Welcome to this year's Cottage Retreat, where our design team has elegantly paired old-world sensibilities with laid-back living.

By Elizabeth Raines Beeler
August 24, 2005
Jean Allsopp

Charleston, South Carolina, may be known for historic architecture and world-class restaurants. But one of its best-kept secrets lies just 21 miles south. Deep in the Lowcountry, a secluded barrier island called Kiawah (KEY-uh-wah), crowned with a resort community of the same name, nestles among native marshlands, winding tidal creeks, saltwater lagoons, and miles of ocean surround. We have chosen Cassique, a Kiawah Island Development, as the site for our 2005 Coastal Living Cottage Retreat.

The Cassique neighborhood enjoys all of the amenities of Kiawah Island's resort community, including 10 miles of beaches, 20 miles of hiking trails, and 30 miles of bike paths. The island also boasts 10,000 acres of unspoiled vegetation with more than 250 diverse species of wildlife.

"I think Kiawah is probably best known as having very dense vegetation and an almost forestlike feel," says Buddy Darby, chairman and chief executive officer for Kiawah Development Partners, the company that purchased the land 18 years ago and created its master plan. The home sites, divided into 26 neighborhoods, tread softly on the land. "From an environmental standpoint, we've maintained existing vegetation and landscaped with indigenous plants," says Leonard Long, Kiawah Development Partners' executive vice president.

As befitting a resort community, neighborhood pools scatter throughout the island. Tennis players choose from 28 courts. A dozen restaurants serve everything from fried oysters to braised snapper, and a new oceanfront hotel delivers five-star service. Nearby, an upscale village meets shopping and entertainment needs. But the most identifying aspect of Kiawah Island is golf, with seven courses designed by legends such as Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Tom Watson.

Cassique is built around a private club and a links-style course. When completed, the development's 39 homes will emulate English country houses. "We are creating an entire community that will have the sensibility of being in the countryside and yet still right here on the island. It will give you the best of both worlds," Buddy says.

Owning a Cassique home first requires a membership at Kiawah Island Club, which grants privileges to two private golf courses, a spa, The Beach Club, and a planned sports center. "If you own a house in Cassique, you have access to the best spots," says Karen Bacot, director of marketing for Kiawah Development Partners.
Order a CD gallery of full-color images from this Cottage Retreat for only $10.

Checks may be sent to Coastal Living, c/o Mamie Walling, 2100 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL, 35209. Please specify which version and write "KiawahCD" in the memo line. Call 205/445-8654 for more information.