Rainy Day Activities on Hilton Head

umbrella3 lqHave Some Fun Even When the Sun Doesn’t Shine

 

While enjoying your stay on Hilton Head Island, you may find yourself with a rainy day situation. There are those brave souls who don’t mind walking on the beach while it’s raining (provided there’s no thunder), but here are a few ideas in the off chance that you’d prefer to explore other, dry options.

The traditional approach to rainy days is simply to stay indoors. If you are staying at one of the dozens of resorts, more than likely there are activities scheduled around the weather forecast. Many restaurants and shops are rainy day friendly though. You can even dine on a covered porch and enjoy a burger without a single raindrop on your toasted bun. Even if you’re in the mood to avoid the weather entirely, there are several options for rainy day fun in Hilton Head.

 

Salty Dog Cafe

Grab a bite to eat under the awning or dine inside and enjoy the cool AC. Known as one of Hilton Head’s favorite dining experiences with food the whole family can enjoy. Don’t forget to pick up your souvenir Salty Dog T-shirt!

 

Park Plaza Cinema

Whether you’re searching for evening entertainment or dodging summer showers in the afternoon, Park Plaza Cinema is the place to be. You can grab a bite to eat before or after the show at Parlez-Vous Lounge & Cine’-Cafe’.

 

Coligny Theatre

At Coligny Theatre you can catch a recent blockbuster release or opt for a film created by independent producers. Once called ‘The Island Theater’, this charming little theatre showcases the artwork of local artist Ralph Sutton.

 

Northridge Cinema

It’s no secret that the best movies are released as summer blockbusters, don’t miss out on the big premieres while you’re on vacation. Relax and enjoy the movie with state-of-the-art electronic recliners, complete with light up cup-holders! Northridge Cinema offers FREE family approved movies for children and families on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings.

 

Adventure Cove Mini Golf & Arcade

Outwit wizards, conquer dragons and defeat your parents at air hockey at Hilton Head Island’s only arcade! Adventure Cove is the perfect way to have fun when the rain forces you inside and if the weather clears up for a bit you can challenge the family to a 36 hole round of miniature golf.

 

Coligny Plaza

Located in the heart of the south end of Hilton Head Island is a shopping center the whole family can enjoy. Whether you’re in search of the perfect souvenir or a delicious ice cream cone, this covered shopping center will keep you dry even when afternoon showers hit.

 

Tanger Outlets

A 15-minute drive off Hilton Head Island will land you in the center of some of the best outlet shopping in the South. Whether you need some new surf shorts or a great discount on back to school clothes, this is the place to be. Don’t lose a day of fun to the rain, walk around under covered walkways to your favorite stores.

 

 

Bartender Profile: Bill Alberts

Hilton Head’s best bartenders take a step out from behind the bar to tell us a little about themselves.

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Name: Bill Alberts
Title: Bartender, Manager
Age: 36
Bar: Santa Fe Café
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Years Bartending: 15

Bill Alberts - Santa Fe Café

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The most popular drink at the Santa Fe Cafe is their house margarita, the Cadillac Margarita.

 

What was your first drink?
Probably a screwdriver. You’re not going to ask what age, are you?

What inspired you to bartend?
It’s a good social environment. I’m not the kind of person that goes out and drinks. This is kind of my social interaction.

What inspires you now?
The people that I meet. It is the same job day in and day out, but it’s different people every single day. Some of the best friends that I’ve made are from this restaurant.

Most popular?
The Cadillac Margarita – it’s our house margarita topped off with with a Grand Marnier floater.

Favorite drink to make?
Dirty martinis.

To drink?
Right now it’s beer, but it changes.

What do you like to experiment with?
Margaritas. We make spicy margaritas with jalapenos; we use different types of tequila, like jalapeno-infused tequila. There’s Chipotle vodka made by Hangar 1 that’s good in a margarita, even though it doesn’t have tequila in it. It’s like a vodka margarita.

What’s your favorite part about being a bartender?
Meeting different people.  You never know who’s going to walk through the door. Just meeting new people and listening to their stories – why they’re on Hilton head, why they’re on vacation, where they’re from and what they like.

Favorite type of crowd?
Definitely people that like to have a conversation.

Best time of the day?
9 p.m. – at 9 o’clock at night the staff usually gathers around and we do a group shot. We’re kind of like a family.

What has bartending taught you?
Organization and time management.

It’s like a toolbox. You put your screwdrivers back where they’re supposed to be and when you have to look for that tool, you know exactly where it is at. It’s the same with liquor.

Tips?
Treat every person the same, no matter how they’re dressed or how they act, even if they are drunk. You need to treat them all the same.

 

Food and Music at Shelter Cove Harbour

Food and Music Take Center Stage at Seasonal Music and Taste on the Harbour Series at Shelter Cove Harbour! Both locals and visitors to the island this spring will find lively entertainment and delicious food Thursdays nights at Shelter Cove Harbour. Local musicians will perform at Neptune Statue each Thursday from 6-9 p.m. as the sun sets over Broad Creek, while Shelter Cove restaurants will set up nearby offering food and drink specials.

The popular Music and Taste on the Harbour series, which is held each spring and fall, returns Thursday evenings March 27-May 22. At a special kick-off event, March 27, all five Shelter Cove restaurants, including the new La Fontana Waterfront Grill & Pizzeria, San Miguel’s Mexican Cafe, Bistro 17, Ela’s Blu Water Grille and Scott’s Fish Market, will serve light appetizers and offer drink specials as The Headliners perform.

For the remaining Thursdays from 6-9 p.m., two featured Shelter Cove Harbour restaurants will set up in tents near the performance, providing a variety of light appetizers and drink specials.

The spring schedule for Music and Taste on the Harbour is:
• March 27 – Kick off event with The Headliners and food and drink specials from all five Shelter Cove Harbour restaurants.
• April 3 – Target, the Band
• April 10 – The Headliners
• April 17 – Target, the Band
• April 24 – The Headliners
• May 1 – Candace Woodson & the Domino Theory Band
• May 8 – Cranford Hollow
• May 15 – The Headliners
• May 22 – Target, the Band

Entrance to the event is free and it will be held weather permitting. No coolers or outside food are allowed, and limited seating is available, so attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs. For more information about Music and Taste on the Harbour, visit palmettodunes.com/shelter-cove-harbour.php or (843) 785-6424.

Shelter Cove Harbour is a Mediterranean-style village located mid-island at mile marker 8 across from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, offering casual waterfront dining, unique shopping, live entertainment and beautiful views of Broad Creek.

Aerial Adventure Hilton Head Island!

2 hour Playground in the Sky, Launches April 1…no foolin’. ZipLine hilton head welcomes a new kissin’ cousin. After 2 years of tremendous response for ZipLine hilton head, AERIAL ADVENTURE HILTON HEAD joins the growing activities at Broad Creek Marina Adventures on April 1. This unique, 2 hour attraction features 50 in-the-tree challenging activities on 6 different ability courses, easy to hard, designed to accommodate various levels of physical fitness. As a confidence and team morale building experience, this is pure self-guided fun where the harnessed and helmeted participants are hooked to the cable continuously throughout the journey.

“Our new adventure is for all ages — a 5-year-old will love our green courses, and a Marine will enjoy our black “rough and tough” courses…while the rest of us can enjoy the in-between blue journeys,” explains owner Roger Freedman.

AERIAL ADVENTURE HILTON HEAD features many Hilton Head-themed activities including those that salute the water and beaches, the region’s wildlife and the military. This aerial park concept has seen huge growth in popularity throughout Europe, and now, the lowcountry has its own.

Among the specific challenging activities obstacles are:

Skyak; Spiderman web walk; hula hoop hill; left/right military climbing wall; roller coaster log bridge; commando crawl; buoy bumper bridge; Tarzan swing; floating fishy climbing wall; island hopping; shipwreck bridge; ziggy zag bridge; flying frisbees; no telling tunnel; bouncing Osprey nests; sand dollar skyway; an “electric” slide zip; big blue catch; soaring hawk; and barrel bounce bridge.

In addition to the new aerial sky playground, both a rock climbing wall and a bungee trampoline have been added. All the new adventures are designed to provide unique destinations for corporate outings, celebrations and team moral building events. The Company’s popular Up the Creek Pub & Grill, located right next door, will cater on the ground at the adventure sites or welcome groups to come up for their toasts and parties.

“Aerial Adventure is a unique addition to all the wonderful activities there are to experience on HHI. It’s an outing many visitors will be glad to add to their vacation must-do list,” says Chamber President and CEO Bill Miles.

The Saferoller continuous belay system provides maximum safety and increases the enjoyment of the AERIAL ADVENTURE HILTON HEAD experience by not having to switch from cable to cable after each activity.

AERIAL ADVENTURE HILTON HEAD is located on the 15 acre complex know as Broad Creek Marina Adventures at 33 Broad Creek Marina Way, adjacent to the ZipLine tour course. Next door is both Broad Creek Marina and Up the Creek Pub & Grill, also owned by Freedman. Freedman bought the Marina in 1993, razed it and rebuilt it in 2005 adding the popular restaurant. In Spring 2012, ZipLine Hilton Head opened as the only zipline canopy tour within 250 miles, and has welcomed over 43,000 guests in just 2 years.

The 2 hour AERIAL ADVENTURE HILTON HEAD attraction is $49/per person. Reservations are preferred and can be booked on the websites, Aerialadventurehiltonhead.com and Ziplinehiltonhead.com. Days of operation and hours vary during each season. Certain restrictions such as age, weight and dress are detailed on the websites. Adventure Info/Reservations: (843) 682-6000.

Spring Break on Hilton Head Island

Spring Break on Hilton Head Island

Come enjoy spring break on Hilton Head Island! The sun is out and the water is warming up, all the flowers are in bloom and the island is buzzing. Here are some of the best things to do while you’re on the island:

1. Rent a Bike

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Visitors can rent all kinds of bikes from Pedals Bicycles.

Hilton Head Island offers more than 50 miles of public pathways and nature trails for pedestrians and cyclists to explore. The flat terrain and network of bike paths make it easy for everyone to enjoy, and is why Hilton Head Island is currently the highest ranked Bicycle Friendly Community in South Carolina.

Bikes are a great alternative to rental cars, because you don’t have to deal with parking or traffic. Almost all of the bike paths are separate from the main road so kids and inexperienced bikers are safe.

Bikes are welcome on the beach too! Cycle around the South Carolinian coast at low tide when the sand near the water is firm.

For more information about the cycling on Hilton Head Island, click here.

 

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Swim, sunbathe or just relax in the shade of an umbrella at the beautiful beaches on the island.

2. Hit the beaches

With 12 miles of seashore to enjoy, visitors have plenty of room to lay down a blanket and enjoy the warm weather. Hilton Head Island has six different public beach parks for visitors to enjoy. Visitors can enjoy a more natural setting, or go to a park with a shop center and restaurants. Almost all of the beach parks are handicap accessible, with beach matting for wheelchairs, and have bathrooms.

For more information about the beaches on Hilton Head Island, click here.

 

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Outside Hilton Head offers dolphin tours!

3. Go on a Dolphin Tour

There are tons of tours available to explore waters around Hilton Head Island. Dolphin tours are great for a family outing and by far the most popular tour. But there are several other tours, including alligator and wildlife tours, discovery tours and disappearing Daufuskie Island tours. Whether you want to ride on a boat, a kayak or a stand up paddleboard, tours are a fun way to explore the waters and learn about the island. 

 

H20 Sports offers a variety of water sports, including parasailing.

H20 Sports offers a variety of water sports, including parasailing.

4. Play some Water Sports

Hilton Head is an island, so there is plenty to do out on the water. Companies across the island offer everything from wave runner, kayak and stand up paddleboard (SUP) rentals to parasailing, waterskiing and tubing. Exploring on SUPs is one of the most popular activities on the island. Visitors can go out in groups, take a SUP tour and even participate in a yoga class on these paddleboards!

For more information about water sports on Hilton Head Island, click here.

 

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The Coastal Discovery Museum has several activities for kids and families.

5. Visit the Coastal Discovery Museum

This is a great activity for families. Learn about the history and cultural heritage of the Lowcountry. The museum is set on 68 acres of historic Honey Horn property and has some of the oldest trees and buildings on Hilton Head Island. Kids can play dress up in the period costumes, watch the bird nest cam, view a tank with young horseshoe crabs and search trails with a guide in the scavenger hunt.

For more information about the Coastal Discovery Museum and other museums, click here.

 

 

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Fly through the trees at ZipLine Hilton Head.

5. Get a better view

Jump on a zipline, climb up a lighthouse or take a discovery flight to see the Hilton Head in a different way. Just don’t forget to bring your camera!

What’s the best way to see the island and have a little fun? Ziplining! ZipLine Hilton Head has 8 different zip lines that allow visitors to soar through trees and see the sights of Broad Creek. For an even  better view, go up in a plane with a certified instructor for a discovery flight. Guests will actually get to fly a plane and see an aerial view of the island. Another great sight to see is the marina from the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse.

 

6. Find the natural side of the island

Go to the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge or check out the forest preserves and Mitchelville Beach to see the uncombed side of South Carolina. Pinckey is located right next to Hilton Head, just off of Highway 278. The best time to visit these 4,053 acres of marshland is during the spring when the wintering songbirds linger before migration. 

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The Lawton Stables in Sea Pines for trail rides on horses.

The biggest preserve on Hilton Head is Sea Pines Forest Preserve, which spans 605 acres and has 8 miles of trails and bridges. Explore the swamp, marsh land and forests. If you’re looking for a smaller preserve, then check out the Audubon Newhall Preserve, a 50-acre forest has a small pond. It is a little more maintained and has different identification labels on trees and plants to learn during your exploration.

 

 

 

Who know's what you're going to catch when you go out on a charter with Blue Water.

Who knows what you’re going to catch when you go out on a charter with Blue Water.

7. Catch some BIG fish

There is a wide variety of fishing charters available on Hilton Head Island—some even specialize in shark hunting! You can go during the day and enjoy the sun or head out for an evening shark trip. The waters are full of sea bass, blue fish, cobia, sharks and barracuda. Cast a line and see what you can catch!

For more information about fishing on Hilton Head Island, click here.

Hilton Head Island Wine and Food Festival

Savor the most delicious wines and enjoy the tastes of the coast at the 29th Annual Hilton Head Island Wine and Food Festival. This weeklong festival honors distinctive wines and flavors from across the world with wine tastings, dinners, author receptions, movie screenings and informative wine talks. 

Origins of the festival date back to almost 30 years ago when the festival’s aim was to bring in more visitors and support the growing food and beverage industry across the island. It started as a three-hour long wine tasting and has matured into a full week of events all across the Island. Now, their Public Tasting is one of the largest outdoor wine tastings on the East Coast.

Event Schedule:

Great Chefs of the Island Wine Dinners

Join local food connoisseurs as they pair the best wines with their most delectable meals in a series of dinners. The finest restaurants across Hilton Head Island will host these feasts from March 10 through March 15.

Friday, March 14

Wine Knowledge Sessions

Become a true wine enthusiast and learn how to choose and pair the perfect wines for different occasions. Discover new wines and step out with other wine lovers for a great time.

Grand Tasting

Get tickets to the Grand Tasting to learn about premium wines and participate in the Silent Wine Auction. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. guests can taste and purchase premium wines in the intimate setting of Sea Pines Country Club. New York Time’s chief wine critic, Eric Asimov, will be among the crowd and autographed copies of his book, “How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto” will be available for purchase.

Saturday, March 15

Public Tasting

Get out to the Honey Horn Plantation and enjoy the one of the biggest outdoor wine tastings on the East Coast. From 12 to 4 p.m. there will be over 400 wines from vineyards across the world, as well as wine representatives sharing their expertise on matter. Attendees can watch chefs’ work their magic at the Outdoor Gourmet Pavilion, check out the Bartender’s Challenge and Waiter’s Race or bid on wines at the Silent Auction. Christy Jordan of SouthernPlate.com will be a guest of honor and signed copies of her book, “Come Home to Supper,” will be available for purchase. 

The festival is a great time to celebrate and enjoy food and wine, but it is not just that. Hilton Head Wine & Food, Inc. donates all of the proceeds from the Silent Wine Auctions to support the John and Valerie Curry Educational Scholarship Fund to help students pursue hospitality and tourism degrees.

For more information about the festival, visit http://www.hiltonheadwineandfood.com/

The Sonesta Resort

IMG_7045The Sonesta Resort recently underwent a $30 million renovation. They took this beachfront resort down to its framework and rebuilt it from the ground up. Now it sparkles with a new spa, bars and restaurants, additional meeting space and all sorts of new amenities and features around the hotel.

“We completely redid everything—from the guest rooms and the meeting space to the bars and landscaping,” said Chris Braken, the Director of Sales and Marketing. “It’s really transformed into a brand new resort.” 

IMG_6981cBefore the renovation, the Sonesta Resort was known as Crowne Royal. Now Trip Advisor boasts that the Sonesta is the number one resort on Hilton Head Island. It has also been named Best of the South destination, Best Hotel and Best Wedding Venue in various magazines in 2013. Without the hard work put into polishing and perfecting all the little details, the Sonesta would not be named an AAA 4 Diamond Resort.

Walking in the lobby, guests are greeted by the charming orange, pink and green accents that thrive throughout the hotel. From little details on pillows and chairs to the fresh flowers on side tables, these little sparks of color brighten everything up. Even the chandelier spanning four stories, made of driftwood and sea glass, fits in perfectly—especially with the sun shining through the ceiling-high windows. There isn’t a bad view from any corner.

Rooms

The Sonesta Resort has 340 newly renovated rooms fit for vacationers and anyone else looking for a relaxing stay. All of the rooms are nonsmoking and feature a private balcony or patio, so guests can step out to see the beautiful gardens or wake up to a beautiful oceanic view. They even have pet friendly suits on the first floor so dog lovers can bring their furry friends.

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These rooms feature more than just the regular amenities of other hotels. Along with a dual line telephone and 46” LCD smart television with Internet, they have an iHome docking station and a Keurig coffee and tea station. They even have a motion activated nightlight, just incase someone has to get up during the night. Located underneath the nightstand, this light is dim enough not to wake anyone up and the perfect guide so no one will stumble in the dark. It’s the thoughtful touches like these that make everyone’s stay a little bit better.

The small refrigerator makes it easy to save any delicious meals from restaurants across the island and the electronic safe is there to protect any valuables while you’re away. And on nights you or the kids might want to tuck in early, in-room movies and video games are available, as well as high speed Internet.

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Hospitality suites are available for anyone looking for extra room to entertain. These suits feature an additional living and dining area, as well as an extra balcony. There is a wet bar and a table to eat at and two different areas to watch television in these suites.

“We have TV’s that are really state of the art,” Braken said.

So whether it’s a golf tournament, football game, Internet surfing, playing games or a movie, these TVs can do it all. They have everything kids like and adults can enjoy.

Nearby

The Sonesta is located on the 800-acre Shipyard Plantation, a quiet getaway where guests can enjoy the 11 acres of beachfront property and all of the facilities the planation has to offer. Visitors might even get to see deer, native island birds, turtles or alligators during their stay. 

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The plantation has pools and tennis courts for visitors to take advantage of and there is also the Shipyard Golf Club, golfers can visit during their stay.

Whether visitors want to stay on the plantation or go explore the rest of the island, the Sonesta is the right place to start. It’s edged right on the ocean in the middle of Hilton Head Island. Just a short drive, or bike, will take you to the Coligny Plaza Shopping Center, where you can shop at Bennali’s, Island Girl Boutique, Tee Hut, Jamaican Me Crazy, Tropical Styles and an assortment of other beachy stores. And if there is anything worth going out of the resort and off the plantation for, it is ZipLine Hilton Head.

“We recommend that from the resort. It’s very close and people have a great time going on the zip lines,” said Braken. “It’s less than 10 minutes away.”

For more information about the facilities of the hotel, visit the Sonesta’s facility page.

For information about the dining options at the hotel, visit the Sonesta’s dining page.

 

Perfect Your Putt

Try these two simple drills to improve your accuracy on the green.

Ironically, one of the best ways to improve your putt is to close your eyes.

Putting with your eyes wide shut might sound crazy, but this is a savvy trick many professional golfers use to get in tune with their stroke on the green.

Australian golfer Peter O’Malley has said, “I’m putting with my eyes closed. Everyone laughs when I say it, but it’s true. It takes away the visual anxiety. When you get over those short putts and you can’t see what the putt’s doing, it takes away the anxiety. With the eyes shut, I hit it more firmly than I probably would with my eyes open.”

PGA Tour golfers Colin Montgomerie and Johnny Miller have each drawn attention from the media and from spectators alike for putting with their eyes closed in major tournaments. However, this technique can work wonders for recreational golfers as well.

The eyes-closed strategy teaches you to feel the stroke and trust the mechanics of the putt. Once you develop the proper putting mechanics, you can get the ball in position, stand up tall and practice putting with your eyes closed at various distances from the hole.

Remember, one of the biggest obstacles to putting is the human mind. If you overthink the putt, you’ll over involve your body. The putter should serve as a pendulum, swinging back and forth and delivering the ball to the cup, plain and simple.

By closing your eyes, you’ll feel the stroke with your body and take your mind out of the equation. You’ll also relax and focus more fully on the task at hand. And, as Peter O’Malley said, you’ll reduce the anxiety associated with trying to make the perfect putt.

You can try this drill over and over on the golf course, moving the ball back a bit further each time. Remember that the putter knows what to do. You just need to encourage it to do it.

Another great putting drill involves keeping your eye on the back of the cup, rather than on the ball itself, during a short putt. Gently putt the ball into the hole while keeping your eyes glued on the back of the cup. Like putting with your eyes closed, this exercise also encourages you to relax, think less and have faith in the simple physics of the putt.

If you incorporate this putting drill into your practice routine, you should begin to develop a better feel on the green. By eliminating visual distraction, you can focus on the feel of the putt, which is what really matters.

Above all, don’t let your mind hold you back on the golf course. Use these two simple drills to improve your accuracy and refine your putt. You just may see a major spike in your performance on the green.

Remember that July is a great month to play golf on Hilton Head Island and an ideal time to perfect your putt. Always wear a hat in the summer sun, stay hydrated and have fun on the green this season!

A former PGA Touring pro, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. He conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free hands-on interactive clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or palmettodunes.com.

By Doug Weaver, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. Photography by Joyce Harkins, Hilton Head Island Photography, INC.

Chasing Mahi

mahiA multi-generational fishing expedition offers formidable challenges and rich rewards.

The calm sea exploded around the skipping ballyhoo, the rod bucked wildly and the fish took to the air. There was no doubt we were hooked up to the most beautiful fish inhabiting the deep blue waters of the Gulfstream: the dolphin (fish), more commonly referred to as mahi.

Young Robert Lyon, the third Lyon generation family member I’ve had the honor to fish with over the years, took up the rod and, after a great battle, Capt. Bryan Benson aced a nice gaff shot. Dinner was in the box. It was midday, and we had just arrived at our destination some 90 miles off the beach of Hilton Head.

The calm seas promised for the morning were late, and we found our way offshore, stopping at Navy towers R7 and R8 looking for some action. We were not disappointed, having jigged up some amberjacks that provided tough bulldog battles for young Robert and my son Caleb. We also had a wolf pack of cobia circling the boat for awhile, but had no success in getting them to take the bait. Huge schools of spadefish, barracuda and mutton snapper offered up an aquarium experience that is all but guaranteed in the clear waters around these towers.

However, now we were in the Gulfstream, our original destination, and the seas had flattened. With young Robert’s fish in the box, Capt. Bryan and I redeployed the bait as the senior Robert Lyon started working the boat up and down a spotty sargassum weed line.

We spotted some blackfin tuna jumping around the weed – a good sign – and were soon rewarded with another explosion on the skipping bait. The line poured off the reel, and I wondered if it was one of the tough football-shaped blackfins we had sighted. The fish burst from the water with a huge head-shaking jump and, again, there was no mistake… big bull dolphin.

Caleb was on the rod this time and finally living a dream. For years my son had told me, “I really want to catch a bull dolphin!” The back and forth battle went on for 20 minutes, accented by many aerial escapades by the bull. As the battle neared the end, we admired the gold, green and blue colors of this amazing fish as he jumped and swam only feet from the boat. Capt Bryan aced another great gaff shot just in time, as Caleb announced the fish was wearing him down. But he prevailed and his dream became reality with a nice catch, a 25-pound bull dolphin!

Young Robert caught another large mahi and, while we set no records that afternoon, it was certainly a wonderful day. Two youngsters bending up rods is always a fun experience, and fishing with my son and young Robert’s dad brings back good memories of casting a line with one of my favorite people of all time, the senior Bob Lyon.

Great people, great day. But that’s what you get when you fish with three generations and your own son.

Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 41 years experience fishing the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. Don’t miss the new “Finatic” boat, which can accommodate up to 12 passengers and features a special three-hour shark/dolphin eco-tour trip. Contact Miles at 843-290-6955 to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip, departing from Shelter Cove Marina.

By Capt. Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters
Photo provided by Capt. Miles Altman

Summer Refreshment

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Sample local fruit wines to beat the heat in July.

Every region deals with the summer heat differently.

In Sicily, they double down on the Mediterranean summer by pairing bold red wines with spicy fish courses. In California’s Napa Valley, locals might beat the heat with a chilled Chardonnay.

Here on Hilton Head Island, we contend with heat and humidity during the summer season. Fortunately, Lowcountry fruits – including sweet peaches, ripe blueberries and mouthwatering Muscadine – have been the cure for summer’s heat long before anyone figured out how to press them into wines.

Lowcountry fruit wines and a nice sea breeze pair perfectly together because the fruit thrives here naturally. It’s a match made in heaven! Enjoy sweet relief from the heat by sipping a summer-friendly local fruit wine.

This summer, if you visit our tasting room at Island Winery, one of the things you may notice is our diverse and ever-changing tasting menu. We carry just about everything including bold Italian-style red wines, crisp American white wines and, of course, local fruit wines.

We know it gets pretty hot around here in the summertime, so we’ve crafted some fantastic “beach friendly” wine that pairs beautifully with our seasonal climate. Sip a fruity vintage as you watch the waves crash on the beach or the sunset over the marsh. We guarantee you’ll feel right at home.

Our fruit wines at Island Winery are made with the same care as our award-winning reds and whites. Peach on the Beach is crafted from fresh local peaches and crisp white wine. We also carry a favorite called Southern Passion, which is a fruity Sangria crafted from red wine, Florida oranges and local peaches and blueberries.

Do you like your fruit wines sweet or on the dry side? Do you prefer a vintage made from a base of white wine or red wine? Sample a variety of fruit wines to find the one that’s just right for your palate. Remember that wine is an incredibly subjective experience. The vintage your spouse or your best friend adores might not be your favorite, and vice versa. Follow your muse and choose the wine that makes your heart sing.

All tastings are complimentary. We welcome you to try one (or all!) of our wines to find the perfect complement to your Hilton Head summer vacation. You’ll enjoy a delicious facet of our local culture and appreciate the unique fruits and flavors of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Stop by our tasting room to judge for yourself. We think you’ll agree that there’s no better way to beat the heat this summer!

The perfect bottle of wine awaits at Island Winery on Cardinal Road. Store and tasting hours are Monday-Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wine Flights and Cheese are available from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. A Wine & Cheese Happy Hour is offered Monday-Thursday starting at 4 p.m. (843) 842-3141 or islandwinery.com.

By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery

Chuck-Wills-Widows

Learn more about these distinctive birds, which serenade the Lowcountry all summer long.

Hilton Head Island’s warm weather and summer months brings back the elusive Chuck-Will’s-Widow. These birds serenade Hilton Head Island from dusk to dawn. While hard to spot, their call is distinct and nostalgic for both visitors and locals alike.

Chuck-Wills-Widows, antrostomus carolinensis, are commonly mistaken for Whip-por-wills. A Wip-por-will call sounds just like its name, but is sung in a higher pitch and can be repeated on end for hours. The Chuck-Wills-Widow call has pauses in between each vocalization. The call sounds just like their name – “Chuck Wills Widow.” The “chuck” at the beginning of the call is very subtle and may not be noted if the bird is far away. These melodies tend to be vocalized at sunrise and sunset, but can be heard throughout the night.

The Chuck-Wills-Widow is the largest bird in the Night Jar avian group. They can reach up to 32 inches in length and have large flat heads with long wings. Their brown tone coloration and intricately patterned feathers allow them to camouflage very well in our Lowcountry environment.

They spend most of their time roosting on the ground, but can be found in tree branches at dusk and dawn. They will hang out on the ground by road sides and may be noticed because of their orange eye reflection; otherwise these birds are quite hard to spot.

This particular species can be found throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic coast during the summer months. They spend their winters in South America and the Caribbean. They prefer to live in dry woodlands such as pine, oak and hickory forests and select spots on the edges of open wooded areas, hiding in brush, thickets and fields.

Chuck-Wills-Widows have narrow hair-like feathers at the base of their beak called rictal bristles. It is thought that these bristles may have sensory features similar to whiskers. These rictal bristles will aid the bird in scooping up their food, which is primarily insects. Moths and beetles are among their favorite food. They are well equipped at flying low through dense brush in search of their flying prey. They have also been known to eat small birds and even bats. They prefer to eat at dusk and dawn, but can be found hunting all night long on full moons, or if there are street lights present.

These birds arrive in our area to breed through the summer months. During courtship, males have been known to chase competitors up to a quarter mile away. Their song is the first step in finding a mate. They will also impress their female by drooping their wings, spreading their tail feathers and puffing out their chests while ruffling their feathers.

The females lay nests on the ground in dead leaves, pine needles or bare dirt. Once a year she will lay between one and four eggs at a time. The incubation time takes about 21 days. The young will stay with their parents for about 50 days, fledging at about 17 days.

This summer, keep an eye – and an ear – out for this elusive Lowcountry resident. Don’t miss the chance to catch a glimpse of this fascinating bird.

The H2O Nature Center focuses on the wildlife and habitats of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Offering eco adventure tours, live animal exhibits, educational programs and hands-on displays, The H2O Nature Center is a great place to spark curiosity and inspire learning in all ages. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour, please call (843) 686-5323. For details about other water activities offered by H2O Sports, visit h2osports.com.

By kathleen McMenamin, Master Naturalist, H2O Sports
Photo courtesy of Dick Daniels, http://carolinabirds.org

Hilton Head Island Style – July 2013

Hilton Head Island is home to hundreds of unique shops, upscale boutiques and factory outlet stores. Whether you’re in the market for a treasured vacation keepsake, the latest fashions and accessories or something fun and whimsical, you’re sure to find all of this and much more.

Forythe Jewelers
Join Forsythe Jewelers, July 1-6, for a week-long celebration in honor of MacKenzie-Childs’ 30th Birthday of their heirloom ceramics and home furnishing collections. View the newest enamelware pattern, Aurora, designed to commemorate the 30th Birthday and named for the town where the MacKenzie-Childs’ farm is located. The Shops at Sea Pines Center, 71 Lighthouse Rd. (843) 671-7070 or ForsytheJewelers.biz.

Salty Dog T-Shirt Shops
Now you can find “Even” lower prices at The Salty Dog T-Shirt Shops! “The Original” short sleeve white T-Shirt for $10; “Color of the Week” T-Shirts for $12; Specialty Salty Dog T-Shirts for $14 and the Salty Dog Beefy T-Shirts for $16. Inside Sea Pines at the South Beach Salty Dog T-Shirt Shop and Jake’s Cargo, (843) 671-2232 and outside Sea Pines at The Salty Dog T-Shirt Factory on Arrow Road, (843) 842-6331 or saltydog.com.

Nash Gallery
Family owned and operated since 1989, Nash Gallery is a visual treat showcasing collections of extraordinary work by America’s finest craftsmen including glass, ceramics, jewelry, metal and more. All made in the USA! The pieces are unique, the designs are functional and the goal is simple: to put handcrafted art in your hands. 13 Harbourside Lane in Shelter Cove Harbour. (843) 785-6424 or nashgallery.com.

Camp Hilton Head
With five locations, from Harbour Town Marina to Shelter Cove Harbour, “Take Hilton Head Home,” with a visit to Camp Hilton Head and Hilton Head Shirt Company. Since 1981, these popular stores have offered unique, imprinted resort wear for the whole family. Harbour Town, (843) 671-3600 or 671-4633; Shelter Cove Harbour, 842-3666; Coligny Plaza, 686-4877; South Beach General Store, 671-6784; Hilton Head Shirt Co., 686-5099 or camphiltonhead.com.

Birkenstock Barefootin’
Carrying a large variety of comfort and orthopedically correct shoes and accessories for men, women and children from FitFlop, Keen, Vibram FiveFingers, Olukai, Dansko and more, Birkenstock in Hilton Head Village now has the latest styles for summer. Try the Earthies® line designed for women who care about their personal health and – when it comes to footwear – are not willing to compromise their appetite for fashion. 1460 Fording Island Rd. (843) 837-3562 or birkenstockbarefootin.com.

Jake’s Shore Thing
“Have a ball this summer with the aqua series from Life is Good” at Jake’s Shore Thing in The Plaza at Shelter Cove, Hilton Head’s only “Life is Good Genuine Neighborhood Shoppe.” Genuine Neighborhood Shoppes are committed to not only providing you with a complete Life is Good shopping experience, but also to spreading optimism every day and helping kids in need. You are invited to come to Jake’s Shore Thing to see all of their new Hilton Head and other Life is Good items. (843) 686-2330.

Main Street Village Hilton Head
Just outside the gates of Hilton Head Plantation, off Hwy. 278. GPS: 1500 Main Street. Spend the day in our charming village shopping in specialty boutiques while you enjoy lunch… A place where you can talk with the shop owners while you complete your errands… Or dine with endless variety… And top it all off with a sweet treat. Voted the Island’s Best Shopping! Your new favorite place! mainstreetvillagehhi.com.

Tropical Outfitters
With T-shirts, sweatshirts, golf shirts, caps, sandals, jewelry, toys, beach gear and more, “everything under the sun” can be found at Tropical Outfitters in Circle Center. Don’t miss their “July Special Offer” which is 20%-50% off women’s swimwear! Tropical Outfitters carries the latest styles in the spring and summer collection of swimwear for the whole family including the flattering tankinis from Penbrooke available in Missy and Plus sizes. 70 Pope Ave. (843) 842-9511 or tropicaloutfittershhi.com.

Funky Beach Surf & Streetwear
Carrying over 15 different clothing lines for men, women and children, Funky Beach Surf & Streetwear at The Beach Market, across from Coligny Plaza on the beach side, is the place to find cool clothes and accessories at great, low prices along with the latest styles in Reef and Rainbow sandals. For fun and unique hair fashions try out the latest hair feathers, wraps and braiding provided by licensed professionals in an air-conditioned environment. Free underground parking for your convenience. 2 North Forest Beach Dr. (843) 341-3865 or funkybeach.net.

High Tide

The ebb and flow of the tide shapes the ever-changing environment
around Hilton Head Island.

Recently, I spent an afternoon with an 80-year-old Lowcountry native. She was dipping her toes into local rivers before I was a sparkle in my parents’ eyes. I enjoyed hearing her talk about this place and how it has informed her well-lived years.

One comment this octogenarian made continues to replay itself over and over in my head. “As kids, we didn’t have watches,” she said. “We measured our time by the rise and fall of the tides.”

Imagine being so in tune with the cycle of the tide.

The effects of the tide are apparent throughout the coastal Lowcountry. Wide expanses of sandy beach indicate that the tide is low. Very little-to-no beach signals high tide. In the saltmarsh creeks, we see the differences between tides and we can usually smell it too.

Pluff mud exposed at low tide releases its natural gases, availing us of its earthy aroma. At high tide, the same scene appears awash with water, with only the tops of the grasses visible above the surface.

Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, it’s smart to know the rhythm of the tides. The time between high and low tide is roughly 6 hours and 12 minutes. What may appear as a totally flooded landscape in the early morning will appear rather devoid of water by early afternoon. Return again in the evening and the same landscape will appear much the same as it did in the morning.

By the next day, the cycle will repeat itself with an incremental shift in the actual time that it occurs. On a grander scale, the lunar day is roughly 24 hours and 50 minutes.

Imagine exploring the saltmarsh in a kayak. Head out on Monday at high tide and traverse the flooded grassy areas while you observe foraging redfish, blue crab and oysters beneath your boat. Notice periwinkle snails ascending blades of cordgrass, slowly but surely, and wading birds plucking juicy morsels from small pools trapped in the high marsh. Return on Friday and find the areas you explored earlier in the week are still high and dry, awaiting the rising tide.

The flora and fauna of the saltmarsh depend upon the ebb and flow of the tide. Through experience, I’ve learned that the people who make the Lowcountry their home feel that same connection to the tides.

My friend tells me she never referred to tide charts. She knew the tides intuitively. Perhaps you too can learn to measure time by the rise and fall of the tide.

Come explore with us in July. Get Outside!

For more than 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kids’ camps, history excursions, family outings and stand-up paddle boarding. Don’t miss the guided full moon kayak tour, which explores the saltmarsh. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

By Capt. Patte Ranney, S.C. Master Naturalist, Outside Hilton Head
Photo Credit: English wikipedia, Googie man

July Highlights

July sizzles with Independence Day Celebrations along with music, magic and much more family fun and entertainment though out the entire month.

HarbourFest

4th Of July Celebrations

A Fourth of July Carnival featuring a bounce house, arts and crafts, decorate (and eat!) cookies and more at Pop! Goes The Sandbox from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Members, free with current membership; Adults and Children, $6; Children under 12 months, free. The Sandbox Children’s Museum, 18 Pope Ave. (843) 842-9645 or thesandbox.org.

Celebrate the fourth with a variety of festivities at Harbour Town in The Sea Pines Resort. Children’s activities, live music along with food and beverages will be available. The fireworks begin about 9:15. There is a $5.00 gate fee to enter the Resort (unless you are a resident or guest staying on the resort) and a free shuttle service will be offered between Harbour Town and various parking lots in the Resort. (843) 785-3333 or seapines.com.

Don’t miss the special HarbourFest Fourth of July Celebration, in Shelter Cove Harbour, featuring patriotic selections performed by Shannon Tanner at 6:30 and 8 p.m. Enjoy food and beverages, kids’ activities and more. The fireworks display will begin at dusk. Please see important parking map and info on page 32. The Palmetto Dunes Buggy will continue operating until after the fireworks display is concluded for the convenience of the home & villa guests staying in the Palmetto Dunes Resort. Located across from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. (843) 686-9098. palmettodunes.com.

Starting at 9:30 p.m., fireworks will be launched from a barge in the Intracoastal Waterway on Skull Creek. Join Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, The Chart House or the Skull Creek Boathouse for live, outdoor entertainment beginning at 6 p.m. Food and beverages will be available at all three locations. No coolers, please. Squire Pope Road.

Enjoy the Fourth of July Summer Jams offering family friendly music and games, a kid’s zone, food venders and more! Bring your chairs and enjoy the night. 7-10 p.m. Free admission. Concessions and activities sold separately. Shelter Cove Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

Family Fun

The Hermit Crab Races return to the north-end Crazy Crab overlooking Jarvis Creek, “The Islander’s Place for Fresh Seafood For Over 29 years!” Before or after a dinner of Lowcountry specialties, head to the outside bar area and pick a winner in the races starting around 6:30 p.m. Races take place every 20-30 minutes. 104 Wm. Hilton Pkwy. (843) 681-5021 or thecrazycrab.com.

You can always count on The Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steakhouse to provide fabulous live entertainment and dancing along with fantastic food and great happy hour pricing. Enjoy tableside magic shows on Sun. and Mon. with Joseph the Magician, David Wingo’s soft rock on Wed., acoustic song favorites with Pete Carroll on Thurs. and The Earl Williams Band playing Jazz and Blues on Fri. You can also enjoy the Hilton Head Comedy & Magic Club, featuring Las Vegas headlining comedy and magic performers, at the Top of the Kingfisher each evening at 9 p.m. For Comedy Club reservations, (843) 681-7757. 18 Harbourside Lane. (843) 785-4442 or kingfisherseafood.com.

Enjoy an amazing, outdoor eco adventure at ZipLine hilton head. Fly through the trees on eight ziplines with two suspended sky bridges and climb the aerial staircase to embrace a thrilling finale – the new dual cable Racing Zip Ride. Two can soar on adjacent cables of 900 ft. for a racing challenge or just enjoy the Racing Zip Ride for a pure adrenaline rush of fun. Sunset tours are now available, Tues.-Fri., a great way to watch the Tuesday night fireworks. 33 Broad Creek Marina Way. (843) 682-6000 or ziplinehiltonhead.com.

Hilton Head National Golf Club offers Same Day Replay Specials. Replay 18 Holes for $35.99 or 9 Holes for $25.99 or take advantage of the July rates and save 10%, $74.99 plus tax before 11 a.m. and $59.99 plus tax after 11 a.m., $44.99 plus tax after 3 p.m. Just one minute from the bridge to Hilton Head, 60 Hilton Head National Dr., Bluffton. Call (843) 842-5900 for tee times or golfhiltonheadnational.com.

There’s a whole lot of fun to had at South Beach Marina. Kid’s can show off their artistic talent throughout the day on The Salty Dog Chalk Wall; enjoy StoryBook Time with an appearance by Jake the Salty Dog at noon, compete in Jake’s Hula Hoop Contest at 12:15 p.m. in the courtyard and make your own Tie Dyed Salty Dog T-Shirt at Tie Dyeing Fun, 11a.m.-4 p.m., each Mon.-Fri. Take part in Face Painting Fun by local artists, 5:30-8:30 p.m., daily with a special appearance by Jake The Salty Dog, at 7 p.m.; “Children’s Music with Anneliza” includes music, dancing and Salty Dog Fun, or “The Magic of Gary Maurer,” 7-8 p.m., nightly. Salty Dog Cafe, South Beach Marina Village in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233. saltydog.com.

Coligny Plaza, “Hilton Head’s Downtown,” is home to over 60 shops and restaurants, as well as a full lineup of family entertainment. In the kiosk area, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., enjoy Monday Night Magic with Gary Maurer; Tuesday night Family Craft Night; Wednesday night with Pachanga Band; Thursday night with The Steppin’ Stones Band and Friday night Dance Night. (843)
842-6050 or colignyplaza.com.

Hilton Head’s signature summer event, HarbourFest features live entertainment nightly, plus unforgettable food, arts and crafts along with Tuesday Night Fireworks every Tuesday evening (No fireworks on Tues., July 2.) Family-friendly entertainer, Shannon Tanner performs two shows, Mon.-Thurs., at 6:30 and 8 p.m. Cappy the Clown, will be on hand Mon.-Fri., 6-9 p.m. to enjoy as well. Admission is free. Food, beverages and concessions sold separately. Located mid-island at mile marker 8, across from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. (843) 686-9098. palmettodunes.com.

On Tuesday evenings join in the fun at Summer Jams, 7-10 p.m. Bring your chairs and enjoy the night until the fireworks go off (No fireworks on July 2.) Free admission. Concessions and activities sold separately. Shelter Cove Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

On Friday evenings, don’t miss the Island’s newest festival, Parrot Palooza’s Island Sunset Celebration and the Jimmy Buffet Tribute Concert. The Island-themed activities and entertainment are designed for family fun. Beginning at 5 p.m., enjoy street performers, entertainers, music, food and drinks plus more at the Neptune statue in Shelter Cove Harbour. With the magnificent Shelter Cove sunset as a backdrop, the Concert begins at 7 p.m. at the stage and features fan-favorite, Shannon Tanner and the Oyster Reefers. The musicians perform Jimmy Buffet and other island-style music from 7-9 p.m. The Shelter Cove Harbour restaurants will offer island-themed drink specials. Admission is free. Food, beverages and concessions sold separately. Located mid-island at mile marker 8, across from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. (843) 686-9098. palmettodunes.com.

The six-time Tony Award-winning musical smash hit and one of Broadway’s most popular and thrilling musicals of all time, CHICAGO will be on stage thru July 28 at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. This comical tale of greed, murder, corruption and show biz is filled with hit songs such as “All That Jazz,” “Cell Block Tango” and “Razzle Dazzle.” 14 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

The Main Street Youth Theatre brings to the stage the hilarious story of everyone’s favorite ogre in SHRECK, The Musical with Director/Choreographer, Ritchie Cook and Music Director, Don Hite on July 3-21. Enjoy a fabulous musical score along with big laughs and great dancing. Wed.-Sat., 7 p.m. and Sun. Matinee, 2 p.m. (No show July 4) Adults, $25; Students, $15. 3000 Main Street, just off Hwy 278. (843) 689-6246 or order tickets online at msyt.org.

Shop Tanger Outlets during the BIG 4th of July Weekend Sale, July 4-7. Find extra savings in your favorite name brand outlet stores during this 4-day sales event. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Visit the website for the latest sale and coupon information. (843) 834-5410 or tangeroutlet.com/hiltonhead.

Experience the glamour and excitement of Michele with exclusive, limited edition styles at the Martinis & Michele Watch Event on July 25 at Forsythe Jewelers. From bold, brilliant interchangeable straps, Michele trunk shows provide an endless array of stunning design hand-set diamond cases to exquisitely made and exotic materials inspired by the vibrant Miami lifestyle. 5-8 p.m. The Shops at Sea Pines Center, 71 Lighthouse Rd. (843) 671-7070 or ForsytheJewelers.biz.

Please remember that town ordinances prohibit the launch or discharge of fireworks within town limits and specifically from the beach.

Event dates and times are subject to change without notice and many are subject to weather conditions. Please call or visit the website to confirm.

Beach Properties of Hilton Head

It’s all in our name…Beach Properties has been offering luxury oceanfront and beach oriented homes and villas since 1995. We specialize in properties located in Sea Pines, Palmetto Dunes and the Sea Crest Resort. Book online or call us at (800) 671-5155.

Shelter Cove Farmers Market

Tuesdays: The Shelter Cove Farmers Market will be held every Tuesday, from April 29th until October 28th from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. The Shelter Cove Farmers Market features vendors selling local farm-fresh produce, art work, sweets, baked goods and other specialty foods, as well as prepared food vendors for those looking to grab a snack or dinner. Shelter Cove Community Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

Hilton Head Island Style – May 2013

Home to hundreds of unique shops, upscale boutiques and factory outlet stores, shopping on the Island is truly a fun and enjoyable experience. With Mother’s Day, graduations, weddings and other days to celebrate in May you are sure to find the perfect gift for that special someone.

Tropical Outfitters
With T-shirts, sweatshirts, golf shirts, caps, sandals, jewelry, toys, beach gear and more, “everything under the sun” can be found at Tropical Outfitters in Circle Center. Don’t miss their “May Special Offer” which is 20%-50% off women’s swimwear! Tropical Outfitters carries the latest styles in the spring and summer collection of swimwear for the whole family including the flattering tankinis from Penbrooke available in Missy and Plus sizes. 70 Pope Ave. (843) 842-9511 or tropicaloutfittershhi.com.

Nash Gallery
Family owned and operated since 1989, Nash Gallery is a visual treat showcasing collections of extraordinary work by America’s finest craftsmen including glass, ceramics, jewelry, metal and more. All made in the USA! The pieces are unique, the designs are functional and the goal is simple: to put handcrafted art in your hands. 13 Harbourside Lane in Shelter Cove Harbour. (843) 785-6424 or nashgallery.com.

Funky Beach Surf & Streetwear
Carrying over 15 different clothing lines for men, women and children, Funky Beach Surf & Streetwear at The Beach Market, across from Coligny Plaza on the beach side, is the place to find cool clothes and accessories at great, low prices along with the latest styles in Reef and Rainbow sandals. For fun and unique hair fashions try out the latest hair feathers, wraps and braiding provided by licensed professionals in an air-conditioned environment. Free underground parking for your convenience. 2 North Forest Beach Dr. (843) 341-3865 or funkybeach.net.

silvergarden

The Silver Garden
This unique boutique offers wearable pieces of art including a large selection of vintage and southwestern jewelry. Sterling silver and copper are metals of choice. Designers, Jim and Linda Saylor, also offer re-design of jewelry as well as repairs at this on-site studio. New designs are added daily and special requested designs are welcomed. The Village Exchange, 32 Palmetto Bay Rd. (407) 595-2119 or thesilvergarden.net.

Salty Dog T-Shirt Shops
Now you can find “Even” lower prices at The Salty Dog T-Shirt Shops! “The Original” short sleeve white T-Shirt for $10; “Color of the Week” T-Shirts for $12; Specialty Salty Dog T-Shirts for $14 and the Salty Dog Beefy T-Shirts for $16. Inside Sea Pines at the South Beach Salty Dog T-Shirt Shop and Jake’s Cargo, (843) 671-2232 and outside Sea Pines at The Salty Dog T-Shirt Factory on Arrow Road, (843) 842-6331 or saltydog.com.

Coligny Plaza
From the latest Spring fashions to a delicious treat, Coligny Plaza has it all with over 60 specialty shops and unique restaurants including Fresh Produce, Jamaican Me Crazy, Frosty’s Closet, Camp Hilton Head, Coligny Hardware, Market Street Café, Island Fudge Shoppe and The Frosty Frog Café & Daiquiri Bar. Hilton Head’s Downtown… why go anywhere else? 1 North Forest Beach Dr. (843) 842-6050 or colignyplaza.com.

Camp Hilton Head
With five locations, from Harbour Town Marina to Shelter Cove Harbour, “Take Hilton Head Home,” with a visit to Camp Hilton Head and Hilton Head Shirt Company. Since 1981, these popular stores have offered unique, imprinted resort wear for the whole family. Harbour Town, (843) 671-3600 or 671-4633; Shelter Cove Harbour, 842-3666; Coligny Plaza, 686-4877; South Beach General Store, 671-6784; Hilton Head Shirt Co. at The Fresh Market Shoppes, 686-5099 or camphiltonhead.com.

Designs by Cleo
“Art you can wear,“ Designs by Cleo in The Gallery of Shops features a collection of bold and beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry handcrafted in sterling silver with freshwater pearls and/or semi-precious gemstones. This boutique also offers one-of-a-kind hats, handbags and other unique gifts and accessories. 14 Greenwood Dr. (843) 342-7001.

olukai_birken

Birkenstock Barefootin’
Carrying a large variety of comfort and orthopedically correct shoes and accessories for men, women and children from FitFlop, Keen, Vibram FiveFingers, Olukai, Dansko and more, Birkenstock in Hilton Head Village now has the latest styles for spring and summer. Try the Earthies® line designed for women who care about their personal health and – when it comes to footwear – are not willing to compromise their appetite for fashion. 1460 Fording Island Rd. (843) 837-3562 or birkenstockbarefootin.com.

Sea Pork

Solving a mystery about a common sight on local beaches.

Have you ever stumbled upon something strange-looking on Hilton Head Island’s beaches? What looks like meat or organs washed up along our shore is actually an oceanic creature called Sea Pork. This marine filter feeder, which is abundant in our waters and a common sight on local beaches, received its common name due to its resemblance to salted pork and fatback.

Aplidium stellatum, or Sea Pork, is a colonial tunicate. Tunicates are filter feeding organisms with a sack-like body structure. Tunicates can be either singular or colonial organisms. Other types of tunicates that can be found in South Carolina waters include sea squirts and sea grapes. These immobile creatures attach to hard substrates such as docks, pilings, boat bottoms, groins and jetties.

Sea pork is typically made up of hundreds and at times, millions of tiny zooids. To create new colonies, these zooids, as larvae, can be free swimming creatures. They gather together and attach themselves to hard substrates.

Then they begin to metamorphose into sedentary creatures. They lose their tails and mobility, while their nervous system essentially disintegrates. These creatures then secrete digested cellulose that they acquire from filtering the sea water. This creates the outer covering of what will be the colonial sea pork.

Upon examining sea pork on the beach, you may notice tiny holes that are similar to human pores. Each of these pores houses its own zooid. The zooids have incurrent siphons that allow seawater in. The water is then filtered and passed through the ex-current siphon, once nutrients are taken from it. When you find sea pork washed up on the beaches, the entire colony has died. The zooids will then fall out of the larger cellulose body.

Sea pork appears as a tough globular colony that feels rubbery to the touch. They can form colonies stretching up to 12 inches long. These sub-tidal creatures can be found from the low tide mark to about 30 feet deep. They are common along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida and also found throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

Once attached to a substrate these creatures are hermaphroditic. However, each zooid will release sperm into the water to cross fertilize its neighbors. Each zooid will filter in the sperm and continue to grow that individual colony.

Sea pork can come in a variety of colors including pink, green, red, lavender and black. Once washed up on our beaches, they become bleached by the sun and may appear much duller in color.

These unusual creatures tend to show up on our beaches after storms, strong currents and powerful surf rip them from their hard substrate. Skates and bottom dwelling fish feed on the zooids that create the colonial sea pork.

Keep your eyes open when you walk the beaches on Hilton Head Island and you just may discover Sea Pork on your own.

The H2O Nature Center focuses on the wildlife and habitats of the South Carolina Low Country. Offering eco adventure tours, live animal exhibits, educational programs, and hands on displays, The H2O Nature Center is a great place to spark curiosity and inspire learning in all ages. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour, please call (843) 686-5323. For details on other water activities offered by H2O Sports, visit h2osports.com.

By kathleen McMenamin, Master Naturalist, H2O Sports
Photo courtesy of http://www.dpr.ncparks.gov/photos/fromNRID.php?sciName=Aplidium%20stellatum&pid=6800&source=pub

Cobia Fever

scott's cobiaThis big brown fish is the ultimate prize to reel in at this time of year.

Local anglers always look forward to the month of May with eager anticipation because this time of year is the peak of cobia season.

One of the largest apex predators in our local inshore waters (only sharks and tarpon get bigger), cobia offer big game angling for the smallest of boats. Currently the South Carolina state record is 92 pounds, 10 ounces – a whopper fish by any standards. However, I have seen several fish weighing more than 100 pounds, including one last year on a reef that swam right up to the boat. Much to my despair, a “little” 65-pound fish grabbed the bait I dropped in front of him, instead of the big one I had my eye on. That was one of the few times I was disappointed to hook a 65-pound cobia!

Probably the most popular way to fish for cobia is to anchor over a choice piece of bottom and deploy the chum bag. Menhaden are often used as chum and bait. Either live or dead will work. Other favorite baits include live eels, whiting, shad chunks or even a half or whole crab. Lines are generally fished on the bottom, but top water baits often score.

Another way of catching cobia is to run the buoys in the sounds and pitch bait at the buoy. This method is successful because cobia love structure. They are also known to follow large tiger sharks, manta rays and turtles. I have even caught them under floating rafts of marsh grass.

Several years ago while fishing for sailfish in Florida, I spied a huge leatherback turtle cruising the rip we had set our kites on. Sure enough, there was a squadron of cobia underneath. With the quick pitch of a bait, we had one on the line. Seconds later, a large sail snatched one of the kite baits and we had a double header on… cobia going one way and sailfish going the other!

Cobia often drive anglers crazy by turning their nose up at everything you throw at them. Talk to anyone who has experience cobia fishing and they usually have numerous stories about days of being surrounded by fish that simply refused to eat. Last year, I had one trip where I counted more than 60 cobia swimming on the surface around the boat. We threw everything in the bait well and the tackle box to no avail. We finally hooked up one with a large live shrimp we had caught while throwing the net on menhaden that morning.

These big brown battlers are plentiful in local waters at this time of year, and you can also catch them inshore. The fight usually involves powerful line-stripping runs, occasionally accented by a jump now and then.

One thing is sure: once you’ve tangled with the “big brown,” you’ll be hooked!

Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 40 years experience fishing the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. Contact him at 843-290-6955 to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip, departing from Shelter Cove Marina.

By Capt. Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters
Photo provided by Capt. Miles Altman

Surprise Guests

From manatees to White Pelicans, unlikely creatures visit the Lowcountry on occasion.

After many years serving as a guide in the Lowcountry, I sometimes think I’ve seen it all.

Enveloped by nature on a daily basis, I know I must remain ever alert to the unexpected. I’m discovering that some of the sightings I once considered highly unusual are now becoming more… well, usual.

Many years ago, it was rare to hear of a manatee cruising through local waters. They prefer warmer brackish waters, especially the estuaries in central Florida. Over the last several summers however, visits by manatees have increased to the point that, once the water temperature exceeds about 72 degrees, I’ve come to expect their arrival in Broad Creek.

As herbivores, manatees are typically found around structures that support an abundance of marine vegetation. They tend to favor marinas, as they are always in search of fresh water. The Marine Mammal Act prohibits the feeding – or watering – of all marine mammals.

The Roseate Spoonbill is also thought to be unusual in our little neck of the woods. Until a decade ago, I’d never seen one. Then, while leading a group from a local marina, I observed what I considered to be a strangely colored Ibis. Intrigued, I consulted my Sibley Guide to Birds and learned it was actually a Roseate Spoonbill, a bird typically found along the Gulf coast and in South America.

Last June, a small flock of Roseate Spoonbills suddenly appeared in Broad Creek. They lingered in the marsh surrounding the creek throughout the summer. By August, two individuals were frequently seen at the mouth of Shelter Cove Marina casually swaying their distinctive spoon tipped bills side to side, feeding on fry shrimp and small fish.

For me, the most exciting sighting of all is seeing White Pelicans in area waters. Much larger than our resident Brown Pelican, White Pelicans have established a sizeable colony 100 miles up the coast, but they are still considered fairly unusual here. Years ago, I observed a large flock soaring on thermals high in the sky. The following year, I saw a dozen of them hanging around a shell bank across the Calibogue Sound. The flock came and went within a few weeks.

Every year since then, I’ve searched in vain. That is, until a month ago when I saw six White Pelicans feeding in the shallows just up the creek from the marina.

What amazing surprises are in store this season? Will manatee lumber up Broad Creek? Will the Roseate Spoonbill flock return? And will the White Pelicans flock in the Lowcountry again?

Get outside, and let’s explore together!

For more than 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kids’ camps, history excursions, family outings and stand-up paddle boarding. Don’t miss the guided full moon kayak tour, which explores the saltmarsh. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

By Capt. Patte Ranney, S.C. Master Naturalist, Outside Hilton Head
Photo ©therenewableplanet.com

South Carolina Symbols!

South Carolina State Bird – The Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is a common species of wren, resident in the eastern half of the USA, the extreme south of Ontario, Canada, and the extreme northeast of Mexico. A distinct population in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Belize and extreme north of Guatemala is treated either as a subspecies Thryothorus ludovicianus albinucha, or as a separate species, White-browed Wren (Thryothorus albinucha). (more…)

Hilton Head Island Style – March 2013

Hilton Head Island is home to hundreds of unique shops, upscale boutiques and factory outlet stores. Whether you’re in the market for a treasured vacation keepsake, the latest spring fashions and accessories or something fun and whimsical, you’re sure to find all of this and much more.

Tanger Outlets
Experience head-turning style and incredible savings at Tanger Outlets where, in addition to great buys at more than 95 brand name outlets, you get seasonal offers and discounts by joining The Tanger Club. Call or visit the website for the latest sales information and coupons. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com/hiltonhead.

The Salty Dog Café T-Shirt Factory
Take home your very own legendary Salty Dog Café T-Shirt found in an abundance of colors and styles for men, women and children. Stop by the flagship store in South Beach Marina Village or the Salty Dog T-Shirt Factory on Arrow Road where you will find all the great Salty Dog gear. (843) 671-2232. (843) 842-6331 or saltydog.com.

Jamaican Me Crazy
For the very best in bright Island resort and sportswear along with gifts and accessories for the whole family, stop by Jamaican Me Crazy in Coligny Plaza. From the bright and lovely Jams World prints to the latest collection of Reef and Rainbow footwear you are sure to find lots you just can‘t live without. (843) 785-9006.

Birkenstock Barefootin’
Carrying a large variety of comfort and orthopedically correct shoes and accessories for men, women and children from fitflop, Keen, MBT, Vibram FiveFingers, UGG, Dansko and more, Birkenstock in Hilton Head Village now has the latest styles for summer. Try the Earthies® line designed for women who care about their personal health and – when it comes to footwear – are not willing to compromise their appetite for fashion. (843) 837-3562 or birkenstockbarefootin.com.

Camp Hilton Head
With five locations, from Harbour Town Marina to Shelter Cove Harbour, “Take Hilton Head Home,” with a visit to Camp Hilton Head and Hilton Head Shirt Company. Since 1981, these popular stores have offered unique, imprinted resort wear for the whole family. Harbour Town, (843) 671-3600 or 671-4633; Shelter Cove Harbour, 842-3666; Coligny Plaza, 686-4877; South Beach General Store, 671-6784; Hilton Head Shirt Co., 686-5099 or camphiltonhead.com.

Designs by Cleo
“Art you can wear, “ Designs by Cleo in The Gallery of Shops features a collection of bold and beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry handcrafted in sterling silver with freshwater pearls and/or semi-precious gemstones. With a recent expansion, the boutique also offers one-of-a-kind hats, handbags and other unique accessories. (843) 342-7001 or designsbycleo.com.

Tropical Outfitters
With T-shirts, sweatshirts, golf shirts, caps, sandals, jewelry, toys, beach gear and more, “everything under the sun” can be found at Tropical Outfitters in Circle Center. Don’t miss the latest styles in the spring and summer collection of swimwear for the whole family including the flattering tankinis from Penbrooke available in Missy and Plus sizes. (843) 842-9511 or tropicaloutfittershhi.com.

Jake’s Shore Thing
“Spreading the power of optimism,” Life is Good at Jake’s Shore Thing in The Plaza at Shelter Cove, Hilton Head’s only “Life is Good Genuine Neighborhood Shoppe.” Genuine Neighborhood Shoppes are committed to not only providing you with a complete Life is Good shopping experience, but also to spreading optimism every day and helping kids in need. You are invited to come to Jake’s Shore Thing to see all of their new Hilton Head and other Life is Good items. (843) 686-2330.

Forsythe Jewelers
“Nothing could be finer” than a custom-designed palmetto tree and crescent moon pendant available exclusively at Forsythe Jewelers in The Shops at Sea Pines Center. Offered in sterling silver or silver with 14K gold and diamond accents, the hinged bail allows the pendant to be worn on any necklace or hung from a bracelet. (843) 671-7070 or forsythejewelers.biz.

Reeling ‘Em In

capt. mike and sharkCalm seas and fiddler crabs bring in plenty of sheepshead on a recent fishing excursion.

Too many slick days had passed by and I felt restless, especially as I crossed the bridge over Skull Creek.

Gazing down Calibogue Sound over the mirror calm water, my mind would finish the journey around South Beach into the Atlantic Ocean where a few short miles offshore lays a sunken barge. Sitting in 35 feet of water, it’s home for a variety of fish, but foremost on my mind was the sheepshead. Sheepies are here year-round and are often sought around bridges and pilings. Late winter through spring, the larger ones congregate around structures off the beach. For me, the season traditionally kicks off with some offshore sheepshead fishing.

The forecast called for the wind to howl for a few days then lighten from the NNE and swing around to the SE. Translation: calm seas. I made the call to my brothers, Don and Scott. We rounded the corner of South Beach on a brisk morning to a light chop and soon found the structure on the depth sounder. On the chart, the barge rose seven or eight feet from the bottom, and the marks promised live action.

My nephew Nick was the first to drop a fiddler and scored first fish with a frisky sea bass. As usual, we had to catch quite a few of the black sea bass before the sheepshead had a chance at our fiddler crabs. The seas continued to calm and Scott scored the first sheepie – not a huge one but a sheepie nonetheless.

Sheepshead are the master thieves of the saltwater world. Armed with rows of teeth similar to sheep, hence the name, they lightly take the crab in their mouths and crush, sucking the crab down and leaving you with an empty hook. By the time you feel the bite – if you feel it – it’s often too late. Nick followed his Dad and bowed up on a nice sheepshead around four or five pounds. Now we had two nice fish in the box.

I had picked up a new Penn Spinfisher V SSV 3500 and loaded it with Spiderwire 20 lb. braid the night before. The newest version of a proven reel comes with all kinds of upgrades. It was watertight, including the Slammer drag system, and I was anxious to try it out. Not having time to rig up the night before, the boys had a 15-minute head start on me and I was tied with Don for last place. I grabbed a fiddler and sent it to the bottom. After a few minutes, I felt a slight tug and bowed the rod up.

Halfway to the surface the sheepshead put it into overdrive and pulled my rod tip into the water. The smooth drag sang as he battled his way back to the bottom. Several repeats of this scenario and Nick slipped the net underneath the six or seven pound sheepie. The bite may be light, but the fight is intense with these brawlers.

Don was having one of those cursed days. Numerous stolen baits, pulled hooks, broken hooks, you name it. He just couldn’t hit the scoreboard. Between the rest of us we had 10 sheepies in the box. About that time, I threw a 23-inch black drum in the boat, a cousin to the red drum. This guy tested the new reel to the max, making several searing runs. The clock was running out on this trip when Don suddenly had a solid hook-up.

After a spirited skirmish, Nick slid the net under a nice six pound sheepshead, and Don had redeemed himself with second biggest fish in our perpetual brothers’ tournament. Aside from the great sport these fish offer, the best part is how they have earned the nickname “river snapper.”

The sweet white flaky flesh is beyond compare in my book. Shortly before I started telling this story, I enjoyed another tradition: eggs over easy with grits and lightly breaded “river snapper” fried in bacon grease.

I’m getting restless again just thinking about it.

Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 40 years experience fishing the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. Contact him at 843-290-6955 to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip, departing from Shelter Cove Marina.

By Capt. Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters
Photo provided by Capt. Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters

Dolphin Magic

An early morning encounter with strand-feeding provides
an unexpected thrill.

During the early morning hours of a late winter day, I’m greeted by a heavy fog as I make my way onto the Broad Creek in my kayak.

The water seems undisturbed by wind or current. It’s like glass. The only interruption to the stillness is the slice of my paddle blade in the cool, clear water. Just off my bow, I see lazy ripples spreading toward my kayak. Perhaps it’s the result of a distant pelican diving for its breakfast.

Though I can’t see through the dense cloud that envelops me, I can tell the tide is low. The rich aroma of the pluff mud is unmistakable. Some dislike it, but to me it’s the smell of a vibrant and healthy salt marsh. I can only imagine a fling of Sandpipers scurrying across the soft, unctuous surface searching for small worms and bugs.

As I paddle, I hear the “phooow, phooow” of a passing dolphin. Dolphin can be quite active when lower tides occur in the early morning. I still my paddle to listen. I hear the sound again and then I notice several ripples approach the beam of my boat. The air still opaque, I suspect there are a few dolphin nearby and I sense they are moving with intent. My naturalist’s intuition tells me the dolphin may be preparing to feed.

Soon, I hear the clatter of sandpipers taking flight. I hear the deep, disgruntled call of the Great Blue Heron. And then a tremendous swoosh of water and the sounds of something slapping furiously on the mud. I must be close to the action, as small waves radiate toward me and gently rock my boat.

Suddenly, I realize I know exactly what this is. I’ve seen it dozens of times in the full light of day. I’m hearing the dolphin strand-feeding. How amazing to experience it through sound!

Soon, the warmth of the rising sun begins to burn off the fog. I can now see the Sandpipers, the Great Blue Heron and half a dozen or so Egrets foraging on the remains of small fish abandoned on the mud bank. Three dolphin cruise the edge, attempting to encircle another school of fish.

Experience has taught me that dolphin will strand over and over again in the same area. My patience is rewarded as I watch the barely submerged dolphin move rapidly along the edge. Dozens of fish fly wildly into the air and the dolphin burst onto the bank. They have, again, succeeded in strand-feeding.

Within minutes, the banks are covered by the rising tide. Most of the birds have flown and the dolphin have moved on. The fog has lifted, revealing another crisp, clear, and beautiful day on Hilton Head Island. I think I’ll paddle a while longer.

Get outside and experience the breathtaking beauty and rich diversity of the Lowcountry for yourself!

For more than 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kids’ camps, history excursions, family outings and stand-up paddle boarding. Don’t miss the guided full moon kayak tour, which explores the saltmarsh. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

By Capt. Patte Ranney, S.C. Master Naturalist, Outside Hilton Head

March Highlights

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Starting with live entertainment at Shelter Cove and finishing the month with the Annual Easter Egg Hunts at Harbour Town and South Beach, there is plenty to keep you entertained all month long as we welcome longer days and warmer temperatures.

With the arrival of spring, you can always count on The Kingfisher to provide fabulous live entertainment and dancing along with fantastic food and great happy hour pricing. Enjoy tableside magic shows on Sun. and Mon. with Joseph the Magician, acoustic song favorites with Pete Carroll on Thurs., David Wingo’s soft rock on Wed. and The Earl Williams Band playing Jazz and Blues
on Fri. 18 Harbourside Lane. (843) 785-4442 or kingfisherseafood.com.

On Sat., Mar. 2, enjoy an Ol’ Fashioned Gullah Breakfast prepared by Gullah Ooman Chef, Louis Cohen and other native islanders. Good home-cooked food is a Gullah tradition and features stewed oysters, shrimp and grits, fried fish, biscuits and beverages. $10 per person. 8 a.m. until. Gullah Museum, 187 Gumtree Rd. (843) 255-7303 or gullahcelebration.com.

The closing event of the 17th Annual Gullah Celebration, the “Oyster Roast and Lowcountry Boil,” is a traditional oyster roast and lowcountry boil serving up fresh, succulent oysters and peel-n-eat shrimp in a relaxed setting. March 2, noon-4 p.m. Shelter Cove Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane. $17, All you-can-eat oysters; $17, All-you-can-eat Lowcountry Boil; $25 All-you-can-eat of both. (843) 255-7303 or gullahcelebration.com.

A palate-pleasing combination of signature food tastings from top local restaurants, will be paired with well-known Lowcountry authors and topped with an exciting “The Heat Is On” chefs’ competition at Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry’s 7th Annual Cooks & Books event, Sun., Mar. 3, 11a.m.- 2 p.m. at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa. 2 Grasslawn Ave. Admission, $20. (843) 815-6616 or lowcountryliteracy.org.

On March 4 – 9, don’t miss the Hilton Head Island Piano Competition. 20 pianists, ages 13-17, will compete in three exciting rounds of competition for cash prizes, a summer music school scholarship and a return performance with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra. Call or visit the website for complete schedule of events and ticket pricing. First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy., (843) 842-2055 or hhipc.org.

Casey’s Sports Bar and Grill hosts the Humane Association Oyster Roast 1-5 p.m., Sat., Mar. 9. Visit with adoptable pets while enjoying live music, games, burgers, soups and of course oysters. (843) 785-2255 or caseyshhi.com.

An exciting week of special wine and food dinners hosted by many of the finest restaurants on the Island takes place Mon., Mar. 4-Sat., Mar. 9, during the Great Chefs of the South Wine Dinners. For a complete schedule of dinner times and locations visit the website. (843) 686-4944 or hiltonheadwineandfood.com.

You will have the opportunity to sample hundreds of award-winning wines, enjoy gourmet treats and live music at the Wine & Food Festival and Silent Auction on Sat., Mar. 9, noon-3 p.m. Many other popular spectator events take place again this year. Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. Admission: General, $50; VIP, $85. (843) 686-4944 or hiltonheadwineandfood.com.

South Carolina Repertory Company presents VENUS IN FUR by David Ives, directed by Blake White, Mar. 11-24. An audition can be a serious psychodrama, as any actor will tell you, but the teeter-tottering test of wills that takes place makes even the most fraught encounter between a domineering director and a sensitive performer seem like a play date in the sandbox. Tues.-Sat. performance, 8 p.m.; Sun. Matinee, 2 p.m. 136 B Beach City Rd. (843) 342-2057 or hiltonheadtheatre.com.

Kid’s won’t want to miss out on The Salty Dog’s Annual Kid’s Shamrock Hunt on Sat., Mar. 16, 10 a.m.-noon. Find four-leaf clovers redeemable for free Salty Dog T-shirts, prizes and treats along with children’s entertainment and a special appearance by Jake the Salty Dog. After the hunt, enjoy the special Irish Menu offered at The Salty Dog Café, South Beach Marina Village, 224 S. Sea Pines Dr. in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

On Mar. 16, don’t miss the Harbour Town Spring Fest, an exciting, family friendly event that includes nautical activities, featuring nature tours, discounted kayak rentals, boat rides, a complimentary Ocean Dolphin Cruise at 2 p.m. aboard the Vagabond for children 12 and under who first climb the Lighthouse; sidewalk sale, with Harbour Town shops offering great deals and fabulous finds, and musical performances. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (843) 842-1979 or seapines.com.

Having enamored listeners world-wide for years and recognized as one of the most influential vocal groups of all time, enjoy a vocal harmony like no other as The Four Freshmen perform a special concert at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina on Mar. 16, at 5 & 8 p.m. $50 per person, includes champagne. Groups of 10 or more may receive a discounted price plus complimentary tickets. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

Clowns, marching bands, floats, Shriners, dignitaries and animal contingencies make their way from Coligny Plaza down Pope Ave. to Office Park Rd. at the 30th Annual Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade taking place Sun., Mar. 17, 3 p.m. (843) 384-4034, 837-4956 or stpatricksdayhhi.com.

Join the Serg Group as they serve up wings with live music and a Kid’s Zone at the PreWingfest Party on Fri. evening, Mar. 22, 5-8 p.m. On Sat., Mar. 23, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., local restaurants cook up their best wings with live music, a Kid’s Zone and more at WingFest. Admission, $5, ages 10 and under free. Food sold separately. At 11 a.m. sharp, kids can join in the fun for the Easter EGGstravaganza. $10 admission to this includes the egg hunt and free admission to the Kid’s Zone. Shelter Cove Community Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

With a hugely talented quartet of actors, GOLF: The Musical celebrates the fun, frustration and elation of this popular sport for those who play and those who don’t. The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Mon.-Sat., Mar. 25-30, 8 p.m. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra along with the Orchestra Chorus continues its 31st season with “Transcendence,“ two expressions of faith, hope and the eternal mystery of the great beyond. Mon., Mar. 25. 8 p.m. Tickets: $45, $35, $20 with subscriptions available. First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy., (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

For more than 30 years, Gregg Russell has been entertaining generations of fans with his complimentary concerts in Harbour Town. He returns to his spot under the Liberty Oak Tree for another season of family-friendly music, Mar. 25-29 starting at 7:30 p.m. (843) 842-1979 or seapines.com.

Join in the fun with the Easter Bunny and Jake the Salty Dog for the Salty Dog Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Sat., Mar. 30, 10 a.m.-noon. Lots of prizes, candy, face painting and children’s entertainment. Hunt begins at 10 a.m. The Salty Dog Café, South Beach Marina Village, 224 S. Sea Pines Dr. in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

Hop in and shop on Easter! Select stores at Tanger Outlets will be open on Easter Sunday, Mar. 31. Please visit the website for the list of participating stores and special holiday hours. Visit the sales and coupon page online for the latest sales information. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com/hiltonhead.

Join in the fun with the Easter Bunny at the Harbour Town Playground for the Annual Easter Egg Hunt on Sun., Mar. 31. 11 a.m. (843) 842-1979 or seapines.com.

Event dates and times are subject to change without notice. Please call or visit the website to confirm.

The 28th annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival!

The 28th Annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival brings together wine, spirits and food lovers for a six-day Festival. The Festival provides wine lovers and gourmet foodies alike, an opportunity to sample outstanding domestic and international wines and some of the Lowcountry’s best cuisine. (more…)

January-February Highlights

January and February always provide lots of fun and entertainment for one and all. From dance, music and theatrical performances to cultural festivals, annual food and wine events and, of course, January brings us the one day of the year that we can always count on snow!

Experience the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration with popular events held January 5-March 2. For a complete schedule of events, go to gullahcelebration.com.

Enjoy, Freedom Day, which commemorates the signing of the 13th amendment to the Constitution, Jan. 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Hear the riveting true accounts of soldiers wounded at Mitchelville, circa 1865, along with live performances, food, arts and craft vendors and much more. Admission is a free-will offering. St. James Baptist Church, 209 Dillon Rd. (843) 255-7304 or gullahcelebration.com.

The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra continues its 31st season with an Intimate Classics performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s immaculately crafted symphonic works on Mon., Jan 14, 8 p.m. Tickets: $45, $35, $20 with subscriptions available. First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy., (843) 842-2055
or hhso.org.

January 17-21, share in the dream of racial equality and an integrated society during the 2013 MLK Celebration Weekend. On Thurs., Jan. 17 , 7:30 p.m. the Community Worship Service will be held at Queen Chapel AME Church, 114 Beach City Rd. The MLK Community Service Day will be held on Sat., Jan. 19, with a free breakfast for all volunteers at All Saints Episcopal Church, 3001 Meeting St., 8-9 a.m. On Mon., Jan. 21, the MLK Memorial March begins and ends in the Hilton Head High School parking lot, 9:30-10:30 a.m. The MLK Memorial Program will be held in the High School Visual & Performing Arts Center, 10:30 a.m.-Noon. A free Community Cookout will be served in the High School cafeteria. At 7 p.m. a screening of the film “The Untold Story of Emmet Louis Till,” Parish Hall of All Saints Episcopal Church, 3001 Meeting St. (843) 681-3881.

Don’t miss Hubbard Street Dance 2 on stage at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina Jan. 18, 8 p.m. Notorious for their athleticism and fearless dancing, HS2’s dancers perform and tour to critical acclaim at venues around the world. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

On Sat., Jan. 19, enjoy an oyster roast and Lowcountry boil along with a silent auction as The Gulluh Museum of Hilton Head Island honors those who helped the community through their farming along with those who have helped to preserve the Gullah culture and heritage. 6-9 p.m. $75 per person. Spanish Wells Clubhouse, 1 Brams Point Rd. RSVP by Jan. 13. (843) 681-3254.

Snow Day

On Sat., Jan. 26, Hilton Head Snow Day returns to the Island. Enjoy a snow field, carnival games, blow-up rides and bounce houses from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission, $10 per child, ages 2-18; free for adults. Concessions sold separately. Shelter Cove Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

The official kick-off event of the 28th Annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival, Uncork the Festival, takes place Sat., Jan. 26, 6-8 p.m. Members of the public are invited to reserve a space at this exclusive, limited seating event and bring their special bottle(s) of wine to taste with their friends and other attendees. $35 per person. The Beach House by Holiday Inn Resorts, 1 S. Forest Beach Dr. (843) 686-4944 or hiltonheadwineandfood.com.

The 21st Annual Lowcountry Soup Challenge to benefit Volunteers in Medicine will be held on Sun., Jan. 27 at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, 12-2:30 p.m. More than 20 of the area’s best chefs provide soups for tasting and judging, plus culinary displays and live music Tickets are $15 and may be purchased in advance or at the door. 2 Grasslawn Ave. (843) 681-6612, ext. 235 or vimclinic.org.

The triumphant return of the 2012 winner of the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Jin Uk Kim, with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra. Sun., Jan. 27, 4 p.m. and Mon., Jan. 28, 8 p.m. Tickets: $45, $35, $20 with subscriptions available. All performances are held at the First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy., (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

South Carolina Repertory Company presents “A SKULL IN CONNEMARA,” on Jan. 30-Feb. 17. Meshing boisterous storytelling with savage ironic humor, this unique Irish comedy drops you into the life of Mick Dowd, a laconic rural gravedigger. Each autumn Dowd is hired to disinter the bones of 7-year-old corpses in his local cemetery and smash them to pulp to make way for new arrivals. Trouble is, this year he will be digging up the wife he is hotly suspected of killing seven years ago. Evening performances, 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees, 2 p.m. 136 B Beach City Rd. (843) 342-2057 or hiltonheadtheatre.com.

The raucous comedy, I HATE HAMLET, on stage at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Feb. 5-24, is the funniest ghost story you’ll ever see! This raucous comedy tells the story of a successful TV actor who moves from L.A., confronts the New York stage scene, rents a fabulous apartment in the Village and is offered the role of a lifetime… Hamlet! He soon finds himself not only haunted by his decision but by the ghost of the legendary Shakespearean actor John Barrymore. Evening performances, 8 p.m., Sun. matinees, 2 p.m. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

Join the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and enjoy Antonio Vivaldi’s evocative “Four Seasons” violin concertos performed by first-place laureates of the esteemed Sphinx Competition on Mon., Feb. 11, 8 p.m. Tickets: $45, $35, $20 with subscriptions available. First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy., (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

On February 14, treat your Valentine to the The Salty Dog Café Chef’s Special Valentines Dinner selection complete with dessert for two! The Salty Dog Café, South Beach Marina Village, 224 S. Sea Pines Dr. in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

Shop your favorite brand name outlet stores to find extra winter savings during Tanger Outlet’s Presidents Day Weekend Sale, Feb. 15-18. Visit the sales and coupon page for the latest sales information. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com/hiltonhead.

Enjoy An Evening with Branford Marsalis on Feb.18, 8 p.m., at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Marsalis and his Quartet of musical friends are one of the most innovative and forward-thinking jazz ensembles around today. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

Support Bluffton Self Help at the Second Annual Red Apron Chili Cookoff on Sat., Feb. 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at Tanger 2 next to Banana Republic. This event is a regional competitive sanctioned chili cookoff, following the rules of the International Chili Society. Entry is $10 per person or $5 with the donation of a bag of nonperishable food items. Not a chili fan? Hotdogs will also be available for purchase. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com/hiltonhead.

Don’t miss The Salty Dog Café’s Grand Re-Opening Oyster Roast on Sat., Feb. 23, 4-8 p.m. Enjoy oysters, until they are gone, along with other great food, live music and special kid’s entertainment outside on the boardwalk. The Salty Dog Café, South Beach Marina Village, 224 S. Sea Pines Dr. in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

Immersed in a rich palate of orchestral colors and textures, the works of Debussy and Respigi express music at its most sensual and exotic performed by The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in “Color & Light.” Sun., Feb. 24, 4 p.m.; Mon., Feb. 25, 8 p.m. Tickets: $45, $35, $20 with subscriptions available. All performances are held at the First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy., (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

Event dates and times are subject to change without notice. Please call or visit the website to confirm.

December Highlights

December, without question, can be the most stressful month of the year if you allow yourself to get over-extended or too caught up in the hustle and bustle. Remember that quality time, spent with family and friends, is by far the most precious of gifts. Here you will find lots and lots of ways to make memories to look back on and cherish for years to come.

Celebrate the local shrimp harvest during the annual Salty Dog Shrimpfest. Enjoy ten delicious shrimp dishes offered nightly at a special price. The Salty Dog Café, South Beach Marina Village in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

A very festive time is to be had by one and all at the Hilton Head Island Winter Wonder Festival on Fri. and Sat., Dec. 14-15, 4-8 p.m. Enjoy a golden candy cane hunt, local holiday entertainment, blowup rides, holiday arts and crafts and much more. Admission is $10 for ages 2-15 which includes most activities. Parents are free. Food sold separately. No pets, please. Shelter Cove Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

South Beach Inn Santa

Visit South Beach in the Sea Pines Resort to enjoy hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights at South Beach Marina Christmas Village. Santa arrives at the South Beach Inn on Fri., and Sat. until Christmas, 3-7 p.m. with treats for the whole family and for Free Pictures With Santa. (843) 363-2198 or saltydog.com.

The kids can enjoy a FREE inflatable Bounce House at The Frosty Frog Café in Coligny Plaza every Sun., thru Dec. 30, 1-5 p.m. while the entire family relaxes and enjoys Frosty’s large selection of frozen drinks and full bar along with a scrumptious menu including Frosty’s specialty pizzas and 22 HD TVs. (843) 686-3764 or frostyfrog.com.

This holiday season Santa Claus isn’t just coming to town, he will be visiting Tanger Outlet Center 2 for A Visit with Santa TangerStyle. Each Sat. & Sun. in Dec., through Dec. 23, noon-4 p.m., the jolly man in red will be spreading holiday cheer in the courtyard by Shopper Services. Kids will receive a surprise gift and parents will receive a free coupon book offer. A professional photographer will be available to snap pictures. So, be the first in line to visit Santa and don’t forget to smile! (843) 837-5410. tangeroutlet.com.

Stroll around Harbour Town and enjoy the Harbour Town Lights with illuminated seasonal figures and the centerpiece of the display being a 30-foot, lighted Christmas tree. Make A Difference. You can help Deep Well make a difference in someone else’s life, too. Bring a canned good or two, or a new, unwrapped child’s toy and drop them in the “Well” on the Liberty Oak Stage. Harbour Town in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 842-1979 or visit seapines.com/events.

Ring in the season with traditional favorites, featuring the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Chorus, sparkling soloists and an extra helping of holiday cheer as The Symphony Orchestra presents “Celebrate.” Dec. 3, 8 p.m. Tickets: $45, $35, $20. Subscriptions available. First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy. (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

All Aboard for the Art Center’s saucy and splendid production of Anything Goes, winner of three 2011 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and Choreography, Dec. 5-30. Cole Porter’s first-class comedy has a cast of unforgettably eccentric characters, over twenty of Cole Porter’s best loved show tunes, a tap dancing chorus line and enough ship-board shenanigans to, well… sink a ship! (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

Get out of the house and into the holiday spirit with the festive Hilton Head Choral Society’s 28th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes from noon to 5 p.m., Sun., Dec. 9. This year’s self-guided tour features six uniquely designed Hampton Hall homes decorated in stunning holiday splendor. Guests can also enjoy refreshments courtesy of Toll Brothers at the Hampton Hall Clubhouse. Tickets: $30 if purchased in advance, $35 day of tour. (843) 341-3818 or hiltonheadchoralsociety.org.

South Carolina Repertory Company presents THE LADY WITH ALL THE ANSWERS by David Rambo on Dec. 11-23, 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. Matinees on Sundays. For decades, renowned advice columnist Ann Landers answered countless letters from those in need of advice. No topic was off-limits as Landers regaled her readers with direct, insightful, and often humorously honest responses. Late on a 1975 night, in Landers’ Chicago apartment, an ironic twist of events confronts her as a deadline looms for a column dealing with a new kind of heartbreak – her own. Directed by Blake White. 136 B Beach City Rd. (843) 342-2057 or hiltonheadtheatre.com.

Hilton Head Island High School’s Performing Arts Department brings the much-loved musical, “Grease,” to life on Dec. 13-16, 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Dec. 16, 2 p.m. The cast has stocked up on giant cans of hairspray and gel, donned leather jackets and poodle skirts and brought plenty of ‘50’s attitude to portray these unforgettable characters full of teenage rebellion and dreams of true love. $20, adults; $10, students, cash or check only. Tickets may be purchased at Hilton Head High School’s VPAC box office beginning one hour before show time for each performance. Hilton Head High School Visual and Performing Arts Center, One Wilborn Rd. (843) 689-4893.

The Hilton Head Choral Society presents Sounds of Christmas Holiday Concert: Joyeux Noel on Fri., Dec. 14, 8 p.m. Join the Choral Society, orchestra and guest artists for an evening of holiday favorites. Filled with the sentiment and spirit of the season, this concert features the atmospheric Christmas Oratorio of Camille Saint-Saens, as well as traditional carols and holiday tunes. First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy. (843) 341-3818 or hiltonheadchoralsociety.org.
From Dec. 22-31 enjoy Winter Skating in Harbour Town. The skate rink will be located in the heart of Harbour Town, on the lawn adjacent to the Liberty Oak. Open daily, 11 a.m.- 9 p.m., including Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. $12, Adult; $8 child, ages 12 years and younger. Skates are included. Harbour Town in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 842-1979 or visit seapines.com/events.

On December 23, Relish the spirit of the holidays as Gregg Russell performs songs of the season for children and adults as Santa arrives for a special visit. 7:30-9 p.m. Complimentary. Harbour Town in the Sea Pines Resort. (843) 842-1979 or seapines.com/events.

The 10th annual Community Christmas Day Dinner takes place 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Dec. 25 at Marker 59 Lounge and Restaurant at The Beach House, a Holiday Inn Resort.1 South Forest Beach Drive. Free, with free will offerings accepted for Meals on Wheels. (843) 705-5725 or 304-1086.

Show your adventurous side with the other “polar bears” by taking an invigorating dip in the Harbour Town Pool at the 12th Annual Polar Bear Swim. Dec. 31, 10-11 a.m. Warm up after your plunge with hot chocolate and refreshments. Complimentary. Harbour Town in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 842-1979 or seapines.com.

Join the folks at Harbour Town for the New Year’s Eve Ball Drops on Dec. 31 from the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse! The Quarterdeck and the Topside Waterfront Restaurants will be serving up great food and lots of fun as well. Balls drop at 7 p.m. and at midnight. The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 842-1979 or seapines.com.

Event dates and times are subject to change without notice. Please call or visit the website to confirm.

Close Encounters

capt. mike and sharkComing face-to-face with an airborne predator.

After 40 years of professional fishing, you would think one would tire of it. But for some reason I still can’t sleep past 5 a.m. – even when I want to – and I feel out of place when I’m not heading out for a day of fishing.

I have always felt more at home surrounded by God’s creation than man’s. I’m not sure if it’s the spectacular sunrise or the sights, like a Bald Eagle sitting on an oyster bank enjoying a fish breakfast or dolphins coming up beside the boat for a good morning salute. Some things are predictable, but nature never fails to provide something new, something yet unseen after so many years.

That’s exactly what happened one cool fall morning when Jace Spencer and his boys boarded my Bayrunner for some big bull red fishing. The water bristled in a manner that’s hard to describe, a way that usually foretold a seasonal explosion of life.

Calibogue Sound was flat calm, like a mirror, as we pulled up to the Daufuskie Island beach in search of menhaden. They kept their appointment and, with a few throws of the net, we had “liveys” in the well and a bucket full of “chunkers.” Pointing the bow towards the mouth of the sound, we skimmed the mirror-like surface.

Minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a shower of fish leaping from the water. I turned hard to starboard and we watched as a school of mullet continued to burst from the water in unison.

It soon became obvious that several dolphin and at least one shark were playing havoc on the hapless mullet. The dolphin were circling the school, picking them off. Twice we saw a large shark skyrocket through the middle of the school. As we neared the school, they remained on top instead of sounding like they normally would.

I decided some fresh mullet wouldn’t hurt our bait arsenal at all. I grabbed the net and loaded it as Jace circled back to the school. As the bow neared the school of fish, you could almost see the confusion in the mullets’ eyes. They wanted to sound, but wouldn’t. I took advantage of their dilemma and let the net sail.

As the net sank, the forward motion of the boat took the net towards the stern. I turned towards Jace and the boys announced that we had definitely secured some mullet.

That’s when it happened. A shark measuring around six or seven feet and weighing 100 pounds or more went airborne right off the stern of the Bayrunner! He launched like a missile, eight feet out of the water, and landed on the t-top, making it shudder. The shark rolled off the rods in the holder, bounced off the engine and fell back into the water! The sobering thought of what would have happened if a hundred pounds of muscle and teeth had landed in boat broke the trance of awe, and we promptly headed for the fishing hole.

The picture I chose for this month’s column shows Capt. Mike, a co-captain of the Bayrunner, with another shark of comparable size, to give you an idea of the heft of the leaping predator we observed that fall morning. In 40 years of fishing, I never saw anything quite like that airborne shark bouncing off the boat. And, to be honest, as spectacular as it was, I would prefer to see sharks jumping a little farther from the boat in the future!

Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 40 years experience fishing the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. Contact him at (843) 290-6955 to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip, departing from Shelter Cove Marina.

By Capt. Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters
Photo provided by Capt. Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters

Fall in the Lowcountry

Subtle transitions signal the change of season on Hilton Head Island.

If it weren’t for the drop in temperature and humidity, one might find it challenging to notice the shift from summer to late fall in the Lowcountry.

Since our maritime forest is dominated by evergreen flora, the customary signs of fall, like leaves turning yellow to crimson to golden brown, are all but absent. So what does autumn in the coastal Lowcountry look like? And how can those of us who originally hail from northern climates recognize the signs of this more subtle change of seasons?

Ah, look to the grasses. The smooth cordgrass prairie. That vast expanse spreading across the landscape between island and mainland, along narrow saltwater creeks and inlets. South Carolina has more of it than any other state, and Beaufort County has more cordgrass prairie than any other county in the state. It’s beautiful, it’s abundant, and it reveals the season to us in a very subtle, yet obvious way. Lush or decaying, it serves the flora and fauna in important ways.

Look now, and it appears rather lackluster. The golden colored seed heads have been ravaged by seed-eating birds or cast over the marsh with the winds. Soon, the marsh will appear brown-gray as the stalks dry and die. During the winter months, brittle grasses break off, decompose and fertilize the mud. Deteriorating grasses also add crucial nutrients to the water. Have you ever noticed all the tiny particles suspended in our rivers and marshes?

Come January, seeds that have germinated over the winter begin to spout. Fresh green shoots rise from the mud, replacing last year’s crop. As spring advances to summer, the marsh becomes a rich verdant green.

Dead grasses accumulate in floating wracks and are swept with the tides onto our beaches. Here the wracks form the foundation of the dune system and offer a smorgasbord of nutrients for plants and animals inhabiting the Atlantic shore of our island.

The dead grasses also serve as an important nesting material for a wide variety of birds. One to look for now is the Bald Eagle, which returns from summer refuges to the north at this time of year to re-establish pair bonds and freshen up the nest.

Eagles inhabit the same nest year after year, and dry cordgrass serves as an excellent building material. In nests measuring six to eight feet across (weighing up to a ton!), the pair will likely lay two eggs.

In late winter, chicks the size of adult eagles will start to stretch their wings and prepare to fledge. Once the family moves on, well manicured eagle nests are frequently inhabited by other birds. Look for them high in the treetop. Perhaps you’ll observe an eagle soaring with a bunch of cordgrass held tight in its talons. Now you’ll know what they’re up to. Get outside!

For more than 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kids’ camps, history excursions, family outings and stand-up paddle boarding. Don’t miss the guided full moon kayak tour, which explores the saltmarsh. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

By Capt. Patte Ranney, S.C. Master Naturalist, Outside Hilton Head

November Highlights

Festivals serving up mouth-watering food along with plenty of family fun, spectacular theatre, musical and dance performances, signature automobile events, gala fundraisers and holiday happenings along with opportunities to give something back to help those less fortunate take place in November.

Thru the end of the year, celebrate the local shrimp harvest during the annual Salty Dog Shrimpfest. Enjoy ten delicious shrimp dishes offered nightly at a special price. The Salty Dog Café, South Beach Marina Village in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

Concours d'Elegance

The 11th Annual Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance returns Nov. 3-4 to the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. Don’t miss the Car Club Jamboree on Nov. 3, the Motoring Midway on Nov. 3-4 and the Concours d’ Elegance on Nov. 4. Gate ticket prices start as low as $20. (843) 785-7469 or hhimotoringfestival.com.

The kids can enjoy a FREE inflatable Bounce House at The Frosty Frog Café in Coligny Plaza every Sun., thru Dec. 30, 1-5 p.m. while the entire family relaxes and enjoys Frosty’s large selection of frozen drinks and full bar along with a scrumptious menu including Frosty’s specialty pizzas and 22 HD TVs. (843) 686-3764 or frostyfrog.com.

Visit Forsythe Jewelers’ Tent at the Hilton Head Island Concours d’ Elegance on Nov. 3-4 to take a break from all the beautiful cars and indulge in jewelry that should be contenders for “Best in Show!” The Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn., 70 Honey Horn Dr., (843) 671-7070 or forsythejewelers.biz.

Enjoy the historical hilarity guaranteed to register laughs with every American voter as the Reduced Shakespeare Company presents The Complete History of America (abridged) in their Special Election Edition on Nov. 2-3, 8 p.m. at The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

The 8th Annual Autumn Fest returns to Freeport Marina on Daufuskie Island Sat., Nov. 3, noon-5 p.m. Family fun, live entertainment, food concessions, island tours, a marshmallow roast from 1-3 p.m. and oysters roasted from 3-5 p.m. General admission is free with donations appreciated to benefit the Sea Island Ferry Transportation Task Force. A $5 minimum donation and RSVP is requested for the oyster roast. For ferry, golf cart & island tours, (843) 342-8687; event info and oyster roast reservations, (843) 647-1008 or thebinyahfoundation.org.

Kick off the holiday season with The Hilton Head Dance Theatre’s 27th Annual Production of The Nutcracker 2012, Nov. 9-11 and Nov. 16-17. Evening performances, 7:30 p.m.; Matinee performances, 2:30 p.m. For ticket information, call (843) 842-3262 or visit hiltonheaddance.com.

The Hilton Head Oyster Festival takes place on Fri., Nov. 9, 4:30-9 p.m., Sat. Nov. 10 & Sun. Nov. 11, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. This three-day event will feature a variety of oysters, hamburgers & hot dogs, live music, a kid’s zone, holiday craft show and a silent auction. All food is sold separately. Admission, $5. 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

On Sat., Nov. 10, don’t miss the Pig Pickin’ and Lowcountry Boil at The Salty Dog Café. 4-8 p.m. Lowcountry cooking done right. Plus live music, kid’s fun & games and a special appearance from Jake the Salty Dog. South Beach Marina Village in the Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

Enjoy an old-fashioned indoor/ outdoor church bazaar with musical entertainment, a silent auction, a garden shop and hundreds of specialty items to delight shoppers at the St. Andrew By-The-Sea Fall Festival, Nov. 10, 10 a.m-2 p.m. (843) 363-2693.

The Harbour Town Fall Fest can be enjoyed on Sat., Nov. 10, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. This family-friendly event includes a variety of nature tours, kayak adventures and boat rides, Lowcountry Tailgating serving steamed oysters and pulled pork, a sidewalk sale offering great deals and a toe-tapping, Old Time Bluegrass Concert, 2:30-5 p.m., with the local bluegrass band, Low Country Boil. Non-perishable food items will be collected to help the Hilton Head Island Deep Well Project. Harbour Town, The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 842-1979 or seapines.com.

All are welcome to share a free meal of turkey, dressing and all the trimmings at the 14th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 22, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Organized by St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church and Hudson’s Seafood to celebrate together the meaning of Thanksgiving on the Island. Donations accepted to benefit the Deep Well Project. Hudson’s On The Docks, 1 Hudson Rd. (843) 505-1370 or communitythanksgiving.com.

Looking for Santa? Well, you can find him at Coligny Plaza for Free Photos with Santa on Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to noon. (843) 842-6050 or colignyplaza.com.

Enjoy a truly magical evening on Friday, Nov. 23, featuring a trio of nationally recognized magicians as they perform “Magic for Music.” One of the most sought after comedian/magician acts in the country, Malcolm Puckering, a semi-finalist on “America’s Got Talent,” Kerry Pollock, a professional comedian/magician who has appeared on “Comedy Central” and “America’s Funniest People” along with South Carolina’s own magician/illusionist, Gary Maurer, named South Carolina’s 2010 Magician of the Year perform in this fundraising event to benefit the Hilton Head High School Band. Showtime is 8 p.m. with the doors open at 7:15 p.m. General Admission tickets, $25; VIP Tickets, $50 ($40 when purchasing 4 or more tickets). Hilton Head High School Visual and Performing Arts Center, 70 Wilborn Rd. Call (843) 681-7757 or tickets can be purchased online at wepay.com/stores/magic-for-music.

Join Santa, Mrs. Claus and their trusty reindeer, Rudolph, at the Town’s Official Christmas Tree Lighting, Nov. 24, 3-5 p.m. Kick off the holiday season at this old-fashioned Yuletide celebration complete with Christmas carols, holiday crafts, yummy treats and a musical performance from the cast of “Anything Goes.” Activities for children include face painting, holiday crafts and photo opportunities with Santa. An island tradition, this family friendly community festival will truly get you into the holiday spirit. Hot chocolate, coffee and treats will be for sale to help keep you warm. The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. (843) 686-3945.

Stroll around Harbour Town, Nov. 23-Jan. 1, and enjoy the illuminated seasonal figures, with the centerpiece of the display being a 30-foot, lighted Christmas tree. The official tree lighting will take place just prior to the Gregg Russell Concert on Fri., Nov. 23, 7:30 p.m. Help Deep Well make a difference in someone’s life by bringing a non-perishable canned good or a new, unwrapped child’s toy and drop them in the “Well” on the Liberty Oak Stage. Harbour Town, The Sea Pines Resort. For a complete schedule of entertainment and activities call (843) 842-1979 or visit seapines.com events.

From Nov. 30-Dec. 31 visit South Beach to enjoy hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights at South Beach Marina Christmas Village. Santa arrives at the South Beach Inn on Fri., and Sat., Nov. 30- Dec. 1, 3-7 p.m. with treats for the whole family and for Free Pictures With Santa. South Beach Marina Village in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 363-2198 or saltydog.com.

Event dates and times are subject to change without notice. Please call or visit the website to confirm.

North Atlantic Right Whales

north atlantic right whalesLearn more about these migrating cetaceans just off the South Carolina coast.

The North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is the rarest of the large whale species. With a current population of about 300 individuals, this once-abundant cetacean is now endangered. Hunting has diminished their numbers since the 1600’s but North Atlantic Right Whales have been internationally protected since 1949.

The Right Whales live in the northwest Atlantic and spend their time in shallow coastal waters, near bays and peninsulas. These areas provide food, shelter and security. Right Whales spend their summer months in New England feeding. The deep bays of Cape Cod and Massachusetts provide food and nurseries for these animals. They can also be found in the Great South Channel of Cape Cod, The Bay of Fundy, and the Brown and Baccaro Banks off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Beginning in October, pregnant females begin to migrate south into the coastal waters of the Southeastern United States. The coastal waters of Georgia and Florida provide ideal calving and nursery grounds for the Right Whale.

Right Whales are large creatures, growing up to 59 feet and weighing up to 60 tons. Generally, females are larger than males. These striking cetaceans have massive heads with callosities (hard raised skin, actually a type of whale lice) on their jaw. They lack a dorsal fin, but have large paddle-like flippers. Right whales tend to be strand feeders with baleen plates and bristles that can measure up to eight feet in length. These plates allow them to filter tiny zooplankton to eat.

Without teeth to determine age, research has been done on ear bones to determine the longevity of Right Whales. Although not much information has been gathered on the topic, it is thought that right whales can live to be 50 years old. Close relatives of the Right Whale are known to live past 100 years. Females will reach their sexual maturity at the age of 10 and experience a yearlong gestation, producing a single calf. The young will wean from the mother within the first year of life.

These whales obtained their names from hunters because they were considered the “right” whales to kill in a hunt. With their body weight being at least 50 percent blubber, they would float when killed, making them more accessible to hunters. These whales were harvested for oil as well as their baleen. The baleen was popular in making carriage whips as well as corsets. These animals were hunted almost to the point of extinction between 1650 and 1949.

In 1949, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling protected these whales throughout the entire world. Today, these animals are still under threat from ship strikes, becoming entangled in fishing gear, invasion of habitat and general pollution. Their only predators are killer whales and large sharks.

The winter months in South Carolina offer a chance to view these animals during their migration. Although a rare sight, once spotted, these animals are unmistakable. The Department of Natural Resources and whale conservation organizations are always looking for volunteers to help document these animals. You can help by photographing any whales you see and sending your photos to NOAA. Please visit the NOAA website at www.noaa.gov to learn more about rules and regulations for observing Right Whales while boating in South Carolina waters.

The H2O Nature Center, which features live reptile and amphibian exhibits and hands-on displays, focuses on the wildlife and habitats of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Nature tours, apparel, gifts, books and bicycle/fishing gear rentals are also available. To reserve a tour with Master Naturalist Kathleen McMenamin, call (843) 686-5323 or visit H2Osportsonline.com.

By kathleen McMenamin, Master Naturalist, H2O Sports
Photo courtesy of blufftonoyster.com

October Highlights

Fall has officially arrived and the fun continues with an abundance of outdoor events taking place in October. Food festivals along with art shows, a prestigious automotive event, intriguing and entertaining plays, trick-or-treating and much more are available for your enjoyment.

The kids can enjoy a FREE inflatable Bounce House at The Frosty Frog Café in Coligny Plaza every Sun., thru Dec. 30, 1-5 p.m. while the entire family relaxes and enjoys Frosty’s large selection of frozen drinks and full bar along with a scrumptious menu including Frosty’s specialty pizzas and 22 HD TVs. (843) 686-3764 or frostyfrog.com.

Enjoy fabulous live entertainment and dancing along with waterfront dining and great happy hour pricing at The Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steak House centrally located in Shelter Cove. The nightly entertainment includes tableside magic shows on Sun. and Mon. with Joseph the Magician, acoustic song favorites with Pete Carroll on Wed., David Wingo’s soft rock on Thurs. and The Earl Williams Band playing Jazz and Motown on Fri. (843) 785-4442 or kingfisherseafood.com.

Agatha Christie’s “THE UNEXPECTED GUEST” will be on stage at The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Oct. 2-21. Appearances are sure to deceive and surprise in this fun and captivating twisty, misty, mystery. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

Main Street Youth Theatre presents Lionel Bart’s Tony Award-winning musical, “Oliver” at the Visual and Performing Arts Center at Hilton Head High School. Oct. 3-7, 7 p.m.; Oct 6-7, 2 p.m. Adults, $20; Students, $10; Military & Seniors, $18. 1 Wilborn Rd. (843) 689-6246 or msyt.org.

The Salty Dog Café’s 16th Annual Oyster Roast returns on Sat., Oct. 6. Tons of oysters will be roasted over an open flame starting at 4 p.m.-‘til they’re gone. Live music, kid’s fun & games and Jake the Salty Dog. Plus, free Salty Dog T-Shirts to the first 10 oyster customers and special prices on cookout favorites. South Beach Marina Village in the Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

On Oct. 6, don’t miss “Hounds on the Harbour,” 11 a.m.-2 p.m. featuring “American Fido,” your pup’s version of “American Idol.” Your pup can take the stage to show off their best song, dance or trick. Numerous providers of dog-related services will be on hand and The Humane Association will have dogs available for adoption. Harbour Town in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 842-1979 or seapines.com.

The 28th Annual Chili Cookoff hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Hilton Head returns this year to the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, Sat., Oct. 13, 12-4 p.m., rain or shine. All-you-can-eat chili provided by local professional and amateur chefs, live music, free children’s games and activities and more. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the gate. 70 Honey Horn Dr. hiltonheadkiwanis.com.

Enjoy the Burgers & Brew Fall Festival held from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., Oct. 13 at Shelter Cove Park. Free admission. Concessions and activities sold separately. 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

On Sat., Oct. 13, don’t miss the 13th Annual Fall Festival at The Salty Dog Café. 12-4 p.m. Sample restaurant food and sidewalk shopping along with carnival games, prizes, live music and a visit from Jake the Salty Dog. South Beach Marina Village in the Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

HarbourFest

Celebrate the shrimp harvest with live music, kid’s fun and games and Jake the Salty Dog at the 2nd Annual Shrimp Festival & Lowcountry Boil, Sat. Oct. 20, 4-8 p.m. South Beach Marina Village in the Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

The Eighth Annual Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival, offering a myriad of activities, showcasing locally harvested seafood and delicious Low Country cuisine along with the rich history, culture and art of the area, takes place Oct. 14-21. The highlight of the festival, Streetfest, includes a juried fine art show, delicious food combined with great music and entertainment on Sat., Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. No parking will be allowed in downtown Bluffton. Free shuttles will run from Red Cedar Elementary School off the Bluffton Pkwy. (843) 757-2583 or blufftonartsandseafoodfestival.com.

Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra’s 31st Season opens with New Beginnings, on Oct. 21 and 22, featuring newly named Principal Conductor, John Morris Russell and internationally renowned cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn. Turn of the century, romantic masters Dvorak and Sibelius bring warmth, lyricism and sheer power to this festive opening. First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy. (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

On Fri., Oct. 26, 4-8 p.m. join in the family fun at the Pumpkin Patch. Enjoy a petting zoo, blow up rides, hayrack rides, costume contest, and much more in a family-friendly environment. Admission charged for ages 2-18, parents and children under 2 get in free. Food sold separately. Shelter Cove Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandrecenter.org.

Having earned the distinction of being one of the nation’s signature automobile events the 11th Annual Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance returns Oct. 25-Nov. 4. Four signature events will be held at The Westin Savannah Harbor Resort and the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn: The Savannah Speed Classic on Oct. 26-28, the Car Club Jamboree on Nov. 3, the Motoring Midway on Nov. 3-4 and the Concours d’Elegance on Nov. 4. Gate ticket prices start as low as $20 and are available at a discounted rate online through Oct. 15. (843) 785-7469 or hhimotoringfestival.com.

Calling all ghosts, goblins, ghouls, princesses and super-heroes for Trick or Treat TangerStyle! Oct. 27 at both Tanger Outlet Centers, 1-3 p.m. At Tanger Outlet Center 2, there will be a great afternoon of “frightful” games, activities and contests for families, especially children ages 12 and under for their Halloween/Harvest Festival in the courtyard near shopper services. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com.

Enjoy the haunted village and Haunted BBQ & Costume Contest at the Salty Dog Café on Sat., Oct. 27. Kid’s Costume Contest at 7 p.m. along with prizes, candy, kid’s fun and games and Jake the Salty Dog. Burgers and hot dogs will be available as well, 4-9 p.m. South Beach Marina Village in the Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

The Coastal Discovery Museum celebrates their 5th Anniversary at Honey Horn on Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy family-oriented nature activities, live animals that are Heritage Breeds including March Tackies. A Marsh Tacky Exhibition in the temporary art gallery and many more activities. (843) 689-6767 or coastaldiscovery.org.

Celebrate Halloween On the Harbour, Oct. 28, 3:30-5 p.m. Enjoy pumpkin decorating, crafts, games, costume contest, trick-or-treating along with cookies and cider. Participants of all ages are welcome and invited to come in costume. Harbour Town in the Sea Pines Resort. (843) 842-1979 or seapines.com.

It’s Trick-or-Treating at Coligny Plaza on Wed., Oct. 31, 4-7 p.m. Enjoy all of the scary events such as ghost stories by Yostie, spooky tattoos, witches brews along with a Family Costume Contest at 5:30 p.m. Don’t miss the spooky fun! (843) 842-6050 or colignyplaza.com.

September Highlights

It seems that from Labor Day to Christmas, we find something to celebrate each weekend here on the Island. This month, as you can see, there is no shortage of festivals and celebrations with sporting events, 20th birthday parties fundraisers and lots and lots of delicious food and outdoor fun to be enjoyed.

HarbourFest

The wait is over for residents and visitors on the Island to see the new, redesigned, Walmart which brings savings on a full line of groceries and a wide assortment of new products and services. The Hilton Head Walmart features a new layout and updated design incorporating environmentally friendly features. The store now offers a full line of groceries, including a bakery, a deli, meat and dairy products, fresh produce as well as an expanded beer and wine selection. Open daily, 6 a.m.-11 p.m. 25 Pembroke Drive. (843) 681-3011. walmart.com.

Labor Day Weekend

On Aug. 31-Sept. 2 enjoy the 32nd Annual Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Tournament. For over 3o years this popular event has been matching amateur golfers with sports and entertainment celebrities for three days of world-class golf. This year play will be on the Robert Trent Jones Course in the Palmetto Dunes Resort on Fri., the Pete Dye Course in Colleton River Plantation on Sat., and at the Harbour Town Golf Links in The Sea Pines Resort on Sunday. The tournament is free and open to the public with a 9 a.m. shotgun start each day. (843) 842-7711 or hhcelebritygolf.com.

Recognized as the premiere Chinese acrobatic touring company of today, The Golden Dragon Acrobats perform at The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Fri., Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. and Sat., Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

Join Tanger Outlet Centers 1 and 2 for their Labor Day Weekend Sale. Find extra savings in your favorite name brand outlet stores during this 4-day event plus extra savings on the sidewalks, Aug. 31-Sept. 3. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com/Hilton head/coupons for the latest sales and coupon information.

LEGO DUPLO Read! Build! Play! comes to The Sandbox, an Interactive Children’s Museum on Sat., Sept. 1, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. LEGO DUPLO blocks are perfect for young children between the ages of 1-6 to build creative minds, inspire true imagination and foster early child literacy. $5 admission; up to 12 months old is free. 18A Pope Ave. (843) 842-7645 or the sandbox.org.

Join in the fun on Sept. 3, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with Lawton Stables and The Sandbox Children’s Museum at the inaugural “Sandbox at the Stables.“ Enjoy live music, the Hilton Head Farmers Market, pony rides, imagination hour with Yostie, a kid’s zone, face painting and children’s caricatures, fun exhibits and lots more. Food and beverages will be sold separately or bring your own picnic. $5 per person, children under 12 months are free. Call by Aug. 31 for a free gate pass; otherwise, a $5 gate fee will apply per vehicle. Lawton Stables in The Sea Pines Resort, 190 Greenwood Dr. (843) 842-7645 or sandbox.org.

Through Labor Day HarbourFest continues at Shelter Cove Harbour featuring live entertainment nightly, plus unforgettable food, arts and crafts. Admission is free. Performances by Shannon Tanner and Cappy The Clown along with food, beverages and concessions sold separately. Located mid-island at mile marker 8, across from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. (843) 686-9098 or sheltercovehiltonhead.com.

Coligny Plaza, “Hilton Head’s Downtown,” is home to over 60 shops and restaurants, as well as a full lineup of family entertainment through Labor Day. Call for event schedule. (843) 842-6050 or colignyplaza.com.

At South Beach Marina Village in The Sea Pines Resort through Labor Day, enjoy live music performed nightly by Bruce Crichton or Dave Kemmerly at The Salty Dog Cafe, 6-10 p.m. The entertainment for kids abounds in the courtyards each day. There is face painting fun, story time with Jake the Salty Dog and fun for everyone making Tie Dyed Salty Dog T-shirts. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

In Harbour Town, family favorite Gregg Russell can be found performing under the Liberty Oak, Thurs.-Sun., Aug. 30-Sept. 2, at 8 p.m. seapines.com.

Festivals, Sporting Events & Family Fun

Enjoy fabulous live entertainment and dancing along with waterfront dining and great happy hour pricing at The Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steak House centrally located in Shelter Cove. The nightly entertainment includes tableside magic shows on Sun. and Mon. with Joseph the Magician, acoustic song favorites with Pete Carroll on Wed., David Wingo’s soft rock on Thurs. and The Earl Williams Band playing Jazz and Motown on Fri. (843) 785-4442 or kingfisherseafood.com.

On September 4th, tickets go on sale for the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-2013 season. Subscriptions and individual performance tickets are available. All concerts are held at the First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy. Call the box office at (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

On Friday, Sept. 7, it’s Free Family Fun Night and “Big Truck Night” at The Sandbox. Free admission to the Museum plus a parking lot full of big trucks! Expect to see Fire and Rescue trucks, bucket trucks and much more. Have fun in the Bounce House, enjoy a light dinner and take home a craft. Free and open to the public, 5:30-7:30 p.m.18A Pope Ave., (843) 842-7645. thesandbox.org.

Each weekend in September is loaded with fun at The Salty Dog Café. Enjoy live music on the deck with Bruce Crichton or Dave Kemmerly, Thurs.-Sun., 6-10 p.m. Don’t miss the Annual Salty Dog Crab Boil on Sat., Sept. 8, 4-8 p.m., where you can enjoy a variety of crab leg selections, burgers & more. On Sat., Sept. 15, you are invited to help celebrate 25 years of fun at The Salty Dog’s Fall Birthday Bash from 4-8 p.m. On Sept. 22, 4-8 p.m., The Salty Dog Fish Fry offers fresh local fish and other seafood favorites fried, grilled or boiled to perfection. Enjoy Craft beer selections from around the world paired with Lowcountry BBQ and other cookout favorites at the 2nd Annual Craft Beer & BBQ Festival held on Sat., Sept. 29, 4-8 p.m. Each event will be held outside on the deck and include live music along with kid’s fun & games and Jake the Salty Dog. South Beach Marina Village, The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

Join Tanger Outlets as they support and increase awareness for breast cancer in the community with the Pink Partini. On Thursday, Sept. 13, 5:30 p.m. in the parking area by LongHorn Steakhouse enjoy music, food, cocktails and fabulous door prizes. All proceeds benefit Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s Keyserling Cancer Center. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com/Hiltonhead

Celebrate with a local business in business to support the American Craftsman. Join in the celebration for Nash Gallery’s 20th Birthday, Sept. 14, 6-9 p.m., at Shelter Cove Harbour by Neptune’s Statue. Music by Target the Band, door prizes and much more. (843) 785-6424 or nashgallery.com.

The kids can enjoy a FREE inflatable Bounce House at The Frosty Frog Café in Coligny Plaza every Sunday, Sept. 9-Dec. 30, 1-5 p.m. The kids can have a whole lot of fun and the entire family can relax and enjoy Frosty’s large selection of frozen drinks and full bar along with a scrumptious menu including Frosty’s specialty pizzas and 22 HD TVs. (843) 686-3764 or frostyfrog.com.

From 1-7 p.m. on Sept. 22, Old Town Bluffton is transformed into a German celebration with bands, German food, beer from around the world, Kidz Play and more during The 8th Annual Beer and Brats Festival. Entry is $5. oldtownbluffton.com.

American Oystercatchers

American Oystercatchers are a common sight in Hilton Head Island’s marshes throughout the year.

In the United States, these striking birds can be found in coastal habitats ranging from Massachusetts to Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific coast of Southern California. South Carolina serves as the winter home to the majority of the American oystercatcher population.

The American Oystercatcher (haematopus palliates) is an easily-identifiable shore bird. This large bird tends to be two feet in length and sport a three-foot wing span. It typically has a white belly, black head and dark brown back. The most distinguishing feature, however, is its bright orange/red beak. Juveniles usually have dark brown beaks that change color upon maturity. On Hilton Head Island, oystercatchers probe the mud in our saltwater estuary systems around low tide. At high tide, they may be seen walking or running around shell beds and beaches.

At low tide, oystercatchers forage around oyster beds and other intertidal areas. These animals are aptly named due to their tendency to feast on local mollusks such as oysters, mussels and clams.

Their beaks are specially designed to pry open bivalves and then sever the muscles that clamps the mollusk shut. Once the muscle is detached, the birds are able to suck the animal out of its shell. However, this operation can be a dangerous endeavor for young oystercatchers. If the muscle is not severed, the mollusk will shut, trapping the oystercatcher and drowning it in the incoming tide.

Adults may also use their beaks as a hammer to break apart mollusk shells. These opportunistic creatures may also prey on crustaceans, insects, jellyfish and even small fish. Oystercatchers will reach breading maturity by the age of 3. They will then choose a mate for life.

In the early spring, couples begin to make their nests together on banks above the high tide water line. Their nests can be laid along shell mounds, beach fronts and marshes. Oystercatchers typically lay two to four eggs in shallow depressions. Communal care for eggs has been noted in some groups of oystercatchers. One male and two females may tend up to six eggs in two different nests. In either case, the eggs will incubate for about a month before hatching.

Although chicks will learn how to fly within 35 days, they will stay with their parents for up to two months, relying on them for food. Young oystercatchers tend to flock together once they have left their parents.

In most coastal states, the oystercatcher is a species of special concern. The global population is only about 72,000. In total, there are less than 10,000 of these birds in the U.S. today. In the early 1900s, egg harvesting and plume hunting nearly brought these animals to extinction. In 1918 the Migratory Bird Act Treaty protected these animals from such hunting. The birds have been able to make a comeback, but have still not reached their original range or population numbers.

Today, a number of factors affect both nesting space as well as a lack of reproduction in the species. Oceanfront development, avian and mammalian predation and over washes from tides and boats as well as human disturbances have all caused a serious decline in oystercatcher populations.

However, these impressive birds can be seen year-round in the Lowcountry in relatively healthy numbers. Keep your eyes open for this signature shore bird and enjoy a glimpse into the unique world of the American Oystercatcher.

The H2O Nature Center, which features live reptile and amphibian exhibits and hands-on displays, focuses on the wildlife and habitats of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Nature tours, apparel, gifts, books and bicycle/fishing gear rentals are also available. To reserve a tour with Master Naturalist Kathleen McMenamin, call (843) 686-5323 or visit h2osportsonline.com.

By kathleen McMenamin, Master Naturalist, H2O Sports
Photo courtesy of Googie man at en.wikipedia

September Highlights

It seems that from Labor Day to Christmas, we find something to celebrate each weekend here on the Island. This month, as you can see, there is no shortage of festivals and celebrations with sporting events, 20th birthday parties fundraisers and lots and lots of delicious food and outdoor fun to be enjoyed.

HarbourFest

The wait is over for residents and visitors on the Island to see the new, redesigned, Walmart which brings savings on a full line of groceries and a wide assortment of new products and services. The Hilton Head Walmart features a new layout and updated design incorporating environmentally friendly features. The store now offers a full line of groceries, including a bakery, a deli, meat and dairy products, fresh produce as well as an expanded beer and wine selection. Open daily, 6 a.m.-11 p.m. 25 Pembroke Drive. (843) 681-3011. walmart.com.

Labor Day Weekend

On Aug. 31-Sept. 2 enjoy the 32nd Annual Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Tournament. For over 3o years this popular event has been matching amateur golfers with sports and entertainment celebrities for three days of world-class golf. This year play will be on the Robert Trent Jones Course in the Palmetto Dunes Resort on Fri., the Pete Dye Course in Colleton River Plantation on Sat., and at the Harbour Town Golf Links in The Sea Pines Resort on Sunday. The tournament is free and open to the public with a 9 a.m. shotgun start each day. (843) 842-7711 or hhcelebritygolf.com.

Recognized as the premiere Chinese acrobatic touring company of today, The Golden Dragon Acrobats perform at The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Fri., Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. and Sat., Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

Join Tanger Outlet Centers 1 and 2 for their Labor Day Weekend Sale. Find extra savings in your favorite name brand outlet stores during this 4-day event plus extra savings on the sidewalks, Aug. 31-Sept. 3. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com/Hilton head/coupons for the latest sales and coupon information.

LEGO DUPLO Read! Build! Play! comes to The Sandbox, an Interactive Children’s Museum on Sat., Sept. 1, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. LEGO DUPLO blocks are perfect for young children between the ages of 1-6 to build creative minds, inspire true imagination and foster early child literacy. $5 admission; up to 12 months old is free. 18A Pope Ave. (843) 842-7645 or the sandbox.org.

Join in the fun on Sept. 3, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. with Lawton Stables and The Sandbox Children’s Museum at the inaugural “Sandbox at the Stables.“ Enjoy live music, the Hilton Head Farmers Market, pony rides, imagination hour with Yostie, a kid’s zone, face painting and children’s caricatures, fun exhibits and lots more. Food and beverages will be sold separately or bring your own picnic. $5 per person, children under 12 months are free. Call by Aug. 31 for a free gate pass; otherwise, a $5 gate fee will apply per vehicle. Lawton Stables in The Sea Pines Resort, 190 Greenwood Dr. (843) 842-7645 or sandbox.org.

Through Labor Day HarbourFest continues at Shelter Cove Harbour featuring live entertainment nightly, plus unforgettable food, arts and crafts. Admission is free. Performances by Shannon Tanner and Cappy The Clown along with food, beverages and concessions sold separately. Located mid-island at mile marker 8, across from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. (843) 686-9098 or sheltercovehiltonhead.com.

Coligny Plaza, “Hilton Head’s Downtown,” is home to over 60 shops and restaurants, as well as a full lineup of family entertainment through Labor Day. Call for event schedule. (843) 842-6050 or colignyplaza.com.

At South Beach Marina Village in The Sea Pines Resort through Labor Day, enjoy live music performed nightly by Bruce Crichton or Dave Kemmerly at The Salty Dog Cafe, 6-10 p.m. The entertainment for kids abounds in the courtyards each day. There is face painting fun, story time with Jake the Salty Dog and fun for everyone making Tie Dyed Salty Dog T-shirts. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

In Harbour Town, family favorite Gregg Russell can be found performing under the Liberty Oak, Thurs.-Sun., Aug. 30-Sept. 2, at 8 p.m. seapines.com.

Festivals, Sporting Events & Family Fun

Enjoy fabulous live entertainment and dancing along with waterfront dining and great happy hour pricing at The Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steak House centrally located in Shelter Cove. The nightly entertainment includes tableside magic shows on Sun. and Mon. with Joseph the Magician, acoustic song favorites with Pete Carroll on Wed., David Wingo’s soft rock on Thurs. and The Earl Williams Band playing Jazz and Motown on Fri. (843) 785-4442 or kingfisherseafood.com.

On September 4th, tickets go on sale for the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-2013 season. Subscriptions and individual performance tickets are available. All concerts are held at the First Presbyterian Church, 540 Wm. Hilton Pkwy. Call the box office at (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

On Friday, Sept. 7, it’s Free Family Fun Night and “Big Truck Night” at The Sandbox. Free admission to the Museum plus a parking lot full of big trucks! Expect to see Fire and Rescue trucks, bucket trucks and much more. Have fun in the Bounce House, enjoy a light dinner and take home a craft. Free and open to the public, 5:30-7:30 p.m.18A Pope Ave., (843) 842-7645. thesandbox.org.

Each weekend in September is loaded with fun at The Salty Dog Café. Enjoy live music on the deck with Bruce Crichton or Dave Kemmerly, Thurs.-Sun., 6-10 p.m. Don’t miss the Annual Salty Dog Crab Boil on Sat., Sept. 8, 4-8 p.m., where you can enjoy a variety of crab leg selections, burgers & more. On Sat., Sept. 15, you are invited to help celebrate 25 years of fun at The Salty Dog’s Fall Birthday Bash from 4-8 p.m. On Sept. 22, 4-8 p.m., The Salty Dog Fish Fry offers fresh local fish and other seafood favorites fried, grilled or boiled to perfection. Enjoy Craft beer selections from around the world paired with Lowcountry BBQ and other cookout favorites at the 2nd Annual Craft Beer & BBQ Festival held on Sat., Sept. 29, 4-8 p.m. Each event will be held outside on the deck and include live music along with kid’s fun & games and Jake the Salty Dog. South Beach Marina Village, The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

Join Tanger Outlets as they support and increase awareness for breast cancer in the community with the Pink Partini. On Thursday, Sept. 13, 5:30 p.m. in the parking area by LongHorn Steakhouse enjoy music, food, cocktails and fabulous door prizes. All proceeds benefit Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s Keyserling Cancer Center. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com/Hiltonhead

Celebrate with a local business in business to support the American Craftsman. Join in the celebration for Nash Gallery’s 20th Birthday, Sept. 14, 6-9 p.m., at Shelter Cove Harbour by Neptune’s Statue. Music by Target the Band, door prizes and much more. (843) 785-6424 or nashgallery.com.

The kids can enjoy a FREE inflatable Bounce House at The Frosty Frog Café in Coligny Plaza every Sunday, Sept. 9-Dec. 30, 1-5 p.m. The kids can have a whole lot of fun and the entire family can relax and enjoy Frosty’s large selection of frozen drinks and full bar along with a scrumptious menu including Frosty’s specialty pizzas and 22 HD TVs. (843) 686-3764 or frostyfrog.com.

From 1-7 p.m. on Sept. 22, Old Town Bluffton is transformed into a German celebration with bands, German food, beer from around the world, Kidz Play and more during The 8th Annual Beer and Brats Festival. Entry is $5. oldtownbluffton.com.

Short Siding and Long Siding

What a tangled web we weave on the golf course! Even the most accomplished golfers put themselves in sticky situations on or near the green.

One of the stickiest situations golfers get in involves short siding, which typically occurs when the pin is located close to the edge of the green where the golf shot is to be played from, but there’s not much green the ball can land upon before rolling to the hole. Short siding means you’ve put yourself in a situation where you have limited shot options, increased pressure and an elevated risk of making a bad shot.

By any measure, short siding yourself is bad. It requires making tricky shots that involve a high degree of touch and feel. If you’re 10 yards from the hole, with the ball stuck in some fringe rough, you have to use strategy to make the shot. We all know the feeling – you’re close to the hole and yet you feel so very far away.

In a short siding situation, remember to hit to the long side and keep your emotions under control. Work on your short game with strategic putting and chipping and remember that, when the pressure is on, you’ll need to be extremely precise so you can chip the ball to land on the green.

If you choose to putt in a short siding situation, you may have your work cut out for you, as you’ll have to make the ball traverse over rough grass. Over time, you’ll learn to judge how the ball rolls across the fringe and on to the short grass of the green.

By definition, long siding refers to a situation when the pin is located further away from the edge of the green where the shot is to be played from. In a long siding situation, there’s usually a fair amount of green for the ball to land and roll to the hole.

In other words, the ball is further from the hole, but you have more of a clear, smooth shot. You can usually just relax, putt or chip and let the ball roll into the hole.

Whether you’re facing a short siding or long siding situation, remember that a bad putt is usually better than a good chip. That’s because chips tend to be more erratic and approximate. A good putt is smooth, controlled and precise. And, after all, when the ball rolls right into the hole, that’s when golf gets really fun.

Your short game is where you have a great opportunity to reduce your overall score by perfecting your shots on the green. I invite you to take my Shortgame 1 Class at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, which will help you refine your skills. Practice really does make perfect!

Enjoy your time on the golf course this month. Hilton Head Island is truly beautiful in September, when the temperatures start to cool down and the conditions on the green are ideal. We have some of the finest championship golf courses in the world. Take the time to test your mettle and develop your skill. I’ll see you out on the course!

A former PGA Touring pro, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy. He conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or palmettodunes.com.

By I.J. Schecter with Doug Weaver. Photography by Joyce Harkins, Hilton Head Island Photography, INC.

Reeling In Redfish

Just north of the Savannah shipping channel lies a pile of rocks that, according to nautical charts, is a submerged breakwater.

Local legend has it that back in the olden days when sailing ships made their way into Savannah, this was a designated area for them to drop their ballast, which was rocks. Regardless of how this underwater rock pile came about, every September it serves as a prime location for catching “bull” redfish or red drum.

Redfish are probably the most prolific species of game fish in our area waters. They’re found almost anywhere in the region. Anglers chase them on the flats with fly rods and light tackle. Fishing on the bottom in the creeks with live bait or cut dead bait will often produce good catches as well.

By law, redfish must range between 15 and 23 inches to be put in the cooler for dinner. However, fish up to 35 inches are often caught inshore, making them fun to catch and release. When they get over this 30-inch range, I tend to call them “bulls.”

In September, the bulls start gathering in large numbers off the beach, near sandbars
and by the rock pile. These big guys average between 20 and 60 pounds and will blister a drag on a medium weight reel. Often when the bite is on, you can catch double digit numbers, which makes for quite a memorable day of fishing – even if you have to release them.

Live or dead menhaden, squid, mullet or whiting are my favorite bait for catching redfish. A fishfinder rig on the bottom can also be helpful. Occasionally, these local fish can be hooked by fisherman trolling deep lures.

I like to use a 20-pound spinning rig for maximum fun, but have caught redfish on lighter tackle as well. However you do it, redfish are “reel” sporty, one of my all-time favorites. If you look closely, you’ll notice this fish on my Bayrunner logo!

Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 40 years experience fishing the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. Contact him at 843-290-6955 to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip, departing from Shelter Cove Marina.

By Capt. Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters
Photo provided by Capt. Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters

Saltmarsh Ecosystem Q & A

Throughout the year, my fellow guides and I are asked a multitude of questions about the local saltmarsh ecosystem.

No wonder. Unique, dynamic and ever-changing, the saltmarsh is home to distinctive flora and fauna seeking food and protection. Each excursion into the tidal creeks offers up a new experience. One should always be prepared for the unexpected!

Here’s a sampling of the questions I’m asked on a regular basis, in no particular order, along with answers.

Will I see alligators in the saltmarsh?

Possibly. The American Alligator is the northernmost member of the crocodilian family. A freshwater reptile, alligators enjoy sunning on the banks of freshwater lagoons across Hilton Head Island. However, they will venture into the saltwater for food or to another freshwater lagoon. Saltwater creeks also rid the alligator hide of parasites. Remember to observe alligators from afar, and never, ever feed them.

Do manatees come this far north?

Absolutely. In fact, manatee sightings seem to be increasing every year. A distant cousin of the elephant, the manatee traditionally prefers the warmer habitats south of us in Georgia and Florida. Nonetheless, they are making their way into our local waters and can most often be observed around marinas where there is easy access to freshwater run-off. Lucky observers will see them during the warmest of the summer months.

What about sharks?

This is a question I answer tentatively because the fear of sharks often overwhelms our fascination with these remarkable fish. Yes, there are sharks in the water. In the Broad Creek, look for small sharks along the edges, especially at lower tides when mudflats are visible, in search of small prey. Common shark varieties in area waters include the blacktip and the bonnethead.

Are there any snakes in the water?

No. The marsh environment is simply too harsh for snakes to survive in and around the saltwater. On occasion, one might become stranded on a wrack of flotsam, but will make its way out of the salty water with great haste.

Is the Broad Creek freshwater or saltwater?

Definitely saltwater. The Broad Creek is most accurately described as a finger off the Atlantic Ocean that absorbs the tide. At high tide, the creek is flooded with saltwater, and that water is drawn back into the ocean on the outgoing tide. There is no fresh water of any significance that comes into the creek.

Get outside and experience the breathtaking beauty and rich diversity of the Lowcountry for yourself!

For more than 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kids’ camps, history excursions, family outings and stand-up paddle boarding. Don’t miss the guided full moon kayak tour, which explores the saltmarsh. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

By Capt. Patte Ranney, SC Master Naturalist, Outside Hilton Head

Summer Saltmarsh Sightings

The saltmarsh provides food and protection to a myriad variety of animals. The murky water – filled with an estimated five million living organisms per teaspoon – provides nutrients for everything from the smallest plankton to apex feeders like dolphin.

While you may become accustomed to seeing the same selection of birds and mammals in and around the saltmarsh, keep your eyes open for surprises. After all, nature rarely disappoints.

In fact, the patient observer is rewarded with opportunities to see amazing animals that venture into our little neck of the woods in search of food and protection. The summertime is no exception.

For as long as I’ve lived on Hilton Head Island, nearly 40 years, I’ve known about the annual summer visit of a manatee or two. Back in the day, sightings were most frequent on Skull Creek, the body of water we all cross over coming onto the island. Within the last decade or so, the number of manatee sightings has increased. Perhaps we are all being a bit more observant. For the last several years, I’ve spotted this gentle aquatic mammal – a relative of the elephant – on Broad Creek, all the way into the confines of Shelter Cove Marina. Often drawn to outlets of fresh water, including water hoses at local marinas, it requires some diligence and patience to spot the slow moving manatee.

I feel fortunate to have seen manatees on several occasions, though my most memorable encounter left three distinct impressions indelibly marked in my mind:

Manatees are really big. Adults average about 10 feet in length and can weigh 1,000 pounds. They have really bad breath! While the bulk of a manatee’s diet consists of aquatic plant life, it also includes small fish and crustaceans. The manatee’s large, disk-shaped, paddle tail is unlike any other animal tail I’ve ever seen. It provides a critical form of locomotion for one of nature’s most gentle mammals.

I’m also thrilled about seeing Roseate Spoonbills on Broad Creek. A member of the same family of birds as the White Ibis, the Roseate Spoonbill generally inhabits areas farther south along the coast of Florida, Texas and Central America. Named for its specialized spoon-shaped bill tip, these birds usually travel in flocks and feed along muddy embankments where small pools isolate the fish and shrimp that comprise their diet.

The first time I saw a Roseate Spoonbill, I was fascinated by its color. Initially, I thought it was an Ibis and attributed the pinkish cast due to the light of the rising sun – until I saw that distinctive bill.

Lately, three of these amazing birds have found safe haven (at least temporarily) along Broad Creek. My fellow guides and I are thoroughly captivated by the trio of Spoonbills, especially their feeding behavior. Join us and perhaps you will see them too.

For more than 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kids’ camps, history excursions, family outings and stand-up paddle boarding. Don’t miss the guided full moon kayak tour, which explores the saltmarsh. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

By Capt. Patte Ranney, SC Master Naturalist, Outside Hilton Head

Sea Nettles

Every year, hundreds of thousands of jellyfish pass through our waters.

Most jellyfish along the South Carolina coast are harmless, but in the months of August and September we get some warm water visitors than can ruin a perfect beach day. Sea Nettles are the most common stinging jellies found in our late summer waters.

Jellyfish are brainless and generally free-floating creatures. They have a rudimentary nervous system with receptors that detect sunlight, odors and other stimuli. Jellyfish have radial symmetry, which is to say that all of their body parts radiate from a single axis. This genetic design allows them to respond to stimuli from any direction.

These animals rely on ocean currents, tides and winds as their main transportation, but they are able to swim in a vertical motion. Jellyfish contract their bell-shaped heads to move up and down in the water column as they search for food or move towards sunlight. Although many people may think that jellyfish attack on purpose, these animals react reflexively to contact and do not intend to cause humans any harm.

The outer layer of a jellyfish bell is called the epidermis. The inner layer of the bell that lines their gut is referred to as the gastrodermi. The interior of a jellyfish houses its digestive cavity and simple nervous system. This inner area, called the coelenterons, contains the jellyfish’s gullet, stomach and intestines. These animals have one opening that is used for both the input of nutrients as well as their excretions.

They typically have four to eight tentacles that dangle below the bell and transport food from the tentacles to the mouth. These tentacles are coated with cnidocytes, venom-filled capsules with tiny barbs that inject toxins into prey, immobilizing them. Jellyfish are carnivores eating zooplankton, other jellyfish, small fish and even crustaceans.

Sea nettle stings are not pleasant. Their tentacles contain both a trigger and a stinging structure. While floating through our waters, their tentacles will come into contact with something solid, which stimulates the trigger releasing tiny barbs full of toxin. The severity of a sting will depend on a number of factors: the thickness of the skin in contact, the penetrating power of the barbs and the sensitivity of the victim to the toxins. Jellyfish stings can usually be treated at home; however facial or genital stings should be treated by a doctor.

If stung by a jellyfish, the first thing to do is remove the barbs. Barbs that are not removed will continue to release toxins into the body. Sand, towels, clothing or any available rough material will help in removing these barbs. Beach Patrol members on duty are equipped with spray bottles full of white vinegar, which helps neutralize the toxins. Baking soda may also be used. The notion that urine will help aid a jellyfish sting is a myth; in fact, urine may stimulate the barbs to fire more toxins. Once the toxins have been neutralized, using topical Benadryl or calamine lotion will ease the itch that follows a sting.

Tentacles can sting whether they are attached to the jellyfish’s body or not. Tentacles and pieces of tentacles can wash up with sea grasses and other ocean debris onto the beaches, so take caution during the heavy jellyfish season.

The best way to avoid Sea Nettle stings would be to avoid entering the water during migrating season. However, for those of us who can’t stay out of the ocean, wearing wetsuits or rash guards or even panty hose in the water will help to prevent jellyfish stings.

The H2O Nature Center, which features live reptile and amphibian exhibits and hands-on displays, focuses on the wildlife and habitats of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Nature tours, apparel, gifts, books and bicycle/fishing gear rentals are also available. To reserve a tour with Master Naturalist Kathleen McMenamin, call (843) 686-5323 or visit h2osportsonline.com.

By kathleen McMenamin, Master Naturalist, H2O Sports

The Perfect Pairing

The Perfect Pairing

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re lucky enough to be on vacation on Hilton Head Island, rather than clicking through other people’s vacation photos on Facebook.

You’ve spent the whole summer “liking” pictures of fish taco platters and oversized frozen drinks. Secretly, you’ve promised yourself that your sunset beach picture is going to be 10 times better than that old college roommate’s photos that keep bombarding your inbox.

Now it’s their turn to gawk at your “check-ins” at Hilton Head’s local winery, envy your soon-to-be-uploaded pictures of she-crab soup, and “like” your picture of dolphin at play just yards off of the beach. And why not? You’re on Hilton Head Island, darn it!

But then again, we do things a little differently “on the Island.” We pride ourselves on Southern hospitality and know that the best vacation photos always tell the real story. Resist the urge to simply post your vacation photos in real time from your smart phone. You’re on vacation, so take the time to disengage from cyberspace and rediscover your own personal space. Snap lots of pictures, but make sure you’re making memories in the process.

At Hilton Head’s Island Winery, guests frequently “check-in” and post pictures of their favorite wine on their Facebook page, but some of the regulars in the tasting room opt for a more interactive vacation photo experience.

After all, wine is meant to be shared with friends – Facebook or otherwise – and so are vacation photos. Some of our annual visitors tell us that they like to purchase a bottle or two of their favorite wine to share with their best friends back at home while they show off their vacation photos.

We thought that was a brilliant idea! After all, a bottle of Hilton Head’s vintage captures the scents and flavors of the Island that can only enhance your audio/visual presentation of your dream vacation. It’s the perfect “show and tell.”

Have your friends back home ever tried Peach on the Beach? What about a Sangria Punch made from Island Winery’s Southern Passion? Bring some of that Southern hospitality back home with you and reminisce about the Island with the people who matter most to you.

What about those friends who you’ve been trying to convince to come to Hilton Head with you? A picture may be worth a thousand words, but we all know a fine wine always seals the deal. Share your vacation pictures, but also share some of the excitement.

The unique flavor of wines only available on Hilton Head Island serves as a tantalizing enticement to get those recalcitrant friends and family to join you in making the next set of vacation photos – and creating the next round of memories!

The perfect bottle of wine awaits at Island Winery on Cardinal Road. Store and tasting hours are Monday-Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wine Flights and Cheese are available from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. A Wine & Cheese Happy Hour is offered Monday-Thursday starting at 4 p.m. (843) 842-3141 or islandwinery.com.

By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery

August Highlights

The wait is over for residents and visitors on the Island to see the new, redesigned, Walmart which brings savings on a full line of groceries and a wide assortment of new products and services. The Hilton Head Walmart features a new layout and updated design incorporating environmentally friendly features. The store now offers a full line of groceries, including a bakery, a deli, meat and dairy products, fresh produce as well as an expanded beer and wine selection. Open daily, 6 a.m.-11 p.m. 25 Pembroke Drive. (843) 681-3011.
walmart.com.

Tax Free Weekend! Don’t miss South Carolina’s Sales Tax Holiday weekend, held Aug. 3-5. South Carolina state sales tax along with any applicable local sales and use taxes will not be imposed on certain items such as clothing and accessories, footwear, linens, computers, school supplies and more. For a complete list of exempt items visit sctax.org.

Tanger Outlets! During the Tanger Outlets South Carolina Sales Tax Holiday Weekend, shoppers who bring in a nonperishable food item to the Tanger Shopper Services at either center will receive TangerStyle coupons offering 20% off of four single item purchases at participating stores. All donations will benefit the Deep Well Project of Hilton Head and Bluffton Self Help.

It’s back to school time at Tanger Outlets and they have shoes for you! Kick Off the Old and Slip on the New with Tanger Shoe Rewards! Shoppers who donate their gently-used children’s footwear at shopper services will receive a $5 Tanger Gift Card and a sheet of 20% off TangerStyle Coupons. Sun., Aug. 5- Sat., Aug. 11. All donations will go to Bluffton Self Help. (843) 837-5410 or visit tangeroutlet.com/hiltonhead/coupons for the latest sales and coupon information.

Marleys Island Grille 10th Anniversary Celebration! Plan to attend Marleys 10th Anniversary Celebration, Sat., Aug. 4, 2-10 p.m. Enjoy a Pig Roast & Caribbean BBQ, entertainment for the kids, White Liquor performing live at 6:30 p.m. and lots of special offers, discounts and prizes. 35 Office Park Rd. (843) 686-5800 or marleyshhi.com.

The Sea Pines Resort! In Harbour Town, family favorite Gregg Russell can be found performing under the Liberty Oak, Sun.- Fri. at 8 p.m. Aug. 1-24 & Aug. 30-Sept. 2. seapines.com.

Don’t miss the opportunity to view the sensuous and beautiful jewelry collections by Italian designer, Marco Bicego at the Forsythe Jewelers Trunk Show in The Shops at Sea Pines Center, 71 Lighthouse Rd. on Aug. 2-4. Sea Pines gate pass will be refunded with purchase. (843) 671-7070 or forsythejewelers.biz.

At South Beach Marina Village in The Sea Pines Resort, enjoy live music performed nightly by Bruce Crichton or Dave Kemmerly at The Salty Dog Cafe, 6-10 p.m. The entertainment for kids abounds in the courtyards each day. Kids can showcase their artistic talents on The Salty Dog Chalk Wall or bust a move with The Salty Dog Hula Hoops. There is face painting fun, story time with Jake the Salty Dog and fun for everyone making Tie Dyed Salty Dog T-shirts. The kids are sure to enjoy The Magic of Gary Maurer or Anneliza’s Kidz Music DJ Series each evening with 7 & 8 p.m. show times. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

Coligny Plaza! The kids can enjoy a FREE inflatable Bounce House at The Frosty Frog Café in Coligny Plaza every Tuesday through Aug. 14, 4:30-8:30 p.m. The kids can have a whole lot of fun and the entire family can relax and enjoy Frosty’s large selection of frozen drinks and full bar along with a scrumptious menu including Frosty’s specialty pizzas and 22 HD TVs. (843) 686-3764 or frostyfrog.com.

Coligny Plaza, “Hilton Head’s Downtown,” is home to over 60 shops and restaurants, as well as a full lineup of family entertainment. In the kiosk area, enjoy morning entertainment with Yostie the Puppeteer on Mon., Wed. and Fri., 10-11 a.m. Then in the evenings, 6:30-8:30 p.m., don’t miss “Monday Night Magic” with Gary Maurer; Positive Vibrations, Reggae Music Show on Tues.; Candace Woodson and the Domino Theory Band on Wed.; The Steppin’ Stones on Thurs. and Family Dance Night on Fri. (843) 842-6050 or colignyplaza.com.

Shelter Cove Harbour! HarbourFest at Shelter Cove Harbour featuring live entertainment nightly, plus unforgettable food, arts and crafts along with Tues. night fireworks through Aug. 14. Family-friendly entertainer, Shannon Tanner, returning for his 24th season, performs two shows, Mon.-Fri., at 6:30 and 8 p.m. through Sept. 2; Cappy the Clown, will be on hand Mon.-Fri., 6-9 p.m. to enjoy as well. Admission is free. Food, beverages and concessions sold separately. Located mid-island at mile marker 8, across from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. (843) 686-9098 or sheltercovehiltonhead.com.

HarbourFest

Every Tues. through Aug. 14, the Island Rec. Center hosts Summer Jams with family-friendly music and games, kid’s zone, pizza, BBQ, and more. Free admission. Concessions and activities sold separately. 7-10 p.m. Shelter Cove Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

Hermit Crab Races! “The Islander’s Place for Fresh Seafood For Over 20 Years,“ this summer, through mid-August, the famous Hermit Crab Races return to the north-end Crazy Crab overlooking Jarvis Creek, 104 Wm. Hilton Pkwy. Before or after a dinner of Lowcountry specialties, head to the outside bar area and pick a winner in the Hermit Crab Races. Daily, starting around 6:30 p.m., races take place every 20-30 minutes. (843) 681-5021 or thecrazycrab.com.

Arts Center of Coastal Carolina! Join El Shaddai as they celebrate the release of their second CD, recorded live at the Arts Center last March. For more than 20 years, this popular Lowcountry-based gospel choir has performed old spirituals as well as traditional and contemporary gospel songs. Wed., Aug. 8, 8 p.m. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.com.

South Carolina Repertory Company! Don’t miss The 3rd Annual New Playwrights Festival featuring Poking Kitty Purple by David Lavine, directed by Jim Stark on Aug. 10; Hellman v McCarthy by Brian Richard Mori, directed by Nick Newell on Aug. 11; Burning the Old Man by Kelly McAllister, directed by Blake White on Aug. 12. All readings take place at 8 p.m.

The 2nd Annual “Celebration of the Short Attention Span.” An evening of short plays. If you don’t like the one that’s on, no worries! A different one will begin shortly! Aug. 16-18, 8 p.m.; Aug. 19, 2 p.m. 136 B Beach City Rd., (843) 342-2057 or visit hiltonheadtheatre.com.

The Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steak House! Enjoy fabulous live entertainment and dancing along with waterfront dining and great happy hour pricing at The Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steak House centrally located in Shelter Cove. The nightly entertainment includes tableside magic shows on Sun. and Mon. with Joseph the Magician, acoustic song favorites with Pete Carroll on Wed., David Wingo’s soft rock on Thurs. and The Earl Williams Band playing Jazz and Motown on Fri. The Hilton Head Comedy Club brings top comedy acts on Wed.-Sun. evenings, 8:30 p.m. at the “Top of the Kingfisher,” the upstairs waterfront lounge. (843) 785-4442 or kingfisherseafood.com.

July Highlights

Every morning, afternoon and evening on the Island in July “sparkles” with family-friendly fun and entertainment. Relax and enjoy each magical moment of your time on the Island this month.

HarbourFest

4th Of July Celebrations

A Fourth of July carnival featuring a bounce house, arts and crafts, cookie decorating, a hot dog lunch and more at Pop! Goes The Sandbox from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at The Sandbox, An Interactive Children’s Museum. Admission charged. (843) 842-7645 or thesandbox.org.

A special HarbourFest 4th of July celebration, in Shelter Cove Harbour, featuring patriotic selections performed by Shannon Tanner at 6:30 and 8 p.m. Enjoy food and beverages, kids’ activities and more. The fireworks display will begin right after dusk. Home & villa guests staying in the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, the Palmetto Dunes Buggy will continue operating until after the fireworks display is concluded. (843) 686-9098 or sheltercovehiltonhead.com.

Celebrate the fourth with a variety of festivities in Harbour Town. Children’s activities, live music, food and beverages will be available. The fireworks begin about 9:15. There is a $5.00 gate fee to enter the resort (unless you are a resident or guest staying on the resort) and a free shuttle service will be offered between Harbour Town and various parking lots in the Resort. No coolers, please. Concessions sold separately. (843) 785-3333 or seapines.com.

Starting at 9:30 p.m., the fireworks will be launched from a barge in the Intracoastal Waterway on Skull Creek. Join Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, Chart House or the Skull Creek Boathouse for live, outside entertainment beginning at 6 p.m. Food and beverages will be available at all three locations. No coolers, please.

(Please remember that town ordinances prohibit the launch or discharge of fireworks within town limits and specifically from the beach.)

Family Fun

At South Beach Marina Village in The Sea Pines Resort, enjoy live music performed nightly by Bruce Crichton or Dave Kemmerly at The Salty Dog Cafe, 6-10 p.m. The entertainment for kids abounds in the courtyards each day. Kids can showcase their artistic talents on The Salty Dog Chalk Wall or bust a move with The Salty Dog Hula Hoops. There is face painting fun, story time with Jake the Salty Dog and fun for everyone making Tie Dyed Salty Dog T-shirts. The kids are sure to enjoy The Magic of Gary Maurer or Anneliza’s Kidz Music DJ Series each evening with 7 & 8 p.m. show times. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

The kids can enjoy a FREE inflatable Bounce House at The Frosty Frog Café in Coligny Plaza every Tuesday through Aug. 14, 4:30-8:30 p.m. The kids can have a whole lot of fun and the entire family can relax and enjoy Frosty’s large selection of frozen drinks and full bar along with a scrumptious menu including Frosty’s specialty pizzas and 22 HD TVs. (843) 686-3764 or frostyfrog.com.

HarbourFest at Shelter Cove Harbour featuring live entertainment nightly, plus unforgettable food, arts and crafts along with Tues. night fireworks (No fireworks on July 3.) Family-friendly entertainer, Shannon Tanner, returning for his 24th season, performs two shows, Mon.-Fri., at 6:30 and 8 p.m. Cappy the Clown, will be on hand Mon.-Fri., 6-9 p.m. to enjoy as well. Admission is free. Food, beverages and concessions sold separately. Located mid-island at mile marker 8, across from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. (843) 686-9098 or sheltercovehiltonhead.com.

In Harbour Town, family favorite Gregg Russell can be found performing under the Liberty Oak, Sunday through Friday at 8 p.m. seapines.com.

Enjoy fabulous live entertainment and dancing along with waterfront dining and great happy hour pricing at The Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steak House centrally located in Shelter Cove. The nightly entertainment includes tableside magic shows on Sun. and Mon. with Joseph the Magician, acoustic song favorites with Pete Carroll on Wed., David Wingo’s soft rock on Thurs. and The Earl Williams Band playing Jazz and Motown on Fri. The Hilton Head Comedy Club brings top comedy acts on Wed.-Sun. evenings, 8:30 p.m. at the “Top of the Kingfisher,” the upstairs waterfront lounge. (843) 785-4442 or kingfisherseafood.com.

The most beautiful love story ever told comes to life when Main Street Youth Theatre presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on July 11-13, 18-20 & 25-29. Performances take place at the Visual and Performing Arts Center, 70 Wilborn Rd. Evening performances are at 7 p.m. with a matinee performance on July 29 at 2 p.m. (843) 689-6246 or msyt.org.

Every Tuesday (except July 3) the Island Rec. Center hosts Summer Jams with family-friendly music and games, kid’s zone, pizza, BBQ, and more with a special July 4th celebration. Bring your chairs and enjoy the evening until the fireworks go off at dusk. Free admission. Concessions and activities sold separately. Shelter Cove Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

“The Islander’s Place for Fresh Seafood For Over 20 Years,“ this summer the famous Hermit Crab Races return to the north-end Crazy Crab overlooking Jarvis Creek, 104 Wm. Hilton Pkwy. Before or after a dinner of Lowcountry specialties, head to the outside bar area and pick a winner in the Hermit Crab Races. Daily, starting around 6:30 p.m., races take place every 20-30 minutes. (843) 681-5021 or thecrazycrab.com.

Coligny Plaza, “Hilton Head’s Downtown,” is home to over 60 shops and restaurants, as well as a full lineup of family entertainment. In the kiosk area, enjoy morning entertainment with Yostie the Puppeteer on Mon., Wed. and Fri., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Then in the evenings, 6:30-8:30 p.m., don’t miss “Monday Night Magic” with Gary Maurer; Positive Vibrations, Reggae Music Show on Tues.; Candace Woodson and the Domino Theory Band on Wed.; The Steppin Stones on Thurs. and Family Dance Night on Fri. (843) 842-6050 or colignyplaza.com.

Celebrate Christmas in July on July 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with The Sandbox, an Interactive Children’s Museum. Lots of fun and games, a hot dog lunch and the opportunity to meet Santa. $10, adults & children; $8, seniors, active military and members. (843) 842-7645 or thesandbox.org.

Travel through the music of the ‘60s in Shout! The Mod Musical, the show that brings back the smashing sounds that made England swing, through July 29. With its heart on its sleeve and its tongue in its cheek, this show recreates the fashions, dances, hair and music of a generation. You won’t want to miss this winking nod to the era of miniskirts and go-go boots. (843) 842-2787 or artshhi.org.

Horoscope – November

Welcome to Hilton Head Island’s Horoscope – November, Hilton Head Island’s best free monthly horoscopes predictions. We’ve scoured our resources to find the most accurate monthly horoscopes for our internet readers so you don’t have to. We also organize free monthly horoscopes by zodiac sign for November and every month ahead. It’s easy to find out what’s in store for you in the stars this month, we’ve got brief predictions for all signs.

Aries
A developing interest in a fellow worker could cause you some headaches on several levels unless you are able to cool it. Office romances seldom follow a smooth path and if it is serious, one or the other should consider a change of employment, if possible. In health matters, follow the advice of your physician, regardless of the seeming inconvenience.

Taurus
Your vacation plans could be spoiled by carelessness involving planning procedures. Pay special attention to such matters as vehicle safety and reliability. Seek to avoid arguments concerning financial matters, particularly with persons who have no direct interest. Romance could take a side-trip along interesting avenues, but caution should be used when a situation involves someone previously committed.

Gemini
An old love affair, kept on the back burner for a lengthy period, could either flame up suddenly or die quietly, depending on your reaction to a touchy situation. Individual cases may vary, but the latter course could prove the wisest in the long run for many. Avoid unnecessary arguments with colleagues over credit for minor accomplishments.

Cancer
An ability to say the right thing at the right time is to be treasured — but sometimes, it is better to say nothing at all. An urgent appeal for financial help should be handled carefully, but a minor amount of money might prove less expensive than injured feelings. Excitement in romance could be intoxicating, but make sure you view the entire picture before saying yes.

Leo
When planning a trip, be sure to make important reservations well ahead of time, confirming them with a deposit if necessary. Steer clear of office malingerers and backbiters, as you may be lumped with them when it comes time to separate the sheep from the goats. Exercise your will power when it comes to making major purchases of luxury items. If there is no need, there will be little pleasure.

Virgo
Precaution is advised when dealing with one whose vision is limited by jealousy. Anything you say can — and probably will — be used against you if things come to a showdown. Romantic plans could go awry if you are unable to overcome a tendency to flirt indiscriminately. Make the most of your talents and let other know of your abilities. Avoid over-indulgence in eating or drinking.

Libra
This could be your lucky month, if you take advantage of the opportunities that may come your way. Make sure that you clear up any old debts that might be hanging and don’t neglect an important letter that needs writing. A new love partner could enter your life now, but you may not be able to notice him or her because of being too tied up with inconsequential matters.

Scorpio
Get back to nature. Find your pleasures in simpler things and don’t be too tied to modern conveniences and frivolities. Expect a certain amount of trouble resulting from an overindulgent appetite. You could avoid some of the problems, however, if you rely on the advice of an old friend. Career matters could improve and you may be in line for a promotion or increase in income if you move fast.

Sagittarius
Set your mind to the task and you will find it not nearly as difficult as you thought at first. In dealing with an old flame who no longer ignites you, try to be both gentle and truthful. Operating within your own framework will prove to be much more profitable to you than striking out for unknown fields. Begin a savings plan now, however modest.

Capricorn
Your latent creative talents have lain hidden long enough. Now is the time to trot them out and run them up the flagpole. If no one salutes, you won’t have lost anything, but if they do, you could be in for some surprising changes in your lifestyle. An excellent chance for matrimony awaits many unmarried Capricorns and — perhaps — for some who are.

Aquarius
A trip to another city or climate could open things up for you and prove to be much more interesting than you had imagined. Stop mistreating your body, particularly with excesses of food and drink, and your general health will improve dramatically. If you are in the mood for romance, don’t stand on ceremony and let the object of your affections know how you feel. Career problems may improve suddenly.

Pisces
A new business partnership could enhance your earnings if you choose one who is industrious and talented. Do not become involved with those who merely talk a good game, however. In romantic activity, keep things light and don’t commit yourself too early in the game. Parental concerns could be paramount to you, but may become less of a problem if you are frank.

Horoscope – October

Welcome to Hilton Head Island’s Horoscope – October, Hilton Head Island’s best free monthly horoscopes predictions. We’ve scoured our resources to find the most accurate monthly horoscopes for our internet readers so you don’t have to. We also organize free monthly horoscopes by zodiac sign for October and every month ahead. It’s easy to find out what’s in store for you in the stars this month, we’ve got brief predictions for all signs.

Aries
Let someone close to you know exactly how you feel about him or her. This is particularly important if there is an adulation on your part. Maybe things won’t work out — but they certainly won’t as long as you keep quiet. Expect proper conduct out of your subordinates and you will get it. A financial opportunity could wither away if you hesitate too long.

Taurus
A last-minute trip to far away places could be just what the doctor ordered. Excitement and, very probably, romance could well be the result — but only if you let things move at their own pace. Now might be a good time to begin a serious savings plan. If you wait until all your debts are paid before you begin, you will probably never save anything — and you’ll probably never be out of debt if you don’t.

Gemini
A serious and quite disturbing love affair could begin for you now if you respond to the stimulus now being waved before you. If you are free and unattached, it might well be worth riding the whirlwind — because that is what it is likely to be. If already committed, make sure that this is what you really want, because it will probably cause a breaking of all old ties.

Cancer
Getting to the bottom of a mystery may not be as pleasant for you as you think. Sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie. In dealing with fellow workers on an important business deal, don’t allow others to speak for you, especially when the responsibility is yours alone. Keeping commitments may be a chore, but failing to do so could damage your reputation.

Leo
An upturn in your personal finances is definitely due and could come from a surprising source. Your best bet is to be totally honest and to hide nothing from those who may have a similar interest. If you lose, you won’t have lost your honor — and if you win, you win really big and there will be no carpers. Exercise your right to be heard in matters that are important to you personally.

Virgo
You could gain an important and influential friend simply by speaking your mind and not allowing others to run roughshod over your or someone close to you. Spend a little time with a youngster or an old person who is close to you, even if it means making some personal sacrifices. Hours, not things, are important to those who love you.

Libra
Maintaining the status quo may not solve your problems. You may be called upon to exhibit some independent thinking and some very positive action if you are to come out on top. In romantic affairs, keep things light and don’t go overboard with promises on the first date. Be extremely cautious when dealing with complicated machinery and don’t take unnecessary chances.

Scorpio
Climb down from your high horse and write that letter you have been mentally composing for the last few months. If what you feel is real, you would be quite foolish to stand on ceremony. In office matters, make sure you keep your tongue from flapping concerning affairs that should remain private. A slip of the lip could sink more than a ship It could sink your plans for the future.

Sagittarius
Romance blossoms in the strangest places, according to the poet, and you could find this out to your utter amazement — and delight. Business problems may seem less if you take time to walk around to the other side so you can gain perspective. The same could be true for a personal matter that has been plaguing you.

Capricorn
Make sure that an old debt is paid in full before you go to the well once again. You might also do some serious thinking about your real desires and what it is you want to do with your life. If what you are presently doing is not making you happy — or at least contented — then why are you doing it? Take the advice of a friend seriously and give it a chance to work.

Aquarius
Estimate your personal worth, as well as financial, and see if you are able to make things balance. If you are found wanting, do something about becoming solvent once again. You would be well advised to seek medical advice about a serious problem. Office politics are definitely not your game and you should avoid playing such a game. Instead, select the most honest of you companions and back him to the hilt.

Pisces
Problems of a financial nature are not as insurmountable as they seem. Seek good advice and then weigh it carefully before striking out on your own. Do not allow others to influence your convictions on moral issues, simply because it would make things neater and easier. On any tough question, the thing that is hardest to do is generally the thing you should do.

Stand Out in the Crowd

Carey North

In today’s real estate market – where there are more sellers than buyers – it’s more important than ever to stand out in the crowd.

What are some of the qualities that make a property sell? Price will always be a determining factor, but even a low price may not be enough to get a property sold. Here are a few tips that can help you sell your home faster and at a higher price point:

Staged to Sell
Home staging, the act of strategically preparing a private residence for sale by making the interiors look warm and inviting, can help any seller compete in a buyer’s market. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property quickly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want to purchase. Prior to any home staging, a seller will want to take care of any repair items. The last thing a buyer wants to see is a list of incomplete projects they need to tackle from day one.

Curb Appeal
If your home is unkempt and unattractive on the outside, chances are buyers will just keep on going. Buyers typically decide within the first few seconds of arriving at a property whether they can imagine themselves living there. That’s why first impressions matter. Things like keeping the lawn moved, planting flowers, cleaning off a porch and removing toys and other personal items are all examples of boosting curb appeal.

Clean and De-Clutter
Once someone enters your home, you want them to stay as long as possible so they can envision living there. If the home is clean and smells fresh, buyers will begin to feel comfortable staying, even if some items within the home are dated. Along with doing a deep cleaning, you will also want to remove the home of excess clutter. A little organization goes a long way, but if there are still too many items that don’t allow the buyer to see the usable square footage, you may want to consider putting some items in storage.

De-Personalize and De-Gender
Along with the theme of allowing buyers to envision themselves in your home, you will want to de-personalize the interiors by removing photos, collectibles and other personal effects. Another good idea is to make your home as gender neutral as possible. After all, you never know if your buyer will be male or female. Make sure paint colors, furniture and accessory items appeal to both sexes to broaden your home’s appeal.

Get Packing
Remember, once your home goes on the market, it really isn’t your home anymore. It’s a product to be marketed. Don’t wait till after you get an offer to start boxing items up. Instead, begin the process right away. As a seller, it will make the dreaded moving process easier and will allow the buyer to see the space larger and more like a model home. Packing early also helps a seller begin to let go of their home and to envision moving on to their next home.

The worst thing a seller can do to prepare their home for sale is nothing. We are fully entrenched in a buyer’s market, so if you want to not only sell your home but sell it for top dollar, then you need to be strategic. Home staging, boosting curb appeal, cleaning and de-personalizing your home are smart ways to start.

One thing is for sure… with inventory being high, prices low and mortgage rates at historic lows, there’s no better time to buy!

For more tips on home staging or to find the homes on the Island that look their best, contact Carey North at Palmetto Sands Realty & Rentals 843-384-6402
or CareyNorth.com.

By Carey North, Palmetto Sands Realty & Rentals.

Wine Tasting Tips

Tasting Wine

So you’re a newbie to wine tasting, and you’ve never set foot in a winery tasting room. Well, worry not. A tasting room is an area set aside in a winery where visitors are encouraged to sample the various wines before purchasing. Tasting rooms can range from a grand space to an intimate, informal area set among casks of aging wine.

Most tasting rooms keep regular hours so you can just show up whenever the wine sampling crave strikes. Most people who work behind the “tasting bar” are friendly and eager to help you find the wine you love. Tell them what flavors you like or if you like sweet drinks. They will pour a series of wines to suit your palette. There is no such thing as a dumb question in a tasting room, so don’t be shy about learning about the wines you are trying.

The tasting room staff will typically give you one fluid ounce of the wines you would like to taste, which is about 20 percent of a regular glass of wine. Keep this in mind and be sure to pace yourself. You don’t want to be that guy or gal who has a little too much fun at the wine tasting!

Most wineries have handy vessels where you can discreetly spit out your wine samples to prevent you from becoming too intoxicated or if a particular wine does not agree with your tastebuds. Don’t be shy about using these vessels. Of course, don’t be afraid to get a full wine experience either by swallowing your wine. Just know your limit, particularly if you are the designated driver.

Once your wine is poured, hold your glass up to the light. Examine the color. Don’t worry if you can’t tell the difference between a ruby red and a garnet red. Just note the color so you can learn to spot a great wine in the future. Different wines have a unique ideal color range. Looking at the color helps to make sure that there are no impurities, bits of cork or insects sharing your wine.

Next, give the wine a little swirl in the glass. Be gentle and get a little air in there. You look like a cool, savvy wine taster when you do this, so swish away like you own the place. Then, place your nose in the glass and inhale. Put your face right in there and try to get a good sniff. A great wine always smells fragrant. Smelling wine is a personal affair, and everyone detects different “essences” in their glass. “Hints of raspberry” and “new wood” are more descriptive than “grapey,” but in the end, the whole thing is subjective.

Now, the moment of truth: the taste! Have just a little sip; don’t chug it like a shot. You’re in a tasting room, not an ale house. Let the wine flow over every part of your tongue. A wine may be sweet or dry. Since sweetness is detected at the tip of your tongue, this may be the first thing you will note. Next, feel the wine roll to sides of the tongue. You taste sour notes here, so this is where you will detect any acidic notes.

Finally, you taste bitter notes at the back of your mouth. This is where very young or over dry wines will leave you with an unpleasant aftertaste. You’ll feel any alcohol as a slight tingle in the back of your throat. Using these basic sensory inputs, you can then make a sophisticated analysis of a wine: “I tasted a semi-sweet, low acid wine with hints of a gentle melon after-taste.”

After the tasting, you should have a sense of what you like and don’t like. Don’t expect to love all of the wines you sample, but a good tasting experience will leave you with at least one wine you’d like to purchase. If the winery you visit offers complimentary tastings, it is generally good etiquette to purchase at least one bottle of wine. If you were able to try 12 wines, the winery has poured the equivalent of a half a bottle of wine, so don’t taste and waste.

Wine tasting for fun is far different than being a professional wine analyst for an auction house, so don’t worry about getting all formal wine tasting steps just right. The tasting room is a great place to get started on a wine tasting journey. A good tasting room staff will give you all the encouragement you need in finding your inner-wine critic.

The perfect bottle of wine awaits at Island Winery on Cardinal Road. Store and tasting hours are Monday-Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wine Flights and Cheese are available from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. A Wine & Cheese Happy Hour is offered Monday-Thursday starting at 4 p.m. (843) 842-3141 or islandwinery.com.

By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery

March Highlights

Days are never dull and boring here on the Island especially with the arrival of spring. Check out all of the special events taking place this month and get ready for a fun-filled month.

Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
For the first time ever – and for one night only – Shakespeare comes to the Arts Center stage on March 2. Celebrate the Bard with this exciting production of, Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare’s most farcical plays.

See the next generation of Lowcountry talent while celebrating National Youth Arts month with Youth ArtsFest on March 3. The stage is turned over to young singers, dancers and musicians in this fun-packed day of variety show-style performances, free mini art workshops and a youth art exhibition.

Your St. Patrick’s Day fun starts at Celtic Crossroads, a unique Irish music experience on March 12. Seven traditional Irish artists combine classic Irish rhythms, bluegrass, gypsy and jazz at this family show.

The 1988 Pulitzer Prize-winner, Driving Miss Daisy, on stage March 17-April 1explores the evolving relationship of an elderly Southern Jewish widow and her African American driver in this heartfelt ode to friendship and the bonds of aging together. For tickets or information, call (843) 842-2787 or visit artshhi.com.

Hilton Head International Piano Competition
This Competition held its first event in 1996 and, since that date, has held a competition each year. The 2012 Piano Competition for pianists ages 18-30 will be presented March 5-12, 2012. (843) 842-2055 or visit hhipc.org.

HHI Kennel Club AKC All Breed Dog Show
Dogs of all sizes and shapes vie for honors in their classes and on to Best in Show each day on March 3-4, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. Admission is free. Parking is $7 per day or $10 for both days. For more information call (843) 726-3237 or visit coastaldiscovery.org.

Sea Pines Resort
Over the years, Gregg Russell has become a Sea Pines classic. Under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town is where you’ll find Gregg entertaining adults and children alike. March 26-30, 7:30 p.m. seapines.com.

The Salty Dog Cafe
Find four-leaf clovers redeemable for free Salty Dog T-shirts, prizes and treats along with children’s entertainment and a special appearance by Jake the Salty Dog during The Salty Dog’s Annual Kid’s Shamrock Hunt at the Salty Dog Café on March 17. 10 a.m.-noon. Afterwards enjoy an Irish menu at The Salty Dog Café. (843) 671-2233 or visit saltydog.com.

29th Annual Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade
On Sunday, March 11, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at Coligny Circle at 3 p.m. Arrive early to secure your spot along Pope Avenue for the island’s largest free spectacular event. (843) 837-4956 or visit stpatricksdayhhi.com.

WingFest
Join the fun and vote for your favorite wing as local restaurants cook up their best wings, while enjoying live music, a kid’s zone and much more at Wingfest, March 24, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Shelter Cove Park. Admission charged. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

4th Annual Marsh Tacky Races
Racing Marsh Tackies on the beach began as a wintertime tradition after each year’s harvest with the winner of the race taking home bragging rights. The Races return on March 18 at 1 p.m. on Coligny Beach at The Holiday Inn. Event is free, donations accepted. (843) 255-7303 or gullahcelebration.com.

Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Fashion Show
Enjoy lunch, a fashion show and silent auction at Sea Pines Country Club. All proceeds benefit the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and their youth programs. Doors open at 11a.m. To purchase tickets, call (843) 842-2055 or visit hhso.org.

Tanger Outlets
Tired of the winter gloom? Start the spring season “Tanger Style” with Spring Fashion Week! Shoppers are invited to stop by the tent at Tanger 1 on March 31, noon-3 p.m., for an afternoon of personal styling along with beauty and health tips as well as the chance to “find your inner model” during fashion photo shoots.

Fashion sketches will be provided by students from SCAD School of Fashion while beauty and health tips will be offered by Millie Lewis Modeling and Development Agency, All About Me Day Spa and Salon and Bare Escentuals. Robert Irvine’s nosh will provide snacks. There will be plenty of chances to win fun prizes. Free admission. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com.

Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steak House
With the arrival of spring, you can always count on The Kingfisher to provide fabulous live entertainment and dancing along with fantastic food and great happy hour pricing. Enjoy tableside magic shows on Sun. and Mon. with Joseph the Magician, acoustic song favorites with Pete Carroll on Wed., David Wingo’s soft rock on Thurs. and The Earl Williams Band playing Jazz and Motown on Fri. The Hilton Head Comedy Club returns with top comedy acts five nights a week at 8:30 p.m. at the “Top of the Kingfisher,” the upstairs waterfront lounge.

For information and reservations, call (843) 785-4442 or visit kingfisherseafood.com.

27th Annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival
Enjoy Great Chefs of the South Wine Dinners on March 5-10, a series of wine dinners at some of the Island’s most outstanding restaurants partnering great wines and local chefs for a wide variety of scrumptious menu pairings. Price and locations to be determined, call for information.

Sample a variety of high-quality domestic and international award-winning wines and gourmet delights at the Grand Tasting & Silent Auction on March 9, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at Sea Pines Resort, Harbour Town Conference Center. An upscale selection of wines are available in the Grand Tasting Silent Auction. Souvenir V.I.P. wine glass included. $65 per person.

On Saturday, March 10, enjoy the Public Tasting & Silent Auction at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, 12-3 p.m. Admission includes a souvenir wine glass and access to all of the free tastings from domestic and international wineries, vineyards, wine distributors and more. $45 per person. Other events during this time are: Silent Auction, Culinary Court, Bartender’s Challenge and Waiter’s Race, Outdoor Gourmet and other special demonstrations. For a complete schedule of events and ticket information, call (843) 686-4944 or visit hiltonheadwineandfood.com.

Experience World Class Golf on Hilton Head Island!

When you are looking for a great location to play golf, there are a number of courses around the world that can provide you with picturesque scenery during your round of golf. But when you want to experience fantastic golf courses in an amazing destination, check out the world class golf courses on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Here are several courses that will offer a golf experience that you will never forget.

Palmetto Dunes Resort

The Palmetto Dunes Resort offers a great, relaxing golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones. The resort features the 6,710 yard 72 par course that is very forgiving and is lined with beautiful palm trees and native landscape. The course is open to the public and includes a driving range, putting green and golf academy for those who want lessons on how to improve your game. Palmetto Dunes also includes two other courses designed by George Fazio and Arthur Hills. When you are looking for a great place to stay during your trip, the Palmetto Dunes Resort features the luxurious Hilton Head Hilton hotel.

Sea Pines Resort

The Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island is a premier place to stay for a vacation or just a weekend getaway. The resort includes world class golf with several amazing courses. The Pete Dye designed Heron Point course is a 7,103 yard course that is laid out with a variety of sharp angles as well as varying elevations along the Atlantic Coastline of South Carolina. The Sea Pines is also close to the Harbour Town Golf Links, a very popular course on the PGA tour.

Private Golf Courses

Hilton Head Island also includes some private golf clubs such as the Long Cove Club and the Wexford Plantation that provides its members with excellent world class golf courses in secluded, luxurious settings.

There are many golf packages available that can help you to save some money during your vacation to Hilton Head Island through your local travel agent or through online travel sites. When you are ready to experience real world class golf, check out Hilton Head Island for your next getaway. For more information about Hilton Head Island and World Class Golf Vacations, or visit hiltonheadisland.com.

Hilton Head Golf Vacations

Hilton Head Island | 800-364-9683

January-February Highlights

Winter is anything but dull and dreary on Hilton Head Island. From lively concerts, cultural happenings and gala fundraisers to family festivals, intriguing exhibits and spectacular performances, there are countless things to see, do and experience this January and February.

The Salty Dog Cafe
At The Salty Dog Café in South Beach Marina Village, Restaurant Week is a month-long affair with special dinner menu items, including a choice of soup or salad and dessert, at one low price throughout January. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra
Led by principal guest conductor John Morris Russell, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra’s 30th “Be Our Guest” season continues on January 16 with The Clarinet Revolution showcasing the talents of clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester. The Orchestra returns to First Presbyterian Church on January 30 with A Serenade of Strings featuring guest conductor Bohuslav Rattay and 2001 HHIPC winner Edisher Savitsky on piano. (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

2012 MLK Celebration Weekend
January 12-16, share in the “dream” of racial equality and an integrated society during the 2012 MLK Celebration Weekend. Scheduled events include a Community Worship Service, MLK Community Service Day, the Annual MLK Memorial March, Memorial Program and Community Cookout at Hilton Head High School and a screening of the film Brother Outsider – The Story of Bayard Rustin. For details, call (843) 681-3881.

Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
An exhibition of abstract art, Atelier Abstract is on display in the Art League of Hilton Head Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina from January 5-28. (843) 681-5060 or artleaguehhi.org.

On January 6, the CSO Chamber Orchestra makes an appearance at the Arts Center with Time Machine: Mozart in Prague, an all-Mozart program featuring Symphony No. 38 and the Overture from Marriage of Figaro, plus arias from Cosi Fan Tutte and Don Giovanni. (843) 842-2787 or charlestonsymphony.org.

Presenting works that inspire, entertain and achieve greater heights of artistic excellence year after year, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is one of America’s finest companies. From January 14-15, this world-renowned dance ensemble performs a selection of classic and contemporary dance at the Arts Center. On January 14, Marianna Tcherkassky, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Ballet Mistress, teaches a Master Dance Class for ages 10 and up. For show tickets, call (843) 842-2787 or visit artshhi.com. To register for art, theater or dance classes, call (843) 686-3945 ext. 233.

South Carolina Repertory Co.
January 17-29, the South Carolina Repertory Company presents the devilishly funny world premiere of The Baristas by Lowcountry playwright James Rasheed. When Ted invites his former college girlfriend Ginger and her husband Ben to join him and his wife Liz at their Hilton Head Island beach house, the weekend is anything but relaxing. (843) 342-2057 or hiltonheadtheatre.com.

Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival
Although the 27th Annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival doesn’t return until March 5-10, you can kick off the area’s premier gourmand event on January 27 during Uncork the Festival at Bomboras Grille in Coligny Plaza. Just bring that special bottle(s) of wine you’ve been saving to taste with friends and other attendees. Tickets are $35 per person. (843) 686-4944 or hiltonheadwineandfood.com.

Hilton Head Snow Day
Snow is guaranteed to fall at least once a year in the Lowcountry – during the Hargray Hilton Head Snow Day. On January 28, head over to Shelter Cove Park to play in the large snow field and inflatable bounce houses from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (843) 681-7273 or islandreccenter.org.

Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration
A month-long series of events honoring and preserving the traditions of Hilton Head’s native Gullah population and their descendants, the 16th Annual Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration takes place February 1-25. Experience firsthand this unique Sea Island culture with De Aarts Ob We People XV and A Taste of Gullah at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, the two-day Arts, Crafts & Food Expo at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, The Gullah Celebration in Sea Pines, gospel concerts at local churches, film screenings, National Freedom Day events and much more. For a complete schedule, call the Hotline at (843) 255-7303 or visit gullahcelebration.com.

The Sea Pines Resort
Sponsored by The Heritage Classic Foundation and boasting one of the country’s most elite fields, the Sea Pines Junior Heritage Tournament takes place February 4-5 on the Heron Point by Pete Dye course and the Harbour Town Golf Links in The Sea Pines Resort. (843) 671-2448 or juniorheritage.com.

Serving a special menu accompanied by captivating views, treat your sweetheart to dinner at either The Harbour Town Grill or the Topside Waterfront Restaurant in Harbour Town this Valentine‘s Day. Reservations
are strongly recommended. (843) 363-8380 (Harbour Town Grill), 842-1999 (Topside) or opentable.com.

At The Salty Dog Café in South Beach Marina Village, the fun begins on February 5 with a Super Bowl Party, followed by special dinner selections and dessert for two on Valentine’s Day, February 14, and a Mardi Gras celebration from February 18-21. The Salty Dog Café officially opens for the season on February 25 with a Grand Re-Opening Oyster Roast starting at 4 p.m. (843) 671-2233 or saltydog.com.

Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra
February 4, nine young finalists, selected from 62 incredibly talented instrumentalists, compete in the Youth Concerto Competition Finals at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Tickets are $10 per person.

On February 13, the Orchestra presents The Classics: Haydn and Beethoven, a Masterworks concert featuring guest conductor Daniel Meyer and cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan at First Presbyterian Church. Brahms’ Violin Concerto and Rachmaninoff’s memorably melodic 2nd Symphony are the centerpieces of The Romantics: Brahms and Rachmaninoff on February 27. (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
A fast-paced, hijinks-fueled farce full of mishaps, miscues and mistaken identities, the wildly inventive Broadway classic, Lend Me A Tenor, is center stage at the Arts Center, February 7-26. For tickets, call (843) 842-2787 or visit artshhi.com.

Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry
A palate-pleasing combination of signature food tastings from top local restaurants paired with well-known Lowcountry authors and topped with an exciting “The Heat Is On” chefs’ competition, Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry hosts its 6th Annual Cooks & Books celebration at The Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa on February 12. With a lavish dinner buffet, open bar and unique silent auction, a Preview Party is scheduled on February 10 at Tide Pointe – A Vi Community. For ticket information, call (843) 815-6616 or visit lowcountryliteracy.org.

South Carolina Repertory Company
For its 100th show, The South Carolina Repertory Company has chosen A.R. Gurney’s funny and poignant play The Cocktail Hour, February 15-March 4. As the martinis flow, so do the recriminations and revelations when John returns home to his family with his new play, written about them. (843) 342-2057 or hiltonheadtheatre.com.

By Allyson Jones.
Photo 1: The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, courtesy of the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
Photo 2: Basket maker Daurus Niles, courtesy of the Coastal Discovery Museum.

New Year, New Resolve

With the beginning of each new year comes resolutions.

Some of you reading this article may make a resolution to spend more time with family and friends, while others may resolve to lead a less hectic lifestyle. For these readers, I say consider purchasing a little piece of paradise right here on Hilton Head Island.

Why Hilton Head Island?

Well, for one thing, just take a look around you. Our 12 miles of sandy beaches, moderate climate, abundant wildlife and in-keeping with-nature architecture truly make Hilton Head Island a special place.

As other areas just get more and more commercial Hilton Head Island will always retain some of its natural charm due to regulations put in place years ago.

Why Now?

Whether you are looking for a primary residence, second home or investment property, now is your chance! The market is strongly in favor of the buyer with good inventory, competitive pricing, historically low interest rates and our fair share of short sales and foreclosures.

We are also part of a natural migration of baby boomers looking to retire to warmer climates. This influx of future retirees combined with the fact the Island is nearing the point of being built-out will help to drive prices up in the future.

Before this migration begins in full force take, consider taking advantage of the opportunities available today.

You can always find reasons to put off making a decision, but if you have fallen in love with the Island as I have and want to create more lasting memories here, then don’t hesitate — there may never be a better opportunity to buy.

Navigating buyers and sellers through today’s real estate market, contact Carey North at Palmetto Sands Realty to find you a great deal! (843) 384-6402 or careynorth.com.

By Carey North, Palmetto Sands Realty.

The Design of a Golf Club

Recreational golfers spend endless hours trying to get their club into the right position at impact.

They read in instructional magazines and are told by teaching professionals that their swing plane is off, that they are swinging inside to out or outside to in, that they are guilty of a myriad of other actions that cause their ball path to be inconsistent.

Part of the reason for this is that many golfers don’t understand a club is designed to automatically be in the correct position at impact, if the arms and hands are properly extended through natural body rotation.

In a nutshell, the concept is when you rotate your body, the centrifugal force created automatically causes your arms to extend. When your arms are extended, the club will fall naturally square to the ball when it gets to impact.This relationship between body rotation and arm extension is often ignored.

Golfers focused instead on manipulating their club into the right position do not let their arms extend naturally, as a result ending up in precisely the wrong position.

It is important to remember that swinging in a relaxed, easy manner will promote natural body rotation and therefore proper arm extension, which will in turn force you clubhead down through the ball naturally. When you’re tense, you work counter to your body’s natural rotation, focusing mistakenly on the force of your arms and hands. As a result, you punch at the ball or try to scoop it into the air.

Here’s a simple, but illuminating exercise. Stand up straight with your arms hanging at your sides. Pivot your lower body to the right, then to the left. Do this repeatedly, gradually increasing the speed of the pivot. Let your heels come off the ground a little, which you’ll see will increase the pivot even more.

Observe how your arms lift as a result of the centrifugal force created through body rotation. They don’t lift and extend through some voluntary exertion. The movement is a natural response. Remember this the next time you prepare to swing.

Focus on creating body rotation, thereby creating centrifugal force, in turn causing your arms to extend. When this happens, the clubhead will follow the path it’s designed for and the clubhead will arrive at impact square to the ball.

A former PGA Tour Pro and US Open record holder, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy and conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free golf clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or palmettodunes.com. On January 21, the Arthur Hills Course hosts the MLK Birthday Tournament. To register, call (843) 290-5943.

By I.J. Schecter with Doug Weaver. Photography by Rob Tipton/Boomkin Productions

Romping River Otters

An aquatic mammal once common throughout all of North America, the North American River Otter (Lantra Canadensis) can be found from Alaska, Canada and the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.

Although harvesting of furs over history has limited their territories, there are still plenty of otters around. Observed year-round in every county in South Carolina, the winter months in the Lowcountry are a great time to see them out in the salt marshes and estuaries.

Preferring slow-moving water and ample covering for protection, otters are most active at night. In the winter months, they become diurnal and are often seen during the day.

Well-designed as aquatic mammals, River Otters have whiskers used to locate food in murky waters and are able to hold their breath for about four minutes, an advantage when hunting small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, amphibians and snakes.

Very oily waterproof fur, a distinct shape, webbed feet and large tapered tails gives them agility, power and speed while swimming. Specially-formed ears and noses close when diving and otters are able to see clearly under water due to a nictitating membrane, which also protects the eye from debris. While not as agile on land, they have a very acute sense of hearing and smell.

The late winter and early spring is otter breeding time. Reaching sexual maturity at the age of two, females have very a unique reproduction cycle.

After copulation, an embryo may stay within a female for up to eight months before gestation. Since gestation takes about 60 days, babies are born 10 to 12 months after copulation.

Females look for a den in order to give birth to their young (two to four kits at a time) and usually find an already established, but abandoned, den in a tree hollow or old beaver dam. Born with fur, the kits’ eyes open within three weeks and they will be playing in the water within eight weeks of birth.

The females teach their young how to swim and forage for food. Males will not aid in the rearing of young. The kits will stay with their mothers six months to a year.

These lively creatures can live to be 15 years old. It is common to see otters in groups, as well as on their own. Generally, female otters live in family groups with their young and, sometimes, with helpers who are not related. Male otters have been found in groups of up to 17 individuals.

Traditionally hunted for their fur by American Indians — and starting in the 1500s, by settlers — North American River Otters are no longer a threatened species. However, pollution, habitat destruction and development are all factors affecting otter populations. Today, great efforts are being made to reestablish their numbers throughout North America.

With minimal hunting taking place in South Carolina, the otter population is stable here giving locals and visitors alike the opportunity to observe these curiously playful creatures.

Focusing on the wildlife and habitats of the South Carolina Lowcountry, the H2O Nature Center in Harbour Town features live reptile and amphibian exhibits, hands-on displays and more. Apparel, gifts, books and bicycle/ fishing gear rentals are also available. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour or monthly Discovery Reptiles program with Master Naturalist Kathleen McMenamin, please call (843) 686-5323. For details on other water activities offered by H2O Sports, visit h2osportsonline.com.

By kathleen McMenamin, Master Naturalist, H2O Sports

Wines To Consider This Winter

Make a New Year’s resolution to experience fantastic new wines in 2012.

Just because the holidays have passed and the credit card bills are piling up, doesn’t mean you should give up great wines in January and February. Likewise, you can break out of the old Chardonnay/Merlot/Pinot Grigio rut and enjoy new sensory delights from around the world.

January: Barbera

Since the Middle Ages, Barbera had been the definitive grape of the Italian Piedmont Region.

Winemakers loved growing this hearty red grape because it would flourish in rougher terrain, allowing them to set aside their most choice land for the more fragile Dolcetto and Nebbiolio.

Barbera flourishes anywhere there are Italian immigrants – from New Jersey and California to Argentina. By the last decade, however, Barbera fell out of favor among the wine community, perhaps because authorities arrested Italian winemakers for adding toxic methanol to their product.

But venerable Barbera, hearty enough to overcome such a scandal, is making something of a Renaissance on the world stage. Both in the Old and New World, winemakers have rediscovered its medium body and gentle notes of blackberry and cherry. Compare the supple, buttery notes of an Italian Barbera to the robust fruit flavors of a California Barbera.

With its moderate acidity and relatively mild tannins, this versatile wine pairs beautifully with a hearty chili or savory gumbo. If you’re keeping a New Year’s Resolution, this makes the ideal companion for a healthy Caesar salad, as well. With 125 calories and 4 carbs per glass, it won’t ruin your post-holiday fitness regimen. Hilton Head Island natives and visitors appreciate a great Barbera, it is currently our number one selling red wine!

February: Pinot Blanc

Will the real Pinot Blanc please stand up?

Pinot Blanc is a natural genetic mutation of Pinot Noir; it’s the blue-eyed baby of two brown-eyed parents.

While it was originally cultivated in the Alsace region of France and Germany, California winemakers used it for decades as their secret ingredient to smooth out some of their more robust Chardonnays. To complicate matters, American grape growers unknowingly misclassify other white grapes as Pinot Blanc.

Yet, when you can get your hands on the real thing, it is worth the sleuthing. French, American and Italian Pinot Blancs are crisp, slightly tart and packed full of tropical fruit notes.

If you’re a Chardonnay lover, a great Pinot Blanc will take that love affair to the next level. If you’re looking for something a little more delicate on a cold February night, German and Austrian Pinot Blancs tend to be slightly sweet, but never cloying.

Whether or not you’re a lover of sweet or dry wines, Pinot Blanc’s powerful fruity notes and buttery smooth texture make it the perfect companion for decadent Valentine’s Day chocolates.

The perfect bottle of wine awaits at Island Winery on Cardinal Road. Store/Tasting hours are Monday-Saturday, 12:30- 5:30 p.m. with Wine Flights & Cheese available from 12:30-2:30 p.m. A Wine & Cheese Happy Hour is offered Monday-Thursday starting at 4 p.m. (843) 842-3141 or islandwinery.com.

By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery

Mitchelville Preservation Project

Da Spirit of Freedom Lives in We

Before the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Hilton Head Island was home to the nation’s first freedman’s community, Mitchelville.

 

Today, a lone historic marker on Beach City Road is all that remains of this once self-sustaining, self-governing village comprised solely of African Americans at “the dawn of freedom.”

 

However, a diverse group of Island residents have come together to save this important and unique Civil War site from oblivion and to preserve a portion of it as a heritage attraction.

 

Working with the Town of Hilton Head Island to lease 16 acres at Fish Haul Creek Park, plans for Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park include recognition of the town’s founder, Mitchelville’s first mayor, the first regiment of Colored Troops and Harriet Tubman, as well as an interactive welcome center, exhibits, replica buildings and more.

 

On November 7, 1861, the Battle of Port Royal Sound raged just off the coast. Local Confederate forces retreated following the attack and more than 10,000 Union soldiers came ashore and established the Headquarters of the Department of the South on Hilton Head Island.

 

To house the hundreds of abandoned and escaped slaves, called “contrabands of war,” who made their way to Island and to avoid the substandard living conditions found at other Union camps, General Ormsby Mitchel proposed a town for the ex-slaves be built near Drayton Plantation.

 

Part of the Port Royal Experiment, a program designed to teach the freedmen self-sufficiency, Mitchelville stretched from Beach City Road into Port Royal Plantation. By 1865, the community was home to 1,500 residents living in simple wooden houses on 1/4-acre plots who grew their own food and sold the surplus to the military.

 

The Civil War ended in 1865 and, a few years later, so did large-scale military occupation of the Island. Many Native Islanders left the area to seek a better life. The African Americans who remained were known as Gullah and lived in relative isolation, until a bridge connected Hilton Head to the mainland in the 1950s.

 

To honor and preserve the traditions of the local Gullah population and their descendants, the Native Island Business & Community Affairs Association, Inc. (NIBCAA) hosts the 16th Annual Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration throughout the month of February.

 

Scheduled activities during the Gullah Celebration include an Arts, Crafts & Food Expo, gospel concerts, performances, a golf tournament, a 5K Fitness Walk/Run and more. This year’s Marsh Tacky Horse Race takes place on March 18.

 

On February 4, National Freedom Day events consist of an Ol’ Fashioned Gullah Breakfast – Mitchelville Style, screening of the film “Remnants of Mitchelville” and a gospel concert celebrating the spiritual thread binding African ancestors and the Gullahs of today.

 

For a complete calendar of Gullah Celebration events, call the Hotline at (843) 255-7303 or visit gullahcelebration.com. For more information on the Mitchelville Preservation Project, visit mitchelvillepre servationproject.org. To sign up for a two-hour narrated tour of 10 neighborhoods established during the Civil War, contact Gullah Heritage Trail Tours at (843) 681-7066 or visit gullahheritage.com.

By Allyson Jones. Illustration courtesy of mitchelvillepreservationproject.com.

Hilton Head Island Style – January/February 2012

Valentine’s Day is February 14 and whether you’re in the market for the latest fashions and accessories, fine jewelry, outdoor gear or sweet treats for yourself and loved ones, you’ll find exactly what you need at Hilton Head Island’s numerous boutiques, specialty shops and factory outlet stores.

Birkenstock Barefootin’
Combining innovative design, precision engineering and meticulous manufacturing, the new Vibram FiveFingers® KomodoSport LS for women features the popular speed lacing system to accommodate wider feet and higher insteps for a variety of cross training activities. Birkenstock Barefootin’ in Hilton Head Village also carries over 300 different styles of fashionable and comfortable shoes for men, women and children. (843) 837-3562 or birkenstockbarefootin.com.

Forsythe Jewelers
Visit Forsythe Jewelers in The Shops at Sea Pines Center and experience David Yurman’s “Elements Collection,” a sparkling interplay of textured gold and silver. Forsythe is Hilton Head’s finest jewelry and gifts store and the only place to offer David Yurman. 71 Lighthouse Road. (843) 671-7070, forsythejewelers.biz or facebook.com/forsythehhi.

The Island Fudge Shoppe
Sweet treats abound at the family-owned and operated Island Fudge Shoppe in Coligny Plaza. Fill a gift basket for your Valentine with a bountiful selection of homemade fudge, hand dipped chocolates, pecan fiddlers, praline pecans and more made on site and then have it shipped directly to family and friends. (843) 842-4280 or islandfudge.com.

Camp Hilton Head
With five locations, from Harbour Town Marina to Shelter Cove Harbour, “Take Hilton Head Home,” with a visit to Camp Hilton Head. Since 1981, these popular stores have offered unique, imprinted resort wear for the whole family. Harbour Town, (843) 671-3600 or 671-4633; Shelter Cove Harbour, 842-3666; Coligny Plaza, 686-4877; South Beach General Store, 671-6784; Hilton Head Shirt Co., 686-5099. camphiltonhead.com.

Outside Hilton Head
It‘s (relatively) cold and Outside Hilton Head, “The Island’s Outdoor Outfitter,“ in The Plaza at Shelter Cove has all the gear you need to stay warm this winter. Featuring premier outdoor lines from The North Face, Patagonia, Columbia, Prana and more, as well as fashionable and functional footwear from UGG, Frye, Keen, Solomon and many others, now is the time to get outside! (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

Designs by Cleo
“Art you can wear,“ Designs by Cleo in The Gallery of Shops features a collection of bold and beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry handcrafted in sterling silver with freshwater pearls and/or semi-precious gemstones. With a recent expansion, the boutique also offers one-of-a-kind hats, handbags and other unique accessories. 14 Greenwood Dr. (843) 342-7001 or designsbycleo.com.

Tanger Outlets
Saving is always in season at the Tanger Outlets where, in addition to great buys at more than 85 brand name outlets, you get rewarded for shopping with WinterStyle Evening Rewards, January 9-22 or during the Valentine’s Day TangerStyle promotion, January 21-February 14. Call or visit the website for details, the latest sales information and coupons. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com.

Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival
Celebrating 27 years, Hilton Head Island’s premier wine and culinary event returns March 5-10, 2012, with six days of wine tastings and auctions accompanied by the Lowcountry’s best cuisine. Buy tickets online now to save or make plans to “Uncork” the Festival on Friday, January 27 at Bomboras Grille in Coligny Plaza. (843) 686-4944 or hiltonheadwineandfood.com.

Island Quilters
Share your love of quilting at Island Quilters, located in Park Plaza just outside the main gate of The Sea Pines Resort. Carrying a full line of 100% cotton, quilting quality fabrics and notions, stop in to see the large selection of batiks and designer fabrics or pick up a kit to easily create your own work of art. (843) 842-4500 or islandquilters.com.

Winter White

During the coldest part of our year, the salt marsh may appear to be dormant, but looks are deceiving.

Though relatively frigid water temperatures in the shallow and narrow creeks have driven most fish, crabs and shrimp into the ocean or into cozy burrows in the pluff mud, there remains a subtle, yet dynamic, transformation occurring right before our eyes.

Even in winter, there are great things to observe in the salt marsh. Much is happening in the mud and in the grasses.

Above ground, the gray-brown cordgrass is fragile and brittle. Winter winds break apart the dried stalks and early nesters, like the eagle, scavenge for this most excellent nest feathering material. That which is not carried or blown away, settles onto the mud flat creating a rich and nutrient-filled peat.

Scavenging insects graze moist heaps of deteriorating grasses, attracting bug-eating birds like the Yellow-Rumped Warbler. Though we don’t often think about it, all those birds feeding across the salt marsh serve to fertilize the earth, as well.

Look closely, this time of year, at the surface of the mud. Notice the first fresh blades of bright green grass emerging from the muddy surface — a direct result of all the processes taking place in the winter marsh. The cycle of deterioration and rebirth in the salt marsh continues, a sure sign spring is just around the corner.

But, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

Some of the most interesting birds visit the salt marsh this time of year. One of my favorites has made another unusual appearance, on an oystershell bank across the Calibogue Sound, near Daufuskie Island.

Common to the Gulf Coast, more often than not I see great flocks soaring high up in the sky, so high that I need my binoculars to clearly see and identify them. Their migration takes them from the Gulf to Canada. But once again, a group has arrived on this barren point to linger for a week or two, perhaps a month. A rare treat indeed.

Related to our resident Brown Pelican, the White Pelican is an amazing sight.

Considerably larger than the Brown, White Pelicans are exactly that… white. While they share the common traits of large-pouched bills, webbed feet and full protruding chest, most distinguishable is the unique feeding behavior of the White Pelican.

Unlike the diving Browns, the Whites swim upon the surface and then, in an instant and in unison, the entire group dives below the surface. Count to five and all resurface — like synchronized swimmers — to continue on their way.

Get Outside!

For over 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kid’s camps, history excursions, family outings and stand-up paddle boarding. “The Island’s outdoor outfitter” also offers an outstanding selection of clothing, gear and accessories for men, women and children at the flagship store in the Plaza at Shelter Cove and a second location in Palmetto Bluff. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

By Capt. Patte Ranney, SC Master Naturalist, Outside Hilton Head

A Good Swing Isn’t Rocket Science (or is it?)

Mastering the golf swing is by no means a simple task. However, the frustration experienced by many weekend hackers stems from the lack of knowledge as to the science of golf, as it does the appreciation of precise mechanics.

Once you know how a golf swing is supposed to behave, you can begin to try to perfect and emulate it. Until you know how the relationship between ball, club and science is supposed to work, you won’t know what you’re trying to execute.

So let’s forget swing planes, hip turns and wrist hinges for a moment and examine the first of three most crucial scientific aspects of understanding the golf swing – the trampoline effect between the ball and clubface.

The Trampoline Effect

If you’re standing on a trampoline and you push down with your legs, what happens next? The trampoline pushes you back up. Keep this in mind the next time you’re standing over a golf ball.

When a club comes down and its face makes contact with the ball, two things occur. First, the ball compresses, and then the clubface compresses. When the face then trampolines back out after compression, the ball is launched slingshot-style into the air.

Because the ricochet action between the ball and clubface happens at a speed too fast for the human eye, it can be difficult to trust. As a result, recreational golfers often try to “sweep” or “scoop” their shots, because they do not understand or trust that the trampoline action occurs as a result of a downward strike.

It isn’t the strength of your arms and hands that creates distance and velocity, but the converged elasticity of the ball and clubface.

The Smashing Tees Drill

By “smashing tees,” you can prepare yourself to better enable the trampoline effect to work its magic.

Place a tee in the ground as though you were preparing for a drive. When you swing with an iron, focus on striking the tee. This will force you to maintain a downward trajectory, instead of inadvertently scooping the ball and losing the trampoline effect.

Move the tee a little lower with each successful swing, still focusing on striking the tee. Continue the drill until the tee is essentially buried.

At this point, a ball placed in the same position will be ricocheted with greater distance because of the trampoline effect.

A former PGA Tour pro and US Open record holder, Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy and conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free golf clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. For details on the instructional programs offered at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, call (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or visit palmettodunes.com.

By I.J. Schecter with Doug Weaver. Photography by Rob Tipton/Boomkin Productions

Hooded Mergansers

Winter is on its way and so are our migratory waterfowl. Soon our freshwater ponds will be dotted with birds. One of the most attractive is the Hooded Merganser; their white and black hoods are hard to miss.

Hooded Mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus) are small diving ducks. Native to North America, dispersed throughout Canada and the United States, they can be found in forested wetlands and swamps while breeding.

As they are short-distance migrants, during the winter they are more commonly seen in coastal areas. While Hooded Mergansers are seen year-round in South Carolina, the highest concentration is found on the Great Lakes.

All Merganser species have sawbill beaks – long, slender and serrated with a hook at the end – perfect for controlling slippery fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects. Hooded Mergansers have excellent eyesight under water, allowing them to be great hunters. A nictating membrane, analogous to goggles, protects their eyes from debris.

As mergansers are diving ducks, their feet are located further back towards their tail. While this makes it difficult for them to walk on land, it aids in their diving abilities. This foot position allows them to tip the larger portion of their body into the water and then use their webbed feet to propel themselves further down.

This time of year is great for spotting Hooded Mergansers forming mated pairs.

They begin the breeding process over winter, gathering in ponds in small groups. The males develop a large white patch on their hoods and flare these feathers to attract females. After a series of dances, which may include bobbing heads and extending of wings, males and females establish their relationship. They will winter together here in our freshwater ponds before heading further inland to nest.

Hooded Mergansers prefer nesting in cavities anywhere from 10 to 50 feet up in the air. They use cavities in trees, hollowed out by Wood Peckers, as their most common nesting area, but have also been known to use Wood Duck boxes. Females will add some of their down feathers to the nesting area and lay anywhere from nine to 11 eggs. The male Hooded Merganser leaves the female shortly after the start of incubation.

The female incubates the eggs for an average of 33 days. Within 24 hours of the chicks hatching, the mother encourages them out of the nest. They will go directly to the water, where the chicks instinctively know how to dive and catch insects.

As a form of defense against predators, chicks will dive underwater or freeze in place. Mother Mergansers have also been known to feign injuries to draw attention away from her chicks. The chicks generally leave their mother five weeks after their hatching. Once they reach the age of two, the cycle begins again.

Focusing on the wildlife and habitats of the South Carolina Lowcountry, the H2O Nature Center in Harbour Town features live reptile and amphibian exhibits, hands-on displays and more. Apparel, gifts, books and bicycle/fishing gear rentals are also available. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour with Master Naturalist Kathleen McMenamin or the Discovery Reptiles program on December 6, please call (843) 686-5323. For details on other water activities offered by H2O Sports, visit h2osportsonline.com.

By Kathleen McMenamin, Master Naturalist, H2O Sports
Photo By Kathleen McMenamin

Holiday Gift Guide

Home to hundreds of specialty retailers, unique shops, upscale boutiques and factory outlet stores, find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list on Hilton Head Island. From the latest fashions and accessories to unique experiences and holiday decorations, the options are as intriguing as the Lowcountry itself.

Jake’s Shore Thing
The perfect stocking stuffer for all ages, cozy up with Snuggle Socks from Jake’s Shore Thing in the Plaza at Shelter Cove, Hilton Head’s only Life is good Genuine Neighborhood Shoppe. “Spreading the power of optimism,” find the full line of “Life is good“ products, including clothing and accessories for the entire family, golf balls, beach toys, dog items, jewelry and more. (843) 686-2330.

Forsythe Jewelers
MacKenzie-Childs’ holiday collection has arrived at Forsythe Jewelers in The Shops at Sea Pines Center! ‘Tis the season to decorate and these elegant, woodland-inspired glass ornaments make the perfect gift. Each ornament is finely handcrafted, mouth-blown, and hand-painted in Eastern Europe by some of the world’s most talented glass artisans. (843) 671-7070, forsythejewelers.biz or facebook.com/forsythehhi.

Tanger Outlets
With significant savings at over 80 name brand outlet stores, including the new Salty Dog kiosk, the perfect present – at the perfect price – is just minutes away. Of course, a Tanger gift card is always in style or visit with Santa “Island Style” in the courtyard at Tanger Outlet 2 on Saturdays and Sundays and tell him exactly what you want this year. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com.

Outside Hilton Head
“Your Day, Your Way,” the Ultimate Low Country Day package offered by Outside Hilton Head in The Plaza at Shelter Cove is a unique, fully-customized family adventure. Led by experienced guides, spend a memorable afternoon boating, fishing, crabbing, dolphin watching, kayaking, hiking and more, as you explore the local backcountry. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

Legacy Design Photographers
Specializing in family beach portraits, let Legacy Design Photographers in Shelter Cove Harbour create treasured heirloom prints this holiday season. From reunions and families to couples and individuals, professional photographers capture magical moments on the beaches of Hilton Head Island. (843) 686-3138 or legacydigital.com.

Island Winery
Toast the season with a bottle of award-winning wine from Island Winery on Cardinal Road. Grapes from around the world are used to produce high-quality wines right here on Hilton Head Island, from fine Old World reds and whites to Lowcountry specialty wines created using fresh Carolina fruits and honey. (843) 842-3141 or islandwinery.com.

Gullah Heritage Trail Tours
A West African-based system of traditions, customs, beliefs, art forms and family life which survived centuries of slavery and more than a century of freedom, experience the Gullah culture of Hilton Head Island with Gullah Heritage Trail Tours, a two-hour narrated trip through 10 neighborhoods established during the Civil War. (843) 681-7066 or gullaheritage.com.

Designs by Cleo
A collection of bold and beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry handcrafted in sterling silver with freshwater pearls and/or semi-precious gemstones, Designs by Cleo in The Gallery of Shops is “art you can wear.” Call Cleo with your wish list before Men’s Shopping Night on December 16, then send in your significant other to pick up your heart’s desire. (843) 342-7001.

Fountain Spa
The holidays can be stressful, but Fountain Spa on New Orleans Road can help you relax with a personalized massage, facial, body or nail treatment. This inviting day spa in Fountain Center also offers gift certificates to celebrate that someone special in your life. (843) 353-0006 or fountainspahhi.com.

Top 10 Tips for Healthy Holidays

1. Don’t go to parties hungry.

If you’re going to a party in the evening, be sure to eat a healthy lunch and snack in the afternoon.

2. The choice is yours.

Instead of focusing on what you cannot or should not have, think about making healthier choices.

3. Start with veggies and nuts.

When you arrive at the party, scan the food table and go for the veggie tray first and maybe a small handful of nuts. Then decide which items you might want to sample.

4. Avoid mindless eating.

Pay attention to what you’re eating and enjoy it. Don’t multi-task, or talk and eat (you shouldn’t talk with your mouth full anyway).

5. Budget your calories.

Like you budget your money during the holidays, decide which food items are worth spending your calories. For example, would you rather have the high-calorie coffee drink or that special homemade dessert?

6. Have a water “chaser.”

Drink a glass of water before and after your glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage. If you are seated for a meal, have water with your meal, along with your beverage of choice. Drink the water to quench your thirst and sip your other drink occasionally.

7. Exercise can erase some “mistakes.”

Offset extra calories with an additional exercise class, walk on the treadmill or other form of physical activity.

8. Walk it off.

Go for family walk instead of sitting on the couch after a big meal.

9. Take time to de-stress.

Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and/or treat yourself to a massage during the hectic holiday season. Exercise is also a great way to de-stress and re-energize.

10. Focus on family and friends and
fun – not food.

Most importantly, the holidays are a great time to enjoy being together. Find fun activities to do together that do not focus on food. Around here we’re usually fortunate enough to enjoy a nice walk on the beach – Have Fun!

Enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season!

Shelly Hudson is a Certified Health Coach and Registered Nurse with specialized training in nutrition and exercise physiology. She leads workshops on various wellness topics and offers individual health and nutrition coaching. Call Powerhouse Family Fitness Gym in Bluffton’s Bridge Center to schedule a free health consultation with Shelly and set your health and fitness goals for a fresh start in the New Year or ask about the Special 3-Day Gym Pass. (843) 706-9700.

By Shelly Hudson, Certified Health Coach, Powerhouse Family Fitness Gym

Holiday Dining

British Open Pub, Village at Wexford
1000 William Hilton Parkway #D3, (843) 686-6736
Christmas Eve – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. New Year’s Day – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

British Open Pub, Bluffton
5 Sherington Drive, (843) 815-6736
Christmas Eve – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. New Year’s Day – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Casey’s Sports Bar & Grille
37 New Orleans Road #J, (843) 785-2255
Christmas Eve – From 11:30 a.m. Christmas Day – From 11:30 a.m.
New Year’s Eve – From 11:30 a.m. New Year’s Day – From 11:30 a.m.

Chart House
2 Hudson Road, (843) 342-9066
Christmas Eve – 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Christmas Day – 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
New Year’s Eve – 11:30 a.m. to midnight. New Year’s Day – 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Crazy Crab, Harbour Town
149 Lighthouse Road, (843) 681-5021
Christmas Eve – From 11:30 a.m. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – From 11:30 a.m. New Year’s Day – From 11:30 a.m.

The Crazy Crab
Hwy. 278, 104 William Hilton Parkway, (843) 363-2722
Christmas Eve – From 11:30 a.m. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – From 11:30 a.m. New Year’s Day – From 11:30 a.m.

Flamingo’s Doughnut Cafe
33-C Office Park Road, (843) 686-4606
Call for Seasonal Hours

The Frosty Frog Cafe Daiquiri Bar
1 North Forest Beach Drive, (843) 686-3764
Christmas Eve – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. New Year’s Day – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Hilton Head Brewing Company
7 Greenwood Drive, (843) 785-3900
Christmas Eve – From 11:30 a.m. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – From 11:30 a.m. New Year’s Day – From 11:30 a.m.

It’s Greek To Me
11 Lagoon Road, (843) 842-4033
Christmas Eve – From 11 a.m. Christmas Day – From 11 a.m.
New Year’s Eve – From 11 a.m. New Year’s Day – From 11 a.m.

Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steak House
18 Harbourside Lane, (843) 785-4442
Christmas Eve – Closed. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – From 5 p.m. New Year’s Day – From 5 p.m.

The Market Street Cafe
1 North Forest Beach Drive, (843) 686-4976
Christmas Eve – From 11 a.m. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – From 11 a.m. New Year’s Day – From 11 a.m.

Piggly Wiggly Deli/Bakery, Coligny Plaza
1 North Forest Beach Drive, (843) 785-3881
Christmas Eve – From 8 a.m. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – From 8 a.m. New Year’s Day – From 8 a.m.

Piggly Wiggly Deli/Bakery, Plaza at Shelter Cove
32 Shelter Cove Lane, (843) 842-4090
Christmas Eve – From 7 a.m. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – From 7 a.m. New Year’s Day – From 7 a.m.

The Salty Dog Cafe
232 South Sea Pines Drive, (843) 671-2233
Christmas Eve – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – From 8 a.m. New Year’s Day – 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Stellini Italian Restaurant
15 Pope Avenue Executive Park, (843) 785-7006
Christmas Eve – Closed. Christmas Day – Closed
New Year’s Eve – From 5 p.m. New Year’s Day – Closed

Please Call To Confirm Times and Dates.

No Ordinary Stocking Stuffer

With the gift-giving season upon us, we often hear “It’s the thought that counts.” While you may indeed be thinking fondly of friends and loved ones when giving gifts this holiday season, how often do you really take the time to pick a thoughtful gift? When we give a gift, do we ever consider how much symbolism we wrap up with the package?

Let’s consider, for a moment, how much symbolism is in a bottle of wine.

You can convey much more than ordinary season’s greetings this year with wine; a great bottle symbolizes the fellowship and connection we feel with others. A gift that can be enjoyed with family and close friends, or can commemorate a special time and place with absent loved ones, a bottle of wine is no ordinary stocking stuffer. Scouring your local wine shop for that rare vintage for a special somebody can be more rewarding than standing in line for the latest (and soon to be outdated) gadget.

Wine also captures wonderful moments in time.

Maybe Christmas 2011 has you nostalgic for Christmas 2006, 1996 or 1956? Spending less money than you may think, you can savor the flavors of Christmas past. Perhaps you spent some of your best holidays on Hilton Head Island or are spending your first Christmas with somebody you married on our wonderful beaches?

If you can’t make it down to the Island this season, you can always place a bottle of local wine under the tree. Drinking it will only make the memories fonder.

Purchasing a case of wine usually gets you a discount, so if you shop for presents by the dozen, this may be the option for you. Ever notice that there are 12 days of Christmas and 12 bottles of wine in a case? Or, the particularly pleasing cubic shape of a case and how attractive it would look wrapped up under the tree?

While the holidays are about comfort and joy, sometimes the holiday season can be very stressful.

A bottle (or case of wine) may be one of those presents you want to open before Christmas morning. And, if you’ve been naughty this year, consider leaving a bottle of Chardonnay out for Santa instead of milk and cookies. Sharing a bottle of wine is always a great strategy for getting on somebody’s “nice” list any time of the year.

Giving wine as a gift is thoughtful because a great wine fits every budget. It’s not only a sensible present, but it’s a gift that can convey heartfelt holiday sentiments. Wine can symbolize some of the things we hold sacred during the holiday season; it’s a present we can fill with our own meanings to be shared with friends and loved ones… whether they’ve been naughty or nice!

The perfect bottle of award-winning wine awaits at Island Winery on Cardinal Road. Store/Tasting hours are Monday-Saturday, 12:30-5:30 p.m. with Wine Flights & Cheese available from 12:30-2:30 p.m. A Wine & Cheese Happy Hour is offered Monday-Thursday starting at 4 p.m. (843) 842-3141 or islandwinery.com.

By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery

Holiday Highlights

With festive fundraisers, spectacular productions, fascinating exhibits, Christmas light displays, holiday home tours, Santa sightings, Civil War commemorations and New Year’s Eve parties, December is the most wonderful time of year on Hilton Head Island. Take a look at just a few of the special happenings taking place this month:

The Sea Pines Resort
Celebrate the season in The Sea Pines Resort where the Harbour Town Lights glitter until January 2. Enjoy dozens of illuminated figures and displays, including the Harbour Town Lighthouse and a 30-foot Christmas tree, vote on your favorite artwork created by local elementary school students hanging in shop windows during the Holiday Window Contest and make a difference by donating canned goods and unwrapped toys to The Deep Well Project.

Down at The Salty Dog Café in South Beach Marina Village, Shrimpfest continues through the end of the year with a choice of savory local shrimp dishes offered nightly at a great price. Before or after dinner, stroll through the Village and check out hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights and Christmas decorations during the annual South Beach Holiday Lights extravaganza. Stop by the South Beach Inn through December 17 for Free Santa Visits & Pictures with treats for the whole family, including well-behaved dogs, on Fridays and Saturdays from 3-7 p.m. (843) 671-6498 or saltydog.com.

Plenty of live entertainment and fun family activities take place in Harbour Town throughout the month, including Holiday Fun with Yostie and the Puppet Patrol and Visits with Santa on December 16, Gregg Russell’s Christmas Concert on December 23, and the 11th Annual Polar Bear Swim followed by a New Year’s Eve Golf Ball Drop from the top of the Lighthouse on December 31. For details and a complete schedule, call (843) 842-1979 or visit seapines.com/events.

On December 31, ring in the New Year during A Salty Dog New Year’s Eve with hors d‘oeuvres, dinner, drinks, music, dancing, a midnight champagne toast and Salty Dog fun. Reservations are required. (843) 290-9875 or saltydog.com.

Tanger Outlets
In addition to huge savings at more than 80 name brand factory stores, Visit with Santa Island Style in the courtyard of Tanger Outlet Center 2 on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-4 p.m. through December 18. Santa has treats for the kids, Tanger coupon books for parents and a professional photographer is on hand to snap pictures. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com.

Coligny Plaza
Those who need to check on their naughty or nice status can also visit with Santa at Coligny Plaza on December 10 during the Christmas Festival & Oyster Roast. Eat, drink and be merry with live music, photos with Santa and a Toy Drive to benefit the Deep Well Project. (843) 842-6050 or colignyplaza.com.

South Carolina Repertory Company
“A Marvelous Party,” join the South Carolina Repertory Company for the delightful musical revue, Oh, Coward!, December 1-18. A theatrical celebration of Noel Coward’s wit and warmth, show times are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. December 1 is the Opening Night Champagne Reception or join the cast and director for Talkbacks after the December 7th and 13th performances. (843) 342-2057 or hiltonheadtheatre.com.

Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn
On December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. Four months later, the Civil War began when Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

Commemorating this defining moment in American history, Civil War in the Lowcountry, an exhibition tracing the early history of the Civil War on Hilton Head Island, is on display at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn through April 30.

December 1-4, the Coastal Discovery Museum and the Lowcountry Civil War Round Table, Inc. have partnered to present the Lowcountry Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration. This four-day event includes lectures by prominent historians, theatrical performances, a Civil War encampment and re-enactment, tours of local and regional Civil War sites and a narrated boat trip recreating the Battle of Port Royal Sound. Various ticket packages are available. (843) 689-6767 ext. 223 or coastaldiscovery.org.

Hilton Head Choral Society
A holiday tradition, the Hilton Head Choral Society’s 27th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes – The Bells of Belfair takes place on December 4 from 12-5 p.m. Tour six unique homes decorated in holiday splendor in Bluffton’s Belfair Plantation, enjoy refreshments and live Christmas music at the Belfair Clubhouse and enter to win one of six Mark Roberts’ Christmas Fairies.

On December 9, the Choral Society presents The Sounds of Christmas – A Kaleidoscope of Carols at First Presbyterian Church with traditional carols and holiday tunes from England, Europe and the USA featuring the HHCS Chorus, Youth Chorale and orchestra. For tour or concert tickets, call (843) 341-3818 or visit hiltonheadchoralsociety.org.

Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra
Showcasing the talents of guest conductor Teddy Abrams and 2011 HHSO Youth Concerto Competition winner Annie Bender, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra’s 30th “Be Our Guest” season continues at First Presbyterian Church on December 5 with Celebrate the Season. Highlights of this holiday concert include Mozart’s Sleighride, the Hallelujah Chorus and selections from The Nutcracker. (843) 842-2055 or hhso.org.

Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
“The funniest musical you’ve never seen,” The Drowsy Chaperone is center stage at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, December 7-31. A modern Broadway classic, give the gift of laughter this holiday season with tickets to the show or ring in the New Year at the 9:30 p.m. performance on December 31 with complimentary champagne, party favors and a midnight countdown with the cast. For tickets, call (843) 842-2787 or visit artshhi.com.

In the Art League of Hilton Head Gallery at the Arts Center, the Fine Art Crafts Guild’s debut exhibition, CraftHiltonHead2011, is on view through December 30 with an Artist Reception on December 1 from 5-7 p.m. (843) 681-5060 or artleaguehhi.org.

Our 9th Annual Community Christmas Day Dinner
A celebration of Christ’s birthday, Our 9th Annual Community Christmas Day Dinner at Aunt Chiladas Easy Street Cafe takes place on December 25 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy a free turkey buffet and carolers with free will offerings accepted for Meals on Wheels and Second Helpings. Reservations are encouraged. (843) 304-1086 or 705-5725.

Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steakhouse
In Shelter Cove Harbour, Earl Williams serenades the arrival of the New Year at Kingfisher Seafood, Pasta & Steak House on December 31. Reservations are required for this evening of dinner, dancing, jazz and Motown music with a champagne toast at midnight. (843) 785-4442 or kingfisherseafood.com.

The “Social Network Open” at Palmetto Dunes Ocean Front Resort

We are proud and delighted to announce our first Social Network Golf event on Hilton Head Island. The “Social Network Open” will be held from March 16 to March 18, 2012 at the Palmetto Dunes Ocean Front Resort. Our event includes 3 rounds of golf on the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course, George Fazio Course and Arthur Hills Course. Full Event Hosting. Fantastic Prizes. 3 Nights Resort Accommodations, breaqkfast and Gala Prize Dinner. $599 all inclusive, book now at socialnetworkgolf.com.

Holiday Fashion & Gift Guide

Smith Galleries
Hilton Head Island‘s largest gallery of contemporary American fine craft and art, Smith Galleries located upstairs in The Village at Wexford is also “your other jewelry store“ with the largest selection of American-made jewelry around. This holiday season, check out the assortment of beautiful ceramic pins by Cynthia Chung, as well as other one-of-a-kind jewelry designs from Singerman & Post, Elizabeth Garvin, Joan Z Horn, Judith Neugebauer and many others. (843) 842-2280 or smithgalleries.com.

Del Sol
At Del Sol in Coligny Plaza, everything in the store changes color with the magic of the sun. With clothing for men, women and children, sunglasses, jewelry, hats, to toys, beach gear and nail polish, find an amazing array of unique stocking stuffers, outfits for the whole family or use a color-change tote bag to wrap up a memorable gift. (843) 842-6900.

Gifted Hilton Head
The Guardian Angel Necklace from Mariana Jewelry… bling on the front and a Guardian Angel on the back “because everyone needs a Guardian Angel.” A Pittsburgh tradition since 1985, Gifted Hilton Head in The Village at Wexford offers an array of outstanding gifts at unbelievable prices. (843) 842-8787.

Nash Gallery
Something extraordinary, eclectic, and unusual awaits you at Nash Gallery in Shelter Cove Harbour. Showcasing a sophisticated collection of extraordinary work by North America’s finest craftsmen, find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list starting with the “The Romance Necklace” from Holly Yashi. (843) 785-6424 or nashgallery.com.

Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn
THE place on Hilton Head Island to find items celebrating the Lowcountry, the Museum Gift Shop at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn offers books by local authors, educational games and toys, artwork and crafts from area artisans, specialty foods, sauces and seasonings and much more. On Saturday, December 10, stop by for the Holiday Market with food tastings, book signings and a Children‘s Craft Program. (843) 689-6767 or coastaldiscovery.org.

Faces DaySpa
Looking for those special gifts to pamper and please everyone on your holiday shopping list? Just relax! Faces DaySpa offers an extensive collection of fun, trendy and unique items for men and women of all ages. Choose from an exclusive collection of bath and beauty products, aromatic candles, relaxing music, sumptuous scrubs, silky lotions and much more. Or, give the ultimate gift of relaxation with a Gift Certificate for an amazing spa service. (843) 785-3075 or facesdayspa.com.

Tanger Outlets
Buy direct from the manufacturer and save up to 70% on the latest fashions and accessories at more than 80 stores at the Tanger Outlets, including Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Kenneth Cole, J. Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Banana Republic Factory Store, Gap Outlet, Loft Outlet and many other brand name stores. Save even more this holiday season during the Magic at Moonlight & After Thanksgiving Sale beginning at 10 p.m. on Thursday, November 24. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com.

Patricia’s
Accessories are ever so important this season and some hot holiday trends you will find at Patricia’s in The Village at Wexford include faux fur scarves, vests or trimmed gloves; fingerless gloves for iTouch compatibility; feather hair clips, earrings, pins and even necklaces; chokers paired with layered, tangled necklaces; pendants with lots of cluster charms; bold dramatic metal cuff bracelets; and anything in chocolate brown. Finally, seek out exotic skin; handbags for the prerequisite splash of red against your favorite LBD (Little Black Dress). (843) 785-7795 or beachboutique.com.

Two-Plane vs. One-Plane Swing

Two types of swings are in fashion today – the two-plane and the one-plane. Until recently, almost all professionals used a two-plane swing, involving a fairly erect posture, narrow stance, a level turn and a swing that brings the arms up almost vertically, on a steeper plane than that of the shoulders.

Over the last 15 years or so, swing scholar Jim Hardy has introduced the increasingly popular one-plane swing, which is distinguished from the two-plane by its physical ease and mechanical simplicity.

While both types of swings end up at essentially the same spot – square to the ball at impact – they get there in different ways. Let’s talk about the path your club should be taking to the ball and the three crucial stops it should make along the way.

Stop No. 1
The position of your hands and wrists halfway through your backswing should provide clear evidence whether you’re using a two- or one-plane swing.

Since the two-plane backswing is intended to be pulled straight back up over your shoulder, halfway through the backswing (at the 9 o’clock position), your arms will be moving on an upright plane, your clubhead slightly outside or aligned with your hands and your wrists hinged.

Here’s a good test: If you’re on-plane and you allow your palms to open while in this position, the clubshaft should slide down through them. If you’re using a one-plane swing, which is flatter by nature than the two-plane swing, the clubshaft will not slide through your palms so easily, if at all.

Stop No. 2
At the top of the more traditional two-plane backswing, the front arm is more upright (between the ear and shoulder), and the shaft of the club is parallel to the target line.

By contrast, the one-plane swing arrives at the top of the backswing with the front arm on the same plane as the shoulders, at an angle closer to 45 degrees. This in turn keeps the clubshaft parallel to the target line and maintains an unchanged spine angle from the initial address position. It is called a “one-plane” because the angle of the front arm matches the angle of an imaginary line drawn between the shoulders.

Stop No. 3
It is on the way back toward the ball that, for most golfers, the one-plane swing will begin to feel odd. Most likely, you’ve grown up learning a two-plane swing, so the one-plane route will feel counterintuitive to your muscles. After all, you’ve spent hours trying to perfect a swing in which the club is brought straight back up and over your shoulders before your hips start to release, pulling the rest of your body along with them.

In the one-plane swing, your upper body releases first and your lower body second. The swing is designed this way in order to help you avoid getting “stuck” partway through the downswing, a circumstance that leads to perilous adjustments as a result of flawed timing.

Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy and conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free golf clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. For details on the instructional programs offered at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, call (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or visit palmettodunes.com.

By I.J. Schecter with Doug Weaver. Photography by Rob Tipton/Boomkin Productions

Hilton Head Island Style

The holiday season is here and Hilton Head Island is home to hundreds of unique shops, upscale boutiques and factory outlet stores. From jewelry and clothing to shoes and beach gear, it won’t take long to find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list.

The Salty Dog Café
Available in a rainbow of colors for men, women and children, the legendary Salty Dog T-shirt is always in style. Stop by the flagship store in South Beach Marina Village, the Salty Dog Café T-Shirt Factory on Arrow Road or get online to order Salty Dog shirts, hats, mugs, towels, dog bowls and other gear. (843) 671-2232, 842-6331 or saltydog.com.

Designs by Cleo
“Art you can wear,“ Designs by Cleo in The Gallery of Shops features a collection of bold and beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry handcrafted in sterling silver with freshwater pearls and/or semi-precious gemstones. The store has recently expanded to include distinctive hats, handbags and other unique accessories. 14 Greenwood Dr. (843) 342-7001 or designsbycleo.com.

Jake’s Shore Thing
Cozy up with Jake this season at Jake’s Shore Thing in The Plaza at Shelter Cove, Hilton Head’s only Life is good® Genuine Neighborhood Shoppe®. “Spreading the power of optimism,” the store features the full line of Life is good® products, including clothing for the entire family, hats, mugs, bags, water bottles, golf balls, beach toys, dog items, jewelry and more. (843) 686-2330.

Birkenstock
Carrying over 300 different styles of fashionable and comfortable shoes for men, women and children from Dansko, Finn Comfort, Fitflop, Keen, MBT, Vibram FiveFingers® and more, Birkenstock in Hilton Head Village also offers the popular Bailey Button Triplet from UGG. An update of the classic tall boot, it can be worn buttoned up or unbuttoned and cuffed to expose the soft Twinface shearling. (843) 837-3562 or birkenstockbarefootin.com.

Tropical Outfitters
With T-shirts, sweatshirts, golf shirts, caps, sandals, jewelry, toys, beach gear and more, “everything under the sun” can be found at Tropical Outfitters in Circle Center. This holiday season, check out the large selection of gifts and souvenirs, as well as swimwear, including flattering tankinis from Penbrooke. (843) 842-9511 or tropicaloutfittershhi.com.

Tanger Outlets
With significant savings at over 80 name brand outlet stores, save even more at the Tanger Outlets during the Magic at Moonlight & After Thanksgiving Sale, November 24-27. Both locations open at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night and remain open until 9 p.m. on Black Friday with special sales and exclusive offers throughout the weekend. 1270 & 1414 Fording Island Rd. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com.

The Island Fudge Shoppe
From the bestselling Southern Sampler with generous portions of homemade chocolate fudge, hand dipped chocolates, pecan fiddlers and praline pecans to the Fudge Indulgence gift box loaded with more than three pounds of pure milk and dark chocolate fudge, the holidays are always sweeter at The Island Fudge Shoppe in Coligny Plaza. Through November 30, save 10% on all online orders and ship gifts to family and friends. (843) 842-4280 or islandfudge.com.

Camp Hilton Head
With five locations, from Harbour Town Marina to Shelter Cove Harbour, “Take Hilton Head Home,” with a visit to Camp Hilton Head. Since 1981, these popular stores have offered unique, imprinted resort wear for the whole family. Harbour Town, (843) 671-3600 or 671-4633; Shelter Cove Harbour, 842-3666; Coligny Plaza, 686-4877; South Beach General Store, 671-6784; Hilton Head Shirt Co., 686-5099. camphiltonhead.com.

Forsythe Jewelers
Visit Forsythe Jewelers in The Shops at Sea Pines Center and experience David Yurman’s “Elements Collection,” a sparkling interplay of textured gold and silver. Forsythe is Hilton Head’s finest jewelry and gifts store and the only place to offer David Yurman. 71 Lighthouse Road. (843) 671-7070, forsythejewelers.biz or facebook.com/forsythehhi.

Hilton Head Island Style

To everything there is a season and shopping never goes out of style on Hilton Head Island. Home to hundreds of unique shops, upscale boutiques and factory outlet stores, fall is the ideal time of year to update your wardrobe, get the latest outdoor gear, find the perfect vacation keepsake or get a jump start on holiday gift giving.

Forsythe Jewelers
Visit Forsythe Jewelers in The Shops at Sea Pines Center and experience David Yurman’s “Elements Collection,” a sparkling interplay of textured gold and silver. Forsythe is Hilton Head’s finest jewelry and gifts store and the only place to offer David Yurman. 71 Lighthouse Road. (843) 671-7070, forsythejewelers.biz or facebook.com/forsythehhi.

Outside Hilton Head
“The Island’s Outdoor Outfitter,“ Outside Hilton Head in The Plaza at Shelter Cove is also the Island’s shoe source with great fashions from Frye and UGG – including the Bailey Three Button boot – and performance shoes such as Keen, Solomon, The North Face, Vibram FiveFingers, Vasque and more. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

Tanger Outlets
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, with significant savings at over 80 name brand outlet stores, save even more at the Tanger Outlets through October 25 during the TangerStyle of Pink Campaign. Simply make a $1 donation to benefit Beaufort’s Keyserling Cancer Center and receive a card for 25% off a single item at a participating store. (843) 837-5410 or tangeroutlet.com.

Designs by Cleo
“Art you can wear,“ Designs by Cleo in The Gallery of Shops has recently expanded to offer not only a collection of bold and beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry handcrafted in sterling silver with freshwater pearls and/or semi-precious gemstones, but hats, handbags and other accessories, as well. 14 Greenwood Dr. (843) 342-7001.

Camp Hilton Head
With five locations, from Harbour Town Marina to Shelter Cove Harbour, “Take Hilton Head Home,” with a visit to Camp Hilton Head. Since 1981, these popular stores have offered unique, imprinted resort wear for the whole family. Harbour Town, (843) 671-3600 or 671-4633; Shelter Cove Harbour, 842-3666; Coligny Plaza, 686-4877; South Beach General Store, 671-6784; Hilton Head Shirt Co., 686-5099. camphiltonhead.com.

Coligny Plaza
Just steps from the beach, “Hilton Head’s Downtown” has something for everyone with 60 specialty shops, delicious restaurants and grocery stores. “Fall in love with your clothes again“ after a visit to Fresh Produce, Jamaican Me Crazy, Camp Hilton Head, Frosty’s Closet or any of the other unique stores found at the Island’s first and foremost shopping destination. (843) 842-6050 or colignyplaza.com.

Jake’s Shore Thing
Hilton Head’s only Life is good® Genuine Neighborhood Shoppe, run down to Jake’s Shore Thing in the Plaza at Shelter Cove and see what’s new for fall. “Spreading the power of optimism,” the store features the full line of “Life is good®“ products, including clothing for the entire family, hats, mugs, bags, water bottles, golf balls, beach toys, dog items, jewelry and more. (843) 686-2330.

The Ship’s Store
In addition to free advice, coffee and stories, The Ship’s Store in Shelter Cove Marina carries the Island’s largest selection of Sperry Top-Siders, the complete line of Costa Del Mar sunglasses, apparel, gifts, bait and tackle, marine supplies and convenience items. (843) 842-7001 or palmettodunes.com.

The Salty Dog Café T-Shirt Factory
“Make a great play” at The Salty Dog T-Shirt Factory on Arrow Road or the flagship store in South Beach Marina Village and score big with the new “Football Dog” Hanes Beefy-T. Available in a variety of colors for a limited time only, Salty Dog shirts, hats, mugs, towels, dog bowls and other gear are sold exclusively at their two locations. (843) 671-2232, 842-6331 or saltydog.com.

British Open Pub’s Beef Wellington

Ingredients

1 large sheet puff pastry
2 lbs. London Broil, cooked medium-rare and sliced thin
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced thin
1 large onion, diced
blue cheese crumbles or other cheese, if desired
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg yolk, beaten
4 oz. demi-glace

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute mushrooms and onions. Thaw out the pastry sheet and, using flour to avoid sticking to the surface, roll out to about 1/4-inch thick. Place the sheet down on a table and, starting at one edge, place meat slices followed by the mushrooms, onions and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Roll into a loaf and brush lightly with the egg yolk. Place Wellington on a greased baking sheet making sure the edge is on the bottom and leaving enough room to rise. Prick with a toothpick to prevent excess puffiness. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into slices and serve with a demi-glace sauce (available in any specialty store) for dipping. If you like, garnish with a little chopped parsley for color.

Yields 8-10 pieces.

Courtesy of Chef Corwyn L. Butler

Grape Stomping

grape crusher“Do you crush the grapes with your feet?”

This is by far the most common question asked at any winery, on any given day. While more seasoned winery visitors may discretely roll their eyes at the gentleman in the Hawaiian shirt asking the question (and it’s almost always a guy who asks this), it is a legitimate question.

More than any celebrity chef or swanky reality TV show, nobody has shaped our popular understanding of wine more than Lucille Ball. We’ve all seen Lucy’s classic cat fight in a wine vat and we’re rooting for her all the way as she smashes grape skins into the face of her haughty opponent. Wouldn’t we all like to lob a fistful of grape skins at that wine snob who turns his or her nose up at the mere mention of the word Chardonnay?

Wine “stomping” is part of the wine making process where grapes are crushed into a pulpy mixture of grape juice and grape skins, called must.

For a red wine, this is then allowed to ferment before its pumped back into a wine press, where the fermented juice is pressed out of the skins and allowed to age in oak casks or stainless steel vats. For a white wine, the must is pressed immediately after the grapes have been crushed.

Wine stomping has fallen out of disuse, primarily because it’s less efficient than the new machinery for crushing and de-stemming grapes. Great wines come from great grapes and the quality of the wine depends on minimizing the amount of time between when the grapes are harvested to the time when the grapes are crushed. Motorized crushing machines can crush more grapes in less time than do bare feet.

While stainless steel equipment is certainly easier to keep clean than the soles of one’s feet, stomping is by no means an unsanitary or outmoded way of making wine. Some old school winemakers (mostly in Europe) eschew machinery in favor of the Lucille Ball method, arguing that the machinery is too rough on certain types of grapes and imparts needlessly bitter notes in the wine.

If you do happen to taste a wine that tastes or smells like gym socks, it took on this flavor profile during a flawed fermentation process, rather than a careless stomper. While American wineries almost universally crush their commercial wines with machinery, if the idea of toenails in your Riesling doesn’t set well with you, it never hurts to ask when you visit a winery.

For those who want a deeper wine experience, wineries across the country have special wine stomping parties during the Fall where visitors can come and get their feet grapey and crush some grapes the old fashioned way. Most American wineries typically dispose of the crushed grapes once the party’s over. Of course, if purple feet aren’t your thing, you can visit just about any winery during harvest season and enjoy a glass of your favorite wine while watching others do the crushing and pressing.

Stop by Island Winery in the month of October and you may catch us crushing the grapes using our mechanized crusher/de-stemmer. Sorry to say… no purple feet here!

For those looking for a personalized winemaking experience, ask about the Island Winery’s “Make Your Own Wine” program. Store/Tasting hours are Monday-Saturday, 12:30-5:30 p.m. with Wine Flights & Cheese available from 12:30-2:30 p.m. A Wine & Cheese Happy Hour is offered Monday-Thursday starting at 4 p.m. 12A Cardinal Road. (843) 842-3141 or islandwinery.com.

By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery

The Jazz Corner’s Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Spiced Peach Butter

Ingredients:
2 c. Frozen Peaches
1/4 c. Granulated Sugar
1/4 c. Peach Schnapps
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/4 lb. Unsalted Butter (room temperature)

Method:
Place all ingredients except butter into a sauce pot over high heat and reduce the liquid by 1/3. Remove from stove, let cool down for ten minutes, add to food processor and puree while slowly adding the butter. Refrigerate for service.

Dried Blueberry Demi Glace

Ingredients:
1 oz. Clarified Butter
2 Shallots (split & thinly sliced)
1/2 c. Port Wine
1 oz. Blueberry Vinegar
1 oz. Blackberry Brandy
3/4 c. Veal Demi Glace
1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 Spice
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
2 tsp. Lt. Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Dried Blueberries

Method:
Heat the clarified butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and saute the shallots until translucent. Add the port wine, blueberry vinegar and blackberry brandy and let come to a simmer. Add all remaining ingredients and bring back to a simmer for five minutes and remove from heat.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:
2 Pork Tenderloins (trimmed and cut into 4 portions)
4 cloves Garlic (chopped)
1 large Shallot (chopped)
1 tbsp. Chopped Rosemary
1 tbsp. Chopped Cilantro
2 oz. Olive Oil
8 slices Apple Smoked Bacon

Method:
Coat the pork tenderloin with all ingredients and tightly wrap two slices of bacon around each portion.

Heat a saute pan over med/high heat and sear the pork until the bacon is crispy. Turn pork and repeat. Turn one more time and place the pork into a preheated 375 degree oven and cook to desired temperature. Remove the pork from the oven, let stand for 3 to 5 minutes, slice each portion into 3 even pieces, place over the blueberry demi glace and top with the peach butter.

Courtesy of Chef Mark Gaylord of The Jazz Corner.

Fishing By Season

Home to a unique saltwater ecosystem, fishing in the South Carolina Lowcountry is year-round. We have the opportunity to catch game fish 365 days a year, weather permitting.

Fall is our “no-brainer” season, if there is such a thing in fishing.

The estuary is packed with mullet and shrimp and the fish are feeding up for the cold weather. Redfish, Trout and Flounder are our main targets, with our biggest number days coming in October, November and early December.

In the fall, we are “drop” fishing.

Drops are specific sites, like current moving around a particular shell bed point. We have numerous drops for all tide situations and, as we have fairly extreme tides – moving seven to eight feet of water in six to seven hours – we are constantly on the move, as the depth changes.

Generally, we are fishing live bait, like shrimp, under popping corks. Popping corks, when fished properly, simulate the sound of fish feeding and tend to draw fish to the bait. They are especially deadly on Sea Trout and Redfish.

This also is a great time of the year to cast artificials.

My favorites are soft plastic imitations and I really like the Norton Sand Eel Jrs., in pearl, glow or clear. The cleaner the water, the clearer the baits you should throw. Dirtier water calls for brighter baits like chartreuse. Mirrolures also work well this time of year, especially for Trout.

If lots of bites are your thing, then fall is your season.

Another opportunity, given good weather and winds, is our nearshore wrecks and artificial reefs. They are loaded this time of year with Black Sea Bass, Weakfish, Black Drum, Redfish, and Sheepshead. Four hours of non-stop bites on top of a wreck will make you sleep good at night.

Owner and operator of Reel Chance Fishing Charters in Beaufort, Capt. Rick Percy began his fishing career at age four and has been prowling the Lowcountry’s numerous creeks, rivers and sounds for over 20 years. Specializing in light tackle fishing, hook up with this experienced captain for a day of inshore and nearshore fishing aboard the Reel Chance II. (803) 535-6166 or reelchancecharters.com.

By Capt. Rick Percy, Reel Chance Fishing Charters. Photo provided by Reel Chance Fishing Charters.

Black Bears Breaching Borders

Some may think it is just a rumor that a Black Bear (ursus Americanus) was spotted on Daufuskie Island this summer. Yet this sighting is much more likely than most would think. With humans encroaching upon black bear’s native territory, it’s no wonder they are branching out into new lands.

There are approximately 600,000 American Black Bears in the United States. These bears used to roam throughout all of South Carolina, but many factors have previously concentrated their numbers into our densely forested uplands and midlands. With a continuously growing population of 900 bears in the South Carolina mountains and about 225 bears along the coast, it’s no wonder they are heading into new areas.

Black bears are excellent swimmers; they are very capable of swimming through our salt marshes, rivers and water systems to access many of the islands throughout Beaufort County, but they are a very rare sight in our area. If they are spotted, they are generally transient animals that have strayed far from their natural homes. As the weather begins to cool down in October and November, they will most likely head back to their densely wooded origins to hibernate through the winter.

As human populations continue to grow, our developments are spreading into black bear territory. This means that the bears are making a natural progression into new areas looking for food, mates and territory to claim. Our islands are fertile with fruits, nuts, grasses and berries that the bears like to eat. Black bear’s diets are 85% vegetation, but they will also eat fish, insects and small mammals. In our area, if a bear were to be seen, it would be in the summer months when we have a plethora of fresh vegetation for them to consume.

In 2010, black bears were reported in every county in South Carolina, except for Bamberg County which is just northwest of Beaufort County. Forty-five sightings were reported along our South Carolina coast.

According to Daufuskie locals, there was one positive sighting of a black bear around dusk in August. Another Daufuskie local, Mary Bryan said, “I saw a large black animal in the woods while walking my dog. The dog stopped and turned in the other direction.” Mary, not knowing what it was, decided to follow suit. While it may be a misinterpretation, there is still plenty of information to support black bears being in Beaufort County.

So far, there have been no injuries or deaths related to black bears in the state of South Carolina. However, feeding bears either directly or indirectly could be a factor in changing these statistics.

As their population continues to grow and black bears begin to spread throughout our state, it’s important to educate oneself on protection. Keep trash locked up in an area that the animals cannot smell or see it. Take caution when feeding other outdoor animals, because those food products – cat food, dog food and bird seed – may also attract a bear to your yard. If you come across a black bear, try to look as large as possible, shout and act aggressively in order to intimidate the bear away.

Focusing on the wildlife and habitats of the South Carolina Lowcountry, the H2O Nature Center features live reptile and amphibian exhibits, hands-on displays and more. Apparel, gifts, books and bicycle/ fishing gear rentals are also available. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour with Master Naturalist Kathleen McMenamin, please call (843) 686-5323. For details on other water activities offered by H2O Sports, visit h2osportsonline.com.

By Kathleen McMenamin, Master Naturalist, H2O Sports. Photo courtesy of Bruce Andersen, Fox’s Den Lodge, Manistique, MI.

One-Plane Swing

You’ve read endless advice about swing planes and ball trajectories.

You’re mentally drained from trying to figure out which of the three-dozen tips you’ve read recently is the right one for getting the club squared to impact. You’re ready to pull out your hair after coming across yet another piece of advice on the proper swing arc that directly contradicts the one you memorized two weeks ago.

The easiest way to embed a consistent, effective swing path is to break it down.

Two-Plane vs. One-Plane
Two types of swings are in fashion today – the two-plane and the one-plane. Until recently, almost all professionals used a two-plane swing, involving a fairly erect posture, narrow stance, a level turn and a swing that brings the arms up almost vertically, on a steeper plane than that of the shoulders.

Over the last 15 years or so, swing scholar Jim Hardy has introduced the increasingly popular one-plane swing, which is distinguished from the two-plane by its physical ease and mechanical simplicity.

While both types of swings end up at essentially the same spot – square to the ball at impact – they get there in different ways. I’m not here to endorse one or the other. You’ll figure out which better suits you. But regardless of which one you choose, let me describe the routes.

The Setup
Because they follow different paths – a two-plane swing goes straight back and over your shoulder, whereas a one-plane is an unvarying circle that goes behind and around your chest before coming back toward the ball on the same angle – the two types of swings also require slightly different setups.

Most golfers are accustomed to a two-plane setup, characterized by a more erect stance, feet squared to the target line, slightly uneven weight distribution and closeness to the ball, promoting a more upright swing.

The one-plane version features a more bent-over posture, wider stance, more closed alignment, the forward foot not square to the target line, the hands positioned under the chin and even weight distribution between the feet, which promotes a flatter swing trajectory.

Here’s a simple way to feel the distinction between the preliminary paths of one- and two-plane swings and to help decide which you’re more comfortable with.

Have your instructor or friend stand beside you as you set up to the ball, so that your rear shoulder is almost touching his front one. Ask him to step back six inches. Now, slowly start your backswing. If your lead arm (and your club) comes straight up without brushing your instructor or friend, initiating a straight line, then you’re performing a traditional two-plane swing. If, on the other hand, the arm and club begin to describe a more circular arc and make contact with your instructor or friend – whom you now owe a drink – you’ve adopted a one-plane swing.

Doug Weaver is the Director of Instruction at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy and conducts “Where Does the Power Come From?,” a free golf clinic and demonstration, every Monday at 4 p.m. For details on the instructional programs offered at the Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy, call (843) 785-1138, (800) 827-3006 or visit palmettodunes.com.

By I.J. Schecter with Doug Weaver. Photos by Rob Tipton/Boomkin Productions.

The Perfect Storm

Perfect StormA perfect storm is an expression that describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances will change a situation drastically. The Lowcountry real estate market is experiencing a perfect storm of its own with one of the best buyer’s markets we have ever seen in this area.

Why Hilton Head Island?
Well, for one thing, just take a look around you, our 12 miles of sandy beaches, moderate climate, abundant wildlife and in-keeping-with-nature architecture truly make Hilton Head Island a special place.

In addition, as other areas just get more and more commercialized, Hilton Head Island will always retain some of its natural charm with regulations put in place years ago.

Why Now?
Whether you are looking for a primary residence, second home or investment property, now is your chance! The market is strongly in the buyer’s favor with incredibly high inventory, competitive pricing, historically low interest rates and our fair share of short sales and foreclosures.

One of the best selling seasons we have on the Island comes in the Fall.

Many vacation here in the Summer and look at purchasing real estate, however, the Fall is when the serious buyers come back.

We are also part of a natural migration of Baby Boomers looking to retire to warmer climates. Before this migration begins in full force, consider taking advantage of the opportunities available today.

You can always find a reason to put off making a decision but, if you have fallen in love with the Island as I have and want to create more lasting memories here, then don’t hesitate because there may never be a better opportunity to buy.

Contact Carey North at Palmetto Sands Realty to find you a great deal! (843) 384-6402 or careynorth.com.

By Carey North, Palmetto Sands Realty

Rose Hill Mansion

The historic Rose Hill Mansion, known as the most beautiful plantation house in the Lowcountry, has long held a treasured place in Southern history.

It’s easy to imagine you’re traveling through the Lowcountry as it used to be, as the drive winds gently through grounds sheltered by majestic oaks, on a journey many visitors have taken before, some by carriage, to this fine Gothic Revival home. Originally slated to be built in the late 1850s by planter and physician, Dr. John Kirk and his wife Caroline, the plantation was a wedding present from Caroline’s father, James Kirk.

Work was halted by the Civil War and, while occupied, the interior was not completed until 1946, when new owners John and Betsy Gould Sturgeon finished it in grand style. In 1980, the Welton family purchased the land and the house was later listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

But in 1987, a terrible fire devastated the house. It sat in a state of ruin until purchased and restored by Robert and Robin White.

Known as “The Dream,“ the Rose Hill Mansion was bought by Robert for his future bride Robin on her birthday in April 1996. One year later, on her birthday, they were married in the conservatory. After a painstaking, decade-long restoration, the home is now shared with the public each day, via guided history tours.

Robin’s bridal portrait, painted by Robert as a gift on her second wedding anniversary, hangs in the lady’s parlor. In the gentlemen’s room, the mantelpiece is German/Austrian, 16th century. An old library table displays relics found on the property, amid hunting mounts and antique rifles.

The grand entry’s original open stringer spiral staircase is period grandeur; the 1858 elongated rosewood piano the same age as the home. See the portrait of James Brown Kirk (original founder of Bluffton) and Dr. John Kirk, painted by granddaughter Emily, at the request of her mother, Caroline. The Kirk family returned these portraits, as well as other family heirlooms as restorations by the Whites began.

At the end of each hour-long tour, conducted by either the owner or a Kirk family descendant, refreshments are served in the mansion’s dining room. The Rose Hill Mansion is also available for weddings and corporate event rentals, as well as private scheduled group tours and luncheons. The carriage house, connected to the mansion, can additionally be rented nightly or by the week.

The Rose Hill Mansion is a private home located within the gated community of Rose Hill Plantation and reservations to join the daily history tours are required. For more information, contact Rose Hill Mansion at (843) 757-6046 or visit rosehillmansion.com.

Photos courtesy of Rose Hill Mansion.

Interesting Information about Hilton Head Island!

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is the second largest barrier island along the Southeast Atlantic Coast, with 12 miles of sandy beachfront. The year round population is about 50,000 but can swell to almost 300,000 during the height of summer vacation season. Hilton Head has a long and rich history of Native American settlement, European exploration and Civil War operations. (more…)

Muscadine Grape Vines

Muscadine grape vines (muscadinia rotundifolia) have been harvested since the 16th century throughout the Southeastern United States. Not only are they a tasty snack to pick up along a hike, they also offer great health benefits.

Growing 60-100’ tall in the wild, muscadine grape vines are a woody climbing vine, but may also be seen as ground cover throughout Hilton Head Island. The heart-shaped serrated leaves can usually be seen growing on other local trees and plants. The vines are perennial, noticeable throughout the year with leaf growth dying out in the colder winter months. It is a plant that cannot stand freezes, which is why it flourishes in our Southern hot and humid environment.

Found north from New York, south to Florida and west all the way to Texas, Muscadine grapes begin forming in August and turn ripe throughout September and October. There are 22 varietal species of these grapes throughout the United States. Half of them are self-fertilizing, while the other 11 need to be pollinated by birds or insects and develop white flowers in the late spring.

The grapes begin as a light green color and can change from bronze to dark purple during their ripening stages. When fully ripe, they are dark purple or even black. Most grapes will fall off of the vine when ripe and can commonly be seen covering the ground of wooded areas on Hilton Head.

The Muscadine Grape vine is a wonderful resource in South Carolina ecology. While not an invasive species, it can harm other plants by spreading its own leaf growth over other foliage, hindering photosynthesis. However, it is a plant that is encouraged to grow in order to preserve our natural environment.

Providing shelter and homes for a number of animals and insects, the Muscadine also serves as a great food resource throughout the South. Deer, raccoons, possums, squirrels and birds eat the grapes, either from the plant or on the ground. Although not commonly observed, animals who eat fermented fruit can cause quite a scene.

These grapes have a very tough skin. If being eaten in the wild, it’s easier to bite a hole into the skin and then consume the sweet insides of the grape. While the grape itself is a very healthy snack, the skins hold even more great health benefits. The pulp of Muscadine grape skins offers 40 times more antioxidants than your average red grape with significant amounts of dietary fiber, essential minerals, natural carbohydrates and are very low in fat. The Muscadine grape is advantageous to eat in order to avoid colon, blood and prostate cancers.

Muscadine grapes can be found in stores around the Southeast as raw grapes, jams, jellies, ciders and wines. While the outside of the grape is dark, the inside is a light green and creates a sweet white wine, most commonly consumed for dessert. Each area that the grapes grow in provides different flavors, due to various types of soil. The Island Winery on Cardinal Road produces a great local Muscadine wine or try FireFly Muscadine Vodka, another taste staple of South Carolina, made on Wadmalaw Island, just outside of Charleston.

Focusing on the wildlife and habitats of the South Carolina Lowcountry, the H2O Nature Center in Harbour Town features live reptile and amphibian exhibits, hands-on displays and more. Apparel, gifts, books and bicycle/fishing gear rentals are also available. To make reservations for the daily Alligator and Wildlife Tour with Master Naturalist Kathleen McMenamin or the “Discovery Reptiles” program on September 6, call (843) 686-5323. For details on other water activities offered by H2O Sports, visit h2osportsonline.com.

By Master Naturalist Kathleen McMenamin, H2O Sports

Fall Arrives in the Salt Marsh

Growing up in northern Ohio, I learned to recognize the change of season by looking at the trees.

Okay, the temperature was an indication, but the most obvious pronouncement of the arrival of fall was the colorful display of leaves gracing the limbs before falling gracefully to the ground. Here in the Lowcountry, especially along our waterways, the trees do not reveal the same story.

Our most dominant deciduous tree loses it leaves only when new spring buds burst forth and push last year’s foliage from the branch. The Live Oak, as a result, appears to be ever green.

Even in the depths of winter, our maritime forest remains a beautiful collection of deep greens.

In and around the salt marsh, the change of season presents itself in much more subtle ways.

Just look to the grasses, they are our signpost distinguishing winter from spring, spring from summer and summer from fall.

Cordgrass, or more appropriately Spartina Alterniflora, is a freshwater perennial grass that blankets the edges of saltwater creeks, rivers and sounds, all along the Eastern seaboard. Beaufort County has the most salt marsh of any county in the state and South Carolina has the most salt marsh of any state in the country.

During the spring, tender shoots erupt from the mud giving the marsh a somewhat two-toned appearance; bright green at the base and brownish gray on top. In the summer, the grasses mature to a height of about five or six feet. Having displaced most the previous year’s crop, it is vibrantly green. Think of any shade of green. It’s out there!

With the arrival of fall, the crisp green blades yield to golden seed heads. In response to evening sea breezes, the vast marshlands become undulating fields of amber and gold and saffron.

As winter settles in, the grasses have completed their natural cycle. Dying away, becoming brittle, brown and gray, the season’s crop will continue to deteriorate. While a significant amount of detritus remains in the salt marsh, providing fertilizer in both mud and water, some of the dead grasses will collect in great wracks.

In a tide-dependent process of one-step-forward, two-steps-back, the wracks will move out of the creeks, into the rivers and sound, around to the ocean and wash upon the shoreline. This is a critically important part of the circle of life for the cordgrass and our Island.

Once on our beaches, these wracks of cordgrass form the foundation for our dune system, as well as providing rich nutrients for plants and animals that inhabit the ocean side of Hilton Head.

Fall is an amazing time to visit the salt marsh. Get Outside and enjoy the graceful transformation for yourself!

For over 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kid’s camps, history excursions, family outings and stand-up paddle boarding. “The Island’s outdoor outfitter” also offers an outstanding selection of clothing, gear and accessories for men, women and children at the flagship store in the Plaza at Shelter Cove and a second location in Palmetto Bluff. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.

By Capt. Patte Ranney, Outside Hilton Head

The Benefits of Exercise

It is no secret that regular exercise can benefit everyone in many ways.

Research clearly shows that regular exercise extends life expectancy, controls weight, decreases risk of developing type 2 diabetes, decreases risk of cancer and effectively combats depression. Basically, having a regular physical fitness routine results in a healthier and happier life.

With all of these benefits so widely reported, why do so many of us have a hard time getting into and sticking with a regular exercise routine?

Many people who get started working out don’t stay with it long enough or consistently enough to see the results that would keep them motivated. So once you make the decision that exercise needs to become a part of your life, how do you fit it into your schedule and stay motivated?

John Hollman found the answer to that question by relying on the support system at a local gym.

The personalized attention available to John enabled him to lose 50 pounds (20% of his body weight) in 8 weeks! John met with the gym’s nutrition counselor and a trainer regularly. John’s results are an example of how membership in a well-staffed and fully-equipped gym can help you set personal goals, establish an efficient routine that fits in your schedule and stay motivated to get the maximum results.

Fitness needs to be customized to fit the individual. Membership in a gym can provide you with all the tools you need to meet your individual needs and to suit your personality, such as:

• State-of-the-art cardio equipment that tracks your workout;
• A well-stocked free weight section to build lean muscle (1 pound of muscle gained burns an extra 50 calories/day);
• A variety of group fitness classes taught by energetic and knowledgeable instructors;
• Personal trainers who assist in identifying the most efficient and effective methods to meet fitness goals and ensure accountability;
• Nutrition counseling to help develop healthy eating habits;
• A positive and encouraging environment.

To be successful, a fitness routine must suit the personality and preferences of the individual. Even if you find a routine you enjoy, boredom and complacency can creep in.

According to Greg Knapp, the head trainer at Powerhouse Gym who assisted John Hollman, “muscle confusion” is the key to maximizing your exercise results. Muscle confusion requires that you change and advance your workout every 2 to 3 weeks to prevent your body from adapting and reaching a plateau. Membership in a gym can provide all the support you need to get in the best shape of your life.

Powerhouse Gym features an 1,800-square-foot aerobics room with six classes per day, 50+ pieces of cardio equipment, Cycling, Tanning, Personal Training, Nutrition Counseling, Cardio Cinema and more. To inquire about membership options, please call (843) 706-9700 or visit the gym at 1530 Fording Island Road in the Bridge Center. Body Max Gym, across the street in Moss Creek Village, is open 24 hours. (843) 706-5005.

By Kim Busby, Powerhouse Gym

Hilton Head Golf Vacations

Hilton Head’s local golf package specialist. Hilton Head Island golf and accommodations packages. Let us customize your Hilton Head golf package. Our golf package specialists will package together the golf courses you want to play with the accommodations that suit your needs and budget. Golf only packages and TaylorMade club rentals also available. See coupon page for Special!

Juicy Summer Delights – Watermelon

Perhaps more than any other fruit, watermelon is a symbol of summer, a juicy embodiment of the season. As the temperatures peak in the Lowcountry this summer, find welcome relief in the sweet pink flesh of the watermelon.

Originally grown in Africa, the watermelon has become a thoroughly American food. No summertime picnic or family reunion would be complete without this familiar oversized striped melon, cut into juicy triangular wedges.

National Watermelon Association knows that watermelon is not just for eating in simple slices – it can be dressed up and served in drinks, soups and desserts. Try these refreshing recipes that transform the humble watermelon into sweet manna from heaven.

ROSY WATERMELON SPRITZER PUNCH
• 4 cups watermelon juice*
• 1 can (12 oz.) frozen cranberry juice concentrate
• 1 can (6 0z.) rozen limeade concentrate
• 3 cups club soda, chilled
In large bowl, blend all ingredients except club soda; chill. Serve in watermelon boat with scoops of lime sherbet.
Just before serving, stir in club soda. Serves 12.
*In blender or food processor, process chunks of seeded watermelon until liquefied.

WATERMELON CITRUS COOLER
• watermelon balls
• 6 bamboo skewers
• 3 cups watermelon juice*
• 2 cups grapefruit juice
• 1 cup orange juice
• 2 tablespoon sugar
Thread watermelon balls on skewers and freeze. In pitcher, blend watermelon juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice and sugar until sugar is dissolved.
Chill Thoroughly. Place frozen watermelon ball skewer in each glass; fill with watermelon mixture. Serves 12.
*In blender or food processor, process chunks of seeded watermelon until liquefied.

CHILLED SUMMER MELON SOUP
• 6 ripe strawberries
• 3 ripe pears, cored, peeled and chopped
• 3 slices watermelon, peeled, seeded and cubed
• 1/2 cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cubed
• 1/2 honeydew melon, peeled, seeded and cubed
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 1/2 cup cranberry juice
• 1/4 cup pineapple juice
• 1 teaspoon port wine (optional)
• 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 lime, cut into thin slices
• fresh mint sprigs
Puree all of the fruit, the juices, cinnamon and port (if you choose to use it) in a blender and refrigerate the mixture for at least two hours to chill.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with lime slices and mint. Serves 6 to 8.

WATERMELON SORBET
• 1/2 medium watermelon, sliced lengthwise
• 1 (6 oz.) can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed and undiluted
• 1 (15-1/4 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
• 1/2 cup sugar
• fresh mint sprigs for garnish
Scoop out unseeded watermelon flesh; place in blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Pour puree through a wire mesh strainer into bowl, discarding pulp and any seeds.
Measure 8 cups juice; ad lemonade concentrate, pineapple and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Pour mixture into a 13×9 inch pan; cover and freeze until firm. Break frozen mixture into chunks. Place one-half of mixture in blender or food processor and process until smooth. Repeat with remaining frozen mixture. Garnish if desired and serve immediately. Serves 8

Anhinga, Anhinga!

Have you seen something that looks like a snake, but also a bird, in the lagoons around Hilton Head? Anhinga Anhinga is the scientific name for this diving bird commonly found on Hilton Head Island. It may also be called the Snake Bird, Water Turkey or even the North American Darter.

Diversely spread throughout tropical and subtropical climates, this bird is usually found in warm shallow waters; from the Americas across to Asia, Africa and Australia. The term Anhinga was derived from the Brazilian Tupi Language and means “Devil Bird” or “Snake Bird.”

These are diving birds that swim through the water in search of fish and amphibians to eat. They use their feet to propel their bodies further into the water, while using their large tails as a rudder for direction. When the Anhinga is in the water and comes up for a breath of air, it is easy to see why it is called a Snake Bird. Only the head and the neck of the bird stick out of the water, appearing to be a snake about to strike.

The Anhinga uses its long pointy beak to stab prey in the water. Once they catch their prey, they return to the surface, where they commonly toss the food into the air and catch it in their mouth to eat it. These birds can stay under water for a significant amount of time, often tricking those watching by popping out of sight.

You can commonly see the Anhinga on branches and bank sides with their wings outspread.

Once the Anhinga is done fishing, it is essential for it to dry out. The feathers can become water-laden, making them too heavy to fly. Unlike other waterfowl, the Anhinga does not have the uropygial gland that produces oil – allowing it to dive deeply into the water, but making it essential to dry out after a swim. You can tell an Anhinga has not fully dried off when you see it running across the surface of the water with wings flapping strenuously.

On Hilton Head Island, the Anhinga begins breeding from March to May. The birds can be noted before breeding season by the beautiful neon green feathers around their eyes which both the males and females develop.

The Anhinga nests in low-lying trees and bushes, along waterways. The males collect building materials and the females construct a nest of twigs lined with leaves. The female lays two to six eggs which incubate for 30 days. The chicks stay in the nest for about a month being cared for by both parents. Once they have fledged, they may stay around the nest for a few more months, getting acclimated to their new independence. The Anhinga will not mature until it is two years old.

The ancestors of Anhingas have been around for 50 million years. Many fossils were found in Brazil, where the diversity of Anhingas was the greatest.

With so many interesting and adaptable skills, it is no wonder that such a bird has continued to exist through millions of years.

Focusing on the wildlife and habitats of the South Carolina Lowcountry, the H2O Nature Center in Harbour Town features live reptile and amphibian exhibits, hands-on displays and more. Apparel, gifts, books and bicycle/fishing gear rentals are also available. To make reservations for the Alligator and Wildlife Tour with Master Naturalist Kathleen McMenamin, please call (843) 686-5323. For details on other water activities offered by H2O Sports, visit h2osportsonline.com.

By Kathleen McMenamin, Master Naturalist, H2O Nature Center

HiltonHead.com Must Taste

Seafood Lovers can jump right into a steamed seafood pot filled with lobster, shrimp, snow crab legs and oysters at either of the two great waterfront locations of The Crazy Crab.

Enjoy creative cuisine, legendary seafood specialties, decadent desserts and spectacular waterfront dining at the Chart House.

The Frosty Frog Cafe not only serves up the most outrageously delicious frozen daiquiris, Frosty also offers finger-licking good food.

Fresh seafood, delicious steaks and sandwiches, along with one of the best views on the Island, can be found at The Wreck of The Salty Dog Cafe.

The British Open Pub offers authentic English food, American favorites and certified Angus beef in a family-friendly, pub-style atmosphere at both their Hilton Head and Bluffton locations.

Build your own Seafood Volcano – a smoking mound of seafood – at Kingfisher Seafood Pasta & Steak House on the water at Shelter Cove Harbour.

Award-winning wings are just one of the tasty menu items found at Hilton Head Brewing Co. – 1st Overall Winner of the 2011 Hilton Head Island WingFest.

Bluffton Seafood House is a hit with locals and visitors alike who enjoy the freshest seafood from the folks who actually catch it.

Enjoy a full menu of seafood, salads and sandwiches served along with tropical freezes and ocean breezes at The Salty Dog Cafe.

What’s more delicious than a doughnut? A fresh, hot, hand-dipped, custom-made cake doughnut from Flamingo’s Doughnut Cafe.

Great seafood and steaks can be enjoyed, along with a breathtaking view, while seated indoors or out at Lands End Tavern.

Munchies, sub sandwiches and desserts can be enjoyed, along with the humorous national touring comedians, at Hilton Head Comedy Club.

Fresh, homemade and tasty American and Mediterranean food can be found at The Market Street Cafe, a favorite of locals and visitors alike.

For the very best in Italian cuisine, visit Stellini Italian Restaurant – the Lowcountry’s “Little Italy” since 1989!

Sunset Rentals

You will always remember your Hilton Head vacation when you choose from one our many condos, villas or vacation homes. Sunset Rentals specializes in taking the worry out of vacation planning. Our goal is to make your family vacation, honeymoon or reunion the best it can be. (800) 276-8991.

Second Home Ownership

Many of you reading this article have vacationed on Hilton Head Island many times before. During some of those trips you may have looked through real estate magazines and wondered about the possibility of owning property on the Island one day. As spring approaches, (more…)

Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival

March 8 – 12: Experience the fresh local bounty and spectacular coastal beauty on Hilton Head Island! We’re celebrating our wine and culinary treasures with appetizing events for your pleasure! Join us for one of the Great Chefs of the South dinners, the Grand Wine Tasting & Auction and WineFest, one of the East Coast’s largest outdoor public wine tastings. (800) 424-3387 or hiltonheadwineandfood.com.

LGCOA – Lowcountry Golf Club Owners Association

Welcome to the Lowcountry Golf Course Owner’s Association web site featuring a Golf Passbook Program Designed for Locals and Property Owners in the Lowcountry. The Hilton Head Island & Lowcountry Golf Passbook is now on sale.

Visit the King Neptune Statue at Shelter Cove Harbour

The towering 12-foot bronze statue of Neptune, which doubles as a larger-than-life sundial, serves as an iconic symbol of Shelter Cove Harbour at Palmetto Dunes, welcoming visitors to the entrance of the popular waterfront dining and shopping location.

Designed and installed by sculptor Wayne Edwards, this much-loved statue serves as a tribute to Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. The King Neptune statue, which depicts a bearded Neptune holding his signature trident, serves as a popular centerpiece at Shelter Cove Harbour. The statue is strategically mounted on a circular base with numbers around the edge. When the trident’s shadow falls across the 26-foot wide base, the numbers indicate the precise time. Hailed as the world’s largest figurative sundial, the statue was originally cast at a foundry in Princeton, New Jersey and shipped by truck to Hilton Head Island in 1983.

Engineers made meticulous measurements before the one-ton statue was installed, ensuring that it would be located at the ideal angle to indicate the time. Engineers oriented the sculpture towards true south by aligning the constellation Ursa Major with the North Star.

An official dedication for the statue was held at Shelter Cove Harbour on August 11, 1983, attracting residents and visitors alike. Today, the King Neptune statue delights generations of visitors to Shelter Cove Harbour, impressing adults and children of all ages. Stop by to see King Neptune in person and to experience a true Hilton Head Island icon.

Shannon Tanner Delights Generations of Visitors to Hilton Head Island!

Shannon Tanner has been entertaining summer crowds on Hilton Head Island for more than 20 years, delighting audiences with his unique blend of ’60s standards, sing-a-longs, original ballads and children’s favorites. His Summer Family Show at the Gazebo at Shelter Cove Harbour has become an annual highlight for families visiting the island each year.

Wearing his trademark beanie hat and strumming the guitar, this popular singer/songwriter creates priceless vacation memories for the countless children who have joined him onstage each summer. Over the years, Tanner has performed live with a range of top artists including The Beach Boys, Amy Grant and America and has entertained notable guests including President Gerald Ford and Vice President Dan Quayle. He has toured through Australia, Southeast Asia and South America, where his fun-loving shows have been well-received. However, his performances at Shelter Cove Harbour, however, hold a special place in his heart.

In more than two decades of performing live on Hilton Head Island, Tanner has had the opportunity to entertain a whole new generation of fans, as former children in their audience grow up and, in turn, bring their kids to join in the magic of Shannon’s live show.

Originally from Ridgeland, South Carolina, this accomplished musician played piano and drums as a child. Influenced by the music of Jim Croce and James Taylor, he learned to play the guitar by ear, practicing whenever he got the chance. As a teenager, he helped out in the summer on his stepfather’s shrimp boat, which was docked at Hudson’s. One night, after he finished his work, he played his guitar and, much to his surprise, attracted a crowd of tourists. That experience started a legacy which continues on at Shelter Cove Harbour today.

From April to September, Shannon Tanner performs free shows, Monday through Friday evenings, at the Shelter Cove Harbour Gazebo. Visit shannontanner.com for a complete performance schedule.

Island’s Plantations Date Back Hundreds of Years

Although many of Hilton Head Island’s best-known neighborhoods are called “plantations,” the island was once home to real working plantations. In fact, the term “plantation” traces its roots to the island’s agricultural history in the 1700′s.

In the 18th-century, Hilton Head was dividing into working plantations growing a wide range of lucrative crops including indigo, rice, sugar cane and cotton. Before the Civil War, slaves worked the land, which proved remarkably fertile and productive. Because this sea island like many others along the South Carolina and Georgia coast — was largely cut off from the mainland, many slaves retained West African dialects and traditions, developing an identity over the years that is today known as Gullah.

Modern-day Hilton Head took shape in the 1950′s, when Charles Fraser began developing the land that eventually become Sea Pines. In the 1960′s, Port Royal, Spanish Wells and Palmetto Dunes followed suit, becoming key players in the island’s history. Long Cove, Wexford, Indigo Run, Palmetto Hall and Windmill Harbour came on board in the 1980′s, adding even more plantations to the local landscape.

Although Hilton Head Island’s plantations no longer cultivate or harvest crops, they continue to serve as a key engine for the local economy. Between real estate and tourism, Hilton Head’s plantations continue to thrive in the 21st century.

Oysters Stand Apart as a Lowcountry Delicacy!

Oysters have been a favorite staple for islanders for centuries.

Early Native American harvested oysters, subsisting on the plentiful bivalve populations in Lowcountry waters. At low tide, oysters can be seen rising from tidal saltmarsh creeks throughout the area. In fact, Hilton Head’s waters have traditionally been considered some of the richest oystering areas along the Atlantic coast, with a number of oyster canning factories once operating throughout the region.

One of the most traditional ways to eat oysters on Hilton Head Island is to steam several bushels in a communal oyster roast. First, rinse the oysters well to remove any excess dirt or mud. Then, build a fire under a thin sheet of metal or wire mesh. Dump the oysters over the sheet or mesh and cover them with a wet burlap bag, soaked well with water or even beer. The wet burlap steams the oysters until they pop open, which indicates they are ready to savor.

The hot oysters can be shucked with an oyster knife, dipped into drawn butter or cocktail sauce or simply enjoyed au natural. The briny flavor offers a delicious taste of the Lowcountry plus, they are loaded with nutrients. One of the most nutritionally well-balanced foods, oysters contain protein, carbohydrates and lipids and are an excellent source of Vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

Vacation Rental Tips

Get a written agreement specifying the terms and conditions. Never wire money or personal checks. A credit card is the way to proceed because the card issuer may offer some protection. If you can demonstrate that the goods and services promised were not given, you can get a refund.

Do not trust an owner who only communicates by email, and feel free to pick up the phone to ask the owner / property manager to ask detailed questions or for even more photos than those indicated in the advertisement Online.

Learn how to recover your security deposit if there is one, and what it covers.

Ask friends for recommendations. If you opt for a house or a condominium belonging to a stranger, ask for references from others who have stayed. If some of the promises sound too good to be true, it probably is. In most cases, you get what you pay for.

Google the owner and address of the vacation property and see what comes up. There may be some complaints stemming from experiences of previous vacationers. Make sure you are dealing with the property owner. Scammers can steal information to create false lists.

Try to negotiate with the owner/management company if the vacancies in the region are high. You can also ask a lot of fringe benefits to sweeten the deal, such as free tickets or discounts on local activities.

Be skeptical of glowing reviews online, especially if the reviewers are anonymous.

Ask the owner / property manager to define the vague terms such as “Ocean Front Property”-minute walk from the beach. Make sure you are clear about things such as how much the house is from the city center.

If the owner does not reside in the area, find out whether there is a contact person who can handle local problems such as blown fuses or a non-functioning toilet.

If you have any physical limitations, ask questions about disability accommodations, including elevator service. Anyone with or without disabilities are likely to want to know about noise, air conditioning and heating .

If your group is considering large communal meal planning, make sure you have enough pots, pans, cutlery and tableware. Have materials such as coffee machines, cutting boards and knives included.

Ask what the cost of cleaning is estimated to be and will try to determine if costs are passed onunnoticed. Pauline Frommer of Pauline Frommer Travel Guides notes that in some European countries you may have to pay extra for electricity or other utilities. Ask for telephone service, Internet and WiFi

If possible, visit the property before renting.

If a property does not live up to its billing, documentation of problems with images or videos will help in negotiating a refund. Immediately complain to the landlord or property manager. Keep receipts. Establish a careful record of all transactions and what was wrong. If you believe you were defrauded, you may be able to seek redress in court. Check the laws of your state consumer protection to see what you may be entitled to and whether there are deadlines for filing.

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

Enjoy an island escape at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, the heart and soul of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

When you book your Hilton Head Island vacation rental directly through Palmetto Dunes, you enjoy preferred rates and premium access to all resort amenities.

In addition, you can plan your entire vacation – from tee times to kayak rentals – with one call. Experience world-class golf and tennis as well as endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, from kayaking to fishing on Hilton Head Island.

Come see why Palmetto Dunes offers a richer vacation experience than any other beachfront resort destination on the East Coast. That’s why Travel + Leisure Family magazine named this 2,000-acre paradise the #1 family resort in the United States.

Best of all, planning the perfect vacation at Palmetto Dunes is easy, fast and fun. To reserve your dream vacation at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, call 888.322.9091 today and we’ll be happy to help you plan the ultimate Hilton Head Island vacation!

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