LAVANYA SUNKARA


Location: Harbour Town, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island surprised me for being so green!  The boot shaped barrier island off the coast of South Carolina is the first eco-planned resort destination in the country. When developer Charles Fraser set his eyes on the island in the ‘50s, he wanted to save it from being clear-cut. He bought the southern part of the island from his father and built a bridge to the mainland. Sea Pines, a 5,000-acre community where our rental beach house was located in, was the first project embarked on by Fraser. He turned the sparsely populated island into a haven of expensive homes, golf courses, and tennis courts while ensuring the place kept its natural beauty.

Live oak trees with overhanging Spanish moss add charm to the quaint communities. Buildings are no taller than five floors and their muted colors serve as camouflage. The Wal-Mart has a large oak tree in the parking lot. Alligators inhabit the marshes and creeks. Roads have no streetlights. Stars shine above. Endangered loggerhead sea turtles and their nesting areas are zealously protected.

In Harbour Town, which is also located in Sea Pines, I visited the marina and marveled at the candy cane striped lighthouse. My favorite part was hugging a hundred year old moss covered oak tree. Charles Fraser changed the entire configuration of the marina to accommodate this majestic oak that is named Liberty Oak, under which he is now buried.

During my brief stay on this beautiful island, I saw dolphins while paddle boarding and beautiful exotic birds on kayak, biked on the hard packed sandy beaches, and relaxed with friends watching a thunder storm with a glass of wine under the porch of our rented beach house. The restaurants were amazing and the town was delightful. I can’t wait to return.

To read my article on Hilton Head Island in NY Resident magazine, A Green Getaway on Hilton Head Island, click here.

In addition to editing this blog, I work full-time in New York City and write for both online and print publications. My focus is on cultural commentary, animal welfare, books, eco and luxury travel, green living and wildlife conservation. I am a regular contributor to Petside.com and Jeffcorwinconnect.com. My work has also appeard in the New York Times, Salon, Petside, GQ, MSN, Yahoo!, and Yourtango.com among others.  

To visit my professional website, please click www.lavanyasunkara.com

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