Hardly anyone remembers it now, but as recently as in our grandparents’ day, leisure time was kind of a new concept. The idea of whole industries springing up to serve people’s leisure time was an unexplored field. Sea Pines serves as a landmark in this sense, because the father of the founder saw this as a stand of timber to be harvested, while Charles Fraser returned from Yale with an entirely new and different plan. The Shops at Sea Pines Center took shape in the middle of this original vision.

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

Charles saw Hilton Head Island as a chance to build a place where people could refresh and recharge, and where the rewards of hard work and enterprise could be enjoyed here and now. He pictured an entirely new kind of resort, based on harmony with nature. This, in a day when textbooks were still remarking on leisure time as a relatively new phenomenon.

Newer Than We Knew

The two-day weekend did not become widespread until the 1940s through the 1960s. In a way, the Harbour Town Lighthouse crowns the time when the five-day workweek took hold. And of course, weekends are barely the beginning of the story. There was a time not long ago when the family vacation was not yet an annual custom, but rather something folks did when time and money permitted. Gratefully, more people began to see this opportunity every year.

The Value of Pleasure

We surely don’t want to take the fun out of fun by over-examining it. Yet, it is well settled now, that time away is important in ways that are both practical and intangible. Imagination, movement, the exercise of skills and talents – they are not just used to achieve practical goals. All through human experience, we see evidence that people took time for play and pleasure, even when times were tough. Some might look at the historical record and suggest that the tougher the times got, the more important pleasure and play became.

For example, many of us were brought up by the “Greatest Generation.” We saw firsthand among our parents – who had come of age during the Great Depression and who had won World War II – that laughter and socializing, golf and bridge club, dining and dancing were important enough to make time for in life. Clearly these people were not loafers. What led them to conclude that pleasure is so important?

Seeing More Than Our Work

The skills of work are specific and clear, easy to observe and define. Their purpose is equally clear. We get nowhere without work. Further, work defines many of us – possibly most of us – at least to a great extent. “She’s a doctor.” “He’s a teacher.” “She’s an architect.” “He’s a roofer.” “She raised four kids through college.” Our occupations are a kind of shorthand for our identities. Fair? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. In some cities, it is the first thing you hear about someone you meet. You get to decide for yourself whether that description was adequate only after knowing that person a bit.

Where do we get the patience to develop those skills of work? Where do we recharge our energies for doing it? The answer, for most of us, is play. Maybe it deserves a better name. Maybe play should be considered more seriously, at least now and then. Because you don’t have to think too hard to see that without it, without some measure of downtime, free thought, action based on enjoyment, we wouldn’t be able to locate or sustain the work we do. That productive action that defines us is really made possible by pastimes that are not as easy to link directly to outcomes.

Why It Matters

We have a vested interest because Hilton Head Island is kind of a “company town” when it comes to pleasure. The environment, the climate, and the atmosphere conspire to make Hilton Head Island a place where people come to enjoy themselves. Even the businesses and industries that grew here on America’s favorite vacation island owe their success to the attraction that magnetized people in the first place, the pleasure of being here.

Among The Shops at Sea Pines Center, we are especially grateful for this pleasure principle because it is obvious that the founding planners had more than merchandise in mind. The care and consideration that went into the siting and design of the center itself demonstrates this. Placed halfway from Harbour Town to the Beach Club, right in the middle of the Miracle Mile of Sea Pines, it was clear from the first that the center was about pleasure and connection as well as shopping.

Stop in and say hi. We look forward to sharing what we found here among The Shops at Sea Pines Center.