weekend at bluffton seafood festival

Where to begin…this past weekend was awesome. It’s hard to beat a weekend with my sister in a coastal town during a seafood festival. For two short days, I felt like I was in another world. My sister lives in Bluffton, works in Beaufort and relaxes in Hilton Head. To me, her life seems like a vacation.

So last weekend, I traveled to visit her, along with my friend Sara and Ellen’s friend Whitney. We’d heard about the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival, and were super excited see what all the hype was about.

Friday night, we had drinks, appetizers and split entrées at Marley’s Island Grille on Hilton Head. I had yet to embrace my role as paparazzi, so pardon the lack of pictures. Whitney and Ellen split Ginger Pecan-Crusted Mahi Mahi, while Sara and I enjoy Supa Dupa Groupa. Apparently you can Supa Dupa anything for $4 more. Basically, our pan seared grouper was topped with diced shrimp, crab and scallops. All in all, the portions were large, the flavors were piquing and the music was Jamaican.

Saturday morning, we were up early to run the Bluffton Seafood Festival 5k. It was a bit chilly outside, but we warmed quickly.

Ellen and I happened to match with our Strong Enough T-shirts and our Hilton Head hats. And let’s not forget the suede flats we discovered we had in common. At least we chose different colors!

After the 5k run, we showered and arrived at the festival just before lunchtime. We were surprised at the size of the festival, considering Bluffton is such a small town. There were 70 artists set up in booths lining the main festival street.

There were crazy wooden painted people. This one looks like my sister!

Jewelry artists…

Woodworkers…

Welders?!?…

Fun toys for the kids…

Antiques…

As soon as I stepped into The Store, I promptly walked back out. I couldn’t deal with the clutter.

Yes, Children’s peeps, I even managed to wear my Actiped pedometer the entire weekend, even if it ruined my outfit.

I loved this little set up of photography amidst the trees. So much more unique than a plastic tent.

And anyone who owns a small business will love this sign. I snapped this shot just for my husband.

At this point, we were famished and opted to visit the food court. Upon entering the area, I was immediately drawn to the Iron Chef Challenge.

As much as I wanted to stick around and watch for a while, I caught a whiff of seafood and turned to see more than 20 food vendors beckoning me.

I finally opted for a crabcake with lime fraiche and sweet corn and red roasted pepper soup. Can you tell I was hungry? I scarfed down the crabcake before I could snap a picture. And in my hunger haze, I didn’t even remember the name of the restaurant I purchased this from.

The girls purchased crab stew, which was delicious. They let me sample it.

They also ate deviled crab and dirty rice…

which contained chunks of crab meat!

Sara discovered to-die-for shrimp and grits…

and savored every bite.

Every lunch item was $4 or $5, so well worth the money.

And we even enjoyed music while we ate.

Being a coastal town, you never know when a breeze will hit. I tried my best to capture the moment when a gust of wind dumped dirty rice all over Whitney. It was way more hilarious than what the pictures show.

After lunch, we passed more booths on our way to the church at the end of the road.

As an egg lover, I truly appreciated the shop Eggs ‘n Tricities.

The Church of the Cross at the end of the road was perched by the inlet bank and was absolutely stunning.

Sara made me put my arm on my hip for this photo. I told her I felt like a poser. Seeing the photo now, I definitely look like one. Or maybe it’s that my arm is so much longer than hers.

After frolicking on the grassy knoll beside the church, we opted to head away from the beaten path to create our own adventure.

And that’s how we stumbled upon the Heyward House, built around 1840. The woman on the porch shouted at us from the street, offering free wine and refreshments if only we would pay a visit. So, like any courteous Southerner, we obliged.

We made our way through the house, room by room, and were greeted by small-time Southern writers in each area selling their books.

In the end, we shared a delicious bottle of White Merlot from nearby September Oaks Vineyards and sampled fruit and cheese.

Since we were on a roll, we stopped off at a wine shoppe as we doubled back down festival lane.

We each paid $4 to sample two white wines and two red wines.

Little did they know we’d gobble up half their cheese.

After a quick nap (never drink wine during the day!), we ventured out to Rockin’ on the Dock, held on the Bluffton Oyster Co. grounds. B-Town Playaz jammed classic tunes until dusk, and the event ended with a parade of fireworks.

And even my brother made an appearance…

Though he really doesn’t enjoy having his picture taken.

The $5 She Crab Soup was amazing.

And my sister couldn’t stay away from the oysters. Though we have no pictures as proof, we also paid $5 for boiled or fried shrimp. And the helpings were heaping.

After the fireworks display, we headed to Captain Woody’s to sit down and relax atop their rooftop porch. We were hoping to catch the UGA game, but apparently the bar was filled with Tennessee fans.

Then we ventured to Old Town Dispensary. During the day, it looks like this.

But at night, it really came alive with this jazz band.

Gotta love that purple jacket and the guy with the spoons.

Saying it was an awesome weekend was definitely and understatement. I can’t wait to go back next year.

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