If you haven’t been to our island this year, we think you’ll be in for some surprises when you visit. Everywhere you turn things are looking …. better!
If you’ve been a regular island visitor you know Pope Avenue, it’s the main thoroughfare on the south end of the island, leading straight to the Coligny Beach Park, home of the famed Tiki Hut (see below, more good news). If you ever tried to ride a bike along the “paths” on Pope Avenue there was a good chance you could reach out and shake hands with the passenger in the car right next to you.
As of February new pathways opened with a big buffer between you and traffic. And the pathways are definitely done in “Hilton Head style.” They’re much wider and part of them go over wetlands on classy wooden bridges with safety railings capped in copper. Even though you’re ten feet from cars going by, you feel like you’re traveling through the wilds of the Lowcountry. What you won’t see are power lines overhead. They’ve been buried.
By this summer, you’ll also be able (if all goes as scheduled) to take a rest at the new Compass Rose Park. It features terraced plazas, sitting areas highlighted by a sculpture created by local artists, wall features and fountains. One of the original brass Compass Rose symbols that hung from the original Sea Pines gate (now the Ocean Gate) is part of the entrance fountain. This is the town’s first foray into public art. The park and its centerpiece, a statue of Charles Fraser, were designed to pay tribute to Sea Pines and the founder of the island’s first modern planned community.
While the fate of the much beloved beach bar is still up in the air (watch here for more news), it opened a few weeks ago to the cheers of many (younger) local residents. It is the first sign of spring on the island. The new owners of the Holiday Inn Oceanfront hotel, where the Tiki Hut is located haven’t announced what will happen to the beachfront landmark. Until then, volleyball anyone?
The island’s 25th St. Patrick’s Day Parade is scheduled for March 16 at 3:30 p.m. Can you make it?