Culture // 3 min Read

Meet Palmetto Bluff Club Members Pat and Patti Henry

Written by Palmetto Bluff

How did you two meet?
Patti: We actually met in college but never dated. We went to Auburn University and both moved to Atlanta after graduation. He was in graduate school at Emory, and I worked as a nurse at Emory’s Children’s Hospital.
Pat: Our friend groups were intertwined, and we bumped into each other at a bar.

Tell me about your kids.
Patti: We have three kids. Megan is thirty-one and lives in Hawaii with her husband and two daughters. Our son Thomas just got engaged here at Palmetto Bluff. He lives in Birmingham, about three miles from us. Our son Rusk is twenty-five. He lives in Washington DC, and is a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate.

How did you find Palmetto Bluff?
Pat: My parents lived on Daufuskie Island for thirty years, and we had a place there for a short time as well. The guys who started developing Palmetto Bluff were business partners of mine and good friends—Art Fields and Jim Mozley.
Patti: We would bring the boat over from Daufuskie and dream of one day having a place here. We saw it from the beginning, saw the roads getting cut. We’ve had a place here for fifteen years.

What do you think makes Palmetto Bluff so special?
Pat: The low density required in this community by the county and the city was such a blessing. So much of this place is protected by perpetual conservation easements.
Patti: When we purchased our house here, the boys were thirteen and eight. They’ve always loved the outdoors. They know the waterways better than they know the roads. They’re golfers. They’re hunters, and they love fishing, boating. Pat and the boys are friends with Jay [Walea, director of the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy]. They hunt and fish with him. We are so grateful for the Conservancy.

How often are you here?
Patti: We spend every holiday here—every Thanksgiving, every Christmas, every Fourth of July. If we even suggest a family vacation somewhere else, the boys are like, I want to hunt! I want to fish! And our daughter went to Savannah College of Art and Design. So she loves this place and this land. And Pat’s mom still lives on Hilton Head Island.

Do you write about this area, Patti?
Patti: When I first decided I wanted to write a novel, it was because of Anne Rivers Siddons and Pat Conroy. My first twelve novels were contemporary and set in the South, some on the Alabama coastline, but mostly in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Surviving Savannah was inspired by Palmetto Bluff. Boo Harrell, our mariner here, told me about a shipwreck in 1838, and I started diving into the research. Even though it was a historical novel, it was inspired by my love of this place. And I write a lot here. It’s a place of solitude and contemplation. I feel like the minute I come over that bridge into Palmetto Bluff my heart rate slows down a bit.

Will you retire here?
Pat: It’s unfolding. Our kids certainly love it here.
Patti: We talk about it all the time. Right now, we’re both full-on in our careers. But Palmetto Bluff is always in our future. I want to buy a lot on the river and build a compound for the family.
Pat: She talks about building a house on the river every day.
Patti: That’s true. If only there were more lots on the river!

What does life look like when you’re here?
Patti: I love kayaking. We all have bikes and can ride for miles and miles. We rest. We have great friends here. Pat and I both love to cook. But really, when we’re here, our family comes like a magnet—my family, Pat’s family—which is what we want. Our sons have made loads of friends. The minute they get here, they’re calling people. I love that they don’t leave. They meet at Cole’s, or they go out on the boat or play golf. They want to be here, which is the most important thing, that your family wants to be with you.

 

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