It’s the death throws of winter here – on Monday it was 75° and on Saturday it snowed several inches, so needless to say, I just don’t even know what the day will hold from one moment to the next here! But I am *definitely* missing my summer weather. If I could just take the top back for one carefree day in the sun, I would LOVE it!
I never did write up my summer beach trip, so I’ll fondly recall our adventure this summer in Myrtle Beach, SC.
We try to take a family vacation to Myrtle Beach every year in September, but about 40% of the time, the trip gets cancelled due to an imminent hurricane. This year, the hurricane actually arrived to the beach before we did, and our original hotel accommodations were cancelled due to flooding and other incidental damage, so we scrambled to find an AirBNB on the northern shore. The unit ended up being perfect, with phenomenal views from both bedrooms and even better views from the living room. The unit itself was a little long in the tooth, but it was clean and it was comfortable.
We took separate vehicles because there was no way I was going to the beach without Magnus, and he’s not the most comfortable long term ride for backseat passengers. After arriving to the unit late afternoon, we were all starving, so we headed to the literal closest restaurant, literally right outside the gated community, Spanky’s Pub House.
Y’all. I can’t even. We ordered the “Egg Roll Sampler” with five flavors of their famous egg rolls, and it ended up being the most amazing things – probably one of my favorite meals of the entire trip. We got Mac & Cheese with Bacon, Pulled Pork, Pepperoni, Buffalo Shrimp, and Snickers. I cannot tell you how amazing every single one was. Its one of those places that we’re going to add to our normal restaurant rotation!
After dinner we took our tired tootsies to the beach and admired the sunset and a nearly full moon as it rose over the water.
The morning dawned beautiful, and we partook in our family tradition of getting up before first light to watch the sunrise from the balcony. We were extra excited this year because each of the master suites had private balconies, and there were two balconies in the living room as well. I love watching the “sandboni” move up and down the beach, cleaning as it goes, leaving a pristine surface in its wake.
We also spotted several shrimp boats churning along just offshore. I have a newfound appreciation for shrimp boats after stumbling upon the wreck of the Donna Kay in Cape San Blas, FL.
After our calm morning sunrise and coffee, we got ready and headed out for breakfast at Blueberry’s Grill. Joey and I found this cute little restaurant when we travelled to North Myrtle Beach, SC for our second wedding anniversary, and we absolutely LOVE it. We loved it so much we ate there twice on our week long stay. Everything on the menu is divine, and they have daily specials that we often grab because they are SO good, but you absolutely have to leave with a grilled blueberry muffin – there’s just nothing like it!
After lunch, we dropped the boys back off at the condo. My step dad wanted to go exploring, and Joey had some work to do (poor guy, it was a typical work week for him, but at least he got to work remotely while looking at the beach!). Mom and I headed for the outlets to do some shopping. We hit up the usual touristy stops along the way to pick up the usual kitschy gifts. Of course I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take some glamour shots of Magnus, and even found another Jeepher at the outlets.
We didn’t find much of interest at the outlets – pretty similar to our own outlets back home – but we did get our steps in! We headed back to the condo for several hours of downtime before getting ready for dinner. We decided that we wanted to go ahead and get our buffet experience out of the way, and instead of hitting up our usual haunt (Captain George’s), we instead tried a new buffet, The Giant Crab. Not gonna lie, the literal Giant Crab lured me in ?
We really liked it. I mean, it’s not five star dining, but it was clean, it had a wide variety of offerings, even for a non-seafoodie like my husband, and there was no wait. Its your standard fare seafood buffet, but thats exactly what I wanted – a pile of hot, fresh crab legs!
Our Tuesday was about as touristy as one can get in Myrtle Beach, but we wanted to go ahead and get the usuals out of the way and leave the rest of our week open for our off-the-beaten-path exploration.
Wednesday treated us to another beautiful sunrise and a calm morning. I took the opportunity to head out for a beach run shortly after, something I always look forward to when we’re on our beach vacations. All of the beaches have their own unique feel, and I like that a lot of Myrtle Beach is hard packed sand and shells, though sometimes the beach can be very slanted and make one side sore as you run due to running on a cambered angle.
After my run, we loaded up the car and headed out for our next big adventure, Brookgreen. This place is absolutely amazing and is actually going to get its own post that I’ll be sure to link back in here once it’s ready.
On our way out of Brookgreen, we hit up a little restaurant tucked into a shopping center that had piqued my interest in Yelp – Grilled Cheese & Crab Cake Co. I love both of those things, and this place does not disappoint. To be completely honest, favorite meal the entire trip. I ordered the French Fried Lobster Grilled Cheese with an order of fries and onion rings, and everything was delicious, albeit indulgent and a little greasy (I mean, its all fried, what can you expect?) Other members of the family ordered other sandwiches off the menu, and everyone was impressed. This is definitely a hidden gem, well off the beaten path of touristy Myrtle Beach’s main drag.
The rest of our day was spent soaking up the sun and enjoying the beach. We found that our building cast a long shadow onto the beach as the afternoon progressed, which offered a welcome patch of shade from the brutal sun (even in September!).
After the sun sank below the water, we headed to the downtown area, where we walked around the boardwalk and got our obligatory funnel cake (probably the only one I eat all year) while enjoying the sights, sounds, people-watching and tourist traps of the boardwalk atmosphere.
Thursday morning dawned with another beautiful sunrise – this one cloudless, but beautiful pastel colors gradually warming up the horizon. It was September 12th, and my step-sisters birthday – her first since she was murdered in an act of senseless gun violence only a few months before. Still reeling from this loss, we spent the day in self-care and reflection, including taking a trip to the Kindred Spirit mailbox to write a letter. I’ll write up a separate post for Kindred Spirit, since its was a beautiful place that definitely deserves it’s own attention, and I’ll link it back in when it’s ready.
Friday morning was the most amazing sunrise of all – really dynamic clouds, constantly changing and taking on new colors. Mom and I decided that it would be a good opportunity to walk down to the beach to take photos instead of just taking photos from the balcony, so we grabbed our coffees and went. I didn’t even take my mirrorless camera, opting instead just for my iPhone, and we ended up making some pretty neat photos with the “panorama” function.
We loved Brookgreen SO MUCH that we ended up going back for a second visit, to see the museum and galleries that we didn’t have time to visit on our first go round. My Brookgreen post (comprised of my full visit) can be found here. We also hit up Atalaya Castle, the winter retreat home of Anna and Archer Huntington, the founders of Brookgreen Garden.
By Saturday, you really couldn’t tell that Myrtle Beach had just weathered through a hurricane. There was never much damage that was evident as a tourist, but during the week the usual haunts were less crowded than usual. By Friday evening, however, all the usual suspects were rolling back into town. Magnus made a mess of new Jeep friends in the parking lot, and the beaches began to get more crowded as people travelled in to enjoy the last warm rays of summer.
I used our last full day of vacation to get in my last beach run, this time choosing to run midday to the south of our hotel instead of my usual northern route. North leads away from the crowds, while South wraps along the coastline towards the boardwalk. I enjoyed seeing the gulls and people-watching on the beach.
Despite a full week of adventure and sunshine, beautiful weather, delicious food, family bonding, I wasn’t ready to come home. Am I ever? I love my house, but I also really love adventure! I spent the evening watching the nearly full moon climb into the sky, reflecting boldly on the calm waters. Only one more sunrise…
The last morning dawned with mystical, misty clouds. The sun took longer than on the other mornings to finally break through the clouds, and it lit everything into a radiant orange glow once it did so. We didn’t have too long to enjoy the peaceful moment – we had a lot of check-out procedures to complete for our AIRBNB, probably the only drawback to staying in a short-term rental instead of a hotel – you get charged a good bit more for cleaning, and also have a list of things to complete before checking out. We stripped the beds, loaded the dishwasher, tossed all the towels in the washer, and then loaded up the car.
Since we had taken separate cars, we parted ways as Mom and Marion headed to Charleston for another night. They had another day off from work, but Joey and I needed to get back to our regularly scheduled employment ?
I know that every family is different, but I highly recommend taking a trip with some family every once and while! My mom, step-dad and husband all get along so well that we actually take at least one family vacation a year, but sometimes TWO. Its a great time for us to reconnect, unwind, and enjoy new experiences with those we love.