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The Bluffton Experience

Quick Details

Hour Glass  Duration: 3 or 4 hours

Calendar  Availability: Year-round, Thursday Farmer’s Market Trip

Map Marker Departure Location: Shelter Cove & Palmetto Bluff

Users  Ages: All ages

From Hilton Head- 4 hours Shelter Cove Marina
Child 12 and under

Explore picturesque Bluffton- the birthplace of secession

This trip begins with a boat cruise from Hilton Head or Palmetto Bluff to the Calhoun Street dock in Old Town Bluffton, where you will be greeted by the beautiful Church of the Cross, built in 1857. From there, enjoy a walking tour of the historic downtown with stops at art galleries, shops, historic homes and cultural sites. Highlights include: the Heyward House museum and visitors center, Seven Oaks mansion, the Garvey House, the Carson Cottage, Jacob Preston pottery, the Society of Bluffton Artists, the Bluffton Oyster Company (the last hand-shucking oyster house in South Carolina), and, on Thursdays, the Bluffton Farmers Market. After your tour, we will load back on the boat for the return trip to the embarkation point.

The streets that comprise Old Town Bluffton were laid in the late 1830’s. Back then, the town was comprised of homes for wealthy Hilton Head plantation owners, who lived in Bluffton because its unique geography, on a bluff, provided pleasant winds that tempered the heat.  The city played an important role in the Civil War, as it was here, under a big oak tree, that R. Barnwell Rhett first proposed that South Carolina secede from the Union in 1844. This was after the Union troops, stationed on Hilton Head, had burned the town in 1863, leaving just 8 homes and 2 churches standing. Since then, the town has developed into a funky, artistic, culturally rich town steeped in Southern Spanish moss. They say ‘Bluffton is a State of Mind’, discover it for yourself!