Island Diary

Welcome to Our Island

Whether it’s your first trip to the Island, or your twentieth, the panorama as you crest the IOP connector bridge is one that indelibly imprints in your mind- an elixir for the stress of your everyday world. A beach island like no other- it has kept us coming back for years.

After renting beach homes for years, we have tried to think of all the things that we wished we had, in all the places we did not have them! From the digital high speed internet to the extra hookup for game sets in the bunk room, we have Aerie up for both fun and convenience for your family. Three surround sound venues, ping pong, and a “real man’s” horseshoe pits are just a few of the entertainment adds. The under counter ice-maker and extra frig in the laundry room set you up for days and nights at the beach!

We’ve collected menus from local restaurants and bars that are worth a take- you will find them in the guestbook in the main foyer. A quick beer and wine run can be made to the Red and White at the foot of the causeway as you come onto the Island. There is also a store that will fix you up on the rum and cola side!  Back across the causeway is a Piggly Wiggly at your first left turn, along with my wife’s favorite, Target, in the same complex.The unique outdoor mall at the intersection of the IOP Connector and Route 17 has most anything that you will need- books, music, cigars, screwdrivers, and a good butcher shop- New York Meats.

There is great biking to be had. We strongly suggest exploring Sullivan’s Island, the next island West-Southwest, and Fort Moultrie on the far end of that Island. Steeped in history, Fort Moultrie defended Charleston from the British invasion in the Revolutionary War. Patriot’s POint in Mount Pleasant boasts the aircraft carrier, Yorktown, which is open for tours. Of course, a side trip to Charleston, just fifteen minutes away over the beautiful Mount Pleasant-harbor bridge, is a must! At once sultry and sensuous to teem with bustling, vibrant, and vital, the town has it all- the arts, night life, historic mansions, shopping, etc.

We hope you take the time to sign our guest book and leave a note on your stay. Also, when you get home please drop us an email. We want you to have as much fun on your island vacation as we do!

We could go on but we won’t. It’s time to enjoy!

Mark and Gilda Hettermann


It’s our number one concern for your vacation! Our winter-2011 renovation found us investing significantly in the structural integrity of the house to assure the porches were up to heavy-use standards in addition to meeting and exceeding hurricane- inspired, building code standards. As we rebuilt the front stairs to the house, we installed the latest in LED lighting technology to assure good lighting on those stairs.

Coming inside we retrofitted a house-wide integrated, electrical-with-battery-backup, smoke alarm system that is augmented by a separate, security-monitored, smoke/fire-sensed alarm system. Most of our guests come in large groups of family and friends. Whether you are a couple enjoying your anniversary at the beach or part of a family reunion, please take the time to have all guests, especially the children, focus on appropriate fire exits from their rooms. There are fire extinguishers under the kitchen sink and, for the “Bunk Room”, there is an escape ladder kept in the under-bunk drawer closest to the window.

Safe water practices are vital! Do not be fooled by one of the most docile beaches on the East Coast. There are still undertows in rough days. A one-mile beautiful walk to the West- Southwest takes you down the beach to “Breech Inlet” which separates Island of Palms from Sullivan’s Island. The tidal currents at Breech Inlet are treacherous! As well marked as this area is to discourage any swimming or wading, please keep it in your mind.

While we are on the subject of swimming, please take extra caution with youngsters in the pool. It is always a good rule of thumb to let no one swim unaccompanied- child or adult. There is a special latch for the top gate of the back deck to keep small children from going down the steps. Please assure the side gate to the backyard is latched at all times. There is a release cord for the latch which protrudes above the face of the gate to keep young children from wandering into the pool area unattended.

Spending just a few minutes a day thinking and acting to assure safety in your environment is the best personal investment you could make in your vacation!


January, 2005

There are few things so precious in life as family and friends. Thirty-six years ago I met Jack Hurley- a New Jersey guy coming to the College of William and Mary to play football. Me? Just retired from the same due to orthopedic maladies that plague me to this day- enough about old age! Jack became my “little brother” in Kappa Sigma fraternity and has remained a life-brother to this day. My life would be pretty boring without having Jack through whom to live life vicariously!

As life would have it, ours took many twists and turns.I went in the Air Force, flew fighters, and became an airline pilot. Jack was 4F for the draft due to a crooked pinky finger. He took off to Squaw Valley in the winter and Cape Cod in the summer, only to fall in love with Priscilla and, in his own words, “embrace capitalism” in Burlington, Vermont. More ringmaster than ringleader, concept guy than contractor, Jack made his way in the bar and restaurant trade, seeing life in buildings he called “spots”.  After five of these “spots” in the Burlington area, the cold got the better of Jack and Priscilla and they came to the Island of Palms after Hugo. Jack had an idea for a southern salsa he called “Y’alsa” and a unique corn chip made from from ground grits. Along the way, Jack’s Atlantic Coastal Foods produced his own sweet potato mustard and a variety of “kick-butt” hot sauces. The “next gig” syndrome got the best of him and he sold his food products company to open a hot dog stand on Route 17 in Mount Pleasant.

But, as you might expect, it’s not just a hot dog stand! Jack’s Cosmic Dogs is described by its owner as: “The Jetson’s Meet Happy Days”. With his own creations as the staples, Jack serves up a signature all-beef “Cosmic Dog” covered with his sweet potato mustard and blue cheese cole slaw- just one of a host of uniques dogs to accompany other Jack’s special recipes such as his meatloaf sandwich covered with his Jamaican onion relish. Add to that,  fresh draft root beer and an order of hand-cut, soaked-in-water-overnight, double-dipped in peanut oil fries, and you have just half the experience of Jack’s place. The other half? Jack and the place!

If you are lucky, you will meet Jack. He may just drop by to welcome you to “his Island”.  Don’t count on luck. Make your own and go up the IOP Connector, turn North on Route 17 for about 3.5 miles. Jack’s will be on your right.

I’ve loved the city of Charleston all my adult life. One night I wandered on the Isle of Palms pre-Hurricane Hugo, driving out from Charleston in search of the ocean and a good seafood spot. Serendipity brought my best friend to a spot that I loved. The rest is all about enjoying life.

Mark Hettermann

Postscript – Spring, 2011: As I could have foretold, Jack’s Cosmic Dogs has become a landmark of the low country. Featured in Southern Living, Alton Brown on the Food Channel chose it to kick off his cross country series on good eats.  Jack, of course, is a main ingredient to the popularity enjoyed, whether it be leading the Mount Pleasant Christmas parade with a rocket strapped to his back festooned in Holiday lights or just meeting folks at lunch and taking their order, he’s become the modern day Colonel Sanders as his restaurants have recently expanded to three “spots” in the Charleston area with further expansion plans for the Carolinas.