The perfect harmony of sport and Mother Nature.
Once you enter the gates of The Sea Pines Resort, the private community created on 8 square miles of Hilton Head Island by Charles Fraser 50-plus years ago, you’ll never need to leave. This resort has it all—gorgeous accommodations, outdoor activities on land and sea, dining, shopping and more.
Thanks to multi-million-dollar renovations over the past 3 years (and more to come) visitors can enjoy the natural resources of the area with modern, updated amenities.
Upon arrival, I lunched on the patio of the brand-new Plantation Golf Club, at Live Oak bar and grill, featuring Lowcountry-inspired cuisine. The chicken gumbo was outstanding (and appears as a signature dish at several of the resort’s dining areas).
After lunch, I headed to Lawton Stables and jumped on a horse for a one-hour trail ride through the scenic 605-acre Sea Pines Forest Preserve, filled with wildflowers, wetlands and more than 130 species of birds (recognized as a noteworthy sanctuary by the Audubon Society). Lawton Stables also offers a petting zoo, Wish Upon a Horse therapeutic riding program and Junior Riding Academy.
Next on my agenda was a lesson at legendary tennis player Stan Smith’s state of the art facility, The Sea Pines Racquet Club. Smith, a U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion, member of seven winning U.S. Davis Cup teams, and former U.S. Olympic men’s tennis coach, has created the No. 1 Tennis Program in the country, ranked by Tennis Magazine.
With the tennis gene in my blood (my dad was Rhode Island and New England champion in the 1950s and 1960s), I was put through the paces on one of the facility’s 21 clay courts by the school’s director, Job, who helped me with my footwork, forehand and backhand strokes.
Exhausted yet exhilarated, I retreated to my luxurious room at the Four-Diamond rated Inn at Harbour Town. The Inn is just one accommodation option here, as the resort manages more than 400 private homes and villas available for rental.
For the evening, I headed over to the brand-new, two-story, 25,000-square-foot Sea Pines Beach Club for a cocktail at Ocean Lounge, the second-floor bar and lounge with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. The Beach Club also features an event space, the Atlantic Room; oceanfront beach bar; surf shop; and Surfside Market, offering freshly made salads, sandwiches and snacks for beachgoers.
I went downstairs to Coast for dinner and ordered black-eyed pea hummus with lavash and carrot sticks, followed by blackened swordfish with mango salsa— a perfect seaside meal.
The next morning I feasted on a hearty breakfast at Live Oak at Plantation Golf Club before taking a golf lesson on chip shots at the Golf Learning Center. PGA Master Professional in Instruction Tim Cooke, named one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers, suggested a grip change for me. This made a huge difference in my game that afternoon at Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the annual RBC Heritage tournament and a course PGA tour professionals have called their second favorite (to Augusta National) for its target-conscious narrow fairways.
The Spanish moss-covered live oak trees, magnolias, palmetto palms and lagoons, along with glimpses of alligators, turtles, herons and egrets, provide a dramatic backdrop, eclipsed only by the final two holes with their sweeping views of Calibogue Sound, surrounded by wetlands and marsh grasses. The round finishes with a view of the red and white-striped Harbour Town Lighthouse.
Later, I boarded the Mystique for a sunset cruise featuring special guest Stan Smith and his wife, Margie. I took the opportunity to have him sign one of his sneakers for my dad, before I headed to dinner at Links, an American Grill, at the newly opened Harbour Town Clubhouse.
A spring salad followed by perfectly cooked cedar-planked salmon, finished off with a scoop of mango sorbet for dessert, was a well-deserved end to an active day. I retired for a good night’s sleep before my journey home the next morning.
Perfect for a family vacation, romantic long weekend, or corporate meetings and events, the activities at The Sea Pines Resort are endless. Although golf is the focal point (there are two other courses I didn’t get to experience: Heron Point by Pete Dye and the Ocean Course), there’s also sea kayaking with dolphins, jet-skiing, fishing, paddleboarding, yachting, beach yoga, tennis, biking, walking, swimming, horseback riding, shopping and dining, as well as a multitude of festivals, music and arts and crafts events throughout the year.
This summer is a great time to see what you’ve been missing, just a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Buckhead. What are you waiting for?
STORY: Joanne Hayes
IF YOU GO:
The Sea Pines Resort
32 Greenwood Drive
Hilton Head Island
190 Greenwood Drive
Hilton Head Island
Wish Upon a Horse
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