A Stroll Through Old Town Bluffton
Bluffton, South Carolina is known by many simply as the gateway to Hilton Head Island because it sits before the Hilton Head bridge. Bluffton is gaining momentum with more vacationers visiting the area for its eclectic mix of restaurants, art galleries, historic buildings and shops. The Old Town Bluffton or historic district is one square mile in size. Bluffton itself stretches far beyond that with population of over 12,000. It has seen an astonishing growth rate of 882.7% between the 2000 and 2010 census! The historic district boasts colorful art galleries, historic residences of columned wrap-around porches and old churches, a Farmer’s Market and cafes, and the May River on its doorstep.
Bluffton was home to the wealthy, a place for the rice and cotton plantation owners to get away from the hot humid summers and be comforted by cool river breezes from the high ground. The waterways also provided easy access (via the water) which led to Bluffton being a key center for commercial access and activity.
The secession of the union started in Bluffton under the sweeping branches of a live oak tree still known today – over 100 years later – as The Secession Oak. The area was a hotbed for secession talk and became known as the “Bluffton Movement”. The Civil War brought Union soldiers to Hilton Head Island, Savannah and Beaufort while Bluffton itself held out. The town was burned not once but twice, with only 10 homes and two churches left standing.
Now today, Bluffton thrives as an ever-growing residential community with outlet shopping, cinema, bowling, golf courses, schools, churches, and more. The Old Town Bluffton historic district has a charming southern spirit that lures to it vacationers and nearby residents alike. I thought it fun to take a stroll around Old Town Bluffton and capture some of its unmistakable lure for you. Enjoy!