisor ranked Hilton Head Island number 6 on the list of top 10 U.S. Islands in the U.S. Condé Nast Traveler named Hilton Head Island the No. 3 Island in the U.S. as a part of the magazine’s annual Readers' Choice Awards.


Daddy-Daughter Dance set at Poseidon Rooftop Bar

The Island Packet
By Staff Reports
Online Article Here

Poseidon Rooftop Bar will hold its Daddy-Daughter Dance from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 4, according to a news release.

This year’s theme centers around “A Sweet Evening,” a Candy Land-inspired night. Dads and daughters are invited to dance, indulge at the candy bar and take photos at the selfie station. Whitney Boring will take professional portraits at the event.

Poseidon is also offering a dinner discount to those with Daddy-Daughter tickets. The dance is not limited to dads. Grandparents, big brothers and family friends are all invited.

Poseidon Rooftop Bar is located at 38 Shelter Cove Lane #120, Hilton Head Island.

Pre-sale ticket prices end at 6 p.m. Feb. 3. Pre-sale prices are $25 per couple, $10 for additional children. Tickets at the door are $30 per couple, $15 for additional children. Tickets are available online at www.islandreccenter.org or stop by The Rec Office at 20 Wilborn Road, Hilton Head Island.

2017 Chamber Restaurant Week in Hilton Head, Bluffton: Locations, menus, prices

The Island Packet
By Mandy Matney and Kelly Davis
Online Article Here

Chamber Restaurant Week 2017 on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton runs from Jan. 21 through Jan. 28.

Here is information, including advertised fixed entree prices and links to maps and menus — where available — for participating restaurants.

Curious about conditions in the kitchen? You can check health department inspection restaurants going back a year here.


Bistro 17

Phone: 843-785-5517

Address (click/tap for map): 17D Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC


ELA’S Blu Water Grille

Entree summary: Pork tenderloin, scallops

Price: $35 / 5 courses, $55 / 5 courses with wine pairings


Phone: 843-785-3030

Address (click/tap for map): 1 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC



Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta Shelter Cove


Phone: 843-785-4144

Address (click/tap for map): 32 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC


Jane Bistro and Bar


Phone: 843-686-5696

Address (click/tap for map): 28 Shelter Cove Lane Unit 109, HHI


Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill

Entree summary: lamb, shrimp, scallops, grouper, mahi mahi, salmon,

Price: $30 / 3 courses


Phone: 843-842-9991

Address (click/tap for map): 13 Harbourside Lane, Unit B, Hilton Head Island, SC


Poseidon Coastal Cuisine Rooftop Bar


Phone: 843-341-3838

Address (click/tap for map): 38 Shelter Cove Lane, Suite 121 Shelter Cove Towne Center, Hilton Head Island, SC


Wayback Burgers


Phone: 843-785-2650

Address (click/tap for map): 32 Shelter Cove Lane #150, Hilton Head Island, SC