Lee and Liz Niner

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TIDEPOINTE COUPLE SPENDING MUCH OF RETIREMENT ON THE ROAD

Lee and Liz Niner love TidePointe almost as much as they love their British MG autos — it’s close. Let’s just say the Niners love retirement here and their MGs in equal measures.

“We’re drivers,” Lee said. “Serious, serious drivers and rallyers.”

In the past year, they’ved hopped into their two-seat 1960 MGA1600 and driven 3,200 miles to Ottawa for a car rally, then traveled 2,600 miles to Michigan for another event. No interstates for this couple. It’s all back roads.

“It’s fun to be together,” said Liz, 70, who retired after 25 years as a special education teacher. “I enjoy driving the car as much as he does. Being a passenger in the car is extremely comfortable. It’s a challenge and an adventure for us. We meet people from all over the world. Not too many people can have the friends from all over and meet once a year and feel like you saw them yesterday.”

Both grew up in Towson, Maryland, a mile away from each other. Both were drawn to British roadsters as youngsters.

“In elementary school, we didn’t know each other,” said Lee, 71, who was in the military for 31 years before becoming a mechanical engineer in Pennsylvania. “She and I both, independently, developed a love of British sports cars. To this day, I can remember MGs, Morgans and Jaguars tooling down the road” while walking to school.

Years later, they met for the first time at a Baltimore Colts football party and married two years later in 1966. They have two children and four grandchildren.

They bought their first MG in 1981, a 1952 MGTD with no heater and no radio. Of course, they quickly joined the national MG register. In 1990, they bought a 1964 MGB, joined another club and signed up for the MGB register. In 1994, they bought a 1960 MGA 1600, joined the MGA register and started writing a column for its magazine. They needed a bigger garage.

“When you’re into cars, the first thing you do is measure the garage” when considering buying a new home, Lee said.

The couple bought a timeshare at Shipyard Plantation in 2006, which they still own, and bought their spacious cottage home at TidePointe in 2013. Before the couple moved to the Lowcountry, they sold their first two MGs, and now park their MGA 1600, her meticulous 2001 Miata and his Cadillac Escalade in the cottage’s garage.

Lee attends monthly meetings of the local car club and weekly lunches with a handful of members, and volunteers at the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance.

At TidePointe, they are immersed in activities and social get-togethers with friends.

Liz is the social planner of the household, arranging dinner plans with different couples every night at the clubhouse, tending to her flower committee commitments, and enjoying trivia and bingo.

“We belong here,” said Liz, who has muscular dystrophy, which doesn’t stop her from leading an active life. “It was meant to be. We’re delighted to be here. The facility, the people. The people make TidePointe.”

“Living here is like a cruise ship,” Lee added.

“We’re more fulfilled with our life,” she said. “We’re more active because there is so much being offered. We can get out and do whatever we want and participate.”

Yes, life in the Lowcountry is good for the Niners.