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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, OVERVIEW

icy windshieldcloudy beach view
The first words I thought of to describe Hilton Head Island prior to planning a trip there were:
Expensive
Rich and famous
Golf
There is so much more to the island than what those words can describe. So much so I will make a post for each of the words I now think of to relate to Hilton Head Island such as:Golf,History,Environment,Food,Rich and famous, Beach***in no particular order of importance. It took some doing to get here. We ran into an unexpected snow storm in our travels and altered our accommodations on the way down as a result. Hubby's booked his golf around the weather and our site seeing also revolved around the weather. Thankfully I got lots of pictures to share with you BEFORE the camera broke. This is very upsetting to me. The camera is new, only a few months old. I'm hopeful it can be returned when we get back home.

The island is relatively new...new in terms of what we all think of that is. The vacation spot, the golfers paradise haven't been around all that long. Electricity only got to the island back in 1950 so you can see what I mean.

The short history is the area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, then the Spanish arrived (back in the 1500's). The Spanish mistreated the natives and were ousted by them. Along came the English, Captain William Hilton in search of land to grow sugar cane and indigo. Plantations flourished.

The Island was over run with Union forces during The Civil War, Confederate prisoners, and escaped slaves. After the war, the island was all but abandoned. The crops were destroyed by the Boll Weevil and the people who remained were escaped slaves and their descendants. They fished and farmed in isolation; not being connected to the mainland. They developed their own language and culture based on their African heritage. It wasn't until 1940 the island was re-discovered by wealthy sportsmen, who saw the commercial potential of all the Pine Trees. In 1950 electricity hit the island and in 1956 the bridge connecting it to the mainland made transportation to and from the island more accessible; thus the period of tourism began in earnest. Charles Fraser's family owned a large portion of the island (specifically the area now called Sea Pines). He was a lover of nature and forward thinking with development. Though the island is commercialized, and highly developed; it is done so with protectionism for the land in mind. Buildings, signs, lights etc. all must meet a strict environmental standard. Large areas of land are put aside as a preserve for the birds, alligators and turtles. Even lights from the hotels are regulated during important nesting times.

The island is 12 miles long and 5 miles wide, with lots of bike trails, beaches, golf courses, and nature preserves. Charles Fraser is buried under an Oak Tree on the island he so loved. Much is still being learned about the Gullah culture (the culture of the slaves and their descendants), which no doubt will add to what we know about Hilton Head Island.

The photo's show our less than pleasant drive here, and the cloudy beach when we first arrived.

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12 comments:

  1. I've heard wonderful things about Hilton Head. Something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Sorry you booked the wrong weekend. Who knew the South would be covered in the white stuff. We got an impromptu vacation too. Just hung out at home and pretended we were up north. Fires, sledding, snow ball fights and NO SCHOOL!

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  2. I like to travel and especially long roads that seem to go on forever. After a while the scenery gets tiring though.

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  3. How interesting. I always thought that area would be too expensive for my taste. Is there normal lodging there? Like around $70 per night?

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  4. Wow, great history lesson for me. Thanks.
    The place looks really nice and cool.

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  5. Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is known as the most family-friendly destination in the world. It is also named as one of the top ten family beaches in the country. The Island is the perfect selection for a family vacation or getaway.
    Thanks for providing very nice information regarding the place. It was worth reading.

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  6. I love South Carolina, the people there are so kind and friendly. Also the buffets are unreal. There is a huge divide in income levels there, but really that is true most places.

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  7. Karen the prices really vary. Even the cost of meals varies. Plenty of groceries and we didn't feel like the prices were any higher than what we pay at home. Many establishments have coupons available, some have buy one get one...at least this time of year which is most definately the low season.

    Sandy

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  8. Its looking like an ideal Island. I 'll definitely try to visit this Island. Its 'll be a very enjoyable trip for my family.

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  9. Hello
    I really like this blog as I can get information all about traveling.Its such a nice overview about island.Thanks for this post.

    r4 revolution for ds

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  10. Lots of good information, looks like a place I would enjoy; but would want better weather than it sounds like you're having.

    E

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  11. This is interesting. Frankly, I have never heard or read about Hilton Head Island.

    Apparently it is one of the hidden gems get-away islands that have now come to the fore. And what a background if history that it has!

    I am sure that this island will gain the attention it deserves. Leave it to the rich and the famous to bring that to Hilton Head Island.

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  12. We went there before we got married, then on our honeymoon, and then with our kids. Haven't been in 4 years! We love it! We usually stay at the Hilton Head Tennis and Beach Resort, you can find good deals all year long!

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