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Cosmopolitan Contacts

International experiences you can have right here at home.

Locals don’t need to book a trip to Bologna to learn how to cook like an Italian or make tracks for Mexico to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. No matter where you live in the Lowcountry, a passport-worthy international experience can be found not too far from your front door. 

Mark your calendar 

Celebrate your nation’s colors or indulge in someone else’s. Internationally inspired events are happening year-round in our region and are a fun way to feel at home away from home or vice versa. Mark your calendar for the many local festivals, competitions, tours and adventures that celebrate global culture. Learn to dye your own indigo bandana, an art that trickled down from its origins in Peru, at the “Art of Indigo” event in October. Hear from Ukrainian advocate Marie Yovanovitch at her speaking and book-signing event “Ukraine: Can Democracy Survive?” or cultivate your international interests by attending a World Affairs Council of Hilton Head speaker event. 

Best of both worlds: Italian Heritage Festival, Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Gullah Celebration, Cinco De Mayo Festival, World Affairs Council of Hilton Head, Lowcountry Jewish Film Festival, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Beaufort International Film Festival, Latin Night at The Rooftop Bar

©Michael Anthohy’s Cucina Italiana

Foreign flavors 

Beaufort County is home to many restaurants serving authentic cuisines from around the globe — French, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Mediterranean, Mexican, Caribbean, German, English — you name it, we’ve likely got it. Many restaurants and bottle shops also source the best wines and spirits from Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Australia and beyond. You also can find hard-to-find international ingredients at markets such as La Poblanita (Mexican), The Market Cafe at Michael Anthony’s (Italian) and Hazel Dean’s (gourmet cheese). 

Get schooled: Learn to cook like an Italian with a hands-on cooking class at Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana. Prepare three recipes from start to finish, then sit down for a family-style lunch with wine and the meal you helped prepare. Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar also hosts cooking demonstrations and often includes international favorites. Libations lovers can learn to make classic international cocktails with mixology classes at Hilton Head Distillery.  

Dig up roots 

The history of Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Beaufort is rich and complex, speckled with foreign settlers and Civil War-era trials and triumphs. Experience history through the eyes of the different waves of settlers on the island and surrounding area by taking a guided tour, visiting a museum or library, or simply taking a walk. Follow the Cultural Trail map on to find a historical experience near you. 

Be reminded: Heritage Library, Coastal Discovery Museum, Mitchelville Freedom Park, Heyward House, Gullah Museum, Penn Center, Sharon & Dick Stewart Maritime Center, Beaufort County libraries

Wear the world 

Being a wearer of worldwide fashion is easier than you think with the numerous high-end boutiques and shops our region offers. Whether you are looking for a Rolex watch, an authentic Panama hat or even Gullah fashion, you can find it right here at home. Don’t be afraid to wear that too-big chambray blouse or overdo it on mixing colors. Represent yourself and your heritage with the colors and patterns you feel best in. 

Crown jewel: Forsythe Jewelers frequently hosts trunk shows and stocks one-of-a-kind pieces from some of the world’s top designers including Marco Bicego, Roberto Coin and Sethi Couture.

At home abroad

Get the well-traveled look at home by accessorizing your home with fine international rugs, furniture, appliances, countertops, art and technology. The Lowcountry is home to many acclaimed interior designers who can incorporate popular styles such as French Country, Scandinavian, Mediterranean and Asian Zen into your space. Local home theater stores offer the latest high-end and smart-home technologies from around the world, like Waterfall Audio from France and 4K SUHD TVs from South Korea. Many local art galleries feature art from acclaimed international artists and works set in exotic international locations. Many professional photographers also have stunning international shots in their portfolios.