For the next three blog posts, I will be counting down from 10, discussing important things that visitors need to know about visiting Hilton Head Island. Without further ado, I will get started.
10)You are on Hilton Head when you cross the bridge – Some visitors don’t realize that before mansions and condominiums, small cottages were prevalent in this once self-sufficient island. The presence of such abodes sighted when first crossing the bridge can throw off an uninformed vacationer.
9)Bluffton is not Hilton Head – On the mainland, before travelers even cross the bridge, there are several businesses with “Hilton Head” in its title. I know that this can be confusing but until you cross the bridge, you’re not on Hilton Head yet. You’re in Bluffton. In other words, Hilton Head is Hilton Head and Bluffton is Bluffton. Still confused? See #10.
8)Respect the History – Like many of the Sea Islands, sacrifices (willing and unwilling) have occurred to ensure that the island is full of endless bike trails, numerous golf and tennis courts, hotels, beautiful beach access, high-end shopping centers, and plantations (what most people call subdivisions). Respect occurs when there is an understanding that all places have a history.
This is a good place to leave off for now. Stay tuned for Part 2 of 10 Things You Need to Know When Visiting Hilton Head Island. Part 2 is where it gets a bit deeper. Hope you’re ready. Meanwhile, be on the lookout for that bridge…
At the start of the Civil War, a slave family escapes from a plantation outside of Beaufort, South Carolina, living off the land as taught by their ancestors. When their comfortable life is suddenly disrupted by an unfortunate encounter with a Union Army Soldier causing them to flee again, these ex-slaves fear that being caught and sent back to their owners is the least of their worries. As the family makes their way from the mainland of the South Carolina Low Country, to Pinckney Island, and finally to Hilton Head Island, they encounter many ex-slaves along the way. However, Luther, the head of the family, takes people as they come finding that some are able to help, while others, even the most trustworthy, can cause hurt. Will this family finally make it to freedom or will their trouble finally catch up to them?
My Grandmama always called going to Savannah “Going to Town”.
When I was growing up, the roads coming off of the bridge toward Bluffton were two lanes. Now they’re six…
When I was a teenager and this area was all trees, I was told by Hilton Head’s first Black planner on that Bluffton would be lined with businesses within the next fifteen years…
If you will allow me to put on my planner’s hat for a moment, I would like to point out that businesses in this area have strict height, façade, and sign requirements.
Signs have to be a particular height and blend in with the unimposing façade.
During this stretch, the road to Savannah is untouched from when I was young. Dense trees line either side of the road.
As a former transportation planner, I still don’t understand the reason for the sudden roundabout in the middle of Highway 46, but here it is…
Although Georgia is the “Peach State,” you can’t go anywhere in South Carolina without running into a roadside peach stand…
The Talmage Bridge looms in the distance. It’s visible for a moment before hiding once again behind the landscape. It’s the bridge’s way of letting the motorist know that it’s still there and in order to arrive at your destination of Savannah, GA, it must be crossed…. My design teacher at UNO taught me that road planners do this hide-and-seek with a prominent feature on purpose. It makes it interesting.
The Talmage Bride used to be a smaller green drawbridge that ships used to hit because they couldn’t clear the structure. Now, it’s steeper, higher, and not for the faint of heart…
The Victory Drive Palm Trees in Savannah, GA are a three-mile long memorial for the servicemen who fought in World War I.
Fort Pulaski is a historical landmark that one might find on the way to Tybee Island.
So this is the beach on Tybee Island. Dad said that when he went to college at Savannah State College (University now), Black people were not allowed to go to the Beach here. He said that it was fine with him because he knew where the best beach was and that was home on Hilton Head Island. Soon the Black people in Savannah discovered that they were welcome on Hilton Head and went to the beach on the island by the busloads. Well today, we are somewhat welcome although I still prefer the beach of home. No matter which beach I go to though, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of the earth as I look out at the horizon.
I have talked about the cultivation of rice in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia. The cotton trade however, was just as interesting. In the Low Country, Sea Island Cotton, more commonly known as Long Staple Cotton, had also been the primary commodity of the Sea Islands. Sea Island Cotton was able to be cultivated in these areas because the crops thrived in light, sandy, and saltwater lands. These crops also expanded the economic success of the area because of the excellent prices they brought to the world market.