For the last few years, my family and I have been alternating going to Hawaii one year for Spring Break and Europe the next. But like many of my fellow travelers, I have had to alter my travel plans over the last 12 months due to the pandemic. Although I was terribly disappointed about canceling our Maui plans not once but twice last year, change and disappointment can sometimes bring new and surprising opportunities.
The travel restrictions allowed us to focus on fun travel places relatively closer to home. In fact, within just a few days of cancelling our March 2020 trip to Maui, we decided pack up the car for a road trip to Hilton Head Island (HHI), South Carolina. Although we spent just 3 days at a beach resort, the impromptu, back up beach vacation was a much needed respite from the craziness that was unfolding in Chicago (and all around the world) at that time. And even though only a handful of restaurants were open for carry out and touristy-type shopping and activities were non-existent, there was something about HHI that left us content and wanting more, all at the same time. Maybe it was the hazy glow of the mandarin sunset, or the perfect breeze through the palm trees. Or maybe it was the early morning walks along the beach where dolphins would play and beckon us to follow.
No matter the reason, HHI had charmed her way into our hearts to the point where we decided to book two additional road trips to the Island, including our latest trip in March 2021. And each time I’d leave the Island, I’d somehow feel nostalgic for a place I’d only been to a handful of times…nostalgic for an old friend that you just met…nostalgic for a place where time seems to slow down for every special moment, but sprints to the wave goodbye as you drive over the bridge. Even now I think…maybe one day I won’t have to wave goodbye…but for now, I know it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
In my upcoming posts, I’ll share more stories of Hilton Head Island, from our beachfront resort, to incredible restaurants, to coastal activities…and more.