Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 24 - head home tomorrow

Flash flood warning, thunderstorms and lightning have started the day here in Charleston. May have to buy some wellie boots.

Headed out at eleven, rain just a drizzle but still really overcast.  Head over to get the ferry to Fort Sumter but the first two have been cancelled because of rough seas he tells us to come back for 2:30. 

Go over to check out the market, some beautiful galleries and crafters along with straw basket weavers.  Pop into a local deli and grab lunch to go, head down to the water to eat.  So many of the walkways are under water but we manage to find a dry swing under a gazebo where we can watch the water.  As we are sitting there we start to notice a dolphin, then another and another.  It was so beautiful a small pod of dolphin were frolicking just 100 yards off the pier.  

Back to the ferry and thankfully the boat is a go.  We wander through the museum reading how the start of the civil war started here at fort Sumter. Aftereading a ton of books about the slave trade I was surprised at how emotional I felt actually reading real life stories about it.  What a terrible Iife it was with brother fighting brother and the slaves being used in the forts to rebuild walls, etc.  

The boat trip was wonderful, blustery but dry with the dolphins following the boat.  Fort Sumter is basically a sandbar in the middle of Charleston harbour where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, in the 1800s the walls were fifty feet high, during the war it was bombarded to rubble.  The walls were rebuilt to about twenty feet.  Very interesting and a definite trip to anyone who comes to Charleston.

After the trip we thought a rum was in order so we stopped at an oyster bar called Pearlz, absolutely hopping, with great entertainment.  

A little time to put up our feet and now we are off to dinner.  

Funniest thing just happened, Jim went out for a smoke on our 2 foot wide balcony and he couldn't get the door opened, I am sitting here watching him.  It's a little scary to watch because the balcony is so narrow so I get up to help, killing myself laughing.  I can't get he door open either, I finally put a foot up on the wall and pull like crazy and thankfully the door opened.  Lol I don't think Jim was impressed with my gales of laughter. 

So much fun yesterday we had to do it again March 23

Back on the bikes for one last ride before we head up to Charleston.  This time we head down to the beach.  I can't resist - I have to play tag with the waves, totally forgetting that there are no mudflats on my bike so my white ants and right up my back are totally covered in sand and water. Lol.  Too much fun.  It's over all too soon, which is probably good for our butts.

The drive up to Charleston is heavy rain, but stops when we pull into Charleston.  Off we go for a walk through historic Charleston.  It is unbelievably beautiful, really quite different from Savannah.  Big huge porches, carriage houses behind the property, Gas lamps, wonderful doorknobs, courtyards - I could just go on and on.  Big churches everywhere.  Then we came to Battery Park, right on the Atlantic, the waves were good and rough and to make it even more magical there were a couple of weddings going on.  Charleston is like Niagara on the Lake for destination weddings. 

The city was filled with cobblestone alleyways, brick walls and beautiful courtyards.  Palm trees in amongst gigantic oaks with spanish moss overhanging everything.  It was even on the telephone poles.  Azalea's were just starting to bloom, definitely the flower you think of when you think of South Carolina.  Picture Augusta and the Master's golf course everywhere you go.  

Everywhere you looked were beautiful gas lights.  Street lights, door lights, over garages, on gateways.  And they never seemed to turn off.  Just loved them, they added even more character to a town that was just bursting with it.

Dang my battery on my camera ran out.  Back to the hotel for a wee nap before we went off to Il Mercator for dinner.  A beautiful restaurant with great food, gnocchi for me and carbonara for Jim and to top it off they had a great little jazz band.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tried something new today - Friday, March 22

Whoops, laughter and smiles greeted our first bike ride in too many years.  Almost died right out of the parking lot.  Forgot rule number 1 - don't turn the wheel when you look over your shoulder, when I saw the car I then over corrected and ended up on the grass lol.  Jim was blissfully unaware of this as he meandered down the bike path.  Hilton Head has bike and walking paths everywhere, you can literally ride from one end of the island to the other.  

It was a little cool, so being the smart cookie I am, I put on one golf glove and one winter glove I just happened to have in my golf bag.  We rode through the communities of Turnberry, Inverness and Leamington.  The communities all have beautiful rivers and golf courses surrounding them.  

After about thirty minutes, you guessed it, our butts were killing us.  But we kept going.  We ended up out there for about an hour and a half with lots of wiggling to keep our bums circulating. Lol

A quick trip back up to our rooms and we headed off to Indigo Run to play the Great Bear - a Jack Nicklaus clubcorp course.  Once again we were paired up with a nice man named Steve, who knew the course and kept us away from the hazards.

Back to the hotel, looking forward to a nice bath and find out the lock on our door has failed. Security is working on it.  My red wine is also locked in the room.

First day of spring in Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia. 

As blustery as the ocean was yesterday, it was calm as glass today.  The sun was shining but it was quite cool today.  Today the winds were gusting from the island out to the ocean. By the time we got back to the hotel, kids were in the pool and people were lying in the sun with their suits on.  The pool and terraces are in a nice little warm pocket, but stand up and goosebumps appear :)

The house was amazing, amazing doesn't seem like a big enough word to describe some of these houses

You could walk for miles and miles, or bike or run or .....

Seemed like a good day to head down to Savannah, Georgia.  Fifty minutes later after a nice drive through the countryside and over a gigantic bridge we arrived in Savannah.  At the bottom of the bridge is the visitors centre and tons of people trying to sell their bus tours.  In the centre we met a lovely lady who gave us a map, explained the highlights and told us to go for a nice walk.  Which is exactly what we did.  The city just oozes history, from their 24 squares with stately houses surrounding them, to the Spanish moss hanging from trees that are 100's of years old to their cobblestone streets down by the water.  Savannah is still a very busy port city.  They have done a great job of keeping the old warehouses intact by turning then into restaurants, pubs and art galleries.  It is amazing to think that this was one of the major slave ports of the world.  We had lunch at Vic's Fine Dining, a beautiful restaurant in one of the harbour warehouses, while we were walking into it a large black man was singing Amazing Grace in an amazing voice - goosebumps.   Next stop was the Paula Deen gift shop.  Hey y'all, how y'all doing was everywhere, on napkins, bags, aprons, etc.  Just past Paula's place was a candy store where you could watch them make fresh pralines and toffee. Yes we bought a couple, delish

Savannah was built around 24 squares.  Each one named after a famous person in the history of  Savannah

A wonderful little restaurant right on the waterfront

The trees and the moss were amazing

Back at the hotel after another full day, a little rum and coke and possibly a walk up to get a pizza. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Windy and blustery

Wednesday, March 20

Just love being able to pop (creak) out of bed, have a quick cup of tea and off to the beach. Today was very blustery with big waves and the sand swirling around your feet. We decided to let the wind push us which it did a good job of.  We started noticing the people walking the other way were bending over into the wind and holding their hats with both hands.  Being the smart cookies that we are we decided to take one of the pathways up to the road.  After a kilometre we realized we were actually walking in a resort and it had a large barbed wire fence stopping us from getting to the road we wanted lol. So back we went, head down and into the wind we plowed. Good thing is it made us walk a couple of extra kilometres. Lol. 

Off to the outlet mall, picked up a couple of golf shirts and golf shoes and off we went to play Port Royal - Robbers Row.  A beautiful course and even better we were basically the only ones on it. Nothing nicer than taking a shot and saying "I can do better" , drop another ball and try again and again and again. Lol

Dinner tonight was at Frankie Bones, a steak and seafood place that some locals recommended.  Experienced my first happy hour and have to say they make a great lemondrop martini.  Jim had a petit surf and turf, while I had a filet with whipped sweet potatoes and a spinach salad. 

Back to the hotel for a nightcap in the lobby and some rest for our weary bones. 

More walking

A beautiful Island for Walking

Beautiful day, sunny and hot. It is wonderful.  A little later start to the day and the weather has made the beach quite busy.  Walkers bikers, strollers.  Still lots of room it is a huge beach and the tide is out again. Some of the homes along the shore are unbelievable.  Big balconies, fireplaces.  It would have been great to watch the thunderstorm the other night from one of them.

Today we decided to do a little tour of the island. Off to Palmetto Marina,  a pretty little spot, but not worth the time. I can't believe I said it, bit it's true.  From there off to South Beach.  Everything there is Salty Dawg related.  One guy seems to own everything there and has named everything after the Salty Dawg.  A really cute little area with some cute shops and a great  little bar on the water.  Enjoyed a great little Salty Dawg seasonal craft beer.   A little walk along South Beach, it was alot narrower and dirtier than the Omnis beach. 

Took the residential drive back through Shipyard Planation, beautiful houses, lots of timeshares and little malls. 

Popped back to the hotel, a little rum and coke on the deck and then we headed to Little Venice for dinner, having a little craving and they filled it with a spinach ravioli, perfect.  The restaurant is located on the river in a quaint little village with some great little shops and lots of boats too look at.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Touring the island Monday March 18

Touring about the island Monday

After a breakfast of peanut butter on an English muffin with bananas we set off to discover the island.  We head down to the beach, the tide is out and all you can see as far as you look is beach and water.  A light rain has made us almost the only 2 people on the beach.  The ocean water is only 68, quite chilly for us but not for the dolphin that is frolicking about 20 feet away from us. The sand (ocean floor) is very hard and so easy to walk on. 

We pop into the lobby on the way back and get a map of the island.   Jim has flip flopped from 2 games of golf 3 weeks ago to 4 games of golf last Friday, to saying I don't think I am even going to have to golf,  cough cough as I choke....

We pack up our golf stuff just in case he changes his mind lol.  Off we head to Harbortown, which just happens to have the most prestigious golf course on the island.  A beautiful little town that costs $5 to get into.  Looks like they have their own private security.  The houses are beautiful.  Each community/development has its own colour scheme, from sand to moss to pale beige.  Not a lot of creativity, they want to blend in with nature.  Jim and I are both surprised by how beautiful the island is, huge trees, palms and pines with lots of moss hanging down from them.  Biking trails everywhere and lots of protected land. The houses blend right in.

Harbortown itself is a little touristy with a beautiful lighthouse, around 120 feet high.  You could go to the top and discover a little of the history of the area at the same time as each curve of the steps had artifacts and stories about the local history, including the Tale of the Blue Lady.  Her father was a lighthouse keeper and during the biggest hurricane to hit the region, he died if a heart attack trying to keep the flame light.  He made his daughter promise to do her best to keep it going.  For five days she sloshed through three feet of water going up and down the stairs over her poor dads dead body keeping the light on, saving countless ships from running ashore.  When help finally arrived she collapsed and succumbed to exhaustion. And they say on stormy nights she still wanders the lighthouse.

Next stop was lunch at a very touristy restaurant with giant fish and crabs hanging from the woodwork called The Crabs Rest.  Jim had fish and chips and I had the blackened grouper sandwich.  Atmosphere was fun but food was mediocre at best.

Next stop was Harbortown golf course, surprise, surprise.  Jim finds out there is a tee time at 3. Lets go.  Lol I don't think so.  First game of golf in 6 months I don't think I want to pay $150 a round, plus $25 for a "for caddy".  So after a walk around we head back in the car. 

Surprise, surprise there's another golf course. The Shipyard. Much more reasonable $45. Surprise, surprise we are playing. We are teamed up with another couple from port perry, they come down for the same 2 weeks every year.  Gave us some names of some other reasonable courses and some info on other interesting things to do on the island.  For the first game didn't play too bad, stopped after 15 holes.  Lots of alligators, turtles and some beautiful birds.  

Head back to the hotel and have a lovely dinner at Alexandre's just up from our hotel.  It is on one of the many rivers and was very beautiful.  2 salads a filet for Jim and short rib sliders for me. Delish and I am thinking the short rib sliders would be a good addition to the cottage menu.

The night ended with a crazy wild thunderstorm. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Travel day. Sunday March 17

Travel day

Up and at 7 am.  Car is packed and we are on the road at 730.  no one is on the road, the border is a breeze and we are dropping our bags off at 10.  drive up to the curb, unload the bags, run in to USAir and 5 minutes later we are back in the car taking it over to the parking lot.   

The first leg of the journey takes us to Philadelphia., where we hop on a flight to Charleston.  Glad the weather is good these planes are tiny.  Grab the car and off we go, sunglasses are on and so is the air conditioner.  

Eleven hours later we arrive at the Omni Hilton, a beautiful resort looking over the Atlantic Ocean.  We have a beautiful suite with a small kitchenette. Perfect!

We pop into the hotel's main restaurant for dinner and a well deserved glass or two of wine.  Dinner was delish, I had the chicken on a bed of mash with a wonderful gravy, started the meal off with a citrus salad.  Jim had a spicy seafood pasta with a blue cheese salad.  

The hotel is doing a lot of construction, new pools and towel huts.  They have done a lovely job with their patio areas including fire pits and fire places so I grab a baileys and Jim a rum and outside we go to enjoy some fresh air and a beautiful night sky.  The next hour we spend in the company of the Kelly's from Boston.  A wonderful chatty family, just what we needed to help settle into a new place.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Buffalo airport

Gotta love it, drive up to departures, grab your bags, run in, 7 minutes later you are all logged in and back in the car trying to find a parking spot.  Amazing there is a little shuttle bus who finds us a spot and drives us to the airport.

Once inside it is pretty much like any other airport, security, kiosks that are overpriced.  One big difference no timi' s. thankfully I had have my bagel left from the drive down.

Next big difference is where the heck is the rest of the plane !!!!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Packing for Hilton Head

Every time I turn around there is another reason why I love technology and especially the Internet.  The weather network becomes my closest friend as a trip approaches.  Two weeks before the trip  I start checking out the weather.  From there I start thinking about what to pack.  I keep checking and then packing day approaches which is now the day before the trip.  Hilton Head's weather has changed enough that I have now packed some wet gear and a couple of sweaters, hopefully for night time.

The golf gear was brought into the house this morning. Discovered two new things about golf. I gather my balls were too frozen to take to Hilton Head so they have to stay home.  Sad little balls.  Second thing - leaving a sandwich in your golf bag for six months is definitely a no no.  At least I think it was a sandwich.

Early night in bed, up and on the way to buffalo at 7 tomorrow and hopefully in Hilton Head by 5 tomorrow. Bring on the sunshine.