After two months in Florida, it was time to start heading north. We drove up through Georgia and onto Hilton Head Island, SC and the Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort & Marina, our home for the next 10 nights. Upon arrival, we were given a golf cart to go out and pick our site. Kind of a cool concept that we liked because usually they just put you in a site based on the level of accommodation you booked. We chose a spot with a view of the water but set back from the marina a bit.
Hilton Head Island was a bit hard for us to figure out at first. There is basically one main road that circles the inside of the island, then all of the businesses and resorts are set off from the road, kind of hidden. This makes for a lot of traffic on that one main road. And, apparently they have some strict rules and regulations for signage to prevent “visual clutter.” So this means no large neon signs but rather very subtle smaller ones making it hard to know where things are (ie: no towering golden arches sign but rather a small rectangular wooden sign a few feet off the ground with a muted yellow McDonald’s written out). Not a bad thing I guess, just different. This is definitely a resort area with many gated communities and not a lot of public areas from what we could tell.
On our first day of exploration we were looking for a bar on the beach. After several attempts with no luck and coming up against gated communities, we realized it was just too early in the year and that the “season” didn’t officially start until St. Patty’s Day which by the way is HUGE here — they host over 1 million visitors for the Holiday. I can’t even imagine the crazy traffic for that. We ended up at a great restaurant called Bombora’s Grille in the Coligny Beach area, which is the closest thing to a city center for the island. Since it was a Monday night, it was pretty quiet and we ended up bellying up to the bar and the owner Todd served us. He gave us quite a few tips for the island and for our next destination, Charleston.
The next day, we had an 8:30 tee time at one of the courses in the Sea Pines Resort, which is an exclusive area on the Island. There is a gate fee to get in and the area encompasses almost ¼ of the island, so there is a lot to see. Our plan was to play golf then spend the rest of the day touring this part of the island. We rolled up to the gate at 8am and the security guard informed us that we couldn’t come in. He didn’t care that we had a tee-time and lectured us that we could not come in with kayaks because the HOA there did not allow it and that we would be towed. We explained that we were traveling and that we weren’t going to kayak in the resort, but just park in the course lot and golf. No go, this power trippy guard made us turn around. We were fired up to say the least. We didn’t have time to go back to the MoHo and dump the kayaks and make it back in time. I was very disappointed and Mike was just pissed off. We called the course to let them know what happened and they were very nice to let us cancel without penalty but were not aware of this rule and said they were a separate entity and didn’t have any authority. We also canceled a later tee time for Mike to play Harbour Town Golf Links, which is where the PGA tour plays the weekend after Master’s. Big bummer, but at this point we felt we didn’t want to support the “hoityness” of Sea Pines. We called another course, Golden Bear Golf Club, and were able to get on so off we went. It turned out to be a “diary day” to quote my brother. We went out as a twosome, so I was nice and relaxed, the sun was out and I shot my best round ever, a 97!
Sidebar: We went wine tasting at the Island Winery a few days later and were talking to the server about the issue we had at Sea Pines. She wasn’t surprised, especially by the attitude we got from the security guard. She also told us that John Daley was turned away because he was in his Motorhome; apparently not allowed either. Ridiculous.
Another day, we took a day trip to Savannah, only about 45 minutes away.
We started out at the visitor center and I talked Mike into doing a Gray Line trolley tour to get a good overview of the area. I do have a soft spot for Gray Line. We were both glad we did the tour as we got to hear all of the history of the many squares that cover the downtown area and the little tidbits about movie locations like Forest Gump. I now have ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ on my to-read and/or to-see book/movie list. After the tour we walked back down to River Street and checked out the river walk. Savannah has the “to-go” system that we have come to like so we got a cold one for our stroll. Stopped in the peanut factory for samples then landed at the Cotton Exchange for lunch, a perfect “joint” with great food and a better conversation from the bartender. This was a good day trip and we would recommend Savannah but one day was enough for us. A cute town with lots of character and history!
The weather started to turn on us a bit, getting much colder, but we did get another day of golf in. We chose an “off-island” course, Old South Golf Links. This course was not in as great of shape as the one we played earlier, but there were some holes along the ocean, which is what we were looking for. We were paired up with a nice couple, Bill & Emmy, from Toronto. We saw 4 or 5 gators on the course, which is quite common, but a bit shocking for us. But as long as we didn’t bother them, they didn’t bother us!
The rest of our time in Hilton Head was a great mix. We explored Beaufort, another historic town with a river walk and many of the old antebellum style mansions that I just love. We also kayaked one day right from our marina along Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Mike was able to do some fishing from the dock at our campground, we did laundry and enjoyed sitting outside by the fire pit. We did have one last break in the weather and we decided to head out to the beach. Back to Coligny Beach, which is the largest public beach on the island. Access to the beach was down a really long wooden walkway flanked by tall sea grass – just what I always pictured for this area. It was Sunday afternoon, so there were tons of people enjoying the sun, before the cold returned which it did in full force with rain.
Overall, we did like the area a lot and we felt like we did most everything we wanted in 10 days. We could have golfed more as there are many courses in the area, but we know we’ll be golfing more as we head north, so we need to pace ourselves a bit. We were glad we were here in the off-season, because once the season hits, I think this place will be too crowded and absolutely crazy. Next stop is Charleston!
Mo-home improvement update:
Since we were going to be in one place for a longer period, it was time to work through some issues. Our backup camera had been out since Key Largo, which is a safety issue for us. We had a mobile RV repairman come out to take a look and he diagnosed that it was the cable not the actual camera, thank goodness. (Camera would have been easier but much more expensive). He showed Mike what needed to be done and what to order to save us some money. We also had an interior light go out in the bedroom. It was not a light bulb issue, but rather faulty ballast, so we decided to order some LED bulbs that could be hard wired. Once UPS delivered our goods, Mike had a few DIY projects on his hands. The rewiring of the camera entailed him donning a Tyvek body suit and spending a few hours under the MoHo threading the cable from the back to the front of the MoHo. The wiring of the light wasn’t as time consuming, but a little dicier because it involved electricity. Both projects were a success; very proud of Mike and he saved us some serious money!
From Mike –
A shout out to John Hill who sent me a box of limited edition Seahawks Bud Light bottles all the way to South Carolina because he didn’t want me to miss out!
it’s great hearing about your trip. you have done some pretty amazing things. film festival is done. i said hi to oprah for you.
Glad that Film Fest is behind you! Seems like so long ago we were in SB with you guys. Hope all is well with both of you.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is on my “to watch” list too. Let’s watch it together when you get back home so you can tell me that backstory on everything! 🙂
Miller, stop taunting gators.
I downloaded the book onto my Kindle and have just started reading…but, will still want to watch the movie with you! xoxo