High season eventually quiets to a close, as the children head back to school. Folks who are still in that fastest frame of life, the chapter in which careers and homes and communities and growing families seem to take every last moment of their attention, and every ounce of energy, clamber into their cars, or board a plane, and return to the lives they looked forward to leaving for just a week or two, with their vacation on Hilton Head Island.
What we know from welcoming so many back for a return visit is that people are never the same after taking in the view from here, the vista that was created when the Harbour Town Lighthouse was built. Things look different from here, and the experience becomes part of the life story of growing and awakening – not only for the school-age kids who are now heading home, but also for whole families, couples, and single people, too.
Some Can Mark the Change
For some of the guests we have welcomed to the lighthouse, the change they experienced here is easy to point out. Folks come back to revisit the place where they celebrated their wedding, popped the question, or experienced their first kiss. For some, it was the photo they took to show their friends back home what a remarkable view they had come to discover. Still others waved to their friends in real time via the webcam that streams from the observation deck.
For millions of others, the change that the view from the Harbour Town Lighthouse brought on has only an internal landmark. It is a sense that the concerns that might have enveloped a person’s attention before that moment are no longer so big or so dark or so difficult to overcome.
In fact, people tell us that their views in general were transformed by the moments they experienced – or shared – in the view of a more beautiful horizon that they took in when they mounted the 114 steps to the top of the lighthouse. They see things differently – and they like the change.
Tokens for Remembering
Long ago, we began to make it possible for guests to bring something back for remembrance. For some, it’s a shirt, a cap, an image, or a piece of an artisan’s work that reminds them from the Shoppe at the Top upstairs. For others, it might be an heirloom, a globe, a nautical instrument, or a book or an art photo from the Gift Galley just inside our door. The impulse is to mark the experience with something tangible they can take home.
Yet, whether a guest decides to take home a souvenir or a keepsake from the Harbour Town Lighthouse, we know from the many we have welcomed back over the years that coming here gave them an experience they take with them. More than a memory. And in big ways and small ways – yet always in good ways – they tell us they were never the same. Come and say hello. We are grateful for the chance to share what we know about America’s favorite vacation island, and what you can see from here.