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Hilton Head Island Family Vibe

Chamber Bike and Dine Week Presented By Coligny!

Locals and visitors to Hilton Head Island and Bluffton are lucky to be able to bike pretty much anywhere.  With almost 100 miles of paths (and growing) on the Island and miles in downtown Bluffton, it’s easy to access the top restaurants, activities and festivals via bike anywhere in the Lowcountry.

bike and dine logo

 So it’s no surprise the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce spawned a brilliant idea of a “Bike & Dine” week, now in it’s second year and presented by Coligny. Blending family friendly bike-riding with excellent culinary offerings at local Lowcountry restaurants and getting people out in the fresh air! Starting April 28th and running through May 4th of 2014 – a wide array of offerings from local restaurants can be found on the Chamber of Commerce’s Bike and Dine website.

Bike and Dine week is simple, just ride to your favorite location and tell your server you are there for the “Bike and Dine” discount. When you are finished with your meal, stop by Coligny Plaza and take a photo next to the newest unique bike rack on Hilton Head Island!!!


Alligator Bike Rack at Coligny Plaza

Yep, that’s an alligator bike rack! Post your photo to the @VisitHiltonHead facebook page with hashtags #chamberbikeanddine and #coligny for your chance to win $250 CASH – all from Coligny! Winner will be announced on May 5th – the more you post, the better your chances!

Full schedule of events includes:

Unique Bike Rack Unveiling - Presenting Sponsor Coligny will reveal a unique new bike rack with true Island style. Meet us by the Coligny Plaza fountain on Saturday, May 3rd at 9 a.m. to witness this piece of Island history!

Islander’s Beach Ride @ Coligny - Everyone’s an “islander” at this free bike ride, organized by the Town and the Bicycle Advisory Committee on Saturday, May 3rd starting at 10 a.m. at Coligny Beach Park. Ride up the beach to Palmetto Dunes and back with fellow Islanders and stop by Frosty Frog for the after-party! Bike and Dine week water bottles, sponsored by Coligny, for the first 100 participants. No registration required, just come as you are!

Win $250 Cash from Coligny - Coligny will offer $250 cash to one person who uploads a photo of the bike rack to the chamber or Visit Hilton Head facebook, twitter or instagram page using hashtags #chamberbikeanddine and #coligny. Upload anytime during Bike and Dine Week and the winner will be announced on Monday the 5th in the Chamber’s Monday Morning Briefing.

Lunch Meet-Up at Bomboras Grill & Chill Bar at Coligny Beach – Meet up for lunch on your bike! Join fellow islanders and the Island’s Bicycle Advisory Committee at Bomboras in Coligny between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29th or Thursday, May 1st for lunch. Bomboras will have a special bike and dine menu for the week featuring buy one, get one free (BOGO) on their famous sliders with the purchase of two drinks.


Here are some of the other offers from across the Island.

Skull Creek Boathouse – Located on the North End and accessible by bike paths on 278, Cross Island Bridge or from Hilton Head Plantation, this waterfront restaurant is offering 10% off your total bill for bikers.  This is Gray’s favorite restaurant as it’s located next to a working Boathouse where they bring in boats on the lifts – free entertainment for the kids and great cocktails for the parents!

Bikes at the Skull Creek Boathouse!

Street Meet – Located mid Island in Port Royal Plaza, accessible via bike either on Mathews or on 278 is offering a Buy One Get One 50% off Burgers.  This place is very family friendly – with outdoor seating as well in a street vendor food atmosphere.

Charbar Co. – This Park Plaza burger joint is offering a free appetizer with your lunch order. This place has amazing burgers and is a must stop during Bike & Dine week.

You can find outdoor seating at most Island Bike and Dine Week Locations!

Again – there are many other offerings from local restaurants during bike and dine week so make sure to bookmark the website and check back often for updates! Enjoy your time exploring the paths on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton, be safe and don’t forget to stop by Coligny to post your pic!


Alligator Bike Rack at Coligny Plaza on Hilton Head Island

Rainy Day Fun on Hilton Head Island

Rainy Day Fun on Hilton Head Island –

On the off chance that you have a “rain day” during your next vacation to Hilton Head Island, or just want to take a break in an indoor playspace, here are some places to make vacation memories with the kids and enjoy some rainy day fun…with many places being appropriate for children of all ages!

Get Fit – With Your Baby! – What better way to spend your rainy day then in the comforts of a yoga studio with other moms and kiddos? April Lewis at The Art of Yoga offers Mommy and Me Yoga classes.

mommy yoga

Or check in with my fellow blogger, Becca Edwards who offers Fit Mama at Core – personalized Yoga/Barre/Pilates classes that can be in a group or private setting.

The Art of Yoga

14 New Orleans Rd Suite 12



Fit Mama at Core

The Courtyard Building

(across the street from Harris Teeter near Sea Pines front gate)

32 Office Park Road Suite 114

843-681-4COR (4267)


Island Playground

Just across the bridge where Hilton Head meets Bluffton – is a warehouse environment filled with bouncy houses for ages pre-school to teen. Off to the side however, they have a soft playspace environment for little ones, books, chairs, a train table, and a bouncy house designated for the new toddlers.

island playground floor infant area donovan bouncyplay area with treesnack time

In the main area, there are large scale bouncy houses for the 2.5 and up crowd! I mean, who doesn’t LOVE a place to bounce! Perfect place to go if you have kids of multiple ages! With a snack area where you can bring your own items in.

Island Playground

1538 Fording Island Road Suite 104



The Batter’s Box

Indoor batting cages have come to Hilton Head! Located mid-island, next to Dunkin Donuts, The Batter’s Box offers indoor batting cages for rent by the hour or the day! Perfect way to blow off some steam on a rainy day on Hilton Head!

2 Southwood Park Dr,
(843) 715-2737


Hilton Head Candy Company

Remember when it was cool to go scavenging for that rare candy item in the old-time candy shops? Well, we have that here on Hilton Head Island! The Hilton Head Candy Company, located in Coligny Plaza offers kids and “big kids” – aka parents – the opportunity to find Sky Bars, Turkish Taffy, Shoelace Licorice and other retro candy items. They also have modern day candy and can special order. Your kids will love picking out their own selection on a rainy day!

candy company

Hilton Head Candy Company

Coligny Plaza

One North Forest Drive



Hilton Head Island Library

Wee Reads Program – As of publishing date, held on Monday’s at 11am and Wednesdays at 10am at the Hilton Head Library off Beach City Road. The Wee Reads program offers story time for babies and new toddlers in an interactive environment. Take a break from the beach, meet other new moms or share in rainy day fun!

Preschool Story Time – As of publishing date, held on Monday’s at 10am and 1pm. Short stories and films to captivate your preschoolers attention!

The library is also offering a number of other kids & teen activities each week including Girls ROCK!, Stories & Fun; After School Adventures; Super Story Saturday with Pete The Cat; Lego Building Mania; Bedtime Stories with Mr. Gregg; Tweens & Teens Crafting and more.

Find up to date information on their calendar here and look for the green bar for Hilton Head Library activities.

Hilton Head Island Library

11 Beach City Road


Move and Motion

Offering fun classes for the kiddos like Toddler Cirque, Circus Arts, Mini Ballet, Dancing and Tumbling plus Adult Aerial Silks and Adult Ballet, this studio on Beach City Road had a full monthly schedule of events for the entire family. Also offering weekly summer camps. Drop in rates available for the day.

move and motionmove and motion1

See the most up to date schedule here:

21 Cardinal Rd, Suites 104/105/106



Island Rec Center

Located on the north end of Hilton Head Island, the Rec Center has the Island’s only covered playground. This mean, even in the rain, your kids can still play!

rec center playground

The Rec Center also offers kids camps, teen excursions, parents night out and more. Check with your concierge or call them below for details on all their programs.

20 Wilborn Rd

(843) 681-7273


Art Café

In its new locations, across from Reilley’s Plaza – just outside the Sea Pines Resort front gate, The Art Café offers paint your own pottery for children, teens and adults in an artistic setting. Take home a piece of the Island with your very own treasure – painted right here on Hilton Head!

art cafe

14 Greenwood Drive


Adventure Cove Indoor Arcade

The Island’s only indoor arcade, situated mid-island where Folly Field and 278 meet, behind Carrabbas. This family friendly place offers tweens and teens all sorts of arcade and games to play. Great place for birthday parties and definitely a Hilton Head rainy day hot spot. Outside there is a miniature golf course.

adventure cove

18 Folly Field Road



Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn

Featuring a children’s room with books, soft play items, a live turtle – along with rotating exhibits throughout the indoor part of the museum. Educational and fun! For the kids interested in history – on display now – Mitchelville.



Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn

70 Honey Horn Dr
(843) 689-6767



The Sandbox, An Interactive Children’s Museum

This educational hands-on museum has the cutest infant/toddler room where babies have access to a soft playspace and moms can take a nursing break in the rockers. It is fenced in, so if you have a new roamer, this is an excellent place for them to spread their wings without getting too far away. A small playground and other soft toys round out this area.

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DSC_0241 sandbox climing wall sandbox pirate

The Sandbox is a great place to play, explore and learn about the Lowcountry in a hands-on, interactive environment. A pirate ship, sandbox, building area, art lounge and learners reading and design loft round out the experience for toddlers and youth.

Daily learning programs are free with admission, such as DIG (Discover, Imagine, Grow) and weekly camps in the summertime are offered as well. Parent’s night out – Kids night in, is another popular drop-off/play program that allows for parents to have a date night. Here on a first Friday of the month? Come to the Sandbox for their Friday Fun Nights sponsored by The Bargain Box! Find a schedule of events and programs on their website on the link below.

The Sandbox, An Interactive Children’s Museum

70 Pope Ave, next to St. Andrew By The Sea Church


Paid admission


Main Street Lanes

The Island’s largest full-service bowling alley, located off of Main Street on Hilton Head Island.

2600 Main St
(843) 681-7750



Black Market Minerals

Located in Coligny, Black Market Minerals is a cool place for children, teens and tweens to find various beads, rocks, crystals and other fun items.  Grab some beads and make your own anklets, bracelets, earrings and more! They sell everything you need to make your very own Hilton Head jewelry. Check out the various fossils while you are there – a quick science lesson for the kids!

1 N Forest Beach Dr
(843) 785-7090


Station 300

What fun you will find in Bluffton! Located off of Buckwalter Parkway, Station 300 is a newer indoor arcade and bowling alley – along side of Zepplin’s Restaurant and Bar.  Reserve lanes online here!

25 Innovation Drive

Buckwalter Place

Bluffton, SC 29910

843-815-BOWL (2695)


Theater –

The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina offers daily programs in the summer for kids as well as Broadway quality shows at night. Click for details.

Main Street Youth Theater has special summer programs and productions. Click for details.


We have three movie theaters on Hilton Head and one in Bluffton –

Northridge Movie Theater

Park Plaza Movie Theater

Coligny Theater – shows independent and rare films

Sea Turtle Cinemas


Restaurants with indoor playspaces –

McDonalds on Hilton Head

Burger King on Hilton Head

McDonalds in Bluffton

Chick Fil A in Bluffton


See – so there IS plenty to don on Hilton Head when that rain comes – so enjoy your rainy day fun and all the Lowcountry has to offer!!! For a full list of family activities on Hilton Head Island, look here! 

Or view all the family blog ideas here! 

Enjoy your family fun vacation on Hilton Head Island! Send your suggestions or pictures to @visithiltonhead or @heatherrath on twitter!



Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival Returns!


Visit Hilton Head Island during the 2014 Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival! logo

One of Hilton Head Island’s best local events takes place March 30th – April 5th….The Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival combines a love for the water, food, music and family and honors the memory of Islander, David M. Carmines.

andrew carmines joe cain

Andrew Carmines from Hudson’s and Joe Cain from The Island Rec Center rock their oyster and crab hats!


Carmines, son of Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks owners, Brian and Gloria Carmines and brother of Hudson’s General Manager, Andrew Carmines grew up on Hilton Head was stricken with cancer at a young age. In 2001, he passed away. This festival – presented by the David M. Carmines Memorial Foundation – honors his memory and his love for the water, and funds raised benefit the Island Rec Center Scholarship Fund, The American Cancer Society and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Clinic. Learn more about David here.



New PictureWhat started as a small seafood event with kayaking has turned into a full-fledged week of outdoor and culinary experiences. Join us on Hilton Head Island this April in celebrating our waterways, the festivals ongoing efforts (they have raised over $200,000 to date) and honoring the spirit of David Carmines!

From the website + my own local notes:

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

3:00 PM-7:00 PM

Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks

1 Hudson Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926


All You Can Eat Boiled Live Louisiana Crawfish and River Dog Brewing Co. Tap Takeover.

Exceptional craft beer brewed in Bluffton, South Carolina. Brewmaster Dan Baker and Josh Luman, Proprietor, will be at the restaurant with merchandise, prizes and most importantly the finest beers in the area. Beers include IPA, Red IPA, Kolsch, Chocolate Rye Porter and a surprise specialty brew all at discounted prices. Dan Baker, now head brewmaster at River Dog Brewing Co., has worked at legendary breweries including Deschutes Brewery in Oregon and Sweetwater Brewing Company in Atlanta.

$3 Mini Shrimp Po’ Boys

$4 Mini Oyster Po’ Boys

$8 Soft Shell Crab Po’ Boys (pending start of season)


$15 per person ALL YOU CAN EAT


(843) 681-2772 x100 before 5:00 PM

(843) 681-2772 x113 after 5:00 PM

Local Note: If you have not tried River Dog Brewing Company yet, this is a great time to start. With live music from Lowcountry Boil Bluegrass Band, the water views and the festival atmosphere, along with Hudson’s FANTASTIC po’boys – this event is a “can’t miss” and more-over, it’ll be fun!

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Monday, March 31, 2014

6:30 PM – Cocktail and Appetizer Reception

7:00 PM – Dinner

Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar

841 William Hilton Pkwy, Unit A South Island Square, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


Foodies mark your calendars and reserve your spot for this exclusive 7 course dinner with wine pairings.Enjoy local seafood with two of Hilton Head Island’s most innovative chef’s. Clayton and Patrick will impress with a fun, exciting menu, featuring the freshest local seafood available. Clayton and Patrick both enjoy pushing the culinary envelope, and this guarantees to be a memorable event. The menu will be spontaneous based on temperatures, tides, etc. All wines have been donated by Jean Pierre Chambas, cancer survivor and proprietor of Aleph Wines.


7 courses with wine pairings $80 per person

60 seat limit

Call (843) 681-3474 to reserve

Local Note: Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar is the Island’s new “hot” restaurant boasting a menu that changes daily with eclectic and interesting ingredients. Think fried chicken skins, bone marrow, fresh oysters and homemade sweet potato ice cream J….a sort of Chef Hugh Acheson type-place with an emphasis on southern, seafood and local! A friend of mine and her husband just had a date night there that they described as “the best meal of their life” ….and I can testify, it’s remarkable. Owners grew up on the Island as well – which always adds a nice local touch.


Tuesday, April 1 and Wednesday, April 2, 2014

3:00 PM

Picks up at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks

1 Hudson Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926


Two of the Lowcountry’s foremost watermen, Christopher and Matthew Shoemaker, will take a few lucky islanders on a 2 hour excursion. The trip will include instruction on shrimping, oystering, clamming, and crabbing. Christopher and Matthew will demonstrate the skills required to “put food on the table”. After the work is done, guests will have their catch prepared at Hudson’s and will enjoy the fruits of their labor. Time might vary based on tide conditions.


$35 per person includes a complimentary soft beverage or draft beer at the restaurant. Limited availability. Call Christopher at (843) 304-2878 to reserve.

Local Note: So I think this is pretty much the coolest experience you can have as a visitor or resident on Hilton Head Island! Journey onto our waterways – learn the art of shrimping – the technique of oystering – the sturdiness of clamming – and how to crab – what a true honor to the Seafood Festival. Sign up early as this will sell out!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

6:30 PM

Picks up at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks

1 Hudson Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926



Probably the most unique event of the week, sushi master Di Wang, will prepare sushi aboard the Tammy Jane, while Captain John navigates the picturesque waters surrounding Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Di trained in California under Nobu Matsuhisa and is truly a wizard with sushi. Di will prepare an “Omakase” or “chef’s choice” menu, utilizing the finest local and imported fresh seafood. Local oysters, fish along with favorites like sea urchin, lobster and more, will be served as the sun melts into the Intracoastal Waterway. Wine and sake will be provided by Ben Arnold Beverage. In case of inclement weather, the cruise will take place on Thursday, April 3. This event is extremely limited on space, so please reserve now.


10 courses with wine and sake $140 per person

Call (843) 681-2772 x100 to reserve. Only 20 spots available!

Local Note: This is a treat and a treasure having this talent and this kind of dinner on our local waterways! Sign up asap as space is limited as with only 20 spots available – this will sell out!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Shelter Cove Community Park

39 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


Held at Shelter Cove Community Park, the evening will have several restaurants serving up their seafood specialties and other tasty cuisine, live entertainment by Deas-Guyz and a Kids Zone. Stop by after work with the whole family and enjoy the outdoors with beer, wine, great food and dancing.

Deas-Guyz features an entertaining mix of Old Motown, Rhythm and Blues, Pop, Rock, Reggae and Dance beats. The range of musical selections includes Motown sounds of the Temptations, The Drifters, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye; Bob Marley classics; the Lover’s Rock style of Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown; to the Hip-Hop sounds of Lauren Hill and R. Kelly.


Admission is $6. Free for kids under 10.

Food/beverages available for purchase

(843) 681-7273

Local Note: Always fun for families, the Kids area features bouncy houses, castles, crab races and more. Plenty of food on-site to grab dinner and drinks with music from legendary locals, Deas-Guyz.  Family friendly and community atmosphere…plenty of bike parking too!

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Shelter Cove Community Park

39 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


Held at Shelter Cove Community Park, the family friendly event features area restaurants/chefs serving up seafood specialties and other tasty cuisine, live entertainment by The Headliners, a Kids Zone, a silent auction, famous crab races, and more. Participating restaurants include Alexander’s, American Culinary Federation, Black Marlin, Bluffton Oyster Co., The Chart House, Cool Breeze, The Crazy Crab, Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, Island Kettle Corn, The Old Oyster Factory, Pinot Gelato, Red Fish, Skull Creek Boathouse and Street Meet. Music by The Headliners. Whether your preference is Big Band, the Classic 50′s and 60′s Rock and Roll, Beach Music, Motown, Disco Hits from the 70′s to Hits from the 90′s, get ready to dance!


Admission is $6. Free for kids under 10.

Food/beverages available for purchase

(843) 681-7273

Whether you are a visitor or a local, join the David M. Carmines Family and their Foundation in honoring their son and raising money for cancer while enjoying all that Hilton Head Island has to offer. From culinary delights, to exciting excursions to a family friendly festival, there’s so much to do during the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival – come join us!

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10 Things To Do On New Year’s Eve in Hilton Head and Bluffton!

Looking for the best New Year’s Eve activities on Hilton Head Island? Interested in partying down in Bluffton? The Lowcountry is full of New Years Eve entertainment – whether you are looking for something family-friendly or perhaps adults only -  just peek below!

1)      New Years Eve Ball Drop with The Sea Pines Resort in Harbour Town – With two ball drops, one at 7pm for the kids and one at midnight for the after-hours revelers, there’s plenty to do, eat and see along the Harbour for this annual event. Grab drinks at Harbourside Café or The Crazy Crab, enjoy the lights of the boats and celebrate with a dinner at the world-famous Quarterdeck. Click here for more details!

Photo from GoGated Realty

Photo from GoGated Realty

2)      Crab Pot Drop at Old Town Dispensary – one of our absolute FAVORITE place to hang in Bluffton – their food is incredible – will be hosting a Crab Pot Drop for New Year’s Eve. Come with the dogs, the kids or just yourself to this local tavern and eatery. Find out more details on their facebook page.

3)      The Sandbox Children’s Museum “Noon” Year’s Eve event – this annual event at our local children’s museum is a ball. With games, bouncy houses and this year “snow” – the little ones will have a blast….with a ball drop at NOON! Click here for more information!

4)      New Year’s Eve at The Omni Oceanfront Hotel – Dine to a Prix Fixe Dinner with music by David Bohn for just $75 per person with free admission to XO Lounge. Candace Woodson & The Domino Theory Band will be rocking the Lounge from 9pm till 1am with a Champagne Toast! Details here!

5)      Get Wild with Cranford Hollow – formerly Cranford and Son’s, this legendary Lowcountry band is making their way back to Hilton Head Island following a three week tour of Colorado. Join them on New Year’s Eve with NO COVER at Wild Wing Café on Hilton Head for their boot-stompin’, gritty, dance all night style of music. Listen to them here.  

6)      Trattoria Divina’s Elegant New Year’s Eve Dinner – Trattoria Divina, located in Park Plaza will be hosting a special menu for December 31st, including Veal Chop, Chilean Sea Bass, Seafood Lasagne and their famous Black Truffle Ravioli. Featuring hundreds of wines hand selected by the owners themselves during their travels and one of the most creative chef’s on Hilton Head, this will be a dinner that you won’t forget. Find out more here.

trattoria divina

7)      Bar Hop at The Triangle, aka Reilley’s Plaza – Featuring Reilley’s Grill & Bar, One Hot Mama’s, The Lodge, The Hilton Head Brewing Company, The Boardroom and Jump and Phil’s – there’s something for everyone. Ring in the new year with DJ and dancing at One Hot Mama’s and a champagne toast at midnight! Check in with all the other bars on facebook to see what’s happening!

There will be plenty of New Years Eve fun at The Triangle!

There will be plenty of New Years Eve fun at The Triangle!

8)      Reilley’s Grill and Bar Annual New Year’s Eve Dinner – The Reilley family hosts a great New Year’s Eve dinner each year, featuring a four course menu for just $30 per person. Choice of appetizer, caprese salad, beef tenderloin, prime rib or grilled salmon for dinner and chef’s choice dessert – this is an easy way to enjoy New Year’s Eve.

9)      Ring in the New Year at The Skull Creek Boathouse – Located on Skull Creek, this waterfront landmark restaurant will have the Zack Stillner Band featuring Chris Stevens playing on the deck, $3 Red Stag shots, $4 Jim Beam cocktails and a champagne toast at midnight! Find out more on the Skull Creek Boathouse facebook page.

Skull Creek Boathouse New Years Eve!

Skull Creek Boathouse New Years Eve!

10)      Zepplins Restaurant at Station 300 Bowling Alley & Entertainment Center in Bluffton – Offering up both family-fun all day with a bowling and pizza package and adult-fun at night. For the adults, starting at 8pm for just $26.95, you’ll enjoy a Prime Rib Dinner, music by local classic rock and country band, The Chiggers and a Champagne Toast at midnight. Want something a little more family friendly? Try the Station 300 pizza and bowling packages running all day and night – starting at 10am, 3pm, 5:30pm and 9pm! Click here for their packages and prices!

No matter what fun you have this New Year’s Eve on Hilton Head or in Bluffton, remember to make responsible choices and always use a cab or designated driver! View a list of companies currently listed on YELP here.


P.S. – To really ring in the New Year on Hilton Head Island like a “local”, make your way over to The Palmetto Bay Sunrise Cafe for their annual New Years Day Pajama Brunch. Friendliest service, great mimosas and a Crabcake Benedict that is out of this world awesome! All in the comfort of your jammies! Enjoy!

P.P.S! Just announced – Join the Skull Creek Boathouse for their 2nd chance New Year’s Eve Party on January 18th! Yep, you heard that right – 2nd chance! Featuring drink specials and music by Cranford Hollow – what fun! Click for more details! 

Making Lowcountry Holiday Crafts

There are some things that are just uniquely “Lowcountry”….that no matter where you are in the world – you know right away belongs on Hilton Head Island. One of those things is the Oyster Shell. We are so blessed with a healthy harvest of Oysters right in our backyard and the beds produce beautiful, shiny pieces that can be turned into art.

A few of my stay-at-home-mom friends get together and craft each week with their kids. I watch the facebook photos post with an enviable eye as they display Colt’s – Jordan’s – Donovan’s – Caleb’s little turkeys, turtles, trees and more.  I’ve tried making it to the craft group (to no avail); however I am grateful as my little Gray (3 years) is always bringing home projects from school.

Last week, I asked my uber-crafty girlfriend Amanda to create some Oyster Shell Angels, made with Lowcountry Oysters and Spanish Moss, to share with ya’all. She, Donovan (3 years) and Arli (1 year) sat down and created these delightful angels that are truly uniquely Hilton Head.

Items you will need:

  • Oyster Shells
  • Spanish Moss (wash in very hot water to get rid of bugs, boiling is better)
  • Burlap
  • Round Ball for Head
  • Paint & Sharp Pens for Face
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Sandpaper

I picked up some oyster shells for her on the side of the road – truly :) . If you are on Hilton Head, head down to Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks and grab some from there, or in Bluffton – the Bluffton Oyster Factory (or, of course, by the side of the road.)

oyster shells


Amanda started by pulling down spanish moss and washing the oyster shells.  If needed, take some sandpaper to smooth out the shell of its natural ragged edges.

Next she prepared the head using a wood ball and her intricate painting skills!

amanda crafty


She glued on the burlap wings and Spanish moss hair – with Donovan’s help of course!

oyster shell glue

You can use a hot glue gun – here Donovan is using a glue stick.

oyster shell ornaments 1

And wow – check out the finished product – your very own Lowcountry Spanish Moss and Oyster Angel!

finished angel

Just Beautiful On The Tree! Thanks Amanda!

oyster shell ornaments

Check out this holiday ornament from the Harbour Town Lighthouse store – so cute!

harbourtown lighthouse


Another ever-popular Lowcountry tradition is Oyster Shell Wreath. A few years ago, I had an Oyster Shell Wreath making party on my front porch. I invited about 10 girls over on a Thursday night, popped open the wine and we went on a hot glue rampage.  Needless to say, we had a lot of laughs and a *few* finished Oyster Wreaths but all in all – a ton of fun.

Here’s what you need to make your own Oyster Shell Wreath -

  • Cheap black hose tubing – ask for it at Lowes or Home Depot
  • Buckets of oyster shells – I get mine from the Bluffton Oyster Company – you can buy an entire tub full for approx. $20 – and they load them into the tub for you! You obviously don’t need that many unless you are hosting a party :)
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Duct Tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Ribbon to Hang
  • Bleach

Loop the hose around twice creating your “wreath” size – cut at appropriate spot and Duct Tape around the tubing to hold it in place.

Photo From

Photo From

Wash the oysters with bleach and a powerful hose and/or in a colander in your sink. Reminder – these oysters will stink to high-heaven so you may want to wash outside.

Wait a few days – let them sit outside in the sun

oyster shells

Then arrange them on the tubing/duct tape to your satisfaction – you will find the tubing and the shells are uneven, and that is OK. It’s like putting together a puzzle – piece by piece you will find the ones that fit best. Also, only glue one side as you want the flat tubing to be against the door.

When you have it all laid out, simply start gluing down! And here is your finished product!

Lowcountry Oyster Wreath!

Lowcountry Oyster Shell Wreath!

Look at this beautiful one that hangs on the door at my friend Rhonda’s home near the May River. So “Lowcountry” — I just adore it!

oyster wreath

If you are not feeling that adventurous – feel free to stop by the retail store at J Banks Design where they have this beautiful Oyster Shell Christmas Tree. Talk about gorgeous!

Oyster Shell Xmas Tree

Here’s some additional photos of my mommy-friend craft group. Love these girls and their kiddos! Happy Holidays from Hilton Head!

colt christmas tree

Making Christmas Trees!

Making Christmas Trees!


Top 10 Holiday Events on Hilton Head Island & Bluffton

In our family, celebrating the holidays on Hilton Head starts the Friday after Thanksgiving and carry thru to New Years Day. It is 30+ days of total Christmas bliss on Hilton Head Island  building amazing family memories.

Throughout December we attend as many functions as we can to celebrate the Holidays, including weekend activities in Harbour Town, at Shelter Cove Community Park and in Downtown Bluffton.

Christmas Eve day always starts with a walk on Pickney Island or a visit to The Sandbox Children’s Museum and ends with happy hour on the deck at Reilley’s Bar & Grill. Christmas Day includes an afternoon playdate with friends or a trip to the beach. And New Years Eve is notoriously fun for the kids with the 7pm ball drop at Harbour Town in Sea Pines!

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my families Hilton Head traditions – below is a list of fun holiday activities in the Lowcountry for all ages!

Top 10 Holiday Events on Hilton Head & The Lowcountry:

1)      Holiday Lights at the Hilton Head Fire Station – Started years ago when a few firefighters strung some lights outside the firehouse, this is now known locally as the first place to go on Hilton Head when it’s time for Holiday lights. With luck, you’ll see a firetruck too! We were there on their “official” opening night the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the cars were already lined up!  Located next to First Presbyterian Church and across from Port Royal Plantation on Hilton Head Island. Free to attend.

Find outstanding lights at the Fire Station located next to First Presbyterian Church and across from Port Royal Plantation

Find outstanding lights at the Fire Station!


Public Art Sculpture

Photo: WDM

2)     Community Art at Honey Horn – While the Community Art Project is not Holiday- based, this is a GREAT way to spend the day appreciating the Lowcountry. The exhibit displays 20 large-scale pieces on the property from local and national artists. Plus, I love taking Gray there to see the Marsh Tacky Horses, where he can run off some energy. Spend the afternoon walking the property and stop by the store for local gifts like Sweet Grass Baskets, tea, honey and other goodies. On display till December 31st – don’t miss this at Honey Horn!  Free to attend.

Public Art Snail

3)      Christmas Shopping In Downtown Bluffton & The Bluffton Christmas Parade – Stroll the streets from the Promenade to Calhoun searching for the perfect Lowcountry gift. You will find everything from local art to pottery to baked goods to books – all with a local, Lowcountry feel. Make sure to stop by the Dispensery for a hot-toddie or The Cottage for a stocking-stuffer gift certificate!  Mark your calendars for Saturday the 7th as the Bluffton Christmas Parade kicks off, bringing thousands of people to downtown Bluffton while the route wraps around the historic moss covered oak roads. Start time, 11am.

Santa Bluffton Christmas Parade

Photo: Bluffton Today

4)      See what’s going on at Sea Pines! The Sea Pines Resort has holiday activities going on each day, with Holiday Lights starting the day after Thanksgiving. Decorated to the max with Christmas cheer the resort is featuring a store window competition, the movie “Polar Express”, bonfire pits, smores, a Gregg Russell performance, Polar Bear Swim and more! Check out their calendar for a full list of events. And make sure to mark your calendar for the Sea Pines Resort signature event of the season, the ball drop ceremony at Harbour Town. Fun for the kiddos and parents, the golf “ball” drop on New Years Eve from the Harbour Town lighthouse is always a great time, packed with young families and Hilton Head revelers. The golf “ball” drops at both 7pm and midnight for those young and old.  $5 gate entry into Sea Pines. Free to attend most events.

Photo: The Sea Pines Resort

Photo: The Sea Pines Resort

5)      Lowcountry Holiday Happenings at Coastal Discovery Museum – Friday, December 6th from 10am till 1pm at Honey Horn.  Meet local Hilton Head authors Kathryn Wall, Mary Whyte, Barbara Muller, Island Writers Network, Janet Garrity, Patricia Bee, Stephen Hoffius, Marvin Bouknight and Wanda Lane and have them autograph your Lowcountry book! Food from We Island Gumbo (they have the BEST gumbo) will be available to sample and purchase. Pick up a hostess gift for your holiday party or a take a Sweet Grass Basket Making class. See the full list of events here.  Free to attend, classes are additional.

6)      Island Rec Center Winter Wonder Festival – Saturday, December 7th from 4pm till 8pm at Shelter Cove Community Park.  Featuring a Children’s Parade, Candy Cane Hunt, Winter Hayride, Carnival Games and of course, Gray’s favorite, Bouncy Houses! Admission is $10 for kids 2-15, free for parents and all the proceeds go to the Island Rec Center Scholarship Fund. Click here. 

Island Rec Center Winter Wonder Festival

7)      Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl – Saturday, December 14th 5:30pm till 2am. Started as a grassroots event 6 years ago by a handful of Hilton Head locals, this has grown to host over 100 people! Locals Beth Doudoukijan, AnnTalley Lauderdale, Neil Castellane and many others organize the bars to accommodate the slew of locals and visitors donned in ugly sweater gear. Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl koozies available for $5 with all proceeds going to Lowcountry Autism Foundation. Plus this year, bring a pair of flip flops for Food Network Star and owner of One Hot Mama’s, Orchid Paulmeier to take back to the Philippines, “Flip Flops for the Philippines”….event starts at 5:30 at Captain Woody’s and will finish at 11pm at the Board Room. Cab companies will be on hand. Bring lots of cash for cabs and drinks! Full schedule and more info here!

ugly sweater bar crawl crowd

8) Santa at the Bluffton Promenade hosted by Captain Woody’s - Friday, December 6th starting around 5pm – come visit with Santa after the Town of Bluffton Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Captain Woody’s will host free bouncy houses, free face painting and “The Grinch That Stole Christmas” at 6:30pm on the lawn. Bring blankets and chairs. Get a picture with Santa and grab dinner or a hot-toddie from Captain Woodys!

taste of the lowcountry gift basket

Taste of the Lowcountry Gift Basket

9)      Shop Local on The Water – Featuring a slew of locally made gifts to satisfy the most discerning gift receiver, The Skull Creek General Store is your place to pick up that “unique” item. From hand-carved oyster shuckers from Charleston to local hand towels to organic chocolate made in Savannah (featured in Garden & Gun Magazine) to Skull Creek Boathouse hot sauces and gift packs – this is a great place to shop local. Stop by for lunch and leave with your holidays all wrapped up – yes, complimentary gift wrapping with your purchases! Free valet parking for the restaurant and general store make for an easy shopping and dining experience! And new in 2013 – sip and shop each night from 4-7pm. Complimentary wine or champagne while you peruse the store. Visit them on facebook here:

Ornaments made with local oysters and spanish moss

Ornaments made with local oysters and spanish moss

The Ultimate Guys Gift Basket!

The Ultimate Guys Gift Basket!

10)      Join in the Jingle Jingle Fun at the Jingle Run! Saturday, December 21st at 9am. This 5k Run and Health Walk on and around the Hilton Head Hospital Campus encourages participants to dress in the Christmas Spirit! Look for plenty of reindeer and Santa’s during this community event. Registration and more information here.

jingle run

Last – you can find Santa at the following locations on Hilton Head Island and Bluffton!

December 7, 14 & 21: Bring the family to Main Street Village and visit Santa Claus from 12-2 p.m.

Every Friday & Saturday at South Beach Inn, see Santa sponsored by the Salty Dog! 3-7pm

Friday, December 6th from 6-8pm have your picture taken with Santa at the Liberty Oak Tree in Harbour Town with donations going to Deep Well.









Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks!

One of the most blessed parts about the Lowcountry is the sense of community among Hilton Head Island visitors and locals alike.  This is displayed each year at the Community Thanksgiving Dinner hosted at Hilton Head Island favorite, Hudsons Seafood on the Docks.  

Photo credit to

Photo credit to

Take a break this year from the kitchen because this community –wide celebration of neighbors and family is celebrating its 15th year and YOU ARE INVITED!

Join with others to celebrate Thanksgiving on Hilton Head

Join with others to celebrate Thanksgiving on Hilton Head

Established in 1999 by Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks owner Brian Carmines, Betsy Doughtie, Executive Director of The Deep Well Project and members of the St. Andrew By-The-Sea Methodist Church, this volunteer driven community Thanksgiving hosted 500 people in the first year and has grown to over 1600 people in attendance.  The meal is free, and if you choose to donate, all money goes to The Deep Well Project.  In addition to guests, more than 400 volunteers show up to seat, clean, cook, hostess and join others in festively noshing with friends and family. Some families even make it part of their holiday tradition of service with even the littlest ones “helping” out.  Click here to volunteer.

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available at this Community Thanksgiving!

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available at this Community Thanksgiving!

So if you are interested in joining our community for Thanksgiving – or in giving back by volunteering at this amazing Hilton Head Island event, please call 843.505.1370 or visit Meals will be served family style from 11am till 3pm and menu items including Turkey, Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Cornbread Stuffing and of course the Lowcountry staple, Collards.  Click here for the full menu.

Photo from St. Andrew By-The-Sea Methodist Church

Photo from St. Andrew By-The-Sea Methodist Church

Donations are always appreciated at the Community Thanksgiving to support The Deep Well Project, a privately funded organization which has assisted Islanders helping Islanders for over 40 years. Learn more about them and their holiday needs here.

Details at a glance:

15th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Thursday, November 28th 2013

11am – 3pm – family style

The dinner will be hosted at Hudsons Seafood on the Docks and is being organized by St. Andrew By-The-Sea Methodist Church.

Dinner is free, donations are accepted and will benefit The Deep Well Project

You can also display this poster to spread the word about the event – click here!

This Community Event would be possible without the help from the sponsors:

hudsons logo

st andrew logo

Click here for a full list of sponsors and their stories.

Family Friendly LoCo Motion Is Back!

Join Gray and myself on Sunday, September 29th with our friends to walk for breast cancer screening, treatment and research! Register here! Follow LoCo on Facebook too!

The wait is over! All three 10-mile routes for the 2013 LoCo Motion walk breast cancer fundraiser are now posted online. For the big reveal, go to


Every street, sidewalk and sandy shore of the three-day, 30-mile trek, sponsored by Beaufort Memorial Hospital are marked on maps to give participants and idea of the path they will be taking when the parade of pink rolls through Hilton Head & Callwassie Island Sept. 27-29.

The fun begins Sept. 26 with the LoCo Community Kickoff and Packet Pickup Party at Skull Creek Boathouse. Participants get in free, but space is limited so you’ll need to RSVP ASAP. Guests are welcome to join the party for just $10.

Along with great munchies, enjoy live entertainment and a cash bar. On-site registration also will be available for last-minute walkers and runners.

LoCo packets will be distributed from 5:30 to 9 p.m. For participating in the event, you’ll receive a T-shirt, bib and assorted goodies. If you can’t make the kick-off party, you can pick up your packet at the start lines from 7 to 8 a.m. on each day of the event.


The first day of the walk/run begins seaside at the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort. The course then moves through the beautiful Palmetto Dunes Resort before turning south to Coligny and South Forest Beach. The last two miles will put walkers and runners back on the beach to the Omni’s Shorehouse for a rousing celebration complete with food, drinks and music.


“To keep it interesting, we’ve changed the course to take us through some different neighborhoods,” said LoCo event organizer Laura Morgan. “The streets we chose are easier to follow and very scenic.”


Because the Callawassie leg of the event was so popular last year, Day 2’s course will remain the same. Residents of the country club community are already organizing block decorations and welcome parties to cheer participants as they cruise through the neighborhood, designated a Community Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

As they finish the 10-mile jaunt, participants will gather at Callawassie’s marshside clubhouse for cold drinks, snacks and music by The Chiggers.


The final day’s course will bring the festivities back to Hilton Head Island for everyone’s favorite “beach day”. But this year’s route will start at Chaplin Park and move to the shore on the second mile. It will be low tide that Sunday morning, providing participants with plenty of hard-packed sand to march across. A pink party will follow at the Omni’s beachfront pavilion.


For more information or to sign up for LoCo Motion, visit the event website. You can also sign up for email blasts too. Paper registration forms also are available at all CoastalStates Bank branches.


Click below to hear stories of survivors.



Encourage your child to play tennis on Hilton Head Island with Tennis Camp!

Looking for a fun, engaging activity for your kids on Hilton Head Island? Get them started playing tennis at a young age through one of Hilton Head Island’s Kids Tennis Camps.

For the younger kids, ages 4 to 10, Van Der Meer’s QuickStart Tennis Day Camp gives an exciting introduction into tennis skills and game play. The customized program brings the game to the kids’ level, allowing them to progress more efficiently. The use of size appropriate equipment and courts makes the game more exciting, with them getting to see their progress from day one.

Held under the Tennis Center’s covered courts, the camp is a great way to have the kids outdoors and getting exercise, without worrying about too much exposure to the sun. It gets the kids moving, improves balance, agility and hand-eye coordination, and can teach self-confidence and self-assurance.

hilton head tennis

hilton head kids tennis campsWhat makes VDM stand out is their one-on-one interaction with each of the campers. Even with 35-40 campers each day, the coaches get to know each child and help guide them through the program. The campers are enthusiastically greeted by Coach Mike, Coach Sally and Coach Hank each morning and led to their skill group to start off play for the day. The coaches give extra attention to the shy campers (my daughter being one of them) by giving the support and reassurance they need to make starting a new camp fun (and leaving mom and dad a lot less intimidating.)

The camp is broken into 3 groups, according to skill level, allowing the more advanced players to continue to grow. The youngest group starts the day by forming small groups of 2-3 and taking turns returning balls tossed over by their coaches. They then move on to strength and coordination exercises. In their groups, they zig-zag through obstacles, jump over cones and scramble to see who can get the most tennis balls back to their hoop. The kids are rewarded at the end of the day for their good behavior and keeping focus with small prizes that they are so proud to show to their parents.

hilton head tennis camp at vdm

Racing through the obstacle course.

hilton head tennis for kids

One of the kids’ favorite games-catching all the tennis balls tossed in the air and getting them back to their team’s circle.

The middle group works more on their tennis game by playing mini-games, rotating partners. Using smaller racquets and balls that bounce lower and move slower on a smaller tennis court, it gives the kids more success in their games, which in turn gives them the confidence to keep progressing. The kids learn the rules of the game and keeping score, as well as the hardest lesson, which is winning and losing graciously.

hilton head kids tennis

The middle group playing short one-on-one games.

The most advanced group in the QuickStart camp plays full-court singles and doubles games. Even though the kids in this group are all 10 or under, their tennis skills rival many adults that I’ve seen, including myself. It’s amazing to watch kids at such a young age be able to play with such prowess. It also gives the kids in the beginning groups a glimpse at what they, as kids, can do with practice.

It’s not all tennis all day; the kids also create arts and crafts, play dodge ball, soccer, hockey, and even cool off after the long day by soaking each other with water guns and playing in water buckets.

Hilton Head QuickStart Tennis at Van Der Meer

Van Der Meer’s QuickStart Tennis Camp for Kids Ages 4-10

Van Der Meer Tennis was founded by legendary coach, Dennis Van der Meer. He taught the graduated length method throughout his long career, and was instrumental in bringing a sponge ball to the mainstream of teaching in the United States.

Take advantage of this great tennis program that is offered while you’re on your next Hilton Head vacation. You can sign your kids up for all summer, a full week, or even just a day here or there. Tennis camp hours are 8:30am-2:30pm (with extended hours until 5pm for working parents.) Van Der Meer also offers QuickStart lessons in their Fall, Winter and Spring Sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays between 4-6pm. You can contact Van Der Meer at (843) 785-8388 or online at

There are also many other well-known tennis camps, clinics and lessons to take advantage of on Hilton Head Island.

Hilton Head Island Tennis
Ages: Tournament (Elite) Level Ages 10-18, Beginner/Intermediate/High School/Tournament Level Ages 10-18, Quick Start Ages 5-10
Offers Summer Camps and Private Lessons
Call: (843) 301-2113
Web site:

Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy
Call: (843) 686-1500
Web site:

Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
Ages: 4-17
Offers Clinics and Private Lessons
Call: (877) 567-6507
Web site:

Port Royal Racquet Club
Offer clinics (provides camps through Ivan Lendl)
Call: (843) 686-8803
Web site:

Sea Pines Racquet Club
Ages: Tiny Tots 4 to 6 years / Big Shots 7 to 8 years
Offers Summer Camp and Private Lessons
Call: (843) 363-4495
Web site:

Smith Stearns Tennis Academy
Ages: 5-8 or 6-10 depending on skill level and then 8-18
Offers Summer Camp and Private Lessons
Call: (843) 363-4789
Web site:

hilton head tennis

Learning to play while making new friends.

Water Fun Day On Hilton Head Island!

Trying to beat the heat on your next vacation to Hilton Head Island? Try out the Island Rec Center’s Water Fun Day sponsored by Wild Yogurt.

This fun-filled water logged adventure features bouncy houses filled with water, along with waterslides and more.  Water games, live music and food round out the party that is fun for all ages at Shelter Cove Park.  There are slides just for the little kids and taller ones for the big kids, with a safety guide stationed at each inflatable.

Just last week, we got Gray (2.5) to go down the slide – look at the scenic background of the marsh right behind him! You couldn’t ask for a better place to play outdoors on Hilton Head Island.

Water Fun Day is July 25 and August 8th from 4-7pm. Cost is $10 per child, parents are free. Proceeds benefit the Island Rec Center’s Scholarship Fund, guaranteeing that no child is denied access to recreation.  Concessions such as beer (for the parents), pizza, Wild Yogurt and more are for sale, so bring a blanket and make it a family picnic night.

We will see you on the slides!