As we prepare for the celebration of our First Thursdays Art Market on November 4, one of the many attractions we look forward to is how the plaza of The Shops at Sea Pines Center looks in “the golden hour.” When fall is in full sway here, that span of time enfolds what many see as the most beautiful of all the views of the plaza.

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

When the sun nears the rooftops of Lowcountry Produce and our locally loved bookstore, By Hand, Ink, the palms and plants and fountains and sculpture seem for a time to be lighted from within. Certainly, that’s how we feel ourselves, when the golden hour comes to rest on The Shops at Sea Pines Center. The glow is more than a sight sensation, it is a feeling.

Taking place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., our First Thursdays Art Market are sometimes brightly sunlit, even lazy, in the warmth of a summertime afternoon. As the year goes on, the sun’s journey across the heavens creates fascinating variations on how our plaza appears, from end to end. Our horizon as sunset approaches is a copper-patina-shaded rooftop that’s poised above the western end of the plaza.

A Sight that Never Gets Old

Just a few days after the November First Thursdays Art Market, we’ll set our clocks back to turn loose of daylight savings time. Golfers and others tend to be big fans of daylight savings, and yet not everyone agrees. Complaining with a sense of humor, somebody posted last year a doctored photo of Stonehenge having its monumental slabs rearranged for the time-change. (Stonehenge was more about dates than times, it is said, but we like the joke nevertheless.)

Here among The Shops at Sea Pines Center, one of the benefits we enjoy when we set the clocks back is that our sunset puts on its show at about 5:30 p.m., before many of our shops close. We get to see the sun dissolve into the horizon beyond Calibogue Sound when we visit our near neighbors at Harbour Town. Even here in the plaza, we get all the colors – salmon and red-grapefruit and orange – and we get the afterglow, the way a seaside sundown seems to color every molecule of air for a magic hour.

Even the Breeze Feels Different

In the plaza’s embrace, the very air seems to get gentler, and with that influence people come here to connect as well as to acquire and to provide. Our friends who are seasonal residents say they come here first when they return to their Sea Pines home, because this is where they’ll hear quickly what’s going on now and what they missed while they were away.

Visitors, too, at least those fortunate enough to benefit from inside information, come to The Shops at Sea Pines Center to get the lay of the land, to find a feel for what to do in this fortunate community, with their precious vacation time. For our fellow Sea Pines residents, The Center is a not-so-hidden-secret for enjoying the best of what they chose, when they decided that the life of Sea Pines was how they wanted to spend their days. Indeed, it was – and is – right in the middle of the vision that became America’s favorite island.