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A Step Back in Time, Inn at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina


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When Peter Connan asked if I was going to do a trip report on a recent vacation I had to lol, then I thought… what the heck. I’ll warn you this is not an exciting or probably even a mildly interesting TR but I thought I’d share a piece of our country here in the States for those that don’t live or travel to these parts.






My husband and I recently spent 9 days in the South Carolina lowcountry at The Inn on Palmetto Bluff, a beautiful 20,000 acre resort/development. It’s located on the east coast between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, South Carolina. The property has charming southern architectural styled 2, 3, 4 bedroom homes to rent as well as cottages spaced along the May River and their fresh water lagoons. It’s a step back in time but with modern conveniences and the pace is slow and relaxed.












At one point the property was used as a rice and indigo plantation and then Richard T. Wilson, a wealthy Great Gatsby type from New York built a large home for his wife and friends to use during the winter months. That home burned to the ground and the ruins are still on the lawn of the town square.


The homes are exceptionally attractive, well built with varying detail and no two that look alike. The Plantation has miles of biking and hiking trails all of which can accommodate bikes and golf carts, the usual mode of transportation around the plantation.




























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There are also many privately owned homes and that apparently, is where this property is headed, a planned community development. At the moment there are 103 new homes under construction. There’s a town square, general store, 4-5 restaurants, a marina, two pools, one for families and one for adults only. There’s also a spa, an 8 clay court tennis facility with two croquet courts. It was charming watching the older generation playing croquet in their all whites….I didn’t really know that was still done. There’s a beautiful Jack Nickolas golf course that is apparently rated the number two course in SC. Not really feeling like playing Breck snuck on to one of the back holes for a little chipping and putting.



















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We had an individual cottage on the May River, which is a river off of the Atlantic Ocean. The cottage had a bedroom, dressing area, bathroom, living room and bar area. They had thought of everything to make your stay comfortable. Stocked ref., bathroom amenities, umbrellas, wine, Kerig coffee maker, an ipad, etc. We also had bikes and a golf cart.


I had called earlier to see which cottage had the best view and was told #1….our view from our porch was of a….. six foot hedge between us and the river with no view at all! Very odd why they have either planted it there or not opened it up for a better view. Our cottage did face a lagoon but that really didn’t help since there weren’t any windows to speak of on that side.



















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Breck had not had much time off in a while and his plan was to just relax…this was the perfect place to do just that. We spent each day doing what we felt and when we felt like it. I usually got up before sunrise and took my tripod and tried to catch the sun coming up and then I’d walk around the lagoons looking for wildlife. Since breakfast was included we would either order some room service or jump in the golf cart and head to Buffalo’s, our go to breakfast restaurant.


Several times a day we would take the golf cart for some sight seeing or go for a bike ride over the picturesque bridges and into the private neighborhoods ignoring the warnings that it was private. We usually headed out for someplace different for lunch or waited and had a drink and appetizers on the back porch of the Inn, a perfect place to watch families come for the nightly S’more’s offered around the open fire pits.















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The Inn is popular for destination weddings, so much so that a quaint chapel was built. It only holds 80 and my thought is that it’s not nearly big enough. One evening as we were tooling around we came on a beautiful bride and her wedding party. So we (and others) were entertained by their affair sitting in our carts from a distance.












I had arranged to do a photo boating safari with Eric Horan from Lowcountry Safaris. He picked me up early one morning off the dock and we spent three hours observing and photographing shore birds. Except for the windy conditions we had a great day navigating the salt marshes and backwater channels, as Eric is a kind and very knowledgeable photographer and guide.





















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While I was doing the shore bird thing Breck who has construction going on in Savannah borrowed one of the four cars that the Inn makes available to their guests and drove the 30 minutes to check on his job. They gave him a little Mercedes sport car and he said the thing nearly scooted out from under him.


One morning I arranged to visit the stable, a beautiful barn…actually two barns and a large under cover riding ring. Then I headed over to the tennis facility for a tennis clinic. We also went to a concert on the lawn and listened to The Accomplices perform. On another morning we took a 10 minute boat ride across to the small town of Bluffton for the Farmers Market, shopped, had some appetizers and beers then boated back.











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The food was good but not exceptional; the customer service and staff were beyond exceptional, after all you are in the south where manners are still in vogue. The rooms were very, very nice, well appointed and very clean. The Inn has a whole long list of activities and opportunities…music, horseback riding, oyster roasts, paddle boarding, fishing, kayaking.…I’m not doing it justice but you get the idea. A perfect place for what we wanted to do on this particular vacation.








And that's pretty much all there is.



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@@PCNW - glad y'all had a nice trip to the southern coast of my home state. I love the photo of the Raccoon arching its back to look intimidating and the Willet in flight is very nice.


The photo of the flocks of White Ibis flying over is a quintessential Lowcountry scene. Looks like Eric took good care of you.


Palmetto Bluff certainly beats the over-developed and touristy Hilton Head area. But sadly, all of lower Jasper County has been developed to the hilt since my youth growing up on my grandparents' plantation in Jasper Co.

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I have been several times to Palmetto Bluff and have to echo that its one of the more beautiful parts of the country. I am always torn as development seems to be the antithesis to environmental considerations in most instances in the world today. I will say that Palmetto Bluff has done a pretty good job of trying to balance the two (maybe with some help from the economic slowdown in 2008) and setting aside a good deal of space never to be developed and taking into account the ecosystem around them. Its worth a visit. While the lodge can be quite pricey, I will point out that using VRBO some owners rent their homes for MUCH less than if you book directly through the hotel. Happy vacationing

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Stunning photography as usual Patsy. My daughter was at a tennis camp in Hilton Head a few weeks ago. Despite spending many summers in the outer banks of NC, I have strangely never been further south ( or more accurately, between NC and Altanta/ northern Florida). Charleston and Savannah are definitely on the list of places to get to.

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@PCNW: I have never been even close to South Carolina yet your great report and excellent photos showed it in all the glory! Thank You!

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@PCNW thanks for the TR. It looks like a wonderful place to chill out.

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Ah! East Coast summers ...... Love it! Thanks for sharing your holiday with us ........ Awesome.


I've been to Greenville/Spartenburg a long time ago - but, that's no where this nice!

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Peter Connan

Thanks Patsy, that was a great read. And seriously, I have no idea what you are complaining about WRT your photography! All these are wonderful.

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Thank you all of the kind words, I enjoyed sharing it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

These are perfect little slices of Americana, Patsy. You've captured the mood of the place in its entirety. Lovely images, as always.

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"I’ll warn you this is not an exciting or probably even a mildly interesting TR..." But it is lovely with some wonderful photos. Love the birds and the musicians and that racoon you got to pose in a scaredy-cat stance.

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Ah! East Coast summers ...... Love it! Thanks for sharing your holiday with us ........ Awesome.


I've been to Greenville/Spartenburg a long time ago - but, that's no where this nice!

Hey Greenville is not that bad...actually we just made #33 on the best cities to live in

America....the low country of SC should benon everyone's list of places fo visit...Charleston, Hilton Head, and Savannah.

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@@PCNW.....beautiful pictures....I have spent time in Charleston and Palmetto Bluff is on the list of places to visit....funny how we travel around the world but very rarely take advantage of what is in our backyard.

Edited by SSF556
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@@SSF556 I am a little ashamed that I've not been to the beautiful national parks in our own country. That's what I'm going to work on next.....this country.

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Bush dog

This is on the contrary an exciting and interesting trip report. There is a lot of warmth in all your pictures and even nostalgy and romanticism in some of your non wildlife pictures.

Some of the last landscapes even look like paintings.

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