Hilton Head Island Rentals and Absentee Homeowner Services

The Yankee and the Gullah

The Yankee and the Gullah

On November 7, 1861 the waters off Hilton Head Island became the sight of the largest naval battle ever fought in American waters. As the “War of Northern Aggression” began to escalate, Hilton Head was invaded by over 12,000 federal troops who, in less than five hours, captured Fort Walker and forced the populace of Hilton Head to evacuate the island. Eventually more than 40,000 union troops would be quartered on the island; making the number of full time inhabitants more than today’s.

Federal Troops continued to occupy the island until well after the wars end, overseeing the beginning of the “Reconstruction” and the founding of “Mitchellville”, which was not only the first community built by freed slaves, but also the sight of the first mandatory education system in the United States. Many of the ancestors of the original Mitchellville founders still call Hilton Head home today. Eventually becoming known as “Gullahs”, these freed slaves developed their own culture and language; mixing their African heritage and religion with new world customs, the English language and Christianity. Today the Gullah culture is a special part of low country society, with many groups, businesses and organizations devoted to preserving this special heritage.

At Shelter Cove, a specialty shop sells Gullah Art, handmade “sweet grass’ baskets, books and a plethora of other items related to the culture. During the summer, Coligny Plaza’s outdoor stage is the sight of a weekly performance; called “The Gullah Experience”, the show is entertaining and educational, teaching visitors about the Gullah people, with music, song, dance and story telling. The Gullah heritage tour escorts the curious to Mitchellville and other historic sites around the island, important to the Gullah people and their customs and history. A fleet of passenger ferries depart from practically almost every port on Hilton Head, to transport locals and visitors to nearby Daufuskie Island; where the Gullah dialect is still very much in use and visitors can tour cemeteries, the “First African Church”, and the “Gullah Heritage Museum”, learning first hand, from native tour guides and Daufuskie residents.

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LOVE this place!! Highly recommend! My husband & I have spent the last four nights at this property.... we'll be leaving tomorrow and have already started planning our return trip! I can't say enough good things about this place... LOVED IT. For those who haven't been to Hilton Head before - it's absolutely amazing. This was our second trip - HH will be our only "beach vacation" destination from here on out! The beaches are beautiful (beach near Night Heron is very quiet!), the island has a great natural /outdoorsy feel, and there are amazing restaurants all over the island. (Highly recommend Truffles!!) Savannah is nearby for a daytrip on a cloudy/rainy day, and today we went kayaking on Broad Creek and had several dolphins come right up to our kayaks! The Night Heron community is great. I love the quaint feeling - reminds me of Girl Scout camp as a kid! The villas are tucked into the woods and feel isolated, even though there's plenty to do nearby. It's a shady 5 min walk to the beach, and an easy bike ride to Harbour Town shops/restaurants (sorry - didn't time it). Noise from traffic or other residents was never an issue -we fell asleep to the sound of frogs and awoke to the sound of birds singing. This villa backs up to a wooded area of trees, palmetto, and Spanish moss - fabulous view! The property itself is great - nicely renovated with fresh paint colors, great kitchen & bathroom, nice furniture throughout, etc. Big flat screen TV's in living room and bedroom are a perk. WiFi was reliable, which was good because we're computer junkies! The living room has lots of space - we brought our dog, so it was nice to have a large space to set up his XL dog crate in the living room. Washer & dryer in the bathroom were convenient - they're small, but wash/dry quickly. The bathroom cabinet has a shelf labelled "dog drying towels," which was a nice touch! (There is also a dog bed & several dog toys included.) Two boogie boards & a skim board on the screened porch - we didn't use them, but would be great for a family with kids. Cleaning supplies are included for any quick cleanups (we love the Shark sweeper - need one for our own house!). Honestly, I can't think of anything that this house was lacking or any drawbacks that I noted. Booking was easy through BeachBum property management, and Margot & Jim (property managers) stopped by today while they were in the neighborhood. Overall, we had a great trip and wish we didn't have to leave tomorrow!! We'll be back!
Cathy B - Hickory, NC


4 Roma Ct
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928