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ANTHONY BYNUM Talking the Talk AND Walking the Walk










Spring is a perfect time to get outside and explore Hilton Head Island’s alfresco spaces


The Lowcountry’s best and brightest come out to shine for a good cause

112 TALKING THE TALK, WALKING THE WALK: ANTHONY BYNUM ON OUR COVERS ON THE CH2 COVER Model Émilie Frazier in an ensemble from Outside Hilton Head at the Rowing and Sailing Center CH2 SPECIAL SECTION: Talking the Talk AND DANCING HAPPY MOTHER’S BLOWING UP! Local balloon artist makes magic 100 ON THE CB2 COVER Model Émilie Frazier in an ensemble from Kelly Caron Curated at Greens Shell Park BEAUTIFUL GARDENS ON CAMPS FOR KIDS LOCAL STARS: A FUNDRAISER FOR THE BLUFFTON CB2 SPECIAL


Ambassador of Buzz

Maggie Marie Washo

Master of Coin

Marion Elizabeth Bowser

Chief Chatter

Kim Conrad Crouch

Sales Rockstar

“Just Kandace” Cunningham

Head of Schmoozing

Morgan Ambler

Talent Delivery Specialist

Kaila Jeffcoat

Wizard of Light Bulb Moments

Jevon Daly

Mascot in Training

Buoy Conrad Crouch Pritchard

The Gatekeepers

Greta Von Bowser

Vincent Von Bowser

Comic Sans Annihilator

Catherine Davies

Digital Sorceress

Hunter Kostylo

Aspiring Novelists

Jesse Blanco

Margaret Crenshaw

Courtney Hampson

Barry Kaufman

Libby O'Regan

Alan Perry

Cheryl Ricer

Gwyneth J. Saunders

Morgan Stewart

Larry Toomer

Sheila Tucker

Lighting Experts

Find Us Here

PO Box 22949

Hilton Head Island, SC 29925


Every time we do a MomPreneurs issue, I am in awe of the women we feature. As I watch them wrestle (and negotiate) with little ones during photo shoots, I think about how much effort it took them to show up looking like a million bucks. And they are simultaneously making sure the kids look great, too – and, oh yeah, running successful businesses in the background. No one can multi-task like a mother – which I guess is what gives them that superpower edge in business. Flip on over to page 34 to read some of their tips and tricks to juggling it all and staying sane.

One such impressive mom is our Beaufort County Treasurer, Maria Walls, who has recently created a game to teach children about taxes. The CH2 crew got to witness this game being played at Hilton Head Christian Academy last month, with students volunteering to be local councilmen and women, tax collectors and voters. I’m not sure what I was more impressed with – the presentation or the intelligent comments from the students in response to the game. We’ve got some really smart kids in this town.

Speaking of really smart kids, head to page 112 to read about Anthony Bynum, a Hilton Head High School student who recently got

accepted to Harvard. This is the second story in what will be a continuing series highlighting local students who are giving back to their community and doing impressive things at a young age.

Of course, we are back with our guide to Summer Camps, one of the most requested features we do all year. Check out pages 73-77 for activities your littles can do throughout the summer months.

Margaret Crenshaw is back with her column on Hilton Head Island’s early days, sail on over to page 100 to read about how “Fraser’s Folly” became Harbour Town.

In closing, I can’t believe it has been 14 years since we covered the last “Dancing with the Local Stars” event. When Sandro Virag, co-owner of Hilton Head Ballroom (with Armando Aseneta), asked me to participate in a fundraiser that Paul Ammeen was pulling together for the Kiwanis Club of Bluffton, of course I said “yes.” Then I slowly remembered how much time, practice, and mental energy it took to learn a 60-second routine. I salute my fellow dancers (meet them on page 92 of this issue) for all the preparation I know has gone into this special event happening May 19 at Seaquins Ballroom. Tickets sold out weeks ago, but I’m pretty sure there will be a video floating around somewhere on the interwebs.

Have a wonderful May. Call your mom. 

Photography by M.Kat Photography by Gwyneth J. Saunders
MAGGIE WASHO Publisher / Editor-in-Chief Instagram - @ch2hhimag Facebook - TikTok - @ch2mag YouTube -
Sorry Jevon, you'll have to sit this dance lesson out Photography by Jevon Daly The Pratt Family (Abbey, Gary, Connie and Mallory) is photographed at Shelter Cove Veteran’s Park in April.

Living with ALS

Island musician Gary Pratt’s journey proves he is not alone

Gary Pratt didn’t think much of it at first. Returning home from a gig in January of last year, he noticed that his right hand was feeling a little fatigued. Not numb. Not hurt. Just tired. He noticed that it had been harder than usual over the past few weeks to play the guitar that has been the source of his livelihood for years.

When you play as much as Gary does – in bands from Lowcountry Boil to JoJo Squirrel and the Home Pickles, not to mention solo gigs – a little fatigue is bound to happen. As a part of the island’s cadre of hard-working musicians, running a gauntlet of nightly gigs in a variety of bands and at a variety of venues, he figured it was just all part of the job.

His wife, Connie, wasn’t so convinced. “I’m a nurse, so I started asking all of the questions,” she said.

The problem was where to start? Believing that he might have strained something in his neck, stressing the nerves leading to the hands, the Pratts consulted a chiropractor, who ran full X-rays. A spine specialist at Optim Orthopedics recommended Gary undergo physical therapy and undergo an electronystagmography (ENG) test.

“I was doing physical therapy and it wasn’t really working, so I ended up seeing a neurologist and had an MRI done,” Gary said. It was during one of these appointments that Gary and Connie first noticed a developing twitch between his thumb and index finger.

“I had never noticed that before. When the neurologist saw that, he said it was definitely neuromuscular,” Connie said. In listing possible conditions, the first one the doctor mentioned was ALS, something that Connie admits “freaked us out.”

The neurologist referred the Pratts to MUSC, but there was one issue. “This was March, and at that time, the earliest appointment they had was June.”

Undaunted, Connie called MUSC every day looking for a cancellation, knowing that they could drop everything

and be there in hours. Her persistence paid off, and they were able to sneak into an appointment on April 12. Gary would have to eat the tickets he’d been able to get to take his daughter to see Taylor Swift on April 13, but even the most ardent Swiftie would probably understand.

The couple met with Dr. Katherine Ruzhansky at MUSC, who led Gary through a battery of tests, eliminating possibilities as she went.

“We’d done all the other tests, like blood tests to check for Lyme disease. After a physical exam she told us, ‘ALS is a diagnosis by rule out, and we’ve ruled everything else out. The good news is, we caught it early,’” relayed Connie.

“Good news” is a relative term when it comes to ALS. There are treatments for the disease, and Gary follows two of them. One has a 10% chance of slowing the disease. The other extends the life expectancy of the patient by a year. While some patients can live as much as a decade after diagnosis, the average life expectancy of a patient following an ALS diagnosis is two to five years.

“He’s doing much better than I am,” Connie said. “He has a very strong faith in God, and either the miracle happens or it doesn’t.”

Waiting for the Miracle

Until that miracle arrives, the Pratts don’t need to wait alone.

There is a massive support network dedicated to the unique challenges an ALS diagnosis poses – not just to the patient, but to their family. Wendy Barnes is a huge part of that network. As a social worker with the ALS Association, her job is to provide whatever support and services are needed to meet any bump in the road.

“Our goal is to make ALS livable until we can find a cure,” Barnes said. “These families are just amazing. They are great advocates for themselves. … Each day can bring new challenges to them, and it helps just knowing that our team and I are just a phone call away, to be that person for

them. … It’s such a tough disease to maneuver through.”

Barnes, who had been a social worker for decades before starting an ALS support group in 2000 and eventually joining the ALS Association full-time, made the move to Hilton Head Island just a few years ago. She arrived just in time to be that person for the Pratts.

“My role is to answer questions, connect them with resources, provide support and sometimes to just check in,” Barnes said.

The Pratts have also found an ally in Bob Scannell, another islander affected by ALS. In Scannell’s case, it was his wife, Beth, who was diagnosed in March of 2020. She passed in 2022, but Scannell continues to honor her memory. His commitment is manifest in the support he continues to offer to families like the Pratts, and in the work he has done to educate doctors on the ease of misdiagnosing ALS.

“I’ve come across research that says well over 50% of ALS patients get misdiagnosed. It’s a diagnosis of elimination, but there are things that don’t add up and that’s what doctors need to look out for,” Scannell said. “Gary was relatively lucky in that he was diagnosed quickly. But at least a third of patients end up having surgeries that either don’t help or worsen the root problem of ALS.”

To that end, Scannell hit the road, putting hundreds of miles on his car as he traveled first to an orthopedics conference in Long Beach, California, then to a conference for physical therapists in Boston, where he set up informational booths showing doctors the signs of ALS they might not be looking for.

Between those two sites, and on the long circuit around the country from the Lowcountry, he stopped at doctors’ and dentists’ offices along the way, distributing flyers.

“One of the first stops I made was at a dentist’s office in Fort Valley, Georgia,” Scannell said. “I explained what I was doing, and when I was done the dentist told me she’d been practicing for nearly 30 years and had never been exposed to this. She had never heard you could detect ALS through a dental exam.”


“We were a two minivan family for a long time,” Connie said. “When we got to a point that Gary could get a nice manly truck, he was excited.”

That manly truck is now for sale, as Gary transitions to a wheelchair-accessible van. But not just anybody is going to earn the right to buy this pimpedout 2016 Toyota Tundra with just 67,000 miles on it.

“It’s a mack daddy truck. They have to promise they’ll love the truck like he loves the truck,” Connie said. “It can’t just be a work truck.”

Think you have what it takes?


According to Scannell, even most of the physical therapists he spoke with hadn’t been trained to detect the disease. “I can’t necessarily blame them; it’s a difficult disease to diagnose,” he said. “And there is a huge upside in making the diagnosis early. For a lot of people, when you get that diagnosis the only thing you have to hang your hope on is getting into a clinical trial.”

Getting diagnosed early enough to get into a clinical trial, as Gary has, can make a tremendous difference, but it’s not easy. “My wife hoped to get into one,” Scannell said. “The problem is, many clinical trials have an exclusion criterion of 18 months from the onset of symptoms. Not even a diagnosis, just symptoms.”

Essentially, if it’s been longer than 18 months, a patient might be unable to access the advanced care a clinical trial can offer. Narrowing that window from symptoms to diagnosis is what keeps Scannell fighting.

“Even after my wife passed, I’ve stayed in it,” he said.

The Community Comes Together

During an interview, Connie does most of the talking these days.

Gary, apart from being a naturally more private person, has started to experience the effects of the disease on his voice, making speech harder and harder. It’s a relatively new development in the disease’s progression, but one that the couple is already seeking to address through speech therapy.

That’s part of their proactive stance on Gary’s health, taking them crosscountry to consult with five different neurologists.


“We know the diagnosis and we know the prognosis, but we want a team that’s upbeat,” Connie said. She points to doctors like Dr. Richard Bedlack at the Duke University ALS clinic and Dr. Tina Chu with Pfizer as standard bearers for optimistic care.

“We’re also working with Brett Stohrer (with Hilton Head Natural Medical Center),” Connie said. “He has this Category 4 laser and we’ve been doing these laser treatments to heal his muscles. A doctor in Florida who had been diagnosed with ALS has been doing them and hasn’t seen progression of his disease in nine years.”

As a fan of Pratt’s music, Stohrer has been generous in donating both his time and his services to helping out during this gut-wrenching time. But he is far from the only fan to chip in. The folks at Big Bamboo, who have given Gary a stage for decades going back to the heyday of Silicone Sister, staged a fundraising concert series that brought together the island’s most popular acts in support of their brother in music.

“We’ve had help from the community every step of the way,” Connie said. “Hilton Head Community Church has been amazing. They did a fundraiser as well, and our pastor has been coming over weekly to visit and pray with us.”

When the couple needed to move somewhere more wheelchair-accessible than their towering Victoria Bluff home, Connie’s mom helped locate a ground floor house in Carolina Isles. Their daughter Abbey launched a GoFundME which has raised, at press time, north of $56,000. Gary’s brother Stephen launched another to send the family on a vacation.

And benefactors from across the community helped make their new house a home, donating a power wheelchair and lifts.

“We’re definitely feeling the love from the community,” Connie said.

“I’m kind of a private person, so just going out in a power wheelchair was pretty uncomfortable at first,” said Gary. “But then you realize that people don’t look at it that way. They’re your friends. They’re there to help you.”

But then, that’s what we do. We as a community, we take care of our own. Especially when the person needing help is someone who has made a career out of making our lives more enjoyable. If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve seen him play. And if you’ve seen him play, you understand why this community has rallied around him.

And if you’re ready to join the community in rallying around him, check out the sidebars to this story to learn how. 


Hilton Head Island Student Government and Island Rec Center will host a Walk-A-Thon to benefit Gary Pratt from 9 a.m. to noon May 11 at the school’s track. The registration fee of $15, plus sales of $12 “Rock out for Gary Pratt” T-shirts will go toward helping Gary and his family meet the financial challenges of living with ALS.

Register at



Little hands wrapped tightly around your leg, those mischievous eyes looking up at you, and the warm embrace of a mother’s love. It’s that time of year again.

Mother’s Day is a beautiful celebration of motherhood. It’s filled not only with last-minute purchases of flowers and cards (you know who you are) and questionable breakfasts by eager little hands but also with immense love and adoration of our mothers.

However, it’s essential to recognize that this day can be a painful reminder of complicated emotions and challenges for some.

To the women who are involuntarily childless and who have endured infertility treatments, being poked and jabbed without receiving the ultimate payoff; to the women who are grieving the unimaginable loss of a child or their mother; to the women estranged from their mothers who

live with a combination of resolve, guilt, and shame – I see you.

I wish I could wrap my arms around each of you and squeeze you with just the right amount of compassion to ease your pain.

Instead of experiencing Mother’s Day as a time of togetherness and connection, you’re more likely feeling left out, isolated, and alone, mourning what was or what may never be.

I’ll admit I haven’t perused the Hallmark card selection lately, but there isn’t a Mother’s Day card that addresses the heartache some of you feel on this day.

There are no seasonal cards for the involuntarily childless woman who says, “This day must be painful for you. I’m so sorry about your infertility.” Or one that addresses Mother’s Day while suffering the grief of losing a child or a mother. Or another that says, “I’m sorry about your estrangement


Sheila Tucker is a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Heart Mind & Soul Counseling. She empowers clients who overthink, worry, and experience their fair share of anxiety to become more rooted in peace, ease, and confidence.

from your mother. I’m thinking of you as you navigate this emotionally challenging day.”

For these and other women in similar situations, there’s only a faint half smile with a muted “thank you” as a reply to the barrage of cheerful “Happy Mother’s Day” greetings tossed your way when “happy” isn’t the first feeling word that crosses your mind. You hesitantly accept a brightly colored carnation shoved into your hands because you’re of a certain age, so you must be a mom, all while feeling like an imposter made to embrace a day for everyone else, but not for you.

That feeling is topped off by remaining seated in your church pew while the mothers around you stand to receive their applause. You try to look happy for the women standing while you are feeling like a failure, wishing you could vanish and wondering why you left the house.

The words to describe what you’re feeling are often elusive, and there might even be a part of you that thinks you’re thinking too much or not allowed to share sadness on a day of celebration.

How do you navigate Mother’s Day if you’re estranged from your mother, childless but want so much to have children, or have suffered the loss of your child or mother?

The short answer is “delicately and with compassion.” Here are a few suggestions for what to try to avoid on Mother’s Day:

Do something kind for yourself.

Go for a walk, read a book, sleep in, do something creative – anything that nourishes your soul. Do absolutely nothing. You don’t have to leave the house.

I’m going to guess that today, of all days, you don’t want your loss at the forefront of your mind. Instead of plastering


on a smile and saying “thank you” for all the Happy Mother’s Day gestures, consider this your permission slip to stay home. Go ahead and skip a get-together. Don’t go to church. You don’t have to declare a reason. (For tips on saying no, check out CH2/CB2’s April issue: “No Is A Complete Sentence.”) Do focus on what you have.

It’s incredibly easy to focus on what you don’t have. By no means is this a suggestion to paper over your hurt and pain, pretending that it doesn’t exist. Instead, use this as a reminder that you have a successful track record of adapting to and coping with challenging situations. You are a resilient woman.

Don’t scroll social media.

While scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, you’ll no doubt see photos of beautiful mothers and their children smiling in a show of togetherness with captions that read “Blessed,” “Being a mother is the most amazing job,” or simply “World’s best mom.”

Seeing these comments reminds you that even though you long to be a mother, you are not. Or even though you long to have a loving and supportive relationship with your mother, you do not. Go ahead – put your phone down and slowly back away.

You don’t need to post anything or read copious posts and comments about other people celebrating Mother’s Day, their gifts, or photos of beaming generations of women looking lovingly at one another. You can always call or text the moms you want to celebrate.

On the other hand, if you know or suspect a friend or family member is struggling on Mother’s Day, here are a few ideas for being supportive:

It’s OK to acknowledge their pain.

Recognize that Mother’s Day might bring forth a range of emotions, from joy and gratitude to sadness and longing. Let them know their feelings are valid and that you are there to listen and support them. Respect their decisions and boundaries.

Don’t pressure them to go out or talk about their feelings or experiences. Especially for estranged mother-daughter relationships, be sensitive to family dynamics and avoid pressuring reconciliation or engaging in interactions that may be emotionally challenging. Offer support.

Small gestures of support can go a long way in showing your care and empathy. Consider sending a thoughtful message acknowledging their feelings and letting them know you’re thinking of them. Offer to spend time together engaging in activities they enjoy, whether a nature walk, a movie night, or a quiet conversation over coffee. Validate their emotions and experiences.

Allow space to express their feelings. Avoid minimizing their experiences or offering unsolicited advice. Sometimes, being a compassionate listener is the most meaningful form of support.

Finally, encourage self-care practices that promote well-being.

Mother’s Day can be a challenging day to navigate. Take this time to honor yourself, practice self-compassion, and surround yourself with understanding and supportive friends and family members.

For all of the mamas out there, Happy Mother’s Day. I see you, too, and I appreciate all that you do. 






Some mompreneurs set their sights on a singular objective, a particular vision, and stop at nothing until that one perfect goal has been achieved. Some mompreneurs see that one perfect goal as a good start.

As the co-owner of Tio’s Latin American Kitchen with her husband. Lynden, Sally Zuniga had already created a sensational restaurant concept that has been embraced by the entire communities of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. For most, adding another realm to the empire would be unthinkable, but Zuniga spread to Ridgeland, where she took over the historic Fiddler’s Seafood Market and Restaurant in January of last year.

“My inner circle is always asking me, ‘Isn’t it enough? Are you doing too much?’ But I guess I can’t pass up a great opportunity,” Zuniga. “I don’t think I ever will.”

To wit, this multi-hyphenate restaurateur recently added another business to her portfolio – and we mean recently. As the interview was conducted for this interview, she had just picked up the keys.

“It’s going to be called Sweetwater Steamer and it’s going to be Lowcountry Boil to-go,” Sally said. “We just feel like it’s a really good business model, and because of our buying power from our seafood places in Ridgeland, you’re going to be able to order online and we’ll be able to deliver on both quality and value.”

This latest venture, which will be in Orleans Plaza, will offer heat-and-eat buckets of fresh sausage, shrimp, corn and potatoes that let you deliver the fresh Lowcountry Boil experience at home. Locals can grab a bucket and skip the laborious prep process, letting them feed the whole crew easily. Visitors can get a taste of how locals eat by fixing their own take on an island classic.

And they’ll even ship Lowcountry Boil around the world.

“Our buying power from the seafood restaurants is really going to help us with the online side of the business,” Zuniga said. “My big rush is that visionary concept. I love creating and building something, and that’s what keeps me going.”

The concept behind Sweetwater Steamer started with her business partner, Patrick Coughlin, and his partner, Monika Bergman, who are collaborating with the Zunigas to bring this latest venture to life.

“I’m really excited to be partnering with them,” Zuniga said. “This whole concept was Patrick’s idea, and we were in the perfect place to help make that a reality.”

And it’s another venture in an entrepreneurial empire willed into existence by a mother, wife, and business visionary who thrives on the pursuit of the next great idea. “I would never do these restaurants without knowing that Lynden was by my side. He puts up with my huge ideas, but he also helps drive them home,” Zuniga said. “We’ve made a really good partnership.”

As a partnership of love and entrepreneurship, it has helped propel one of the Lowcountry’s busiest mompreneurs.




They say you can’t have it all.

We’re not sure who “they” are who are saying these things, but we do know one thing about them. None of them are Nikki Petitt.

“It’s important for moms to continue with their careers when they become moms,” Petitt said. “You don’t have to give up anything to be a mom. You can make it work.”

As a mompreneur raising a 4-month-old and a 9-year-old while running two businesses, she speaks from experience. Petitt and her husband have been owners of Savannah Blinds, Shutters and Shades for 12 years now, building their business since she was just 21. Their joint venture has proven wildly



Being an entrepreneur of any kind – let alone one who is also raising two children –takes a singular focus on the pursuit of a dream. It takes hard work and endless effort. And it takes a willingness to make things happen.

But what if you’re an entrepreneur who is raising two children? Then you’re going to need all of that, plus a little bit more. You’re going to need a team.

“I have an awesome team. I never could have made this possible without my ladies in the store,” said Alison Haynes, owner of the Bluffton branch of Monkee’s. A long-time fan and regular customer of the North Carolina-based boutique brand, Haynes decided to go

successful, spreading across the Coastal Empire with its focus on quality window treatments. But, a few years ago, Petitt decided she wanted more.

“I opened Seaglass Windowscapes in January 2023 because I wanted to create something on my own,” she said. “It’s going very well. We have a great showroom and we’re looking to build another in Okatie in the next couple of years.”

Offering custom blinds as well as window treatments, storm protection, awnings, and more, Seaglass Windowscapes has proven to be the perfect venue for Petitt’s entrepreneurial spirit. And as she prepares to open another showroom in Brunswick, it’s proving that a true mompreneur never stops.

“That’s why women are the best. We make it work,” Petitt said with a smile. “We’re in a new world now. … Keep doing what’s important to you.”

into the Monkee’s business following an extensive career at her family’s HVAC company in Savannah.

When the company sold, her mompreneurial spirit kicked in. With the support of her husband, Alex, who owns Genesis Construction, she zeroed in quickly on Monkee’s, the brand founded by Dee Dee Shaw in 1995 that now totals 56 stores across the Southeast.

“I knew I’d love to go into retail, and Monkee’s has a whole team to help on the business side,” Haynes said. “They really want to represent women and help them grow in the business.”

With the Monkee’s team above her and her own team around her, she has realized her dream of helping Bluffton’s women discover their own fashionable flair while being a mom.

“My kids love coming to the store,” Haynes said. “My son loves moving boxes and tagging stuff. My daughter just likes to come shop.”



As these pages have proven, there are few forces on earth as formidable as a mother’s willpower.

The maternal instinct, turned toward the world of business, can accomplish things that – all respect to businessmen – simply can’t be matched.

One mompreneur can move mountains. So, what do you suppose happens when three mothers pull together their collective willpower and apply it to pursuing a singular dream they all share? To find out, meet the team, Anchor Home Group at Keller Williams of the Lowcountry.

“We all have an entrepreneurial spirit, and we really work well together,” said Angela Huser, one of the three real estate mavens in the company. Huser is a co-owner with Hillary Kenny and Jamie Franklin; they formed Anchor Home Group after finding each other in the real estate world. Each took her own path there. Huser began her real estate career 15 years ago, starting as a paralegal. After spending several years of running a small business, she attained her license five years ago and was off to the races.

Kenny spent her early career in politics, working on Capitol Hill before relocating to the Lowcountry. As a secondgeneration Realtor, she knew immediately which path her career would take in her new home.

Franklin has seen first-hand the positive impact of homeownership through the eyes of several family members who are residential builders. Her love for design, real estate

and helping people led her to obtain her real estate license after nearly 15 years in pediatric healthcare.

The three women met at work and realized that their dynamic could propel all of them to their dreams.

“Individually, we each bring different experiences that make us unique and successful. As a group, we love the collaboration and the teamwork, and we are each other’s biggest supporters,” Huser said. “We all have a similar vision which is focused on being active members in our community, while guiding people through their real estate transactions.”

That vision was a real estate group that combined their talents and their love for the Lowcountry, while serving the type of clients whose needs they know very well.

“A lot of our business comes from our roles as mothers,” Kenny said. “When we were deciding how we wanted our business to look, we wanted to base it around family and the things we love about helping others.”

One of those aspects has become crucially important over the past few years as the Lowcountry’s population has swelled.

“We’ve tried to focus on those who are relocating, because all of us relocated here at some point. We know the struggle of making that move with a family,” Kenny said. “We’re able to uniquely assist people who are moving to the area.”

As moms, they’ve built families. As mompreneurs, they’ve built a real estate team that stands by its values.

“We want to anchor people to their homes, community, and their dreams,” Huser said. “That’s ultimately what drives us.”



Keller Welch grew up where the delta blues was born (Mississippi) and graduated with a business degree in marketing from the University of

Mississippi. After college, she eventually migrated north to the Carolinas, met the love of her life, and settled in Bluffton. She fell in love with the Lowcountry long before moving here in 2011.

The Lowcountry is where she got married, is raising her children, and where she has spent the past several years as a Realtor in the Hilton Head Island and Bluffton markets. She is familiar with the unique communities and lifestyle that encompass the Lowcountry as well as the school systems located in each.

“Being a mother and having children in the schools here, I understand the importance of neighborhoods and location for ease with those big decisions,” Keller said. “My experience includes working with many respected local custom home builders, first-time home buyers, new construction, retirees, land sales, resales, commercial properties, and investment properties. As your agent, I pride myself on honesty and making this a fun and straightforward experience for you. I am sold on the Lowcountry lifestyle and am grateful to get to call this piece of paradise home.”

Keller and her husband, Edward, a local luxury builder, were married in Bluffton in 2012. They have three children, Elin, Ward, and Laurel.

The couple has built three new homes in Bluffton and Hilton Head, have renovated on the island, and move locally every few years.

Their newest joint venture is a luxury dog boarding, daycare, grooming and pet resort called Posh Pooch Resort and Day Spa, located in Beaufort near Port Royal. The business is set to open this fall.

In her spare time, Keller enjoys chasing her kids on the beach and escaping to the Bahamas every chance she can.

She recently joined The Agency, A Global Marketing and Sales Organization, where she is the founder of Proper Properties Group, and leads a luxury real estate team within the Agency.



What makes all the women you’re reading about here inspiring is not just the way they have built their businesses and their careers, but that they have done so while dedicating themselves to the daunting career that is motherhood.

As a mother – both biological and adoptive –of three children and as a seasoned psychologist, Dr. Theresa Roman knows how difficult both roles can be. She built her practice at Balanced Wellness to help women navigate the often fraught challenge of being a mom.

“Reproductive/perinatal mental health is an area of psychology that focuses on fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum mental health issues,” Roman said. “We evaluate and treat a wide range of psychological issues – and our practice does offer therapy for children, teens, and dads as a part of our wrap-

around services to care for the entire family.”

Opening her practice in 2017 while pregnant with her son, and having been through the gauntlet that is the adoption process, she was inspired to tailor Balanced Wellness toward addressing the mental challenges of the reproductive journey.

“In the field that I work in, I find it fitting that some of the same struggles I am experiencing as a mom and business owner, many of my clients are going through,” Roman said. “It is almost like a peer-to-peer relationship, but with the years of clinical experience I have, I can provide professional interventions to help with those struggles.”

Seven years in, Balanced Wellness now spans four states with a staff of 30, with a brick and mortar in Bluffton that allows Dr. Roman to find her own balance.

“I do have an incredible leadership team that supports me if I am unavailable due to family commitments,” she said. “My kids also hold me accountable to putting my work down and playing with them when I am home.”



Anyone who says that construction is a man’s job has probably never met Angelina Carper. Or her family.

“My aunt was an operator and my other aunt was a foreman,” said Carper, president of RCH Construction. “I started working construction when I was 14 years old, first as a laborer on the job site, then an operator, foreman, and then project manager, working

my way up the ranks. I went to the school of hard knocks.”

Graduating high school in 2007, just in time for the implosion of the construction industry, Carper kept her career rolling in the industry by moving up to the corporate realm. “I did my time, as I call it, in project management with corporate companies just to learn how to be a business owner,” she said. “As much

as I loved being in the field, I knew if I wanted to own my own business, I’d have to learn everything.”

As luck would have it, 18 years into her construction career an opportunity of a lifetime presented itself. Hugh Hobus, founder of RCH Construction, was looking to sell his stake in the business he’d been building since 1999. Carper’s experience in all aspects of the industry made her a perfect fit, even if the timing of it left something to be desired.

“I was five months pregnant when we met Hugh, and I was giving birth during the acquisition,” she said. “I was studying for my licensing exam through the entire third trimester.”

In fact, when it came time to take that exam, required by the state of South Carolina despite her already having 18 years of experience, motherhood added its own level of difficulty.

“They called me to Columbia and I had to go before the board with my attorney and witnesses. On the way there, I had to pull over to breastfeed my son,” Carper said. “I ended up being late when my name was called because of that.”

She passed, naturally. But the experience is a testament to the determination required of a mom to build a business of her own. It’s more work, but the rewards of building both a career and a family are bountiful.

“That transition period was a lot of work, but it was great to have the flexibility to go home and see my son,” Carper said. “Being a mom and a business owner, it’s hard to leave your baby. I didn’t think it would be that hard. But being in charge, you can control your schedule so I don’t have to miss a soccer game or a recital. It’s absolutely worth it, but it’s work.”

The work is worth the return not just as a mom, it’s worth it as a construction pro who fell in love with the job when she was just a teenager. As Carper said, “My happy place is being able to stop in and see my son during the day, managing job sites, and working with clients to design their dream house.”




What’s the one thing you want your children to remember about you?

Honestly, it’s so hard to bring it down to just one thing. I hope they remember the amount of love, compassion, and kindness I pour into them every day … and I hope this influences them to have these qualities as well. I hope

they remember the gentle wake-ups in the mornings filled with cuddles and sweet words to start their day. I hope they remember all the small things that add up to the big.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

My mom and dad. They have worked so very hard for their family. My dad was a police officer and my mom a teacher, both careers that do not get nearly enough in return for all they do. They provided my brothers and me such beautiful childhoods filled with the best memories. They have been there through it all, good and bad, and continue to be there whenever needed.


Amber Morgan, originally from Ohio, moved to Hilton Head in 2016, seeking a flexible career

that balanced her role as a mother of five with her passion for real estate. In Hilton Head Island’s vibrant market, Morgan quickly became known for her dedication to her clients.

When listing properties, Morgan ensures each home looks its best, managing everything from staging to professional

When it comes to Moonlit Lullaby, just one walk around the store and you will see my father’s love in all the work done around the store and my mother’s love in the hard work she pours into it every day.

How do you balance your work/home life, or is there even such a thing?

It’s a constant juggle, where sometimes I feel like I’m not truly succeeding at either. I try my absolute best not to let work consume my home life. I make sure to be present when I’m with my kids, and designate time to be working on things for the shop. I usually wait to check emails and make orders after their bedtime.

When you have free time, what is your favorite thing to do?

I’m pretty simple when it comes to what I like to do in my free time. When kid free, I love reading, watching cheesy TV, and getting together with my girlfriends for a good meal!

When with the kiddos, I love to do arts and crafts with them, slime or Play-doh, or hang out in our backyard together and watch them play in the sun. I set up some snacks and drinks on the back porch and they could spend all day out there!

What mantra do you live by?

Currently, it’s “I can do hard things.” I have had a lot of personal struggles this past year and am going through a big life change, so this is something I have had to remind myself time and time again. I am capable of doing hard things. I had a baby the week my business opened in Old Town. My business made it through COVID. We have been understaffed, underpaid, and a small fish in a big pond … and made it through it all. I know I can keep making it through all these hard things and more, especially with my amazing team at Moonlit and my support from family and friends

photography. Her focus and attention to detail sets her listings apart. When assisting buyers, Morgan’s patience is unmatched. She values matching her clients to their new dream homes while earning their trust and gratitude.

Armed with determination and a hefty dose of caffeine, Morgan navigates the chaos of entrepreneurship with finesse. From client negotiations to track meet sidelines, she is there, balancing professionalism and parenthood.

As a role model for her daughters, Morgan instills the values of hard work and dedication in them.

With her coffee in hand and a smile on her face, Morgan remains an inspiring example of a mompreneur who goes above and beyond for her clients while balancing career and family life.

Photography by Lyndi Leary



There are family businesses, and then there’s Panache Boutique, the chic women’s clothing shop recently opened in Old Town Bluffton. This

vibrant boutique doesn’t represent just Lana Johnson’s dream. It’s a dream she shares with her daughter Josie.

“We really are best friends and we get along really well,” Johnson said. “And she loves this as much as I do.”

The Old Town Bluffton location is the second for the Johnson family, with the first being in Bay City, Michigan. “We started vacationing



How has being a mom helped you to be a better businesswoman?

Being a mom has been a crash course in multitasking! It has also taught me that effective communication and patience is vital, as is surrounding yourself with a

support system to lean on when you need help – it takes a village! All these skills are likely to prove useful to being a successful mompreneur!

Where locally do you like to take the kids for a fun time and get their energy out?

We love exploring our local area! One of our favorite activities is visiting Dubois Playground with the wooden shrimp boat, and the Pirate Ship at Celebration Park. We

down south and fell in love with Old Town Bluffton,” Johnson said. “My kids are getting older, so we wanted to make the move before they all settled down somewhere.”

With her youngest a sophomore at May River High School and her oldest joining the Bluffton Township First District, they’ve settled nicely into the Lowcountry. The new location gave Josie a chance to put her own fingerprints on the family business, having learned the ropes from her mom over the past six years at Panache’s first location. “I knew that she wanted to do it and I wanted to create something we could do together,” Johnson said. “We definitely thought of her when we started. It’s such a blessing to be doing this with her.”

Together, Lana and Josie Johnson are bringing their generational flair for fashion to the Lowcountry, adding a colorful feather to our cap and a new chapter in their family legacy.

also can’t get enough of crabbing and fishing, taking advantage of the beautiful coastal environment. And of course, trips to the beach are always a hit. When looking for indoor activities, we often frequent The Sandbox.

Favorite place for your family to vacation?

One of the biggest perks of living in Bluffton is having Hilton Head Island right across the bridge. We’re incredibly fortunate to have easy access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and making frequent day trips is a wonderful part of our routine. While we love exploring our local surroundings, we also value our family vacations. We make it a point to visit family in the Bay Area of California whenever we can.

Tell us a bit about your business and what you do every day.

I’m knee-deep in the chaos of getting my Once Upon A Child store up and running. My days are full of pre-opening, not-soglamourous tasks, and a lot of paperwork. At the moment, my biggest focus is channeling my inner HGTV guru, and envisioning the perfect setup that shouts “come on in and find some treasures!” Once the store opens, we’d love to buy your gently used kids’ clothing and gear – a convenient and profitable way to recycle what your little ones have outgrown. And come to the store to shop a wonderful selection of top brands at up to 70% off regular retail prices – there will always be something exciting in store!




How has being a mom helped you to be a better businesswoman?

When you become a mother, you need to master multitasking and patience skills, which are also crucial in the business world. Moms are always “on” from the moment they wake up until they go to bed. They run errands, manage household tasks, and pick up and drop off kids at school and sports practices. Being a mom is a full-time job, and it’s the most rewarding title and experience I have ever had. As an entrepreneur, I am blessed to be able to spend quality time with my sweet daughter, Piper, who is 4 years old. Being a mother makes me aspire to be a positive role model and lead by example as a hard-working and loving woman who can successfully balance both her professional and personal life.

Where locally do you like to take their kids for a fun time and to get their energy out?

My husband Joey, Piper, and I – and our dog, Coconut – are dedicated to experiencing the best that life has to offer. We frequently visit Shrimp Boat Park and the Farmer’s Market on Thursdays and attend the many festivals

that Bluffton has to offer. We also cherish our time on the water, where we can take in the stunning beauty of the Lowcountry’s marshes and feel connected and grateful to call this home.

Tell us a bit about your business and what you do every day.

My work is a true reflection of my passion and creativity. I’ve always been in the hospitality and creation industry, and I love seeing my ideas come to life. As a versatile entrepreneur, I am always on the go, juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. Fortunately, I have two businesses that keep me inspired, productive and fulfilled every day. One is M2M Brands (Mountain to Marshes), a company that specializes in designing and delivering exceptional experiences for both local and corporate guests. We take pride in our ability to bring our clients’ unique visions to life, and to create unforgettable moments that will stay with them forever. At M2M Brands, we partner with luxury hotels and resorts to offer a wide range of corporate services, from team-building activities to executive retreats and everything in between. We also work with local businesses to provide bespoke gifting experiences that reflect their brand identity and values.

I wear many hats – no pun intended. As someone with diverse interests, I am always on the lookout for new opportunities to innovate and grow. That’s why I am excited to announce the launch of our new venture in early summer. Building on the success of M2M Brands, we will be opening Brims on the Bluff, a luxury hat boutique, which promises to offer unique and unforgettable experiences to boutique shoppers and private groups alike.


Making a Difference with Mother’s Day Makeovers

Denice Brown, single mom of three children and owner of Hair by Denice on Hilton Head Island, was born and raised in Beaufort as a proud member of the Gullah community. She found her gift for styling hair at the ripe age of 11 and she hasn’t looked back, even after weathering some difficult storms along the way. Now, she’s using her talent and the lessons she says made her stronger to give back to her community in a selfless and amazing way.

“My mom passed when I was only 2 years old, and then my grandmother when I was 5, so I was raised by my dad, my grandfather, and my brother,” Brown said. “We lived on a farm, and I played in a big field where I began braiding grass blades.”

Eventually Brown got a Barbie doll and would braid her hair, even adding embellishments, and everyone was astonished by her perfect braids, which was ironic because she was raised by men who definitely did not braid hair.

From there, Brown began doing family members’ hair and people from her church. Once she obtained her cosmetology license, she began working in various salons in the area. She has recently struck out on her own and opened Hair by Denice. Now, Brown’s repertoire has expanded beyond braids. She specializes in custom color and precision cuts.

“I love and really excel at precision cuts, like pixie cuts and bobs, and all kinds of color,” Brown said. “While most of my clients prefer blondes and natural red shades, I also really enjoy giving people the trendy colors, like the purples, reds, and blues. And I use color with some of my clients whose hair is thinning to give the appearance of fuller hair.”

Brown said that her success hasn’t come without some severe challenges, which she calls “stepping stones.” For more than a decade, Brown was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, who is now in prison for the murder of her father and for shooting her brother seven years ago.

“It took something that tragic for me to break through the abuse,” Brown said. “Now, I’ve made it my mission to inspire other women in similar situations with my story of courage, resilience, and perseverance.”

Brown gained much of her confidence and courage by becoming a member of Toastmasters International and has made empowering others through her salon her own personal mission. To that end, she has partnered with Hopeful Horizons, the Lowcountry leader in ending child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault, by providing free

hair styling and makeup services to moms in crisis for Mother’s Day.

“They are a perfect fit for me,” Brown said. “I can talk to these women because I was in their shoes. I know how they feel. I know they’re afraid, so to do something nice for them goes a long way. I style their hair, do their makeup, and all the while just talk to them and let them talk to me. When we’re done, they feel like a brand-new person.”

This is Brown’s fourth year hosting the Mother’s Day Makeovers, and she’s got six mom clients from Hopeful Horizons. Some of her other generous clients donate gift cards and certificates for them to use, so not only do they get makeovers, but they’re also able to go shop for a few things for themselves. Additionally, on Wednesdays, she provides in-home services for clients who suffer from dementia or who are no longer mobile.

“They still love to feel good about themselves, and it makes me feel great,” Brown said.

To experience Hair by Denice, call (843) 476-7467 or visit The salon is located at 19 Dunnagans Alley, Suite D, on Hilton Head Island. 

Article by Cheryl Ricer . Photography by M.Kat Denice Brown, photographed at her salon on Hilton Head Island.


The 35th annual All Saints Garden Tour will be held Saturday, May 18, showcasing six distinctive gardens on a self-guided tour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All of this year’s gardens, from cottage gardens to larger estate gardens, are new to the Tour and are located on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton. Each $45 ticket includes the Tour and the new Artisans Market. Luncheon at The Seabrook is an additional option.

The first garden, in Rose Dhu Plantation off May River Road, is a must-see. Since 2019, the garden owners have transformed a dense woodland forest into multiple productive gardens and orchards. The stunning gardens incorporate an assortment of seasonal vegetables, flowers, and herbs creatively enclosed to deter the deer.

Two of the cottage gardens are owned by artists who have incorporated their art into their gardens.

The Driftwood Garden brims with salvaged treasures washed up from the sea and a vibrant tapestry of flowers and plants. There’s a unique variety of flowers, including flowering cactus, Crinum lilies, and Platycerium ferns.

Another small garden reflects the creativity of the owner. Her art is incorporated throughout the garden and the plants are part of her artwork. She has imaginatively used plants as screens. Nestled into small spaces, you’ll find plants combined with art that magnifies each element.

After Hurricane Matthew, a local retirement community refurbished its entire landscape. Enjoy the live oaks, azaleas, ferns, magnolias, camellias, palm trees and loquat tress that grace the campus. Stroll along scenic covered boardwalks and stop to relax in the ground floor lobbies of their independent living buildings. Gardens of annuals

The Driftwood Garden brims with salvaged treasures washed up from the sea and a vibrant tapestry of flowers and plants.
Waterfront garden views in Hilton Head Plantation Ganzia rigens, also known as treasure flowers, grow in the Driftwood Garden on Hilton Head Island. The Driftwood Garden

and perennials, as well as a butterfly garden, add pops of color throughout the property.

Although in a petite setting, one garden is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat, recognized for the owner’s commitment to sustainably provide essential elements of wildlife habitat. Enter through gates into the enchanting gardens of the Tabby Cottage. In this refined garden, guests will find birds nesting and fox squirrels playing among the flowers and grasses. There’s a private area where herbs and flowers are carefully tended.

In one of the larger gardens, shaded gardens flanking the driveway entrance entice the long view to the formal gardens surrounding the multi-tiered, split circular stairs to the home’s front porch. Walking the drive around to the right leads guests past the 100-plus-year-old hanging staghorn fern. Camellias, azaleas, and hydrangeas line

the pebbled sidewalk to the eagle’s eye view of Port Royal Sound. There, the pool gardens give heightened color to the ebbs and flows of the natural setting.

Plein air artists will be painting in some of the gardens. Master gardeners will be in one garden to answer gardeningrelated questions. Several gardens will have a display showing the standards for certifying a yard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat from the National Wildlife Federation and the Hilton Head Audubon Society.

In addition to the lovely gardens, a new feature has been added to the Tour. An Artisans Market, featuring more than 30 artisans, will fill Gordon Mann Hall at All Saints Episcopal Church from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The church is located at 3001 Meeting St. on Hilton Head. These talented Lowcountry artisans will delight guests with their creative talents, including paintings, handmade jewelry, metal, wood, shells, pottery, wreaths, home décor items from pillows to centerpieces, and books from the Pat Conroy Literary Center.

Of course, our annual Bake Sale goodies will be present. A big attraction this year is a Silent Auction with great items to bid on. (Can’t make it to the tour? Stop by the market; no ticket needed.)

A Garden Tour Luncheon will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Seabrook on Hilton Head. It’s easy to plan your lunch break by purchasing a ticket at bx73ss96. The Seabrook is on the tour, so plan to enjoy the stunning gardens and have a scrumptious lunch on your stop.

All net proceeds from the tour will be given to seven small 501(c)(3) charities in Beaufort and Jasper Counties that focus on hunger, homelessness, literacy, and aging. Charities receiving the 2024 funds include Antioch Education Center for their Mobile Food Pantry for Seniors, BackPack Buddies of Bluffton & Hardeeville, Hunger Coalition of the Lowcountry (Backpack Buddies of Hilton Head), Sandalwood Community Food Pantry, Family Promise of Beaufort County, HHI Safe Harbor, and St. Stephens UMC Outreach Food Pantry.

Over the years, more than $500,000 has been given to local charities from this annual event, bringing validation to our motto: “Through the Beauty of a Garden … A Gift to the Community.” 


Garden tour tickets!

All Saints Garden Tour Tickets are $45 for six gardens with a master gardener available for questions, and plein air artists at some gardens. Buy tickets online at If ordered by May 11, they will be mailed to you. Tickets are available also at other locations listed on the website. The tour is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18.

No ticket needed for a new event, the Artisans Market, at All Saints Church, 3001 Meeting St., Hilton Head, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. These Lowcountry artisans from around. Beaufort County will delight guests with their creative wares, including paintings, handmade jewelry, metal, wood, shells, pottery, wreaths, home decor from pillows to centerpieces, and of course, the annual Bake Sale goodies. A silent auction will offer great items to bid on.

Luncheon is available at The Seabrook, one of the gardens on the tour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Purchase $15 tickets at All net proceeds are given to local charities in Beaufort and Jasper counties that focus on hunger, homelessness, literacy, and aging. For tickets and updated information visit allsaintsgardentour. com or call (843) 681-8333.

Scan to purchase
Scan for lunch reservations



The best accessory in the world isn’t a handbag. It’s not jewelry. It’s not even shoes (although, let’s face it, they can make or break an outfit).

No, the best accessory is a beautiful backdrop. Thankfully, Hilton Head Island has beautiful backdrops to spare. Whether it’s a sun-dappled forest floor or rolling sandy dunes, you don’t need to go far to find scenery that perfectly complements your look. As we celebrate spring, join us for a tour of Hilton Head Island’s prettiest parks and fiercest fashions.

Trust us, it will look great on you.

Let the kids tire themselves out on the climbing ropes and swings. Mama is here to look fabulous.

Photography by M.Kat Modeled by Émilie Frazier Dolphin Head Available at Coastal Bliss

Embrace your inner tree hugger in a park where soaring oaks captivate the senses, and the lighting is always on point.

Royal purples pair with a red, white, and blue salute to our nation’s heroes in a park built for solemn reflection.

Available at Kelly Caron Curated Greens Shell Park Veterans’ Memorial at Shelter Cove Community Park Available at Maggie and Me

Hilton Head Island’s OG park is still one of its most beautiful, with rolling wildflower fields that go well with any style.

Available at Birdie James Wildflower Field in Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Rowing and Sailing Center at Squire Pope Community Park

This north end treasure offers far more than just a place to sail away. It’s an oasis of waterfront fashion.

Meandering through the vanishing marshes deep in the preserve, the boardwalk makes the perfect runway. Available at

Collage Boardwalk Trail in Sea Pines Forest Preserve Available at Outside Hilton Head

Show off that hot new look, then – if you’re feeling adventurous – land a few tricks on the quarter pipe. Maybe change shoes first.

Bristol Sports Arena
Available at Palmettoes

Can you believe how long this fabulous water view was hidden behind the brush?

Make up for lost time by pairing the scenery with your most fabulous look.

Shelter Cove Community Park Boardwalk Available at Gigi’s Boutique

This north end jewel begs to be explored, sending you down boardwalks that traipse through maritime forests, giving you room to strut your stuff.

Jarvis Creek Park Available at The Haven

Turn a few heads in the bleachers by showing up to the old ballgame dressed head-to-toe in major league threads.

Crossings Park Available
at Southern Tide
Relax on the swing, check out the water features and pay homage to Mr. Charles Fraser and his alligator in this south-end oasis. Compass Rose Park Available at Haskins and Co

AThird in a series of articles about the early days of development on Hilton Head Island. Published with Permission from the Charles E. Fraser Estate, with editorial assistance from Laura Lawton Fraser.


Musings from Across the Creek


s a Realtor, when I am showing property in Sea Pines, I am often asked why homes and property there are so much more expensive than the rest of the island. I am quick to respond that Sea Pines is the flagship community of its kind in the world.

Simply put, other resort communities around the world have used Sea Pines as a blueprint from which to build their own. The community that Charles Fraser dreamed of and built has become endeared to millions of people who come to visit our special island. That fact holds great value.

If you want to own in Sea Pines, it comes with a higher price, based on the laws of supply and demand. Everyone who sees it yearns to be a part of this unique place.

That answer seems to satisfy my clients. They lean into my stories of the early days as I paint the picture of how things evolved over the years. They are hooked. They sell stocks and cash in on other property just to have a piece of paradise. The past three or four years in particular, the island has seen record home sales and record demand for real estate.

Of course, there are many other factors that come in play here, such as the low interest rates we were seeing and the pandemic creating a desire for mankind to work from anywhere in the world that they chose to be. And many chose to be on Hilton Head Island. Our permanent resident population has increased heavily and with that, our service providers and vendors have expanded their businesses to meet the demand of a growing flock of new homeowners.

What I am seeing, too, is that many new people don’t know or understand the island’s development history. I have taken it on as my job to tell the story.

Charles envisioned his new development as a resort as well as a permanent residential area, and he made

tremendous strides to place its foundation in its first decade. He dreamed of “something” that would be the heart of the development, so he and his wife, Mary, had meaningful conversations about what that would be.

Ten years into his development, Charles was able to raise enough capital to build what would become the heart of Sea Pines. But what would that look like? What would it be? He had spent much time with his team in years prior brainstorming the concept. A swampy location had been chosen for the site and he spent hours upon hours of time stomping around in snake boots to survey the area and discuss the possibilities with his team.

Charles and Mary traveled to other communities, such as Williamsburg, Virginia, to get ideas. Nothing seemed to be just right for Sea Pines. Other communities weren’t an island like Hilton Head. So, whatever it was to be, it had to be natural for an island with water all around.

Charles had only one recreation and that was sailing. One day, with all the flair and personality that Charles was known for, he said to Mary, “I’ll build a harbor. A harbor town.” And Mary said, “That’s it!”

Now, if you knew Mary, you know that she possessed an incredible talent for doing just the right thing in any given situation. And Charles knew this. He knew it was just the thing that was needed as the heart of his development.

Early critics thought that the harbor was unnecessary and whimsical, referring to it as “Fraser’s Folly” instead of “Harbour Town.” Those same critics changed their tune later, referring to it as a stroke of genius when Fraser’s creation came to be a huge success.

Charles and Mary needed design inspiration for their newly envisioned Harbour Town, so they loaded up the company architect, several of the company’s top executives,

Top: A closer view of the Harbour during the construction phase; Bottom: Charles Fraser on the left and his brother, Joe, on the right, who was instrumental in overseeing the construction of Harbour Town. Joe’s contributions to Charles’ vision for Sea Pines are extraordinary. Here, they view the scale model for Harbour Town with Mr. Durham of the American Institute of Architects. photos provided by the Charles E. Fraser Library, located in Cedar Mountain, North Carolina, managed by Laura Lawton Fraser, except those noted that have been provided by Gregg Russell.

The inaugural Heritage Golf Tournament was held at Thanksgiving in 1969, before the famed lighthouse in the background was complete.

and their wives, onto a chartered plane bound for the Mediterranean coast. The tour lasted a month and, in that time, Charles and Mary and the development team studied ports and their surrounding villages, taking notes on what inspired them most.

All the while, Charles was soaking in the themes of the European landscape and honing in on how that would look in the Lowcountry. Most of what came to fruition for the design and style of Harbour Town was inspired by the seaside village of Portofino, Italy. It is still evident today by the exterior colors of the shops and restaurants, blending in with the look and feel that had been created as the Lowcountry “vibe” – a style that embraces its natural surroundings.

Charles knew that a proper harbor would need a lighthouse. It wouldn’t be complete without one. In his brilliant wisdom and vision, he knew the exact spot where it should be built. However, no working lighthouse had been privately built since 1817. He hired an engineering firm to come up with the design. He rejected plan after plan they created, eventually settling on an octagonal shape.

According to his daughter, Laura Lawton, this process was the easy part. The difficulty was in deciding what color to paint it. Charles consulted with numerous designers, one of which suggested painting it a series of colored triangles, circles, and squares.

Charles settled on the idea of painting it red and white. But then, what shade of red? Here they go again!

The lighthouse was nearing completion, the stucco still needed to be applied, but no decision had been made about the specific red that seemed right. Charles’ brother, Joe, found the solution. He pointed to some rusty red steel framing that was located adjacent to the structure and suggested that be the color. Charles agreed, and that is how the Harbour Town Lighthouse became the internationally recognized symbol that we all love and admire.

Do you know how many steps lead to the top of the lighthouse? As kids, we ran up and down those steps a million times, so I know how many there are. I encourage you to go visit the lighthouse, walk the steps, and count. There is an entrance fee that goes towards maintenance expenses and there is also a gift shop at the top.

The prize for your climb is a spectacular ariel view of the Harbour, beautiful yachts and sailboats, Daufuskie Island across Calibogue Sound, Bull Island in the near distance, and the 18th green of the world-famous Harbour Town Golf Links, home of the PGA tour RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.

The development of Harbour Town was simultaneous with the installation of the Harbour Town Golf Links and creation of the Heritage Golf Tournament, as the event was then known, which has now brought millions of visitors to our island. As you might have guessed, Charles was the motivating force behind creating a golfing event.

Charles had discovered that the genesis of the game of golf had been founded on the coast of South Carolina in Charleston, a port city founded in 1670. In 1980, Charles, through the Sea Pines Company, published a book about this, entitled The Carolina Lowcountry, Birthplace of American Golf 1786, to educate friends about how golf began and became one of America’s favorite sports. The details of the creation of the Heritage Golf Tournament is another story for a future date.

In the building of the Harbour, as the site was cleared and dredging began, Charles came upon a beautiful old live oak he had not noticed

before. By now, it was common practice in Sea Pines to build around big trees. The winding roads and the unusual architecture all pay homage to the concept that nature and the environment come first here. Charles never wanted to offend the landscape by cutting out perfect squares and blocks. He encouraged everyone to meander, not rush.

He insisted that this live oak be saved. But to do that, the Harbour would have to be redesigned. He was told this was a financially crazy idea, but Charles didn’t care. It cost an additional $50,000 to save that tree – and that was in 1969! Imagine the price tag to do something like that now.

The tree was named the Liberty Oak and has become the second-most recognizable symbol of the heart of Sea Pines. Eventually, in his infinite brilliance, Charles realized that some entertainment would be needed here to bring visitors together to enjoy our hot summer nights by the water, while strolling the Harbour, visiting the shops, and enjoying a dining experience or an ice cream cone. There must be ice cream! Charles’ favorite flavor was chocolate.

After the Harbour was built, Charles purchased a sailboat, named her The Compass Rose, and hired Capt. Peter Ovens. Charles and Mary entertained guests every Sunday afternoon after church, hosted numerous dignitaries from around the world, and delighted their daughters


as well as their friends with tours of Calibogue Sound and neighboring uninhabited islands.

I often tell my clients and friends the stories of those amazing days and nights out on the water, soaking in the sun, wind whipping at our faces or gazing at the stars, counting the constellations. We would hang from the bow of the boat and try to touch dolphins with our bare feet. Capt. Peter taught us how to help raise the sail and gave us each a turn at the wheel.

The Liberty Oak became the stage area where thousands upon thousands of families have come nightly for nearly five decades to watch and participate in a live music show performed by Hilton Head’s most popular and famous entertainer, Gregg Russell. In addition to the beach, golf, tennis, biking, world class dining, and miles of nature trails in the Forest Preserve, Gregg’s familyoriented show is among the island’s most beloved attractions, and it endears people to the community of Sea Pines and the legacy that Charles built for us all to enjoy.

Inviting children to come up on stage and sing, Gregg came to be loved and admired by everyone who watched him, including me. My besties Laura Lawton, Ria, Nicole, Cyndi and I would raise our hands and Gregg would invite us to the stage to sing. It was a chance for us to show off our chorus skills and three-part harmony that we were working on in music class at Sea Pines Academy.

Gregg wrote and recorded a song titled “Come Away Home.” Do yourself a favor and google that. Take a listen. It beautifully encapsulates the love that millions of us share for this special place.

So, that is how the Liberty Oak became the heart of Harbour Town, which was itself the heart of Sea Pines. But most dear to the Fraser family, according to Laura Lawton, is the place where her father is buried – right there beneath the Liberty Oak. That was his desire. A beautiful bust statue and commemorative plaque accompany his gravesite.

I visit him often. I go to the Cinnamon Bear, grab a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and go sit there with him. I tell him how proud he would be of all that he created and tell him how much I appreciate him for all he has done for all of us. I tell him about how proud he would be of Laura Lawton for all she has done to preserve his name, his memory, and the incredible contributions he has made to our island, to the world. I tell him about his grandson, Samuel, and how he would be so proud of him.

But mostly, I just listen to the wind and the sea, and the random sounds of halyards clanking on the sailboats’ masts. And I play back the video of my life’s memories of this Harbour, all the amazing people I met who became lifelong friends. All of us, pulled together by a thread in the fabric that was woven by a genius developer who knew that people needed a place like this.

While I do not want to disparage the droves of people who come to Hilton Head or what is seen as overbuilding by some of us old-timers, I realized long ago that something as good as being on a barrier island off the coast of South Carolina must be shared and expanded. And I know for a fact that Charles would have wanted it to be shared too – that’s why he built it.

On the days when I am overwhelmed by traffic and tourists, the everrecurring questions of where to go, what to do, and where to eat, I focus on my memories of a place that captured my heart 50 years ago and how grateful I am to be a part of it all. Gratitude is at the very core of these stories and the reason I tell them.

As I sit here at my desk across Broad Creek, I pause to give thanks to the countless souls who have reached out to encourage me on this journey of literary discovery, all of whom have thanked me for bringing this history to the page. It’s for your enjoyment, it’s for your pleasure. It’s to make you feel even more connected to our longitude and latitude. But my deepest thanks are given to a high school English teacher from the 1980s at Sea Pines Academy (now Hilton Head Preparatory School) who recently reached out and inspired me to embrace the Hilton Head of “now” through the stories of the Hilton Head “then.” He knows who he is. Thank you. Wink. 



Hilton Head Dance Theatre will present Terpsichore, an exciting program of classical and contemporary dance featuring company members and distinguished guest artists Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 12, at 2:30 p.m.

The program takes its name from Terpsichore, the Greek muse of dance, and is always an audience favorite. Dancers

Katelyn Quigley stars as Alice and audience members will be delighted as she encounters some of Lewis Carroll’s most beloved characters on her adventures through Wonderland.

and audience members alike enjoy the unique collection of dance genres.

The program will open with Alice in Wonderland. Katelyn Quigley stars as Alice and audience members will be delighted as she encounters some of Lewis Carroll’s most beloved characters. Conceived and choreographed by artistic directors Karena Brock-Carlyle and John Carlyle, this charming one-act ballet is set to the music of Léo Delibes, Gustav Holst, and Camille Saint-Saëns

Ballet master and resident choreographer Jamal Edwards has restaged his contemporary ballet, Prism, with music by Phillip Glass. Audiences will also experience the premiere of his new work, Hip Hip Chin Chin, with music by Club des Balugas.

The finale will be the spectacular Stars and Stripes set to the music of John Philip Sousa as rendered by Hershy Kay. Staged by Brock-Carlyle, this patriotic tribute to America will star Ella Grace Cook and Edwards.

Performances will be at the Seahawk Cultural Center at Hilton Head Island High School, 70 Wilborn Road. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for youth (18 and under). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit 


Arts Center of Coastal Carolina

Make Your Mark - $145

June 17 - 21

Ages 6-9 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Ages 10-14 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m.

Art for All Adaptive Arts - $145

July 15-19

1-3 p.m.

Dance Camp

June 17-21

Ages 6 & up

1 p.m. -4 p.m.

Campers will explore color mixing to create new colors, value and intensity changes while they use unconventional materials to make art.

Learning to Look - $145

June 24 - 28

Ages 6-9 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Ages 10-14 12:30 p.m. -3 p.m.

Students will dive into the world of art as they create original 2D and 3D art. They will build self-esteem as they explore the elements of art through a variety of mediums and meet new friends!

Razzle Dazzle Dance Camp - $175

July 15-19

Ages 7-12 12:30 - 3p.m.

Each day is based on a different style of dance: ballet, jazz, musical theater, hip hop & lyrical

Safari Camp

July 8-12

Ages 3 & up

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Campers will learn the basics of one, two and three point perspective as they create interior rooms and exterior views of landscapes and cityscapes in a variety of mediums.

Take the Stage - $145

July 8 - 12

Ages 6-9 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Ages 10-14. 12:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Students will work with professional artists and will be exposed to a variety of performing art forms in our Black Box Theatre then will create a mini showcase performance on Friday!

Mixed-Up Masterpieces - $145

July 8 - 12

Ages 6-9 9:30 a.m. - 12 a.m.

Ages 10-14 12:30 a.m. - 3p.m.

Study folk and fine art from all around the world that will inspire both traditional and unusual 2D and 3D masterpieces.

Get ready for dancing, crafts, snacks and fun ... guest starring cast members from the Arts Center’s summer production of Chicago! Showcase a pickup on Friday! No dance experience necessary!

Theatre Camp - $145

July 22 - 26

Dancing Thru the Decades Camp

July 8-12

Ages 6 & up

1 p.m. -4 p.m.

Each day is based on a different decade in dance: 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s & today

Princess & Villain Camp

Ages 9-15 9:30 a.m. - 3:30p.m. Body, Voice and Imagination skills are explored through collaborative theatre games as students learn to focus their energies on using their new character development skills to present a final performance on Friday!


Wish Upon a Star Camp

June 17-21

Ages 3 & up 9a.m.-12:30 p.m.

July 29 - August 2

Ages 3 & up

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Carnival Camp

July 29 - August 2

Ages 6 & up

1 p.m. -4 p.m.

Must be 6 & up to participate in both camps. All day campers should bring a lunch.

Sizzling Summer Session

June 11-20 & July 9-18 Tuesdays & Thursdays

CH2CB2MAGAZINE.COM MAY 2024 73 *Pricing changes and human error occurs. Please see camp listed for final pricing on all activities.

Tiny Stars

Cost: $55

Ages: 2 ½ - 3

Time: 5:30-6 p.m.

Creative Movement, Ballet and Tumbling

Twinkling Stars

Cost: $70

Ages: 3-5

Time: 6-7 p.m.

Creative movement, ballet, tap, and tumbling

Shining Stars

Cost: $70

Ages: 5-8

Time: 6-7 p.m.

30-minutes of ballet and 30 minutes of jazz, tumbling, tap or hip hop.

Super Stars

Cost: $70

Ages: 5-7

Time: 6-7 p.m.

Hip Hop and Tumbling

Acro Workshop

July 22-25

Ages: 7-10 from 6-7 p.m.

Ages: 11 & up from 7-8 p.m.

Cost: $70 for one workshop or $125 for both

Hip Hop Workshop

July 22-25

Ages: 7-10 from 7-8p.m.

Ages: 11 & UP from 6-7pm

Cost: $70 for one workshop or $125 for both




This is NOT a performing arts camp, but a full day summer camp for active and creative rising 1st - 6th graders.

Campers arrive at 9 a.m. and participate in both camp-wide and small group activities all day — both indoors and outdoors — with the goal of expanding their creative minds and exercising their bodies.

By pick up time at 4 p.m., campers will leave with new friendships, smiles

and awesome memories … and maybe they’ll be a bit tired out from their funfilled day as well!

Activities include: Outdoor Games, Relays, Playground Visits, Dance Classes, Drama Classes/Games, Outdoor Water Games, Arts & Crafts and more!


9am - 1pm

Dancers will THRIVE during a summer full of magic, art, and imagination! We are offering fun-filled summer dance camps for ages 3-5, this summer at Bluffton School of Dance.

From stomping around the safari to rocking out at the disco, we have tons of exciting themes, fun activities, and lots of dancing to make for a memorable week! Your dancer will be talking about it long after they leave the studio.

Ages 3-5 years old, fully potty trained required.

Activities include: Outdoor Games, Playground Visits, Dance parties, Outdoor Water Games, Arts & Crafts and more!

FIRST TEE - LOWCOUNTRY Camps will begin the week of June 10th. Hilton Head camps are each held for four days, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Bluffton camps are each held for three days, Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m

• Week of June 10th Camp – Ages 7 to 11 (Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.)

• Week of June 17th Camp – Ages 7 to 11 (Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.)

• Week of June 24th Camp – Ages 12 and Older (Monday through Thursday from 9 am. to 11 a.m.)

• Week of July 8th Camp – Ages 7 to 11 (Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.)

• Week of July 15th Camp – Ages 12 and Older (Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.)

Summer 2024 Bluffton Camps – THE GOLF CLUB AT HILTON HEAD LAKES


• Week of July 22nd Camp – Ages 7 to 11 (Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)

• Week of July 29th Camp – Ages 12 and Older (Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.)


Dolphin Day Camp:

Come join the Dolphins for a day camp full of fun, learning, and exploration! Each week students will focus on a different theme. Our camp counselors will lead them through age-appropriate activities both on campus and in the local community. Come see what the


island and Hilton Head Prep has to offer this summer! Registration is open to both students currently enrolled in Hilton Head Preparatory School and the greater Hilton Head Island resident and visitor community. Sign up now to reserve your space!

Grades and Ages:

Turtles Group: 3 and 4 year olds *Must turn 3 before the start of camp and be potty trained

Dolphins Group: Rising K-2nd Graders *Must turn 5 before the start of camp

Sharks Group: Rising 3-5 Graders Schedule and Pricing:


Full Day: 9a.m. -3p.m. ; $350/week

Half Day Morning: 9am-12pm; $225/week Half Day Afternoon: 12-3pm; $225/week

Price includes: daily snacks, 1 pizza lunch per week, field trips, a camp T-shirt, and enrichment activities

Weeks and Theme

June 3-7: Nature Week

June 10-14: Water Fun Week

June 17-21: Animal Week

June 24-28: Artful Innovation Week

July 8-12: Water Fun Week

July 15-19: Science and STEM Week

July 22-26: Olympics Week

Strength Training with Coach Jeff:

Description: Join Coach Jeff Stanyard for drop-in strength training sessions this summer. Attend as much or as little as your busy schedule allows for one flat rate for the whole summer. 2-3 one hour sessions will be offered per day, with an hour each day dedicated to a girls only workout.

Dates: Various dates TBD, sign up online by week Times: Various morning times TBD, sign up online by week

Ages: Rising 6-12 grade boys and girls, with an hour reserved each day for a girls only workout for those who prefer that option.

Price: $200 for whole summer

Leader: Coach Jeff Stanyard

Future Dolphins Soccer Camp:

Description: Join Hilton Head Preparatory School’s soccer academy coach, Lukas O’Grady in learning skills and drills for the game of soccer. Players will then use their new skills in a variety of fun and exciting soccer games.

Dates: Mon, June 3-Thurs, June 6

Times: 9 am-12 pm

Ages: 5-12 year-old boys and girls

Price: $250/week

Leader: Coach Lukas O’Grady

3D Printing Camp:

Description: Students will begin learning about places in the world where 3D printing has made big impacts. From there students will consider how 3D printing could impact their world. Using their creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving skills students will take an idea from a 2D design concept to a 3D printed object.

Dates: Mon, June 3-Fri, June 7

Times: 9 am-12 pm

Ages: Rising 6-9 Grade

Price: $225/week

Leader: Laura Campbell


Bot Bonanza: Empowering Tomorrow’s Innovators through Robotics

Description: Students will examine how the world has changed with the introduction of robots with real world examples, and some virtual tours of places that use robots in their every day. Students will learn how to program robots to accomplish specific tasks through fun challenges finishing the week with a robotic celebration!

Dates: Mon, June 3- Fri, June 7

Times: 12:30 pm-3:30 pm

Ages: Rising 5-8 grade

Price: $225/week

Leader: Laura Campbell

Elite Dolphins Soccer Camp:

Description: Join Hilton Head Preparatory School’s soccer academy coach, Lukas O’Grady in training drills, games, and competitions. This elite soccer camp is designed for players with previous team experience.

Dates: Mon, June 10- Thurs, June 13

Times: 9 am-12 pm

Ages: 13-18 year old boys and girls

Price: $250/week

Leader: Coach Lukas O’Grady

Girls Basketball Camp:

Description: Build your skills, passion, and knowledge through this all day basketball camp! In addition to skill work and games, the camp will include movies and guest speakers that will appeal to beginners and returning players.

Dates: Mon, June 10- Fri, June 14

Times: 9 am-3 pm M-Th, 9 am-12 pm Fri

Ages: Rising 4-9 grade girls

Price: $325/week

Leader: AD Shon Hardy and Associate AD Mike Helms

Boys Basketball Camp:

Description: Build your basketball skills and confidence in this week-long camp with varsity basketball coach Richard Barron. Players will focus on building skills through drills and game play.

Dates: Mon, June 24- Fri, June 28

Times: 9 am-12 pm

Ages: Rising 4-8 grade boys

Price: $300/week

Leader: Coach Richard Barron

Pickleball Camp:

Description: Come try out one of the fastest growing sports in America! Learn basic pickleball skills and scoring in this 3-day camp. Note: Bring your own paddle.

Dates: Mon, July 1- Wed, July 3

Times: 9 am-12 pm

Ages: Rising 1-5 grade boys and girls

Price: $150

Leader: Jennifer Lyle-Kapelski


Elite Basketball Camp:

Description: Join Coaches Robert Sulek and John Sterling for basketball drill work and games. Drill work focuses on man defense, fast break, and the man press on Monday-Thursday mornings. Apply these skills during games on MondayWednesday evenings. Coaches Robert Sulek and John Sterling have over 1500 wins in HS basketball and will expect everyone to work hard every day.

Dates: Mon, July 8-Thurs, July 11

Times: Mon-Thurs 9 am-12 pm plus Mon-Wed 6 pm-8 pm

Ages: Rising 8-12 grade

Price: Free

Leaders: Coaches Robert Sulek and John Sterling

Middle School Summer Reading Camp:

Description: Don’t fall behind on your summer reading assignments! Join Peg Hamilton as she guides students through reading their assigned summer reading books and assignment. Build a love for reading through fun activities and a field trip to Barnes & Noble.

Dates: Mon, July 22- Fri, July 26

Times: 9 am-12 pm or 12:30 pm-3:30 pm

Ages: Rising 6-8 grade

Price: $200/week + spending money for Barnes & Noble

Leader: Peg Hamilton

*Pricing changes and human error occurs. Please see camp listed for final pricing on all activities.

Flag Football Camp:

Description: Come join varsity football coach Doug McFadden in this 3-day camp focused on fundamentals and flag football game play. Skills will include throwing, catching, and learning basic plays.

Dates: Mon, July 22- Wed, July 24

Times: 9 am-12 pm

Ages: Rising 3-8 grade boys and girls

Price: $150

Leader: Coach Doug McFadden

Boys Basketball Camp:

Description: Build your basketball skills and confidence in this week-long camp with varsity basketball coach Richard Barron. Players will focus on building skills through drills and game play.

Dates: Mon, July 29- Fri, August 2

Times: 9 am-12 pm

Ages: Rising 4-8 grade boys

Price: $300/week

Leader: Coach Richard Barron

Link to school website: summer-programs

Island Rec Center

A one week kids karate camp this June 2024 sponsored by McElroys Martial Arts Academy.

Fun with karate games, exercise contest, learn how to defeat a bully without fighting, straight A’s awards program, manners program, martial art movies etc…



Maria Walls is changing the game when it comes to taxes

This month you might have heard a sigh of relief from your fellow Americans, as the start of May marks the end of tax season. And while most of us were able to somehow turn that box of receipts and that pile of paperwork into a number, did any of us really understand what we were doing? Do any of us even really grasp how taxes work? (That was rhetorical. For most of us, the answer is a resounding “no.”)

“One of the biggest things that surprised me when I joined the Treasurer’s Office was how many people would come in who didn’t understand their tax bill or where their tax dollars were going. I thought it was simple – it’s basic math,” said Beaufort County Treasurer Maria Walls, CPA. “I realized there’s a huge gap.”

The idea for filling that gap came to her one night over dessert with her four children.

While adults can (theoretically) be taught how taxes work, that lesson will most likely come too late for most of us. But what if you can teach children the concept? Then you have an educated tax base. But how can you get kids to care about something so nebulous, something so unbearably grown-up as taxes?

“We were having dessert, and they’d earned that reward, but I told them, ‘Now I’m taking some of that away from you.’ Of course, their reaction was negative,” Walls said. Surprisingly, though, once Walls explained the kinds of things their lost rewards were paying for – new roads, schools, infrastructure –it at least took the sting out of it.

Even if children don’t understand the concept of a dollar, they understand the concept of candy. And they certainly understand what a sacrifice it is to give up some of that candy.

Beaufort County Treasurer Maria Walls, CPA

That level of understanding sparked an idea in Walls, and a new fun way to teach taxes was born.

“It is seriously the best part of my job. It’s so much fun,” Walls said.

The first iteration of her tax game was played eight years ago during a visit to Pritchardville Elementary. The rules are straightforward – kids are given a fun size bag of about 14 M&Ms, then set aside half to cover their living expenses. As the rest of the M&Ms are “taxed” from them, one proposal at a time, the kids get a chance to learn where their tax dollars (or, in this case, tax candies) go.

“When I tell them each M&M is worth $100, they go nuts. They think they’re rich,” said Walls. “But then as their M&Ms start getting ‘taxed,’ they definitely lose some enthusiasm.”


The tax collector gathers M&M’s for the new road that the constituents voted for.

Maria Walls answers questions about the tax process as the children at Hilton Head Christian Academy play the game.

Thankfully, the other students who are playing council members get to explain where that candy is going. One collects funds to widen a busy intersection, helping small businesses on Main Street. Another collects to repair an air conditioning unit at an administrative building. And piece by piece, the students see their candy piles dwindle while their town improves.

“When we discuss it, I’ll ask, ‘Who agreed with this decision? Who disagreed with this decision?’” Walls said. “Then I tell them, ‘The conversations you’re having, the feelings you’re having, these are things the adults in your life are talking about when they get their tax bill.”

Through the game, the students gain the explicit lesson that their tax money doesn’t simply disappear – it’s used to improve our community in ways they didn’t even think of. They also gain an implicit lesson, one that comes from hearing the proposals from town council and realizing the importance of civic engagement.

“Their homework when they’re done is to go home and ask their parents the last time they went to a town or county council meeting,” Walls said, citing a statistic that 80% of adults have never attended a public meeting. “I point out that they can’t be upset if they haven’t talked to their elected officials about why they’re upset. You really see the wheels turning, and honestly the biggest goal for me is that they leave caring.”

When Walls created this game, she did so with aims to give kids a better


appreciation of the tax process and how it works. What she ended up creating was something that gives kids the tools to be better citizens – more knowledgeable, and ultimately more involved.

“These kids are not sitting still, they’re excited to interact. I try to make sure that I answer every hand that gets raised because they never all agree, yet they all share their opinion and thoughts openly,” Walls said. “I get to do a lot of things in my job, and this is my favorite, helping the taxpayers of tomorrow become citizens who engage with their government.” 

Want to play along? Just follow the official rules of the tax game below:

Materials needed:

Fun pack of M&Ms for each student attending Napkins for each student attending 3 cups to collect the M&Ms

How to Play:

Ask for five volunteers. They are the Tax Collector, Tax Agent, and three Council Members.

Tell them to look over their cards. While they are looking over their cards, explain to the rest of the students what the M&Ms are for. Each M&M is worth $100.

The M&Ms are their money. How many do they have in their bag?

This is what they have earned; they need half to pay for living expenses (rent, car, gas, groceries, etc.). They set those aside.

The Tax Collector and Tax Agent read their cards and are each given a cup. Each Council Member gives their campaign speech.

The first Council Member reads their vote on Council.

Tax Collector and Tax Agent then go around collecting M&Ms.

Discuss their responses.

The second Council Member reads their vote on Council.

Tax Collector and Tax Agent then go around collecting M&Ms. Discuss their responses.

The third Council Member reads their vote on Council.

Tax Collector and Tax Agent then go around collecting M&Ms. Discuss their responses and wrap up.

Bands play next to the May River at The Arts Initiative at Palmetto Bluff’s annual FLOW FEST.

FLOW Fest at PaLmettO BLuFF CeLeBrates artists, COmmunity and CuLture

South Carolina’s Lowcountry has always brimmed with creativity and the region’s art scene boasts countless galleries and performance venues, showcasing the work of renowned artists and rising talents alike.

The arts are also central to Palmetto Bluff, and the community has long been a magnet for those with a creative spirit. The Arts Initiative at Palmetto Bluff, a sweeping program conceived to inspire and enrich, annually spotlights a diverse curation of artists, craftsmen, musicians, and makers. This vibrant collaboration, including an Artist in Residence program and its lively exhibition space, FLOW Gallery + Workshop, fosters imagination while striving to forge a broader Lowcountry community united by artistry and the exchange of ideas.

In support of this pursuit, the third annual FLOW Fest –Palmetto Bluff’s beloved music and arts festival – will return to the community’s Wilson Village Green Sunday, May 19, from 2 to 6 p.m.

This family-friendly event will feature talented musicians, artisans, kids’ activities, and vendors, bringing together the community to celebrate music and culture in a spectacular setting along the May River. Guests will be able to peruse an artisan market, indulge in delicious food and treats, and dance to the Motown, rock, and reggae beats from The Secrets and Deas-Guyz.

New to FLOW Fest this year will be the Arts Initiative’s Annual Art Auction, which will feature an impressive collection of artworks graciously donated by the talented artists of Palmetto Bluff’s esteemed Artists in Residence. FLOW Gallery + Workshop artisans and will be on display at FLOW Gallery, with online bidding beginning May 17 and closing at the end of FLOW Fest. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

A portion of the sales from FLOW Fest 2024 tickets and the artisan market, along with the proceeds generated from the new art auction, will benefit the Palmetto Bluff Inspiring the Arts Scholarship. This newly established scholarship from Palmetto Bluff, through the Coastal Community Foundation, aims to assist an outstanding high school senior in the Beaufort, Jasper, or Chatham County school system who showcases exceptional talent and dedication to the arts. The objective is to support and foster talented young artists in their pursuit of their passion while advancing their education in the arts.

“We are excited to announce the Palmetto Bluff Inspiring the Arts Scholarship. Since the launch of The Arts Initiative at Palmetto Bluff in 2022, our intention has always been to incorporate a scholarship component,” said Amy Anderson, VP of Marketing at South Street Partners, owners of Palmetto Bluff. “It is the natural next step as we aim to expand the program’s impact beyond Palmetto Bluff and into Bluffton, Hilton Head, and across the Lowcountry region.”

Craft activities for all ages are a great way to get into the creative spirit at FLOW FEST.

Earlier in the month, The Arts Initiative at Palmetto Bluff’s May 2024 Artist in Residence, Charleston-based oil painter Chris Groves, will hold landscape and still life workshops that draw inspiration from the community’s stunning natural surroundings – something he has done since he was a young boy given a nature drawing book from his parents. Groves’ work has received multiple awards and recognitions, and it ranges from realism to abstract. He has studied at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy, the Colorado Academy of Art, the Loveland Art Academy, the Cottonwood Art Academy, and the Denver Arts Students League.

Starting with a complimentary welcome reception on May 8, Groves will demonstrate his talents in the FLOW Gallery + Workshop courtyard and chat with guests about his work and career while they enjoy light refreshments and original art from a world-renowned artist. Groves’ May 9 Reflections on May River workshop will feature the May River as his muse and explore the captivating world of light and water as he guides participants on the art of capturing their beauty. He will instruct attendees on the art of using a “quick sketch” approach to portray the scenic landscape as it appears from the vantage point of Wilson Village.

While still life is a popular art style steeped in realism, abstract still life presents an exciting and eye-catching twist on an old favorite. In his


May 10 Still Life Abstract Artifacts workshop, Groves will focus on single object still life using artifacts discovered on the property by Dr. Mary Socci and the Palmetto Bluff Archaeology team. Although still life typically demands a strong sense of tradition, this workshop will break away from the norm by focusing on abstract rather than realistic depictions.

During the final workshop, Abstract Palmetto Bluff: A Study of Trees, workshop on May 11, Groves will impart

“Lemons with Vase” by Chris Groves, 22” x 22”, Oil on Linen.

his knowledge on tree structures and the use of painting techniques to convey shapes, forms, sky holes, and details in a speedy sketch format. The course draws inspiration from the iconic Palmetto Bluff logo and will concentrate on the two trees showcased in the design: a palm and an oak.

The Arts Initiative’s first Artist in Residence phase will finish in June with Katie White, who will invite guests on an artistic escape via her meditative watercolor classes, melding this gentle medium with an inspirational journey. Summer 2024 will host the inaugural “Artist in Residence Summer Sweetgrass Series,” consisting of acclaimed basket artisans Michael Smalls and Dino Badger in July and Jery Taylor in August, modern-day practitioners of the venerated GullahGeechee tradition.

The second half of The Arts Initiative at Palmetto Bluff’s 2024 schedule will include additional exciting artists and events. Southern expressionist painter Anna Vaughn will be September’s featured artist, and Clay Ross of celebrated Gullah folk band Ranky Tanky will be October’s SingerSongwriter. November will host a showcase of Palmetto Bluff’s resident creatives in the Artists of the Bluff Fall Art Show, and hand-crafted cast iron kitchen and barware company Blanc Creatives will be the month’s artisan. Closing out the year’s thrilling programming will be December Artist in Residence Karin Olah, a Charleston-based artist who combines hand-dyed fabric and paint to create her signature multi-layered paintings.

FLOW Fest 2024 is sponsored by Frontlight Building Company, McLester & Niemiec, Second Home, Palmetto Bluff Real Estate Company, and South Street Partners. 


Meet the rising leaders of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry, Jaala Miller, Ryan Wise, Pamela Castle, and DeLauren Brown

Rising Leadership of


Most people intrinsically know the value of the Boys & Girls Club. You’ve probably heard anecdotal stories of former Club kids. But when you see data showing the Club’s influence on higher graduation rates, better test scores, healthier lifestyles, and stronger self-esteem, the statement that “Boys & Girls Clubs change lives” rings true.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry charter is a prime example – it has been changing the lives of our area’s youth for 38 years by providing after-school and summer programming. It’s much more than a safe place to go; it’s where great futures start.

Members of our community are often surprised to learn the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry operates 10 clubs in Jasper and Beaufort counties. The clubs are Bluffton, Broad River, Hardeeville, Hilton Head Island, Lady’s Island, Ridgeland, Shanklin, St. Helena, Whale Branch Elementary and Whale Branch Middle School. Within the 10 locations, only two have their own dedicated buildings – Bluffton and Hilton Head Island. The other eight locations operate in the schools.

To better grasp the structure of the club here, think of the Lowcountry as the umbrella organization. It holds the national Boys & Girls Club charter. The Lowcountry office does all the staffing and payroll, offers human resources, carries the insurance, writes safety policies and procedures, and develops programming in conjunction with the national BGCA office. Individual locations share the same mission, focus on membership and implementing programming, and oversee day-to-day operations.

Like any organization that has been around for 38 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry has gone through significant change. Doors and locations have opened and then closed, CEO’s have been hired and retired, and programming has evolved to serve the changing needs of the children it serves.

What has kept the organization’s continued success are two things: a clear mission and leadership. Talk to any staff member within the organization and you will hear them rattle off the mission unintentionally. Make no mistake – this is not a mission statement dreamt up by corporate America and hung on the wall to check a box. Rather, it is believed and felt to the core. The mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. That mission is pursued daily, in almost every interaction between staff and club members.

The second component of the BGC of the Lowcountry’s longevity is its leadership. Many people recognize the names and faces of Molly Hornbeak, now director of resource development for Bluffton, and Kim Likins, former executive director of Hilton Head Island’s Club. North of the Broad, you might know Kim Sullivan, who is now director of resource development for Northern Beaufort and Jasper County clubs. But fewer people know the newer faces of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry.

The newer BGC leaders are full of energy and ideas. They unknowingly share a lot in common despite being physically separated by miles and working under the direction of different area boards of directors. These Lowcountry leaders all desire a well-funded, sustainable organization that serves the mission. They all have a passion to reach more children and they have exciting plans for the future.

Here’s a look at the bright, enthusiastic, and collaborative rising leadership of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry covering 10 locations with one mission.

DeLauren Brown, Chief Operating Officer

When DeLauren Brown got a job 13 years ago as a youth development professional at Joel E. Smilow Boys & Girls Club in Georgia, she considered it a placeholder while pursuing a career as an attorney. Like many others who work for BGC, her passion for youth development and belief in the mission has kept her working with the organization, even as she has moved to different states. Today, as chief operating officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry, Brown supports all 10 clubs with a primary focus on safety, policy, and a high-quality club experience.

Brown focuses on partnerships like the ones that have been formed with Beaufort County and Jasper County school districts. Working together has allowed BGC of the Lowcountry to blend school offerings, academics, programming, and fun to create an overall experience.

For Brown, it’s moments like attending high school graduations of club members she encountered when they were in elementary school, seeing children learn new things, and witnessing passions ignited through things like camping, race car building, and cooking classes offered by the clubs.

Brown wouldn’t trade the hard work for anything.

“Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry spans its services from Beaufort County to Jasper County – that’s an incredibly large coverage,” said Brown, who is clearly up to the task. “Our goal is to make a lasting impact for youth across the entire community and within the reach of all 10 clubs. Whether you are on staff, a board member, volunteer, or donor, a unifying vision will bring everyone together. The need is immense in all the Lowcountry, and the area that we cover.”

Pam Castle, Director of Community and Program Engagement

May 2024 marks seven years with BGC for Pamela Castle. Today, she’s the director of community and program engagement and responsible for managing the eight Lowcountry locations that operate in the schools within Beaufort and Jasper counties.

Castle serves as the liaison between the Lowcountry and the district to ensure that both visions are being implemented to enrich the lives of youth. She works with the site directors at each of the eight locations, which is a tall order when

DELAUREN BROWN Chief Operating Officer

it comes to programming and membership. As the mother of two children, she says it’s a rewarding and gratifying experience to be able to see programs implemented and youth progressing. Pamela also works with the parents of club members, ensuring that the experience is good for not just the youth or teen, but the entire family.

Castle has been able to expand the offered services and locations within the past few months to provide a safe place for children and teens that they did not have access to before. She was instrumental in starting the Congaree Teen Outreach Program, which is offered to teens for career development.

Castle recalls a recent incident where she was able to intervene in a situation that was particularly gratifying. A girl who had been bullied became the bully. Through working with the club member, Castle was able to address the core of the issue and identify the root cause.

“We’re making progress,” Castle said. “We’re reaching more kids and expanding more programs! It’s exciting to see it move forward.” Jaala Miller, Unit Director for Bluffton Club

Though her official title is unit director of the Bluffton Boys & Girls Club, on any given day Jaala Miller is the bus driver, the Smart Girls Program director, Cheer captain, social media manager, and overall coordinator of organized chaos. She’s proof positive of the BGCA tagline, “Whatever it takes to build great futures.”

Miller has been with BGC for 26 years and has held almost every position within the organization. She started as a high school student volunteer, she’s been part-time at the front desk, a dance instructor, and held full-time youth development positions as teen assistant, teen director, and then program director. Through all this, Miller received her undergraduate degree from USCB and two master’s degrees from Ashford University, while pursuing her professional freelance photography and multiple business ventures with her husband, Brandon, a Hilton Head Island native. They have two daughters who are members of the Bluffton Club.

For Miller, what fuels her passion for BGC is the mission and seeing the impact firsthand.

“I find it most rewarding that so many of our current members’ parents, aunts and uncles came through these same doors,” Miller

PAM CASTLE Director of Community and Program Engagment

said. “It’s rewarding to see alumni return with their eyes enlarged with happy tears and a warm embrace as they walk in their club building and express the impact the club had in their lives until this day. I enjoy running into alumni and hearing them share a memorable story from their club days. There’s something so magical about that feeling.”

Miller strives for a more sustainable club that is well-funded and secure. The Bluffton Club would love to be able to serve more children within their walls, and needs more staff (which requires funding) to be able to achieve that goal. The current waitlist to join the Bluffton Club is more than 200 youth.

Ryan Wise, Unit Director for Hilton Head Island

Ryan Wise is the newly promoted unit director for the Hilton Head Island Club. During his previous role as assistant unit director, he increased membership, started a workforce readiness program for teens, created community partnerships, and improved the culture within the club. His primary role is overseeing the operations of the club, which includes facilities management, program implementation and execution, coordinating with external groups, and supervising the staff.

Wise knows it takes a village to help each club member achieve success and he works diligently to build his team up to support the club. That goal is common with staff members across BGCA: “Whatever it takes” is the motto.

As Hilton Head Island’s club enters this new phase of leadership, Wise’s goals include increasing community presence and building on the Youth Worker Program. The club members are thriving this spring in the soccer program, learning golf with The First Tee – Lowcountry, and growing with Teen Skill Labs. Across the board, members are being challenged to step out of their comfort zones and build on their varied interests.

“The best part of my day is seeing the smiles on our kids’ faces when they arrive at the club after school,” said Wise, adding that the members are the meaning behind the mission. Providing members with new experiences is also rewarding for him. “We recently took Club members on a boat, and a few

Unit Director for Bluffton Club

members told me it was the coolest experience they’ve ever had because they had never had the opportunity to be on a boat before,” he said.

Originally from West Virginia, Wise holds a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in higher education from Mercer University. He is a former college basketball coach who knows that winning in basketball is not much different from winning at the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head because in both, you must put in the effort to work as a team to be successful.

The future of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry remains dependent on the two biggest drivers of its past sustainability: a focus on serving the mission and strong leadership. With these four leaders, the organization is poised to grow in this vast Lowcountry, to serve more deserving children, to produce strong outcomes, and ultimately to change the lives of thousands of youth. Learn more at 

Favorite meal served to the kids:

“Definitely the mac and cheese.” – Ryan Wise, HHI

Favorite program offered:

“The Smart Girls Program is so popular right now.” –Jaala Miller, Bluffton

Favorite sport:

“Everyone wants to join soccer!” – Ryan Wise, HHI

Most popular room or area of the club:

“The Technology Room and the Game Room.” – Jaala Miller, Bluffton

BGC of the Lowcountry Fast Facts:

10 Locations across Beaufort and Jasper counties with 1 mission

1,138 registered members with average daily attendance of 700-plus members

20 full-time staff

105 part-time staff

100-plus volunteers

Thousands of meals served weekly

RYAN WISE Unit Director for Hilton Head Island Daniel Cort and Monica Bohrer

Dancing With the Stars


There’s a motto that Town of Bluffton Assistant Town Manager Chris Forster lives by: “Do hard things.”

“It’s a constant reminder to put myself out of my comfort zone,” he said. “Dancing in front of a crowd of people, many of whom know you, is a little nerve-wracking, but I’m excited.”

As one of the 11 local celebrities who will be taking the stage for Dancing With the Stars May 19 at Seaquins Ballroom, Forster is not alone in balancing giddy excitement with pre-show jitters.

“It’s a challenge that I’m embracing with enthusiasm,” said another of the dancing stars,

Daniel Cort. As a prolific local stage actor and board member at Main Stage Community Theatre (in addition to his full-time real estate career), Cort is no stranger to performing on stage. But that doesn’t mean he considers himself a dancer.

“There are triple threats. I’m like a double threat, with a small dose of triple,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve had some shows that required me to dance but I had to work at it. But then, that’s the fun of this whole event.”

“I love to put on a show, so I’m excited for it,” said WJCL anchor Riley Miller. “I’m doing a salsa,

Armando Aseneta and Jessa Jeremiah Rosie Jones and Sami Othmani

Back Row: Rosie Jones, Sami Othmani, Daniel Cort, Riley Miller, Chris Forster, Gemilee Marquez, Armando Aseneta, Scott Wierman, Meghan Green and Joe Babkiewicz

Front Row: Maggie Washo, Wendy Barrett, Sandro Virag, Monica Bohrer, Lori Price and Jessa Jeremiah

so it’s a lot of moving, and a lot of dips. I’ve been working on my flexibility. My homework is stretching.”

Each comes into the event with next to zero dance experience, save for the lessons they’ve been undertaking with their professional dance partners at Hilton Head Ballroom Dance Studio. And each approaches their turn on the dance floor with no shortage of butterflies and excitement to be part of the Lowcountry’s own Dancing With the Stars.

“We did a similar event 14 years ago and it was amazing,” said studio co-owner Sandro Virag. “When the Kiwanis Club approached us, asking to do it again, we were so excited.”

For Virag, that excitement goes deeper than simply sharing the stage with local celebrities and showing the world the skill and grace of his studio’s instructors. For him,

the spirit of Dancing With the Stars lies in the way it brings the community together for a common cause – supporting the Boys & Girls Club.

“Kiwanis meets at our studio, and they see us rehearsing, so we kind of grew a big family in Bluffton and Hilton Head for this event,” he said, adding that Main Stage Community Theatre is providing stage dressing for the big night. “We teach at the Boys & Girls Club and work with Pockets Full of Sunshine, PEP … this is such a small community, and we help each other through the years. We’re giving this to Kiwanis to give back to the kids. I love to support the kids because we want them to learn.”

It is a night of giving back for Virag, but he also shares in his stars’ excitement for a night of terpsichorean magic. “They’re all pretty good dancers, and they’re all working really hard because they want to win,” he said. “We’re going to set the floor on fire.”

In addition to Forster dancing East Coast Swing, Cort performing a foxtrot, and Miller doing the salsa, Virag will join CH2’s own Maggie Washo for a Viennese Waltz. Other celebrities include Bluffton Chief of Police Joe Babkiewicz, former Miss South Carolina Julia Herrin, incoming Kiwanis President Wendy Barrett, WHHI’s Jessa Jeremiah, BlacQuity Executive Director Gwen Chambers, pro golfer Rosie Jones, and Community Foundation of the Lowcountry’s Scott Wierman.

Lori Price and Scott Wierman Wendy Barrett and Armando Aseneta Maggie Washo and Sandro Virag Gemilee Marquez and Chris Forster

Seeing as instructors from Hilton Head Ballroom Dance Studio also pitch in their talents to help youth from the Boys & Girls Club learn to dance, guiding a few dance floor challenged adults through some steps should be no problem, right?

“The celebrities are better behaved sometimes, but I think the kids might learn a little faster,” Virag said with a laugh. “The group we have now is pretty dedicated. They are so committed. It’s so sweet of them to do this – they’re doing this for free. We appreciate that so much.”

And while those in attendance will be there to help area youth and see some of their favorite celebrities show off their moves, that will be just part of the appeal of this epic night.

“It’s not just the celebrities. We’re going to make it a nice production that night,” Virag said. “We’ll have a whole hour of Broadway tunes, some Michael Bublé … it’s going to be a great variety show between dancers to keep the crowd entertained.”

Dancing With the Stars will be held at 7 p.m. May 19 at Hilton Head Island Ballroom Dance Studio, 1300 Fording Island Road in Bluffton. For tickets and more information, visit 

Sandro Virag and Riley Miller


Artwork at The Ice Cream Cone at Coligny doubles the scoop on fun

Ice cream is, by its nature, the most fun food on the planet. That is said with all due respect to candy, but ice cream wins the day due to one simple factor: its association with cows. And cows, as anyone who has ever read “The Far Side” can tell you, are the animal kingdom’s most perfect punchline.

Is it their distinctive look? Is it the weird sounds they make? Is the plethora of puns they engender part of what makes them so – ahem – “udderly” fun? In a word, yes. It’s all of these things.

Pete Savarese knows more than most how fun ice cream can be. It’s been his calling in life since he was a kid, first hired at The Ice Cream Cone in Coligny as a scoop jockey in high school. In fact, in the ultimate demonstration of the American Ice Cream Dream, he had so much fun he eventually took over as owner.

And that’s when the real fun began.

“We were working on a remodel, and Carolanne O’Fee was doing a big cartoon of Hilton Head Island, but it didn’t seem to fit the space,” he said. “So, I jokingly sent her an image of Bruce (Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”) and asked, ‘Can you make him a cow’?”

O’Fee took to the challenge with gusto. An accomplished mural artist working alongside her sister Charlotte and boyfriend Jack Bunker (check out their work on Instagram @maisonofee), she had a personal stake in this latest project. She’s not only an artist, she’s also a former employee who worked alongside Savarese during his early days.

That first bovine parody sparked a whole spree of cowthemed album covers across one counter. Andy Warhol’s famous banana cover became a banana split. Green Day’s American Idiot became Cone Day’s American Waffle Cone. You might never have heard of “The Toppings” but you’ll recognize the image of the four cow band members crossing Abbey Road. And naturally, The Rolling Stones’ 40 Licks finds an angus remix at The Ice Cream Cone.

“That was last season, and when we were making more changes to the store, I had that whole wall open,” Savarese said. “I had a lot of people commenting on the table, so I said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Carolanne O’Fee is phototgraphed next to

While the album covers opened the door for cow puns, movie posters kicked that door open. On the back wall of The Ice Cream Cone you’ll find ads for a vast range of fun – kid’s favorites (“Moonions”), crime dramas (“Beef Fiction”), comedies (“Moolander”), and even sci-fi (“The Cowminator”). The cow puns even made it onto one of the three coolers stuffed with ice cream flavors, bearing the unmistakable police lineup of “The Moosual Suspects.”

“We have 30 people a day come in to look at it. It’s been a really big hit,” Savarese said. “Now I want to do the entire store.”

Savarese plans to have nearly every wall covered with cow posters over the next five years, giving him plenty of time to dream up fresh puns while living his ice cream dream. “Next year we want to work in a few sports puns,” he said, “so we’ll definitely have at least one Moohammad Ali.” 

Jack Bunker and Pete Savarese sit in front of the new artwork at the Ice Cream Cone in Coligny Plaza. the Moosual Suspects.
Tatiana Ramirez, owner and creator at Ivonel Art.

Blowing Up!

Local balloon artist makes magic

Tatiana Ramirez, owner and creator at Ivonel Art, is a nontraditional artist whose work is blowing up – literally and figuratively. A Venezuelan native who previously worked in social communications, she arrived in the U.S. in Orlando, Florida, where a friend introduced her to the art of balloons.

“When I became pregnant with my third child, I knew I needed something to do to keep me active, so I started twisting balloons to stay busy,” Ramirez said. “I was twisting balloons for six restaurants in Orlando before COVID hit and everything stopped.”

Then the Ramirezes moved to Hilton Head where Ramirez’ husband, Hernan Boyer – also an entrepreneur – started his own grocery distribution business. Building two businesses during COVID wasn’t easy, but they persevered. Ramirez credits her friends and their referrals for helping her get started.

“One of the first jobs I got after moving to Hilton Head was through a friend’s referral. I was asked to create balloon art for the birthday of a woman celebrating her 100th birthday,” she said. “Everyone’s reaction to my art was so rewarding and inspiring for me. The birthday ‘girl’ was so happy. It was then when I realized that if I can move that emotion with balloons in a 100-year-old, I can do it for any age and any event.”

More inspired in balloon art than ever, Ramirez signed up for classes and graduated from Decolovers


Institute, the first and only educational institution in the balloon industry approved by the Florida Department of Education, with a degree in design and business management.

Everyone’s reaction to Ramirez’ art is similar. She emphasizes and educates her clients that balloons are not just for children. She decorates entire homes for Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, and creates entire themes for birthday parties, anniversaries, and baby showers, which include centerpieces, gift tables, buffet tables, and backdrops.

“My art includes lots of details … much more than just round shapes,” Ramirez said. “I twist balloons into different shapes to create visually correct representations of animals, people, words, etc., and work those into all my designs. Most people are familiar with classic balloon art – which I can do if that is what you want. But my specialty is balloon design, which is extremely detailed and artistic.”


While Ramirez’ work is impactful in size and effect, ranging from small centerpieces to huge set-ups, such as towers, arches, gigantic garlands, what she really thrives on is the impact of her work on the people who see it, regardless of age.

For a gentleman’s 70th birthday, his wife asked for a simple balloon bouquet. When Ramirez delivered a huge bouquet featuring his name incorporated into the design, they were blown away.

“They sent me pictures of him with his face popping out of one of the letters of his name, and the look on his face was priceless to me,” Ramirez said.

Her clients are not only private individuals, but corporate as well. Recently, she created a design for Lucie Mann at Park Place Cinema, who wanted a huge box of popcorn with balloons spilling out. At the grand opening of The Bank Beer Garden a few months ago, she created a huge beer mug that was “pouring out” beer balloons from the ceiling.

Ramirez has made several displays for the Hilton Head Branch Library. For Easter, everyone loved her rabbit riding on a gigantic carrot. She also works frequently at the Island Rec Center, doing balloon twisting for various festivals and their Summer Jam at Lowcountry Celebration Park.

A local hospital recently changed owners and its name. For their celebration, Ramirez designed several displays to highlight and accentuate the changes. She also designed the stage decorations for the recent Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island Gala at the Westin Hotel.

“I know that what I do elicits emotions,” Ramirez said. “My designs can not only make somebody’s day, but their whole event. My goal is to make people happy and heighten the excitement of the occasion.”

The Ivonel Art booking process begins on the website by filling out an inquiry form. Once Ramirez receives the inquiry, she will call the client to interview them regarding the occasion, the size of the space, preferred colors, etc. Within a few minutes, she’ll send a proposal where clients can select all the options they desire, with pricing. A deposit is required upfront, followed by the remainder a week prior to the event. On event day, Ramirez will arrive with most of the work already assembled and ready to be installed. The process is seamless.

Ramirez and her family attend Hilton Head Island Community Church where, during a recent Bible study session, the question was, “Are you living your purpose?”

“My answer was, ‘God gave me the gift of instilling and evoking joy!’” Ramirez said. “I love making people happy, and I love being a part of this community. My family is blessed, my life is full of creativity, and God is good!”

To “blow up” your next event, visit IvonelBalloonArt. com. To experience Ramirez’ work, follow her on Instagram @ivonelart. 

Anthony Antonucci, Operating Partner for MosquitoNix Hilton Head


Protecting Outdoor Lifestyles

The climate of coastal South Carolina makes Hilton Head and surrounding areas a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, especially during spring and summer months when we all want to be outside. Mosquito season in the Lowcountry runs from March through October. The warmer it gets, the more mosquitoes we see. While we will see activity in March and April, mosquitoes are out full force in June and then hang around all summer long.

Like us, mosquitoes consider Hilton Head Island paradise with our warm temperatures and humidity. Because sunny days will quickly dehydrate mosquitoes, they are most prominent at dawn and dusk. Then on rainy days, they become even more active. So, what can you do? Nix your mosquito problem by calling on MosquitoNix to treat your yard.

Since 2006, MosquitoNix has been a trusted outdoor specialist. They are the first to offer a brand new, revolutionary, natural mosquito control solution to the Lowcountry.

“Our solution is non-toxic, derived from clean organic sources, and beneficial for the environment,” said Anthony Antonucci, Operating Partner MosquitoNix Hilton Head. “The solution is safe, gentle, and ecofriendly, so you can feel great using MosquitoNix around kids, pets, family and friends. This game changing mosquito control solution is used in both our misting systems and fogging treatments.”

Hilton Head residents and commercial clients alike prefer the MosquitoNix difference because their method successfully controls the lifecycles of all the worst outdoor pests, including not only mosquitoes, but also flies, ticks, no-see-ums/gnats, fleas, and spiders and does not cause disease, harm, or death to mammals, fish, livestock, birds, frogs, bees or poultry when used as directed.

“Our permanent insect misting systems are more unique than others,” said Antonucci. “We pioneered this method, and we are the industry specialists.”

Once you opt for the MosquitoNix method, a service technician will install a 55-gallon drum in your service yard or under your house to hold the solution. They bury tubing under the ground or run it flush on the eaves of your home, so you’ll barely even know it’s there. Nozzles are attached to the tubing every 10 feet around the perimeter of your backyard. Natural elements, like trees, can be used as risers to position the nozzles wherever they provide the best coverage in the least obtrusive way. The system will be set to spray three times a day for 45 seconds each time.

Natural elements, like trees, can be used as risers to position the nozzles wherever they provide the best coverage in the least obtrusive way.

“From there it’s kind of out of sight, out of mind,” said Antonucci, “The system is set on an automatic timer. Just set it and forget it. It also comes with an app that allows you to mist your yard from your phone anytime you want. For example, if there’s an infestation going on at sunset, then you have the option to spray your yard with a touch of your phone and immediately control the problem.”

MosquitoNix also offers a temporary solution called “Quick Nix,” which is a backpack fogging treatment. It’s perfect for parties or if you aren’t looking for a full-on permanent system.

“QuickNix is a three-step process, where before your event, the technician will come out and lay granules down,” explained Antonucci. “These work as a repellent. Then we spray with a backpack mister. This treatment will typically last about three weeks and is guaranteed for 72 hours. If there’s

Anthony checks the misting nozzle at a home in Wexford.

Mosquito Nix allows you to enjoy your outdoor spaces bite and bug free.

heavy down pour down or torrential rain, it won’t last as long. It’s not a permanent solution, but for a temporary fix, the QuickNix gets rid of any kind of unwanted pests.”

MosquitoNix also offers a portable option, which is an EPA-approved solution. It looks kind of like a Coleman lantern, and it works with an aerosol can, spraying mist for four seconds. It’s great for nixing pests when you are outand-about in the mornings on the boat or in the evenings for sunset on the beach.

If you’re looking for superior residential and commercial pest control with unsurpassed customer service, MosquitoNix service PestNix is the best choice. MosquitoNix provides fullservice pest control with expert service technicians that are licensed through the Department of Agriculture, passed a rigorous background check, and undergone extensive pest control training.

With the MosquitoNix breakthrough outdoor mosquito control system, you’ll be able to effortlessly enjoy your backyard or business grounds while also protecting your loved ones or employees from dangerous, vector-borne illnesses.

To nix your mosquitos and protect your outdoor lifestyle, visit or call 843-887-1720. 

MosquitoNix is SAFE:

• Pet- and kid-friendly

• Non-Toxic

• Does not contain pyrethrin, permethrin or pyrethroids

• Derived from organic cleanly sourced beneficial bacteria

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• Non-GMO

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• More effective than a natural mosquito repellent



On Mother’s Day weekend, the 60 singers of the Sun City Chorus and Orchestra will mount the risers on stage and mark the 25th anniversary of its founding as the sounds of Broadway, the silver screen, and folk tunes ring out in Magnolia Hall.

This spring concert is one of two series the Sun City Hilton Head club performs annually. It is the result of a casual conversation in 1997 between new residents who wanted to continue the music they had enjoyed before retirement.

“We were at a meeting of the Town Square Upbeats social club with Phylis and Frank Giglinto listening to a local Sweet Adelines (harmony group),” said Judy Barry. “We were both still living part-time up north. She’d been singing with the Sweet Adelines in New Jersey, and I had sung with the Delaware Choral Society in Dover. I knew I was going to miss singing.”

Barry went to Carol Moran, who was the community’s activities director, to ask about starting a choral group, and learned that Dave Wilson, another Sun City resident, had also approached Moran to start a men’s singing group.

Barry, Wilson, and Giglinto, who would become the co-founders, met with Jim Lau and Joan DeLude, who were also interested in creating a choral group. Wilson lived next door to DeLude and persuaded her to become the first treasurer while her husband, Joe, handled membership.

The organizers needed 25 people to sign up in order for the club to get off the ground. At the first meeting in January 1998, more than 50 people attended, which meant the group now needed a director. One of the new members was Tom Blackburn, who directed a gospel choir in Savannah. Although his style of directing did not fit the group, he found that his next-door neighbor, Marcia Garner, was a former music teacher interested in directing. The group was now ready for rehearsals.

By the fall of 1998, the original 60 members of the new musical club were ready to perform, and stepped out from behind a set of black drapes in a corner of Pinckney Hall. There was nothing fancy

When audiences fill the 500-plus-seat venue this month, they’ll hear music from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Carole King, ABBA, and more.

about the staging. The bleachers on which they were standing had lined the adjacent ballfield just a few days earlier.

Nor was the music complicated. The singers were accompanied on an electric keyboard, and at times the music was shared between three pianists. In 1999, the chorus held a fundraiser organized by Lynn Bland and her husband, Jim, and – with the assistance of the Community Association – raised $11,000 to purchase a Kawai grand piano.

In 2001, both Garner and Sue Ellen Koenig, the third pianist, wanted a sabbatical, and the club began hunting for a new director.

The subsequent introduction and hiring in 2001 of Art Hansen as musical director marked a new direction for the performing arts group. His wife, Lorraine, an accomplished pianist, became the assistant musical director.

Judy Barry, the last original member of the Sun City Chorus still performing, with Art Hansen, musical director of the group.




By the time the chorus performed the 2002 holiday concerts, Hansen had auditioned musicians and formed a band composed of more residents. Many have since aged out of performing, and only one of the current musicians is a resident. The rest of the full orchestra includes instrumentalists hailing from Savannah to Columbia.

In 2014, a second joint fundraising effort between the chorus and the Community Association resulted in the purchase of another Kawai grand piano, which is in use today for all musical performances, including those produced by the Sun City Theatre.

Not only has Hansen expanded the sound of the club, but he has enhanced the group’s look, coordinating with a costume committee for outfits that suit the music, season, and performers.

It’s a far step from what Barry experienced in the early days.

“Before we got long, black dresses we had red, white and blue-striped vests. When we had more singers than vests, we passed them to the Sun City Singers, a new group that performed around the community,” Barry said. “We had an ugly black skirt that we wore with the white blouse. We had some gold lame, so we made bows and tied them at the neck of our shirts.”

The bleachers have long been replaced, first with a set that was shared with The Sun Tones – a women’s a cappella barbershop chorus. More recently – thanks to a generous donation – professional choral risers that can hold both singers and chairs added the finishing touch to the club’s appearance and comfort.

Hansen gives credit to the choral singers for helping make the group popular.

“It’s the energy of the membership validating the novelty of the music, and the participation of the audience,” the director said. “I think it all comes together to give us a great, great result, and keeps the chorus growing every year.”

When audiences fill the 500-plus-seat venue this month, they’ll hear music from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Carole King, ABBA, and more. The holiday concerts, which are the first weekend in December, kick off the season with traditional carols and popular tunes – and tickets are hard to come by as concertgoers launch the festive season. Each concert continues the tradition begun 25 years ago.

Barry said the chorus has flourished because of the director and accompanist, the executive board, as well as those dedicated members who work on the various committees.

It’s a tradition that Barry – the last original member still performing – treasures with each season. “It’s my passion. As long as I can do this, I will be here,” she said. “I just love it, and it’s been a rewarding thing for me. I get to know a lot of great people.” 


Anthony Bynum, a student at Hilton Head High School, is currently president of the National Beta Club, vice president of the National Honor Society, and vice president of Mu Alpha Theta.

Talking the Talk,Walking the Walk

Few teens have more on their minds than what’s trending on social media and how to garner more attention on their online personas. So, when you run into a young person who is walking the talk in their daily lives and impacting the lives of those around them in a positive, uplifting way, you take notice.

Anthony Bynum is that young man.

“I try to go above and beyond in everything that I do, whether it’s my academics or my extracurriculars,” said Bynum, a senior at Hilton Head Island High School (HHIHS). “Though, I feel like I’m a normal kid. I do normal things that other kids do, like play basketball and football. I have a job. But when it comes to volunteering and making a difference, I am very passionate.”

At HHIHS, Bynum is currently president of the National Beta Club, vice president of the National Honor Society, and vice president of Mu Alpha Theta. He is also accomplishing great things across a variety of forums. Recently, he was honored at the Beaufort County School District’s third annual African American History Education Conference for his work organizing and implementing a tutoring program for students at Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts and Hilton Head Island Elementary.

Bynum’s idea for the tutorial program was sparked during advisory meetings student leaders had with administrators.

“Dr. (Frank) Rodriguez, our district superintendent, had a meeting with select students on what changes we would like to see in our schools,” Bynum said. “Over the next few days, I gave it a lot of thought.”

The next time Bynum saw Dr. Rodriguez was at Chic-Fil-A, where Bynum works. He asked Dr. Rodriguez if he could meet with him to share an idea he had been pondering.

“I was struck by the lack of diversity in rigorous classes at the high school,” Bynum said. “When I met again with the superintendent, he explained that as early as elementary school,

students are set on a track that becomes a trajectory for their education. For me, for example, I was set on a gifted and talented track, so that was great. But for some kids on lower tracks, an upward trajectory becomes less and less likely the older they get.”

Bynum began to understand how important it is to intervene in those early grades and help struggling students to experience success. His idea was to allow high school students to tutor the elementary students in math and reading a couple of mornings a week. Dr. Rodriguez approved

the idea, so Bynum’s next stop was to share his plan with his high school principal.

“Anthony came to see me about an idea he had,” said Steve Schidrich, principal of HHIHS.

“Anthony has taken honors, AP, and IB classes throughout his scholastic career. He saw that there were not many minorities in these classes, so he wanted to do something about it. He

Anthony tutors younger kids before the school bell rings.

Friday, June 7.

pitched his idea, we saw it was a good one, and we gave him approval to commence.”

Bynum began recruiting other high school kids to join him at 7:30 a.m. two mornings a week at the elementary schools to help kids with reading and math, with the goal of helping them not only get better test scores, but also to move them into higher programs, such as gifted and talented or accelerated classes.

“Since it is elementary level reading and math, as long as you are patient, positive, and kind, you can help these kids,” Bynum said. “It is so effective for the younger kids to have a role model from the high school. … They can see that you’ve done it and you’ve been through it. They can relate to you.”

Last year, Bynum’s tutoring circle consisted of about 10 high schoolers per elementary school. This year, his volunteer group is up to about 15 to 20 per school, which means more elementary students will benefit. Results are the proof: Last year’s test results showed an 80% increase in reading and an 80% increase in math proficiency, while 100% of the students improved in either one or both subjects.

“I’m super proud of those numbers,” Bynum said. “Now, their chances to enroll in classes that will open up new opportunities for them is much higher due to their interactions with us and the improvement they’ve experienced. The principal said that even if the kids remained stagnant, it could have been worse if we weren’t there helping to tutor them. They could have actually declined instead. So, we’ve had some sort of impact on them regardless.”

“Anthony does an amazing job working with our students and leading others to do the same,” said Nikki Duba Lucas, principal at Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts. “He is such a positive role model. We’re proud to have him as part of our school community.”

“Anthony and his tutors are doing amazing things with students at the elementary schools impacting their reading

Anthony participates in Pockets Full of Sunshine’s “Fun in the Sun” event, which happens this year on

and math skills,” Schidrich said. “I am sure we will see these students come to us at HHIHS ready for advanced classes.”

Bynum’s impact can also be felt outside the school community at Pockets Full of Sunshine (PFS), where he is a volunteer for the group’s “Rays,” as their members are known. Since middle school, Bynum has been serving as a buddy at PFS.

“I love talking to the Rays because they have such unique experiences and amazing things to say,” Bynum said. “They are also some of the most positive, nicest, and

kindest people I’ve ever met. Once they even showed up to one of my football games with posters to support me.”

Laurin Rivers, part of the Leadership Team at PFS, affirms that Bynum is an incredible young man who truly encompasses every quality a young volunteer should possess.

“Anthony is reliable, he brings his brother and friends to volunteer alongside him, he shows up at a huge variety of our events, and he is always willing to help across a variety of situations, such as markets, Sunday crafting sessions, Night to Shine (which is a prom-like event for special teens and

Anthony Bynum with the Pockets Full of Sunshine crew

Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk

adults),” Rivers said. “He even hopped right in the water at our Fun in the Sun for Everyone Beach event. Anthony truly enjoys his time with the Rays, and he treats them all with dignity and respect. We love all our volunteers of every age, but to have a young, popular athlete choose to spend time with our population who are often overlooked is truly special.”

Bynum is bold about crediting his faith in God with the successes and opportunities he has experienced. He is a leader in both his youth group at Christian Renewal Church and in the local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

“My faith is the most important thing to me and plays a major role in everything I do,” Bynum said. “If the culture I’m in doesn’t align with my faith, I will remove myself from that situation. Having discernment on whether something, someone, or somewhere provides a good place for my faith to prosper is critical to my success.”

In March, Anthony added another accolade to his list of accomplishments. He spoke and shared his faith at the FCA Annual Dinner.

“Some of the most excellent students are part of our volunteer FCA student leadership team,” said Lisa Richardson, FCA area staff representative. “The typical student leader is not typical at all, in that they desire to stand out from the crowd versus blending in when it comes to upholding standards of Biblical moral living and virtue. We’ve witnessed Anthony grow from a quiet young man to one who is bold and outspoken about his Christian faith. Most importantly, he lives it by his example. Anthony has never said no to an opportunity to serve others and does so with integrity, class, and consistency.”

Where does Bynum’s motivation come from?

“From within me,” he said. “I’m a hard-working person, my mom is a hard-working person, and my grandma is a hard-working person.”

Anthony’s mom, Feven Bynum, confirms that her son is an intrinsically motivated over-achiever.

“We don’t ever give up,” his mother said. “We give all we’ve got. My children understand there are no excuses at life. If you want it, you work for it. Anthony takes initiative and doesn’t let anything stop him. He also has a very compassionate heart for serving others.”

Bynum’s future includes studying aerospace engineering in college, then a Ph.D., before landing a job with NASA, working to make planes and rockets more sustainable. He also hopes that more high schoolers will participate in the tutoring programs for elementary schools.

“Malachi, my younger brother, will be a senior next year,” Bynum said. “He is going to pick up the torch and keep the program going once I graduate. Our superintendent is also planning to involve more schools in the district. I hope that more and more high schoolers will see the impact they can have on the future by participating as a tutor.”

Bynum’s shoes are some big ones to fill, and what a wonderful legacy he’s leaving behind – showing those who follow him how to not just talk the talk, but how to walk the walk. 



Ummmm Courtney???

I guess we know where Courtney“stands” on sandals and shoes


Sandals are shoes 100%...I said what I said

Legend goes that I was very particular about my clothes when I was little. I wouldn’t leave the house if the hem of my long-sleeved top didn’t touch my wrist bone. I would throw a tantrum if I didn’t like the pants I was wearing. Such a tantrum that one day, after my mother dropped me off at pre-school, I peed in my pants, just so she would have to bring me a change of clothes.

Fast forward to middle school and things didn’t get much better. Mean girls – especially Jersey girls – thrive in middle school. Bullying was at an all-time high and who you hung out with and what you looked like mattered.

Gosh, I hated middle school. To alleviate my anxiety around being cool and dressing cool, I maintained a written log of what I wore each day to ensure that I would not repeat an outfit within a two-week span. “Tuesday, February 11, 1986: Gray pants, pink button-down shirt, gray belt, pink and blue socks, brown Bass slip-ons with laces tied in fancy knots.”

(Oh yes, I am a therapist’s dream.)

These days, my wardrobe is a little simpler and I care a hell of a lot less about what people think. That said, I still try to reflect a certain business casual style because I do go to an office every day and spend my hours in meetings where I attempt to look and sound like I know what I am doing.

Before I go any further, please allow me to apologize for this ridiculous topic. It doesn’t elude me that people are struggling to make ends meet in Bluffton, that aid workers are dying in Gaza, and Russia and Ukraine are at war. Alas, here we are – debating the ever-titillating topic of whether or not sandals are shoes.

Um, yes, Barry. Sandals are indeed a part of the larger parent category, if you will, of what you put on your feet. We call these shoes. Sandals are a sub-set of shoes.

Running down to the mailbox? Let me put my shoes on.

Going to walk the dog? Let me put my shoes on.

Time to leave for school? Put your shoes on, kids!

Packing for a trip? Don’t forget shoes.

If you step into any major department store, sandals will be found within the shoe department. And the shoe department will be labeled as such. Shoes: second floor. In fact, did you know that Nordstrom was first a shoe store –carrying only shoes? Imagine that. And within that original Nordstrom shoe store you would find sandals.

Macy’s (which opened in Herald Square, New York City, 128 years before I kept a “what I am wearing to school” journal) is described as “the Great American Department Store – an iconic retailing brand over 740 stores operating coast-to-coast and online. Macy’s offers a first-class selection of top fashion brands including Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Clinique, Estée Lauder & Levi’s. In addition to shoes and clothing, Macy’s has a wide variety of housewares, gifts, and furniture in select stores.”

Um, yes, Barry. Sandals are indeed a part of the larger parent category, if you will, of what you put on your feet. We call these shoes. Sandals are a sub-set of shoes.

Does Macy’s century-old marketing call out sandals? Of course not, because sandals fall within the shoe department.

Likewise, if you prefer to shop online, every major retailer has a shoe category, within which sandals will be found. For example, if browsing JCrew. com (where I invest a significant amount of time and dollars), you would find shoes listed as the primary category, with the following sub-categories below: sandals, heels, loafers, ballets, sneakers. Even Amazon, the retail behemoth, agrees.

Barry, I don’t see how you win this one. One just cannot argue with J Crew, Macy’s, or Nordstrom – the mother ships of fashion. Leave this one to the experts. 




The noblest part of any debate is how it helps drive the marketplace of ideas. Courtney and I aren’t just disagreeing on things, we’re helping everyone make more informed decisions on the issues facing us as a society. She presents her side, I present a better side, and everyone is then free to make up their own minds as to which side most closely represents “the truth.”

This month, all that moral relativism goes out the window. Because my position on this is one that I am not willing to concede as mere opinion. It is an empirical truth, and anyone who tells you otherwise is sorely misguided.

This debate started, as they usually do, with beer. I was enjoying a few at Lot 9 with my friend Robert when he made the bold declaration that he was wearing shoes, when in fact he was wearing sandals. Seeing as Robert is a professional attorney, and I am a professional pedant, and beer was involved, this immediately became one of the fiercest debates on the planet.

In that moment, no point I’ve ever made was more important than proving that sandals aren’t shoes.

You see, my friends, it’s a question of classification. Sandals are not shoes. Sandals are a type of footwear. So are shoes. So are boots, slippers and Crocs. To say otherwise is madness. If sandals are shoes, then so are boots, slippers and Crocs. Extending that logic, if I were to wrap my feet up in duct tape, at some point that strip of duct tape would, by definition, become a shoe.

I felt I made my point very clearly, despite Robert’s determination to believe otherwise (which I was expecting. Robert didn’t become a lawyer to be professionally obstinate. He became a lawyer because it’s the easiest way to make a living by being naturally obstinate).

If a sandal is a shoe, then why wouldn’t we just call them “convertible shoes?” Or call cowboy boots “shoes for people who watch Yellowstone,” slippers “unemployment shoes”? and Crocs “ugly rubber shoes”?

So, imagine my shock when I posed the same question to Courtney and she foolishly repeated Robert’s assertion that sandals are shoes. And then I put it on Facebook as a poll and, wouldn’t you know it, turns out everyone on Facebook is equally misguided (which, I believe, is Facebook’s slogan: “We’re all equally misguided here, so come on in and join the shouting match.”).

Do that many people out there not see how silly they’re being? Tap shoes are called that because they’re a type of shoe that makes a tapping noise. Ballet shoes are called that because you wear them while you’re ballet dancing. Tennis shoes are called that because every once in a while someone actually plays tennis in them. Because these are types of shoes.

If a sandal is a shoe, then why wouldn’t we just call them “convertible shoes?” Or call cowboy boots “shoes for people who watch Yellowstone,” slippers “unemployment shoes”? and Crocs “ugly rubber shoes”?

We don’t call them that because none of these things are shoes. They are all different expressions of the sartorial artform that is footwear. Is it a stupid, pedantic hill to die on? Yes, it is. But I’ll die on it wearing my sandals, my toes basking in the soft sunlight of me being the only person on earth who is right about this. 



All Hilton Head Island residents have opportunities to participate in shaping our town’s policies and plans. While our dedicated town council represents the community through elections, we also rely on the expertise and commitment of citizens and stakeholders on various boards and committees.

Serving on a town board or committee is a meaningful way to contribute your time and skills to public service within our community while gaining valuable insights into the intricacies of town governance. Many successful town projects, such as our comprehensive plan, parks and recreational activities, affordable housing initiatives, and distribution of accommodations taxes, have greatly benefited from the input of our residents. Your involvement and dedication help us develop effective policies and decisions that enhance the quality of life for all residents.

Before assuming my role as mayor, I served on several town boards and committees. This experience gave me invaluable knowledge and insight into local issues, enabling me to contribute to important decision-making processes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers currently serving on our boards and committees. It is time-consuming, but we truly appreciate the input we receive.

Periodically, we announce opportunities for volunteers to join these boards and committees, mainly when there are vacancies to fill. I encourage residents to explore these opportunities and consider applying when positions become available.

In addition to our three standing town council committees, we have several other boards and committees that rely on the dedication of volunteers, including: Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee: Evaluates applications from community organizations seeking tourism grant funds.

Board of Zoning Appeals: Reviews land use issues and proposed variances.

Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals: Hears appeals related to building regulations.

Design Review Board: Assesses the aesthetics of new and existing developments to preserve island character.




t’s always better if someone else tells your story. When that happens, you know you have made an impact on others. The Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce recently selected the Don Ryan Center for Innovation (DRCI) as the Chamber’s Member of the Year award.

This was a great honor. About 12 years ago, the Town of Bluffton had an idea and took a risk and established the Don Ryan Center as a business incubator and support system to diversify Bluffton’s and the region’s economy. At that time, town leaders didn’t have a clue about how a public-funded incubator would be received.

We just knew the 2007-2008 recession was a wake-up call. Bluffton no longer had the luxury of piggybacking on the region’s economy. The leaders at the time wanted to steer the discussions about how to attract and retain non-manufacturing companies to the town’s economic portfolio. Some people scoffed at the idea. Some people joined our cause. If the Chamber’s award is any indicator, this risk was well worth it. Town leaders know what it’s like to have an idea and not know if it will succeed or not.

DRCI is the town’s economic development department. The center is named in honor of Don Ryan, who was the first person to relocate their company headquarters to Bluffton. Ryan was the owner of CareCorp National LLC, a medical benefits management company.

DRCI has a lofty mission of supporting small business community, fostering innovation, and creating jobs while also being the foot soldiers in helping individual

A Note from Hilton Head Island Mayor, Alan Perry A Note from Bluffton Mayor, Larry Toomer
Photography by M.Kat

A Note from Alan Perry continued

Gullah-Geechee Land and Cultural Preservation Task Force: Identifies and addresses issues to help preserve Gullah-Geechee culture.

Housing Action Committee: Addresses the town’s workforce housing needs and makes recommendations for implementing housing plans.

Northpoint Public-Private Partnership Housing Advisory Committee: Recommends development partners to help the Town build a sustainable neighborhood on its Northpoint tract.

Parks and Recreation Commission: Provides recommendations for enhancing the town’s parks and recreation system.

Planning Commission: Prepares and updates the Comprehensive Plan and reviews proposals for public projects and zoning changes.

William Hilton Parkway Corridor Independent Review Advisory Committee: Provides a comprehensive review of the William Hilton Parkway Gateway Corridor Project on behalf of the town.

Gullah Geechee Historic Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation: Preserves culture and fosters progress in historically rich neighborhoods.

Additionally, the Town Council nominates volunteers to serve on county-wide boards overseeing independent agencies such as the Beaufort County Airports Board, Beaufort County Solid Waste and Recycling Board, Beaufort Housing Authority Board, Beaufort Jasper Housing Trust, and Beaufort-Jasper Water Sewer Authority.

To be considered for any of these boards and commissions, interested individuals should complete the online application available at To qualify for committee service, applicants must be registered voters within the Town of Hilton Head Island. 


businesses with the minutia of how to get a company to the next level of growth.

The Chamber judges chose DRCI for member of the year honors for being “a community innovator and advocate for business since its inception.” Located in Buckwalter Place, the center has provided support to more than 80 small businesses through its two programs geared for startup companies and another program for companies in growth stages. DRCI also has a Heroes program, providing startup business services to retired military and first responders who are starting a company.

In the fall, DRCI will introduce a Trade-Up program, for people skilled in trades who want to start their own business.

DRCI is also the lead in helping business owners with the recently adopted Town of Bluffton Economic Development Incentive Program to attract professional service companies, such as doctors, dentists, childcare providers and so forth, to locate or relocate west of Buckwalter Parkway.

This area is the fastest growing area of Bluffton; however, most professional services are located east of Buckwalter Parkway. This incentive program is geared to attract more businesses to service the influx of new residents.

A dentist from Michigan was the first grantee of this program and Dr. Jeffrey Solomon broke ground on his new $10,800,000 facility at the end of March. The town is seeking other applicants to this program, which can assist with permitting and other fees.

Lastly, DRCI provides educational opportunities, such as a new program to explore “Artificial Intelligence for Business.” For more information about that program or any of the DRCI’s services, visit or contact them directly.

The town is proud of the success of the DRCI and each business it has assisted, since we know personally what it is like to take a risk on an idea. 

Note from Larry Toomer continued

New book documeNts charlestoN food sceNe

It was a day I will never forget. It started the same as any other. I sat in my home office banging away at a keyboard, prepared to write about whatever eats I had enjoyed that previous week. I wish I could say something poetically dramatic like “the sound of the ringing phone snapped me clear out of a razor-sharp focus,” but that wouldn’t be true. These days, most good news comes in silence, via email. In this case, it was in the form of a question.

I’m paraphrasing, but the question essentially asked if I’d be interested in writing a book documenting Charleston’s food scene.

My reaction was the equivalent of the proverbial long pause on the other end of a phone call, because time froze. I stared. I smiled. My eyes became the size of silver dollars. Then I got scared.

If I’m being completely honest, my initial reaction was “no way.” I mean, I had just written a book on Savannah’s food scene, sure, but I know Savannah like the back of my hand. This summer will be my 20th in Savannah. When I tell people I wrote that book in nine days, they are shocked. In the big picture, my biggest challenge in writing Savannah Food Crawls came in sorting out 20 years’ worth of knowledge and information. Easy peasy, lemon squeezie.

Charleston though? One of the greatest food towns in America? A place that, yes, I had visited more than a

dozen times, but didn’t know nearly as well as Savannah?

My initial gut reaction? No way. Too intimidating. Too much to learn about. Too much to try to document without leaving out something important, accidentally or otherwise. I called my wife.

“Well, you have to do it, whether you want to or not,” she said. “If you truly want to grow your brand and your following beyond Savannah, as you have always talked about, then this is something you simply have to do.”

She was right.

Most people don’t know this, but it has always been our vision to make Eat It and Like It a regional brand. There were two initial reasons for that. No. 1: When we started, Savannah didn’t have nearly the food scene it does today. No. 2: I love to travel. Wanderlust and the good food that comes with it was always going to be fair game to discuss.

I enthusiastically accepted the assignment and began making plans to dive right in.

I spent four long weekends in Charleston a couple of winters ago. Some by myself, others not. All we did was eat and drink for hours upon hours upon hours on end. Tough gig, right? I shared that story with a group last year and there was an audible groan in the room. Amusing, for sure. But don’t get it twisted. That was work.

How else do you describe needing to have two lunches in a day, then trying some ice cream you’ve never had, followed by a donut you’ve been told is the best in the city? In Savannah, I could easily come back tomorrow. The commute to Charleston didn’t afford me that luxury.

I walked the streets of Charleston alone more than once, canvassing every neighborhood. I almost literally went door to door, kicking tires and kissing babies. Also, more than once, I sat across 3 feet of wood chatting with half a dozen bartenders, asking them a series of questions about their eating habits and the spots that don’t get the headlines. Once the answers begin to resemble each other, then you know you are zeroing in on those hidden gems.

The result of all that research is my second book, Charleston Food Crawls. Much like Savannah Food Crawls, it is a collection of a dozen or so “walkabouts” through the Holy City. It features some of Charleston’s best lunch spots and casual eats. Some of the places mentioned are open at night, but this would best be described as a daytime book.

Why? If you know the food scene in Charleston, you know there’s an amazing “finer dining” restaurant at nearly every turn. The majority of those spots are not open for lunch. Their service begins at 5 p.m. Charleston’s best food is dinner only and a topic for another discussion. Charleston Food Crawls –like the Savannah book – isn’t about fine dining. The publisher prohibited it. These books are collections of the best casual eats to be found as you make your way through one of the most historic cities in America – which I did.

Ultimately, writing this book was a huge treat. As a journalist, I’ve always been naturally curious. So, making my way through a town as deliciously picturesque as Charleston (and being compensated to do so) is the kind of thing we dreamt about once upon a moon when we created Eat It and Like It. If you enjoy making the short trip to Charleston a few times a year, then Charleston Food Crawls is something you should most certainly have in your collection.

I can assure you, you will Eat It and Like It.

You can find them at Signed copies are available at

Happy eating. 

Article by Jesse Blanco . Photography by M.Kat

A Series of Fortunate Events, interesting news and a hodge-podge of other items. You know…this and that! If you would like to submit something for this special section, please email If we have room and it’s appropriate for public consumption, we’ll be happy to oblige.

Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers, his first play to win the Pulitzer Prize, will be staged weekends May 3-19 by Sea Glass Stage Company at Coligny Theatre, featuring a cast of local amateur performers.

Yonkers is the second production by Sea Glass Stage, which took over the lease at the historic Coligny Theatre January 1.

The production is directed by Ron Ruckle, who previously directed The Odd Couple for Main Stage Community Theatre. The “Yonkers” cast includes students Luke Strebe and Natalie Miller as brothers Jay and Arty, respectively; Mark Erickson as Eddie, the widowed father of the boys; Diane Carter as Bella, the boys’ odd but lovable aunt; Lynne Hummell as their stern Grandma Kurnitz; Chris Hoffer as the affable uncle Louie; and Ana Soulios as Gert, another aunt, who has a breathing problem.

The Hilton Head Choral Society’s annual America Sings! concert will take place Sunday, May 26, at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway.

Known as one of the signature events in our community celebrating the true meaning of Memorial Day, the concert will be a powerful salute through song that honors the men and women who have fought for our freedom. The Category V Brass will accompany the Choral Society for this patriotic evening and will welcome special guest speaker Col. Oren D. Leff, USAF.

The casual, family-friendly concert has become a Lowcountry tradition bringing together locals and visitors dressed in red, white, and blue to honor our heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Tickets are available at For more information or for assistance placing a ticket order, call 843-341-3818, or email

Lost in Yonkers premiered on Broadway in February 1991, where it ran for 780 performances. The play won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, four Tony Awards, and four Drama Desk awards.

The play, set in 1942, tells the story of two teen brothers, Jay and Arty Kurnitz, who must move to Yonkers and live with their difficult, no-nonsense Grandma, whom they don’t really know, while their father, Eddie, goes off to work out of state to pay off a large debt. Also living in the apartment above the family’s candy store is their Aunt Bella, who is a bit slow mentally but loves the boys and is eager to please. Uncle Louie, a henchman for the mob, shows up, as does Aunt Gert, who has an unusual speech issue.

The boys are the first to hear of Aunt Bella’s plan to get out of Grandma’s house, then learn about “moxie” from Uncle Louie, and are led to believe that Grandma has a lot of cash hidden somewhere in the house.

Billed as a comedy, the play also speaks to serious themes of loss, survival, and, ultimately, acceptance and love.

The local production runs on weekends May 3-19, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $35 and are available at

Sea Glass Stage Company is a nonprofit organization formed in 2023. Learn more about its productions and programs, including youth summer camps in June, at

C2 Magazine • May 2024 Edition
Cast members of Lost in Yonkers, presented by Sea Glass Stage Company at Coligny Theatre.

The annual Fun in the Sun for Everyone, a beach event for people with special needs, their families, and friends, is scheduled for Friday, June 7, from 9 a.m. to noon in front of the Marriott Surf Watch Resort.

This event gives all community members, no matter their age or ability, the opportunity to enjoy the beach in a safe and inclusive setting. Activities will include paddle boarding, boogie boarding, surfing, sandcastle building, music, relaxation and more.

Lifeguards and volunteers will be included in the event to ensure a safe environment for all. Adult or caregiver supervision is required for all attendees. Shuttles from the parking lot to the beach will be provided. Beach access is wheelchair friendly.

Fun in the Sun was built from the 2015 Special Needs Surf Day, started by local high school surfer, James Bartholomew, who wanted to provide a fun day of surfing for his sister and her classmates with special needs. Registration is encouraged so participants can request a T-shirt size and sign the event waiver. Volunteers should also register in advance on the website. Visit pocketsfullofsun. org for more information and to register online.

The fourth annual Hilton Head Chamber Music Institute , an educational program of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, will be held June 12-22 at SoundWaves and other venues on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton.

The Institute is led by artistic directors Carolyn Huebl and Felix Wang from Vanderbilt University and staffed by Shannon Thomas from Florida State University and Caroline Coade from University of Michigan and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Sixteen high school string musicians from 11 states, selected by an audition process, will participate.

Free Community Concerts will be announced later. For more information, contact Judy Gimbel at Judy. or 843-363-2718.

The Sea Pines Resort has unveiled the Starboard Shop in the Harbour Town Shops. A nautical-themed interior sets the stage for an immersive shopping experience, alongside views of the marina and Calibogue Sound.

The new retail shop, which is owned and operated by the Resort, features a broad selection of apparel for men, women, and children, sporting both lighthouse and resort logos. Other merchandise includes footwear, jewelry, sunglasses, hats, and home décor. The Starboard Shop carries both national and regional name brands including Peter Millar, Southern Tide, Cabana Life, Fire and Pine, and many others.

Upon entering, guests feel like they’ve boarded a well-appointed yacht. The shop’s interior design is rooted in the rich history of seafaring traditions, with a meticulously crafted nautical-themed interior. Floors are reminiscent of the teak and holly deck of a sailboat, and wall fixtures mimic a ship’s hull planking, complementing the wooden shelving trimmed in brass inlay.

The Starboard Shop, at 149-C Lighthouse Road, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call (843) 842-1900 or visit

> Shannon Thomas > Felix Wang > Caroline Coade > Carolyn Huebl

Lynzee Perdaris has joined Hilton Head Insurance & Brokerage as a full-time, licensed insurance agent. She will split her time between the new Bluffton office at 14 Westbury Park Way and on Hilton Head Island at the Village of Wexford office.

Perdaris has been in the insurance industry for one year. Her background is in processing components and equipment for both pharmaceutical and food and beverage industry manufacturing.

Perdaris served on the board of directors for Richland County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children) for seven years. For 22 years, she has served as a volunteer guardian ad litem, investigating child abuse and neglect cases.

For more, visit

PGA Tour sensation and University of Alabama sophomore Nick Dunlap has been named an Honorary Member at Haig Point, a private residential community on Daufuskie Island.

Dunlap, a native of Northport, Alabama, has garnered widespread acclaim in the golfing world for his remarkable achievements. Notably, he clinched the U.S. Junior Amateur title in 2021, followed by a victory at the U.S. Amateur in 2023. Dunlap etched his name in golfing history by securing victory at The American Express in 2024, making him the first amateur in 33 years to claim victory in a PGA Tour tournament.

Subsequently transitioning to the professional circuit, Dunlap concluded his illustrious amateur career as the top-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

For more, visit

C2 Magazine • May 2024 Edition

Dr. Christine Powell, education therapist, has joined Therapy Group in Moss Creek.

With a focus on ADHD and executive dysfunction, Dr. Powell brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Lowcountry, specializing in treating individuals with unique learning profiles. Holding a doctorate in education, a master’s in special education with endorsements in gifted and talented education and behavioral disorders, as well as a bachelor’s in sports medicine, she is well-equipped to address diverse needs.

Dr. Powell’s achievements include being a published education researcher, a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Scholar, and an esteemed presenter at educational conferences. She is currently welcoming new clients by appointment. For more information, visit

Pyramids, a specialized boutique on Hilton Head Island, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Pyramids celebrated with an invitation-only cocktail party in February, where they hosted 75 of their most loyal customers, with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres from Roy’s Place, and live entertainment by Kevin Jeter of the Legendary Cleftones.

The store also recently expanded its Main Street showroom to include a stylized outdoor living space, complete with outdoor furniture, tabletop, and bar accessories.

Pyramids has two locations on Hilton Head Island: 1600 Main Street and in The Shops at Sea Pines Center. For more information, visit


MAY 2024


May 3 - 19, 2024; Sea Glass Stage at Coligny; 7:30 Fri-Sat; 2 Sun.



10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Alexanders Restaurant




3 p.m. Hilton Head Library. Sign up 843-255-6525


Opening reception, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Sea Pines Community Center, Shops of Sea Pines Center

a.m.-2 p.m.


Hilton Head Humane, 8:30 a.m. Coligny Beach.


7 p.m. First Presbyterian Church

(843) 341-3818


Happy Mother’s Day!


1-2 p.m.

Bring one, take one!

Hilton Head Library



Hilton Head Librrary

Every Other Wed.. 3:30-6:30 p.m. 843-255-6525


6 p.m.

Port Royal Plaza

RIBBON CUTTING HHI Fishing Cooperative Historic Plaques

137 Squire Pope Road


May 16 & 17 from 10am-5pm Sea Pines Center

Enjoy a complimentary gift with your Marco Bicego purchase.


9:30 a.m.; Veterans Memorial Park, Hilton Head 27



Coligny Plaza

Wednesday, Friday & Sunday


for Healthy Youth hosts “May Day 5K”

To register visit the Palmetto Running Company website:


9 a.m.-noon June 7

Special needs beach activities at Marriott Surf Watch


6 p.m. Tuesdays starting June 4

Shannon Tanner, Cappy the Clown. Fireworks at dusk

EVENTS 4 14 12 25 24 21 20 28 26 3 9 22 29 7 8 11-12 17 15 23 19 2 MUSIC & TASTE ON THE HARBOUR 6-9 p.m., thru May 16 Shelter Cove Harbour! FREE! MUSIC & TASTE ON THE HARBOUR 6-9
May 16 Shelter
Harbour! FREE! TUESDAYS 10
Makers Market The Shops at Sea Pines Center “TERPSICHORE” by Hilton Head Dance Theatre at Seahawk Cultural Center Saturday, May 11-12 7:30 p.m. Sat., 2:30 p.m. Sun., HILTON
ART FESTIVAL Shelter Cove Harbour; May 24-26 hiltonheadart
p.m., thru
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!! Sat., May 11, 2024 @ 8:00 AM-10:00 AM - Bluffton Oyster Factory Park LowCountry

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