A peek behind the gates of six unique private communities of the Lowcountry.
The second plantation developed on the island, Shipyard Plantation began construction in 1970 with a vision similar to Sea Pines — to-die-for Lowcountry living with a focus on protecting the nature in and around the development.
In total, there are 255 homes, 400 timeshare units and 1,000 condos within the Shipyard blueprint. The initial developers imagined a thriving center of town just outside the Shipyard gates, an area still in its infancy at the time that has gone on to become Coligny Plaza.
Shipyard also houses a 338-room beachfront hotel and has successfully managed to combine a resort atmosphere with the community vibe fostered by the full-time residents. Outside of the 27 holes of golf, 20 tennis courts and world-class health spa, the main attraction at Shipyard is the beach club, which hosts social and educational events throughout the year and is just a short walk from the beach.
The community was born in 1981 as a joint effort between Charles Fraser and his business partners. An initial plan to build Southwestern-style houses with an adobe look quickly gave way to a more traditional Southern style to mirror the homes found in Charleston.
A peek behind the gates of six unique private communities of the Lowcountry. The centerpiece of the sprawling community is its marina and unique harbor, which stretches over 15 and a half acres and houses more than 260 boat slips, the largest on Hilton Head by nearly 100 slips. What truly makes the harbor special is the 80-foot-by-20-foot lock that was constructed to protect the harbor against weather and changing tides — one of just two such locks along the East Coast at the time.
As the neighborhood grew, the South Carolina Yacht Club became the place for the boating enthusiasts to share their passion. Today, membership is open to both Windmill Harbour residents and Hilton Head Island residents.
"We chose Windmill Harbour as our fulltime residence in 2004 because of how it made us feel when we first drove in,” said resident Nancy Baldwin. “The Charlestonstyle, Lowcountry architecture; the secure, neighborhood feeling; and the beautiful marina all played into our decision. Over the years we've enjoyed all of the advantages of the community including boating, the South Carolina Yacht Club and centralized location. We are fortunate in that three of our family members have since moved to Windmill Harbour — we love living here."
Haig Point is one of the many centerpieces to Daufauskie Island, a pristine land that archeologists have traced inhabitants to more than 9,000 years ago. The Gullah made their home on Daufuskie, where the First Union African Baptist Church was founded in 1879.
Though the island is just 5 miles long by 2 ½ miles wide, its 5,000 acres are rich in history and culture with Gullah houses, art galleries and some of the best dining in the Lowcountry at Marshside Mama’s. Haig Point is at the northern tip of the island that was at the center of the “Daufuskie Fight” during the Yemassee War of 1715-17, and is the setting for author Pat Conroy’s novel “The Water Is Wide.”
The Haig Point residential community was founded in 1986 by International Paper but has been owned by its members since 2001.
The land behind Spring Island was originally deeded by Lord Colleton in 1706, and over the course of nearly three centuries, it was used as an Indian village, as fertile land to cultivate the world-famous Sea Island cotton, as farm land and as the backdrop for one of South Carolina’s renowned quail hunting locations.
The land was purchased in 1990 FROM the Walker Trust by Jim and Betty Chaffin, Jim and Dianne Light, and Peter and Beryl LaMotte. The group set out to create a community not driven by real estate profits.
They reduced the amount of units allowed on the land from 5,000 dwellings to a maximum of 410 homes and set aside 1,000 acres for a nature preserve that continues to thrive 27 years later and has spawned the Lowcountry Institute, a center for nature education funded by the island’s residents.
Ford is built in Richmond Hill, Georgia, on lands that played an important role in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution. After Sherman’s march to the sea, Ford was one of the first rebuilt plantations, producing vital rice and cotton crops for the remaining settlers.
The namesake was the world’s first billionaire, Henry Ford, who purchased 70,000 acres covering 120 square miles throughout the 1920s. In the 1930s, he hosted social gatherings with the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and DuPonts at night in his mansion along the banks of the Ogeechee. By day, he was hard at work, using a converted rice mill as his research laboratory that spawned some of his greatest automotive creations.
The land changed ownership several times after the Fords’ death before being purchased by Sterling Bluff Associates in 1998. The group redeveloped Ford Plantation, focusing on private residences and building one of the South’s most celebrated sporting clubs on the now 1,800- acre estate.
This 980-acre property’s history goes back to one of the seven original lords of the Carolina colonies.
As a gift from the king of England to reward loyalty, English army officer Lord John Berkeley and his cousin John Colleton were given thousands of acres of land in what would later become Beaufort County. Berkeley later helped incorporate the land, and his leadership became paramount in creating the export of Sea Island cotton from Barbados and the Bahamas to the Carolinas.
The private golf community on the banks of the Okatie River, memberowned and operated since 2005, features two world-class courses designed by Tom Fazio and has become the regular home for The Players Amateur. Other amenities include the spa and fitness center and the 10-mile River Park nature trail.