What’s so great about Hilton Head Island?
It’s more than just a world renowned vacation destination!
Hilton Head has come a long way since the early years. It was a long drive to Savannah or Beaufort for any type of severe medical emergency, let alone a mother having a baby. The first walk in medical care facility opened on Pope Avenue from a group of retired doctors who got together to fill the need. Then, after years in the planning along with the drive and inspiration of Dr. Peter LaMotte, the first 40 bed hospital opened on the island in 1975. Numerous benefits, charities, and auctions were needed to fund this facility.
My grandmother donated her old antique hickory shafted golf clubs that auctioned off for $1200 that went to this first hospital. Today, Hilton Head Regional Healthcare is a thriving medical complex servicing Hardeeville, Bluffton, Okatie, as well as the island. You also have numerous emergency out patient health care clinics located island wide. Whether you are down on vacation or a full time island resident, your health and well being is a priority here.
Cultural Arts & Local Events
You could almost describe Sea Pines as an art colony in the early years as many young artists moved to the island to hone their craft. Names like Walter Greer, Ray Ellis, Joe Bowler, Walter Palmer and Coby Whitmore to name a few, as well as an historical novelist by the name of John Jakes who would see some of his best writings completed on the island.
Soon thereafter, again through a groundswell of local support, the first Community Playhouse opened on the island. My grandmother was a founding angel who contributed to help open the playhouse. Thus, she always had season tickets. I remember escorting her to local plays and musicals like “Oklahoma”, “The Music Man”, and “Wait until dark”. Over time, and as the island grew, a larger venue was called for and through this came the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.
What about outdoor events?
There is never a week that goes by that there is not something going on somewhere on the island. Outdoor concert here, PGA golf tournament there, even fund raisers are can be big attractions. And I do mean “big.”
When the Hilton Head High School built their football stadium back in the late 80s, to help pay for the facility they had outdoor concerts before the first kickoff. Not just any old concert, we’re talking Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffett.
It didn’t used to be that way. Life was pretty quiet on the island, usually from September through March. The local Chamber of Commerce came up with an idea in 1982, and out of this evolved the first Hilton Head Island Springfest. Local food fairs, concerts, and events to attract tourists to the island to help kick off the season.
As years went by, the term “fest” was added on to any event that was looking to attract patrons. Some of these being “Wingfest”, “Ribfest”, “Winefest”, “Seafoodfest”, and so on. One of the great benefactors of these local “fests” has been the Island Recreation Center, a fabulous state-of-the-art facility that offers a broad spectrum of events and activities catering to all ages.
There is so much happening here on Hilton Head Island that there isn’t enough time or space to cover everything. What best describes our little piece of paradise the best is the Island Recreation Center’s slogan: “We Build Community.”
Yes, they do, as do all the others who work hard to make Hilton Head a better place to live.