Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spending a Year of My Life at Hilton Head

As a writer and an artist, I spend a lot of my time thinking and dreaming about settings and possible settings for books and for art. Over the years, Hilton Head Island, SC has become one of my favorite setting destinations. Since 1980, we have spent at least one week and often two weeks a year playing tennis at resorts located on Hilton Head. When you do the math, you'll realize that's at least one year of my life spent at Hilton Head.

A lot has changed since our first visit. At that time, there was only one grocery store on the island and much less traffic on the one road--highway 278. Over the years and many stores later, much of the land on the island has been developed. The once vacant property along the beautiful beach between Island Club and Port Royal now features a hotel and large timeshare property.

Favorite restaurants have come and gone, including a Cracker Barrel, often a crowded spot elsewhere, that no longer exists. Most of our time has been spent at Island Club which has a outstanding tennis program. A restaurant was located at Island Club when we first purchased a timeshare there. Although the facility in the rotunda building was a great convenience, that restaurant closed in a couple of years.

For several years, we looked forward to the Boathouse 2 champagne brunch on Sunday morning with a build your own omelet that included crab meat as one of the choices. This year, the restaurant was under new ownership and is now the Skull Creek Boathouse. Even though the omelet bar is gone, the menu is excellent, and the facility now features walls of televisions creating a sports bar setting for major league baseball games and NFL football.

Over the years, the wide, scenic beach at Island Club has provided many photo opportunities for me. I've created art cards from my photographs and have made pastel drawings and painted large acrylic canvasses using photos from the Hilton Head waterfront. A photo of a sunset on the Island Club beach became the cover of my mystery suspense novel, Secrets by the Sea.

One of my favorite images is that of the ducks swimming in the lagoon by the deck of our condo. Several years ago, an alligator moved into the lagoon and killed off nearly all of the ducks. This year, the alligator was not around, but the ducks were. I was happy to see them back.

Hilton Head Beach - MMSikes
I've spent more than a year at Hilton Head. Although things change and new facilities take the place of old, I still look forward to visiting the island every year. I look forward to seeing a fresh look and discovering what new element I can add to a story because of that change.

Mary Montague Sikes


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've been to Charleston, but never Hilton Head.

Jim (and Karen) Overturf said...

Is the photo one you took? You have a great eye!

Where are you posting pics of your other work (besides your books...) I hope we get to be good friends!


Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

What a neat visit to an island I've only heard about! Thanks for taking me there this morning!Sylvia Dickey Smith

A War of Her Own

Monti said...

Thank you, Karen. My background is in art as well as writing, but I don't really have my photos posted anywhere (although I have thousands). My coffee table book, Hotels to Remember, is illustrated with my photos. I hope we become friends, too.

I love Hilton Head especially because I play lots of tennis, and there are over 300 courts and lots of teaching pros on the island. Charleston is beautiful, and I think offers a wider array of activities for visitors who don't play tennis or golf than does Hilton Head.

Helen Ginger said...

It sounds like a wonderfully peaceful place, Monti. Like Alex, I've been to Charleston, but not Hilton Head.

DazyDayWriter said...

Does sound lovely, Monti! I haven't been to Hilton Head, but you've inspired me to consider it. A friend of mine from college loves it there, as well. :)

Stop by Sunny Room Studio today ... think you'll love the new blog post about being a generous spirit (that you are! thanks again for the Lovely Blog award!).


Monti said...

Hope you will take a side trip to Hilton Head next time you're in Charleston or Savannah. It's only 45 minutes from Savannah and well worth the drive.

Stephen Tremp said...

Sounds like fun to visit familiar places and watch them change and evolve over time. I need to get out more myself.

Stephen Tremp

Anne Randolph said...

What a great place. Bob Mayer does a great workshop at Hilton Head. Have you heard about it. Anne Randolph

Monti said...

I don't think I've heard about the Bob Mayer workshop at Hilton Head. I spend a lot of time on the tennis courts taking the stroke of the day, then lots of time in sports bars watching the St. Louis Cardinals play (and lose this season). Also, I take in the art galleries. The galleries that used to carry some of my paintings are gone now. This year the Art Center on Highway 278 had a wonderful exhibition of experimental art that opened last Friday evening. Great to see it and visit with some of the artists!