Tag Archives: murrells inlet

South Carolina Trip: Part 3

This is a long one, kids. I don’t want to drag our week-long trip out into a month of posts, so settle in. But first — Did you catch Part 1 and Part 2

Although all of our vacation was enjoyable, Tuesday was definitely my favorite day. I had read about Brookgreen Gardens before we left, and I was so excited to see it. The gardens did not disappoint. If you’re in the South Carolina area any time, definitely set aside at least half a day to see Brookgreen!

Brookgreen Gardens is 9100 acres of flowers, trees, poetry, sculptures, trails, and even a zoo. We spent several hours there and didn’t even make it to the zoo — it’s that big and engrossing. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a nice photodump of some of my favorite shots (in no particular order) from Brookgreen.

butterfly bench brookgreen statue brookgreen childrens path2 brookgreen oaks

Entrance to the "Beyond the Wall" trail
Entrance to the “Beyond the Wall” trail


This donkey was a made of succulents.
This donkey was a made of succulents.

This was in a designated children's garden, which we had to investigate. It was so cool -- full of little paths like this and kid-friendly sculptures.
This was in a designated children’s garden, which we had to investigate. It was so cool — full of little paths like this and kid-friendly sculptures.

brookgreen13 brookgreen11 brookgreen7 brookgreen8 a thought

Not all the poems were serious.
Not all the poems were serious.

We loved Brookgreen and could have easily spent more time there. The $14 ticket gets you a weeks’ worth of admissions, but we only had Tuesday morning to spend. We didn’t even make it to the zoo, because by the time we ate our late lunch, it was getting quite hot and humid, and we were ready to hit the beach.

We left Brookgreen and drove less than a mile to Huntington Beach State Park, which is also a must-visit! Near the park’s entrance is an information center that has a boardwalk out over the saltwater marsh, from which we saw millions of baby crabs crawling about (no picture of the crabs — we tried and tried and couldn’t get a clear one). The nature center was informative, and the short walk and crab-viewing was pretty cool, too.

huntington beach SP

From the nature center, we walked a two-mile trail through the woods. It was quite an experience for these Colorado dwellers: walking on both pine needles and beach sand was unique!
huntington beach trailIt was hot and buggy in there, but we still had a lot of fun exploring. When we finished, though, we were even more ready for the beach. We splashed and played and lounged for a couple of hours, but then thunder started rumbling and ran us off the beach. Boo. At least I got to relax in this little chair for a while.
huntington beach

We planned to go back to Murrells Inlet and give the restaurants there another try, and since the thunder cut short our ocean fun, we had some time to kill before dinner. The storm had passed, so we walked the marshwalk for a minute, then decided to get a drink at Bubba’s Love Shak. Because seriously…its name was Bubba’s Love Shak.
bubbas at murrels inletWe hung out in the rocking chairs on Bubba’s patio for a while,  watching some marsh goats while we sipped our beers.
rockin at bubbas marsh goats at murrels inletOnce we finished our drinks, we walked over to Wahoo’s Raw Bar and Fish House, where I had what was probably the best sushi I had ever eaten. It was way better than the night before. YUM.

On Wednesday, we had tickets booked to go to Hopsewee Plantation. We got there a little early, so we spent some time wandering the grounds, since they weren’t included on the tour.

hopsewee  2 hopsewee 1

Then, the tour of the house started. It was interesting, but honestly, probably not worth the $20/person price tag. I wish we would have toured Magnolia Plantation by Charleston instead, but this was still informative and fun.

On the upstairs balcony -- the floorboards and railings are still the original, 200-year-old wood.
On the upstairs balcony — the floorboards and railings are still the original, 200-year-old wood.

After the tour, we went to the plantation’s tea room for lunch. This was the best part of the tour. They have a traditional tea option, but I opted for a salad, and J and I ordered a bottomless pot of tea to share (you could try as many of their teas as you wanted).

hopsewee 5

After lunch, we drove back up to Myrtle Beach; we’d been here several days and had yet to visit actual Myrtle Beach and its famous boardwalk. We walked the boardwalk for a while, but honestly, we were underwhelmed. It was basically just crowds, a ton of tiki bars and junky tourist shops. Meh. We did ride the famous Skywheel, though, and that was fun.

view from skywheel skywheel j 1After the Skywheel, we headed back to our resort area, fed the turtles, and had dinner, then cruised back to the condo and crashed.

Thursday was our last full day, so we wanted it to be as vacation-esque as possible. We tried to sleep in (our bodies don’t understand that concept), I ran, we had a leisurely breakfast, and then we headed out for one more beach day. We’d asked a local to recommend a quiet beach, and her recommendation didn’t disappoint.

SCUnfortunately, when you’re a ginger, you start to sunburn after a few hours, regardless of how diligent you are with the sunscreen and cover-ups, so by mid-afternoon, it was time to say farewell to the ocean. Sigh.

Luckily, La Belle Amie Vineyard was nearby, so we wandered around the beautiful vineyard and cute gift shop, tasted some wine, and then hung out on their porch in more rocking chairs. I think I need to get a porch rocking chair.

photo 1 (4)After the wine, we went back to the condo to clean up and went out for one last nice dinner. It decided to rain buckets that night, but that’s okay; we enjoyed our last fresh seafood feast anyway.

borther shuckersFriday was pretty uneventful; we had an evening flight out of Florence and had planned to spend the day exploring that city — after stopping to feed the turtles once more, of course. Turns out, there is nothing to do in Florence, South Carolina. We stopped in the small town of Conway, which had a cute riverwalk and downtown area, then wandered around in Florence for a while before heading to the airport for another late-night flight, which was made even later by a delay in Charlotte.

We made it back home around 2:30 Saturday morning and promptly passed out. That’s way past this grandma’s bedtime. But it was absolutely worth it for the fabulous vacation we’d just had!

What? You want one more beach picture? Oh, okay.
photo 3 (2)

What would you most like to do on a South Carolina vacation?

It’s never to early to start thinking about next summer’s vacation. Where should we go?




South Carolina Trip: Part 2

I ended Part I at Saturday night, after we’d gotten some good advice about escaping Bike Week by heading north. On Sunday, after another sticky run and breakfast with the turtles and ducks, we loaded up the car and cruised up to North Carolina.

We started our day at the USS North Carolina, a battleship-turned-museum that now resides in its namesake state. J and I are both museum nerds, so we had a really great time,  but I think most people would also enjoy this shipseum (I made that word up, clearly). Basically the entire ship is open for visitors to explore, from the big guns, AR-10 rifle kits and anchors on deck
photo (2)USSNC2 USSNC1to the powder kegs and missile rooms
USSNC4to the bunk rooms down below.

The whole self-guided tour was interesting and informative, and it made me respect our military even more. Seriously, can you imagine living for months in that ship? And, you know, getting shot at? Wow.

If you’re in the North Carolina area, I definitely recommend that you visit the USS North Carolina. But don’t wear a dress. That made all the ladder-climbing an awkward and unladylike pursuit. 🙂

Once we’d finished at the ship, we ate our PB & Js at a nearby park, then decided to check out Airlie Gardens. Airlie’s website describes it thus: “Celebrating more than a century of gardens by the sea, our history dates back to 1886. Join us then in a self-guided walking tour of these 67-acres of historical gardens of mighty live oaks, tall pines and lakes which are abundant with colorful wildlife. Airlie Gardens, where history, art and nature come together to create a destination spot for garden lovers throughout the world.” The gardens were stunningly beautiful, as was the stainless steel artwork that was their current exhibit. Ready for a flood of pretty pictures?
aerlie magnolia aerlie pond aerlie plant aerlie metal treeaerlie flower aerlie butterfly aerlie bench We really enjoyed Airlie; it was well worth the $9 tickets, as we spent several hours walking the trails and enjoying the gardens.

Once we finished at Airlie, we headed back to South Carolina, stopping for a stroll on a North Carolina beach (so we could bring home sand from both states. We are nerds.) before driving to Little River, a small town north of Myrtle Beach, where we had dinner (fresh fish, of course) at a quiet waterside restaurant — a nice end to a fun day.

photo7 (1)

The next day was Memorial Day Monday — i.e. the last day of Bike Week — so we decided to spend the day in Charleston. We were kind of stupid about our Charleston day — there were several things we wanted to do that were half-day excursions, so instead of just picking one or two, we didn’t do any. That was dumb, but we still had fun. We ate our sandwiches in Battery Park, explored some old neighborhoods while eavesdropping on horse-drawn wagon tours, and walked Charleston’s Museum Mile — a string of old houses and museums that you can walk while reading information about each.

charleston house


That picture was across from Battery Park. We also saw the famous Rainbow Row, and I took a marginal picture of it:
rainbow row
When we finished the Museum Mile, we stopped at the Old City Market, where I was tempted to buy this sign:
happy sand
Instead, we bought some pictures for our house, and then left the market and ate some frozen yogurt before heading back.

We had heard that Murrells Inlet, near Myrtle Beach, was the best place to get seafood, so we decided to stop there on the way back from Charleston. Unfortunately, we didn’t consult Yelp and the restaurant we chose was not very tasty (so. much. oil.), but the views were pretty and we still had a good time hanging out together, so it was a win.

This post is getting long, so I’ll leave off here for now. Check back tomorrow to hear about the rest of the trip (including my new favorite place on Earth).