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Explore The Great Outdoors: Montage Palmetto Bluff

Whether you fancy a sunrise kayak adventure or a tranquil day at the spa, this luxury resort has something for everyone.

By Trisha Boyer

The final five miles of the drive to Montage Palmetto Bluff set the tone for what awaits. A winding two-lane road meanders beneath a canopy of live oaks draped with Spanish moss. And when the tree line breaks, there’s a mystical Lowcountry landscape as far as the eyes can see.

At its core, Palmetto Bluff is a conservation-focused residential and recreational community, spanning 20,000 acres of maritime forest, surrounded by the May, Cooper, and New Rivers.

The new Inn, which Montage unveiled in 2016, exudes Southern hospitality at every turn, taking its inspiration from the R.T. Wilson Jr. Mansion that occupied the land in 1900. It now stands as the centerpiece of the Wilson Village at Palmetto Bluff, offering luxurious accommodations and amenities beyond its stately white columns.

Time seems to pause the minute you reach the property. Gaslights dot the streets. Bikes and golf carts are the preferred mode of transportation. The Inn’s wide, breezy porches invite you to linger a little, maybe take a dip in the pool, or read a magazine amid the gardens. But the natural playground that surrounds the resort is at the heart of life at Palmetto Bluff and it beckons you to explore.

On water or land, indoors and out, there are plenty of activities to fill the days, and the onsite concierge can take the stress out of planning your experiences.

Starting the day with a 6:30 wake-up call may sound harsh, but a sunrise kayak adventure rewards with spectacular early morning sights and sounds—maybe even a dolphin sighting along the way. Back on shore, treat yourself to the biscuit bar at Buffalo’s (Saturday and Sunday), where fluffy pimento cheese biscuits and side of cane water grits will soothe away any achy muscles following your row. Or, grab a bite to go and immerse yourself in a moment of tranquility at the full-service Spa Montage.

Eight Har-Tru tennis courts, two bocce courts, four courtside shelters, a pro shop, and pavilion make up the Wilson Lawn and Racquet Club. Guests can practice their game in the shadows of thick pines and ancient oaks, or if rain dampens the day, Boundry Bowling and Game Room has plenty of indoor, ball-centric pursuits, including bowling, foosball, and shuffleboard.

Hunting and shooting sports have been part of life at Palmetto Bluff dating back to the earliest records of the land. The exceptional staff at The Palmetto Bluff Shooting Club welcome first-timers and experts alike to experience clay shooting in a fun and recreational environment enshrouded by the club’s dense the natural landscape.

There’s no better way to take in one of the property’s greatest assets, the May River, than by getting out on the water. Whether you plan a boat tour to a neighboring island, head out on a guided salt-water fishing expedition, paddleboard in the shallows, or cruise the May’s waterways aboard the meticulously restored 1913 yacht, Grace, the miles of calm water trails are a sight to behold.

Timing around a sunrise or sunset adds to the splendor.

Equestrian enthusiasts will appreciate Longfield Stables’ 173-acre farm, where guided rides and lessons are available for all ages and skill levels. And, golfers may plan their entire vacation around days spent at the May River Golf Club, playing the scenic, 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Course.

As night falls, dinner on Octagon Porch’s Southern veranda celebrates the bounty of local produce, meat, and seafood, with a menu that takes a modern approach to classic Carolina cuisine, like shrimp and grits, and, of course uber-fresh oysters pulled straight from the restaurant’s backyard.

From the porch it’s easy enough to extend the night with a cocktail and s’mores around one of the fire pits that dot the lawn.

And no visit would be complete without a walk through the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy. As testament to the community’s devotion to preserving the land that makes all these experiences possible, the Conservancy seeks to increase understanding of the natural and cultural environment of the Lowcountry. A walk along the trails highlights the many and varied species of plants and animals that call this beautiful part of the country home.

Getting there: Montage Palmetto Bluff is a 35-minute drive from both Savannah and Hilton Head airports. Multiple airlines service both routes daily with one-stop connections.

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