We invite you to time travel with us through some of Sea Island’s most beloved traditions that have evolved over our 92-year history. We hope this journey will bring fond reminiscences of time well spent and put a smile on your face as you look forward to being part of these traditions when we can again welcome you home to Sea Island.
There is something magical about Sea Island, in that folks who visit become family with us and each other. Throughout our history, we have stayed connected with our Sea Island family through publications, first in the 1930s with Cloister Bells, later with ShoreLines, and now with Sea Island Life.
Bingo first started at Sea Island more than 50 years ago, making it one of our longest and most cherished traditions. Decked out in their finest outfits for the lively event, everyone gathers and anxiously waits for the lights to drop, the music to strike, and the spotlight to signal the start of the show. Hosted by Ringo Bingo—who took over emcee duties in 2015 from the legendary Billy Bingo after his 25-year run–the evening plays out as equal parts game and game show. It doesn’t take long before even newcomers pick up phrases like “Clickety Click, O-66” and “A Couple of Ducks.”
Sea Island is a special place due in part to the natural beauty of its surroundings. On one side, the Atlantic Ocean rolls while the calm and quiet salt marsh ebbs and flows on the other. Stately live oaks, the golden and green spartina of the vast marsh, nesting sea turtles, migrating shorebirds, playful dolphins, soaring bald eagles and ospreys all contribute to its beauty. It’s no wonder that so many humans and animals alike return each year.
A lone figure steps onto the fairway of The Speedway course. His silhouette – with the A-line of his kilt and Great Highland bagpipes – cuts a classic figure against the setting sun. He begins to play, and the plaintive notes reverberate across the course and drift out to beyond the sea, signaling the close of another day of golf at Sea Island. Children are fascinated by the bagpipes and the piper’s traditional attire. They often trail the piper working up the courage to approach him with questions about the difference between a kilt and a skirt or to show them how the bagpipes work. Once the sky is fully dark, the piper disappears from sight, leaving the lilting sounds of Scotland floating in the evening air.
Throughout our 92-year history, dignitaries have chosen Sea Island for the same reasons that other guests have – our blend of gracious Southern hospitality combined with an incredibly beautiful, private natural setting. Southerners have a love of passing stories down from generation to generation and we at Sea Island are no different.
Golf has been a pivotal part of the Sea Island experience since 1928 with the nine-hole Plantation course being completed prior to The Cloister’s opening. From our earliest days, Sea Island has attracted golfers of all skill levels from beginners to golf’s elite. With three courses, the Forbes Five-Star Cloister and Lodge, a beautiful climate, the world’s finest Golf Performance Center, and a continuing investment in golf – over $30 million in the past few years – it’s no wonder so many pros choose to live, train or play at Sea Island and so many golfers of all skill levels choose us as their golfing destination.
As one long-time Sea Island member eloquently said, “The best Beach Club tradition is that there’s always been one at Sea Island. Swimming, food, shuffleboard, sunshine, shells and sandcastles on the beach, kids and families and fun. The Beach Club is the setting of so many memories and friendships made over the years that to me, it is much more than a building. It’s its own tradition.”
From the moment the doors of The Cloister opened in 1928, Sea Island has been known for its gracious hospitality and heartfelt service. Today, Sea Island continues to be the only resort in the world to receive four Forbes Five-Star awards for 12 consecutive years. However, we aren’t resting on our laurels.
Fourth of July
No place celebrates the Fourth of July quite like Sea Island. There is an energy and excitement about the holiday that is hard to resist. Waving American flags lining Sea Island Drive usher in the Fourth and inspire a patriotic and celebratory mood in everyone. A day full of festive activities including some unique ones (most likely only found at Sea Island) culminate in a fitting tribute to America’s independence, a fireworks spectacular that illuminates the night sky with the best seat in the house being our five miles of private beach.
Rainbow Island Supper
A spread of local seafood under the stars and accompanying sounds of nature during a break in the music signal that this week’s tradition is a Rainbow Island Supper, which began more than a half-century ago. While the location changed from the north end of the island to Rainbow Island, the menu has remained almost the same. Tried and true Southern favorites include hush puppies, oysters, shrimp and coleslaw with a few healthier options added over the years.