A Stormy Sea Trout

When we moved to Hilton Head, it came with an Honorary Meteorology Degree from the college of weather.com.  I am a compulsive weather checker, I check the 5 day, the 10 day, the hourly, I look at the radar maps, the works.  The last thing I want is to find myself stuck on the beach with the kids in the middle of a thunderstorm.  I say stuck, because sometimes these storms come out of nowhere in this sub-tropical climate, and with two kids and a baby, getting off the beach in general  makes for good entertainment to those around us.  If we have to do anything quickly it becomes comedy hour.  I try to never have to rush.

One of my first memories of bad weather was Fourth of July in the mid 80’s on a sailboat.  We were on the Chesapeake Bay, and it got nasty fast.  I think my parents were scared, but to my eight year old mind, it was memorable because It was the first and only time I ever got sea sick.  I think I turned green like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Circa 1984

Circa 1984

We do not have a boat yet, much to my husband’s dismay, he would love a small fishing boat, I would love a small boat with a cabin for napping babies, mixing drinks, and using the port-o-pots small boats are famous for.  I am only speculating, but I assume that when we do get a boat, it comes with a neatly framed Doctorate Degree in Meteorology, from the school of google.  Well boat or no boat, storms do roll in, and tonight my husband was fishing when this one came through.

...and the clouds roll in.

…and the clouds roll in.

I used to call him when I would see a storm rolling in and tell him there’s a storm rolling in.  He would laugh and tell me that he was standing on a little piece of sand surrounded by water, of course he knew there was a storm rolling in.  He saw the storm long before I did.   So therefore, I don’t call him anymore, now I just keep checking the front window to see if he is home.    Tonight he got home before the rain started, and didn’t have tales of fighting the big one, but he did have tales of a big mullet in his cast net and a stormy sea trout.

A stormy little sea trout.

A stormy sea trout.

So even when the clouds are rolling in, the fish are still biting.

Dolphin Head Playground

We moved to Hilton Head Island on July 1, 2010.  This adventure started in a rental I saw online with a lease signed via fax.  We had  never seen the house.  I left Ocean City, New Jersey, where we had been living with my sister, in a SUV packed to the gills, a 5 year old, a three year old, and CadyGirl our 10 year old black lab.  We took two days driving the 14 hours down 95 S,  and pulled in around noon the day our lease started.  My husband and his buddy were about 4 hours behind us in the rented Uhaul and an old but beloved Honda Accord.  We unpacked all day and most of the next, as his buddy headed back north he wished us good luck and good vibes for unpacking.   Shortly after he left, our kids told us they wanted to do something fun, this to parents everywhere is a good indicator that they are bored and could be on a one way trip to trouble.

Our first house.  The only house I ever lived in that I did not see before move in day.

The only house I ever lived in that I had not seen before.

We took a break, got in the car and headed to find a playground.  Prior to this, we had been to Hilton Head one time and one time only, and that was to go house hunting.  As I previously mentioned, we were renting this house, so the house hunt was unsuccessful. The world of renters was actually a nice break from the responsibility of home ownership.  We did not know the area, or the roads, and were not acclimated to Hilton Head Plantation at all.  We knew there was a playground here, but had no idea how to get there.  We were trying to find Dolphin Head, and ended up on Ribault Island.   There is no playground on Ribault Island, but if the gate is open, (and it is usually not) it is an experience to look at the beautiful homes that make up this  ultra-private section of Hilton Head Plantation.

When we finally wound our way along the beautiful tree lined streets, past the golf courses, and lagoons, we found the Dolphin Head Recreation Center.  The Sea greeted us with a warm smile.  For a moment I sat in the car and took it all in.  The playground equipment, basketball courts, Mossy Oaks, Sea Wall and the Port Royal Sound.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  This was my playground, this was where my children would come to swing, climb and spin.  I thought about the playgrounds back in Pennsylvania, and even in all my beloved New Jersey Beach Towns and nothing could compare.  We had made the right choice.

The view from the Swings at Dolphin Head Playground.

The view from the playground at Dolphin Head Recreation Center.

Dolphin Head is so much more than a playground, there is a little beach house you can rent with a full kitchen.  We have had many a birthday and family event in that little house.  There is also a walking path along the bluff and a beach you can walk, play and have awesome scavenger hunts on.   If you walk all the way to the end of the beach and around the point,  you will find yourself at a point between two bodies of water, it is beautiful, and is also my husbands favorite fishing spot.

My husband's favorite fishing spot.

My husband’s favorite fishing spot.

Dolphin Head Recreation Center in located within the private gated community of Hilton Head Plantation.  Unlike Sea Pines, you can not pay to enter Hilton Head Plantation, you have to know someone to visit so they can call in a guest pass.    I believe hands down that the playground at Dolphin Head is the most beautiful playground around, and as an added bonus, if you get there at the right time, you can catch the most beautiful sunset around.

Sunset from Dolphin Head.

Sunset from Dolphin Head.

I will be highlighting many of the playgrounds on Hilton Head, and other coastal towns in the coming months.