Hanging out on the rocks near The Spa on Mitchelville Beach, May 2015

“Are you girls local?”

So started the conversation with the fellow at Mitchelville Beach in the summer of 2014. I was sitting, pretty deep in conversation with a woman I had just met, when we were joined by a guy out walking his dog, I shared my bottle of water with the dog and explained that my friend was “newly local,” having just moved to the island, and I was “part-time local”, having a second home on the island. After a pleasant visit the fellow wandered off with his dog, an example of the friendly people who tend to wander around Mitchelville Beach, my all time favorite place to be on the island. (For the uninitiated, this beach is located on Port Royal Sound on the north end of the island.)

It wasn’t long after this conversation that I got the idea in my head that I was going to start this blog, an idea that I’m finally bringing to fruition.

I am a born and raised land-locked Ohio girl, a girl who didn’t get her first glimpse of an ocean until she was 18 years old. My spouse and I paid our first visit to Hilton Head in 2000, although their family has been coming to the island since the mid 80s, even having a second home here for several years. We rode onto the island that first time, sunburned from our top-down back-roads drive from the Savannah airport, in a rented convertible. From my first whiffs of pine and salt marsh and ocean breeze, I felt at ease and knew I had found home. Funny thing is, that I didn’t even know I was looking.

So here I am years later, driver of the ubiquitous Ohio mini van (although one with a town beach permit), proud owner of a small, yet perfect, island home, and someone who loves this place more with every passing year. UPDATE- No more minivan! I now drive a 20 year old red convertible. A VERY red convertible.

I don’t find shopping the outlet malls or numerous island shops to be great fun (although I will admit to a small addiction to a couple of local thrift shops), I don’t eat out often or bar hop, and haven’t partaken of “touristy” activities since our children were small.

What I do love is the breathtaking beauty of this  island and the endlessly fascinating creatures (non-human variety) that inhabit it. I still find myself in awe of the ocean and the salt marsh, and will spend hours wandering happily, a camera ever at hand to record the magic I encounter. I have been a docent in natural history and education at the Coastal Discovery Museum since January 2015, and my topics include beach and salt marsh ecology, dolphins, sea turtles, horseshoe crabs, blue crabs, and most recently, reptiles and amphibians of the lowcountry .This blog is my way to share this love with you and I welcome you to come explore with me.

Kayacking on Broad Creek, June 2015

Kayacking on Broad Creek, June 2015

You may contact me directly at mary@part-timelocal.com.