Thursday, March 20, 2008

Harbour Town on Hilton Head

Developer Charles Fraser’s plan on the island was that no building would be taller than the tallest tree, every structure would be painted in natural earth tone colors, and the oceanfront would be open to as many as possible. Streets were laid out to avoid the largest trees and historic artifacts, such as the tabby ruins of the Baynard Plantation and the Gullah cemetery on Braddocks Point, were delicately preserved.

At the heart of his Sea Pines Resort development Fraser envisioned an “intimate harbor village with low-country ambience seasoned by the influence of the small distinctive ports along the coast of southern France and Italy.” To achieve this affect, Fraser flew his design team over dozens of small Mediterranean harbors so they could capture the unique coastal charm of places like Portofino, Italy. The result is Harbour Town with its marina, shops, restaurants, and striped lighthouse.

Construction on the hexagonal Harbour Town Lighthouse began in 1969 and was completed in the spring of 1970. Those who questioned the effectiveness of building such a structure to attract boaters from the Intracoastal Waterway called the tower “Fraser’s Folly.” The red and white lighthouse, seen by millions of tourists, boaters, and golfers, has become a widely recognized landmark and a symbol for all of Hilton Head Island.

Here Shirley and Judy are checking out this small yacht!

The harbor is a busy place.

I know our friend, Dan, would appreciate seeing the Mystique which is made almost entirely of mahogany and teak!

The 40 foot Mystique is a replica of the luxury motor launches in the early part of the last century. At one time, craft such as these were used by wealthy landowners to transport their guests from their private yachts to lavish reside retreats along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia’s Golden Isles. Today the Mystique is used solely by members of the Harbour Town Yacht Club.

We spent some time taking in the shops along the harbor. If I were well healed, I would have purchased this boat for our grandkids.


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