The Importance of Recycling Oyster Shells

Going by the “R Rule,” we’re in the thick of oyster season.  And to catch anyone up who’s never heard of such a rule, any month that includes the letter “r” is typically considered oyster season. We won’t get into the nitty gritty of farm-raised, year-round oysters either, we’ll save that for another time.

Here in the Lowcountry, oyster season parallels the time of year when the weather gets cooler, making outdoor events and activities much more enjoyable.  Oyster roasts and other food festivals seem to take over the calendar, suddenly giving way to the holiday season—another busy time and cause for celebration and community gatherings.  

Photo by Charlotte Harrison

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Oysters have been at the root of our coastal communities for centuries.  Historians have observed that the indigenous groups that inhabited areas such as Hilton Head Island not only relied on oysters as a main food source, but used them as tools and for trading purposes.  Fast forward to a booming industry throughout the sea islands that sold canned oysters, and to generations of residents and visitors who up until today can see oysters on an abundance of restaurant’s menus.

It’s easy to only think about oysters being beloved as an appetizer or in a po’boy, but their importance far exceeds the plate garnished with a lemon and tabasco sauce.  Oysters act as an important filtration system for the waters they’re in, removing contaminates and excess nutrients. One oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. The clusters of oysters, often called oyster reefs, serve as homes to many different fish species. The reefs are also known to absorb waves, helping with erosion control.  And with all that being said, oysters help coastal economies other than just sale of oysters alone.

Photo by Clint Patterson

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So, what would happen if one day oysters suddenly disappeared? We’d be in big trouble.

We’re certainly not at that point, but populations have been declining throughout the United States.  While oysters in South Carolina are still considered abundant, evidence that human activities have affected the populations negatively. These activities include a myriad of things, but the more oysters are taken out of the waterway, there are less shells for oyster larvae to attach to for the oyster to continue to live and ultimately go on to reproduce.  The shells have been used by many generations for a wide array of reasons from construction, agriculture, and more.

Photo by Robert Linder

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The Department of Natural Resources started SCORE (South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement Program) to help restore the state’s oyster habitats.  Recycling oyster shells is key in rebuilding reefs, while awareness of the importance of oysters is also a top priority.

Before you start throwing your old oyster shells back into the water, please know that there is a months-long process to cleaning and returning shells back into waterways to rebuild these reefs.  If you do find yourself with shells left over from a dinner party or oyster roast, you can drop them off at designated recycling centers throughout the area. To find the closest one nearest you, use this interactive map provided by the DNR.  


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Celebrating Thanksgiving on Hilton Head Island

If you happen to be celebrating Thanksgiving on our beautiful, Hilton Head Island, here is a list of festive events, as well as restaurants that will be open on November 24th.

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by Photo Jakob Owens

Thanksgiving Wagon Rides at Heritage Farm

Sea Pines Heritage Farm

Nov. 22-26

10:00am-5:00pm

Join in on the Thanksgiving-themed wagon ride brought to you by Sea Pines. Starting at the Heritage Farm, this festive wagon ride will bring you through the beautiful Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Take in Hilton Head’s version of fall colors and the natural beauty of the island’s plant and wildlife. We strongly recommend that you reserve your seats ahead of time. Purchase tickets and view available dates and times here.

Turkey Trot

Skull Creek Dockside

Nov. 23

8:00-10:00am

Organized by the Island Recreation Center, join the Hilton Head community for the 34th Annual Turkey Trot. Starting and ending at Skull Creek Dockside, runners and those walking the 1-mile Fun Walk will have a blast and are encouraged to bring nonperishable items to donate to the Deep Well food pantry. Packets must be picked up on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Click here for more information.

Gregg Russell Thanksgiving Concert

Harbour Town

Nov. 25

7:30-9:00pm

Known to be one of the best family-friendly shows in town, celebrate Thanksgiving as a community with Gregg Russell. This complimentary event will be held at the Liberty Oak Tree in Harbour Town, however gate passes are necessary when entering the Sea Pines property. Not only will it be a night full of great music and entertainment, but the Harbour Town Christmas Tree will be officially lit for the 2022 holiday season.

Photo by Element5 Digital

Hilton Head Diner

(843) 686-2400

Hours: 7:00am-10:00pm

6 Marina Side Dr,

Hilton Head, SC 29926

Fishcamp on Broad Creek

(843) 842-2267

Hours: 12:00-7:00pm

11 Simmons Rd,

Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

Nick’s Steak and Seafood

(843) 686-2920

Hours: 12:00-7:45pm

9 Park Ln.,

HIlton Head, SC 29928

Thanksgiving Dinner Special Available

Reservation Required

Kind of Blue

(843) 686-2868

Hours: 2:00-7:00pm

19 Dunnagans Alley,

Hilton Head, SC 29928

Thanksgiving Dinner Special Available

Reservation Required

Thanksgiving Day Feast at Grand Ocean Terrace at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa

(843) 681-1055

Hours: 1:00-5:00pm

2 Grasslawn Ave,

Hilton Head, SC 29928

Inside Shipyard

Reservation Required

Family Style Thanksgiving Day Champagne Brunch & Dinner at Sonesta Resort

(843) 842-2400

Hours: 12:00-8:00pm

130 Shipyard Dr,

Hilton Head, SC 29928

Inside Shipyard

Reservation Required

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If you would like more information for dining on Hilton Head Island, fill out the short form below:

The Best Takeout to Take to the Beach

Hilton Head Island boasts beach weather year-round.  Most of the time, it’s warm enough to spend all day at the beach. Other times, the island’s temperate weather still makes it a great spot for a walk, bike ride, or a great place for a picnic. If it’s a last-minute afternoon trip to catch some rays or you’re wanting to eat lunch or dinner with a stunning view, read on for some of the best local restaurants to order takeout from before hitting the beach.

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Stu’s Surfside Subs & Suds

Sandwiches are the ultimate beach food, that’s why they’re called “sandwiches,” right?  All jokes aside, throw a couple of sandwiches, a bag of chips, and some sodas in a cooler and you’ll be able to spend the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sunshine without having to leave and find food.

I don’t think we have to further explain anything, this is common knowledge. We do, however, have a suggestion of where to pick up sandwiches before heading out to the beach! Stop by Stu’s Surfside Subs & Suds and pick up one of the most delicious subs you’ll ever have in your life.  An island staple and newly renovated, Stu’s is conveniently located in Coligny Plaza.

We recommend The Local and The Sub-Mariner, although anything on the menu is simply delicious.

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Local Pie

Another convenient takeout choice is pizza. If you’re getting a later start to your beach day than expected, order a pie or two ahead of time to take with you!  Although you can’t necessarily stow an entire pizza box into a cooler, it’ll be ready to eat as soon as you sink down into your beach chair.

 Local Pie is just up the road from Coligny Beach and is a great choice if you’re feeding a large group or are picking up a smaller pizza for yourself to enjoy. This goes without being said, but please remember to discard the box when you’re done—we want those beaches to stay clean!

We recommend an order of wings alongside a Suped Up, Mr. Mittake, or a Monkey classic pie. You can create your own masterpiece, and there’s a lineup of delicious calzones and fresh-baked subs to choose from.

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Aunt Chilada’s

What could be better than relaxing in the Carolina sunshine and watching the waves roll in?  Relaxing in the Carolina sunshine and watching the waves roll in with a big plate of nachos or an array of delicious tacos to enjoy. Aunt Chilada’s is your go-to takeout choice if you’re craving some chips, salsa, and queso—definitely order the queso.

You can easily order your meal over the phone or online to pick up on your way to the beach. Located minutes away from Coligny Beach, it’ll still be fresh and ready to eat after you find the perfect spot to lay your beach towels down. Just don’t wait too long!

We recommend the queso, burrito bowl, street corn bites, and…did we say queso?

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Sea Shack

Worth a stop even if you’re not headed out for a beach day, the Sea Shack is an island favorite for those who love fresh seafood that’s fried, blackened, or grilled. Somewhat hidden off of Pope Road, you’d never know it by the size of the crowds on a warm, summer day. But don’t fret—the line moves quickly and you’ll soon be on your way with a to-go box full of something delicious.

This is another meal that you should probably eat sooner than later, and honestly, it may not even make it to the beach. It’ll smell so good that you’ll want to scarf it down before you find a spot in beach parking.

You’ll be able to find all of the classics on the menu such as shrimp, scallops, and oysters, alongside alligator, frog legs, and even conch fritters. Order the Shack Attack Combo to try all of the favorites including their delicious crab cake.  The Sea Shack also serves delicious po’ boys and burgers and has a great kid’s menu.


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Jazz in the Park–A Free Concert Series

Don’t miss out on the two remaining chances to enjoy Jazz in the Park, a free outdoor concert series.  A great way to enjoy a beautiful, summer evening filled with live music, don’t forget to bring your own chairs or blanket!

Each concert begins at 7:30 pm, giving you the option of having a nice dinner beforehand or picking up a meal to-go from any of the restaurants within walking distance of Lowcountry Celebration Park.

Want to learn more about this concert series or future concerts? Visit the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra’s website here.

To stay up to date on the island’s events and for more information on activities and island-wide discounts, fill out the form below.

Out to Brunch–Hilton Head Island Brunch Recommendations

It’s beginning to be brunch season again. What is brunch season, you ask? Well, to be honest, we just completely made that up. But we are heading into the time of year when there are more reasons to plan on spending your mid-morning sipping on mimosas and enjoying a delicious plate of French toast.  With Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day fast approaching, it’s a good idea to start making plans now—especially if you’re able to make reservations ahead of time! Here are our recommendations for some of the best brunches on Hilton Head Island:

Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café

Located in Palmetto Bay Marina, this café is a great option for breakfast or lunch—or in this case, brunch!  Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café is a local favorite that quickly turns new customers into regulars.  With a full bar that can whip up delicious Bloody Marys, and a regularly updated specials menu that continues to wow, this island favorite offers a dog-friendly patio where you can enjoy a beautiful morning waterside.

We recommend the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict or their signature Breakfast Burrito with homemade salsa. Although breakfast items are served all day, their “Late Risers,” or lunch menu, is equally delicious. Try the Shrimp Scampi, Leslie Burger, or the Egg Salad Melt. Add an order of Crab Wontons from their “Snax” menu, or try their delicious She-Crab Soup.

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Plantation Café & Deli

A Hilton Head staple that has been in operation for almost half a century, Plantation Café & Deli has three convenient locations that cover both the island and Bluffton. For early risers that want to get a head start on their day, visit this café before eight a.m. to order from their delicious Early Bird Specials menu. If sleeping in is on the day’s to-do list, both breakfast, lunch, and Sunday Brunch menus are packed with mouthwatering plates. A must-stop while visiting Hilton Head, visitors and locals alike rave about the delightful, family-friendly atmosphere and scrumptious southern-style cooking.

The breakfast menu boasts country skillets, an array of benedicts and omelets, as well as plates from the griddle that are all beautifully topped with powdered sugar. Our favorite breakfast plate is Ellie’s Southern Breakfast, a more traditional order with a southern spin that includes fried green tomatoes. You can’t go wrong with a Creole skillet or golden Belgian Waffle. Our Sunday Brunch favorites include the Salad Platter and Pimento Grilled Cheese.

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Skillets Café & Grill

Located in Coligny Plaza, Skillets Café & Grill is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Although they don’t have a specific brunch menu, they do serve breakfast until three p.m. due to popular demand. In operation for twenty-five plus years, Skillets has always been the go-to place before or after a trip to the beach. Among plenty of great reviews from happy customers, praises for how seriously the restaurant staff takes gluten-free allergies are just as plentiful as the amount of options of menu items that are gluten-free friendly and even vegan.

When at Skillets Café & Grill, why not order one of their five, delicious breakfast skillets? In true island fashion, two of our favorites are called The Beach and The Coligny. We would also recommend the Country Crepe, The Kitchen Sink, as well as the Seafood Omelette off the breakfast menu. If you’re ordering off the lunch menu, try the Monte Cristo or Shrimp and Grits. Lunchtime also unlocks a long list of dessert options, so make sure to save room for a slice of Key Lime Pie, Lemon Berry Mascarpone Cake, or the House Made Cobbler.

These are just three of the long list of fantastic brunch options you can find on Hilton Head Island. For more places to find great food and hospitality on the island, visit our Restaurant page.


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#PlaidNation: Hilton Head Island prepares for the 54th playing of the RBC Heritage Classic

Each year, for one week in April, Hilton Head Island becomes #PlaidNation as golf fans from across the globe flock to the Lowcountry to watch some of golf’s greats battle it out at Harbour Town Golf Links.  Welcome to The RBC Heritage Classic. 

Dating back to 1969, the RBC Heritage is the only PGA Tour event played in South Carolina, and its host, the Heritage Classic Foundation, supports charitable organizations across the Lowcountry. Since 1987, the Foundations has donated $47.5M to nonprofits in South Carolina and Georgia.

Golf legends like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Payne Stewart, Nick Faldo, and Davis Love III have donned the tartan jacket, victorious. In recent years, the trophy has been lifted by the likes of Wesley Bryan, Satoshi Kodaira, C.T. Pan, Webb Simpson, and Stewart Cink. Cink will be back in 2022 to defend his title, and the RBC Heritage leaderboard is sure to feature some of the biggest names in golf. 

The RBC Heritage kick-off is unlike any other PGA Tour tournament opening. This year, defending champion Stewart Cink will gather with Heritage Classic Foundation Board members, volunteers, and state dignitaries as they parade around the Harbour Town Yacht Basin to the sound of the Citadel’s Pipe and Drum band. At the opening ceremony, the past champion is presented with his Captain of Gentlemen Golfers plaque and will continue the tradition of hitting a featherie-style golf ball into the Calibogue Sound with an authentic hickory golf club in unison with a cannon shot. This opening ceremony, a reenactment of a Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews tradition dating back to the mid-18th century, signals the official start of Tournament week on Hilton Head. 

If you’re planning to be a spectator at the 54th playing of the RBC Heritage Classic, here are a few things you may want to know.

Monday, April 11, 2022

  • The course is closed to spectators.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

  • Opening Ceremonies begin on the 18th green at Noon.
  • Practice rounds commence at players’ discretions. No advance tee times will be available. 
  • Coca-Cola Youth Day Putting Contest | 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm | practice green | Children 15 and under are invited to putt alongside the pros. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

  • RBC Heritage Pro-Am begins at 7:00 am with players starting on the 1st and 10th tees. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

  • First Round starting on the 1st and 10th tees.
    • Morning tee times 7:20 am – 9:00 am
    • Afternoon start times 11:50 am – 1:30 pm. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

  • Second Round starting on the 1st and 10th tees.
    • Morning tee times 7:20 am – 9:00 am
    • Afternoon tee times 11:50 am – 1:30 pm 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

  • Third round starting times 8:30 am – 1:30 pm. 
  • #PlaidNation Games on the Heritage Lawn 12:00pm – 2:00pm 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

  • 7:30 am Sunrise Easter Service featuring local ministers, music, and nondenominational prayer will take place at 7:30 am at Liberty Oak. 
  • Final round start times: 8:30 am – 1:30pm
  • Trophy presentation, 18th green, immediately following close of play. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit rbcheritage.com.

Still looking for accommodations on Hilton Head for Heritage Week? Don’t wait too long. The island will be completely sold out. Request information today about our resort and hotel options by completing the short form below.

Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival 2022

February 21-27, 2022

Get ready to experience one of the best seafood festivals on the map during this week-long extravaganza held in and around Hilton Head Island. Where artfully prepared food meets the South’s coastal heritage, the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival will certainly exceed all expectations during this year’s 15th Anniversary lineup.

Events over the course of the festival range from celebrity guest chef dinners and culinary demonstrations, to excursions off-island that highlight both local history and the fishermen that make it all possible. Pair that with wine tastings, fresh catch specials, fishing instruction, and more!

Here are the scheduled events for this year’s festival.

Tickets are available for the festival’s main event scheduled for Saturday, February 26th from 1:00-4:30pm. Held at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina, this family-friendly event will offer live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, samplings from more than 100 food and beverage vendors, and more! Make sure to stick around because the day’s festivities will conclude with the 15th Anniversary Fireworks Celebration that is sure to dazzle!

The Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival is the primary fundraiser for the David M. Carmines Memorial Foundation. For more information, visit the festival’s website.

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14 Things to Do on Hilton Head Island for Valentine’s Day

There are plenty of ways to spend your Valentine’s Day this year on Hilton Head Island. Here are some ideas of how you can celebrate the day, rain or shine! 

Photo by Felipe Callado on Unsplash

Have brunch at Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café.

Known for their Stuffed French Toast and Crab Cake Eggs Benedict, Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café might just become your go-to brunch on the island! On a beautiful day, their dog-friendly patio is the perfect spot to sip on some coffee—or a mimosa!

Explore Hilton Head Island’s miles of bike trails.

A Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community, Hilton Head Island boasts more than 60 miles of beautiful pathways, making the island easy to navigate. If you’ve left your bicycles at home, stop by Wheelz of Hilton Head and they’ll get you ready to roll. Their location is also a quick ride from Coligny Beach if you’d like to take a spin along the waterline at low tide. 

Discover the Harbour Town Lighthouse Museum.

Climb to the top of what has become the symbol of Hilton Head Island to see amazing views. During your ascent, you’ll learn about the history of the island and of the Sea Pines property. The museum’s gift shop is a great place to find artwork, authentic models, books and more. 

Pick up something sweet at The Island Fudge Shoppe.

What is Valentine’s Day without chocolate? The Island Fudge Shoppe has a delicious collection of hand-dipped chocolates, homemade fudge, and more! Located in the Coligny Plaza Shopping Center, this island favorite will definitely satisfy any sweet tooth. 

Fly with Hilton Head Helicopter Tours.

A great way to make your 2022 Valentine’s Day incredibly memorable, Hilton Head Helicopter Tours offers an array of different tours ranging from a quick 8-mile loop, to longer trips focused on admiring the beautiful Lowcountry coastline and wildlife—monkeys included! You read that right; take the Monkey Safari Tour to fly over a secluded island where over 3,000 rhesus monkeys roam freely. 

Visit the Carolina Tasting Room.

Since 2015, the Carolina Tasting Room has been the go-to place to find locally sourced wines, beers, and other products. With over 50 Local and Regional Wines to try, you can quite literally taste the Lowcountry! This Hilton Head tasting room also is known for their wine smoothies in many different delicious flavors. 

Take a walk along the beach–any beach!

Hilton Head Island is home to more than 12 miles of pristine beaches. You won’t have to worry about a crazy amount of heat or humidity in February, so grab a sweater and enjoy all that the crowd-free coastline has to offer. You might even spot some dolphins! For more room to roam, check what time low tide is on our monthly tide chart

Relax at Fountain Spa.

Make sure to schedule in some time to relax and pamper yourselves this Valentine’s Day. Enjoy a massage or design your own spa package. 

Take a private dolphin cruise.

Book a private dolphin cruise for just the two of you, or invite two more couples along to join in on the search for dolphins. A great way to see Hilton Head in all of its glory, your knowledgeable captain will navigate the water finding as many opportunities for you to see dolphins as possible.  

Play some mini golf.

Putt Putt is as fun a date idea as well as a staple to Hilton Head Island. Play a round at Legendary Golf for country-club style miniature golf, or at Adventure Cove if you’d rather continue the competition to the skee-ball lanes or air hockey table. 

Give virtual golf a try.

Whether you’re already a fan of virtual sports games or you’re looking to try something new this Valentine’s Day, Chronic Golf is the place to go! With a wide variety of multi-sports games and over 125 virtual golf courses to pick from, the two of you are guaranteed to have some fun—especially with a full menu and bar to order from!

Listen to a live jazz concert at The Jazz Corner.

Reserve a table to enjoy one of two live jazz concerts per night over dinner or drinks. This award-winning jazz club and restaurant has the perfect, intimate atmosphere you’re looking for to spend your Valentine’s Day evening. 

Celebrate on the Valentine’s Day Dinner Cruise.

Vagabond Cruise is offering a Valentine’s Day Dinner Cruise to make your February 14th one for the books! Upon boarding the Spirit of Harbour Town, you’ll receive a complimentary glass of champagne. Enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the award-winning chefs of the Sea Pines Resort all while taking in the gorgeous views and sunset


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Hilton Head Restaurants Open for Christmas

A question we get asked over and over by visitors to the island is, “Which restaurants are open on the holidays?” To that end, we’re compiling a list of local restaurants open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2021.

The following restaurants are offering both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dining:

  • Hilton Head Diner 843-686-2400  Hilton Head Diner is typically open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, serving all day breakfast, their full menu, as well as a special Holiday menu featuring specials like duck L’orange, thyme roasted pork loin, and more. We’ll update this listing with this year’s Christmas menu as soon as it becomes available. Download their takeout menu here.
  • Nick’s Steak & Seafood | 843-686-2920 | Reservations only | NicksSteakAndSeafood.com – Nick’s Steak & Seafood will be open on Christmas Day, but you must have a reservation.  Please call 843-686-2920 to make a reservation; same-day reservations are very difficult to accommodate. They typically serve their full menu as well as traditional holiday favorites.
  • Grand Ocean Terrace at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa | 843-681-4000 ext. 7066 | Reservation only
  • The Porch | 843-785-2900 | Reservation Only -Located at The Beach House Resort, The Porch Restaurant offers Christmas Day dining. Reservations required.

The following restaurants will be open on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day

  • Wild Wings | 843-785-9464 | Christmas Eve – open until 6:30p by volume, closed Christmas Day
  • Fish Camp on Broad Creek | 843-842-2267 – Christmas Eve 12:00 pm – 6:30 pm;   Closed Christmas Day 
  • Plantation Café and Deli | 843-785-9020 – Christmas Eve regular hours;    Closed Christmas
  • Local Pie | 843-842-7437 – Christmas Eve (open by volume); Closed Christmas Day
  • Crazy Crab Harbour Town | 843-683-2722 – Open Christmas Eve (last reservation 6:30pm); Closed Christmas Day
  • Crazy Crab Jarvis Creek | 843-681-5021 – Open Christmas Eve (last reservation 6:30pm); Closed Christmas Day

The following restaurants will be closed for Christmas:

  • Sea Shack | 843-785-2464 – Closed Christmas Day
  • Up the Creek Pub & Grill | 843-681-3625 – Closed Christmas Day
  • North End Pour House | 843-681-4153 – Closed Christmas Day
  • Skillets | 843-785-3131 – Closed Christmas Day

For a unique Christmas Eve Dinner Experience…

We’ll be updating this list as new information becomes available. Fill out the short form below to receive our Mini Island Discount Packet that offers coupons for Hilton Head dining, shopping, activities, and more.

Oysters–A Lowcountry Legacy

A guide meant to intrigue both self-proclaimed oyster experts as well as novices who know next to nothing about the delicious bivalves. 

4,000-Year-Old Lowcountry Favorite 

If you’ve ever visited Hilton Head Island or surrounding Lowcountry towns, you know that the strong prevalence of oysters in the area’s history not only influence local menus, but quite literally are seen within the walls of historic buildings and on the grounds of ancient hunter gatherer societies. 

Oysters are found within shell-rings and mounds dotting the southeastern coastline dating back to at least 4,000 years ago. The reason why Native Americans on the Sea Islands created shell-rings, such as the Sea Pines Shell Ring and Green’s Shell Ring, is still unknown, whereas shell mounds are assumed to be middens, or waste sites that include discarded shells and bones. Historians believe these societies not only harvested oysters for food, but used their shells for tools and trade items. 

The trend of finding other uses for discarded oyster shells continued with early settlers who received grants from England to harvest oysters along the territory’s coastline. Agricultural uses included grinding the shells to supplement chicken feed as well as used as fertilizer, a technique George Washington was said to have used for his crops.  

Oyster shells also proved helpful in construction. Tabby became a popular building material in the Lowcountry because of the abundance of oyster shells in the area. Burning the shells to make lime, they then added whole shells into the lime, sand, and water mixture to create what’s known as coastal concrete. Beaufort County has the most tabby ruins in the United States. What’s left of the Stoney Baynard plantation house located within the Sea Pines property is a great example of tabby ruins on Hilton Head Island. 

An example of using tabby as a construction method at historic Stoney-Baynard Ruins.

Oysters were enjoyed by all classes and residents of the Lowcountry. The diet staple was recommended to be enjoyed at home—that is of course until refrigeration became widely used. Oyster roasts quickly became a Lowcountry tradition that still serve as significant social and fundraising events every season. 

Commercialization of the oyster industry took off with shucking houses and canning. New technology and ice helped ramp up sales and gain more customers, allowing more and more people to enjoy the delicious local oysters. 

The Old Oyster Factory, a restaurant with extraordinary views and delicious dishes, is located on what used to be an oyster cannery on Hilton Head Island. During your next trip to the island, do yourself a favor and stop by for lunch or dinner!

Crassostrea Virginica—the Eastern Oyster 

There are five types of oysters that may be found in the United States, and out of those five, our local oyster is called Crassostrea Virginica, or the Eastern Oyster. As you might assume, each type of oyster differs depending on the environment they’re found in. As far as the oysters in Beaufort County go, their briny sweetness is considered some of the best you’ll ever taste!

Remember the “R” Rule

The local oyster season officially runs from September to April. 

The official rule of eating oysters states that you should only indulge in oysters during a month that includes the letter “r”. During the summer months the waters are warmer, becoming the perfect time for oysters to spawn. Restaurants that offer oysters year-round may source from farmers located in colder waters or have different cultivation methods that allow for safe consumption. However safe they may be to eat, spawning typically makes the oyster more watery and less flavorful than they’d be in season. 

Prioritize Freshness 

If you’re planning on hosting an oyster roast or serving them at an upcoming holiday meal, the best time to buy them is either the day of or the day before. If you need to store them overnight, ensure that you keep them alive and in an open container with a wet towel over top. This will keep the oysters from drying out. Speaking of hydrated oysters, check for oyster liquor—the official name of the natural juice found inside.

Incorporate Oysters in your Thanksgiving Dinner 

There are many ways to serve oysters, and what better way to incorporate them into your Thanksgiving dinner than in one of the tastiest side dishes? Try this recipe from Bon Appétit for the ever-delicious BLT Oyster Stuffing

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