By Kelly Villasuso
Thirty minutes to the north of Savannah, Georgia and approximately two hours south of Charleston, South Carolina lies a coastal habitat so naturally graceful, it will take your breath away ― or, quite possibly, enhance each breath you take.
Palmetto Bluff is situated in the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry, yet worlds apart from its more “citified” Southern siblings,Charleston and Savannah. As you make your way down Old Palmetto Bluff Road into this magical community, the long and winding road guides you through archways of living oaks decked out in ethereal Spanish moss and down pathways dotted with native Palmetto trees. Over the small segment of the 20,000-acre property you traverse to reach its hub ― the luxurious Montage Palmetto Bluff resort and approximately 600 private homes to date ― you will feel as though the palms of those Palmettos have sliced through the veils of time to deliver you into another era … an era abundant in Mother Nature’s offerings, peaceful and unfettered by human presence.
Palmetto Bluff … Conserving Nature’s Grace
Palmetto Bluff, including the Montage and the home sites, has all been developed with an intense dedication to conserving the immense natural resources and diverse, bountiful wildlife resident in the community for thousands of years. Since the early 2000’s, Palmetto Bluff has been under the watchful eye of the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, which has struck an impressive balance between development and conservation of its vast acreage and its 32 miles of riverfront and marsh front coastline.
As a result, the area is as equally appealing to nesting bald eagles, alligators, turtles, egrets and other wetland waterfowl, as it is to the Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin and other two-footed mammals like us. Whether you seek relaxation or recreation, you will find that all the amenities at Palmetto Bluff, such as the nature preserve, miles of walking trails, a marina,and the May River Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, blend seamlessly into the exquisite landscape and allow you to coexist with the native fauna and flora.
The Conservancy’s diligent efforts have resulted in the prestigious Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary certification of the May River Golf Course.Specifically, the Conservancy requires Paspalum grass (a hardy, salt-water tolerant grass that withstands lower levels of watering) be used throughout the full course to allow the areas of the course along the May River to stay healthy while not causing freshwater runoff into the river. The Conservancy also requires that biodegradable vegetable oil be used in the maintenance machinery in case of leakage, and that all lagoon areas on the course be fresh water catch ponds utilized to water the course. These efforts have enhanced the health and wellness of the land, the resident animals, and visiting the players.
Pure Is in the Air (and Spa) at Palmetto Bluff
Further evidence of the impact the cooperative efforts of the Conservancy, Montage Palmetto Bluff, and the residents have made on preserving and enhancing the natural areas and wildlife habitats in the community is the presence of healthy Christmas Wreath Lichen (Cryptothecia Rubrocincta).
Christmas Wreath Lichen (also known as Bubblegum Fungus) area composite of a fungus and an algae. The algae photosynthesize, and both the algae and the fungus absorb water, minerals, and pollutants from the air,through rain and dirt. The lichen can develop structural changes in response to pollution. After studying the lichen found along the River Road in Palmetto Bluff,the lichen was found to be very healthy … so every day is Christmas in the Bluff with the gift of extremely clean air.
If you tire of hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, golfing,biking, boating, or doing yoga in the fresh, pure air at Montage Palmetto Bluff,head over to Spa Montage where they deliver the best of the environment to you in the form of mud on your face … and body.
Through its Signature Carolina Kur Experience, Spa Montage hand delivers the natural elements of May River to promote their healing effects on the body. Specifically, the Spa uses a special mud they developed to mimic the dark, mineral-rich Pluff mud found in the May River. Pluff mud is the gooey mud found in marshy areas of the Lowcountry, which contains significant organic matter, has its own distinct aroma (an odor y’all thankfully will not find in your Carolina Kur experience), and makes a “pluff” sound when you step in it and remove your foot. The Spa uses this specially formulated “pluff mud” along with a salt soak to mimic the days of ole when locals would play in the mud and salt waters of the May River – and realize amazing therapeutic benefits on the skin without even trying. Pure heaven!