Beaufort News

Gazette Sea Foam: Callawassie Island a special place to call home

Thanks to two Callawassie Island residents for sharing news about their neighborhood, and why they find it so special.

Richard Porter writes:

The sixth Friends of Callawassie Island Yard Sale in April was a phenomenal success.

"In a challenging economy, we were guardedly optimistic but never anticipated generating more than $11,000," said Linda Diana, yard sale chairwoman.

We are indebted to the public who attended, to all who donated goods, to Callawassie staff, and to resident volunteers who worked countless hours to make the event a success.

"Community involvement is an important role that underscores what Callawassie Island is all about," said Glenn Hood, Friends of Callawassie Island president.

Since 2001, the charity has raised more than $325,000 through the yard sale and other fundraising efforts and awarded more than $290,000 in grants.

Friends of Callawassie Island, a nonprofit charity, has placed emphasis on organizations that provide youth education and recreation, literacy, child care, housing programs for seniors, and expanded social services in Beaufort and Jasper counties.

Callawasssie Island, A Sea Island Secret

By Sheila Brown

In a Lowcountry landscape of beautiful places, Callawassie Island stands out among the rest.

A dreamy sea island, reachable only by causeway, and yet minutes from reality, this hidden gem of river, salt marsh, live oaks and palmettos is the real deal.

My husband and I were planning our escape from New Jersey as our children became ready to enter college. Like so many from the Northeast, I ws looked first to Florida. Having been raised wintering near Palm Beach and warm winters and sublime shopping called my name.

Being married to a South African outdoorsman and avid fly-fisherman, year-round access to water was I needed. The kids love the beach. We thought Florida fit the bill.

We built a lovely home in the ubiquitous Mediterranean style complete with screened lanai, waterfall pool and outdoor kitchen. Then reality set in. We were surrounded by the ocean -- but just try getting to it through the constant traffic and endless road construction. Shopping, sure, world-class -- as long as you can play chicken with the monster trucks vying for the road.

That and the skyline marred by billboards and a definite lack of culture led us to seek another place to find our bliss. Good weather is one thing, but this was not our idea of living.

So we became "halfbacks" -- those many disillusioned ex-Floridians seeking temperate climates but not at the expense of natural beauty, elegant living and accessible outdoor life. Enter Callawassie Island.

We found Callawassie as many do -- on the Internet, researching properties in the Lowcountry between Charleston and Savannah.

We drove across the causeway from S.C. 170 at high tide, salt marshes teeming with birds, 100-year-old live oaks swaying in the breeze and eight-foot alligators announcing our arrival. Rookeries of dozens of snowy egrets nestled adjacent to the golf course, while pelicans lined the river club dock. We knew we were home.

We bought an older home on the marsh and embarked on a major renovation. The warm, friendly people welcomed us. The unique beauty of Callawassie Island -- natural, inviting, authentic, never contrived -- continues to delight us. There is all the golf you could want, and tennis, and the seconed- largest paddlers club in South Carolina. There is every activity from bridge to bocce. It is convenient to shopping, the culture and history of Beaufort and Savannah, and all the outdoor activities you could imagine.

And then there are the people. Never have I lived surrounded by a group of nicer, more welcoming people.

Hailing from all over the East Coast from Maine to Florida, with lots of Midwesterners as well as Brits, Scots and Canadians, these are educated, successful people who could live anywhere. And they all chose Callawassie Island, for all of the same, as well as many different, reasons. Callawassie Island is a Lowcountry gem, a sea island secret, a hidden paradise, but mostly Callawassie Island is home.