The Snowbirds of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina


There is a certain light quality that prevails during winter in the Lowcountry. Crisp, golden, illuminating…it reveals whatever was indistinct through the long hot haze of summer. Those who live on Hilton Head year-round, or who visit during the off-season, can appreciate things the typical tourist may not.

For example, the grandeur of the marsh grass dying back: it stretches away like a vast plain of gold, interspersed with cobalt waters, as though someone had thrown an exquisite gilded tapestry over the land. Or how about oysters? Winter is the season of oyster roasts, a charming Lowcountry pastime that brings friends together over cold beer and slimy mollusks with horseradish.

Many things that seemed too intense during the sweltering heat are happily enjoyed in winter-bike rides, long beach walks, and explorations of the forest. Gone (mostly) are the ticks, snakes, poison ivy and chiggers that made hiking in summer less desirable. Birds that spent the last few months “Up North” are now arriving to repopulate the little hammocks and islands, giving ornithologists plenty to observe. Even in the dead of January, an unexpected warm day may dredge up an alligator from his depths to bask in the midday sun.

There have been Christmases warm enough for boat rides, and New Year’s Eves suitable for celebrating outdoors. February 14 may be so cold and rainy that you have no choice but to cuddle before a fire with your sweetheart, or it may be perfect for a picnic. You never know in the subtropics.

Despite the popularity of Hilton Head’s resorts in summer, there is a select segment of the population who are in on the secret of winter. Year-after-year, they leave the dismal cold “Up North,” trading parkas for windbreakers and snow shovels for sunhats. While Southerners are shivering in their snake boots, these so-called “snowbirds” are walking around in flip-flops and shorts, inhaling the balmy air.

Some vacationers have even more specific reasons for making the migration. Brenda Neurell of Philadelphia has been coming to Palmetto Dunes with her husband every January and February for the last 10 years. They have only one thing on their minds. “We are tennis players and that is the main reason we come down here,” she explained. “Everything else is secondary. If we can’t play tennis, we’re not happy campers.”

They’ll never be unhappy campers as long as they keep returning to Palmetto Dunes. With 23 clay and two Nova ProBounce courts, eight of which are lighted for night play, top-notch tennis buffs are understandably attracted, meaning the competition stays friendly but fierce. In fact, PD’s rating as an “outstanding facility,” according to a trusted tennis book, was what first drew the Neurell family to the area. Other factors kept them coming back.

“It seems like there’s a camaraderie that exists with the people here,” said Neurell. “Everyone’s very friendly, and the receptionists at the tennis courts are always helpful and glad to see us. We’ve really grown fond of them, and they’ve grown fond of us.”

Above and beyond tennis, the Neurells enjoy Hilton Head’s shopping, dining, ocean views and bird life. Occasionally, they’ll visit Savannah or Fripp Island, or they’ll go out to the movies. And of course, the weather is a tremendous plus: “When we left Philadelphia on the last day of January,” Neurell said, “there was three or four feet of snow on the ground. Then we got to Hilton Head and it was clear and warm; the contrast was night and day. We’ve already made arrangements for this February.

“We have the best of both worlds,” she continued. “We have the spring, summer and fall in Philadelphia, which is nice. Then we come down here and rent a place in winter, and by the time we go back in March, the weather’s starting to change and we’re outside again.

“We always look forward to coming down,” Neurell said. “The people at Palmetto Dunes have been very accommodating and cordial. They try to give us whatever we want, and we really appreciate that.”

by: Michele Roldan-Shaw


Hilton Head Tides


Our coast experiences two high and two low tides daily. They are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and (to a lesser extent) the sun and the earth’s rotation. One high tide occurs when our location rotates past the moon. The other high tide occurs when we are on the opposite side of the earth from the moon, and is caused by centrifugal force.

A “spring tide” occurs at every full moon and every new moon, and this is when the high tides are higher than normal. Halfway between new and full moons, the sun and moon are at right angles working against each other, and cause less tide movement. Tides at this time are called “neap tides.”

South Atlantic Bight

Our location on the Atlantic coast provides a unique tide system. We have an average 8-foot difference between high and low tides (10 feet during “spring tides”). The South Atlantic Bight is a dramatic curve in the coast from Cape Hatteras to the Florida Keys. The Georgia-South Carolina border is the center of this curve, and receives the greatest tide effects as the rising water is pushed into the smallest point (like a funnel). The diagram will show a comparison of differences between high and low tide at several points in the South Atlantic Bight.

On the Atlantic coast, our area has the second highest tidal difference after the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia.

Intertidal Zone

The section of the beach that is between low and high tides is home to burrowing mollusks and crustaceans. They are provided oxygen by the tide action. Coquina clams, ghost shrimp and jackknife clams leave their trademarks of siphons and holes they use for breathing. Sand dollars are prolific just under the sand. They are filter feeders, eating the sediments brought in by the waves. The burrowing mole crabs, butterfly clams and surf clams are eaten by willets, sanderlings and red knots (shorebirds). So tides create a habitat for these creatures which, in turn, provide food for shorebirds.

Sand Flats

Underwater sand flats beyond the low-tide line provide habitat for many of the crabs, whelks, sea stars, sea cucumbers and marine worms-which wash ashore with the incoming tides.

Green Soup

The drab green nutrient-rich ocean water on our coast is perfectly described by Todd Ballantine in his book Tideland Treasure as “nature soup. Teeming with the essential elements for life, the brackish bouillabaisse provides the  foundation for a broad foodweb that supports shrimp, crabs, oysters, fish, dolphins, shorebirds and so much more.”

Receding Tides

Receding tides leave interesting tidepools in small depressions in the sand. In the tidepools, I have seen sea stars (starfish), jellyfish, small fish, live whelks, sea pansies, a variety of birds feeding and bathing, and children using them as baby pools.

Incoming Tides

Incoming tides carry shrimp and red drum larvae into the tidal creeks and estuaries which provide protection from the predators in the ocean. We refer to these estuaries as “nurseries” for this reason.

Who would have thought that tides could have such an effect on life?

  • High tides are 12 hours and 25 minutes apart.
  • Two high tides and two low tides occur every 24 hours and 50 minutes.

For more photos and information about local nature, visit Dianne Faucette

Hilton Head Realtors from Dunes Marketing Group in Action!


Dunes Marketing Group agents and employees give back to our lowcountry community in many ways. Here are a few of their stories:

Pleasant Palmetto Dunes

New landscapes, signs and trees greet residents and visitors to Palmetto Dunes Resort as they drive along Queens Folly Road. It’s happening by design-actually by the Design and Image Committee, chaired by DMG Realtor Mary Woynerowski.

Shortly after her election in 2008 to the board of the Palmetto Dunes Property Owners Association, Woynerowski was asked to chair the committee. Design and Review committee responsibilities include updating the look of signs and landscaping in Palmetto Dunes.

Signage was re-designed to be consistent and easier to read, providing an improved experience for visitors and better flow of traffic. The Queens Folly median shows off fresh landscape designs created with native plantings and seasonal color. With safety in mind, low plantings replaced mature greenery, giving motorists a clear line of sight at intersections. Funds for these enhancements come from the one-quarter percent transfer fee on the sale of properties in the resort.

“This is a way for me have an influence on the appearance of my community and help to maintain it as desirable a place to live as possible,” Woynerowski said. “It makes my job as a Realtor easier and helps to guarantee the investment that my clients make when they purchase property here.”

Visit the Property Owners Association at pdpoa.org for information on community resources, amenities, and more.

Bogie’s New Home

DMG’s MLS coordinator Deb Spencer and her husband Brad just adopted a new family member-a Chihuahua-poodle mix dog. Bogie, named after Humphrey Bogart, joins two other pups named Sophia Loren and Valentino. (Notice the classic actor theme.)

Deb fell in love with a Chihuahua posted on the Hilton Head Humane Association’s Facebook page. She and Brad visited the dog in person, but he was recovering from surgery. Then they spotted a little ragamuffin in the main lobby. Deb’s first reaction was, “Oh my gosh! He has to be the ugliest little critter I’ve ever laid eyes on.” Someone put him in her arms, and moments later the paperwork was in process to take him home.

The Humane Association is a haven for lost and homeless animals where they receive medical treatment, exercise and loving attention. Over 250 abandoned animals from Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Daufuskie live at the shelter until they are adopted.

To volunteer your time, make a donation or find your new pet, call (843) 681-8686 or visit online at hhhumane.org.

Realtor Leadership Summit

John Robinson, DMG Realtor and Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors president-elect, traveled to Chicago along with the Association’s executive director Jean Beck to attend the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) annual Leadership Summit.

Thousands of Realtors from across the USA attended the two-day event, which included leadership presentations and motivational ideas from many of NAR’s executive staff and the incoming NAR president Moe Veissi. Sportscaster Dick Vitale and journalist Don Yeager inspired the gathering with their keynote address.

“I’ve never attended such an awe-inspiring event,” Robinson said. “The summit was presented in such a professional manner; it makes me proud to be a Realtor.”

Members of NAR operate by a code of ethics created to protect the public. For more information, visit realtor.org.

Hilton Head Birds put on a show


Bird watching happens every day at many levels, from the casual observer to the backyard enthusiast to the binocular-wearing bird seeker. Hilton Head Island and Palmetto Dunes present a birdwatcher’s paradise, thanks to decades of conservation practices on the island and in the Lowcountry.

“Preserving trees and green space create diverse habitats for bird nesting and protection not seen in other resort communities,” explained Natalie Hefter, president of the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society (HHIAS). The diverse habitats translate to over 200 bird species that take up residence or migrate through the Lowcountry each year.

The Audubon Society’s local chapter works to promote awareness and appreciation of nature and to protect wildlife and natural ecosystems through education, advocacy and guided tours. The local monthly meetings held at Honey Horn Plantation are open to the public and provide a great way to enhance your knowledge of nature.

Bird residents and visitors

While some of our feathered residents fly south for the winter, many remain. The Brown Pelican and Osprey spend the entire year here. The Brown Pelican dives from the sky onto ocean fish, snatching prey with its bill and pouch. In contrast, the Osprey dives from up high, pulling up at the last moment to plunge its strong legs and talons into the water to catch its fish dinner. Feeding techniques are one way to begin identifying birds.

Just like our human “snowbirds,” new bird visitors arrive from the north to enjoy our moderate temperatures and plentiful food supply. These winter residents include the Piping Plover and the Yellow-Rumped Warbler, affectionately known as a “Butter Butt” because of its noticeable yellow rump. You can easily spot the Warbler flitting along roadways collecting the scattered seeds from pinecones, conveniently crushed by passing vehicles.

Fall also brings transient migrating bird species, which are more challenging to become familiar with because of their short stay. Sandpipers and the American Redstart pass through to feed and rest before continuing their journey. The American Redstart feeds on insects, attracting them by fanning its bright orange tail and wing feathers.

Backyard birds

Virginia Cutler, co-owner of Wild Birds Unlimited, guides area residents who enjoy backyard feeders. During October, people report that birds seem to have abandoned their feeders. “Once the acorns begin to fall, that’s our signal that all Mother Nature’s food is ripe, including the nuts, berries and grains,” Cutler said. “The birds will leave the feeders and concentrate on Mother Nature’s food.” Come December, they have depleted the majority of the natural food supply. The birds then return to the feeders, eager for their offerings. “Water is the most important thing you can do for birds and you can do that all year,” Cutler said.

Christmas bird count

Each year between December 14 and January 5, ordinary citizens across North and Central America become citizen-scientists for the day. The Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) provides a fabulous way to study bird populations and participate in important conservation efforts. Data gathered helps create strategies to protect birds and can identify environmental issues affecting people, too.

CBC dates for the Lowcountry, including Palmetto Dunes and Hilton Head Island, will be posted on the HHIAS website shortly. No previous experience necessary as teams work together. Consider spending a day helping take a snapshot of the birds in our area, which will guide conservation efforts in our community.

Next time a bird flies past your window, stop and take a moment to follow the flight path. Feeling curious? You’re a bird watcher now.

For more information on the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society visit hiltonheadaudubon.org.

The Cost of Waiting to Buy on Hilton Head Island


Each year, over 2.5 million visitors cross the bridge to Hilton Head Island for a vacation. Many return year-after-year, and many decide to stay. If you are one of those people who can envision a life here, it’s time to claim your piece of paradise.

According to Bill Baldwin, Dunes Marketing Group’s director of sales and marketing, many purchasers have been sitting on the fence, waiting for home prices to hit bottom. While he acknowledges that prices may still have some room to fall, he says waiting may not be the best financial decision. Here’s why.

The cost of a house is made up of the price and the interest rates the buyer will be paying, Baldwin explained. Recent reports from Freddie Mac indicate that 30-year fixed mortgage rates are likely to continue to rise, meaning that purchasers waiting on the sidelines are going to be paying more in the future.

“Even if prices fall another 10 percent this year, the cost of a home will increase if interest rates go up more than 1 percent,” Baldwin said. “Buyers should not worry where prices are going. They should be concerned where costs will be later in the year.”

Here’s what that means:

Price is same, but cost is higher

      Date                          Loan Amount             Interest Rate         Monthly Payment

      Today                                        ,000                     5.05                          ,835.60

      Nov., 2010                                 ,000                    4.17                          ,656.72

      Difference in mortgage payments :                                                .88

 The truth about real estate

According to Baldwin, scary headlines about the housing market are likely to prevail in the coming months, but they will not accurately portray what is happening in real estate. “While it is impossible to ignore the media blitz, shine a bright light in that corner and you will see that the monster is not so dangerous after all,” he said.

One of the biggest misconceptions in today’s housing market is that homes are not selling. That simply is not true, Baldwin said. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes are selling nationally at an annual rate of 5.10 million-that’s an average of 13,973 every day.

The monthly pending sales report, which measures the number of houses going into contract each month, has increased in six of the last nine months. Since last June, pending home sales have posted an overall gain of 24 percent, demonstrating that the market is recovering on its own. “The index means modest near-term gains in existing home sales are likely,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

Hilton Head Island community sales are up slightly in 2011 from 2010 and prices are down about 10 percent, Baldwin said.

Who says it’s time to buy?

Baldwin is not the only one who believes the timing is right for buyers. Billionaire hedge fund operator and investment genius John Paulson, who made a killing betting against housing a few years ago, is now bullish on the residential real estate market. “If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own one home, buy another one. If you own two homes, buy a third. And lend your relatives the money to buy a home,” Paulson said.

America’s most famous real estate guru agrees. “I’m pretty sure this is a great time to go out and buy a house,” said Donald Trump. “And if you do, in 10 years, you’re going to look back and say ‘You know, I’m glad I listened to Donald Trump.'”

Added value

But future financial gain is not the sole motivator for buying now. “What we have to offer is a way of life-rare, highly sought-after and ultimately in short supply. Every day you wait is a missed opportunity to enjoy what we have here,” Baldwin said, citing the natural beauty, subtropical climate, fabulous amenities and wealth of conveniences.

Often billed as the nation’s first environmentally sensitive, “eco-planned” resort, in spite of its steady growth, Hilton Head remains a haven for nature lovers. Dominated by magnificent moss-draped oaks and leafy palmettos, there is a sense of serenity here like no other resort community in the world.

“Sure, we have a Wal-Mart here now. And that’s a good thing. But you go there and you park under a canopy of ancient oak trees. That’s pretty cool,” said Baldwin, a Hilton Head resident for over 30 years. “It’s really no surprise that Fox News recently named Hilton Head Island the “Number One Beach Community in the U.S.” and that Palmetto Dunes was named “Number one Family Vacation Spot” by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Whether you’re looking for a vacation home, part-time residence or a place to retire, now is the time to secure your place in the sun. What are you waiting for?

Ask the Broker on Hilton Head Real Estate


Dunes Marketing Group Director of Sales and Marketing, Bill Baldwin, has 30 years of experience in the Lowcountry real estate market. We recently caught up with him to chat about property on Hilton Head.

Q: Why is this a good time to buy real estate?

A: Prices are significantly lower than just a few years ago. Buyers today are getting a bargain considering our previously historically high appreciation. Interest rates are still historically low but going up steadily. As the rates go up, so do the monthly payments on the principal balance. Presently the buyer’s dollars go further than they will in the near future. In other words, buyers get more house now for the monthly payment required.

Another good reason to buy now is selection. Not long ago there were far fewer properties for sale. Some areas in the local resorts didn’t have any property for sale. This was especially true in the villa market. Today buyers have choice.

Q: Often we hear about Home Warranties. How do they work for buyers and sellers?

A: Dunes Marketing Group offers Home Warranties for both buyers and sellers. The policy covers the Seller during the listing period and covers the Buyer for one year after closing on their new property. While the policy has some limitations, most of the items that usually fail in a home are covered. There is a small deductible but essentially the insurance company arranges for the repairs to be quickly completed and pays for same.

Home Warranties are good for both sellers and buyers as they offer our clients piece of mind regarding the condition of their properties.

Q: What are the most common mistakes sellers make when listing their property?

A: Overpricing is the worst mistake. Other critical mistakes sellers make are not preparing their property to show well and making it difficult for Realtors to access their property.

Q: With so many wonderful properties and communities to choose from in our area, how do potential buyers narrow down their choices?

A: First off, buyers need to work with an experienced and knowledgeable Realtor. This way they can save time and learn quickly what their options may be. The next issue is price. Many of our communities could be outside their reach. However, there is probably something for everyone in the Lowcountry. The key is to find the right Realtor and simply get started. The process is really much simpler than it seems.

Arts Center of Coastal Carolina 2011 – 2012 Season


Broadway classics, modern musicals, big laughs and plenty of dance headline the Arts Center 2011/2012 new season. The People’s Choice lineup is a mix of recent Broadway gems and modern comedy classics, including Dreamgirls, followed by The Drowsy Chaperone, Lend Me a Tenor and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The sounds of British pop get the spotlight next summer, with Shout! The Mod Musical.

“This season is going to be really special,” said Kathleen Bateson, president and CEO of the Arts Center. “We’re excited, because all of these shows are brand new to the Arts Center. They’ve never been produced here, and it’s a great opportunity to create something fresh and exciting.”

Also new this year will be a special two-week run of Driving Miss Daisy, March 17-April 1, 2012. The run is shorter than most Arts Center productions, because it’s not part of the regular five-show theater season. But Bateson said she could not pass up mounting the Pulitzer-winning play.

The theater season kicks off with the Arts Center premiere of the Broadway smash Dreamgirls (Sept. 28-Oct. 23), a look at the backstage lives of the popular Dreams-the hottest girl group in the 1960s and ’70s. The show will be directed by Arts Center favorite, Casey Colgan (Les Miserables, My Fair Lady). Winner of six Tonys and two Grammys, Dreamgirls, featuring the hits “One Night Only,” “I Am Changing” and the classic “And I am Telling You …,” is a worldwide phenomenon that the Los Angeles Times called “groundbreaking.”

For the holidays, the Arts Center presents The Drowsy Chaperone (Dec. 7-31). Inventive, fast-paced and delirious, Chaperoneis an homage to the zany musicals of the 1920s. The hilarious show-within-a-show goes inside the head of a Broadway fanatic as he plays his favorite cast album, a 1928 smash hit called The Drowsy Chaperone, and the show magically bursts to life. Audiences are instantly immersed in the glamorous, hilarious tale of a celebrity bride and her uproarious wedding day, featuring dames, thugs, mix-ups, mayhem and madcap fun.

Winter will heat up with humor, as Lend Me a Tenor brings its unique blend of fast-paced laughs Feb. 7-26, 2012. Winner of two Tony Awards, Time Out New York called it “the most howlingly funny laugh machine to hit Broadway in years!” It’s 1934, and Cleveland’s premiere opera producer is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The tickets are sold and the stage is set, but it’s about to become un disastro gigantesco, because the leading man-the greatest tenor in the world-has gone missing in this hijinks-fueled farce that will have audiences laughing in the aisles.

Fresh off a smash-hit, Tony-nominated Broadway revival, How to Succeed… arrives at the Arts Center April 25-May 27, 2012. The comedy classic, recently named to Entertainment Weekly’s “Top 13 Funniest Broadway Musicals” (along with Drowsy Chaperone)-follows wily window washer J. Pierrepont Finch and his riotous rise up the corporate ladder. Can he get the promotion, the corner office and the girl?

“The show is fresh and exciting and a perfect fit for today. But most of all, it’s hilarious. People are going to have a blast,” Bateson said.

The season ends with a jukebox flashback: Shout! The Mod Musical, June 19-July 29, 2012. The rockin’, rollickin’ show looks back at the music of the British wave of the 1960s. With a score full of hits-“To Sir With Love,” “Downtown,” “Say You Love Me,” “Son of a Preacher Man” and more-you won’t want to miss this winking nod to the era of miniskirts and go-go boots.

Subscribe today and save on all five shows with a Full-Season Plan or the -off Full-Season Preview Plan, which features one ticket to each of the preview performances of the five shows. Or, if you prefer, purchase the Flex Plan, which includes five tickets that can be redeemed in any fashion-one per the five shows or in any other combination you choose.

Subscribers also get a bonus off a ticket to Driving Miss Daisy. Along with advanced seat selection, you’ll also receive other discounted ticket prices, coupons and free ticket exchange. Call (843) 842-ARTS or visit artshhi.com for details.

Hilton Head Island Welcomes 2012


The New Year is here and this will be a year of changes on Hilton Head Island that will not only continue important traditions, but also usher in significant improvements to enhance our island lifestyle.  Coming in April 2012 will be the inaugural RBC Heritage golf tournament, which will be the continuation of our PGA professional golf event that has been a part of life on Hilton Head for over 40 years.  Joining the Royal Bank of Canada in sponsoring this prestigious event will be Boeing, now a major employer in South Carolina with the opening of its new “Dreamliner” aircraft manufacturing plant in North Charleston.

Also this year will be the beginning of big changes at The Mall at Shelter Cove, which is scheduled for partial demolition in 2012 and will be replaced with open air, “pavilion style” shopping arranged in clusters throughout the property, including new stores with waterfront vistas overlooking Broad Creek.  Belk will continue as a major anchor, and also announced as a major anchor store will be Kroger, giving residents of “mid island” Hilton Head their first new grocery shopping experience in years.

In addition to the above, the Hilton Oceanfront Resort will be converting to an upscale Omni Hotel with major renovations announced for that property and the Bloody Point Golf Course on Daufuskie Island will reopen after an extensive “face lift” overseen by Davis Love III.  There are also numerous renovations planned for commercial projects that are currently going through planning board review with the Town of Hilton Head and the entire island is “gearing up” for what is expected to be a very busy tourist season! 

Looks like 2012 is going to be a fantastic year on Hilton Head Island so plan your visit now!  We look forward to seeing you here soon!

Living on Hilton Head Island


So, what’s it like living in a resort? That is a question I have been asked at least 575,000 times over the two decades I have been a permanent resident of Hilton Head Island. I neither sell real estate nor work for the Chamber of Commerce, but I have a passionate attachment to the island I call home and enjoy talking about it.

I have answered that question many different ways. My response depends on how it is posed. If the motivation seems to be pure curiosity, I respond by saying that we live in a small town where people are so friendly they stop to chat at the post office; yet we are surrounded by beauty and have access to amenities created for the two-million-plus people who visit here each year-golf courses, tennis facilities, restaurants and entertainment.   

When fitness buffs and nature lovers ask the question, I go off about the thrill of running on the beach at sunrise, kayaking on Broad Creek, the grandeur of sunsets over Calibogue Sound and the never-to-be-taken-for-granted beauty of the stately oaks that frame Plantation Drive in Sea Pines.

The romantics hear about my favorite secluded picnic spots on the beach, the multitude of intimate restaurants, places to dance the night away and all the outdoor cafés by the water, from South Beach to Skull Creek.

To visitors contemplating moving to the island, I explain that the ambiance of our resort attracts professional men and women and former CEOs who have been successful and have chosen to live here. Their presence accounts for why our resort community has many more chiefs than Indians.

We are not a typical small Southern town either. There are too many Northeastern and Midwestern accents. In small Southern towns, the families who have been there for generations are the ones who run the show. Everyone who lives on our resort island is from somewhere else. Status is not measured by longevity.

However, living here for over 20 years gives me the right to squawk about things I do not like. I feel justified to complain about how long it takes to get from one end of the island to the other during tourist season and what a chore it is to wait in line for a table in a restaurant during the summer.

But no one listens. My friends who live far away on the other side of the bridge do not have the slightest speck of sympathy for the trials of being a permanent tourist on Hilton Head Island. They simply lift an eyebrow and trudge off to my guest room to change clothes for the fifth sport of the day. “You live in paradise,” they say.

Yes, we do live in paradise. Our lifestyle is enchanting and our surroundings magnificent. Living in a resort is pure magic.

By: Scottie Davis

Scottie Davis conducts one day and overnight motorcoach trips to explore the world around Hilton Head-Weekend Get-Aways on a Tank of Gas, www.scottiedavis.com; (843) 681-1900.

Hilton Head Oysters put on a Water Show


My children, Lauren and Kyle, are fortunate to be “natives” of Hilton Head Island.  Growing up on the island has given them the opportunity for many adventures.  On one of the island’s many awesome days, Doug and I loaded our van and we all set out for a family day of kayaking and fun, another adventure time!

Doug, Lauren, Kyle and I were excited to paddle our kayaks from a tidal creek to the sound area located between South Beach Marina, the home of the “Salty Dog” and Harbour Town Marina where the famed island lighthouse can be found.  At the end of the creek at the mouth of the sound, we beached our kayaks and played on the small area of beach on “Oyster Island”.  (You will have a hard time finding “Oyster Island” on an island map since Lauren and Kyle discovered it and named it that day.)  We had fun swimming, exploring, basking in the sun and having lunch on our new island.  When it was time to head home, we boarded our kayaks and paddled back to the dock.  But as we approached the dock, we realized it was low tide and our dock was not reachable.  I have heard stories of tough times being stranded at low tide but our dilemma ended up instead being quite a delight!

As the tide went out, oysters hidden by the water were now left sticking up into dry air.  Oysters are filter feeders drawing water in over their gills.  They suck water in and then they spit the water out.  Now that the oysters were showing, we had the most awesome water show!  Every direction we turned, an oyster was spitting.  It was almost like the automated fountains that shoot water up from different spots as children run through the water but it was better.  It was fantastic!  Just imagine sharing this marvel of nature with your young children.

After the show, we docked at a neighboring dock after walking carefully through a little mud avoiding oyster shells.  Lauren and Kyle of course liked the mud!  And pulling up to someone’s dock is similar to dropping in to say hello.

It was just another wonderful day in paradise.  I hope you get to see an oyster spit one day.  Please let me know when you do.