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The Retiring US Workforce Finds Hilton Head Island

Posted by Bill True on Sunday, December 2nd, 2018 at 8:01am.

hilton head home under construction

In its 2018 ranking of Best Places To Retire, Forbes included Bluffton, South Carolina.

To quote their published profile:

Coastal village of 19,000, twenty-five miles northeast of Savannah. Median home price $264,000. Cost of living 9% above national average. PROS: Adequate number of doctors per capita. Good air quality. Low serious crime rate. Very walkable. No state estate/inheritance tax, no state income tax on Social Security earnings, state income tax break on pension income.

According to Jetsetter, Hilton Head Island is one of the five best island vacation spots in the USA.

bridge to hilton head island, scTwo and one-half million vacationers and tourists visit beautiful Hilton Head each year…and most of them wish they lived here full time. Well, each year new retirees who have had the good fortune to visit our own paradise island remember those visits and choose to come back and make the Lowcountry their home.

Several will settle in Hilton Head Island, but the majority will make their new home Bluffton, South Carolina, due to all the good points made by Forbes plus the fact that it is about twenty-minutes across a magnificent bridge from the inviting Hilton Head.

hilton head island aerial viewBut this is all a relatively recent change to all the factors comprising the culture, economics, industries and population of the Lowcountry.

In 1950, the primary industry was lumber with a sprinkling of agriculture. Timber was the primary asset of the Lowcountry and the harvesting of it was the primary industry.

Beaufort County, the county in which both Hilton Head Island and Bluffton are located, the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry had a population of 26,993 residents in 1950 and looked more like South Carolina of the sixteenth century when the Europeans first jumped off their boats and onto the sandy shores of Bluffton, Hilton Head and Beaufort.

Simply, it was a forest with people living in and around it

Then, what I choose to refer to as the Lowcountry’s tectonic change occurred. In 1956, a member of one of the prominent lumber families, Charles E. Fraser turned 5,200 acres of Hilton Head pine forests into the world-renowned Sea Pines Plantation, attracting visitors from all over the globe. And thus, began the evolution of the Lowcountry from a serious member of the lumber industry to tourism and its natural outgrowth, a land of second homes and retirement communities.

Sun City Hilton Head, SCBluffton and Hilton Head Island were about to morph into people living with a smaller but just as beautiful forest surrounding them creating a veritable paradise.

Over the ensuing years more than ninety communities would spring up between Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. Communities were carved out of the forests and designed to fulfill the needs and dreams of relocating folk from every walk of life and economic strata.

I will touch on only two, but two that give evidence to the diversification of the nature of the communities and the unparalleled restraint and planning of the local governments to assure the maintaining of the culture, the environment and the general ambience.

Sun City Hilton Head

recent aerial view, Hilton Head Island, SCFirst the one that has had the greatest impact on the local economy was the brainchild of a national developer, Del Webb. Interestingly, he bought the 5,000 acres that he developed from none other than a holdover from the previous economic boon, Argent Lumber Company, a transaction that reflected the re-purposing of land throughout the area.

Del Webb built a self-contained community, Sun City Hilton Head, that as of this writing has over 14,000 residents, 2 Indoor Lap Pools, 4 Outdoor Resort-Style Pools, a 540-Seat Performing Arts Center, 45-Acre Town Center and Amenity Complex, 12 Har-Tru Tennis Courts, 12 Pickleball Courts, 12 Bocce Ball Courts and three 18-hole Golf Courses.

The aerial shot is of that awesome development in 2018:

Sea Pines Resort

No writing about the development of Hilton Head and Bluffton would be complete nor half as interesting without completing the story of what became of Charles E. Fraser’s vision.

sea pines resort, hilton head islandHere, extracted from an earlier post for those who may have missed it is the narrative of what Sea Pines is today.

Sea Pines is one of the largest residential and resort plantations on Hilton Head spanning 5,200 acres. Within Sea Pines are 3839 homes and 2042 villas. The community is most famous for its four championship golf courses, including the Harbour Town Golf Links, home of the PGA Tour’s annual RBC Heritage. Sea Pines is also associated with the world-recognized Harbour Town Marina and its landmark red-and-white-striped lighthouse, built in 1969 to aid boats traveling on the Calibogue Sound.

The marina hosts awe-inspiring yachts as large as 115 feet. Sea Pines has a lush, 605-acre forest preserve, access to five miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches, over 100 tennis courts, two security gates and numerous swimming pools. It is also the location of the South Beach Racquet Club, Sea Pines Racquet Club, Lawton Stables equestrian center, and restaurants and outdoor activities held at South Beach Marina Village.

Once again, to give a visual to assist in the understanding of the dimension of the metamorphosis from forest to playground, I’ve included an aerial shot of Sea Pines today.

I would like to leave my readers with a very uplifting photo of how those who have achieved a great deal in their lifetime spend their leisure, here in Hilton Head/Bluffton, Heart of the Lowcountry.

Interested in learning more about the Bluffton lifestyle? Please contact Bill True online or call 1-843-384-9088 to connect with a qualified & experienced Hilton Head Island area real estate professional.

-Bill True

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