Drew-LaughlinhhiOne way to illustrate the state of the Hilton Head Island is to envision a driving or bicycle tour.

Let’s start our tour from the southern part of our island in the waters in and around Harbor Town.

The iconic Harbor Town Marina and nearby Braddock Cove area have finally been dredged so boating access and docking improves, and RBC Heritage aerial photography coverage is enhanced. (A short time ago, RBC and Boeing stepped-up to sponsor the Heritage, and Town Council immediately made a five-year funding commitment to fill the remaining need and ensure the continued presence of an event that generates $84 million per year to the local and state economy.)

Lisa-Sulka-blufftonAs with our personal lives, it is important to take time to stop, reflect and focus on who we are, what we do and where we want to go. As a town, that was our task in the beginning of 2014 as Bluffton developed a brand for itself.  

Beyond the marketing benefits of a new brand, the process also reminded each of us why we do what we do and gave us a philosophy which guides Bluffton forward in each project and policy.

That process crystalized the mission of Bluffton to further evolve our town into a progressive, innovative municipality, while never losing sight of our town’s historic, artistic and coastal culture. As in our personal lives, when we are clear about our intentions, it’s amazing how other people’s focus also becomes clearer.

For more than three years, architect Tom Crews has led a committee through a methodical study of Hilton Head’s existing land management ordinance, which regulates development and growth on the island.

He then guided the LMO through a total rewrite of the document to meet today’s needs.

Architect-Tom-Crews

“It hasn’t been an overnight study,” Crews stressed during an interview in his New Orleans Road office. “This is the first true rewrite since the town’s original land management ordinance was adopted in 1987. It’s been revised, but this is the first time that we’re going to completely eliminate the old and adopt the new. Always in the past it was revisions to sections.”

Charles-Simmons-JrHis home had no running water and no electricity, and there were no paved roads, no stoplights, no marinas and no bridges anywhere on Hilton Head Island. But there was food on the table, friends to play with, school to attend and work to do every day.

This was life on Hilton Head Island in the 1930s, not just for Charles Simmons Jr., now 85 years old, and his family, but for all of the other native black islanders as well.

It was a good Gullah life, a life apart from the big wide world around them, except for the occasional trips to Savannah by boat for groceries, clothes, and socializing with family and friends.

For many, Hilton Head Island and Bluffton have provided an alternative from the fast pace of metropolitan areas, offering friendly, familiar faces and a strong sense of community. The way of life and pace here is relaxed, casual and easy.

Life-Lowcountry

The draw of Hilton Head has lured many visitors to trade their one week of the year for a lifelong vacation. The abundance of activities and diversions are endless.

Living in paradise certainly doesn’t eliminate commutes, deadlines and Monday mornings, however it offers happiness and fulfillment outside of routine; it keeps the focus centered on what is important in life.

Some things in life are just plain special, and farmers markets are special in many ways.

It’s not just the fresh, locally-grown produce in abundance in the soil of our rural neighborhoods, but also specialties like jams and pickles, sweet honey, the distinct fragrance of herbs, cultivated flowers, organic eggs and more.

farmersmarkets

Farmers markets on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton possess a unique spirit that transcends the physical presence of food stands, rows upon rows of fruits and vegetables, and the strumming of local musicians.

MUSICIAN DAVID WINGO REMEMBERS A WILD AND SOMEWHAT LAWLESS UNINCORPORATED HILTON HEAD BACK IN THE LATE 1970S WHEN HE ARRIVED FROM ATLANTA WITH A BATCH OF ORIGINAL TUNES AND DREAMS OF CARVING OUT A FULL-TIME LIVING MAKING MUSIC IN AN EMERGING PARADISE.

Bales of contraband would wash up on local shores courtesy of waterborne area smugglers and an ensuing massive drug bust (Operation Jackpot) was followed by word that one of the crooks had buried a sizable cache of cash somewhere in Spanish Wells. So it became local sport, usually after a few drinks, to make like latter-day pirates and go on early morning hunts for buried treasure.

“It was like a Jimmy Buffett song back then,” smiles Wingo, who would soon go on to become the island’s first rock star.

 LIVE-MUSIC-MEN

LIVE MUSIC MEN
From left; Mark Ruplinger from the Old Post Office Emporium, Jesse Watkins of the The Mundahs, John Cranford of Cranford Hollow, Tristan O’Grady of the Big Bamboo Cafe, musician Martin Lesch and Thomas Reilley of The Boardroom.

musicmay14A GLIMPSE INTO THE DAILY LIFE OF TOURING MUSICIAN JOHN CRANFORD

I’M sitting in the last row of the Cranford Hollow tour wagon, a 12-passenger Ford van with a 17-foot trailer attached to it. We are somewhere east of Dublin, Ga., heading home to our favorite place on Earth. This tour started about two weeks ago on St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a slew of local shows — the Boardroom’s Fat Tuesday Party, the Wine and Food Festival, the Hilton Head St. Patrick’s Day throwdown in the Wild Wing Cafe parking lot and Monday in Savannah’s City Market, playing to a sea of thirsty green revelers. The Savannah show was so rowdy, Savannah-Chatham Police police got onstage at one point and threatened to shut it down, due to the 50-person mosh pit and excessive crowd surfing.

We left immediately after our Savannah show and headed to the panhandle of Florida for a week-long Spring Break run in the Panama City area. Then we moved westward. We camped out in St. Augustine, trying to lay down eight tracks in four days at Retrophonic Studios.

WHO SAYS you can’t do it all?

MONTHLY SALUTES LOCAL MOMS WHO BALANCE FAMILY WITH BUSINESS

supermomCareer or motherhood?

Do you have to sacrifice one to be truly successful in the other? For many women in the Lowcountry, the answer is an emphatic “no.”

So, how does one balance the ever-so-delicate dance between work and home life?

We asked 10 working mothers in the Lowcountry to share their secrets of success. Here are their responses.

proofsanta“ Proof of Santa will come on Christmas Day, offline, in real time”

When I was a kid, Santa became real to me every Christmas morning with a simple kick of my foot.

I don’t know how it all went down at your house, but in ours, Santa would fill our empty stockings in the living room and then leave them at the foot of our beds to find in the morning. The stockings had been crocheted by my grandmother using a grandmother’s generosity and some sort of elastic yarn, so each elephant trunk stocking easily stretched across the width of a twin bed. (“Favorite Grandmother” status: Secured.)