The language of romance


Check out how to create a sexy bedroom, five romantic spots around town, giving from the heart and how to enjoy Valentine’s Day as a single.


Check out how to create a sexy bedroom, five romantic spots around town, giving from the heart and how to enjoy Valentine’s Day as a single.

5 romantic spots for Valentine’s Day

5 romantic spots for Valentine’s Day

By Gail Westerfield

Though expensive dinners and weekends at swanky hotels can be great ways to show your beloved how you feel, real romance can be cooked up at little or no cost in unexpected places nearby. Here are five favorites for Lowcountry lovers.

An island retreat for two: Daufuskie Island — While it’s not exactly deserted, Daufuskie is so tranquil that it seems hundreds of miles from The Real World. This lush subtropical paradise can only be reached by boat or ferry, and once you’re there, rent a golf cart or bike to explore the historic sites, three funky art galleries, and pristine, uncrowded beaches on this five-mile island. (And don’t hesitate to take all opportunities to go off the beaten path and neck a little.) Though it’s great for a day trip, consider spending the evening dancing at Marshside Mama’s Café and then stay in one of the unique converted “crab shacks” at Freeport Marina.

Directions: For ferry schedules, call Calibogue Cruises at 843-342-8687; Palmetto Ferry Company at 843-757-7819


Love among the ruins: Old Sheldon Church Ruins — If your idea of romance runs to the southern gothic, you and your true love can pack a picnic and explore this quiet spot, a favorite for Lowcountry weddings. Built in the mid-18th century, the church was burned in both the Revolutionary War and by Sherman’s troops during the Civil War. Hauntingly beautiful, the best time to visit is early in the morning, when the Spanish moss drips with dew.

Directions: At the junction of U.S. 21 and 17, take 21 North to Old Sheldon Church Road. Turn right. About ¼ mile past the stop sign, the historical marker and gate entrance will be on your right.


Retro romance: The Highway 21 Drive-In – Once a bastion of outdoor romancing, there are only a handful of drive-in movie theaters left in the country. South Carolina has just two and one of them is in Beaufort. The theatre shows double-features of first-run movies on two screens year-round. Movie lovers no longer have to strain to hear out of a speaker stuck to the rolled-down window; the sound comes through your car’s radio. Grab a giant popcorn and other treats to share from the well-stocked concession stand. Snuggle together in your car on chilly nights or bring lawn chairs (and bug repellent!) when the weather’s balmier.

Directions: Take S.C. 170 into Beaufort. At the light where 170 ends, turn left onto U.S. 21 North. Pass the Marine Corps Air Station. The drive-in entrance will be on your left. To find out what’s playing, call 843-846-4500 or for more information, call 843-846-4021.


For swingers only: Beaufort’s Waterfront Park — Though this gorgeous spot is great any time for snuggling and people-watching, sunsets over the river can be particularly spectacular here (you might have to vie with other lovebirds for a spot on the tandem swings). Get a drink or a bite to eat afterward at a nearby restaurant. Or steep yourselves in more romance with a walk over to the nearby historic Old Point neighborhood, where you can  hold hands and stroll in the middle of the street (most of the time) while gazing at the antebellum architecture and lush landscaping.

Directions: Henry Chambers Waterfront Park is off Bay Street in downtown Beaufort.


Love as big as all outdoors: Hunting Island Marsh Boardwalk — Tucked away just past the entrance to Hunting Island, a well-maintained quarter-mile trail crosses a couple of tiny marsh islands and ends at an observation platform. There you’ll find panoramic Lowcountry scenery both breathtaking and serene, often with only marsh birds and fiddler crabs for company.

Directions: Take U.S. 21 through St. Helena and about a mile past Hunting Island State Park. The boardwalk will be on the right. It’s marked with a sign at the entrance to the small parking lot. Open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Want to make your bedroom sexy?


Want to make your bedroom sexy?

By Heather Bragg

Take a good look around your bedroom.

If you’re married with kids, there might be laundry baskets piled in the corner or kids’ toys under foot. If you’re single, perhaps you’ve “girlified” it with pink throw pillows and a collection of unicorn figurines. If you’re retired, maybe it’s time to reclaim your couples-only abode by moving the pictures of the grandkids to a different room.

According to Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to improve life by receiving positive energy, you might have some negative juju preventing passion from playing out.

“Feng Shui is understanding the energy around us,” said Carol Hamilton, a creative professional coach who offers homeopathy services, training and presentations. “You can change the inside and it reflects the outside or change the outside and it reflects the inside. It goes both ways.”



Conjure up some romance by focusing on pairing up the aesthetics, such as two lamps, two candlesticks and two plants.

“You are looking to decorate in twos to represent each other,” Hamilton said. “They don’t have to be a complete match, but they need to feel good together, connected in some fashion.”

Emphasize equality and partnership in the relationship by placing the bed with equal space and equal lighting on both sides. Keep electronics to a minimum, which means no television. If you have a television in your room, try to keep it on something soothing, such as music, not CNN.

“You are setting yourself up for a state of sleep,” Hamilton said. “It’s nice to have something soothing rather than the world’s problems with you.”

The bedroom is a place where hearts open and you need to feel secure, Hamilton added. Place a headboard and footboard on the bed, which will serve as an enclosure while you sleep.

Spice up your love life by taking all of the family pictures off the chest of drawers and moving them into the common areas.

“When you’re having adult fun, who wants to look up and see pictures of someone else’s face,” Hamilton said. “It takes away the energy from the room. This particular room is meant for the adults in the house. You are not mothers, daughters or sisters. This is the couples’ space.”



Busy parents, mark your territory. Your bedroom is not a toy box. Turn your bedroom into a haven of comfort, a place where you can get away, Hamilton said.

“I had a couple who had two children,” she said. “I said, ‘What’s your favorite room?’ They both told me the hotel room from their honeymoon.”

The couple purchased a luxurious comforter that reminded them of their honeymoon suite. They painted the walls to match.

“It’s not about the perfect portrait,” Hamilton said. “It’s supposed to represent you, remind you, ‘I loved him that day.’ That’s the feeling you want to have as you step into the room.”

If you’re trying to get pregnant, try painting the walls red. When Hamilton coached a couple who were trying to get pregnant, she took one look at their walls and asked, “What color inspires you?”

“They both said red,” Hamilton said. “Whenever you have two people saying something at the same time, you know it’s meant to be.”

The couple painted the bedroom red and within a few months, they were pregnant. Once the baby was born, Hamilton received another call — they hadn’t slept in months.

“The red has to leave because it’s all about passion and life. It keeps you awake,” she said. “So, now, let’s do spa colors, blue colors.”



Invite in love by making room for another person.

“Single chairs in bedrooms are an invitation to being alone,” Hamilton said. “If you’re single and happy, then none of this applies.”

But if you are looking for love, don’t keep your bedroom covered in stuffed animals, frilly pillows and pink everything. Adorn the walls with art that emphasizes two people, such as silhouettes. Make a potential partner feel comfortable in your bedroom.

“I walked into this woman’s office and she said everything was perfect, ‘All I need is a man,’” Hamilton said. “I said, ‘OK. Great. Now, tell me about that dead plant behind you. So, you’re telling me that you don’t have time to feed a plant but you have time to nurture a man?’”

Create space for another person and they will come, Hamilton said.

For more information about Carol Hamilton, call 290-4997 or e-mail

Watching your wallet this Valentine’s Day?

Watching your wallet this Valentine’s Day?

By Laura Jacobi

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about grand gestures of expensive jewelry or a weekend getaway. It’s a day designed for people to make the effort to remind that special someone how much they love them and why.

When it comes to February 14, it really is the thought that counts when gift giving is concerned, which is a gift in itself for couples watching their wallets these days. They can be creative and romantic without spending lots of cash.

Everyone has planned a candlelight dinner at home to save money, but here are some other ideas:


A few of my favorite things

Can you remember a time when your husband or girlfriend bought you that little something after mentioning it just once? People feel cherished when the one they love notices the small details in their lives. One way to demonstrate how well you know them is to create a box of his or her favorite things. It could be a box of Junior Mints, hot chocolate and a fashion magazine or the latest Sports Illustrated, some corn chips and root beer.


Action speaks louder than words

Most have given or received love coupons. But those coupons, like others, never get redeemed. So, instead doing those things when they redeem the coupon, just do them now instead. Plan a romantic evening of pampering with a bubble bath drawn and a glass of wine (whatever is on sale) ready when they arrive home. Or do something they despise doing themselves, such as grocery shopping, vacuuming the car or most likely cleaning the bathrooms. Take one less thing off their to-do list by doing their “dirty work” for them.


A gift from the heart

Pass on the dozen roses costing close to $75. Give her less expensive flowers with sentimental value by displaying them in a family vase or copying the small arrangements at the restaurant where you had your first date.


Time is precious

One of the most precious gifts is the gift of time. For those workaholics out there or couples who work opposite shifts, take a day off work to spend time with your significant other. It’s is a way to show you’re sacrificing for him or her.

For busy parents trying to show how much they care without paying for dinner, a movie and a babysitter, sometimes a few moments to themselves is all they need to recharge their batteries. Give your significant other a copy of his or her favorite book or the latest chick-flick along with a few hours to enjoy it. Promise you’ll feed the kids, get them to bed and do the dishes, while they enjoy some alone time. It might not be the most romantic evening you had in mind, but it could be the gift he or she raves about all year.

As couples strive to stretch their dollar, remember that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to equal the biggest, shiniest or yummiest gifts. It’s about taking time out for your special someone. Thankfully, that can be done without blowing your budget.

Singles can enjoy holiday too!

Singles can enjoy holiday too!

By Jacquelyn Lewis

Even if you’re happily unattached, being single on Valentine’s Day can make you see red — and not in the form of heart-shaped boxes and roses.

“Every place you look, whether it’s a sign on a bus or TV, you’re inundated with messages about couples and being in love,” said Diane Mapes, author of the book “How to Date in a Post-Dating World” and a Seattle-based journalist who has written about single life for publications across the country, including BUST magazine, Southern Living, and The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “The message from the media is very clear: It’s supposed to be all about someone giving you a diamond tennis bracelet — whatever that is —and taking you out to dinner.”

But despite the barrage of cutesy commercials and the fact that the holiday has historically focused on twittering twosomes, singles don’t have to ignore — or even cringingly endure — Feb. 14. Instead, Mapes and some in-the-know locals we chatted up said it’s possible to make a solo Valentine’s Day special by creating singles-only traditions.

Debi Lynes, host of the WHHI-TV shows “Girl Talk” and “Healthy Living,” recommended volunteering for a good cause every Valentine’s Day. Get the job done by lavishing love on homeless animals at the Hilton Head Humane Association, handing out roses at a senior center, or offering your babysitting services to a couple with children so they can enjoy a romantic night out. If you’re short on time, donating money to the American Heart Association can be another meaningful way to commemorate Feb. 14.

Mapes, who describes herself as happily single, suggested a tasty act of generosity, baking cookies for friends and family. “Doing something nice for somebody else gets you over yourself,” she said.

If you need a simpler option, calling or visiting your parents or other family members is another heartfelt way to honor the day, both women said.

After you do something sweet for someone else, it might be time to treat yourself. Both Mapes and Lynes said reveling in a fancy spa treatment is a good Valentine’s Day pick-me-up.
Lynes added that sending yourself a bouquet of fresh flowers is another beautiful way to indulge.

Setting up a social outing with bachelor or bachelorette friends can also make for a fabulous 14th. Mapes suggested organizing a girls- or guys- only dinner or finding a funny way to acknowledge how annoying Valentine’s Day can be for singles: “I’ve had anti-Valentine’s Day parties,” she said with a laugh. “I served broken-heart cookies and refused to invite anyone who was part of a couple. You could also go bowling and imagine the faces of your rotten exes on the bowling pins.”

If you just feel like staying in, a good bottle of wine, some comfy pajamas, and a romantic movie is a relaxing yet festive combo, said Lynes. And Mapes said curling up with some supportive singles literature, such as Singular magazine or the anthology she edited in 2007, “Single State of the Union: Single Women Speak Out on Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness,” can provide some positive perspective.  “It’s good to realize that being in a couple, Valentine’s Day or not, does not guarantee happiness,’ she said.

Finally, taking a personal inventory of your own happiness and strengths, and thinking about what you can do to be good to yourself every day is a realistic and productive way to spend Feb. 14, Lynes said. And that’s a tradition you can keep year after year, no matter how your relationship status changes.

Five things about … romance

Five things about … romance

By Alex Cruden


In just about any published mention of Hilton Head in combination with romance, the ocean is prominent. Indeed, water and romance seem made for each other, and what is the Lowcountry if not wet?

In addition to being liquid and languid, the Hilton Head area is rather low-key.  The quiet natural surroundings let love’s lilting lushness live in a whisper.  Ah, listen and linger.



OK, if you really must try someplace other than Hilton Head, what are the world’s most romantic cities?  Top-10 lists always mention Paris and often Venice, Rome, Florence, New York, Honolulu and San Francisco. But consider these that are generally less crowded and less expensive:

Dubrovnik, Croatia, with its cozy cafes, smooth stone streets and walled harbor; exotic Rabat, Morocco; Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany, site of a famous castle and a breathtakingly beautiful village; Cape Town, South Africa, with fantastic scenery, beautiful beaches, and wine and wildlife nearby, and the fascinating American cities New Orleans, Santa Fe and San Antonio.



Upwards of 670 million people speak Romance languages, though not all of them are in love. Chief among these languages are French, Italian and Spanish.  They're called Romance languages because they're derived from the Latin spoken by Romans way back when.

Their structure does hint of love. In Romance languages, nouns are masculine or feminine.  So, in Spanish, it could be romantic to take a book (el libro, masculine) to the beach (la playa, feminine).  Especially if it's a book that gets your head (la cabeza) in touch with your heart (el corazón), sparking ideas about love (amor).



Aside from “Happy Birthday” and “White Christmas,” in the world of music, is there any subject more popular than romance?  It spans the ages from Paul Anka’s “Puppy Love” to Paul McCartney’s “When I’m Sixty-Four” and beyond.

Surveys, sales charts and critics will never agree on the most popular love song of all, but “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers is among the most-often-cited. It includes the line “and time goes by,” which of course brings to mind the classic tune from what some say was the most grandly romantic movie ever, “Casablanca.”

Both the music and words of “As Time Goes By” were penned by the otherwise less-known Herman Hupfeld of Upper Montclair, N.J.  Hupfeld also wrote "When Yuba Plays the Rhumba on the Tuba Down in Cuba," which is definitely not one of the all-time romantic hits.



As with indigestion, sunburn and hangovers, scientists can explain the rush of romance without referring to shorelines, cities, language or music.  They say it’s mostly due to adrenaline-like substances that the body produces.  These cause the fast heartbeat and sweaty palms.

Specifically, dopamine and norepinephrine together “produce elation, intense energy, sleeplessness, craving, loss of appetite and focused attention,” researcher Helen Fisher says on  In a burst of non-science talk, she calls the combination “the cocktail of love rapture.”