Among the things we’ve become more grateful for, in this recent experience of health precautions and living closer to home, is the lovely plaza that’s enfolded by The Shops at Sea Pines Center.

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

The plaza here has been called sometimes one of Sea Pines’ best kept secrets, because it’s not obvious to passers-by on Lighthouse Road. There’s no secret surely, but it’s subtle.

As a result, there’s a feeling of “inside information” about the enjoyment here. Sea Pines residents are not the only ones in on it. Because so many visitors are perennials, this is something that’s passed along as one of the top bits of lore on how to get the most out of America’s favorite vacation island. The balance between stillness and popularity here are part of the perfection.

The need for a place like this, a place to be, seems to be deep in our human nature.

Inspired with Adventure

The Shops at Sea Pines Center was inspired by the plaza of a Spanish city, the carré of a French village, the bazaar of a hamlet in the Holy Land, the British village green, or a New England town’s common. We might especially thank the mercato of Portofino on the Italian Riviera, where Sea Pines founder Charles Fraser is said to have discovered the design inspiration for nearby Harbour Town, for the atmosphere that’s carried forward here in the plaza. Why does an attractive – even magnetic – gathering place such as The Shops at Sea Pines Center appear in so many cultures and all through the history of civilization? It seems to bring deep satisfaction when people have a place to go that is both public and personal, secure and yet surprising. These spots became special. Their power of attraction probably originated from the agreeable experiences people encountered there.

A Particular Celebration

Cheer and comfort, amusement and elation came to be connected to places such as these. People took steps to make them even more pleasant and attractive. Fountains and flowers, art and amusements, directions and diversions were added. And so, the magnetism of the marketplace grew from the practical to the emotional.

It’s been easy to locate most of the things we need for day-to-day life for so long that we forget what an achievement it was, when food and clothing began to come without risk or adventure. When spices and silk first made their way to Europe, that was the culmination of a months-long caravan, a journey whose hazards and hardships were worthy of a chronicle every time.

The end points of those caravans were places of celebration. It wasn’t only the merchandise, but also the experience of encountering it – and of sharing news and ideas with the others who gathered there – that made these markets into parks, into forums for the familiar and exhibits of the extraordinary. More recently, the plaza at Santa Fe still bears the traces of the Santa Fe Trail that led to and from it. Imagine the joy of being finished with that arduous trip, or of strolling down to that square to see what the intrepid travelers had brought with them this time.

The Legacy of Delight

We don’t think that hard about what we inherited this way, here in The Shops at Sea Pines Center. Joy has been a way of life in Sea Pines for more than a half-century, and so the ways and practices that are required to keep it that way are simply local customs here.

Please join us. It’s our mission to make you feel glad you did.