LOCALS SHARE THEIR NIGHTMARES AND ROMANCES

Dating. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Most people believe that their soul mate is out there — somewhere. But as anyone who’s been on his or her fair share of bad dates knows, you’ve got to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince or princess.

We asked a few locals for their first date stories: the good, the bad and the ugly. The responses were amazing. Sometimes heart-warming, often terrifying, these tales illustrate the possibilities and pitfalls.

DATING APPS WIDEN THE POOL OF POTENTIAL PARTNERS

The first time I used a dating app, I had just moved to New York City and was waiting for my girlfriend to join me in a few months. One lonely night in an Upper Manhattan apartment, I gave into temptation and downloaded Tinder. It felt as wrong as it was addictive. There were some close calls but nothing ever came of it in real life — or “IRL,” in internet speak.

UNIQUE PROGRAM LETS VISITORS EXPERIENCE GULLAH LIFE WHILE RESTORING HISTORIC HOMES

Nestled on a dirt road under a canopy of oak trees on Daufuskie Island sits a bright blue cottage with a small porch. Built by a Gullah freedwoman around 1865, the Frances Jones House was home to several generations of island residents over the years. But the humid, hot climate took its toll and the dwelling began to fall into disrepair. In an effort to save the property, the Daufuskie Endangered Places Program, run by the nonprofit group Preservation South Carolina, came up with a unique solution to pay for repair and give visitors a firsthand look at Gullah life. The group started the project committed to making sure native islanders could hold on to their land.

MONTH-LONG FESTIVAL CELEBRATES GULLAH CULTURE

The month of February on Hilton Head Island is dedicated to all things Gullah — flavorful food, vibrant culture, colorful art and soulful music. This rich heritage will be on display during the 22nd annual Gullah Celebration, organized by the Native Island Business and Community Affairs Association.

“We are celebrating the traditions of the culture, such as food, music and crafts, and its evolution,” said Thomas Curtis Barnwell of the NIBCAA. “It is our intention to continue this tradition and share those parts of our history with our patrons and visitors.”

CHINESE NEW YEAR MARKS THE START OF THE YEAR OF THE DOG.

At the stroke of midnight on Feb. 16, more than 1 billion people will celebrate the start of a new year — the lunar new year, that is, following the Chinese lunar calendar.

According to that calendar, the Chinese New Year will usher in the Year of the Dog — a very good year for anyone born under that sign, like actor Alec Baldwin, royals Prince William and Kate Middleton, and our president, Donald Trump.

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FROM WEBSITES TO TINDER, IT’S POSSIBLE TO FIND ROMANCE ONLINE AT ANY AGE IF YOU HAVE AN OPEN MIND.

You date, you fall in love, you get married (at age 38), you have kids, you get divorced, you date again. And eventually, if you’re lucky, you love again.

In the first go-round — several decades ago — I met women the old-fashioned way: bars, the workplace and ski resorts (I lived in Colorado and Wyoming). No computers, no smartphones. I would walk up and sit next to an attractive woman, start talking, dance a few songs, ask to see her again, and carry on from there. It was simple.

NEW FACILITY WILL HELP HOMELESS DOGS AND CATS

In the five-plus years since forming a private-public partnership, the Hilton Head Humane Association and Beaufort County Animal Services have made huge strides, but the biggest benefits are yet to come.

Crews broke ground on a new shared campus for the two organizations in October. The $8 million project is expected to be completed by December 2018 and will provide a centralized facility to better serve all of Beaufort County.

LOCAL SCHOOLS OFFER ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

Good schools prepare children for the world of work and help them to develop their personal talents, discover who they are and gauge where they best fit into society. Schools also play a tremendous role in the life of a community and contribute to a feeling of belonging among residents. How much education is valued is a reflection on the community itself, its priorities and its future. For Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and the surrounding Lowcountry, schools have played huge roles in the history and development of the region. On the following pages, we’ve highlighted nine of the best schools, academies and institutions available right here at home.

 

A “new you” in 2018 is an encouraging new year’s resolution, and it’s easier than you think. It might be helpful to think small at first — maybe try a new hair style — and then work up to bigger-picture makeovers, like weight loss or cosmetic surgery. Here are a few places to start, and a few expert tips from Lowcountry health and beauty professionals.

HIT THE GYM IN BLUFFTON

Expanded Buckwalter Recreation Center offers new fitness options

As a busy couple with a 6-year-old son, Maren and David Rogers have a hard time squeezing in exercise without cutting into family time. And even if they’re able to carve out space in their schedules, it’s tough to find room in the budget for expensive exercise classes or gym memberships.