Why Hilton Head Island?

Hilton Head Island.

The name alone just brings about a peacefulness.  Living on an island is a treat, regardless of where the island is.  But Hilton Head Island, a small barrier island off the east coast, nestled between Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC is a true gem. Twelve Miles long, and five miles wide, this beautiful wooded, beach and marshland island has been planned to remain green.  No big signs, no neon, and everything is tucked behind the woods.

Island life is appealing to all age groups, from those with young families looking for a home to fill with giggles, to the tech connected professionals looking to check their email from the golf course, or write a proposal from the beach, and including those looking to retire to a place without a cold winter, easy to travel to and from, and activities galore.

For the families, living on an island is a dream come true for children.  Sun kissed skin, and exhaustion from vitamin D overload make a mama happy when it comes bedtime.  Every sport imaginable is available for kids, soccer, football, basketball, tennis, golf, and other activities, drama, dance, you name it, we have it.  There are many homes for a family in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island.

The tech connected professionals have the support of larger cities and the networks they provide, but offer the ability to work in paradise, and step away from the screen for a quick bike ride or 9 holes.  An instant vacation can be had at the drop of a hat.  A tech connected professional may like the low maintenance of villa living on Hilton Head Island.

When it comes to retiring, those retirees who are coming from large cities will find the same level dining and shopping, with fabulous theater, and sports and activities for any interest.  We offer Sun City Hilton Head, an extremely active adult community in the low country, as well as many other options.

When people ask, Why Hilton Head Island, an easy answer is Why NOT!

A Closer Look At Hilton Head: Mid-Island

In the first part of this series on Moving to Hilton Head, we took a closer look at The North End of Hilton Head, (you can read that post here)  In Part 2 of our series we are moving a little further south to what the locals refer to as Mid-Island.

Mid Island really spans from Port Royal Plantation and the Folly Field Area down past Palmetto Dunes, and transforming into the South End around Leamington.  Now some may argue that Port Royal is North End, and Leamington is South End.  So proceed with caution, there is no hard fast line on our micro regions!

Mid Island is deemed by many the absolute best spot to live.  Being Mid-Island gives you easy access to absolutely everything Hilton Head has to offer.  Starting with Port Royal Plantation, home to a beautiful residential section with ocean front luxury as well as the world Renown Westin Resort and Spa, Port Royal Plantation also boasts one of the 9 Marriot Vacation Resorts on the Island and plays host to The Concourse de Elegance.

Just past Port Royal Plantation you will stumble upon Folly Field, this is a very charming and beachy community, home to many of the first beach cottages that were built on Hilton Head prior to the bridge being built.  There are a variety of homes in Folly Field, everything from a vintage 1960’s beach bungalow to beautiful new homes that have been built in recent years.  The draw of Folly Field is the access and proximity to the beach with the mid island location.

Tucked into Folly Field are a few things to note, there are two public beach accesses in Folly Field.  One is Folly Field Beach, and the other is Islander’s Beach.  If the beach is not be at the top of your moving to Hilton Head List, there are many other mid-island activites to keep you busy.

As you keep moving south, you are going to come to Palmetto Dunes and Shelter Cove. This is the heart of the Mid-Island Region.  Palmetto Dunes is a world renown Vacation Resort, Golf Destination as well as Residential area. What makes Palmetto Dunes stand apart from the rest of the island is an 11 mile lagoon system enjoyable by electric boat or kayak, this maze of brackish water was man made to assist in water management.  Shelter Cove is across 278 from Palmetto Dunes and plays an important role in the Summer Entertainment on Hilton Head.  Shelter Cove Marina offers great shops and restaurants among the docks, The Disney Hilton Head Resort is tucked here on the water, as is the Brand New Shelter Cove Towne Center.  The Rooftop at Poseidon is a brand new entertainment venue bringing in national touring names such as Donovan Frankenreiter and Edwin McCain, as well as many of our local entertainers.

If you weave your way south down Spanish Wells Road, you will also find yourself deep into Mid-Island Real Estate, many options here for mid-island living including the New Construction Silver Moss Community, Gold Oak, and Silver Oak, and ending at the beautiful peninsula of Spanish Wells.

With Mid-Island Living you have access to lots of shopping and dining options, as well as short, easy access to the South End, the North End, and quick off island access.

Let one of our experienced agents show you fabulous options Mid-Island in all price ranges.

Moving to Hilton Head

Coastal Parenting can take place anywhere along the miles and miles of coastline in our country, but at this Coastal Parenting Blog, we are biased to Hilton Head Island.  Moving to Hilton Head, or any other coastal town, is a dream for many.  You really can make it a realty with a little planning.  It may take years to get all your pieces in place, or you may just have to sell your home.

Port Royal Plantation-1014

One family just recently relocated to the low country because they wanted to, and they each had work from home jobs in place.  Some folks focus a job search on the area and wait until the right opportunity comes by.  Still others quit their jobs, and on a wing and a prayer make moving to Hilton Head look pretty simple.

However you get here, know that the area if full of wonderful communities, miles of beaches, golf, restaurants, shopping and more.




Top 5 Complaints of Moms

Parenting is wonderful, fulfilling, and full of glorious love filled moments.  It can also be hard, real hard.  I have compiled a list, (taken from true research, I assure you) of many a mother’s biggest complaint.

(Side Note:  Most of the mom’s I know love being a mom, truly love it, and RARELY complain.)

5.  Backtalk.  Since when is it OK for a five year old, or even a two year old, to talk to you like they own the place, hands on hips, complete and utter disrespect.

4. Exhaustion.  Being a parent is exhausting even with a full nights sleep.  Throw a leaking diaper and a bad dream into the mix and this is verging on torture.


3. WHINING.  That sound that escapes a wee one’s mouth and you are not quite sure which alien has taken hold on your child.  I must refrain from running away when the whining starts.

2.  Husband/Ex-Husband/Significant Other issues:  Men are different than women.  Some suck, some are wonderful.  (You can not change them)

And the number one complaint from Mommy’s near and far……….

1. Life Balance:  Me time?  What is that?

mommy time


Why I LOVED the Nationwide Commercial

I seem to be in the minority when I tell you that I absolutely loved that disturbing and depressing Nationwide commercial during last nights Superbowl. I enjoy football, and it was a great game, but I am one that watches the Superbowl for the commercials and  the Fab Fairy’s Buffalo Pierogies.  For anyone wondering, I am a marketing consultant, so my professional eye is glued to the commercials.  I watch with an eye for messages, comparisons, trends, and to determine if the advertisers millions were worth it.

As far as the Nationwide commercial, it seems to be getting the most facetime today. It  is blowing up my facebook feed with haters and memes.

If you have not seen the seriously depressing Nationwide commercial, check it out here on Youtube.

Did you hate it? That is OK, it is a hate worthy commercial.  A young child full of dreams dies in a senseless accident.  The goal of Nationwide with this multi-million dollar budget was not to sell insurance, although they will see an increase of calls today, but to bring awareness and spark conversation.

As a mother, I am a worst case scenario, pathologically safety crazed, keep my babies safe at all costs mother.  As a mother, I have seen, experienced, and been heartbroken by senseless accidents.  As a mother, I watched that commercial last night with the shaggy haired boy full of dreams, and my heart wanted him to be a super star.  As a mother, I gasped when the commercial turned dark.  As a mother, I wanted to hug my babies, and reassure them that my job was to keep them safe, and teach them to make safe decisions.

As a marketing professional, I want to thank Nationwide for sparking such a discussion, and for potentially saving countless children from senseless accidents.  Mission Accomplished.  On the football side of things, this meme is also hot today.

ReTweets: 20,093 (as of last count) @jaredwsmith

 My most hated commercials were the McDonald’s Commercials.  Sorry Mickey D’s but no amount of money or sappy commercials will make me return to your establishment.



An Anthem to my twenties.

During my twenties, I was a bit of a bar rat, groupie, beach bum.  I was a teacher, I was single, and I spent the summer in Avalon, NJ with some of my best friends in the entire world. We played beer pong and flip cup, we did shots of SoCo and Lime, my mother was not impressed.  We stayed up all night and slept all day.

Here we are!  Playing Beer Pong, Avalon, NJ Circa 1998.

Here we are! Playing Beer Pong, Avalon, NJ Circa 1999.

In 1998 the Band Semisonic released Closing Time, it quickly became one of the most covered songs played, and ultimately ended the last set of most cover bands.  We would sing and dance, and slowly walk back home, more in love with our friendship than with the  single guys that paid us attention.

I was completely blow away when I saw this YouTube video of Dan Wilson performing Closing Time at his 25th College Reunion.  Mind Blown!    It is a little long, but well worth it, and it is still a favorite song of mine, one I just asked my husband if he would learn to play on the guitar.  One that now has a new and completely mature, no beer pong meaning.

Check out this YouTube video. Don’t have 10 minutes, start watching at 3:30.

Did you know?


Our Fur Baby

I had never had a dog growing up, but always wanted one.  I got my first fur baby almost 10 years ago, with my then boyfriend, now husband, father, better half!  She was a black lab we rescued at 16 weeks from the Chester County SPCA, her name was Black Bean, but we changed it to Cady.   She was my first baby, until I had three humans.  Cady is the best dog in the entire world, ask anyone!  She listens, stays in the yard, and never once has eaten a baby toy.  When my oldest was little she would take things out of his hand that he should not have.  One time she took a small leaf from him he was trying to eat.  She would gently nudge his small hand with her big black snout and when he would open his tiny little fingers she would carefully take things from him with her mouth.  It was amazing.

beach with cady 012

As Cady got older she started to develop, as many labs do, benign fatty tumors.    She had one on her leg that caused us concern so we took her to the vet where we were told to keep an eye on it and if anything changed to bring her back.  A year went by and as the mass got bigger, but stayed on the upper part of her leg, we kept a close eye on her.  It did not bother her, she was still happy, jumping, playing ball, and smiling as only a lab can!

One week ago today, things changed.  At five o’clock, she was playing catch with my son and husband, and at 7 o’clock we noticed that her entire lower leg and paw were very swollen, she would not walk on her leg, and it was weeping.  The swelling was just too much for her doggy leg.  We took her to the vet on Tuesday where we were faced with the hardest decision ever.  We could amputate her leg, or we could put her down.  I was not expecting to have to make that choice, I thought they would give her steroids, diuretics , pain killers, I thought there would be a medical protocol we went through before we had to make a decisions like this.  But that was not the case, the tumor had cut off circulation to her paw, and if we did not move quickly, she would get very, very sick and would not last until Christmas.   (Certainly did not want to tell my kids their dog died days before Christmas)  As we talked about what to do, tears just streamed down my face, she wasn’t ready to go, she was still vibrant and full of life, she had kids to watch grow up, she had a lot of living left to do.

So we are now the proud parents of a brand new Tri-Pawd dog!  Yes, we chose to amputate her leg. (It runs in the family, see First Steps) In our minds, you put a dog down when they are dying, and our girl was so far from death that sending her to Rainbow Bridge was not an option.

Cady is doing great, hopping along, eating, wagging her tail, and getting lots of rest.  They say that dogs have three legs and a spare, and they are right!

snap shot cady

Click on Cady to watch her walk.  This is Cady leaving the Vet less than 24 Hours Post Op.



Today I Remember

I remember my phone ringing.  I was in my 6th grade classroom during my planning period and it was my father.   All he said was “Turn on the TV”.  I watched coverage for about 10 minutes then my students returned for Social Studies.   Our principal very quickly, almost instantly was at my door making the rounds, with direct instructions. “DO NOT TALK ABOUT THIS WITH YOUR STUDENTS”  We had students in our school whose parents worked in the World Trade Center, and in the Pentagon, and we were instructed to carry on, business as usual.  I was my cheerful, teaching self on the outside, but on the inside I was in a panic.  What the hell was going on.

Today I remember my friend who escaped.  She had to return directly to our home town and never go back.  Her apartment demolished by flying debris, windows shattered and her home full of ash, her possessions destroyed.  I remember my dad calling to let me know that our dear friends were OK.  I remember a teacher friend having to send a five year old home knowing his father was one of the American Airlines pilots.  I remember her relaying the details to me as she held back tears and put him in the car with a family friend knowing that his world was forever changed. I remember trying to imagine how my dear friend Doreen was able to go to ground zero day after day after day, for months to provide grief counseling, I remember looking out the window at the brilliant blue sky and thinking this is all surreal.  I remember more calls from my father letting me know that my Aunt was OK, I remember checking off a mental list of all the New Yorker’s I knew and being relieved that they had all survived.

It was not until the next day that I learned about that cutie pie from college, the guy who was so nice and so attractive no one would ever forget him.  It was not until the next day that I learned that he did not survive.  I remember crying, and crying, for what seemed liked days, for all of them, for everyone who was effected by this terrible day.

Today I remember it all, like it was yesterday.  Today I try to figure out when my children are old enough to learn about this horrific day.  I don’t know when they are old enough to understand the importance of the historical event, but not frighten them, when are they old enough to understand, old enough to honor and old enough to reflect?
wallpaper image

                                                 NEVER FORGET.

First Steps

Five weeks ago, my father decided to amputate his right foot.  There was no unhealing wound, bone infection or gangrenous sore, there was no one telling him it is either your foot or your life.  It was the bravest, most amazing decision, made by the bravest and most amazing man I know.  For those of you who thought this post was going to be about my baby, I apologize, but they are learning to walk together.

When my father was a young man, he had multiple injuries to his right foot and ankle, broken many times, twisted, turned, and swollen.  I constantly remember my dad with an ace bandage or ice on his ankle.  There were many times he should have gone to the hospital, but in the busy life of work, sales, travel, and two little girls, the luxury of time to heal is few and far between, so he would wrap it up, apply ice, and keep on keepin’ on. I know a lot of us can relate to that.

Over time, his skeletal structure just couldn’t take any more, and due to arthritis, multiple injuries, whatever you want to call it, his bones just started to crumble. He went to surgeons up and down the east coast seeking opinions.  He would ask, “can anyone, or anything fix my foot?”  The answer was always no, there was not enough solid bone to attach pins to even try to put back together.  The advise was always walk until you can’t walk anymore.

What my dad was good at keeping from us (most of the time) was the amount of pain he was in.  For the past 20-30 years, his foot was in constant pain, the last five being pretty serious chronic pain.  For the last year, my father could not walk.  He used a cane sometimes, but spent most of his time wheeling around on a knee walker, but walking on a severely broken foot was not an option. It was sad, he wanted to fly a kite with my kids, but getting onto the beach was out of the question.

So, it came to a point where he, along with my mother decided that the quality of life was going down hill fast, that at 65 he had lots and lots of living left to do, he chose to go the route of the bionic man.

The Bionic Foot!

The Bionic Foot!

On June 14th my father had his foot amputated, on July 26th, he took his first steps.   I was with him, as were my children and my mom.  They put the bionic foot, made out of steel and fiberglass on my dad and told him to stand up, it was the first time I had seen my dad stand up straight in over 2 years.  His eyes welled up, my eyes welled up, my mom’s eyes welled up, the orthotics guy, Jeremy, his eyes welled up.

Standing for the first time.

Standing for the first time.

The only think my dad could say was, “I don’t have any pain”…it was euphoric, and with that, he began walking, like a duck to water.



At one point he was standing at the end of the walking bars and he was pulling the toe part of his bionic foot up off the floor.  We all asked him what he was doing and he told us he was practicing, amputees drive all the time, and that man is itching to get back behind the wheel of his corvette.  So for now, for two of the most important people in my life it is just baby steps, one foot in front of the other, and soon they will be racing around the block and flying kites on the beach.


A Cottage by the Sea

I have always dreamed of living in a cottage by the sea, the charm and cozy feeling that comes with a cottage when you can smell the salt air is something that I long for, something that soothes the mind, body and soul.  When we moved to Hilton Head in 2010, we looked at cottages by the sea, but as a primary home to a family of 5 with a dog, a quaint cottage just wasn’t practical.  However, every summer I take the kids back to my old stomping grounds of Ocean City, New Jersey, and for two weeks I get to live my Cottage by the Sea dream.

My Cottage by the Sea.

My Cottage by the Sea.

My good friend Michelle is lucky enough to own a cottage in Ocean City that she rents out.  Michelle has been in our lives for many years, spending Christmas Eve sleepovers at our house, and visiting me when my baby was born, needless to say, she is special to us, and I have fallen deeply in love with her cottage. I am not sure when the cottage was built, but it is loaded with beachy charm, original built-in cabinets in the kitchen, big white woodwork, hardwood floors, an enormous front porch and a palette of soft colors that awakens the inner beach bum in anyone.

This reminds me of the original Butler's Pantry that was in the house my husband grew up in.

This reminds me of the original Butler’s Pantry that was in the house my husband grew up in.

It is not big, but it is functional.  I am here with my kids, all three of them, while my husband stayed back on Hilton Head, so for the four of us it is perfect.  For all our visitors, it has also been perfect.  One night we had three moms and nine kids sleeping here, it accommodated all of us.  Another night we had 5 kids and 6 adults, again, it accommodated us all.

I have been living the epitomy of coastal parenting the last few weeks, walking to the beach, boardwalk, arcade, mini-golf and ice cream!  Soon I will be back on my little island, some people say the beach is the beach, but each little beach community is different, has a different vibe and energy, and I love them all.

Love Ocean City, NJ.

Love Ocean City, NJ.