Bluffton Today Article on The Seabrook

Where do we go from here? The Seabrook of Hilton Head

Posted: October 17, 2012 – 12:06am


Courtesy of The Seabrook


In the olden days, our parents and grandparents faced a grim future as they aged. In most cases, they had two choices: Live with family or go to an old folks’ home.

Now those “old folks’ homes” are gone and replaced by fancy retirement communities that offer a promising future, regardless of age. Who knew how many choices we would have right here in our own little corner of the world?

This retirement community is the last in our series, and it happens to be home-grown, so to speak.

The Seabrook of Hilton Head has been a highly-regarded independent retirement community on the island for 30 years. It enjoys the distinction of being the only non-profit continuing care retirement community in Beaufort County.

The story behind its existence is so unique that it’s worth telling. You might say the residents of Hilton Head Island built it.


Seabrook’s founding

Its history goes back to 1971 when Hilton Head was in its infancy. At that time, the population was beginning to grow at a fast pace, primarily with older adults who recently retired. They were lured to the island by its semi-tropical beauty and ideal weather and for its active lifestyle.

These retirees were not ready for rocking chairs. However, Rev. John Calvin Reid of the First Presbyterian Church recognized that these adults would eventually need a helping hand as they aged and felt that the island should look into building a retirement community to provide for their later years.

Rev. Reid discussed this concept with the church leaders, who responded enthusiastically. They formed a committee comprised of pillars of the community to do a feasibility study, chaired by Bob Killingsworth, who passionately pursued this endeavor. They left no stone unturned as they researched every minute detail.

News of this proposed plan spread throughout the island and the response was overwhelmingly in favor of it. The venture became so popular that five additional island churches endorsed the project and encouraged their members to make generous donations toward helping it become a reality.

With the many headaches involved and hurdles to climb, it took 10 years to finally get going with the project. Bob Killingsworth negotiated with Charles Fraser, founder of Sea Pines Plantation, to buy 12 acres of land a short distance from the ocean.

The formal groundbreaking finally took place in 1981 and they wasted no time in getting started with the building. Seabrook opened its doors for business in 1982. At that time, they had only two five-story apartment buildings. They now have five and have acquired 11 additional acres.

Rev. Reid’s brainchild is now solidly established on Hilton Head Island.

Location and amenities

The Seabrook is nestled among tall pines in a lovely serene setting.


To get there, take the Cross Island Expressway to the island, which then becomes Palmetto Bay Road. When you reach Sea Pines Circle, turn onto Pope Avenue toward the ocean. Drive a short distance, pass the Holy Family Catholic Church on the right, then immediately turn into the entrance to the church and keep going until you see the gate into the Seabrook.

Since it is a gated community, it would be wise to call the director of sales prior to going for access to the grounds at 842-3747.

Your first stop will be the clubhouse, which is the heart of everything that happens at the Seabrook. This is the focal point where the residents gather for dining and for the many interesting and planned activities offered.

A covered rustic walkway leads to and from the clubhouse and branches out to the five apartment buildings, so regardless of the weather, the residents are sheltered.

The clubhouse boasts a large, attractively decorated dining room where the residents enjoy lunch or dinner; their choice. The Seabrook is well known for its excellent cuisine. Their meals are buffet style, but the residents may be served at their table if they prefer.

The clubhouse provides a sizeable library for readers with diverse interests, a huge gathering room that can be partitioned off for their many activities such as parties, lectures, movies, entertainment and their twice-weekly, on-the-house happy hour.


They also have a fitness center complete with a billiard table and table tennis. In addition, they have a “Cozy Corner” for the serious bridge players and other board games. Their outdoor heated pool can be reached from the clubhouse.

There also is a certified in-house home health department with a licensed nurse on duty for minor injuries or to answer questions, and they also make house calls.

A beauty salon is available five days a week. For those who enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with a sweet treat between meals, that’s available, too, in an inviting little break room.

Their outdoor activities are a woodworkers’ shop for the do-it-yourself hobbyist. There is a putting green to sharpen your game and horseshoes and shuffleboard for a challenge. Or you can just sit and enjoy the beauty of the manicured courtyard and the flowing fountains in the lagoons or take a walk on their hiking trails.

For a change of scenery, the ocean is less than a mile away, where you can take a walk on the beach. Nearby Coligny Plaza offers shops, restaurants and a theater for a pleasant diversion.

Apartment choices

The Seabrook offers apartment living only, but you may find that’s a good thing.

The apartments are quite spacious. Your choices are studio or one or two bedrooms. Some offer an additional room for a den or office. The two-bedroom apartments have two baths with at least one walk-in shower. All apartments have private balconies.

  • NOTE: Photos of  Apartment 1209 are on this blog. The spacious 2 bedroom corner apartment is for sale and features a luxury bath and great views! Click here

In the event of a fall or other health problem, the apartments have emergency pulls strategically located for quick response if help is needed.

Asking prices for the apartments vary, depending on the size, special features and the owner. Prices range from under $40,000 for a one-bedroom apartment to under $300,000 for two bedrooms and may be negotiated.

Keep in mind that many amenities are included in the monthly fee, which is based on the size of the apartment. To name a few, one meal a day (lunch or dinner), maintenance and housekeeping of the common areas, basic cable TV, water, sewer and trash removal, pest control, use of all clubhouse facilities and many more.

Expenses not included are homeowners’ insurance, electricity, phone, internet and premium cable. Also, new members pay a one-time membership fee of $15,000, which helps fund the capital reserve for improvements to the facility and grants voting rights.

Although the majority of the apartments are owned, the Seabrook also offers an alternative plan called an entry fee lease. Instead of purchasing, you may lease a specific apartment that is considerably less than purchasing and allows you to live in it for life. Fifty percent of the entry fee is refundable if you should choose to leave.

You are not responsible for any appliance repairs or property taxes. You have the same privileges as the homeowner with the exception of the right to vote on regime issues.

The Seabrook is governed by an active board of trustees, five of whom are elected Seabrook resident members, and six are community leaders. This board makes policy decisions related to the budget and long-range planning.

On-site health center

Fraser Health Center is a vital part of the Seabrook and was factored into the cost at its inception.

Since the Seabrook is a continuing care community, the planners recognized that the time may come when the residents may no longer be able to live independently or may require 24-hour skilled care for other reasons, such as assistance with daily tasks and medications.

Fraser Health Center has its own outside entrance, but is attached to the Seabrook for the convenience of the residents. Although Fraser is open to the public, Seabrook members have priority. Also, members who have been residents for at least one year have the advantage of a reduced rate.

Fraser Health Center offers spacious private rooms with private baths and can accommodate 33 patients. It offers both long-term and short-term stays. Fraser Health Center’s excellent reputation has been far-reaching in the Lowcountry. It has the distinction of being one of the top-rated Medicare-certified facilities in the state.

The Seabrook will celebrate its 30th anniversary Nov. 9 with a special member event. New models will be open Nov. 7 for preview.

It is a good time to tour the entire facility, which will give you a first-hand view of what they have to offer and the many upgrades they are proposing. You will have a one-on-one opportunity to ask a representative the many questions you will have.

If you are unable to be there, just call Joe Agee, director of sales, at 842-3747 and arrange for a tour at your convenience. The Seabrook website:

It has been an interesting journey reviewing these local retirement communities. Each has its own charm and special features, and all are worth visiting to see first-hand what they have to offer.

If you missed any of these articles, go to, search for Ginger Stone, and print them out and add them to your scrapbook. Then, when the time comes that a life change is necessary, you’re a step ahead.

May your future be all that you want it to be.


 More About The Seabrook

As a fully resident-owned, not-for-profit community, we control our own destiny. Sound judgment and prudent planning have provided us with a level of independence and autonomy enjoyed by few communities in the nation. We are not committed to corporate profits. Rather, we are committed to the health and happiness of one another.

Given the array of services available right here in our community, it’s no wonder residents are confident in the care they receive. Members who do not require special attention or services nonetheless take comfort in knowing they are there. Whenever necessary, living assistance, housekeeping, maintenance, transportation, in-home care, and medical services are available.

Living at The Seabrook is much like living at your favorite club. Our residents enjoy some of the best food on the island and the convenience of many on-site resort amenities and services, as well as all the benefits of Hilton Head Island living. Whatever your mood, whatever your interests, you’ll find everything you need right here in the comfort, security, and privacy of your
own community.

The natural beauty of our private community provides residents with daily inspiration and peace of mind. Featuring nature trails, tree-lined boardwalks, lagoons, fountains, expansive decks, and more, our campus was designed for island life and outdoor enjoyment. Beyond our grounds, the sugar-sand beaches, shopping plazas, and restaurants of Hilton Head await you, only a short walk or bike ride away.

Among Hilton Head retirement communities, only The Seabrook has stood the test of time. We measure success in decades, not years. Indeed, our 25-year history of stability and sound management has distinguished us as the island’s first and finest Continuing-care retirement community. We remain the standard by which all others are measured.

Community Amenities

  • Natural Gardens & Landscaping
  • The Seabrook Clubhouse
  • Heated Swimming pool
  • Extensive Library
  • Skilled Nursing Center
  • Exercise Facilities
  • Covered Walkways Throughout the Campus
  • Wheelchair-accessible Campus & buildings
  • 24-hour Security Supervision of Property
  • Beauty Parlor & Barber Shop
  • Recreational Rooms (Billiards, Crafts, Ping-Pong & More)
  • Cable Television Service
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Scheduled transportation Provided
  • Walking Path to the Beach

Meals & Activities

  • Dinner/Lunch Provided Daily*
  • Special Diet Accommodation
  • Social Programs & Activities
  • Weekly Happy Hour for Residents
  • Visiting Lecture Series
  • Educational Seminars
  • Orchestral Performances

Apartment Amenities

  • Private Balconies
  • Lagoon & Forest Views
  • Security Call System (building entrance)
  • Emergency Call System (Healthcare)
  • Smoke Alarm/ Sprinkler Systems
  • Lighted Parking Areas
  • Fully Electric Kitchens
  • Pets Allowed*
  • Wheelchair Accessibility
  • Optional Services Available
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Posted by on October 20, 2012 in Books


Penn Center 150 Year Gala 2012

The 2012 Penn Center Gala is Saturday, April 28th at the Crowne Plaza on Hilton Head Island! 2012 Inductees include: Louis Dore, John Gadsen and the University of South Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Celebrating 150 Years of Education, Leadership, and Service”

Click to see the invitation:  Gala2012Invitation

MAP to Penn Center, St. Helena Island

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Posted by on April 22, 2012 in Books


Gullah Brochure & Facts

New brochure on Gullah and “Gullah Culture in America” from John F. Blair Publishers – includes Gullah Facts and Map.



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Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Books


“Gullah Culture in America”

Veteran writer Wilbur Cross tells the little-known story of an enduring people and their heritage in a new paperback edition of Gullah Culture in America

Historian Joseph Opala knew he had made a remarkable discovery. It was 2004, fifteen years after he had helped to organize the first Gullah Homecoming based on links he had found between Gullah people in the United States and their ancestors in Sierra Leone. But now, Opala could trace an unbroken trail of documents for an African American family beginning with Priscilla, a 10-year-old girl brought to America from Sierra Leone 250 years ago, and ending with her direct descendant, a Charleston resident named Thomalind Martin Polite.

“Priscilla’s Homecoming,” the journey Polite subsequently led to Sierra Leone, is where writer Wilbur Cross begins Gullah Culture in America. Now available in paperback, Gullah Culturepresents an extensive record of the fascinating, yet too often overlooked, enclaves of African American descendants of slaves in South Carolina and Georgia. Though these

The Sea Islands

The Sea Islands

communities existed long before the Revolution, they remained largely hidden until the 1860s, when missionaries from Philadelphia founded Penn School to help freed slaves learn to read and write. Cross describes in great detail how, due to this long-term isolation, the Gullah were able to preserve the ancient traditions of their African ancestors.

Having lived on Hilton Head Island for a number of years, Cross has had the opportunity to learn first-hand about his Gullah neighbors. His deep respect for their culture and traditions is evident, and he incorporates his many interviews with members of the Gullah community into his text, frequently opting to let them tell the story of their people in their own words.

Originally published by Praeger in 2007, Gullah Culture in America provides not only a detailed history of the Gullah, but also a context for understanding what it means to “grow up Gullah.” In twelve colorful, engaging chapters, Cross introduces readers to all aspects of Gullah culture, including language, religion, food, music, and dance. He also provides insight into issues facing the more than 300,000 members of Gullah communities today, including the double-edged effects of modernization and assimilation, and the difficulties and triumphs of preserving the culture in the present day.


Wilbur Cross is the author or co-author of more than 50 books on a wide range of subjects. He received a degree from Yale University, and after overseas military service, started his career as a copywriter in a New York City advertising firm. He was an editor at Time Inc. for ten years, and is a member of the Authors Guild and Time/Life Alumni Society. He lives on Hilton Head Island, SC.

John F. Blair, Publisher, has been publishing books on the southeastern United States since 1954. Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., this independent, family-owned company specializes in history, travel, folklore, biography, and fiction. Learn more at

Gullah Culture in America
By Wilbur Cross
Foreword by Emory Shaw Campbell

John F. Blair, Publisher
$16.95 paperback
6 x 9
288 pages
February 2012
Cultural Heritage, Educational, Historical

Gullah Culture in America begins with the journeys of 15 Gullah speakers who went to Sierra Leone and other parts of West Africa in 1989, 1998, and 2005 to trace their origins and history. Their stories frame this fascinating look at the extraordinary history of the Gullah culture.

The existence of the Gullahs went almost unnoticed until the 1860s, when missionaries from Philadelphia made their way to St. Helena Island, South Carolina, to establish the Penn School to help freed slaves learn to read and write. There, they discovered hidden pockets of a bygone African culture with its own language, traditions, medicine, weaving, and art.

Today, more than 300,000 Gullah people live in the remote areas of the sea islands of St. Helena, Edisto, Coosay, Ossabaw, Sapelo, Daufuski, and Cumberland, their way of life endangered by overdevelopment in an increasingly popular tourist destination. Having evolved from the original Penn School, the Penn Center, based on St. Helena Island, works to preserve and document the Gullah and Geeche cultures.

Author Wilbur Cross originally set out to make the excellent work of the Penn Center known and to introduce the Gullah culture to people in America. He became entranced with the Gullah way of life and ended up with 12 chapters that explore the various facets of Gullah culture. Gullah Culture in America not only explores the history of Gullah but also shows readers what it’s like to grow up and live in this unique American community.

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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Books


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Letter to the Editor – NY Times Article

(Here is my Letter to the Editor concerning the article on my Grandfather, Wilbur Lucius Cross, and his wonderful writing and Thanksgiving Proclamations. The article can be seen in the below post and the Proclamation below that)

The “Thanksgiving Day Scripture” editorial in the Times  by Lincoln Caplan, about my grandfather, Wilbur Cross Lucius Cross,  was of course  most interesting to me as the namesake of the subject and an author whose greatest desire has always been to emulate  his ability to express ideas so clearly and succinctly, both in speaking and in writing.  But the sad fact is that we who are known as writers and editors today  are ruled more by technology and the ability to enlist machines in our calling than on plain old-fashioned  penmanship which requires time and thought, word by word, and sentence by sentence.

I was fortunate to have spent many hours with him in his study, not only going over various works I was writing, but discussing his own work  as editor of  The Yale Review and the biographies with which he himself was authoring. Looking back, I well recall how astonished I was at the way he turned out page after page in the old-fashioned way: dipping a quill-type pen in an inkwell without ever spilling a drop, and neatly onto each succeeding page. It was, to me at least, astonishing how he could pre-determine exactly what he was going to write–including punctuation marks and spellings–without crossing marks and rewrites, page after page. To my knowledge he never even used a fountain pen in all of his writings, which included more than a dozen lengthy biographies and other historical books, not to mention scores of articles and essays. He was horrified at the new “backward” approach to writing—spew everything out onto a page  then  cut, paste, and edit it, if possible, and rethink what you really wanted to say. I daresay that his most notable proclamations were almost exactly what he wrote the first time around, and in no way a series of writes and rewrites. (I wish I could say the same for this letter).

– Wilbur Lucius Cross, III.  

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Posted by on November 27, 2010 in Books


New York Times: Thanksgiving Scripture

From The New York Times, Editorial “Thanksgiving Scripture” by Lincoln Caplan, published Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 2010 – on my Grandfather, Wilbur Lucius Cross, Governor of Connecticut (1931-39) and his Thanksgiving Proclamations.

Thanksgiving Scripture

In 1936, with the Great Depression persisting, the governor of Connecticut issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation so inspiring that people in the state learned it by heart as if it were scripture. It was common then to memorize stirring speeches and other texts, but not public decrees. The proclamation’s message and 2010’s turmoil make this a very good year to re-read the document.

The governor was Wilbur Cross, and he wrote the proclamation himself. He was an esteemed Shakespeare scholar and had just retired from Yale after an impressive career as an English professor and luminary. At the age of 68 in 1930, by a tiny margin, he won an encore career in politics. His appeal as governor shows what we are missing today.

In his inaugural address, he spoke soberly about the drastic state of the state, calling for it to open its armories to the homeless. As a Democrat hemmed in by a Republican-dominated Legislature, Cross proved an adept leader. His most powerful tool was his rhetoric.

His first annual Thanksgiving Proclamation, in 1931, has been celebrated for conveying insights about worship, friendship, the beauty of nature, and gratitude for blessings received, all in one sentence.

By 1938, at the end of four two-year terms and a few weeks after he had been defeated for a fifth, his final proclamation gave thanks for “the increase of the season nearing now its close.”

The 1936 offering stands apart. Its lightness came partly from what it left out. There is no mention of the state’s disastrous floods that year, its labor strife or its citizens’ struggles to make ends meet. Everyone knew how bad things were. Lifting his gaze to the stars, the governor helped others rediscover their hopes and dreams.

“Time out of mind,” he began, “at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year.”

Where did this spirit come from? In his autobiography “Connecticut Yankee,” Cross explained. He recounted his adventures with an improbably wide range of people, including Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. He translated the Gettysburg Address into Latin. The most instructive section is about his family and Connecticut childhood.

In the village of Gurleyville, near Hartford, his father farmed and ran a grist mill. The young Cross learned to communicate with his almost-deaf mother by silently mouthing each word.

He learned to read at a little schoolhouse where his parents had gone as well. As a boy born in 1862, he heard stories about America’s founding from a 90-something innkeeper born in 1778 — reading Governor Cross today, we are directly connected to the 18th century.

By the time he was 11, he was regularly left to manage his older brother’s general store. It was a haven for Civil War veterans who had fought for the Union at Shiloh and Antietam. Standing guard, they said, they had fraternized with the enemy, “swapping matches for tobacco, and smoking together, and hoping that the war would soon end.”

He grew from a boy proprietor of chickens, making good money selling eggs, to the promising winner of his high school’s declamation prize, and then to a citizen of Yale and beyond.

He was 80 when he finished the autobiography. He confessed that he had always believed in destiny, tracing his to his village roots and the community that tended them. His destiny led him to write his treasured proclamation.

In a period more trying than our own, Cross did for Connecticut what no leader seems able to do for America today. He buoyed hearts with reassuring words about shared blessings — “the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives.”

A version of this editorial appeared in print on November 25, 2010, on page A38 of the New York edition.
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Posted by on November 27, 2010 in Books


A Connecticut Thanksgiving Proclamation

A Connecticut Thanksgiving Proclamation
State of Connecticut
By His Excellency WILBUR L. CROSS, Governor


Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of  Public Thanksgiving for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth — for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives — and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man’s faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his spirit to do the great work still before him: for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land; — that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.

Given under my hand and seal of the State at the Capitol, in Hartford, this twelfth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and thirty six and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and sixty-first.

Wilbur L. Cross

By His Excellency’s Command:
C. John Satti Secretary

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Posted by on November 27, 2010 in Books