A Restorative Riverfront Refuge
Kiawah River’s amenities provide a chance to unplug, unwind, and enjoy the Lowcountry’s natural beauty
Earlier this year, when Maggie and George Bullwinkel went in search of a property that would serve as their romantic escape, the couple knew they wanted to stay in the South Carolina Lowcountry. “We were looking for an intimate little spot where we could spend some time together,” George explains. “We wanted a tranquil space that allowed us to get away from the bustle of downtown Charleston but also allowed us to have a little fun.”
George, a lawyer, grew up in the region, near Mount Pleasant, and the pair decided to raise their children (ages four to eleven) there.
“We love where we live,” he adds. “We love the salt water and marsh views and didn’t want to stray too far from that. We wanted somewhere close by that had an ambience that made us feel we were a world away from the hectic nature of city life.” The couple longed for a place that would allow them to relax near the water but also featured world-class amenities that would leave them feeling pampered and rejuvenated.
Their search led them to Kiawah River, a vibrant master-planned residential community that intentionally merges thoughtful planning with the heritage of the Sea Islands. Just twenty miles from Charleston, the two-thousand-acre property on Johns Island uses forward-thinking design to enhance its residents’ strong connections to nature. With trails that wind through forests and along waterways as well as twenty miles of waterfront views along the Stono and Kiawah Rivers, this rich landscape is known for its diversity of flora and fauna, as well as abundant produce harvested from its dark, fertile soil.
George is an avid fisherman, and a multitude of places to fish—ponds, tidal creeks, rivers, salt marshes, and open ocean—is one of the features that captured George’s heart and signaled that Kiawah River could be a special place.
“The fishing is amazing here,” he says. “This was an old rice field, and you can fish right off some of the rice trunks.” Redfish, summer flounder, spotted sea trout, pompano, and sheepshead can all be found in the waters around the property.
Some of the Southeast’s top designers and architects came together to create custom homes at Kiawah River. The community is made up of bungalows, cottages, and villas, as well as waterfront home sites where buyers can build the retreat of their dreams.
That made for a lot of house options to choose from, but in the end, the pair settled on a simple but elegant turn-key one-bedroom bungalow. It’s an intimate space where they can get away and reconnect after a hectic day in the city.
In the evenings they sit on their wraparound porch and watch the grass turn from green to gold as the sunset dips over the marsh.
“When it came to buying the place, the folks at Kiawah River were excellent,” George says. “They made it easy and allowed us to do multiple walkthroughs. The team made every accommodation that we asked for. We were quickly welcomed into the community, and we started using the amenities, like the state-of-the-art fitness center, right away. I think it’s the perfect property for us in regard to what they offer. From sunrise to sunset, there’s something to do on the Kiawah River.”
When they bring their kids to their bungalow retreat, Kiawah River is a place where their children’s curiosity can flourish as they grow. “There are two pools for them to play in,” George says. “One has a good wading feature that our youngest can use, and the center has a hot tub for us,” he adds with a chuckle. There’s also lots of room to explore and learn about all the species that call this remarkable place home. “We like the large active farm here,” George says. “We like to visit the Goatery, the on-property artisan goat dairy that specializes in fresh Grade A milk and cheeses, to get fresh eggs, and feed the chickens, goats, and other animals. That’s something that the kids don’t get to experience living in the city.”
The pride in locally grown food, featured in signature dishes at the development’s world-class restaurants, is part of Kiawah River’s conservation-in-action philosophy. Sustainability is one of the core principles as well. The community was designed with an emphasis on the environment, and over half of the community’s acreage will remain open green space. The Bullwinkels understand that the tranquility Kiawah River offers will be around for their children to enjoy as adults.
Having a relaxed space in which to spend time together is why the Bullwinkels ultimately bought a home in Kiawah River. With its undeniable beauty, unpretentious luxury, and spectacular sunsets, it’s a perfect backdrop against which George and Maggie can enjoy golden-hued days that are anything but ordinary.
For more information about purchasing your own riverfront refuge, visit KiawahRiver.com