Sometimes our passion for boating needs a little rejuvenation. Think of the times when you’ve just completed a grueling passage or an arduous session in a boatyard. Or you just need a little break in your passage north or south. The solution? Head a little off the beaten track to Palmetto Bluff and Wilson Landing on the banks of the May River near Bluffton, South Carolina.
Wilson Landing is a certified South Carolina Clean Marina. It impresses with its permeable paths and walkways, the native plants in the landscaping and the view of the May River. The dry stack storage has 80 spaces for boats up to 36 feet long and a dock with six platform lifts. Two in-water slips can accommodate boats 50 to 60 feet long with electric power and cable.
The marina is located in the middle of the May River. Enter its mouth from Calibogue Sound and follow the markers up river. Harbormaster Chris Storey cautions, “There are a few sandbars, some well-marked. The largest is right in front of Wilson Landing between Markers 9 and 10. But, remember that the tidal range is 8 to 11 feet.”
Storey explains the two categories for overnight dockage. “The first is ‘transguests’ staying ashore. The dockage fee is $10 per foot per day and guests have access to all the resort’s venues.” For those staying aboard, “the fee is $3 per foot plus a $100 per night resort facility charge.”
Crescent Communities, a resort home community, has so many amenities, it will be hard to choose. All are open to guests. You can stay on your boat at the Visitor’s dock, in one of the cottages, or a 3, 4 or 5- bedroom house. For a true break, select a cottage suite with views of the river or forest complete with a screened porch, fireplace and steam shower. Pick up a golf cart at the Inn and explore to your heart’s content.
Activities include two swimming pools, tennis, a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course, horseback riding, walking and bicycle paths, and electric boats to explore the water trails. Take an evening cocktail cruise aboard the Grace, a 60-foot motor yacht built in 1913 and restored in 1966.
For relaxation, don’t skip the spa with its full menu of treatments. After changing into plush robes and slippers, you are led to a quiet sun porch overlooking the lagoon. Enjoy champagne and oysters or strawberries and chocolate before heading off to a wonderful massage. The organic spa products come from natural plants and materials onsite, including the pluff mud. Apparently, couples used to actually slide down the banks of the May River on the pluff mud then enthusiastically clean each other in the water.
The property itself is idyllic. Humans as far back as Paleoindians in 10,000 B.C. have appreciated the beauty of the maritime forest, the marshes, and the native wildlife. At some point there were 21 plantations on the 20,000 acres. A wealthy New Yorker bought the property in 1902 for a hunting preserve. A New Jersey paper company bought in 1937 and turned the acres into a sportsman’s conservation area. A land management and development company bought Palmetto Bluff in 2000.
The Montage Hotels group took management of the Inn in February. The spa building was demolished to be replaced with a new SpaMontage
building. For the next two to three years, guests will be welcomed to the Cottage Spa. With only five treatment rooms, “We lost the baths and the Vichy treatments, so some of our special packages are temporarily not available,” the spa director explained.
Palmetto Bluff’s dining includes the more formal River House Restaurant and the Canoe Club Restaurant where you feel like you’re dining under an immense overturned wooden canoe. The feeling is heightened by the views of the May River and the Water Trail. Lunch choices include the May River Bar and Grill at the Golf Clubhouse, or Buffalo’s corner café in Wilson Village. Buffalo’s is the gathering spot for breakfast, lunch and snacks. All the bread, pastries and ice cream are created in-house and can be enjoyed on an outdoor patio as well as in the café.
Make your reservations early to enjoy the 32 miles of riverfront, the rippling marshes backed by maritime forests, the abundant wildlife, and all the resort offers. Palmetto Bluff is a respite to enjoy solitude and quiet beauty in luxurious settings.
For more information, contact www.palmettobluff.com. To contact the marina, call 843.706.2757.