Heaps of Oysters Kick-off Restaurant Week

From 5-to-8 pm Saturday, Jan. 21, Bluffton Rotarians present their annual Oyster Roast at the Oyster Factory, 63 Wharf St. in Bluffton. You get all-you-can-eat oysters then chili, hot dogs, French fries and brats all for $30 in advance ($35 at the gate). An amazing value! More info at the Rotary Website here.


Beginning that same day, Jan 21, is this 9th annual Chamber Restaurant Week with  70+ of the area’s top award-winning restaurants serving value-priced, prix-fixe menus. Click on the link above to see who's doing what for Restaurant Week.

The North and the South of it...


During the winter, you have the Hilton Head Island beaches pretty much to yourself! Taken at about noon on January 11th from in front of the the new Beach Club at Sea Pines Resort, the few island visitors could say that they owned the beach, or so it seemed.


The top image looks north from the boardwalk at the Beach Club, and the bottom image looks south. Can't get much better than this, except on the 12th the weather was just as clear but even warmer. (HHV Photos)

Update on Cleanup and

The Enormous Impact of Matthew

  • Through January 11, a total of 1,659,007 cubic yards of vegetative disaster debris have been collected, and 42,402 Hangers and 5,246 Leaners removed.
  • Also, to date 530,032 yards of mulch has been hauled  to various including a paper mill, local farm, landfill, firewood company and lumber company. Some logs have been exported to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
  • 71 Crews still are working simultaneously to pick up disaster debris in all public and private roadway areas.
  • There remain private roads for which the Town has yet to receive FEMA authorization for clearing of roadside debris. A new team from FEMA has been assigned to the project and is trying to get up to speed.
  • The State Department of Natural Resources has committed to notifying owners of abandoned boats of their responsibility to remove them from the waters and marshes of the State. They will also initiate the process to have boats declared abandoned if no owner can be found.




  • Since these are State waters, FEMA has questioned the eligibility for reimbursement of any such costs to address a problem for which the county is not technically responsible. The county is working with the State to try to address this question.
  • An early estimate indicated that more than $55 million will be required for clean-up and repair. This includes $35 million for debris clearing and removal; $6 million in additional beach restoration; and $3 million in storm drainage system clean-up and repairs.
  • Most of these costs will be eligible for FEMA reimbursement at 75%. In recent storms, the State of South Carolina has covered all or part of the 25% "local match," town manager Steve Riley said.


  • All 19,688 structures on HHI had received Damage Assessments by Friday Oct. 28. Damaged structures account for less than 15% of the total, and less than 1.5% suffered 50% damage.


An Empty Harbour Town Yacht Basin, Except for Repair Barges...


Harbour Town was emptied of his boat population not long after Matthew damaged the moorings. Now repairs are underway, and expected to be completed by mid-March... before The Heritage.  (HHV photo.)

Open for Play! A Return to Golf Normalcy

Heralded as the golf mecca of America, the lush public and private courses on Hilton Head Island have largely return to normalcy, with only a few aesthetic changes courtesy of Hurricane Matthew.


A year in the making, the total rebuild of Sea Pines’ Ocean Course was completed in late last year, and rechristened Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III (Sea Pines graphic at right).


While the first official tee times were planned for an early Monday in October, 2016, Hurricane Matthew changed that.


Now, the $10 million makeover of the Ocean Course that created the new Atlantic Dunes Course is in its full glory and open for play. So, too, are the Heron Point Course and the Harbour Town Golf Links.


Other course such as those at Palmetto Dunes, Port Royal and other plantations are also open for play.

EoY Real Estate Update for HHI


Below are HHI statistics for End of Year 2016.


Pending sales: +0.6 % to 4,228

Closed sales: +4.2% to 4,232


Active listings: 2,142 at the end of 2016

New listings: 6,147 for the year, +4.0%



Median sales price: $292,850, up 6.1% to for the year


Single-Family homes prices: +5.6% yoy

Condos/ Villas: +10.5% yoy


Actual sales prices: 95.8% of their listed price, +0.1%

HHI Falls from 2017 List of "Happiest Seaside Town In America"

Coastal Living Magazine just concluded its annual readers' vote for the "Happiest Seaside Town in America." The results were announced on January 11 and HHI missed out, but Sullivan's Island represented South Carolina. HHI can take solace in its 2016 win.

  • Stuart, FL
  • Rehoboth Beach, DE
  • Sturgeon Bay, WI
  • Hilo, HI
  • Fairhope, AL
  • Sullivan's Island, SC
  • Capitola, CA
  • Seaside, OR
  • Portland, ME
  • Hermosa Beach, CA (HHV photo)

SC Lists in the Top 10 Retirement States in the USA

If the mild weather and southern charm of the Palmetto State aren't enough of a retirement draw for you, surely the cost-of-living can tempt you, says Kiplinger. On top of the low living costs, the tax situation goes easy on a fixed income, too. South Carolina doesn't tax Social Security benefits and offers generous exemptions on

other types of retirement income. It also does not levy

an inheritance or estate tax. Property taxes tend to be very low.


Listed below are the top 10 states and their cost of living above/below that national average, and finally their tax ranking as a "tax friendly" state. (HHV photo)


1.   South Dakota, 10% below, most tax friendly

2.   Utah, 8% below, not tax friendly

3.   Georgia, 6% below, most tax friendly

4.   Tennessee, 2% below, tax friendly

5.   Alabama, 9% below, tax friendly

6.   South Carolina, 12% below, tax friendly

7.   Washington, 1% above, tax friendly

8.   Florida, 10% below, Most tax friendly

9.   Arizona, 1% above, Most tax friendly

10. Idaho, 0% below, mixed

Boeing & RBC Extend Heritage Sponsorship through '21, '23

RBC has extended its role as the "title sponsor" of the Heritage Classic through 2023, and Boeing has signed an agreement extending its role as the "presenting sponsor" of the classic tournament for five years, through 2021. Therefore, the tournament's official name, RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, remains unchanged and funding assured.


RBC president and CEO Dave McKay said the sponsorship extensions “reflect our leadership position in our home market, while our support of the RBC Heritage demonstrates our strong and growing presence in the US.” News release.

12-Month Hilton Head Island Real Estate Overview

The following statistics are for the 12-month period from September 2015 through August 2016, and are the most current available (as of October 2016).

Median HHI region sales price was up 6.6% to $290,000.

Median HHI sales price was up 6.2%, to $301,670.

Pending residential sales for the region were up 7.6%.

Largest property type price gain was Single-Family Homes, up 8.4% to $319,780.

The price range that tended to  sell the fastest was between, 100,001 and 225,000, with 116 days.

The price range that tended to sell the slowest was above $650,000, with 197 days.

Market-wide, inventory levels were up 6.0%.

The property type that gained the most inventory was Single Family, up 7.5%.

Seniors Are a Valuable Economic Addition to HHI

...In addition to Charleston, "another fast-growing South Carolina destination that is popular with retirees is Hilton Head Island, which is aging three times as fast as the national rate," reported The Jewish Week of New York City.


"Like many resorts, Hilton Head welcomes its silver-haired newcomers, who arrive with incomes nearly twice the local median and don’t add costly children to the public schools. About one-third of island residents are currently older than 65 — up from 24 percent in 2000 — and just 17 percent were born in the state, with more than a quarter of new arrivals coming from the Northeast."


Here's their full report, The Jewish Week newspaper. (Jewish Week photo)

Karis Art & Design Gallery

...represents American Contemporary Artists with a wide diversity of styles and methods in painting, sculpture, photography, fine jewelry, glass and art wearables.


Namesake artist Peter Karis was an expressionist, who painted people, flowers, trees and objects as he interpreted them. He worked in acrylic and the subject matter was interpreted with maximum color, conveying emotion and power. Peter Karis passed away in January, 2016, but his work, like "Beach Umbrella Trio," lives on,


Karis Gallery is located in the Village at Wexford, and is open Monday through Saturday. 843-785-5100. (Karis Gallery photo)


HHI Among 10 "World's Best" Islands for 2016

Hilton Head Island lands a place among the 2016 Travel & Leisure magazine's list of “The World’s Best Islands” to visit, and is the only winner in the continental United States.


“What all [10] of these award-winning islands have in common, to be sure, is a transcendent beauty and an ability to coax any traveler into a state of bliss,” according to the magazine’s editors.


The editors describe our island: “Hilton Head, off the shore of South Carolina, is all plantation-style architecture, golf courses, and Lowcountry cuisine. And, as a key stopover on migration routes, Hilton Head is a birder's paradise."


The full list of island winners is: 1. Palawan, Philippines; 2. Boracay, Philippines; 3. Ischia, Italy; 4. Waiheke Island, New Zealand; 5. Santorini, Greece; 6. Cebu, Philippines; 7. Maui, Hawaii; 8. Hilton Head, South Carolina; 9. Kauai, Hawaii; and 10. Bali, Indonesia. (HHV photo)

Hilton Head Island Misses DUI Label

Myrtle Beach, SC, ranks number one as America’s Drunkest Beach Town, with Norfolk, VA, taking the title for second place. This according to Vinepair, which ranked areas based on documented blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measured from June 1 through August 31, 2015, using a BACtrack device and app.


Hilton Head completely missed the list that enumerated the top 20 drinking-est beach areas. Here are the top 10:


1. Myrtle Beach, SC  0.117; 2. Norfolk, VA 0.104; 3. Charleston, SC 0.102;4. Wilmington, NC 0.091; 5. Pensacola, FL 0.09; 6. Palm Bay, FL 0.088; 7. Ocean City, NJ 0.08; 8. Delray Beach, FL 0.078; 9. San Diego, CA 0.077; 10. Santa Cruz, CA 0.074.


While DUI laws vary by state, the DUI.Drivinglaws.org says, “Legally, in all states you should not be operating a motor vehicle with a 0.08 [or higher] percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC).” (MADD image)

Hilton Head Population Growth

The just-released Hilton Head Island population growth numbers show that the town grew in proportion to other similar South Carolina beach resort communities, such as Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island.


However, HHI lagged behind nearby Port Royal and was a substantially slower grower than Bluffton and Hardeeville. That's a plus or a minus, depending on your perspective. Here are the numbers and percentages as provided by the US Census Bureau.


The permanent population of HHI is about 40,000, but swells in summer to 250,000+/-. (HHV Chart).

Best Barbecue on HHI

The HHI Kiwanis Club annually raises money for children's charities by sponsoring their "Burnoff," where area barbecue joints compete to determine who is the best in preparing the South's favorite food: grilled and smoked ribs and pork butt (or shoulder).


For us non-competitors, the winners' list serves as a guide to the places that we need to visit during the ensuing year--until the next Burnoff's results are determined. So, above is this year's list of just-crowned winners. (HHV chart)

HHI Named to TripAdvisor's Top 10 List

TripAdvisor has named Hilton Head Island one its Top 10 US island destinations in its 2016 Travelers’ Choice Awards. The island's among-the-best listing is based on readers' reviews, which were collected at the Website.


TripAdvisor says Hilton Head Island is “a golfer's paradise” and  lists 275 other activities for visitors -- with the top five being the bike trails, Coligny Beach, boat tours, Sea Pines Forest Preserve and the Coastal Discovery Museum.


The top 10 are: Maui, HI; Key West, FL; Oahu, HI; Hawaii, HI; Mt. Desert Island, ME; Hilton Head Island, SC; Amelia Island, FL; Marco Island, FL; Chincoteague Island, VA; Mackinac Island, MI. (Trip Advisor photo)

Hilton Head Wins Readers' Choice AwardsTravel Magazine cover with Sea Pines winner Readers Choice Award

128,000 readers voted in the 28th annual Readers’ Choice Awards

by Conde Nast Traveler -- and Hilton Head is a winner!


The Inn & Club at Harbour Town took two awards:

  • 5th among the Top 24 Hotels in the USA, and
  • 58th among the Top 100 Hotels and Restaurants in the World.

The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton ranked

  • 62nd among the Top 100 Hotels & Restaurants in the world.

Hilton Head Island itself ranked

  • 7th among the Best Islands in the USA.

Harbour Town Golf Links & Clubhouse

...are in full-swing after after hosting this year's Heritage Classic... and undergoing a series of course enhancements over the summer.  Celebration Bermuda is now greening the tee boxes, fairways and roughs. Tif-Eagle Bermuda was planted on the greens. A new irrigation system also was installed.


At the center of it all is the new 44,000 square foot, $23 million HTGL players' facility that was named the best  “New Public Clubhouse of the Year” by Golf Inc. magazine. Open to the public, tee times available at 843-732-7463. (HHV photo)

Surging Seas logo from Climate CentralAre Rising South Carolina Sea Levels for Real

...Maybe. Take a look at what is speculated for Hilton Head Island here, or navigate the interactive map--link at right--to see which South Carolina areas will be below  sea level rise and at what times.


The Surging Seas tool also provides statistics of the populations, homes and land areas that might be affected by city, county and state. It also offers links to fact sheets, data downloads, action plans, embed-able widgets and more.  (Climate Central logo image)

Dog(s) Rule(s) on Hilton Head Beaches

WINTER ~ Oct. 1 through March 31

Dogs allowed on beaches at all times provided they are leashed or under voice-control.


SPRING ~ April 1 to Thursday before Memorial Day

Dog allowed on beaches at all times; however, between 10 am and 5 pm they must leashed or under voice-control.


SUMMER ~ Friday before Memorial Day to Monday after Labor Day

Dogs NOT allowed on beaches between 10 am and 5 pm; however, at other times dogs are allowed when they are leached or under voice-control.


FALL ~ (i.e. late Summer) Tuesday after Labor Day to Sept 30

Dogs allowed on beaches at all times; however, they must be leashed between 10 am and 5 pm; at other times, voice-control is sufficient.


Exceptions ~ (There are always exceptions!)

Mitchelville Beach Park, Fish Haul Park and on Hunting Island State Park

Dogs are allowed at all time but must be leashed.


Maintenance: At all times owners MUST pick up after their dogs and dispose of it in the appropriate bins, which often are placed at public beach entrances. Source: Town HHI Rules.

Low Country Has Nation's Friendliest Cities


128,000 readers of Conde Naste Traveler magazine have voted Charleston, SC, the nation's (and world's) friendliest city! Neighboring Savannah took third place in the USA and seventh in the world.  Read the magazine's story here. (Conde Naste Traveler photo)



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Editor, Hilton Head View, PO Box 8051, Hilton Head Island, SC 29938-8051


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Header Images: RM Miles/HHV