“I’m definitely a city girl gone country now,”
says Bonnie Fell.
Neil Fell’s mother was from the South Carolina
Lowcountry, and he introduced his wife, Bonnie,
to the region during summer vacations on Fripp
Island. While raising their family in the Chicago
area, Neil was a store owner and Bonnie worked
in child advocacy programs until they decided to
retire last year to Pinckney Retreat, a waterfront
community on the site of an antebellum plantation
located near the town of Beaufort.
“This is such a different lifestyle for us,”
Bonnie says, “because we’re outside all of the time.
The pace of life is slower and there’s time to relax
and appreciate the amazing beauty around here.
Our favorite activity is “dock talk.” We come out
on the dock and just talk and watch the birds—
we saw a bald eagle yesterday!—and at night we
look at the stars because it’s so dark you can see
them all. Tonight, we’re going with a group to
watch the space station pass over. You can’t see
that in Chicago!
“And the food is fabulous! We catch our own
Life in the
shrimp and crab, bring them home and clean and
cook them. We’re right here on Battery Creek and
the view changes every hour, every day. You feel
like you’re part of the cycle of life.”
The Fells have also discovered the area’s
cultural richness: they’ve attended a film festival,
history lectures and a writer’s conference at the
nearby University of South Carolina-Beaufort
campus. Bonnie has also taken a felting class,
watched local artists at work and is looking for-
ward to studying to become a “master naturalist.”
“There’s no other place in the whole world I’d
rather be,” she says.