Southern charm

love-opera-victoria-bakerThose of you who are fans of Bravo TV’s newest reality show Southern Charm may have come to appreciate antebellum mansions, Southern belles and the glorious dolce far niente of sitting on the porch sipping sweet tea.

Of course, there’s a slight dose of drama in the mix too. But if the amours of Thomas Ravenel and Kathryn Dennis Calhoun have set your imagination racing about the Old South then let me tell you about a secluded island where Southern Charm isn’t just a TV show, it’s a way of life.

Last Father’s Day I took my dad on a short but wonderful golf trip to Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Situated on a gorgeous barrier island just a few miles from historic Charleston, it is one of the most special places on earth. The drive down from Charleston along mossy oak lined roads, past marshes and beautiful stretches of ocean is beautiful beyond description.

The lobby of Kiawah’s Sanctuary Hotel, exuding old world gravitas, overlooks the ocean and welcomes its weary city visitors with a sense of “you have arrived.”

But above all, I have come to cherish the sincere kindness of the staff, who felt more like friends by the time we left. The service at Kiawah is second to none. Some five star hotels have a snooty attitude, but the staff here are the most genuinely sweet, kind and caring people I have ever encountered. This is Southern hospitality at its finest.

The highlight for my dad was playing the Ocean Course, famous for hosting the 2007 Senior PGA and the 2012 PGA Championships. Located on the eastern-most end of Kiawah Island, the Ocean Course has more seaside holes than any course in the Northern Hemisphere: 10 right along the Atlantic with the other 8 running parallel to those.

The entire course gives players unobstructed views of Kiawah’s beautiful Atlantic coastline from every hole.

Of course, the memories I savor most are the sound of the ocean waves crashing but a few meters away from the green, the mossy oaks dotting the landscape and the pinkish glow of the sunset casting its light over the acres of perfectly manicured grounds. All this and the memory of my dad having the best weekend ever have given Kiawah and its exceptional staff a permanent space in my heart.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is more than a hotel. It’s the ultimate family destination. Walk on the beach, ride bikes, see the dolphins, take a nature walk…you’ll never be bored. Now I know why so many Greenwich residents choose to buy property there and become part of the Kiawah community.

My stay was brief, but the memory will last a lifetime.


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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