9 Reasons To LOVE Bluffton
Author: Mary Frances Lowrey
1.) “Bluffton is a State of Mind” is the town’s unofficial motto. It is painted, carved and shellacked on nearly every piece of driftwood that floats up from the May River. Go to any art gallery speckled along the quaint streets in Old Town Bluffton and you will find some piece of art with this phrase on it. It’s true. Bluffton is a state of mind: calm, artsy, eclectic and fun.
2.) The epitome of Bluffton is a small boutique in an old converted gas station. The walls are covered in local art, miscellaneous artifacts, ladies’ clothing, and the best “stuff” that you could ever want to buy. Eggs“n”tricities oozes artsy, eclectic and fun, and the ladies who run the place know everyone and everything going on in town. Walking around the shop is an excursion and a mental vacation.
3.) The “Big Tex” Sandwich, served at Backwater Bill’s, is perfect if you want food that is delicious, hearty, satisfying and a bit messy. Two large eggs, tomatoes, melted American cheese and hand-pulled smoked pork piled oh so very high on Texas toast is fantastic! Nestled on the lake in the Hampton Lake community, Backwater Bill’s’ relaxing setting and the fabulous staff make it a perfect choice for lunch (Wed.-Sun.) and dinner (Fri. & Sat.). Take it from a true Texan, the “Big Tex Sandwich” is well worth the call for your gate pass: (843) 836-7475.
4.) Tailgating is a must at the Rose Hill Polo Matches. If you are a horse aficionado, then your reason for attending this annual Bluffton event has true merit. If you are looking for a fun, outdoor community gathering where people tailgate under white tents with a spread of food served on everything from sturdy plastic to sparkling silver, or if you just want to hold a Solo cup of spicy tomato juice and vodka, then you have found the right place. There are people at the polo matches who love horses and people who just love a reason to congregate. May 1, 2011 is the next reason to congregate.
5.) Bluffton Oysters. The briny flavor offers a delicious taste of the Lowcountry and the best excuse for a get together with family and friends. The oysters harvested from Bluffton waters are plump, juicy and the very best.
6.) Pack a picnic, slather on the sunblock, toss a football or Frisbee into the boat and head out to the infamous Bluffton Sandbar, the place to be every weekend May through September. There is something magical about an island that arrives and disappears with the tide. Most families arrive at the beginning of low tide and depart with the last grain of sand visible on the sandbar, leaving the younger partying crowd to boat hop and flirt.
7.) The Bluffton Village Festival, known to many locals as May Fest, is an event that symbolizes the Bluffton way. On Saturday, May 7, artisans and craftsmen from throughout the Southeast will converge on Calhoun Street to celebrate the annual Bluffton festival. The streets will be filled with people socializing and shopping. There will be music playing, and artists will proudly show their works. Vendors sell fresh produce and canned goods, and new visitors will get a taste of what makes Bluffton so very loved—the mix of all things old and new.
8.) Bluffton is quirky, artsy, and vibrant, and the May River Theatre is the beating pulse at the heart of it all. The quarterly shows entertain and delight audiences with everything from offbeat local productions (most recently Sandbar Serenade) to Broadway musicals—Chicago is coming in May! The intimate Ulmer Auditorium is the perfect setting for the local talent to wow audiences with their powerful performances; but, what makes it one of the nine reasons to love Bluffton is that at the end of every performance, the cast lines up in the lobby to thank patrons for coming. That speaks of Bluffton’s “attitude of gratitude.”
Artwork by Margaret Golson
9.) Everyone loves a symbol. Remember wearing the Hard Rock Café T-shirts from wherever? Or even seeing the Salty Dog T-shirt on someone outside of Hilton Head? The number nine reason for loving Bluffton is the symbol of the Bluffton Crab. The image is so popular that it is not reserved for T-shirts alone–bumper stickers, pot holders, pottery, paintings, stationery, salt and pepper shakers—anything goes. It symbolizes the flavor of the Lowcountry: Like the crab, we may walk funny, have vibrant colors on our hard outer shells, and taste sweet, but watch out for our pincers!