In all my years as a traveler, I’ve only heard of the deep South—read about it online, talked about it with friends and watched its slow-moving way of life portrayed in movies and TV. Southerners, I was told, were “just as much about their bourbon as they were their faith.” Sprinkle in some bluegrass and sweet tea on backyard porches at sunset, and you’d have the perfect Southern portrait.
So when I landed in South Carolina this past November, I half expected to be greeted by a well-dressed Nicholas Sparks at baggage claim or, at the very least, by a basket of fresh-baked biscuits. Of course, this wasn’t the case, but Sparks or not, I was ready to learn all about the South, its culture, cuisines, people and long-held traditions.
From the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, it’s about a 40- to 45-minute drive to Montage Palmetto Bluff. Located in Bluffton, between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, the resort sits along the May River in a 20,000-acre private community. As you make your way to the property, rows of moss-laden Spanish oak trees huddle together along the street, creating the most picturesque welcome committee.
When it comes to choosing your accommodation, Montage has 15 different categories ranging from cottage view rooms to spacious suites, private residences and three- to four-bedroom homes. I stayed in one of the three-bedroom Village Homes overlooking the river that sits in Wilson Village. All homes come with gourmet kitchens, daily housekeeping, full-sized bath products, separate living and dining areas, washers and dryers, and terraces complete with rocking chairs.