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.

We’ve curated a list of 12 ways to start fresh in 2018, focusing on your mental, physical and social well-being so that you can accomplish all you set out to do this year. But for those looking to improve their lifestyle in the new year, you might want to try baby steps instead of cannonballing straight into the deep end. When you weigh yourself down with too many expectations, you automatically set yourself up for failure. Try breaking down these 12 steps into a plan that better suits your needs.

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT HAS BECOME A HOLIDAY TRADITION

As part of the world’s largest and longest-running citizen science project, bird lovers in more than 2,500 locations in the Western Hemisphere will participate in the 118th Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count. Between Dec. 14 and Jan, 5, each group will cover a 15-mile radius and tally the birds spotted.

The island’s most celebrated gift store is just getting started.

It didn’t take long for Gifted Hilton Head to make a statement on the island. In its first year of operation, it won “Favorite New Business” in Monthly’s Readers’ Choice Awards. The next year, it won “Favorite Gift Shop.”

It did so again the next year. And the year after. In fact, in an unprecedented streak in its category, Gifted Hilton Head has taken home the “Favorite Gift Shop” award every year it has been in business.

Great looks for all the holiday parties, galas, concerts, performances and other events in the Lowcountry.

Local boutiques and other retail stores suggest gifts that will make your loved ones smile.

CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS ON HILTON HEAD ARE TAUGHT TO NEW GENERATIONS

These days, Christmas seems to arrive as early as September, with store shelves filled with toys, holiday décor and other gifts. Holiday movies air on the Hallmark Channel before the arrival of Halloween.

Decades ago, Christmas truly came just once a year for the families living in the Lowcountry’s Gullah communities, and many native islanders are trying to hang onto the days when the holidays were a special time for children and families.

On Christmas Eve in 1895, George Vanderbilt welcomed friends and family to his estate for the first time. More than a century later, visitors are still celebrating the holiday at Biltmore House.

Situated on more than 8,000 acres of land in Asheville, North Carolina, the 250-room French Renaissance chateau is known as America’s largest private home. Its 178,926 square feet include 35 bedrooms, 43 bedrooms, 65 fireplaces, three kitchens and 19th-century throwbacks like electric elevators, a call-bell system and a banquet hall featuring a 1916 Skinner pipe organ — as well as the Vanderbilt family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques.