Though I didn’t realize it then, 18 months ago I made a
Very Wise Decision:  

I joined the team of contributors for (in)courage.

This site was God-sized dream for its creators Holley, Stephanie and Lainie, and their vision, inspired–

“When we asked ourselves what kind of place we were building, we finally came to see it as a bit like a beach house. You can put your sandy, dirty feet on the coffee table, laugh late into the night with friends, & hear God’s voice clearer than perhaps anywhere else. Life just feels more vibrant & real, as if you’ve stumbled upon a glimpse of heaven & it’s nothing like you ever imagined but everything you’d always hoped.” ~ From {in}courage’s “Our Story.”

DSC_0850 This past weekend, the {in}courage imaginary beach house became ocean-front reality as 13 writers descended on Hilton Head Island to enjoy spectacular coastal beauty and the delight of kindred spirits.  

Would you indulge me the honor of telling you first about this magical place then introducing you to an amazing group of women?  

I’ve vacationed in Hilton Head since the ’80s, and I already knew it was the perfect spot for family, romantic or friend get-aways because its offerings are that diverse!  Bargain shopping at outlet malls, couture shopping at snazzy boutiques, sailing and parasailing, golf, putt-putt, water slides, fishing, crabbing, shrimping, paddle boating, local theater, miles of bike trails, and don’t get me started on the gorgeous wide beaches (with distinct high and low tides), spectacular Island wildlife and seemingly unending restaurant choices.  Based on our wonderful experience, I’d love to tell you about the handful of people and businesses our sponsor host The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce connected us with–

5 Roadrunner, Hilton Head Island, photo courtesy of Hilton Head Rentals & Golf 

Our home for the weekend, courtesy of Tom Ridgeway at Hilton Head Rentals & Golf; an extremely generous businessman with plenty of rentals in all shapes, sizes…and prices.  If you’re thinkin’ of visiting the Island any time soon, with over 250 vacation homes, this would be a great starting point (photo from their site).

Captain Jamie,H20 Sports Hilton Head Island, photographed by ME! :)
Dolphin Tour @ Hilton Head Island, photo credit: Robin Dance, PENSIEVE    
Incourage girls on Dolphin Tour, photo with Dawn Camp's camera :)

Captain Jamie with H20 Sports was guide for our Dolphin Tour; Hilton Head-raised, his head knowledge about the area was impressive; so was his ability to make sure we found dolphins and lots of ’em.  


Bike riding on the beach isn’t just fun, it’s a work out!  Especially when you ride all the way to Mexico and then have to return with the wind against you.  Just sayin’…. 

Low Sea Bike, Beach and Baby Rentals provided us matching red cruisers so we peddled in style.  Thanks to Stephanie for capturing the shot; Annie stuck with me the whole way, but Holley and Jessica stopped to “rescue starfish“.  The whole time I was channeling “Seasons in the Sun” in my head :). 

DSC_0895Oh, dear…then there was Soozi and Linda’s scrumptious low-country feast–a banquet for the eye and tongue!  Starting with Vidalia Onion Toasts (Miss Linda refused us the recipe), to the pork tenderloin sliders with apricot chutney, mini tomato sandwiches with bacon and spicy mayo, asparagus with French vinaigrette, petite crab cakes with tarragon caper sauce, shrimp remoulade on Bibb lettuce, and ending with raspberry-dotted chocolate truffle cakes…it was crazy delicious!  

Dinner Saturday evening was hosted by Aqua Grille and Lounge and their prix fixe menu featured surf, turf and then some!  I had a perfectly-cooked filet, but e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. everyone else ordered looked wonderful, too.  Don’t get me started on dessert…it’s just sinful (Bananas Foster creme brulee, chocolate pecan pie, death by chocolate…).  My only regret is not taking pictures because, yes, friends…it would’ve lasted longer :).

And last mention is Saturday’s brunch from Signe’s Heaven Bound Bakery & Cafe.


A few of us actually sampled Signe’s Friday morning, and my choice–a parmesan shrimp frittata, my first evah!–was out-of-the-ballpark delicious!  Saturday morning we had a broccoli cheddar frittata and deep-dish french toast (featured on Rachel Ray’s $40 a Day/Food Network Hilton Head visit!).  I cannot believe I’ve been coming to Hilton Head for almost three decades and didn’t know about Signe’s!  Shame!  

We discovered Signe’s Heaven Bound Bakery & Cafe’s special ingredient, why it’s been a HHI institution for over 36 years:  Signe!  Pronounced “sig-knee,” she’s absolutely darling.  Our Chamber liaison, Jessica, made sure we met her since she’s got an inside connection–her father is married to Signe!

Signe and Rachael Ray, $40 a Day at Hilton Head Signe Gardo from Signe's Heaven Bound Bakery and CafeChamber Marketing & PR Manager Jessica Gardo and her father at Signe's

Wow…as much as I’ve shared about Hilton Head, I could tell you more…and I haven’t even gotten to the (in)courage team!  Hold tight because I can’t wait to introduce you…you might think you know ’em, but I’ve got the inside goods now!

Your turn:  Have you visited Hilton Head Island?  Do you have a favorite memory or travel tip you’re willing to share?  If not, please tell me about your favorite beach or travel destination.  You might just persuade me to visit!

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