I decided to change the course of my blog. Quite frankly, there’s nothing much to say about my health which is great news in itself. But rather than trying to come up with articles to post just to prove I’m still alive, I decided to post articles chronicling what I’m doing to enjoy my life.
Just to catch up on some fun memories in my life, my daughter and I always take an annual vacation of what we call our ‘Girls Gone Wild’ vacation. It’s actually more of a ‘Girls Gone Mild’ but we always have a blast. I would say it actually started when she was a child and we took our little motor home on a couple of vacations a year. And when she reached those teenage angst years it was no longer fashionable to go on vacation with mom so we took a hiatus. However, in 2006 I was scheduled to take a vacation but didn’t have any vacation plans, so my daughter volunteered to take the same time off to go somewhere on vacation. The theme of these GGW vacations is that we don’t decide where we are going until 10 minutes before we leave. We check the weather report and point the car in the direction of wherever the weather is expected to be the best in the next week. We are nearly guaranteed great weather, it’s always an adventure, there are no expectations other than we always have a great time. The first GGW vacation was to Cape Cod. Since that trip, we’ve been to Montreal, DC, Charleston SC, Destin Fl, and the New Jersey shore before this GGW 2012.
This years vacation started out like all the others and we actually didn’t decide where we were going until we were well into the trip. Since the vacation was in April we knew we’d be heading south, like maybe Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head so we could catch some sun without wearing a jacket. So we headed down route 77 snacking on healthy snacks like fresh fruit, trail mix and dried wasabi peas. Whew were they HOT! Not sure if it was the wasabi or the fact that it was getting warmer outside but soon the air conditioner was a must.
You may know that my daughter is vegan and I’m now vegetarian bordering on being vegan. I just haven’t drawn that line in the sand yet. So sometimes it’s a little challenging finding healthy restaurants while on the road. But with 4G phone service and a smart phone, that’s not as much of an issue as you might think. For example there’s a website called HappyCow.org where you can search for vegan, vegetarian, or healthy grocery stores by location. Once we got to Charlotte, NC we were getting pretty hungry for something other than snacks so we found an Earthfare grocery store using the Happy Cow site. Just a note, this is an awesome grocery store chain that won’t sell anything that contains high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings, artificial color or artificial preservatives! On top of that you can even eat at the store which we did and quite well! Awesome!
By this time it was getting a little later in the day and it was time to start thinking about where we will be sleeping for the night. We never want to be driving into our final destination and look for a hotel room at 10pm. Instead we get a hotel about 2-3 hours from our destination so we aren’t pushed to take the first hotel we find. So out comes the phone again. Using Priceline.com, Lindsey bid on and secured a beautiful Doubletree Inn room in Columbia SC. I could have stayed there all week but by this time we decided that the surf and sun of Hilton Head Island was our destination.
While at the Doubletree Inn, we started looking at vacation condos for rent at a website a friend at work had told me about, Vacation Rentals by Owner or VRBO.com. We decided to message a few owners of available condos before lights out. The next morning we were awakened to the phone. The owner of the 2 BR 2 bath condo replied! Since we do spontaneous vacations, we sometimes have a problem finding an available hotel, at the location of our choice, for a fair price. In this case we found all of those but our big hurdle this time was that the owner lived out-of-state, did not accept Paypal or credit cards and it was Sunday so we couldn’t even next day the check. The owner had never agreed to rent on the honor system before, after a little vacillating he agreed to give us the pass to the condo. And we agreed to next day the check on Monday. We were excited that we now had a place to stay at HHI.
Once we got to Beaufort SC we started getting hungry. HappyCow.org again came to the rescue. We decided on a place called the MellowMushroom which actually serves vegan pizza. After the GPS sent us backward thru a car wash driveway we arrived and opted to eat outdoors in the beautiful weather. We ordered a vegan version of a pizza named Magical Mystery Tour. As we sat outside enjoying the warm air, the sun and the fragrances, I thought ‘What a great start to our vacation!’
On the way to Hilton Head Island we were anticipating what the resort and condo would look like. I assumed that HHI would be similar to other beach destinations and be very commercialized. However I was pleasantly surprised to find everything so tastefully landscaped that it was difficult to tell you were at such a popular destination. It was even difficult to know when you were even passing a commercial area because everything was so well planned and manicured. They even managed to hide a Walmart!
Then when we reached the condo, it all seemed too good to be true. We kept trying to imagine that the condo was not that great so our expectations weren’t dashed. But as it turned out, the condo was everything we could have asked for. It was in a gated community, on the ocean side of the road, clean, with view of the oceanand just plain fabulous! And the two bathrooms were perfect for two women. It had a fully furnished kitchen, dining room, living room along with the two baths and 2 bedrooms. And the patio overlooked a beautiful lagoon instead of a parking lot. Awesome! We might just have a change our vacation strategy and come here more often! Paradise!
So what did we do in Hilton Head? Well the beach of course! We had forgotten to bring the beach chairs and umbrella from the last GGW so we picked up another set. And of course we had the new umbrella hazing experience again where the wind grabbed it right out of the beach anchor and Lindsey had to run after it.
In my haste to download a book to my Kindle and get to beach I impulsively chose a new release, Calico Joe by John Grisham. Had I read about the book first instead of chosing it by the author, I may not have picked it because it was a book about major league baseball and a boy’s relationship to his father. However the book was terrific and I would highly recommend it.
Since I dance and Shag is the traditional dance of the beach towns of South Carolina we went out Shag dancing. We found Remy’s where they had lessons for members on Tuesday night. Since everyone was coupled up I didn’t pay the nominal price to become a member and take the lessons but did manage to get out on the dance floor a time or two. One gentleman asked us if we had any children. I told him Lindsey was my one and only. He was surprised that Lindsey was my daughter because he thought we looked nothing alike. Then something dawned on me. From the time Lindsey was a child when we traveled together it was obvious the it was a mother daughter relationship. In the GGW phase I just assumed people saw the resemblance and knew. But after being told we don’t resemble each other, what do people think with? Do they think we are a lesbian couple? (Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just not us). Lindsey and I got a good laugh out of that. Now she makes a point to call me Mom when we register for a hotel room!
After our Destin vacation we decided the signature of a great vacation was having a drink on the wharf before noon at least once. We had to work on getting up and moving that early but we succeededby going to Coco’s on the Beach one day where I had a Coco Can’t Drive that would have lived up to its name had we not had to walk so far back to the car. It was a little cloudy this Wednesday but we needed a break from the sun anyway.
We also did some sight-seeing down at the marina, took in a tour of the lighthouse and the museum within, shopped for our traditional souvenir Christmas tree ornaments, and relaxed in rocking chairs while listening to music on the patio.
We also enjoyed eating out at places such as Roast Fish and Cornbread where they had live music on the outdoor patio, Lowcountry Backyard, Ruan Thai, and DelisheeeYo. And had evening drinks at the Tiki Hut under the stars. That was so much fun that we went back on the day we were leaving to have one last drink outdoors listening to the band on the patio at the Tiki Hut.
I’ve enjoyed every vacation Lindsey and I have taken immensely! But, we now have a new benchmark from which all other vacations will be measured. Hilton Head was perfect in every way. It will be a tough act to follow but I know we will give it a heck of a try next year!