South Beach in the Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is located as the name implies at the southern most point of the Island. It is in texture very much like the predominantly upscale residential character of the rest of Sea Pines Resort though it distinguishes itself by being in addition about as close as one comes to the Coney Island experience on the Island. There are certainly no Sideshows by the Seashore, ferris wheels, roller coasters or Stuff Yourself Silly restaurants. There is only the very quaint and respectable Salty Dog Café and T-shirt Factory, a Happy Hour Music Cruise and the Land’s End Tavern. Located nearby are a number of tennis courts and seaside residential developments which include some private homes but mostly condominiums, some in the character of townhouses, the remainder in the nature of traditional apartment buildings. The Island’s strict urban planning guidelines have maintained the elevated sensibilities so pronounced throughout the entire Resort area.
Our residence here for the last two weeks of November is in one of the apartment-style buildings on the fifth (top) floor overlooking the sound which connects immediately to the Atlantic Ocean only one hundred yards easterly. The extensive property features delightful gardens and vegetation. It is secluded by a winding private drive from South Sea Pines Drive (which by the time it reaches South Beach is akin to a rustic pathway). We selected this place as a last minute thought when we determined to extend our planned three-month trip here. The estate agent recommended it to us and by and large it has not disappointed. Having said that we concur that our removal on Friday next to our more permanent freehold townhouse will be welcomed if for no other reason than that we will not thereafter be obliged to deal with an elevator when transporting our personal possessions, household provisions and groceries. The lift is currently a minor inconvenience only but a prolonged commitment would unquestionably become tedious. The development is complete with manicured surrounding parkland where we have seen deer wandering and a very attractive swimming pool (perpetually maintained and convenient for afternoon sunbathing though otherwise perfectly useless at this time of year). The fact that the property adjoins the sound is somewhat meaningless other than for the view because it is not a location where one would prefer to access the beach for purposes of bicycling (our primary outdoor occupation). Being removed slightly from the direct effect of the Ocean tides, the beach of the sound does not drain of water as readily as the main beach when the tide is out and hence is most often unsuitable for bike travel though entirely fine for healthy walks and leisurely perambulations. Accordingly we have made the habit of connecting to the beach at the Beach Club further north on the Atlantic shore where we can normally be assured of dry sand for bicycling. Otherwise the view has afforded us welcome diversions in the nature of passing yachts, dolphins, sea birds and sunsets. The apartment has two commodious balconies from which to take in the sights or through the patio doors of which merely to relish the salty air and the sound of the sea.
The interior of the condominium apartment is generally what one would describe as traditional. There has been no attempt to cultivate the singular tropical flavour so common to many Florida residences. Indeed if there were any bent it is toward a Parisian goût. Many of the wall hangings reflect references to French sidewalk cafés, théâtre and opéra and some pictures are decidedly feminine (extraordinarily fashionable high-heeled shoes). There are portrayals of gambolling waiters and chefs, distinguished ladies walking their equally precious small dogs and door frames reminiscent of hillside homes in the South of France. The only concession of the furniture to the Maritime feature of the environment is the incorporation of wicker. Otherwise the furnishings are of substantial wood construction, as is the cabinetry of the kitchen and the two ensuite bathrooms. The walls and accessories are coloured in muted hues. While the floors of the two bedrooms are covered in broadloom the living area has a tiled floor over which is splayed an Oriental-style rug. The only obvious error in the outfitting of the unit is that there is track lighting above the dining table when it should have been positioned in the kitchen where it was needed. The reversed lighting creates an absurd juxtaposition of the kitchen and the dining area and preserves a constant minor though palpable annoyance.
The estate agent has exemplified its superior management skill by having responded immediately to our every comment. For example the mere mention of a damaged seal around the inside of the stove door resulted in the replacement of the entire stove with a new one; likewise a complaint about the coffee maker brought about the provision of a replacement. The other appliances include in-sink waste disposal, double-door refrigerator, dishwasher, blender, single-cup and multiple-cup coffee makers, four-slice toaster, hand-held mixer, washer, dryer, three flat-screen TVs, Blue-ray disc player, iPod/CD/radio system and DVD player. The property management is diligent as evident from the daily presence of staff cultivating the gardens and cleaning the walkways, hallways and elevators. There is ample parking and of course bicycle racks.