For those who don’t know me (or us) well, I am prone to last minute, sometimes late at night, flights of fancy which usually include some sort of local adventure. To say that I am blessed with a husband who sometimes encourages, but always indulges, in these crazy ideas is a complete and utter understatement. Today was just further proof of this.
We had a wonderful Saturday evening with friends, enjoyed some scrumptious BBQ and great conversation. We got the kitchen cleaned up and were sitting around relaxing. I hopped online just out of curiousity to see what options we might have if we decided to drive to the coast. (I may have been feeling just a little guilty that I will soon be spending 2 weeks in Hawaii on a girls trip, and the beach is a very special place for both of us.)
Whether it was Hurrican Hermine (downgraded to Tropical Storm Hermine by the time she hit the GA/SC coast) causing people to cancel reservations, or our guardian angels who knew how important and special a trip to the ocean would be for us, I managed to find an exceptionally reasonably priced hotel for Labor Day weekend that was pet friendly. (The cat is good at home on her own for an overnight trip. The dog, not so much. She needs to come with us, or be boarded.) She was clearly up for the adventure!
I have the hotel website up and ready to press the “reserve now” button…I verify one last and final time (after checking the weather forecast, storm damage and travel time) that he was willing to go along with my last minute excursion plans. It was probably less than a second from his “I’m in” response to the click of the button. (I don’t waste time when adventure calls and there is anything resembling agreeement to my shenanigans!)
We decided to shoot for a 9AM departure, with 9:30AM being our “drop dead” out the door time. We packed overnight bags, the dog, and lots of leftover snacks, and left the driveway at precisely 9:30AM. (The whole departure time negotiation is an entire post in and of itself. I was happy to be on the road by our final time of 9:30.)
The drive was easy and uneventful, just the way we like them. There wasn’t much traffic, and the weather was wonderful – sunny with just the right amount of clouds to keep the sun from overheating us.
We hit the GA/SC border about 1:30PM (we’d made a few stops along the way…breakfast, pitstop, lunch), so we were just a tad later than planned. We were checked in to our hotel, changed and headed to the beach by 3:15PM. If you aren’t a rewards/club member of your favorite hotel chain, you really should be. Not only did we get an awesome deal, we got a free upgrade to a suite for being members. I generally don’t give shout-outs/endorsements on here, but I have to make an exception for the Holiday Inn Express in Bluffton, SC. Their front desk staff are the tops – so knowledgeable, friendly and accomodating. We got great directions to the “local” beach that would be less touristy. It was an easy 20 minute drive, free parking, and an easy walk to the beach. On our way across the bridge to Hilton Head Island. my other half got to see a dolphin breach. I couldn’t see it, but I don’t doubt it given the look on his face!
We weren’t quite sure what the “rules” of the beach were, so we brought just the bare minimum. We’re already much better prepared for the next time…we got to swim a bit, sun a bit, and enjoy the people watching. It was fun watching the kites dance and weave further down the beach, and on our last trip into the water I almost stepped on a starfish! Unfortuantely I had left the camera back at our spot, so I wasn’t able to get a photo of him.
We headed back to the hotel and took a quick swim in the pool just to say we did. A wonderful recommendation from the front desk on a local restaurant for fresh seafood, and we were off for dinner. We ate on the upstairs deck bar at Captain Woody’s and had great food and live entertainment. We hit it at just the right time, too, as it filled up rather quickly shortly thereafter.
Our pooch was happy to see us when we finally returned for the evening. She looks like we feel, I think!
Tomorrow we’ll drive around the island a bit more before we head inland and back to reality. This was a very serendipitous trip, and I believe the first of many to this little stretch of heaven on earth!