Now, in peak visitor season, we are reminded that Hilton Head Island became known initially as a summer resort, mainly because children were home from school and ready to vacation with their families.

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

Long since, folks have discovered that some of the most attractive times to spend on America’s favorite vacation island are not, in fact, in the summer, but rather in the gentler weather of the fall and spring.

We have our winter fans, too, because winter here is mainly a matter of switching from a golf sweater to a golf jacket. Long-term visitors from upstate New York, Ontario, and other places where people know what winter really means find Hilton Head Island to be their perfect refuge then.

Something for Everyone

On a shelf in his mother’s library, a friend found a little book about “How to Make Family Gatherings Fun.” The key, it said, was to have something on the agenda that will appeal to each of the interests and passions of your party, plus a thing or two that appeals to them all together. Here in the middle of our season for visitors, The Shops at Sea Pines Center takes up that long-familiar role.

For generations, Sea Pines residents and visitors alike have found here a kind of one-stop answer for what to do this week. Young and old, indoor and outdoor, fine food and fun food, necessities and notions, things to wear, things to give, things to amuse, and things to cherish for generations. They are all arrayed around a sunny oasis we call the plaza – the center of The Shops at Sea Pines Center.

When Guests Arrive or When You’re the Visitor

Once you’ve got the lay of the land yourself, then letting your family, loved ones, and friends in on the keys to enjoying Hilton Head Island seems to grow the fun in another way. Inside information turns out to be especially appealing on Hilton Head. So many residents began as visitors. So many visitors (at least 40% in a given year) are making a return visit, because they enjoyed it so much here.

“Did you hear about the Forest Preserve?” or, “There’s a farmers market here on Tuesdays,” or, “They’ve got Italian gelatos here,” or, “Where’s the best pizza?” (a basic life skill for many families) are natural topics of conversation. The answers are like gifts, because they come with the memories of good times of your own.

A Special Kind of Convenience

As special as this place is, it was meant to be convenient, too. The Sea Pines founders gave The Shops at Sea Pines Center the favored spot – halfway between Harbour Town Yacht Basin and the beach. You can tell it was meant to be convenient, too, because they put a post office here, and a gas station, and a bank.

Clues to what makes The Shops at Sea Pines Center unique can be found in the fact that this gas station also offers fine wines and what many say is the best fried chicken in the Lowcountry. And what used to be our bank is now a gourmet grocery, with its wine collection housed in the former bank vault.

Sense of humor, sense of style, a sense of wearing life a little lighter – all these are in the essence of the inside information you can find here, now and then, and share with guests. Just one of the joys of The Shops at Sea Pines Center.