Thanks to Island Elves, No More ‘Dumb’ Easter Bunnies on Heritage Sunday

Easter Pail Deliveries in Sea Pines

Easter Elves, Elissa Ealey, Christien Turner, and Sharon McDonnell prepare Easter pails for morning deliveries in Sea Pines.

A great secret about being on Hilton Head at special times of the year is that island families and visitors are protected by elves that live underground.  Through the years, they have observed the island’s growth from their quiet little nooks, sneaking out at dusk and in the wee hours to assist us in areas of our evolution where we need help – but didn’t always know it – and at certain times of the year, like Easter, they hire assistants to help with overflow.  Right now the assistants work for Sea Pines Resort, and are taking calls for Easter Bunny pails, at $40/each, and a wagon ride, at 843-842-1979. They are under the careful supervision of head Easter elf, Jen Westerfeld, and yes, reservations are necessary.

Sea Pines Easter Bunny

The Sea Pines Easter Bunny delivers on time, and also offers a wagon ride.

Easter elves became necessary due to a story about a family whose parents would like to remain nameless.  But whom nevertheless, had set a rather demanding precedent for their darling children, known as Carmen and Preston of Baynard Cove environs, whereby the Easter Bunny always left full, and overflowing baskets of chocolate eggs, goodies, and pastel-colored sundries next to the fireplace Easter’s Eve, giving much incentive for the little angels to snap awake early for church in the am each year.

But woe, one season back in the 1970’s, the sacred Sunday fell on the same day as the sacred Heritage Golf Tournament Final Sunday round (just like this year, of our Lord, 2017).  Which also meant that sometimes, the rituals accompanying the hallowed Saturday Eves, also conflicted with one another, resulting in opposing early, Bunny tee-times, and church bells.

To wit; due to the aforementioned conflicting rituals the night before, the Easter Bunny did not make it to the fireplace of Casa Hawkins one Easter/Heritage Sunday morning, back in the day.  You can imagine, upon bounding out to the fireplace in bunny pajama finery at sunrise finding no Easter baskets, the children were none-too-pleased.

As later family relations have retold this tale, the wise Queen-Mum, and her visiting sister, snuck out the back porch on the 11th tee in their dressing gowns with baskets, candy, and painted eggs (whilst the CBS cameramen were setting up on the 15th for the final day wondering to each other, what will the Hilton Head residents think of next, as they remembered that the year before, two streakers ran across the 17th fairway on live tv).  Unconcerned at what the cameramen might be thinking, the sisters quickly arranged the baskets nicely at the front door of the Hawkins’ residence.

Pleased with their work, the lovely debutantes, tiptoed back around into the house, as though this was all normal, Easter-Sunday-morning-Hilton-Head-goings-on, and said, “Well, what’s wrong Preston?  Why are you frowning this lovely dawn?”

And Carmen, who was older, and a little wisenheimer at this point in life said, “He’s mad because the Easter Bunny didn’t come this year.”

To which, the Queen’s sister said, “Well, has he checked out the front door?  Maybe the Easter Bunny couldn’t get down the fireplace last night.” (We were also new to the Sea Pines neighborhood, so certain child-ish beliefs of a general theme were getting spun to us in odd variations as we matured).

Frowning, Preston marched his little padded hoofies to the front door, swung it open, where, SURPRISE!  There were TWO Easter baskets filled with chocolate eggs, colored cellophane wrappers, with price tags, pine straw sticking out, and Spanish moss dripping off the sides.  Preston stood looking down for a few minutes, and finally said, “Dumb, Easter Bunny.”

[Just a heads-up; if you weren’t living here before 1980, the rest of this might be really boring.]

Which brings me to my earlier point about the elves that have been watching island humanoids (they call us, ‘Fumbling Island Ogres’ in case you were wondering), to see what kinds of antics we might be up to, in the course of a weekly episode.

For more examples (besides just the ‘Laughingstock Hawkins Clan of Baynard Cove,’), at one time in Hilton Head’s development, early Island Ogres thought it might be nifty to erect green stop signs (so unique, even Horace Sutton mentioned it in the Chicago Tribune in 1969) and to have directional signage hanging from boat oars, to keep things recreational-looking, and resort-ish for vacationers.

Seriously.  Old-timers like Bart Whiteman, Clan Berrigan, Steve Plowden, and all of Charles Perry’s kids will back me up on this.

Bart Whiteman

Bartman, Island Realtor extraordinaire, remembers all.

As everyone now knows, landscaped rotary circles were the answer to stoplights; adorned with trees and foliage, hiding the other side of the road, so newcomers to the island would not know if the road ended, or went around to the other side, or dead-ended, or what the heck?  Why doesn’t this Godforsaken place have streetlights?

Elves noticed immediately (of course, amidst much glee and knee-slapping), that Fumbling Ogres could not discern color from text when it came to disassociating the shade of green, from the word, ‘Stop’.  Nor, could they retreat quickly enough from making a right turn, where the sign that said HarbourTown, with a white, painted left arrow, was hanging from a brown oar with the paddle-end pointed towards the right.  This was especially funny, if it was the posted instructional sign on the rotary circle, and the paddle happened to be hanging leftward.

One can only imagine the resulting noise-pollution issues; horn honking, and finger-gesturing; lots of foreign-language shouting, which resembled much too closely, the cities from whence the Visiting Fumbling Ogres came.

So, after much more belly-laughing, the elves set about quietly adjusting mistakes for the Fumbling Island Ogres, who had to keep marching forward in this experiment known as the Shambala Hilton Head Island.

Sadly, no longer could the elves enjoy the escapades of Fumbling Ogres imbibing too much of the vine, falling from tavern into the bay, as weekend entertainment.

So, within a few short years, the green stop signs turned back to red, bike paths became more clearly marked with lots of little red stop signs, magnets appeared on refrigerators that told visitors not to feed alligators, and to turn off beach-oriented lights so the loggerhead turtle hatchlings could find their way to the ocean.  Then, signs appeared on beach pathways reminding everyone to pick up after their pets, and later signs that came with plastic bags to pick up after their pets (because the elves watched Fumbling Ogres ignore the first sign, so they had to actually build a roll of plastic bags into the sign – phew – Fumbling Ogres needed lots of help).

And yes, now you can call for the Easter Bunny, so that a little kid doesn’t have to stand at the front door, shaking his head saying, “Dumb Easter Bunny” late Sunday morning.

For a Bunny pail delivery call, 843-842-1979, or go to within Sea Pines Resort only.  The Easter Bunny will bring a pail filled with beach toys and Easter candy, plus an elf will come along to assist.  The cost is $40./pail.  If you would like a pail reserved for your child and you are not staying in side Sea Pines, you can still order an Easter Pail, with 24 hours notice, and pick it up at the Sea Pines Fitness Center on Lighthouse Rd.


Hilton Head Prep Proves You CAN Go Home Again – Celebrate 50 Years of HHPrep!

Entryway to Hilton Head Prep

         Welcome to Hilton Head Prep

Thomas Wolfe once wrote a book called, You Can’t Go Home Again.  He was my favorite novelist when I was a teenager on Hilton Head in the late 1970’s.  It was very romantic, nostalgic, and sad I recall, when the young protagonist, George Webber, came home to the United States, only to find that things had changed while he was away in Europe, and nothing was as he remembered.

And that is very similar to my experience as a youth on Hilton Head in the 1970’s, leaving for college later on, staying away for seventeen or so years, and then returning to find that my high school alma mater has changed quite drastically, and yet, in quite an exceptional way.

Recently, I was invited to lunch at the new, improved, Hilton Head Prep to introduce me to the newest headmaster, Jon A. Hopman, and re-introduce me to what Hilton Head Prep offers the Island community.  Which is quite a lot, I have to say.

Jon Hopman

Headmaster, Jon Hopman

Prep English teacher Peg Hamilton,

English Teacher

Teacher of English, Peg Hamilton

who attended the luncheon meeting – along with Margot Brown (Director of Development and Finance)

Margot Brown, bio

Margot Brown, Director of Development & Finance

Bethany Wilkinson (Director of Communications and Alumni Relations), and Headmaster Hopman – reminded me that Hilton Head Prep is entering its fiftieth year, as a private island school.

Bethany Wilkinson

Bethany Wilkinson, Director of Communication & Alumni Relations

Rather alarmingly, it occurred to me that I was also into my fiftieth year.  Hmmm…..

“The Super Bowl began officially, in 1965,” said Ms. Hamilton.  As did, “the movie, Dr. Zhivago, the Voting Rights Act, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the song, I Got You Babe (Sonny & Cher, in case you forgot), Medicare/Medicaid was enacted, the Grateful Dead was touring, and the Beatles played at Shea Stadium to adoring crowds,” she noted with pride.  Yours truly, was born then as well; apparently this was an auspicious time for first-year, Gen-Xer’s.  Yeahhh.

Trophy Case

Hilton Head Prep Trophy Case in the Joe Fraser Athletic Building.

All that was going on, while a little building in Sea Pines, was gearing up for classrooms, so that the few residents of Hilton Head at the time, could send their kids to a private school located on the island.  In those days, most kids like Mike Lynes (Islander extraordinaire – see Island Packet, Only On Hilton Head – August 22, 2015), had to trek by boat, or school bus, or in some cases, carpools, all the way to Beaufort, Savannah, and Bluffton (before the Cross Island Parkway) – that was a haul, to traverse this island back then.   


Prep Alumni Social

Don’t forget Prep, SPA, and MRA Alumni, this Fri. 10/09/15  is HHPrep Homecoming. Dolphins vs. Thomas Heyward Rebelsbegins at 4:30.  Alumni Social starts at 7 pm at the Lucky Rooster in South Island Square.

Girl Reading Statue

Student Reading Sculpture has Been on the Campus for Many Years.

In the seventh grade, we had to drive to Savannah in late August, to buy back-to-school supplies and clothes.  It was also cool in the 1970’s to smoke cigarettes while driving (just watch any film made during that decade).  And Sea Pines Academy (known as SPA prior to 1985; the year May River Academy – of Bluffton – merged with SPA to form Hilton Head Prep) was right up there in the ‘cool’ sphere, when seniors were allowed to smoke at the picnic tables by the lagoon, next to the parking lot, where they were also allowed to park their cars.  So, they could drive to school WHILE smoking (a 1976 ‘cool’ bundle), park, and stroll into the rear door just in time for morning meeting.  I couldn’t wait to be a senior, so I could drive, smoke cigarettes, and park by the lagoon.

Yearbook Soccer Team

SPA Varsity Soccer Team, circa 1977


Present-day Outdoor Basketball Court, with Palmetto Tree in the Foreground

This was also back in the day, when we were proud to have as an alum, one of the famous Heritage Golf Course streakers, whose name nobody would give up to the authorities, not even today.  And not even now, would I tell you what I know, because this is a well-guarded Prep Alumni secret, along the lines of where Jimmy Hoffa is buried and where Whitey Bulger was hiding out all those years.

As you can imagine, times have changed somewhat, and of course, there is no longer a sequestered place at the school for seniors to hang out, and smoke… anything.  Yes, you will be glad to know, the Sea Pines family culture has evolved to healthier past times here on Hilton Head Isle (or so I’m told).

Signs at School

Modern-day Directions Through a Sprawling Campus. Before the ’80’s, the School wasn’t Big Enough to Need Signage.

We have also moved forward from, doggin’-it outside to the math trailer, to ‘integrating to an online curriculum at the Digital Learning Academy’.  Wow.  They’ve got way more technology and learning programs than we ever did, back in the day.

School Gymnasium

Joseph Fraser Field House – Beautiful Gymnasium by the Forest Preserve

Not only that, but Hilton Head Prep has a boarding school for international students, and also assists qualifying families with financial aid procedures, and there’s even an Alumni Legacy Scholarship.

And, this year, Hilton Head Prep implements the American College Testing (ACT) and SAT Prep Courses for high school students who want to amp up to college with all kinds of elevated aptitude test scores.  Also new, Prep gets to utilize the generous donation of the Main Street Theater for performances during the school year.  That, along with outreach programs that work with Smith Stearns and Van Der Meer Tennis Academy students, Junior Players Golf Academy (JPGA), and Lawton Stables Riding Academy students, has brought Prep standards to greater new heights.

Signs and statues

Always Putting Students First at Hilton Head Prep

Boy, it’s come a long way from walking to a math trailer after lunch, and smoking cigarettes by the lagoon.  Looking back, I would have to say that most Prep changes are definitely for the better.  I think I’ll make it to a couple of football and basketball games this season, just to see how much the campus has changed and grown. 

School Cafeteria

Hilton Head Prep              School Cafeteria

There will be a lot of commemorative events this upcoming 2015-16 school year, especially during February, 2016 – HHPrep’s Official Jubilee Celebration Month – as Hilton Head Prep celebrates fifty continuous years educating Hilton Head children.  If you’re new to the island, or coming home again, stop by and check it out. 

And below, you might enjoy a trip down memory lane. The whole student body joined together in 2012 to shout out, “Thank you for making a difference,” for the making of an alumni dvd.

Call for directions, 843-671-2286, or visit their website for a calendar of upcoming activities and events,

Just remember to leave your cigarettes at home.  I’ve heard there’s no smoking allowed on the grounds, now.

Hilton Head Prep Revisionist History


By popular request (exactly two people were very upset that they missed the printed edition), the following is the uncut version of the Legend of the Hilton Head Prep Bell, reprinted from the Island Packet, 4/29/15, to lift your mood from pleasure to boredom.
Submitted to the Island Packet on this Day, 29th April, in the Year of Our Lord, 2015
A Collaborative Work, By Erstwhile Prep Scriveners,
Carmen De Cecco (nèe Hawkins), and Charlie Fraser (nèe Fraser)

cbf-1977-returning bell

A Young Charlie Fraser Returns the Bell at Graduation, circa, 1977.

How difficult to research and write collaboratively, about the legendary class time ringer, when the most interesting thing about Hilton Head Prep’s lost bell, is that it rhymes with a four-letter word we were told not to use, back in the day.

So, we won’t say it here.  But, we can ask the question, “Where the hell, is the Hilton Head Prep bell?” or, “Hell‘s bells, where’s the Hilton Head Prep bell?”
And, back in the day – by the way – means precisely, around the vague area of 1974 or ’75.  An era in which we learned not to split hairs about dates, places, and buildings, that could identify our ages, a few decades later (e.g.,  “What happened to the math trailer?”  See, the fact that I used the word, ‘trailer’, with regards to Hilton Head Prep classrooms, predates me to the ‘70’s).
But I digress.

To return to the original thought thread…
Back in the day, Clay Johnson’s mother from Atlanta (Clay Johnson, a Sea Pines Academy graduate from the class of ‘ 77) bestowed a glorious bell to the school, which was originally set on a post, on the Montessori side of the school.

Not satisfied with how it was being displayed – like some poor, lost, soul, – ringing out education all by itself.  No sireeee, by the powers that be; a bell tower, was erected atop the gymnasium in 1976, and then re-introduced, with accompanying, appropriate aplomb, and ceremony.

It was at this point, that things got a little jiggy with the SPA Bell.
It disappeared.  Who’d a thunk it?

Who, pray tell, would creep around a school, the night before seniors were graduating, preparing to blow off a full summer of steam before going to college and actually, steal something?  Well, NOT seniors.  That, we know for sure.
Parenthetically; High school seniors have far more important things on their minds like, “I need to go to bed early, so I can rise early, and work hard all summer, make money, and save the money.  Then, I can help Mom and Dad with college expenses, textbooks, and extraneous technology, that I will need, so I can compete with my new classmates and learn how to be a productive, intelligent, student, and later on, be known in the world as an industry mogul.”

So, okay, maybe it was the HHPrep seniors who stole the bell.

Possible Bell-thieves from the Sea Pines Academy Cold Case Files

Possible Bell-thieves from the Sea Pines Academy                                   Cold Case Files

However, one thoughtful senior, Ricky Marscher, set a fine example of moral integrity, by returning the bell upon his graduation.  He’s probably doing very well these days, somewhere, taking care of the less fortunate, doing things right, and falling into money over, and over.  (That’s the way Karma works, in case you were wondering.  We learned about Karma at Sea Pines Academy, along with trigonometry, and how to predicate an adjective. So, there.  What did you learn at May River Academy?)

Now, how do I know Ricky Marscher set such a good behavioral example?     Because Charlie Fraser, that stalwart alum of yore, returned it (“it,” being, the Sea Pines Bell), the following year, after his class stole it (“it”, the bell, again).  Which set another precedent of good moral behavior for the next graduating class.
You’d think the seniors were getting back on the right track about now, wouldn’t you?  Well NO.  Apparently, the class of 1983, none to happy about the SPA/MRA merger, took it (yes, “It”…still the bell), and kept it amongst themselves, passing it (yes, the bell- PAY ATTENTION), around, ringing it angrily, from student to student for a few years, until they realized,

“Hey, this school-merger thing is even better for all of us than before!
“And my dad – who went to MRA – and my mom – who went to SPA – can rest easy in the knowledge that they did NOT concede to each other by sending me to a happily blended school.”

A Later Group of Suspects in the Missing Bell Case

A Later Group of Suspects in the Missing Bell Case

Of course, that’s not what really happened.

No, what happened really, was that Charlie Fraser (presently mature, and having his own son Elliott, graduated from Sea Pi- I mean, Hilton Head Prep) remembered that it was donated to the school as a lovely present, and should be searched out, and resurrected.

So, in 2005, after many years of no-bell-in-the-bell-tower above the gym, Charlie Fraser (nee, Fraser, of the original Clan Fraser, son of the late Joseph Fraser, namesake of late brother of Charles, founder of Sea Pines – the Resort, not the school), went off in search of this once-precious gift.

After trying many closed, locked doors, which remained locked, and following empty clues and loose ends – which seemed to get looser – and resorting to threats about getting his, just-out-of-the-can, no-neck, good-buddies, Guido and Sal (not to be confused with his, just-out-of-the-clink, red-neck good buddies, Bubba and Earl), to fine-tune some thumbs, until somebody finally said, “Again, with the bell, Charlie?  I’m sure there are twelve-step programs for obsessive-compulsive bell-seekers, out there.  I’ll even go with you to your first meeting.”

To which his wife, Linda (nèe Steadman, also of Sea Pines Academy pedigree) said, “Do they also have programs for the wives of obsessive-compulsive bell-seekers?  Can I at least get a martini at the wives’ meeting?”

This last query got a response out of none other than Sam Bauer, esq, ’84, who asserted, “That’s it.  My conscience is bothering me too much. I can’t bear to see dear Linda Steadman Fraser traipsing her way to Bell-seekers Anon, especially because I know they don’t serve martinis at those meetings.  (Don’t ask me how I know that, it’s a lawyer/client privilege-thing).” And Mr. Bauer summoned Mr. Fraser to his very lawyerly office, forthwith, where the bell had been residing since – guess when? – 1984.  Duh.

Eventually, the CSI Van was Called in to Continue the Search

Eventually, the Prep CSI Van was Called in to Continue the Search

Sam Bauer, as legal representation of said class of 1984, agreed to return the bell to Charlie at that point, on the condition that nobody was to ever find out where it had been all that time, and that they (they, being the class of’ 84,) had not used the bell as a punch bowl for annual class reunions during the years it had been, ‘disappeared’.
“Ha, ha, ha!” Charlie had crossed his fingers behind his back during this conversation.

Finally, the day came when Charlie’s son, Elliott Fraser, presented the bell to HHPrep’s 2005 Headmistress, Sue Grosbeck, at his graduation.  Ms. Grosbeck was so happy; they had another ceremony at the beginning of the following school year, restoring the bell to its rightful place in the bell tower above the gym.  Indeed, so much elation inspired a new scholarship, Bell Tower Foundation, to pay a dwarfed hunchback to guard the bell after all that brouhaha through the years.  Sadly, nobody could find a dwarfed hunchback who would sacrifice his life for a bell in such a way, in this day and age.

One would think, after all this time and travail, that the bell would be highly prized and respected and honored and would not need such high-level security anyway, wouldn’t one?

Well, apparently the Karmic lessons of yesterday have been lost on today’s ungrateful ingrates.  Because almost as soon as it was rediscovered, it was stolen again the next year by the class of 2006, and not returned, but actually, given covertly, to the next graduating class of – you guessed it – 2007!  Who, in turn, held onto it and secretly snaked it over to the class of 2008, never once bringing it back to hang elegantly in the now-empty bell tower above the gym.

Way to go, guys.

Finally, someone found the bell, which had been submerged for two years in a pond, hiding from gators and stray golf balls, no less, and paid to have it restored, and this person gave it back to Charlie who, rightly, wasn’t too excited to bring it back to the school immediately.

It is here that the legend gets fuzzy again, having read Charlie’s last correspondence, which had become slightly vague, as though written by a wizened, yet enlightened genius on a quest, from a fog-cloaked rowboat in the North Atlantic (just after his last expedition heading south, into the Sea Pines Club Course marsh sunset).     Finally, a compassionate woman, so named Leslie Richardson, stepped into the picture and extrapolated the SPA Bell from Fraser’s frozen hands, which had become clawed from holding onto this bell-seeking dream too tightly for so many years.  It (yes, “it” the bell), now rests undisturbed, in the breezeway at Hilton Head Prep, where millennials race by laughing, talking, and paying no mind to the cracked relic of yore that once rang them gloriously into the next class. For they not know, for whom the bell tolls.

Father’s Day Special – Hilton Head’s Own, Steppin Stones, Featuring a Chip Off the Old Block

Rockin on Hilton Head

Steppin Stones Drummer, Ryan Tye, Vocals and Lead Guitarist, Hannah Wicklund, and vocals & bass guitarist, Mick Ray

Have you ever gone completely slack-jawed, blown-away by a live band that you’d never heard of?  Well, now I have.  And that band is Hilton Head Island’s own, Steppin Stones, born and bred right here on the South Carolina geologic tennis shoe.  I first saw this band at the Chamber of Commerce Christmas After Hours party 2012, where I had gone to connect with local businesspeople and promote myself.  I ended up connecting with exactly – goose-egg – new business contacts, except for Gregg Russell and Mira Scott (two of Hilton Head’s most renowned artists, whom I already know, and who don’t need my services by any stretch of the imagination), who were also hanging out front row while The Steppin Stones blasted out “Gimme Shelter like nobody’s business.

It might amuse you to know that Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones is comprised of three teenagers, who rock down the chandeliers with as much talent and  gusto as their predecessors, a la Steppenwolf, and the Rolling Stones; two bands by the way, who entertained us waaayyyyyyyy back yonder before these kids were born.  But you knew that already.  The great thing about this band is that you can bring the whole family and totally rock yourselves OUT.  Your kids will love this group, because they’re watching their contemporaries on stage, while you will also love them, because they’re playing our favorite tunes from our own, said, formative years.  The whole event resolves the paradox of being safe AND totally cool.  And, as everybody knows, that’s really hard to do these days.

band poses for album

Picture from self-titled 1st cd portfolio shoot.

How did such a trio begin?  Well, apparently, while many kids around the age of seven are watching tv and playing video games after school, these three decided it was more fun to make a whole lot of racket in the garage.  So, under the watchful tutelage of two well-known island artists, Nancy Mitchell and Matthew Wicklund (lead singer, Hannah Wicklund‘s, parents) The Steppin Stones emerged out of Palmetto Bay bedrock.  Oh joy, you say, will they be on America’s Got Talent?  Not any time soon, since this band is already booked all summer long, and everybody within lowcountry regional earshot has already heard of them.  Lead singer and guitarist, Hannah Wicklund, and bass guitarist, Mick Ray, started out playing piano when they were each six years old, and went on to take guitar lessons for five more years.  Ryan Tye began drumming at age eight.  Their manager/roadie/sound guy is Hannah’s father Matt Wicklund, who is the go-to man if you want ever want to book this group.  Mom, Nancy Mitchell, is renowned for her paintings and murals that can be seen in various island public venues and private homes.

Since officially forming the band in 2006, Hannah, Ryan, and Mick, have improved and honed their repertoire substantially, taking on classic rock songs with edge and confidence.  Not afraid to tackle the difficult ranges of Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Mick Jagger, they will transport you to a time when young up-and-coming bands actually played instruments and wrote their own music.  And in keeping with their rock muses, The Steppin Stones also write and produce their own music, which is for sale on cd’s at any of their concert showings.  Sample the video below, where they sing one of their original songs, “Make Up Your Mind,” (starts about four minutes in).  This past January, their 2nd cd hit the Internet called, Handle Me, and is doing quite well.  Currently appearing three nights a week at different Hilton Head venues (see schedule below), Hannah and her bandmates – now, age sixteen, Mick, seventeen,  and Ryan, seventeen – graduated high school this year, and are looking towards their own careers in music.  So, if you want to catch up with them before they are too famous, and tickets to their concerts are the price of a small mortgage payment, you will most definitely want to check them out this summer on Hilton Head Island.


Thursdays 6:30-8:30 pm, Coligny PlazaFridays 4:00-7:00pm, Hilton Head Beach and Tennis; and Saturdays 7:30- 9:30 pm, under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town 

For info and bookings, call: 843-842-2380 or email:  You can also check Hannah’s Instagram page, for up-to-date photos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And finally, in honor of Father’s Day, I implore only islanders who have been here since the early ’80’s to read on (anyone else will be bored to tears beyond this sentence).  For those of you who may or may not have been of a certain age and living in Hilton Head thirty years ago, you may wonder, from what pedigree doth Hannah Wicklund spring?  Ah… I am pleased to connect some dots for those of you who weren’t drowning in a beer bong at that time (or maybe you were).  There once was a seaside cantina upstairs on the beach side of Coligny Plaza, in what is now known as The Big Bamboo restaurant.  The cantina was known to local ne’re-do-wells as Dos Borrachos, which translates (most inauspiciously, I might add) to Two Drunks.  Yes, I know.  We are so proud, that this classy, gentile, family-oriented island was once home to a Mexican restaurant so named, Two Drunks.  Very impressive.  Well, it certainly spoke to the clientele, as I remember visiting (for entertainment and educational purposes only) with my best friend Amy on occasion, which would make us, dos senoritas entering to enjoy con queso and imbibing mucho cerveza, and exiting as dos borrachos.

Why do I mention this short-lived late-night dining pleasure from back in the day?  Because starting at the early-bird crack of 11:00 pm, playing until the wee, 3:00 a.m.-ish on the weekends, we would rock out like idiots to the vivid music of Joe Walsh, Lou Reed, and the Young Rascals, as played by a  local musical ensemble known as, the most prestigious, Bonzo Brothers (who later became the Truly Dangerous Swamp Band).  Again, you ask… the point?  Well, the point is, the drummer for the aforementioned Brothers Bonz’, was the one and only manager/roadie/sound guy of today’s rockin’ Steppin Stones, Matthew Wicklund, FATHER of lead singer, Hannah!  (Whew… wasn’t sure I could put all that together coherently for you; or maybe it wasn’t very coherent, I’m sure I’ll find out.)  So how cool is that?  A Truly Dangerous Bonzo Brothers Legacy, lives on as we live and breathe on Hilton Head Island.  Now, wasn’t that worth reading all the way down to this point?

And if I wanted to riff on the Dos Borrachos connection all day long (but I will spare you my immature ramblings for the most part, except for this one more thing), I could mention that sometimes, I went to the late-night cantina with both Amy, and another best bud, Steve; then I could say that three amigos entered the bar known as Two Drunks, and came out as Tres Borrachos.

Okay, that’s all.  I’m done now.  I think that’s enough double-pun-entendres.  Happy Father’s Day, everyone.

China Looks to Hilton Head for Resort Development Ideas

Harbour Town’s Liberty Oak Tree Graces Us Nightly While Gregg Russell Sings to the Children

Harbour Town’s Liberty Oak Tree Graces Us Nightly While Gregg Russell Sings to the Children

It seems the Chinese have cottoned on to what we already knew about Hilton Head, SC; it is a gorgeous island with high, environmentally sensitive, building standards to which developers must adhere when beginning construction on any kind of building or attraction. Last week – reported the Island Packet on July 10, 2010 – several representatives from two development corporations in China and Thailand, came all the way across the world to Hilton Head and toured Harbour Town, with Ed Modzelewski, Chairman of Applied Technology and Management Inc. (ATM), which has offices in Hilton Head and Charleston.

Apparently, they had all first met each other earlier this year in Shanghai at a boat show (go figure) and the Chinese representatives wandered up to Mr. Modzelewski, and said, “Hello. We are corporate partners developing a twenty-two mile stretch of land along the pacific coast where, up to now, we do alot of shrimp farming. But we want to turn this beautiful coastline into an economic stomping ground filled with marinas and condos and beachside towns and hotels and vacation rentals, but we’ve never done this before and do you know somebody somewhere on this green earth that could show us a model or something of how to build such a community without tearing down every single tree, blade of grass, coconut grove, and rubber plantation?”  Or maybe, something similar to that, and in the Chinese language.

To which, Mr. Modzelewski probably responded, “Duh. Hilton Head Island, SC, on the other side of the world, was built up in the 1970’s by the Brothers Fraser, Charles and Joe… and some other people, but the Fraser boys were the ones who were adamant about leaving the wildlife and trees and marshes right where they started and we would just have to put our little roads and restaurants and houses in the little spaces in between the trees and the beaches,” is maybe what Ed Modzelewski said to David Zhidong Li, the head rep of the Vanion Group from China.

map of Hilton Head

Hilton Head Island, SC

All of which led to this great visit from our Chinese friends who want to see how we shake things up in Harbour Town with live music under the Liberty Oak tree, and cocktails, yachts, charter boats, condos, shops, a lighthouse, a golf course, and everything highlighted in lowcountry style. Well, I imagine they collected alot of good notes and tips from all the realtors and builders here, and will be able to use that information when they go home to China and start building their own marina resort development project.  I hope we can visit this new place when its done, and maybe get a ‘locals’ discount on a dinner or charter boat or something.

So Many Wonderful New Properties, So Little Time…

       The past few weeks have been fast and furious at the office, trying to keep up with this year’s awesome demand for weekly rentals. In response to this wonderful upswing in reservations, The Vacation Company Guardian Angels and Elves have been out acquiring new, remodeled properties to add to our inventory so that we don’t have to keep saying “Sorry, we’re booked that week,” anymore when the phone rings. 

       You will love the newest members of The Vacation Company family, just as I love writing about them.  All remodeled and enhanced for optimum vacation fun.  Don’t let these get away from you this year, if you’re still debating the summer vacation question.  In fact, we’re so sure you will love these new properties, we’re offering a 20% discount to the first five reservations on each one.  How do you like those apples?  Pretty good apples, right?

         Today, I’m introducing two glorious South Beach winners.  If you want to see ALL the new properties, because you can’t possibly wait until the next property blog report, then check out the new rentals here, and don’t hesitate to call us at 855.845.7018 with any questions.  If you can contain yourself for a few days, the rest of the properties will be highlighted here.

1468 Sound Villa

Sound Villa, South Beach

Is that the Atlantic beyond those trees?

South Beach, Sea Pines, Hilton Head Island

4 BR, 4 BA



Did we mention the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the private pathway?



Good Morning

Breakfast room of champions!


  1746 Bluff Villa

South Beach, Sea Pines, Hilton Head Island

3 BR, 2 BA



You don’t have to look towards the ocean every morning, only the ones that you spend here.




 Check us out on Facebook, as these and more new properties get posted.  Any questions?  Email us any time.  Have a great day!

A Whole New Look for The Vacation Company


pool view at 7 Wood Ibis

New property in Sea Pines, 7 Wood Ibis

         While you were out during the holidays, the Guardian Angels, elves, property managers, and candlestick makers were busy at The Vacation Company writing, editing, tweaking, chipping, uploading, transferring, and putting everything into place so that you would barely notice, upon returning from your holiday joyride, that there is a subtle, new shade of fun behind the girls at  In fact, 2012 brings in a whole lot of new at 42 New Orleans Road.  You’ll notice two new faces in the Guardian Angel line-up on our home page, and you’ll want to check out some of our new properties on our BRAND NEW WEBSITE! (I’m starting to sound like a game show host).   So, come on in and have a look around. Give us a call at 800.845.7018 or tell us what you think on Facebook and Twitter.  We’d love to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you plan your 2012 Hilton Head Island vacation.

Harbour Lights – A Harbour Town Happy Holidays!

Harbour Town, Hilton Head, 
Annual Tree-lighing

What a pleasure it is to enjoy Harbour Town in the off-season, especially during the Christmas season off-season.  And while the lighting of the tree was the focal point, it certainly wasn’t the only attraction this past Friday night.

Harbour Town, Sea Pines,
Lighted Displays

Truly impressive were all the light displays dotting the Harbour Town campus around the tree and in front of the Crazy Crab.

Gregg Russell Entertains, 11/25/11

Even better?  Gregg Russell entertaining under the Liberty Oak again.  A Harbour Town Holiday kick-off couldn’t get any better.
And where can you get the best luxury vacation rentals marina side?  Call a Guardian Angel for more information, 800-845-7018, or view our selection online.

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.

     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.

Grocery Shopping Near You

   We have done our very best to get you into the perfect luxury vacation rental this summer.  Now that you’ve booked it, packed your car/suitcase, and traveled to vacation wonderland, there are some basic household items you will need for the week that you’re here which will constitute a trip to the market.

    This should not be a grueling, day-long, errand, stuck in sweaty traffic, and long, angry grocery lines.  No sireeeee Bob, this should be more sport and fun to add to your trip so that you can maximize your leisure time here doing all  things…leisurely.

   With your valuable vacation time in mind, we have put together a list of shopping centers with local directions from the nearest main road closest to your vacation rental, so that you can stop there on your way to checking in, or the next morning, and not feel disoriented by the change of scenery.  After all, we know you just drove, or flew many miles from a place you know very well, to get here, a place you know less about, so let’s try to make the refrigerator-stocking less of a chore and more of a family event!

    Below is a list of places we recommend based on their proximity to your vacation rental. 


The Plaza at Shelter Cove
32 Shelter Cove Lane

From any place in Palmetto Dunes: 12-15 minutes drive.
From the gate:
Right on William Hilton Pky (Hwy 278), about 1 mile
Left on Shelter Cove La.

This is a great place to start when you arrive.  Just be careful that you don’t over-do at places like T.J. Maxx, Outside Hilton Head, and Fuddruckers on your first day… being that you have all your cookie-jar cash-in-pocket and credit cards cleared and ready to go once you get here, we don’t want you to spend it all in one place, as they say.  You can stock your refrigerator from the plaza’s anchor store, Piggly Wiggly.

If you turn too soon into Shelter Cove Mall, no worries, keep driving and Shelter Cove Lane will take the back way to Shelter Cove Plaza.  This is a more scenic way to go anyway, with the marsh on your left, and less traffic than Wm Hilton Pky.  Now, if you got confused out of the gate and turned left on William Hilton Parkway, it’s still okay, just read further down under Shipyard’s options and you’ll see about another grocery stop that will be on your right.


TWO big options here, and some of you, depending on where you are located within the resort, will have an even-Steven choice as far as distance goes.  Villa complexes like The Greens, Beachwalk, and Tennismaster, are equi-distant from the two shopping places we’ve highlighted, while others like Kingston Dunes, Evian, Golfmaster, and Townhouse Tennis Villas may want to be more strategic when charting their shopping plaza adventure.

1st Shipyard entrance off Highway 278 – You will have passed the Plaza at Shelter Cove on your right with barely a blink. Not a problem.  Being the very concerned Journey Guardian Angels that we are, and knowing you might have missed the Plaza on the way in because your eyes are bleary and you are weary from the long drive, we built another shopping center on the same side of the street called:

Fresh Market Shoppes, where there is a, -duh-  Fresh Market, also Bonefish Grill, Jones New York, West Marine, and Cold Stone Creamery.

890 William Hilton Pky

Again, this is not something you should over-do on the first day.  I know, I know, but you are better off if you don’t over-do (which would be an over-don’t) so you will have a few extra shillings later in the week, or in case it (gasp!) rains and you all have to go to the movies sun-burnt, whiny, and miserable, you will definitely need your stash then, right?

Circle Center off Pope Avenue
70 Pope Avenue

2nd Shipyard entrance off Pope Avenue, a local road that will take you to whatever you need, whether you turn left or right.  To the left (beachside), there is a Bi-Lo on the right off Pope in the Circle Center near the public beach and FREE parking lot.

    If you miss the Bi-Lo, just keep driving until you hit a rotary called Coligny Circle.  Go all the way around that, past the beach park boardwalk fun exit, and take the next road, called North Forest Beach.  Watch out for major pedestrian, bicycle, stroller, and drunk-stagger traffic in this neck of the proverbial woods.  This is Coligny Public Beach Fun Central, and you will have a blast down here on foot.  (Not so behind the wheel of your car.  Behind the wheel of your car, you might just bust a gasket trying to make a left turn during beach happy hour.)

    Okay, say you’ve made it around Coligny Circle without hitting someone’s dog, you’ll drive one block down North Forest Beach, amidst sunbathers leaving the beach and shoppers walking the boardwalk. You will take a left on Avocet, (the first road you will come to), and drive half a block and turn left into Coligny Plaza.

    You will drive sloowwwwwwwwly through the lot, past restaurants, bars, souvenir/gift shops, until you see a familiar billboard snout, and you will know that you have reached the south’s proudest marketing alliterative effort, the Piggly Wiggly.  This used to be called the Red & White, and was Hilton Head’s first market owned by the truly wonderful Martin family, who still operate the grocery store.  Ask for David Martin and tell him Carmen Hawkins said Hi.  I don’t know if this will get you a discount, but it will definitely get David laughing.

Park Plaza, Office Park Road, Off of Pope Avenue

To the right out of Shipyard’s Pope Avenue gate, you will go to the next stoplight and turn left on Office Park Way.  This road curves around past Time Warner Cable and CVS and goes winding around a little paved back-door road that leads you to the Park Plaza shopping center, where there is a: 

Harris Teeter
33 Office Park Rd
Park Plaza Cinema, Electric Piano, Marley’s Grill and newly rebuilt family/sports bar restaurant called the Mellow Mushroom. This road is great and if you slow down enough and take a right before you get to Park Plaza, you’ll be right in the thick of things known as Reilley’s Triangle to natives because there are four restaurants (I know, the ‘triangle’ made you think three, but we are nothing if not math-smart after a couple of daiquiris in Reilley’s Triangle), and here you can grab a beer and meet some locals who will tell you the best places to eat, shop, park your beach towels, listen to live music, and watch the most awesome sunsets, than if you just followed the ads and billboards and brochures you picked up on the way in.

   The other great thing about this little road is that it takes you right past the main intersection and Sea Pines Circle traffic jam any time of the day.  Drive slowly and pay attention, and you will not be disappointed in this little gem we just gave you. We are, after all, your Vacation Company Guardian Angels.

   Now, if you spent a little longer than you should have in the Triad, and had Junior with his driver’s permit drive (good thinking!), and maybe he turned out onto a main road, instead of back onto Office Park Way, don’t worry, you are still close to yet another shopping plaza known as:

Island Crossings.
11 Palmetto Bay Rd
843- 842-2632

   However, don’t let that Palmetto Bay Rd. address fool you.  Again, here’s where the Vacation Angels swoop in on their angel wings and carry you a hop and a skip across the road.  Junior takes a right out of the Reillley’s parking lot, and then the next left.   Here, you will find Staples, Starbucks, Publix, and Walgreens, in that order, and all to remind you of home.

Now, if you missed that turn, you will go to the Sea Pines Circle, drive all the way around to Palmetto Bay Rd, and that’s when the address will make some sense.  Take a left at the first light, and there you will be at the Walgreens, Publix, Starbucks, and Staples, in that order.

Okay, if you miss that turn… sigh… you have one more shot at a grocery plaza before I give up on you.  Drive down about a half a mile past that light and on the right is a:

Food Lion
6 Bow Circle

And, FYI, just past the Food Lion, is the main U.S. Post Office, and catty-corner from that is Island Postal Center, from where we ship all your lost and found items, in case you were wondering.


From South Forest Beach (Cassina, Bayberry, Shorewood, Breakers, et al) properties, you would turn right, go straight down to Coligny Circle, half-way around, onto North Forest Beach Rd, one block and left on Avocet. Then left into Coligny Plaza where the Piggly Wiggly is.

If you miss the half-way around exit, take the next exit off the circle, which is Pope Ave. and take the second left off Pope Ave., which is Nassau.  The Circle Center is on the right where the Bi-Lo is.

From North Forest Beach (SeaCrest, North Shore Place, Quail, Driftwood, Mallard, Dune, et al), you are down the road and across the street from Coligny Plaza and the Piggly Wiggly.  This is by far the easiest place to be to get lost and still find the grocery store.


    If you are staying in the Harbour Town neck of the neighborhood, you will find going back out the main Sea Pines gate to Harris Teeter easiest.  It is the first right outside the gate, and probably the easiest turn of this whole blog post.

    If you are staying in South Beach, or South or North Sea Pines Drive and points in between, you are better off driving out the back gate, take a left on Cordillo Parkway, drive about 2 miles to a stop light (you will be opposite Shipyard), intersection with Pope Avenue.  To the right is the Bi-Lo described above, to the left is Harris Teeter and Publix, also aforementioned.

   I hope this has helped clear things up for you as you embark on your vacation week.  And if you have any questions, always know you can call us at The Vacation Company, and we’ll be glad to give you more directions and shopping options.  Or just mosey around the HiltonHeadsUp blog index to the right, and you may find what you need here, too.  Thanks for reading, and have a great day!