Hi there! Wendi here. (Wow, I just gave myself a Nick Jr. flashback…) But anyway, Hilton Head Island! I adore HHI for loads of reasons. Not the least of which is the loads of childhood memories I have from there.
But I just had the chance to go back with my big sis and her family for the first time in years. And despite getting absolutely roasted on the beach, we had a lot of fun.
The first stop on any trip to HHI has to be Shelter Cove for a margarita and some next level Mexican chow from San Miguel’s – Mexican on the Marina. If you’ve never been to San Miguel’s, you have to check it out! The chimichanga del mar is to die for! And it’s a must to start every trip by saying hello to the statue of Neptune.
So, my fellow South Carolinians and friends from elsewhere, a brief history of the island is in order. There is evidence of human inhabitation on Hilton Head going back 10,000 years or so. Originally, the semi-nomadic natives, the Escamacus , lived on the island and you can still find remnants left behind by them. The most notable of which is the shell ring in Sea Pines Plantation.
But the history of the island as we know it began in 1663. Captain William Hilton aboard his ship, the Adventure, sailed from Barbados up to see the land granted to the eight Lord Proprietors by King Charles II.
He found an island within the Port Royal Sound and named it “Hilton’s Head” after himself. Because why not?
During the Civil War, the island was hugely significant. It was the base of operations for the Union blockade of the Southern ports of Charleston and Savannah. The Union also built an enormous military hospital on the island. After the war, hundreds of ex-slaves came to HHI where they could buy land, go to school, or join what was called the First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers.
The island went from private game reserve to defense against the Axis powers to logging enterprise until in 1956 when the James F. Byrd bridge opened the island up to car traffic from the mainland. In the same year, Charles Fraser, an environmentalist and real estate developer, built Sea Pines Resort. The whole design of Harbour Town centered around his efforts to save an old live oak called Liberty Oak, which he was buried beside when he passed away in 2002.
I hadn’t been up to the top of the lighthouse in more than a decade so I made a point to climb to the top so I could take photos for all of you!
Hilton Head has also been home of the Heritage Cup since 1969, a stop on the PGA tour ever since. Inside the lighthouse, they keep some memorabilia from the Heritage cup including a ceremonial club and the winner’s Tartan.
Of course, no stop to HHI is complete without hitting up the Salty Dog Cafe! Kevin has not made it easy to show off his souvenir since he requires constant pets now that I’m home. He must have missed me while I was away ❤️🐶
And for my entire life, Hilton Head Ice Cream has been an iconic part of the experience. I love their Oreo ice cream so freaking much. (To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever bothered to try any other flavors… Why mess with perfection, right?)
So now Kira and I are going to have some of the pint I brought home and watch Game of Thrones! Cheers, friends! And may your favorite character survive this season!