Sea Side Villas

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The mention of sea side villas probably conjures the smell of salt air, cool blue ocean waves, and wide stretches of sandy beaches. That is exactly what Hilton Head has to offer. The boot-shaped island just off South Carolina's Low Country stands almost tiptoe on the Georgia border. It is a small island, only 12 miles long and about five miles wide at its widest.

Renowned for its beauty and rich natural habitats for at least 400 years, its history stretches back some 10,000 years. The American Indians who called the island home for the longest period left their names across the Low Country mainland--Yamansee, Daufuskie, Ashepoo, and Edisto, for example. The Spanish arrived about 1525 and explored the mainland.

It was an English sea captain, however, who first surveyed the island in 1663. He claimed it for the British crown and left his name to define it for future generations. The first settlers in 1680 were French Huguenots, but they were succeeded by waves of English. Captain William Hilton's word on the rich soils and natural beauty of the island had gotten home.

Sea Side Villas on Hilton Head

The first of Hilton Head's sea side villas--in architectural terms--were the plantation houses of the island's 18th and 19th century residents. For roughly 150 years farming predominated. The crops were rice, indigo, and finally cotton. With the Civil War all this came to an end. Only in 1956 did a bridge from the mainland usher in the age of Hilton Head as a resort, and sea side villas returned.


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