The course was easy and mapped out. The kids were booked to visit "GiGi" (their grandmother). And my husband, Lee, and I were stoked to have an exer-date (exercise + date = exer-date) and stocked a backpack with water, a credit card, raincoats (because if you bring them, you'll never have to use them), and sunglasses for our 25-mile bike ride around Hilton Head.
Aside from getting a great workout and seeing the Island from a new perspective, I was looking forward to our ride and spending three, uninterrupted-by-work-or-children hours with Lee. Also—and I recommend this to anyone who, like myself, is not naturally a plaque-reader—it was awesome to go with someone who was genuinely interested in Hilton Head’s unique history and would stop and not only smell the camellias but would also explore every historical landmark or point of interest.
Our first stop-worthy place was the Compass Rose Park, which pays homage to Charles Fraser with a sculpture.
After working our quads up the Cross Island bridge, we made our way to Spanish Wells Road. The mixture of people cooking up Sunday brunch and the salt marsh made us feel even more at home on our Island.
Along the way, we found our first historical plaque and learned about Charlie Simmons, Sr. also known as "Mr. Transportation" and a jovial figure Lee remembered from his childhood here on Hilton Head.
Lee then spotted a plaque he had never noticed before about Greyton Taylor.
And though I have passed the William Simmons House and Gullah Museum several times, because we were on bike, I was able to actually explore it. This, in tandem with all the locals sitting on their porches, evoked images of the early days on the Island when the Gullah people were the heart and soul of our local economy.
Our last historic site was The Heritage Library's Historic Zion Cemetery and Baynard Mausoleum, which is the oldest structure on the Island. Lee recalled going there as a boy and ghost stories about the place, which is what I like to call "spooky beautiful" and seemed to house spirits, stories and superstitions alike.
Though there are several places to fuel up along the route we went to our old tried and true Sunday hot spot, Captain Woody's on Target Road (which is a slight detour from the course). There we indulged in the kickin’ camarones appetizer (fried shrimp tossed in a homemade sweet and spicy ponzu sauce), a cup of shrimp and grits, fish tacos and adult beverages.
Returning back to Coligny Beach, we felt satiated in every way—from enjoying all that Hilton Head has to offer, to our conversations, to our Lowcountry fare.