When Covid-19 struck New York City in March, Jessica and Matthew Perkal were among the many Manhattan residents who decided to wait out the pandemic in a more rural setting. Ms. Perkal, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, and her husband left their West Village apartment for Kiawah, a South Carolina barrier island where they had frequently vacationed with Ms. Perkal’s family. “We thought, ‘let’s go somewhere we enjoy,’” said Ms. Perkal, who is originally from Charlotte, N.C.

At first they rented on Kiawah, enjoying…

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