Family Oriented Charter Fishing on Hilton Head Island


There’s a new charter fishing boat in town! True Grits, a 34-foot Fitz Fly Bridge Sport Fish with a distinctive red hull, is now docked at Shelter Cove Marina for near-shore and offshore, family fishing fun. The boat is owned by Hilton Head Sportfishing, LLC which also owns the beloved charter fishing boat, Gullah Gal.

“I found the boat docked in Naples, Fla.,” said Captain Jeff Kline, owner. “It was a wreck-rusty metal, soft spots in the hull, and no engine. It had seen better days.”

But, after a complete bow to stern refurbishment by Michael Fitz, the man who originally built the boat in 1988, True Grits underwent a sea odyssey, traveling from the west coast of Florida through the canals of Lake Okeechobee and up the Intracoastal Waterway to find its new home at Shelter Cove Marina.

As a fan of the classic John Wayne movie, Kline named the boat True Grits, also playing with the acronym for Girls Raised in the South (Kline has twin four-year-old girls).

“We specialize in family fishing,” Kline said. “Kids and moms love the boat because we have a lot of shade and a bathroom and shelter if there is inclement weather. Younger kids particularly like our evening shark trips (usually 5:30-8:30 p.m.). It’s a great three-hour introduction to fishing, and there’s a lot of action in a short time. The sharks are big enough to give a good fight, but small enough to touch, hold and pose for pictures.”

True Grits is a wonderful boat for families,” said Ruth Tubbs of Georgia. “It’s open and wide and stable. When I took my five-year-old fishing, I had no worries that he would be safe.”

Fishing trips range from the three-hour evening shark trip to a more challenging and a bit more hardcore eight-hour trip, which can include fishing for barracuda, cobia, king mackerel, and yes, even 1,000-pound tiger sharks all in the same trip.

“We’ve received some great reviews on Trip Advisor.com from our guests who’ve fished on the Gullah Gal, the sister boat toTrue Grits,” said Kline. With only 10 trips on its log, the positive reviews have already begun for the Grits. Kate Kelly of Cleveland, Ohio, who reeled in a 30-pound red fish said, “What a rush!” She is already planning a return trip with her kids.

So stroll along the docks of Shelter Cove Harbour. Check out the cool shops and restaurants, listen to Shannon Tanner and enjoy the Tuesday night fireworks. While you’re there, stop on by to see the new boat in town-the red hulled True Grits. Book a trip to see what the excitement is all about.

By: Shannon Mason 

True Grits is docked at the first dock in Shelter Cove Marina (“A” Dock). Trips can be arranged through the Ship’s Store at the marina (843) 842-7001. For more information, visit HiltonHeadIslandCharterFishing.com

Live the Dream on Hilton Head Island


Paradise. Dictionaries define it as a place of extreme beauty and delight; a place of peace, happiness and complete bliss. While many people consider paradise an otherworldly place, existent only in their dreams, I have a more earthly view. You see, I found paradise the day I moved to Hilton Head Island. It has been 27 years since my dream came true, and not a moment passes that I don’t thank my lucky stars for guiding me to this special place I call home.

Welcome to my world.

It’s no accident that Hilton Head Island entices. As one of the world’s first “eco-planned” communities, it has become an international model for environmentally sensitive planning and design. That’s because visionary, Charles Fraser, founder of Sea Pines, had the foresight to develop the land thoughtfully with a goal to preserve and enhance its natural beauty. Thanks to his steadfast commitment and the wisdom of our Town leaders hence, land development is closely monitored to control growth and protect our precious resources. Buildings and signs must meet strict design standards to blend with the environment (Yes, we have a Wal Mart here, but it is not visible from the main highway.); and instead of obnoxious billboards and gaudy neon signs lining our streets, we have moss-draped oaks, towering pines, waving palms, and a year round floral parade. No wonder so many visitors declare love at first sight!

But to me, paradise is much more than a place of beauty. It’s a feeling. No matter where I go-to dazzling cities, historic landmarks, foreign lands, exotic islands and other world class resorts-when I return home and cross the bridge to Hilton Head Island, I am immediately enveloped by a sense of peace. Ask any islander and he or she will tell you the same: There is an indescribable serenity to life here that must be experienced to be explained.

What makes Hilton Head Island so special?

Many of the amenities that make Hilton Head Island a great place to visit also make it a fantastic place to live. Obvious draws include pristine beaches, manicured golf courses, immaculate tennis facilities, full-service marinas, fabulous shopping and a vast array of dining options. But what you may not know is that Hilton Head Island is also blessed with an amazing group of people. It is a myth that this is mainly a retirement community. While some people have moved here to retire, just as many are here to work and/or raise their children while enjoying a lifestyle unfound in suburban America. In fact, 70 percent of the population here is under 60 years of age, the largest segment (18.2 percent) under 18 years of age. The median age is 35.4 years. This is a community where generations mingle and blend seamlessly, making for a unique mix of thoughts and ideas but with a singularity of purpose: to enjoy life.

A mecca for intelligent, talented, resourceful people, Hilton Head Island is not a typical Southern town. A melting pot of sorts, almost everyone is from somewhere else, meaning status is not measured by legacy or length of residency. With a permanent population of approximately 39,000, a spirit of mutual cooperation, generosity and joy prevails-a neighborliness almost unheard of in today’s hustle-and-bustle world. Even considering the seasonal influx of visitors, Hilton Head Island continues to maintain a small town feel. I see familiar faces on a daily basis. Waiters, store clerks and bank tellers know me by name; and friends of all ages from all places enrich my life with their diverse backgrounds, interests and skills.

A reason to come.

So why have so many wonderful people chosen to call Hilton Head Island home? It’s no secret that people flock here for the beach. Imagine having it at your doorstep each and every day. Take a morning stroll and enjoy a glorious sunrise over the ocean; dip your toes in the cool Atlantic waters; or catch the gentle breezes from a catamaran, kayak, canoe, wave runner or fishing charter. These are not merely summer vacation options, but year round choices for Hilton Head Islanders. Have you ever watched the full moon rise over the sea? This is a breathtaking experience that never fails to thrill. Carefully considered lighting regulations make Hilton Head Island the perfect venue for moon watching and stargazing-a favorite activity among islanders who frequently gather at the beach for an evening of free entertainment.

Beyond the beach and nature’s beauty, the most frequently cited motivation to move here is the subtropical climate. While we do experience all four seasons, the changes are subtle. With an average daytime temperature of 75 degrees F. and average rainfall at 4.12 inches per month, it’s a rare day when we can’t be outside. We wear cotton sweaters in the wintertime; hats are for sun protection and gloves for working in the garden. Over the course of more than a quarter of a century here, I can count on one hand the number of times Jack Frost has nipped at my nose. I think I have worn a coat a dozen times at most, and that is only because I’m a Southern girl with thin blood by birth.

Many reasons to stay.

While the beach and the climate are terrific reasons to come here, you’ll find a million other reasons to stay. Here’s a smattering of what you can look forward to when you choose to become a Hilton Head Island homeowner:

Conveniences. If sand, surf and sunshine are not enough to convince you that this is paradise, consider the conveniences. Need to go to the grocery store, mall, dry cleaners, auto repair shop, hardware store, health club, day spa, beauty salon, bank or post office? You won’t be fighting traffic for hours or feeding a parking meter. From my central location at Palmetto Dunes, I can be anywhere I want to be in five to 15 minutes. It’s just that simple. In addition, I have access to fantastic shopping and some of the finest restaurants in the Southeast within a five minute drive from my home. Even if I choose to go off-island to Bluffton, my travel time is no more than 20 minutes. What’s not to love about that? Virtually everything you need is right here: schools, medical services, places of worship, movie theaters, all within an easy drive no matter where you live on the island. Did I mention 23 golf courses and hundreds of tennis courts?

Arts and entertainment. Located in the center of the island at Shelter Cove, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina is a world class facility that provides a unique entertainment venue. Offerings include professional theatre, art exhibitions, star performances, cultural festivals, community events and youth programs. This amenity sets us apart from every other island along the East Coast. Easily accessible from all area locations, you won’t have to maneuver through traffic jams or jockey for a parking space. I once left my house seven minutes before performance time, parked, picked up my ticket at the box office and was in my seat two minutes before curtain. Life is just that easy here.

Parks and recreation. The Town of Hilton Head Island has wisely invested in a strategic land buying program, funded by the real estate transfer fee, to eliminate overbuilding and congestion and preserve open space for parks and natural beauty. Hilton Head Island currently boasts 21 public parks (seven beach parks, one exclusively for island property owners; six recreational parks providing sports opportunities for children of all ages; and eight community parks, including Honey Horn, home of the Coastal Discovery Museum and the Shelter Cove Community Park, home of the Veteran’s Memorial and a popular venue for concerts, festivals and a variety of special events) plus two public boat landings. Whether you want to pack a picnic, fly a kite, play ball, toss a Frisbee, dance under the stars, walk your dog, go fishing, or sail away into the sunset, it’s all here for the taking. How many communities with a population of only 39,000 have 21 parks for the enjoyment of residents and guests?

Bicycle and recreational pathways. The Town of Hilton Head Island provides nearly 50 miles of public pathways and nature trails by which cyclists and pedestrians can enjoy the diverse destinations and activities on the island. In addition, there are more than 50 miles of pathways and shared roadways within the private developments. Do you know of another community with such an interconnected system? It’s possible to actually cycle or walk almost the entire island. What a way to go!

Easy access. For those times when you wish or need to travel and for the convenience of your guests, Hilton Head Island is easily accessible by car or plane. Quite frankly, I don’t venture beyond the bridge without putting up a fuss and/or packing a lunch; but when I find the need to fly, both the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and the Hilton Head Island Airport offer first class facilities, just a hop, skip and a jump from my driveway. The island also offers four marinas, all located on or near the Intracoastal Waterway for easy island access. When I get my yacht, perhaps I will choose the friendly seas over the friendly skies. Until then, I’ll drive, or better yet, stay put! After all, when you live in paradise, there’s no place like home!

*Special thanks to Bill Baldwin, DMG’s director of marketing and sales, for statistical information and inspiration.

Buying a Short Sale on Hilton Head Island


A short sale is a situation whereby the seller is attempting to arrange for a sale of real estate where the sales price is less than the underlying mortgage. The big problem here is that even if the seller agrees to a price and enters into a contract with the purchaser, it is subject to approval by the lender.

Our experience with short sales is that it often takes weeks or even months for the lender to respond. Also, when they do respond, sometimes it’s a rejection, counter offer or even to let us know that they decided to sell the property to someone else who made a better offer while we were waiting for their response.

In addition, purchasers are generally required to buy the property “as is, where is.” Purchasers may conduct an inspection at their own expense, but, in the end, they either buy it “as is” or terminate the contract. In other words, the sellers won’t do any repairs whatsoever.

So, purchasers of property in a short sale situation must be prepared to wait some time to learn the status of their contract. They must also know that even if they wait months for an answer, there is no guarantee the contract will be accepted. Plus, they will buy it “as is” and be solely responsible for the property’s condition.

All this being said, it’s possible to get a really good buy in a short sale. However, it’s important that you have patience, not be stuck on a specific property and be willing to buy “as is.”

The Haunted Lighthouse of on Hilton Head Island, SC.


Have you heard of the “Haunted Lighthouse” located in the Leamington area of Palmetto Dunes?  This lighthouse was vital in the late 1800s to warn sailors and to save them from running ashore.  Climbing the tower to the lantern room to keep the light burning was a dangerous task in bad weather conditions; however, Adam Fripp was a dedicated lighthouse keeper.  

One night while riding out a bad storm, the lighthouse keeper, Adam and his daughter, Caroline, were busy keeping the lamp lit in the lighthouse.  While he was climbing to check the light, a sudden, wild gust of wind shattered a glass pane and the light was extinguished.  Unfortunately, at the same time, Adam suffered a fatal heart attack.  Caroline rushed to her father and wanted to leave the lighthouse to find someone to help her father; however, Adam ordered her to stay to relight the lantern and to keep the light lit throughout the night. 

Even with her father lying dead beside her, Caroline did keep the lantern glowing till the morning light and no ships hit the dangerous shore line that night under her watch.  Just three weeks later, young Caroline died and it was said that the stress of her night watch was too much for her to overcome.  She was buried in a beautiful blue gown in a nearby cemetery but the story did not end with her burial.

Many people have sighted Caroline in her blue dress wandering the lighthouse area and some have even heard the sound of a woman crying inside the lighthouse especially on stormy nights.

Today, the lighthouse stills stands and can be seen by those golfing on the Arthur Hills Golf Course in Leamington.  I am happy to report that the shoreline is no longer dangerous for shipping and the beautiful and recreational Palmetto Dunes land is a place of enjoyment daily to the fortunate Leamington owners and guests.

Dunes Marketing Group Acquired by Greenwood Communities & Resorts


Greenwood Communities & Resorts, Parent Company of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, Acquires One of Hilton Head’s Top Real Estate Firms in Dunes Marketing Group!

GREENWOOD, SC — Greenwood Communities & Resorts, owner of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, has acquired Dunes Marketing Group, one of the oldest and largest real estate companies on Hilton Head Island.

The acquisition will expand Greenwood’s Hilton Head Island services to include real estate sales and will add a fully-integrated real estate sales force to the company’s team. It will also allow Palmetto Dunes to better connect with property owners within the resort, and likewise, Dunes Marketing Group will have increased capabilities to interact with visitors to one of Hilton Head’s busiest destinations.

Dunes Marketing Group has a 30-year history with Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, serving as Greenwood’s exclusive real estate agency on Hilton Head Island. It is the top real estate brokerage firm in Palmetto Dunes, Leamington and Shelter Cove. The company, which currently works with 50 Realtors and expects to grow, has sold billion of real estate since its founding in 1979.

“The acquisition of Dunes Marketing Group will expand our service offering within Palmetto Dunes,” says Jay Nexsen, president of Greenwood Communities & Resorts. “Dunes Marketing Group has a name, heritage and reputation we can leverage into more business opportunities within Palmetto Dunes and throughout Hilton Head Island.”

“We are excited about all the new opportunities this will afford Dunes Marketing Group and its Realtors, including better access to resort guests, new technology capabilities and a greater depth of resources,” says Bill Baldwin, broker-in-charge at Dunes Marketing Group.

Dunes Marketing Group will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Greenwood Communities & Resorts and Baldwin will continue to lead Dunes Marketing Group in his current position as director of sales and marketing and will become the broker-in-charge.

About Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is a 2,000-acre resort destination located in the middle of Hilton Head Island, S.C., bounded by 3 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach on one side and a sheltered Intracoastal Waterway marina on the other. The resort features three world-class golf courses, an award-winning tennis center, an 11-mile inland salt-water lagoon waterway for kayaking and fishing, the Mediterranean-style Shelter Cove Harbour deep-water marina with shopping and dining, and an outdoor adventure center for bike rentals, canoes, kayaks, fishing and much more. The marina is also home to a wide variety of charters including nature cruises, dolphin tours, sport crabbing and fishing. For information about activities or reservations, please call 877-567-6513 or visit www.palmettodunes.com.

About Greenwood Communities & Resorts

Based in Greenwood, S.C., Greenwood Communities & Resorts has been a leader in the creation and management of award-winning residential and resort communities in the southeastern United States since 1978. Beginning with the award-winning Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C., and now including communities like The Reserve at Lake Keowee, Big Canoe near Atlanta and The Ponds in Charleston, Greenwood’s mission has always been to create memorable places that foster meaningful and fulfilling lives. For more information, please call 843-785-1106 or visit www.greenwoodcr.com.          

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lyn Mettler • 843-606-0226 • lmettler@stepaheadinc.com

Straight from the Heart Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance and Auction 2012


Imagine what a difference it would make if everyone reading this blog did without one dessert at a restaurant or a mocha frappe or one Mac meal just once a year and donated that five bucks to a local children’s charity instead. You would be helping our local children who are not as fortunate as many others by raising over ,000 with that one-time pledge of a donation.

I spoke publicly for the first time last year since my son Jesse was diagnosed just before his first birthday with Chromosome Deletion, which is like a cross between moderate Down Syndrome and Autism. At age 10, he is a loving, happy, sweet, non-verbal child. Although he understands most verbal communication, he must have constant supervision. Jesse and his special needs friends rarely, if ever, get invited to birthday parties or play dates, nor can they participate in athletic programs, camps or any other public programs that other children take for granted.

There is only one charitable organization locally that makes sure Jesse and other disabled children can do normal structured activities (swimming, horseback riding, summer camps, bowling, Special Olympics, etc.) and also helps parents with medical equipment, therapy and other needs.

Children’s Relief Fund (CRF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 by Rose and Frank Fotia, solely because their own special child Gregory was all alone in this world-nothing and nowhere for Rose to take him and never an hour for Rose to rest. Since Gregory’s death, Rose has continued to fight for our children’s rights that most take for granted: to play and enjoy being children.

There is only one fundraiser a year for the CRF-the annual Straight from the Heart Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance and Auction. Every dollar goes straight to and for the children. In return, you receive a smile and hug that will bless your heart tenfold. Believe me, I know, because I get to witness that blessing every time the CRF offers a hand to my son Jesse.

For more information, to volunteer or make a donation, please visit thechildrensrelieffund.org.

What is a Quarter Share Villa?


There are various Quarter Share villas on Hilton Head Island located in areas within walking distance to the beach and other locations with fantastic harbour views, including Shelter Cove Harbour, Shipyard Plantation, Forest Beach and adjacent to Port Royal Plantation.

A Quarter Share villa offers the owner 13 weeks of ownership each year in the same villa. This is a fully-deeded real estate purchase and is a great way for families like yours to own a property on Hilton Head Island without the full-year ownership burden. In fact, the cost for a quartershare is very appealing.

There are basically four types of ownership opportunities on Hilton Head Island including homes, home-sites, villas and shares. The share program was put together years ago for visitors that wanted a hassle free ownership on Hilton Head Island.

These share programs offer multiple weeks that are either bundled together or spread out through the year. There are various size units which are spread throughout the Hilton Head Island area.

With a Rotating Quarter, an owner gets 6 two-week ownership periods spread throughout the year plus a single week in January. Each year the ownership periods adjust so that over a four-year period, each owner has had access to all 52 weeks.

With a Fixed Quarter, the 13 weeks are back to back depending on which quarter you own (1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th).

The maintenance of the property is done through on-site management, which is controlled by the Property Owner’s Association. All of the bills including utilities, taxes and insurance are paid by the owners in an annual maintenance fee. The management company then pays out the funds as bills come due. This ensures that all bills are paid on a timely basis and eliminates the headache of monthly bills for each owner.

In addition, an escrow is collected to replace and repair the exterior and interior, including furnishings, of each unit in order to keep them in top condition.

An on-site rental company is engaged to handle the rental of the units for those owners who are unable to use the full quarter and desire to rent it.

Again…a Quarter Share is a great way to own a property on Hilton Head Island without the full-ownership burden and the higher prices.

Interesting, isn’t it?

The Indian Shell Ring in Sea Pines Plantation


Just inside of Sea Pines Plantation’s main entrance gate, you can park and explore the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, a preserve area with more than 400 acres. Boardwalks are built in some areas over swamp land and alligators and water birds can often be sighted. The Preserve is a place for hiking, fishing, picnicking, boating, horseback riding, biking and wildlife viewing. The flora and fauna is a treat to view. If you go, make sure to take a hike to discover the “Indian Shell Ring”.

Many years before the world knew our area as Hilton Head Island, Native Americans travelled along the Savannah River choosing their camp sites according to the season. Hilton Head was chosen for fall. These Native Americans lived comfortably on the island with a diet of oysters, clams, mussels, deer, raccoon, bear and fish. Bows and arrows were not used at the time and spears were used for their hunting. A dump was created to dispose of shells and remains and created the “Indian Shell Ring” which is a ring that is 150 feet in diameter. The ring’s interior is easy to spot. It is a great place to visit and to imagine the lives of these Native Americans so many years ago. (I like imaging eating the seafood but I don’t think I would have enjoyed the raccoons.)

Experts believe the ring was built about the same time the Egyptians built the Pyramids which are believed to have been built approximately 2200 BC! The “Indian Shell Ring” builders are also thought to have invented pottery in North America. (Amazing what you can do without cell phones, email and today’s technology.)

The “Indian Shell Ring” is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is probably the only “Dump” protected by law. Explore this area and have another wonderful day in paradise.

Hilton Head Green Space Project a Huge Success


Many first-time Hilton Head Island visitors are surprised to see how much green space has been left untouched by developers. Those of us who live here know that it didn’t happen by accident. Thanks to the foresight of Charles Fraser, the developer of Sea Pines, who believed so fervently that man could live in harmony with nature without destroying it, laws were made to protect our natural resources. Over the years, the Town of Hilton Head Island has taken additional action to prevent over development by investing in a strategic land buying program, funded by the real estate transfer tax. While many of the tracts have been left in their natural state, others have been developed into beautiful parks for use by area residents as well as our visitors.

In addition to seven beach parks, Hilton Head boasts six recreational parks and eight community parks. Whether you want to pack a picnic, fly a kite, toss a Frisbee, walk your dog, get up a ball game, or just breathe in some fresh air and sunshine, these parks provide the perfect venue for a day of family fun. A visit to the Shelter Cove Community Park and Veteran’s Memorial is both fun and educational. In addition, you’ll want to keep an eye out for special events taking place at the parks throughout the year: ball games, concerts, food festivals and more.

The strategic land acquisition program has been an amazing success.  The parks and open space are easily identified but there is also the reduction of traffic and commercial development.  All things combined insure that Hilton Head Island’s small town feel and natural beauty will be preserved for generations.  The Town of Hilton Head Island now owns 132 parcels of land totaling 1,179.51 acres.  Taken together, these parcels have resulted in a potential reduction of 4.39 million square feet of commercial development, 1,365 motel rooms, 4,210 residential and timeshare units, and the preclusion of 37,151 peak-hour driving trips.  

For maps and a complete list of Hilton Head Island parks and their amenities, visit: http://www.hiltonheadislandsc.gov/ourisland/Parks/parksandfacall.cfm.

Hilton Head Golfing News for February 2012


It’s all everyone can talk about!  Ok maybe not everyone but I run in a “golfing crowd” and my friends and I are analyzing Kyle Stanley’s surprising triple bogey finish on Sunday at Torrey Pines more than we are the republican primaries.   Everywhere I’ve gone this week someone starts a conversion about poor Kyle Stanley.  You see Kyle went to Clemson just up the road from Hilton Head and now he plays out of Berkeley Hall which is one of our premier golf club communities.  He’s a “local” and we were all pulling for him!  If you didn’t see it…here’s the recap in a nutshell.

The 24 year old had a 3 stroke lead going into the 18th hole, a par 5.  After choosing to lay up on his second shot, he hit a wedge shot which landed on the green but then spun back into the water hazard.   He then hit his fifth shot on the back of the green and painfully 3 putted.  After being in total control he found himself in a two hole playoff that he lost to Brandt Snedeker after another 3 putt. 

Now some people think he should have just gone for the green in two instead of laying up….he reached it easily in the playoff and made 4.   Others feel he should have just wedged it to the back of the green with no chance of it spinning back into the water.  One friend who used to be a pro on the Island blames the shaved front of the 18th hole…he feels the ball should have stopped there…the penalty was too severe for basically a good golf shot.  What do you think? 

I admit I’ve gone through all those scenarios and more since that life-changing shot.   Kyle would have secured his first PGA Tour win, a check worth ,080,000, and a trip to The Master’s.   Not to mention the confidence that “he belongs”, he’s a winner on the best golf tour in the world. 

My hope is Kyle Stanley does know he belongs. You don’t lead a PGA Tour event for most of the week without some game folks!  I was impressed last year with his four top 10 finishes.  I’ve spoken to a lot of people on the Island who know Kyle and they all say what a nice guy he is and how talented.   He will win on the PGA Tour.  My guess is sooner than later.   What he might not know is he has a lot of people rooting for him here  at his home base!