Pet-Friendly Hilton Head is Perfect Winter Retreat

Don't Wait For Me

What Are You Waiting For?

Hi!  Sam, again.  As you may, or may not know, Hilton Head Blog Angel has a new gig.  A gig that has absorbed her thoughts to herself, as well as in conversations with family and friends, AND her musings on our walks and beach days.  Obviously, she cannot handle both, a newspaper gig, and, a blog gig, otherwise she’d be plugging in some copy here a little more frequently than once every couple of months.  As it is, I gotta’ keep the machine rolling along like it’s well-oiled, so you guys don’t notice the big, widening gaps in between her blog posts.

Now, you may wonder, why it’s such a big deal, if she’s only writing a column twice a month – every other Monday – about Hilton Head, why then is it so difficult to handle that, AND  a blog?  Well, we were wondering that ourselves, me and Johnny D.  Like, how long does it take to think about a topic, and then write about it, and you only have to do that like, every two weeks, right? Well apparently, we shouldn’t have been wondering that stuff out loud in front of Blog Angel, because, being a fragile, creative, word artiste (as she describes herself on a good day), she is constantly misunderstood by us less-evolved neanderthals.   I really don’t know what she means when she says things like that, but Johnny D doesn’t appreciate it either.  So, we just get up and watch TV in the other room, so she can have her space to, you know, flesh out ideas, and create.

water fountains

A Fountain For Everyone In the Family

Which brings me to my promo.  Those of you who have pets, should ask them where they want to go, and I’ll bet they say, ‘Hilton Head, please!’  And do you know why?  Well, I’ll tell you why.  Two reasons: 1) Great, easy-to understand leash laws for the whole island, including beaches.  And most public places, you’ll see containers with signs offering plastic bags for free, while you’re walking your best friend, in case you forgot to bring your own.  They even set us up with showers and water fountains, here on Hilton Head Isle.

Hi George.

That’s My Man, George Evans. Always ready with a treat.

And b.) the people that work here love pets!  Can you believe it?  Everywhere I go with Mom or Johnny D, I get treats.  There’s even some restaurants that let you sit outside and eat with your dog, like they do in the Old Country.  Wherever that is.  In the mornings, when we walk the golf course, the Guys, like Steve and Grady and Joe, take care of me with biscuits.  They know how hard I work treeing squirrels, so the golfers can play through, undisturbed.  It’s not easy being me, down here.

Leaving Sam's scent

Back Roll in the Sand, Leaves a Good Scent for Everyone. Sam was Here!

I know it looks simple, but taking care of Hilton Head Blog Angel and Johnny D, is like, the hardest job you could ever ask for.  You don’t know what I’m up against. So, make sure you are nice to the security guards and the bag boys and caddies while you’re here, because they’ll all take care of you, while you’re here in the middle of the winter, sneaking a break from those crazy snow storms up north, east, and west.  Really.

Who’d ‘a thunk, it would be warm enough to hit the beach this past weekend, right?  But there I am, living large, happy to be here, sharing my scent with anything that will let me roll around backwards and bark.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

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A 2013 Wish From Sam, the Hilton Head Beagle Blogger

Sam the Beach Beagle

I’m Sam. Standing in for HHBlogAngel Today.

Hi.  My name’s Sam.  I’m subbing for BlogAngel today, because she’s sick with something called blog-writer’s block.  At least, that’s what she calls it.  If you ask me, it’s more like, laying-around-in-my-pajamas-with-an-attitude-in-the-middle-of-the-winter-writer’s block… but that’s just me.  What do I know, right?  I’m just a hound dog she sprung from the can a few years back, and nobody asks what I think about anything.  Now, I’m no Einstein, but I can tell you one thing, you aren’t going to burn up the tar to riches, sitting around in your pink, checkered pajamas, while the early birds are out there catching worms, and you’re just catching some more zzzzz’s (Johnny D says stuff like that when Mom’s moping around, and it really ticks her off).

So, I thought I’d sneak up here on this fun, swivelling chair, and take a stab at this writing thing, which, by the way, looks really booorrrrring to those of us who’d prefer to run around in crazy eights on the beach.

Hey. How hard can it be, right?

Sam and John type

This typing looks pretty easy…

You just sit here and push down on these keys, and you don’t even have to have opposable thumbs; I know, because when I need Johnny D’s attention, I have to stand on his desk and stare at him, and that’s when I see him typing with just his two index fingers, really slow-like (sometimes swearing in between the key punches, and sometimes shouting down to Mom – that’s BlogAngel – “How do you spell, mozzarella?“).  So I know, any idiot can do this writing thing.

Anyhooo… woops, i just hit an extra “o” on ‘hoo”.  Didn’t mean to do that.

So, I’m known around here as the Beach Beagle, but I didn’t start out as a ‘beach’ anything, because, well… I’m from Providence – which is a city in Rhode Island, a BIG city, the capitol city where Johnny D’s from, too – and to be truthful, I’m a beagle mix.  Which, really doesn’t mean anything, Mom says, except that the “mix” part of that label adds spice to my character.  She’s always saying stuff like that about me, because… well, Mom loves me.

I mean, REALLY loves me.  I know, I know, you think you love your dog as much as Mom loves me, but there’s no way… no.  She’s my soul mate.  I knew it the first day I laid eyes on her and she knew it, too.  We HAD to be together forever.  But, there was just one problem with our romance back then; see, I was living in the city shelter, on account of, I got cut loose by my hunting pack, and I kinda’ had a rough time of it for a while in those early years.  I got picked up a couple of times for stealing food, and both times, nice families came and bailed me out (with just a few dollars, called an adoption fee).  But, for some reason, I dunno… something about chewing, biting, baying (What the heck is baying anyway?), the families kept dumping me back in the can.  They were always sorry, but we had a good time, right?  Jeez!  How was I supposed to know that the rubber bone I was chewing while lying on Grandma’s lap, was an oxygen hose!  Who knew?  Why didn’t someone say, “Sam, don’t chew Grandma’s oxygen hose?” or,  “Here Sam, have a treat, Grandma needs the hose to breathe.”  No.  They just all assumed that because I was housebroken, I knew everything already.

So anyway, Mom had a husband named Johnny D, who would never, never, NEVER, allow a dog near their apartment because he thought they should own a house before getting a dog, and…  Okay, so I guess that’s two problems we had with our early romance; I was in the can, AND she had a husband.  Oh boy, when I say it that way, I don’t know how we ever made it this far – wait… quiet… I hear the key in the door –

Beagle and Johnny D

I’m Ready for My Goodnight Belly-Scratch & Smooch

Uh-oh, Mom’s coming, and I’m not supposed to be climbing up and all around the desk, so I’ll have to wind this up, quick;  I just want everyone to know, if you’re even thinking about a pet for your family, then please think about springing one of us out of the clink before shopping around the breeders and puppy mills.  We really appreciate it, and I was thinking last night while Mom was smooching my neck and scratching my belly (she does that after Johnny D. falls asleep on the couch while watching a movie), that if I had one wish for 2013, it would be that ALL my compadres from city shelters everywhere, could have what I have now.  Who would believe, after getting picked up for loitering in Cranston, Rhode Island four years ago, I’d be so lucky to be living here in the lap of luxury on Hilton Head Island, with a dizzy blonde cuddling me every night?

It just goes to show you – woops, here she comes.  Gotta go…

OKAY Mom, I’m done over here! … No, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and I did NOT chew that yellow sticky-pad on the floor over there… No… it was there, all chewed up like that before I even came into the room…

Hilton Head Humane Association

10 Humane Way, Hilton Head Island, SC  29926

843-681-8686

Providence Animal Rescue League

34 Elbow St., Providence, RI 02903

401-421-1399

 

Hilton Head Off-Season, Beats In-Season, All Day Long

Guys playing beach volleyball

Hilton Head Sports Enthusiasts Prepare for Winter

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).

Clayton sitting on the floor

Clayton Lewis, Dean, Sea Pines Academy, Back in the Day

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?

Hilton Head Wrack and Roll!

Seaweed, known as wrack.

Seaweed, known as wrack.

We are ever grateful that this island is home to so much carefully preserved and honored wildlife that we, the domesticated, evolved and reasoning creatures that we are, tend to step back on occasion screeching thusly…. “AAAGH!!! DID YOU SEE THE SIZE OF THAT SNAKE?”, forgetting for a moment that we have intruded upon their (their, being Nature that was here waayyyyyyyyy yonder before us), territory in recent years, which, if you measure in geologic time amounts to about the size of a quarter against the globe of 4.6 billion years, which is how long the earth has been in existence.  Apparently, they say we (we, as in humanoids) have been here only a short burp compared to the earth’s raging gastrointestinal offspring of dinasaurs, ice ages, and meteor she-bangs, and I believe them, (“Who?” You might ask is saying we are only a blip on the earth’s radar screen, if eons were measured as blips on radar screens, and I will answer, “people who have made it their business to research and dig in the dirt to prove and make us feel like we are an ego-driven, selfish race of species that will self-sabotage before any asteroid comes close to the widening hole in our ozone layer.”)

Neanderman seeking birdie

Neanderman seeking birdie

I mean really, we’ve got alligators (prehistoric), enormous, birds of prey that spread their wings and you think a seven-forty-seven is taking off from the lagoon at the 16th tee of the Sea Pines Club Course, some days. Turtles get bigger and bigger, and forget sea turtles… have you ever seen a loggerhead up close?  You’d think you maybe took a step back to the Pleistocene age sometimes when walking around our pristine and scenic sand dunes.

Which brings me to my point, believe it or not (I know you’re thinking, ‘is she ever going to get to the point, or what?’), which is that seaweed – also a prehistoric life form, but has not evolved much from then to now – a natural and necessary feature of our delicate ecosystem, sometimes crowds the beach after a super moon tidal party that does not involve us, except as spectators.  Having applied all my literary skills to describing this beautiful ocean algae that sustains invertebrates such as crabs and insects, as well as providing nesting for shorebirds, I shudder to call something so essential, accenting the beaches like eyebrows, gracing our shorelines, and harmless, as “wrack”, but there you have it.  That’s what it’s called. Wrack.

Having said all that above, I and my dog Sam, know the true purpose for wrack; Beach Beagle Back Scratcher!

Still Need Persuading? How About Riding in Your Convertible With the Top Down Across the Bridge to Hilton Head Island?

Driving Around Hilton Head With the Top Down in February

Driving Around Hilton Head With the Top Down in February

Now, you may be wondering why I didn’t just post a picture of myself driving across the bridge in my husband’s convertible with the top down, rather than Googling an image of movie stars to illustrate my point, and that would be a valid wonderment.  The answer to that is, I tried; but almost got pulled over by our overly alert police cruisers for weaving across the dividing lines while holding my smartphone out in the air like a self-absorbed bimbo taking her own picture of herself in order to show off on Facebook (three things I was going to show off; 1. my husband’s cool black Mercedes E350 A cabriolet, 2. my new hair-do which was whipping across my face, blinding me to on-coming traffic, and 3. how warm it is on Hilton Head Island in February that I can ride around in the car with the top down, smiling into my IPhone like an idiot).

Why didn’t my husband snap the picture, you ask in even more valid wonderment? Because Johnny D has not mastered the forward/backward face-time camera thingy on his smart phone, yet.  We are working on that and will regale our future guests and viewers with a video of Johnny using his smart phone to search The Vacation Company’s cool new mobile platform for a fabulous vacation rental that may also be included in our fabulous winter/spring specials offer, if we ever figure out how to use it.

Paris Hilton and Her BFF Ride in Her Pink Bentley Convertible With the Top Down, Not Anywhere Near Hilton Head Island.

Paris Hilton and Her BFF Ride in Her Pink Bentley Convertible With the Top Down, Not Anywhere Near Hilton Head Island.

Now, if you’re still reading this, stay with me because you will get a reward for being so trusting and patient. You can ride bikes, drive your convertible with the top down, play tennis & golf, and loll on the beach, right now on Hilton Head WITH  a discounted rate of $100/bedroom off your weekly vacation rental* between now and May 17, 2012.  Now that’s a deal, right? Check out our available properties, because spring is selling out quickly, what with Hilton Head being the second most favorite place to golf, voted by the Pros (GolfWorld Poll, January, 2012), right behind Augusta, and coincidentally, we follow immediately after the Masters tournament on the PGA tour schedule – April 9-15, 2012.  Is that a sign from above, or what!

Whew… What in the world will I yammer on and on about next week? Hilton Head is such a fun place, I want everyone to know about it.  So send this to your friends and family, Like us on Facebook and Twitter, and call us about our special vacation rentals, before they get scooped up by Paris Hilton’s fans who landed here by mistake.  NOW.

How Well Do You Know Your Island’s Hot Spots?

A Sunny Day on Hilton Head,  From a Different Angle.

     I am astounded by how often I pass a landmark or street sign on some part of Hilton Head that I’ve never seen before.  Living here off and on for over 35 years, visiting the island regularly no matter where I was living, how much could go unseen on an island 15 x 3 square miles, right?  Wrongo.  For example, if I ate out at a different restaurant every lunch and dinner for several months, I still wouldn’t have tried all the restaurants locally owned on Hilton Head – there are over 275.  In the same vein, you could ask every staff member at The Vacation Company the same where-to-go, what-to-do question, and you will get a different answer from each person; and you wouldn’t go wrong taking anyone’s advice!  That’s because there is something for everyone here.
     So, in the spirit of learning more about this island we love so well, HiltonHeadsUp.comwill post a photo like the one here, every so often, and ask readers to identify where the picture was taken on the poll to the right.

*** THE FIRST PERSON TO SELECT THE CORRECT PICTURE
POLL ANSWER TO THIS ONE WINS A GIFT CARD AT TRUFFLES CAFE! ***
     These will all be photos taken on Hilton Head, in places that most people have been to at one time or another.  (I chose this first photo because the tree to the right of my dog Sam, always reminded me of a drawing in a Dr. Seuss book, like Horton Hears a Who).  I’m curious to see how many of you walk or ride along, missing as much of the island’s uniqueness as I seem to do (even when carrying my camera looking for something unique and unusual, I miss the obvious along the way!).
     In order for me to tell who first selected the correct Picture Poll answer, you must also email me with your selection, and the date and time you made it.

     Take your time, and enjoy the scenery.

10 Reasons You Should Be Visiting Hilton Head Now

Sunset at Lands End in South Beach, Hilton Head Island

 Many people tell me that they don’t need a reason to visit Hilton Head this time of year because it’s always gorgeous, but I still see plenty of parking spaces at the beach, vacant tables in the restaurants, and it’s far too easy to reserve court and tee times.  Apparently, a list is needed, so here goes:

1. Still gorgeous sunsets at South Beach, any time of year.

2. No wait at the bar.  Any bar.

3. 1st and 2nd row seats at the cinema and theater, even if you get there right on time.

4. Vacation Company Angels are eager to plug holes in the 2011 reservations grid, so you are sure to get a prompt response if you drop by.  Plus, they all still have great tans.

5.  Bargains everywhere and “islander prices.”  These are great, I’ve never been asked for ID to get a special resident discount, so I’m assuming the deal is good for anyone who makes a purchase, regardless of where they live.

6.  You can drink a latte and listen to your IPod while riding your bike.  Nobody will yell at you because nobody cares this time of year.

7.  Plenty of good weather to take advantage of.  The gators are even out in the afternoons.

8.  A great time to explore nature trails like on Pinckney Island and the Sea Pines Forest Preserve without fear of things crawly and slithery.

Beagle living large, no leash, Hilton Head, March 2011

9.  No leash laws.  All dogs get to run like nuts in circles at the beach and that is a BLAST to watch, I don’t care who you are.

10.  Oysters are still in season, BUT NOT FOR LONG!  Captain Woody‘s is having their last oyster roast this weekend (Saturday, March 5th) in Palmetto Bay Marina, with buckets of oysters and Happy Hour prices.  After April, there is a dearth of months with r’s in their name, so aficionados will likely tell you not to bother until the fall.

The island is empty right now and still so beautiful and temperate, I feel almost selfish and guilty that I get to enjoy all of the above without waiting in line or stretching a credit card.  Call an Angel soon: 855-845-7018, so I’ll stop feeling so spoiled.

If you think of any more reasons to visit Hilton Head now, post your response here.  We would love to hear from you.

HILTON HEAD STATE OF MIND: YOUNG AT HEART, GOOD FOR THE BODY, GREAT FOR THE SOUL.

One thing’s for sure: Hilton Head Island is for the young at heart. Everywhere I look, people of all ages are participating in activities typically reserved for those decades younger in other parts of the world. For example frequently, I see octogenarians playing tennis on the courts where I live in the heat of day in mid-July. Runners daily, beat up the roads, bike paths, golf cart paths, and beaches, 24/7 regardless of the weather or time of day.

You don’t have to be 18
to appreciate a sunset…

And, let’s face it; everybody rides bikes here, when they probably don’t even own a bike back home where they live. In fact, the first thing people do after booking their vacation home rental with us, is to reserve rental bikes delivered to their door before they arrive.

Often, riding bikes is the first thing they do, BEFORE HITTING THE SAND, just to get their bearings and check out how far they are from the closest pizza joint.

And that’s not all. I see kids of ALL ages singing with Gregg Russell under the live oak in Harbour Town, too. How’s that for embarrassing (no question mark – that wasn’t a question). They insist on it, to the chagrin of the crowd and the patient good humor of Gregg, these grown-ups wearing short pants and ball caps with gator jaws, with colored straws, cherries, and umbrellas in their drinks. They want to stand up and sing John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, for Pete’s sake.
So what’s going on?


…or to get in shape jogging on the beach.

I have a theory… Hilton Head Island is NeverNeverLand to families who are looking for something more realistic than Disney World, but not so demanding as camping out on the Appalachian Trail. NOT that we don’t LOVE Disney World, or the Appalachian Trail… it’s just a little overkill to do those things on an annual basis as your family summer vacation, for most people.

Hilton Head, by contrast, is relatively easy to enjoy in that we have smaller ocean waves, smooth sand, lots of shade, no steep hills or jagged mountains, slow drivers, slow talkers, low-key security guards, rotaries before stop lights, FREE PARKING at the beach, tiki-bars… life is just so simple and fun down here – even in the thick of summer – so I say why not roll in the sand with the grandkids and build a fort? I love Hilton Head Island!