Hilton Head Island. I wasn’t sure what to expect here but what I got wasn’t what I expected, if that makes any sense. I think I had in mind a landscape similar to Florida, long beaches but not a lot of vegetation. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The island is covered in trees and vegetation of all kinds. And lots of birds. And lots of money. Or more accurately, large expensive real estate. This was a plantation island back in the day and it oozes “old money rich”.
The weather turned and not for the better. There are plenty of things to do outside here but we decided to go to Savannah, Georgia and do a bus tour with a little walking around. Good thing. Cold and windy.
Anyway, Savannah is ranked as one of the most beautiful cities in America and we can see why. It is. Very old, and very beautiful. Founded in the 1700's there are many homes and building that are 250+ years old. History is everywhere. Martin Luther King Jr. made the "I Have a Dream" sermon here in a church a few years before the famous speech. Battles, Presidents, pirates (yes, the real ones) Savannah has seen it all. Stately 200 year old Live Oak trees, dripping with Spanish Moss line the streets and squares. We would love to come back someday when it is 80 degrees, not 40 and windy.
Then back to Hilton Head Island where I went out to a local beach and got some shots of the Super/Wolf Moon rising. I didn't bother with the "Blood" part of the moon as that was midnight in this part of the world.
Very cold (for here) today with a high about 7 C. But we are Canadian, so we went for a small hike through the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Wonderful place. All kinds of birds, and wildlife.
If you are tired of pictures of birds, turn away now. There are lots of birds, but there are also some great landscape shots, a couple turtles and a few other things as well.
Much of Hilton Head Island consists of entire districts that are gated. Not just a small community but entire districts. Stores, golf courses, beaches, all private. If you are going to a restaurant, store or golf course, they will give you a parking pass or in some cases sell you one.
Today we set off for Sea Pines Plantation. First a shot of a Tufted Titmouse who visited some bird seed we had put out. Then, as we stepped out the door we were greeted by a Great Blue Heron posing for a spread in GQ.
Sea Pines is gorgeous. There is a small marina on the south point. We watched pelicans fishing in a pond (a pretty good sequence shown here) and then off to Harbor Town and the lighthouse. Lovely. There are 300 year old Oak trees (we managed a "selfie" sitting under one of them.
After walking around for a while, we had dinner at "The Crazy Crab" and then took some night shots. Stunning!
Well, for the first time on this journey I went golfing. In the pouring (and I mean pouring) rain. The Oyster Reef Golf Course on Hilton Head Island is gorgeous, even in the rain. It only rained for the first 8 holes and it was warm so I really didn't mind. The upside? Because of the rain I had the course to myself. 18 holes in 3 and half hours.
Joy got a few more shots of the Tufted Titmouse and one of her friends too.
Hilton Head is unique. There are no street lights (traffic lights, yes) so it is quite dark driving at night. The island is heavily forested with tall pine trees and massive, oak trees that are hundreds of years old, covered in Spanish Moss. This adds to the darkness. And very few signs. No billboards or neon signs. Lovely.
Our last day on Hilton Head Island. We were going to take one the local tours to Daufuskie Island. One thing we have learned is that usually, when we head out on our own, we have the best days. We might not learn as much, but we see more places and things that most people don't. So, today we drove on our own to Hunting Island. Good choice.
On our way we saw the usual collection of birds and scenery. We also came to a beach that has been devastated by two hurricanes. On one hand, quite sad. On the other, shockingly beautiful.
Next the Hunting Island Lighthouse. Naturally, I had to climb it. Oddly, we saw a Ghost Crab right behind the lighthouse. He posed for the camera quite nicely, but if you got too close he reared up to let you know to step back.
Next, a stop at the Hunting Island Nature Center. They have some local area rescue critters. Snakes, alligators, turtles etc. The snakes get fed once a week and today was the day. If you are squeamish, you might want to skip past a few of those shots.
While there we saw a couple raccoons (our as we call them, future road kill) feeding in the mud flats.
On the way back to the resort, we went for a little hike on boardwalk out to an island in the marshland. It seems like the entire east coast consists of rivers running to the ocean. These create the massive marsh areas where the ocean tides mix the salt ocean water with the fresh river water. This is heaven for wildlife of all kinds. The tide was low and on the mud flats we saw hundreds of what we think are Fiddler Crabs.
As the sun set, we went to a boat launch, pier area, then found a church built in 1740 that was destroyed by fire in 1886. As we were heading back, I caught the shot of the barber shop. Not sure why, but I like it. Life in the not so high rent district.
On our way to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina today. Half way between Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach lies Charleston. What a place!
Charleston has history on top of history on top of history. Founded in 1670 it was besieged by Blackbeard (the pirate) in 1718, played a major part in the Revolutionary War and then was the site of several Civil War battles including the first one.
Amazing. We simply walked around. We found homes dating to the 1700's. Cobblestone roads. Churches and the list goes on. We only had a couple hours to spend so, I am hoping we can get back there again later in the week.
A couple things I would like to see are Fort Sumter, the site of the first battle of the Civil War and the USS Yorktown, a WW II aircraft carrier with a long history.