A Life with Pawley’s
– by Bryce
For more than 35 years, Pawley’s Island has played a part in my life. My first trip to the beach was at age three when we stayed at my Aunt and Uncle’s beach house in Surfside Beach just North of Pawley’s. Their home was tucked three rows from the beach on the bank of the inlet also known as the “marsh”.
After years of annual trips to Surfside, we would always find our way to the quant Pawley’s Island Hammock Shops. We would stroll through the Banyan trees draped with Spanish moss while my mother and Aunt shopped for nothing in particular. The ice cream was the only thing that would keep my brother’s and my interest at that young age.
As the years passed, my family became increasingly fond of Pawley’s as development and sprawl changed the charming nature of Surfside. For the past 20 years the rustic beach homes of Pawley’s has served as our beach vacation retreat. As I have matured through life so has my appreciation for Pawley’s. I was a baby, child, teenager, young man, husband and father all while the tide continued it’s routine and the cycle of life carried on in the marsh.
I have watched my 3 daughters each catch their first Carolina Blue Crab with the same awe and splendor I experienced more than 25 years ago. It is still one of the highlights of my summer to catch a big blue crab and set him free until next year. I never imagined that Pawley’s Island would make me the inspirational teacher of respecting marine life to my children that I have become. My 3 girls do not fear ghost crabs, blue crabs, horseshoe crabs or moon jellies, but respect them immensely. They help protect turtles nests even though they still can’t figure out how they got there. And they lay on their bellies on the creek dock awaiting the next amazing creature to appear in my cast net.
Even today, when I close my eyes, I can smell the pluff-mud and see the glistening sun on the water’s surface and the gentle bend of the marsh grass as a breeze pays a visit.
While other families long for busy boardwalks, the hot sun, and crowded beaches, there is no place I would rather be than watching the sun rise over the ocean and set over my precious marsh.
My Favorite Pawley’s Island Vacation Memory
– by Gina
I’d have to say that my most favorite memory from our annual trek to the beach has occurred in three separate, yet similar moments. Etched in my brain are the visions of three different, year-old girls exploring the ocean for the very first time.
We rent a house on the beach every year – what comes with this is a quiet and family-friendly beach. Each year that we had a “new walker” it was so amazing to watch the reaction on their face and her individual response to seeing the ocean. Sand was not usually a problem – dig in and get covered from head to toe.
Our first daughter, Sydney, walked towards the water very cautiously, and it took a few days for her to actually get close enough to allow the surf to meet her toes. After that, huge smiles covered her face whenever she ran up to and actually “touched” the water. Very respectfully, very cautiously.
Our second daughter, Ava, put one foot in the sand and bee-lined straight toward the sea!! Giggling, grinning from ear to ear and having the time of her life. We soon referred to her as “shark bait” because if not watched every moment she would have just crept into the sea further and further. No fear, all-fun.
Our third daughter was much the same as our second – yet instead of making that familiar beeline, she waited awhile. Watching, analyzing and then before you knew it, she made that same run for the water’s edge. Maybe to follow the lead of her sisters, or maybe just following her urge to jump right in this magnificent wonder. Quick hesitation, overcome with joy.
No matter where I am or what I am doing, I am always able to bring those three memories to reality with less than a moment’s notice. Those itty-bitty faces, glowing with curiosity and excitement, eyes sparkling from the reflection of the bright sun.
Now that the girls are getting older – 7, 5 and 3 – regardless of how they have grown and changed for the year, when we reach the beach house and all go running to the beach for the first time, I see those beautiful “new walker” faces seeing the surf for the very first time.