"How I Got Here"
Periodically, we choose Haig Point Members to share thier story of how they got to Daufuskie Island
Barb and Bill Heenan
It’s not surprising that many people discover Haig Point because of its proximity to Hilton Head. Barb and Bill Heenan and their three children had vacationed there for many years. Their Lowcountry family vacations were a relaxing contrast to Pittsburgh‘s busy lifestyle and provided a vision of what living in the South might be like someday.
When they decided to buy a vacation home rather than continue to rent, Barb and Bill naturally turned to the pages of Southern Living for ideas. After seriously evaluating three or four different locations, they continued to be disappointed. The reasons varied: too cold in winter, not enough to do, or too far from the kids.
It wasn’t until their next Hilton Head family vacation in 2000 that they actually visited Haig Point for the first time. According to Barb, when they stepped off the ferry it was like a ‘Fantasy Island’ experience. “We knew right away that this was what we had been looking for.” Shortly thereafter, with all the family votes counted and a unanimous YES decision, they purchased a lot sight unseen. After four years of renting whenever they came to Haig Point, the Heenans decided to buy a house so they would have their own personal place to stay – especially since they were spending more and more time here and family get-togethers were becoming more frequent.
As time progressed, their vacation home began to feel more permanent. Bill became a fixture on the front porch greeting friends and welcoming visitors. “Of our two homes, it was definitely the place where he wanted to spend most or all of his time.”
When Bill suggested that they give serious thought to making Haig Point their full-time home, Barb proposed that they try it for a year before making such a big decision. She admits that initially Haig Point was Bill‘s joy and that she was hesitant about making the change.
Over that year, Barb could see her type-A husband become more relaxed and at ease as he became involved with the community. He served as a member of the Board, played golf and started a guys-only whiffle ball team. Whiffle ball’s popularity was short-lived, however, because everyone wanted a sport that women and men could enjoy together. Bill had the answer. Bocci was the game. Bill was the organizer. Today, Bocci season at Haig Point continues to unite the entire community in lively conversations about the teams, the schedule and who's going to win.
Although not surprised that Bill immediately became an integral part of the community, Barb was surprised to see how quickly she too became involved. Golf, water aerobics, fitness, bunco and a couple of book clubs filled her schedule. Life was full of new experiences, new friends and new additions to the expanding Heenan family. It was no surprise then, after one year, their full-time decision had been made for them.
As the Heenans enjoyed living full-time at Haig Point, they discovered a sweet truth about living here that is difficult to put into words. This unique aspect of Haig Point became ever so apparent with Bill’s sudden and unexpected death. “Haig Point became my safe place” said Barb, “a place where everyone was there for me - comforting, helping and reassuring. They were family – and they still are.” Later Barb and Bill’s family and Haig Point friends honored Bill by dedicating two Bocce courts in his name - including benches for the fans. “What a beautiful tribute to a man who loved this place so much – and what a sweet gift it was for me,” she added.
Since the first day they moved here, memories began filling her photo albums. Looking back, Barb says that it seems like she’s lived here forever. Opening her photo album, she muses, “I think these pictures tell more about why we have loved living here than a thousand words.”