Sunday, July 3, 2011

An Evening In Harbor Town

I urge you to click on the colored links within the text to learn more about Hilton Head Island and Harbour Town as a vacation destination, and also enjoy the video within.

There is just something enchanting about a Hilton Head Island beach vacation. It is hard to explain, I have been on several other beach vacations up and down the North and South Carolina coasts, the Florida coast and even the islands in the carribean. I love the beaches of Charleston, my home (although it is hard to compare where you live with where you vacation), but whenever I cross that bridge from Bluffton SC onto Hilton Head Island, something magical happens to my soul. And, interestingly enough, it only happens when I am going there for vacation. Yep, it's true, when I make that same trek over the bridge onto HHI whenever my son's Northwood Academy Charger sports teams play one of the Hilton Head Island High Schools, it just doesn't feel the same.

No vacation at Hilton Head would be complete without an evening spent at the greatest little town in America, Harbour Town. Harbour Town is actually not a town in the strictest since, but is really an area of condos, villas, homes, shops, bars, restaraunts and ice cream shoppes built around a harbor that serves as port for some of the nicest luxury yachts, fishing and pleasure boats I have ever witnessed in one location. It is also home to arguably one of the most recognizable landmarks on the East Coast, the Harbour Town Lighthouse.

The lighthouse is not really a working lighthouse and it is not maintained by the US Coast Guard although it does have a beacon that assists vessels at night with finding the entrance to the little harbor that sets like a gemstone at the southern most tip of Hilton Head Island off of the Calabogie Sound that seperates Hilton Head Island from Daufuskie Island and the mainland.

Harbour Town is also the home of another highly recognizable landmark, the Liberty Oak Tree. Although, there are larger, more beautiful and certainly older live oak trees scattered throughout the Lowcountry of South Carolina, the Liberty Oak Tree stands out for me. Not on it's own merits, although it is a beautiful tree, but because of what has taken place under and around "this old tree" every night of the summer season for the past thirty years. At precisely 8pm every night of the summer, except Saturdays (which happens to be move in day/night on HHI), the familiar chords of an amplified acoustic guitar can be heard and the highly recognizable voice of Gregg Russell sings, "it's a beautiful night in Harbour Town..." As Gregg continues his traditional opening song to the delight of the hundreds of "kiddies" gathered around him on the stage that is built like a huge treehouse around the base of the Liberty Oak, double-hundreds of parents and grand-parents sway back and forth around the perimeter of the stage with smiles on their faces. Gregg Russell is alot like Jimmy Buffett, another one of my favorite performers, not the best voice in the world, not the best performer in the world, but they sure have figured out how to make a living in shorts and cool shirts AND most importantly, their music transports you to a magical and wonderful place where the sand is white, the breeze is warm and your cares are thousands of miles away. Your attention is immediately drawn to the beautiful sunset over the lighthouse in this opening number and from that point on, you are otherworldly for the next hour or so.

So, if you haven't experienced a Hilton Head Island vacation, please do yourself a favor and plan one. Although there are some oceanfront hotels and condos, don't limit yourself to looking at oceanfront accomodations, HHI isn't like any other beach you have ever been to, the quality of your stay is not limited or determined by the view from your balcony. The beaches and beach clubs of each plantation (the island is divided into seperate areas called plantations) are readily assessible by bicycle or a short walk from all of the villas and houses, so the vast majority of smiling faces that you see enjoying the beaches, shops and bars of HHI are not staying in beach front properties. I recommend checking out VRBO (vacation rental by owner) and look for a place in either Palmetto Dunes Plantation, Sea Pines Plantation or Shipyard Plantation. Just be sure to plan an evening in Harbour Town, you will be so glad that you did.

I may or may not have access to the blogosphere over the next week, I am headed somewhere tomorrow morning for a week that will undoubtedly generate HUGE blogging inspirations, however, I may not have ready access to the internet. So, no matter where you are today, have a great 4th of July weekend and thanks for stopping by From The Land of Palm Trees.

1 comment:

  1. Doug,
    Thanks for this post. I had so forgotten about him and somewhere, I actually have a CD of Greg Russell.....singing Harbor Town. The post brought back awesome memories from when we spent time there with Brandon as a tiny infant. Thanks for the memories!! Have a safe trip home.


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