By Camilla McLaughlin

A resort one-and-a-half times the size of Manhattan might sound too good to be true, but last week I got a chance to find out that such things still exist when Unique Homes visited Montage Palmetto Bluff, a new resort in Bluffton, South Carolina. The location, little more than 30 minutes from Savannah’s airport and about 15 miles east of Hilton Head, couldn’t be more ideal for Low Country explorations. There is a real sense of relaxation and a disconnect from the world that begins as you pass under massive live oaks and magnolias draped with Spanish moss on the 4-mile drive into the resort. Equally relaxing were the deep porches on our home away from home — “porching” is actually listed as an activity here.

But, we had an extensive itinerary of activities planned so we had to tear ourselves away from the view of the pond in front of our house. A network of streams and rivers (32 miles of riverside) offer lots of opportunities for paddling and fishing. On an excursion in the May River, a few Bottlenose dolphins kept our boat — a recently refurbished classic — company. We also had a chance for a quick boat trip to nearby Bluffton to check out the farmers’ market and to take the pulse of local real estate, in addition to purchasing famed Georgia peaches. Montage’s excellent service meant we really didn’t have to think about a thing while here, plus bikes and golf carts are also available for guest’s use.

The best part of the trip was an opportunity to experience the sheer size and diversity of this property — which has 20 different habitat types — and learning about all the efforts to maintain as many pristine acres as possible. We also had a chance to try our hand at skeet shooting, which I think might become a new passion.

Right now, the center of Palmetto Bluff is a quaint village along the May River, but several other villages are planned or under construction. Nearing completion was a new inn and Montage Residences, which gives anyone who wants to visit more options. But be careful, owners told me they loved the resort so much they purchased property on their first visit; Palmetto Bluff offers so much that it’s hard to leave. This really is a property to fall in love with.

(Photos of gun and view from porch are by Caitlin McLaughlin. All other images are courtesy Montage.)