Although we haven’t any particular evidence of it, today is Christmas Day. On my early morning bicycle ride along the beach and then on the paths which are spread about the entire Island, I exchanged civilities of the Season with passers-by. Otherwise it is just another ho-hum day in Paradise. The weather is incredibly balmy, about 15˚C. It wasn’t long before I doffed my wool sweater and stuffed it into the basket hung from the front of my bicycle. Short pants are decidedly in order today. The only damper is that the skies are misty and seemingly impenetrable by the sun, though the fog may well burn off by afternoon.
What a pleasure it is to have no agenda other than the instinct to read a good book, doze in a chaise longue on the deck and listen to the surf! Our condominium is within fifty yards of the Ocean. We have an unobstructed view from our ground floor space, a tiny staircase which leads from the kitchen door onto the lawn, then the dunes and the sandy beach. This enclave is called Beach Lagoon. We are located in the wider gated community called Sea Pines. The entrance to our particular ghetto is blocked by an electric gate requiring a passcode. There is a further gate from the beach. Every home in the area is obviously the product of planning approval as all the exterior colours are subdued and similar to one another, blending with the palm trees, magnolias, cypresses and hanging mosses. The area is under constant supervision, including a worker whose duty it is to collect any remnant of trash discovered alongside the noiseless roadways. It is my understanding that our condominium building (five floors, only three condominiums per floor) is the only condominium located directly on the beach in Sea Pines for the very good reason that if one were able to afford a place on the beach, one would build one’s own private residence as many others have.
Hilton Head Island in December and January is of course “off season”. Considering the number of resorts located throughout the Island I can see that the place must become extremely popular in the summer. The beach is exceptional in that the sand is so fine that it permits one to ride a bicycle on it. The beach is both long (easily 20 miles) and wide (perhaps 300 yards or more depending on the tides). After Christmas the Island becomes even more secluded as people return to work and school.
From where we are everything we want is accessible. We were for example able to walk to a nearby bicycle shop to rent our bikes. Not far from here at the south end of the Island is Harbour Town which has a yacht club, shops and lovely coffee house. We regularly bicycle there for an early morning coffee and baked good. Granted we must drive to our favourite grocery store (Fresh Market) and car wash (Island Car Wash). We will arrange for a spa day (massage and sauna) at one of the larger hotels on the other side of the Island.
This is our third year on Hilton Head Island. The last time we were in Florida was at Boca Raton. It certainly helps to have familiarity with the place. Only once we strayed onto the mainland (to go to Savannah, Georgia) and we essentially regretted it. There is simply no competition for the relaxation of the Island. Securing this well-situated condominium was a decision we made last year when we learned that the villa resort where we had stayed for two years could not guarantee us a place facing the Ocean.