Friday, March 12, 2010

Kiawah Island . . .

It's Friday - time for a weekend getaway!  On this early spring weekend we are heading south to The Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina!


Located just south of Charleston, South Carolina, Kiawah (pronounced (KEE-a-wah) Island was originally settled by Native Americans of the same name in the 1600s.  The island has a long history which includes piracy, cotton farming and Civil War occupation.  One of the legends of the island is that the first shots of the Civil War which were fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor could be heard at Kiawah, a mere 21 miles away.

Kiawah is a beautiful resort located directly on the ocean, complete with all the amenities necessary for a relaxing, luxurious beach vacation. It features five golf courses designed by notable golfers such as Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio, indoor and outdoor pools, restaurants, shops, fitness center, and even a croquet lawn.  For accommodations at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, there are three different types:  the Resort Villas, Private Home Rentals, and The Sanctuary Hotel.

 
Looking from the beach toward the hotel

The lobby of The Sanctuary Hotel

The croquet lawn

My choice for lodging would be The Sanctuary, with 255 guest rooms and suites, most of which have ocean views, and eleven execute suites; the Ocean Front Suite would be my room of choice:

The Ocean Front Suite
Photo courtesy of KiawahResort.com

After checking in and relaxing by one of the beautiful ocean front pools for a while, let's take a walk along the beach.  Kiawah Island has 10 miles of beautiful, uninterrupted beaches and was named #9 the The Travel Channel's list of "America's Best Wildlife Beaches.  The beach is also a breeding ground for Loggerhead Sea Turtles from approximately May to September.

A view from the dunes to the beach

Enough relaxing - time for a little adventure!  The resort offers many activities, from crafts to wildlife hikes, so everyone in the family can find something they will like.  The Alligator Adventure looks interesting - go on a search for the American Alligators, the largest reptiles in North America.  Take some time to learn about them and observe them in their natural habitat as quite a few of them call Kiawah home!

Photo courtesy of KiawahResort.com

Hungry after our little adventure?  Let's have dinner!  There are many choices of restaurants on the property, ranging from casual to elegant.  In the middle range is The Jasmine Porch.  With its brick walls and oak flooring, it makes you feel like you are in the dining room of a large plantation.  For an appetizer, start with a local favorite - She Crab Bisque (I've had it - it's delicious!).  For an entree, take advantage of being so close to the sea and sample some fresh local seafood; a good choice - Charleston Shrimp and Grits (with shrimp from nearby McClellanville, SC). 

The Jasmine Porch
Photo courtesy of KiawahResort.com

After a stroll around the grounds, it is time to head off to sleep.  One of the benefits of our Ocean View Suite is the ability to leave the windows open, and let the sound of the surf crashing on the beach lull us off to a peaceful sleep . . . .

P.S. - If you have some extra time, take a side trip to visit the town where the dinner shrimp was brought off the boat-McClellanville, South Carolina.  A small town (population 496) north of Kiawah, McClellanville is a quaint fishing/shrimping town that was devastated by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.  Because of the perseverance of its dedicated residents, the evidence of this tragedy no longer shows.  It is a charming coastal town with charming homes, historic sites and a few restaurants and shops.  Visit the piers and see the shrimp boats (I was lucky enough to catch them still decorated for the Blessing of the Fleet - dressed in all their finery!).  Stop and say hello to the Deerhead Oak - a 67 foot high tree that is believed to be over 1,000 years old, and have lunch at T.W. Graham's - a seafood restaurant that serves great food.  Don't be intimated if Graham's seems like a "local" hangout - I was when I first saw it.  My fears were unfounded - the staff were very welcoming and friendly and made us feel as if we were locals - true southern hospitality!

The Deerhead Oak

A shrimp boat in McClellanville

T.W. Grahams
(Photo courtesy of SciWay.net)

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