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An island of opportunity


LOCAL Life asked Nancy Paris to share her thoughts on what it means to be local. Paris co-owns The Chocolate Canopy on Hilton Head Island with her husband, Christopher. LOCAL Life welcomes letters to the editor and comments to our website. Write to [email protected].

LOCAL SINCE 2010 – Nancy Paris is shown with Mike and Sulley from Monsters, Inc., along with her family at Disney World.

“You’re moving where?” Most of our friends were unfamiliar with Hilton Head when we announced our decision to move just over 10 years ago. They questioned our sanity as we left our corporate jobs and an award-winning school district in Basking Ridge, N.J., to start a new path on a 12-mile island off the coast of South Carolina.

Our story is similar to many who have relocated. Tired of the rat race, high taxes, and running back and forth to daycare, we moved to Hilton Head to create a better life for our children. Over the past decade, we have discovered a sea of opportunities for our family on this tiny piece of paradise.

Upon arriving on the island, my husband and I became entrepreneurs. We traded in our 9-to-5 jobs for the opportunity to own our own business, The Chocolate Canopy, and I am happy to confirm that making chocolate is a lot more fun than managing public relations for an investment management firm. While we constantly juggle the demands of family and a growing business, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

My 12-year-old son is obsessed with golf and he takes advantage of all the island offers to indulge his passion. He spends sunrise to sunset volunteering at the range during the RBC Heritage. He also has been fortunate to be the standard bearer for Luke Donald, Shane Lowery, PJ Choi and last year’s Heritage winner, CT Pan. His collection of autographed golf balls would make any collector envious.

This fall, my daughter, a freshman in high school, attended a presentation on China’s Grand Strategy led by Tufts University professor and author Sulmaan Khan. Her class didn’t have to travel far — the event took place on Hilton Head and was sponsored by the World Affairs Council.

My parents also have called the island home for over 20 years. My mother, a former teacher, discovered a second career as a docent for the Coastal Discovery Museum. You’ll often find her leading groups of tourists and schoolchildren along the beach discussing our famous loggerhead sea turtles. She is also an active board member of The Sandbox Children’s Museum and works to establish new and innovative programs for area children. My father has followed my mother’s lead in fundraising. Together, they raise funds for community programs like Project SAFE (Sewer Access For Everyone) and the United Way. They also have spent countless hours coaching a Special Olympics Tennis Team and volunteering at the PTR Wheelchair Tennis Championships.

While our island may be small in size, my family has benefited from opportunities that could only be found on Hilton Head. Where else on Earth can you significantly impact your community, learn from world renowned leaders in their field, and rub elbows with PGA Tour Pros all within 12 miles? Only on Hilton Head.