Those heading to this year’s Bluffton Village Festival — also known as MayFest — might notice something a little familiar about the painting on this year’s poster.

It could be the subject of the painting: a beautiful Bluffton home of white siding and lush gardens down by Heyward House, across the “other” four-way stop from the old post office.

Back row left to right: Noreen Woods, Anthony Woods, Selena Woods, Assad Woods, Sharwayne Miller, Sharon Miller, Dante Madison, Laverne Madison Front row left to right: Anthony Johnson, Vivian Woods, Jeremiah Miller, Dorothy Miller Not present: Samuel Bligen, Muriel Woods, Jerome Bligen, Karen Bligen, Elizabeth Bligen, Dawn Bligen, Melba Bligen, Linda Bligen, Ernest Holland, Todd Woods, Isaiah Woods, Ernest Nicholas Holland, Lennitt Bligen, Barbara Lew, Anthony Phillips, Dominick Phillips

The stories of the first families of Hilton Head Island have many similarities. For example, most families came to the island as slaves and decided, upon emancipation, to make Hilton Head their ancestral homes. In this regard, the Bligen family is no different. What makes the family unique, however, is that their ancestral line is richly populated with people who had the strength and the wherewithal to step out of the “norm” and face challenges that other people dare not consider.


What do you want to be when you grow up? A rock ‘n’ roll star? A writer? An architect? A teacher? A lawyer?

Really? A lawyer? Has “Law and Order,” “Boston Legal,” “The Good Wife” or “Matlock” stirred your passion to pursue this profession? Or did military lawyer Tom Cruise grilling colonel and prosecution witness Jack Nicholson in the courtroom drama “A Few Good Men” do the trick?

The everyday beauty of Rhodie Shervington’s 100 years

Although she’d be the last to say it, Rhodie Shervington’s life is a fascinating story. It stretches from the rural farmland of St. Matthews, South Carolina, to the rough-and-tumble streets of the Bronx. It continues in a quiet room at Preston Health Center, where she prepares to turn 100 years old this month.

The many members of the Burke family. Standing, from left to right: Alvin McGowan, Brittany Kitty, Linda Burke Smart, Betty Burke Days, Lisa Kitty, Robena Greene, Jamila Days, Sidney A. Jones, Herbert Ford, Renee Ford, Mary Ford, Shirley Drayton, Geneva Mitchell, Georgia Aiken, Anaya Milledge, Carol Lewis, and Brenda Williams. Sitting: Jamecca Ladson, Jayce Charles, LB Ladson, Edward P. Days III, Keith Ford, Treasure Days, Erica McGowan, Virgil Ford, Zykeria Gethers, Chelsea Lewis, and Ari Milledge.

“I’m a competitive person,” Jake Gartner said. “I try to be the best I can be, whether it’s family life, being a builder, coach or the chairman of a board — I want to be the best they’ve ever had. Excellence drives me in my personal life and my professional life.”

Gartner is putting that drive and passion for excellence to work for his community as chairman of the Town of Hilton Head Island’s Design Review Board.


Sallie Ann Robinson recalls a simpler time on Daufuskie Island, when families farmed and fished to earn a living and she and other children were taught in a two-room schoolhouse by soon-to-befamous novelist Pat Conroy.

Which is mightier, the pencil or the pen? Two Lowcountry collectors find joy in putting ink — or lead — to paper.

In the days of the ever-present keyboard, a few who write or draw still enjoy the feel and appearance of a well-made pen or pencil — and they’re willing to pay for it.

In some form or another, sea turtles have flourished in the world’s oceans for millions of years. Today, these ancient mariners are on the brink of extinction. All sea turtles in U.S. waters are endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Poachers slaughter sea turtles for their shells, meat, skin and eggs. The turtles also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing nets. Climate change alters sand temperatures at turtle nesting sites, which then affects the sex of hatchlings. 

Take some of the world’s finest wines, add the island’s best cuisine and throw in a couple of celebrities: that’s the winning combination you’ll find at the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival. The festival, now in its 32nd year, is set for March 8-12 and draws wine and food lovers from all over the country. Festival president Tom Hines offers a look at what guests can expect at this year’s event.