We asked locals: What would be your perfect Valentine's Day (or night)? Here's what they told us about having the perfect romantic holiday in the Lowcountry.

My funny ValentineTIM SINGLETON
Hilton Head High Football Coach/Executive Director, Strive to Excel

My perfect day? A warm atmosphere, food, great stamina and the perfect mix of laughter and reflection.

Founder/Voice of the Hallelujah Singers

A day spent with my honey would be a perfect Valentine’s Day. When I see him I see a bouquet of roses: yellow for friendship and red for love. His conversation with me reads like a card.

Judge Frank SimonTrue love may know no bounds, but getting married in the state of South Carolina — like driving a car, catching a fish or owning a gun — requires a piece of government documentation to be fully legit. The man to talk to about that in Beaufort County is Judge Frank Simon, a Korean War vet who has served as the Beaufort County Probate Court judge since 1994. The court oversees the little bit of bureaucracy that attaches itself to every bit of true love: the marriage license. The court issues about 1,800 licenses every year. Even if you and your betrothed are just in town for vacation, you can still get a license (for an added fee of $45). The court doesn’t see too much Vegas-style eloping, but getting married in the Lowcountry can come with its own hazards.

YOUR RESOLUTIONSIt’s a day that everyone dreads: Jan. 2.

The parties are over, the presents put away, the decorations back in their boxes. And with everything closed up for another holiday season, there are officially no more available excuses for putting off those New Year’s resolutions.

Sure, everyone’s just getting back into classes after winter break, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the next step in your child’s education. If you’re considering private school, the Lowcountry has no shortage of options. Read on:

Hannah FultonWhy I went to private school

A writing assignment by Hannah Fulton

When I was in eighth grade, my parents took me to visit the boarding school in St. Louis that my father had attended. There was no pressure, no pushing — it was just a simple visit. Having lived in Hilton Head for quite a while, my parents wanted me to experience a different part of the country. Plus, my dad loved his experience at the school in St. Louis, and my mom had attended boarding school as well, so the concept wasn’t foreign to either of them.

SHELL STATIONIt’s winter in the Lowcountry, and you know what that means: Huddling up under heavy wool blankets around the fireplace. Wait, no! Leave that noise to the folks who winter in the Midwest; here, nature barely cracks a window for the cold air before bathing-suit season returns again. Besides, the chillier months bring some of the best locals’ events around: oyster roasts, where friends and neighbors celebrate the kind of Lowcountry heartiness that refuses to cede the outdoors, even when the rest of the country is snowbound. But how can you make sure your oyster roasts with the best of them? We asked Russell Anderson — owner of Captain Woody’s, the site of monthly oyster roasts for more than a decade — for a pro’s primer:

10 steps to avoiding burnout

10 steps to avoiding holiday burnout

The holidays are stressful to just about everybody — and despite what it sounds like, that’s not a generalization. A Harris Interactive “holiday stress index” survey found that 90 percent of Americans feel anxiety this time of year. The funny thing is, the holidays don’t have to be stressful, and you can begin approaching the season with more excitement and less dread right now. Let us count the ways...

We may be lacking in the snow department around here, but with choice Christmastime tunes, you can still make your island holiday plenty bright. A few favorite yuletide numbers, as selected by Monthly writers.


In what’s become a legendary television goof, CBS originally gave Guaraldi’s pitch-perfect and snowfall-soft soundtrack an ungracious thumbs-down (along with the entire special inexplicably), but four decades later, nearly everything here — especially “Skating,” “Greensleeves” and the hastily assembled “Christmas Time Is Here” — has become required listening. (A wonderful 2006 reissue cleaned up the sound and added alternate takes of four tracks, well worth the upgrade).

Heritage Organic FarmWhen Shirley Daughtry opened the Heritage Organic Farm, it was the first of its kind in the state. To fill what she saw as a void in the local organic produce market, Daughtry launched a form of community-supported agriculture in which subscribers paid to have locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to their homes or neighborhoods. Today, the 20-acre property in Guyton, Ga. (just outside of Savannah) is at the center of a national movement, and in January it will re-introduce service to Hilton Head and drop off goods at the Sea Pines Montessori Academy. Daughtry talked about what it’s like to champion organics in a world where processed food is still king.

Q. Why did you start the farm?
A. I bought the farm in 1980, when I was middle school principal at Savannah Country Day School. I bought it mainly because my daughter was interested — she had a degree in large animal sciences from Virginia Tech. It just so happened that people in Hilton Head heard I was growing organic food. They reached out and asked that I sell to them. Before then, it was a hobby.

Good turkey huntingFor a lot of people, turkey hunting means surreptitiously slipping through the frozen-foods section at Publix to cut off the other shoppers.

But real turkey hunting — the kind that involves waiting in the woods, making funny sounds and avoiding snakebites — is one of the oldest pastimes in the Palmetto State, one that has grown in the past two decades as the turkey population has rebounded. So what makes South Carolina’s turkey population such a gravy train for hunters?

We asked Charles Ruth, turkey project supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources.

It’s much more of a joy to share it.’

Dr. Joe and Kaye Black, co-chairs of the United Way‘Our time and talent was never meant to be used selfishly.

Each year, the United Way of the Lowcountry embarks on a fundraising campaign to support its work in Beaufort and Jasper Counties — efforts that support 39 local charities and programs. But support at this level requires a lot of money — this year’s goal is $2.6 million — and the success of the campaign is predicated on the work of talented, dedicated and passionate teams.

To steer the campaign, the United Way has looked to co-chairs Kaye and Dr. Joseph W. Black, a dynamic duo of tireless energy, dedication, compassion and knowledge. The couple’s Lowcountry roots were set in 1978, when Kaye opened Curry Printing, the company where she remains president and owner. Joe is a pathologist who is retired from his post at Hilton Head Regional Hospital, but who remains active in the local medical community. Given the schedules of a small business owner and physician, it would be understandable if the Blacks wanted to take some time off and get a little rest, but they see things differently.