The Montage Palmetto Bluff really captures the essence of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Its charm is evident from the very start of the four mile drive into the property that locals like to call entering the detox chamber. Throughout its 20,000 acres along the May River there is an abundance of riches and little details that make a big difference like an extensive nature preserve, seven delectable dining experiences, marina, Paintbox Children’s programming, and your own Southern sanctuary to call home.
You’ll experience the best of summer in true Lowcountry fashion: Riding bicycles under majestic live oaks, exploring the May River by boat, “porching” at the River House, making s’mores nightly at the Inn backyard fire pits, playing championship golf and relaxing at the signature spa. There is something for the whole family, and the best part of it all is there are abundant activities that families can easily engage in and everyone can do together.
Home Sweet Home
When pulling up to the Inn, the car was surrounded with Southern gentleman there to give us and our little ladies a hand out of the car and to personally welcome us to the property. And the little ones are even offered stuffed animals (one for each of the conservation animals on property) upon arrival.
From cottages to village homes, and guest rooms to suites, there are wonderful options for your family’s stay that all embrace the region’s rich heritage. The rooms are outfitted with beautiful beds, large soaking tubs, and that’s just the beginning. You will love your back porch and river view, perfect for enjoying the Southern bourbon (or sweet tea) and pecans provided for you as you watch your wee ones run around through the grass. There are also bicycles (and tricycles for the smaller set) for exploring the expansive property.
There are endless experiences for kids and grown-ups alike, ranging from playgrounds outfitted with custom-built, five-story tree houses with zip lines to Canoe Clubs with canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. The Montage Merits program provided an opportunity to indulge in family-friendly adventures (think fishing, biking, boating, roasting s’mores) and little adventurers earn badges for each completed activity. That guided our trip and delighted my daughters.
There’s also the unique experience of painting the pony at the Longfield Stables. There are brushes and sponges in all sorts of shapes and paints in every color and you can also use your hands. Playing poolside was also a favorite leisure activity for the whole family. The complex boasted a kiddie pool with hopping fountains and a large, resort pool to play all day. It was cool in the pool. A grown-up perk is dropping the kids off at the Paintbox signature children’s club while you enjoy access to the coastal calm of the Montage Spa and exclusive May River Golf Course.
The highlight was the Dolphin Discovery Cruise that was customized for our family by Captain Gio. It was like a VIP tour of the May River—an extraordinary cruise where we received an eco-education. We discovered undeveloped islands, saw wildlife in their natural habitat, fished for crabs, shrimp, and oysters, and most importantly, spotted dolphins! Watching the dolphins swim and jump around the boat was magical. Captain Gio also added a little action and adventure by tubing at the end. It was extreme fun for everyone.
The Southern cuisine is a highlight for the trip. In the South, particularly in summer, we learned it is customary to take a break in the afternoon to relax. Montage Palmetto Bluff does “porching” the best, serving up cookies, sweet tea and lemonade and family conversation with the May River as a backdrop. At the Inn’s backyard, we sampled complimentary culinary heirlooms of the South Carolina Lowcountry –a daily rotation of roasted oysters, shrimp and grits, frogmore stew or Hoppin’ Johns.
For a casual but bountiful breakfast, check out the Biscuit Bar and breakfast buffet at Buffalo’s. Don’t hesitate to add that extra homemade jam to your biscuit and fried, green tomato to your plate. Be sure not to miss the sticky buns, a local favorite. Take a trip over to Moreland for a fantastic, family-friendly meal at Cole’s. Parents will love the views of the marsh and Carolina barbeque while kids will love the adjacent game room and Boundary Bowling Alley next door.
Dinner at Octagon Porch was by far our favorite with its seasonally-inspired cuisine coupled with graceful Southern hospitality. The modern twist on Southern classics (don’t miss the shrimp and grits and braised lamb) filled with flavors of the Carolinas from locally-sourced ingredients was the perfect match. You’ll also want to pair this with the Signature barrel-aged Artillery Punch or the locally crafted beers and specialty brews. You can also head to the River House for the best artisanal cocktails on property.
Every night we headed over to the fire pits for s’mores. That became a quick tradition. There was a buffet of “designer marshmallows” (strawberry, chocolate, crème brulee, lemon meringue and more), chocolate and endless stacks of graham crackers. It was decadent and the kids happily participated every evening. And for everything else RT’s market, a one-of-a-kind general store, had local specialties, treats and trinkets plus specialty items to bring and treasure at home.
You’ll leave with a warm place in your heart for the South and be ready to come back again soon for a luxurious stay and for more Southern charm and hospitality at the Montage Palmetto Bluff.
To learn more, visit montagehotels.com/palmettobluff!
Jana Beauchamp is a writer and NYC mom-of-two.