The Bluffton State of Mind is Strong with Lori Austin!

“The View” by Marge Agin, who’s beautiful coffee table book featuring Bluffton, “Changing Tides”, helped inspire our contest! Photo courtesy of Marge Agin.

It’s a pleasure to announce that we have a winner of the Bluffton State of Mind contest! Beginning with our very first blog post last fall, we wondered (and asked), what would the newbie to Bluffton or better yet, the visitor, declare as their “Bluffton state of mind”?

Our winner, Lori Austin of Davenport, Florida told us that while she was first introduced to the area through Hilton Head Island, she now considers Bluffton to be a favorite spot in the Lowcountry for relaxing while on vacation. “Old Town just means ‘Lowcountry’ to me now”, she told me while lunching at The Cottage Bakery, Café & Tea Room. So without further ado, here is her winning entry:

What is your Bluffton State of Mind?

Relaxation all the way. No hustle, no bustle – just relaxing at The Cottage enjoying the best food around and the wonderful people! Sitting on the porch watching the world go by with my family and dog!”

– Lori Austin

Well, I don’t think anyone could say it much better Lori! As the contest winner Lori and her guests were treated to a delicious lunch at… where else? Yes, The Cottage. Joining in the fun was Lori’s sister, Jeanette who lives in Virginia and their father, Reverend Paul McCauley, hailing from just slightly up the road in North Carolina, and the honorable mayor of Bluffton, Lisa Sulka.

A group shot after our fabulous lunch. Center front is our winner Lori. She is flanked on the left by Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka and on the right by her father, Rev. Paul McCauley. In the back row is Leta Salazar of the Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber, Lori’s sister Jeanette and yes, me your Bluffton blogger.

It so happened that the day of our lunch was also Farmers Market day in Old Town so there was both great people watching and great food! The menu at the Cottage is formidable but we all jumped right into fresh fish tacos with local grouper, shrimp alfredo bowtie, grilled shrimp cobb salad and the grilled bread salad. Of course we were also welcomed with a couple of surcie platters of pimento cheese to start,

It was fun to get a visitors impression of Bluffton from Lori and her family. They truly adore the area and while they stay on the Island at Disney’s Resort there (Lori works for Disney Corporate down in Florida), and they’ve been around enough to know some about B-Town proper they are looking forward to learning more about our deep history and natural wonders. Of course I could not help but mention The Heyward House and encourage them to take a tour of the grounds and perhaps one of their Old Town walking tours, plus a casual mention of the supposed ghost residing on the property. And then there is the May River, best seen by kayak or boat, the outlet shopping at Tanger, art galleries (many with working artist studios), and the refined yet rugged luxury of Palmetto Bluff Resort.

The Cottage Bakery and Cafe is located in Old Town Bluffton along Calhoun Street. The quaint interior of this renovated cottage is only surpassed by their outstanding cuisine!

Of course, being the winner of the contest, Lori received a ‘virtual’ tour of Bluffton’s sites and the reminisces recalled by many local characters, found throughout the book Bluffton, Changing TidesThe Photography of Marge Agin. It is a lovely book, quite an ode to Bluffton and its people. Also Lori received a gift certificate to the women’s boutique Gigi’s, located next door to The Cottage, where I’m sure she found something stylish and unique to remember her special Bluffton extravaganza day!

Congratulations Lori and be sure to visit us often – keep that ‘Bluffton state of mind’ going strong, ya’ll!

The Cottage Bread Salad – topped with fresh local shrimp, just one choice on their expansive menu. Yum!