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Former homebuilder Paul McCue of Bluffton finds a second career as a gunsmith

In his heyday as a homebuilder, Paul McCue made skeet and trap shooting his hobby, going to competitions all over the Southeast.
“I was into sporting clays, skeet, trap. I was doing heavy competition and I built my own gun stocks. I had always worked on my own guns.”
McCue became interested in shooting sports while growing up near Pittsburgh.

Craig Everetts talks turkey and the hunting heritage of the Lowcountry

Long before there was Sun City Hilton Head, there was the Bill John Hunting Club.
To see the rows and rows of retirement homes now, it’s hard to believe that at one time, the 10,000 acres off of U.S. 278 were the hunting mecca of the Lowcountry.
Craig Everetts remembers it well. It’s where the veteran guide fell in love with turkey hunting.

It’s almost impossible to imagine Hilton Head Island as fertile hunting grounds. When modern developments compete with crisply manicured golf courses, and various overlapping POA rules and town ordinances compete to keep noise down and discharging of firearms to a mimimum, the island hardly seems like the place to head out and scare up some dove.

Development after development, from Sea Pines to Palmetto Bluff, Tommy Baysden helps keep Lowcountry’s natural beauty a central focus

Photo by Charles GraceTommy Baysden was one of the lucky young MBA graduates who landed a job with Charles Fraser and helped turn Sea Pines into one of the most nature-embracing developments on the East Coast.
“My wife Cindy and I moved here from North Carolina in 1971 to Harbour Town. We were one of the first people to get mail. It was amazingly wild at the time. It was basically a wilderness then. Hilton Head was and is a natural paradise.”

Roman-LarinonovRoman Larinonov,
moved from Moscow to Hilton Head

When people think of immigrants, it's usually Hispanics that pop to mind. However, locally and nationally, the number of Russian immigrants is growing.

About 409,000 Russian-born immigrants live in the U.S., and about 18 percent live in the South. It is estimated that at least 100 Russian immigrants live in the area, although that number could be greater.

When reflecting on his bold move from Moscow to Hilton Head Island in 2006, Roman Larinonov said, “Conquering fear and taking calculated risks takes courage, guts. Looking back, you earn a feeling of self-respect.”

This month, the fifth annual Italian Heritage Festival at Honey Horn Plantation, brought to you by the Italian-American Club of Hilton Head, reminds us that an event of this size, with vendors, guests, residents and families from all over enjoying the Italian experience, means the Lowcountry is home to a burgeoning Italian-American village of sorts. 

This transplanted culture brings with it the best it can offer, from old-world recipes made with fresh local ingredients, fine imported and local wines, sports that have their roots in the Italian countryside, live music, and of course, lots of conversation spoken in several dialects.

The Italian culture brings new meaning to the phrase, “It takes a village, to raise a child,” and we’re delighted to bring you a few examples of Italian-American citizens who have brought the best of both worlds to bear right here in the U.S. and on Hilton Head Island.

floresesmeraldaVacation led Flores from Honduras to Lowcountry

Esmeralda Flores,

One on the happiest days of Esmeralda Flores’ life was the day she was sworn in as an American citizen.
“The man who swore us in said, ‘Remember to love this country as much as it loves you. Know that this flag will always protect you,’ “ said Flores, still visibly moved by that moment.

However, that doesn’t mean Flores doesn’t still have a huge place in her heart for her home country of Honduras. In fact, there is a small Honduran flag on the front window sill of her business, Esmeralda's Massage Therapy & Pilates Center on New Orleans Road on Hilton Head Island.

“I’m proud to be from Honduras,” she said. “It’s a country that is rich, but its people are poor.”


antunes-johnAmerican dream came true for Distinctive founder

John Antunes,

John Antunes arrived at JFK airport in New York City in the winter of 1966 when he was 16 years old. He had never seen snow, didn’t have a jacket and didn’t speak English.

He was coming to join his father, who had arrived in New York a few years earlier, to earn enough money to pay for a farm in a small village north of Lisbon, Portugal.

In New York, Antunes and his father worked construction, living in Jamaica, Queens, with other Portuguese immigrants. He enrolled in school but left after a week, determined to learn English quickly and frustrated that the school’s program was not intensive enough.

ulimelcBistro owners bring international flare to local cuisine

Claude Melchiorri,

Uli Melchiorri,

The South Carolina Lowcountry is renowned for its world-class golf courses, sparkling sand beaches and thriving arts scene, but one of the lesser-known factors that make the region – and Hilton Head Island in particular – such a great place to live and visit is the cultural diversity of the population.

A little more than 15 percent of Hilton Head residents were born in foreign countries – a rather large percentage, considering that foreign-born residents make up just 4.8 million of the state's overall population, according to the United States Census Bureau. Hailing from countries such as Germany, England, Ireland, Italy and Poland, Hilton Head's immigrant residents are part of what give the island its wonderful international flare.

Claude and Uli Melchiorri, owners of Claude and Uli's Signature Bistro, located in Moss Creek Village just before the bridges to Hilton Head, are two such immigrants who are lending their distinctive style and spirit to the Lowcountry melting pot.

marekbelkaBelka brothers immigrated to find opportunities, more time for family

Marek, Gregor Belka,

Originally from Poland, brothers Marek and Gregor Belka lend their distinctive international flare to Hilton Head Island's cultural melting pot.

The Belkas are in good company; a little more than 15 percent of Hilton Head Island's residents were born in other countries, according to the United States Census Bureau.

For younger brother, Gregor, who moved to Hilton Head Island in 1989, new opportunities – and a desire to escape a communist regime – were key factors in his decision to move to the United States.