We, here in Always Paradise Isle, have known all along that Hilton Head is tops when it comes to, well… just about everything to do with living life fully, stylishly, outdoors, under swaying palms, while slurping frozen libations, and wearing flip-flops, regardless of where we fall in the Conde Nast Travelers, Readers’ Choice rankings (#8 this year, for Islands in the United States, in case you were wondering).
And that’s because you can’t beat the off-season down here for motivating you to do just about anything outdoors (or, for seemingly endless good hair days). Or, for meeting locals and running into old friends that you thought had moved away, died, or were doing time in the can, because you haven’t seen them out and about in so long. This is the time of year to hook up with our old buddies and laugh (or cringe) about the old days on the island, and talk about how Hilton Head has evolved so well into the new millennium, while we, adjust ourselves to changing development, cultural needs, politics, and another huge growth- spurt in the vacation rental and hospitality industries.
The up-shot of all this is that, no matter what we are doing, or who we are bumping into from around town and around time, it’s happening on the beach, on the golf course, and on the tennis courts. Where else, in America, say you, is hometown so much fun?
When I went to college in New England, lo, those many moons ago, my friends all wanted to come visit my family with me. I was suddenly, very popular in the middle of snow-crusted winter, Rhode Island. While my college friends from the mid-west, and New England, had to go home to… well the mid-west, and New England for the holidays (I can’t name a mid-west town for an example in this blog, because then it would be like I’m saying Hilton Head is better than that town, which it’s not. It’s just warmer and on the beach, which to some people, may seem better, but that’s not what I’m saying, okay?), I got to fly home to a sunny resort, to visit my family. Then, I started dating Johnny D, who seemed to relish telling his friends he was going to Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage Golf Classic presented by Boeing every year (back then it was simply the Verizon Heritage, but we won’t split hairs), and that he had a perfect back deck view of the 11th tee, and all the pros walking by because his girl’s family lived right there on the course. And his friends would say, “Eh – oh! Who’s better than you, Johnny D?” And Johnny D would say, “Nobody, because my girl’s father also gets us passes for the tournament, and I get to eat beer dogs with Brad Faxon. How’s that?” (That last part is rhetorical).
And while I run into old friends on the beach with my beagle, Sam, I also meet new ones, like Peter Cooper, headmaster of Hilton Head Prep, while walking his dog, Vicki. This brings up great memories because Mr. Cooper is a friend of Clayton Lewis, who was the Dean of Sea Pines Academy, back in the day when Hilton Head Prep was known as Sea Pines Academy, which is a long way back and we don’t need to get specific about the years; suffice to say off-season on Hilton Head is not only great vacation time, it’s also great nostalgia for those of us who dare to look back. And, if you do dare, that is, you can take a look at the video we made last year to raise money for the HHPrep Alumni Fund.
You may recognize some islanders, you may see yourself, you might even cringe a little. Which is a good thing, because it means you cut your hair since then, and you probably don’t wear your add a bead necklace anymore. We had fun making this, and if you are a Sea Pines Academy, May River Academy, or Hilton Head Prep graduate reading this, we hope you enjoy the video.
And if you haven’t already, please go to HHPrep.Org, click on Alumni and start filling in your information. Really, I know it’s annoying to create these accounts and write your bio and all this stuff, but if you don’t, they have no choice but to identify you by the worst high school picture they have on file, and take a blind stab at where you are today, based on what you wrote when you were seventeen. It’s not always pretty, what they come up with, so do yourself and us a favor, and go to the Alumni portal (I know, it sounds like you’re going to step into a pod that shoots you backwards in time, like, “Step aside from the Alumni Portal, I MUST REVISIT the Christopher Cross years!”), and update your bio, so we all don’t think you really did peter out in rehab after chasing the Dead for ten years. And then, connect with everyone on Facebook. Yes, you must do that, too. Like, Tweet, and Pin; yes, you must.
And if you really want to impress us with your achievements since high school, how about contributing a pile of dough-ski to the Alumni Fund and make us all jealous. Like, wow, you made so much money, you can throw THAT much back at your alma mater? Eh – oh! Who’s better than you?