Biking through History
One way to discover some of Hilton Head’s history is by taking a bike tour. Spinnaker Resorts offers weekly bike tours in the area. One sunny morning at Spinnaker’s Bluewater Resort – myself and a group of guests prepared for our ride through history with members of our Recreation Staff Lisa Ryan and Molly Lucci.
After making sure we were all comfortable with our bikes and got a brief overview of what to expect, we were off. We headed to a bike path passing an old plantation called Cotton Hope with grazing horses. Then we rode by a bucolic tree-lined residential area passing some older homes, which led us to the edge of the Gullah preserve.
The Gullah preserve is a historical area, which was the home of a unique culture of enslaved West Africans who inhabited the area prior to and since the Civil War. They developed a creole language, the Gullah language, and a culture rich in African influences that makes them distinctive among African Americans. They worked on the rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia.
We arrived at one of several historical cemeteries founded in the 1800s with more than 125 graves still in use for burials today. The most recent one was in 2013. The cemetery is maintained by a group of native Islanders that make up the Amelia White Cemetery Preservation Committee, which strives for the preservation of its land and culture, there’s an effort to keep the pride and memories of its ancestors alive with honor.
For me, it was a hidden forest waiting to be discovered. We parked our bikes and walked past the cemetery through a shady tree-filled area to explore. We came to a scenic overlook with a breathtaking view of the intercostal waterway. As we spotted a bald eagle, everyone rushed to grab their cameras to take a picture of this beautiful bird. Now that is something you don’t see every day.
The tour took about an hour and a half and offered some varied scenery, a history lesson, and unique vistas. Make sure to check out our Activities Schedule and sign up for one of our bike tours. You’ll be happy you did. Our bikes have baskets so you can carry a bottle of water, sunblock, and a small bag or backpack. A morning bike ride is a fantastic way to start your day.