15 June 2012 – Hilton Head

Dad woke Erin and me up around 9.  We had toast for breakfast.  Around 10 we went to the beach.  Erin and I took a walk while she looked for more seashells.  She only  found 1 though.  We all went back to the condo.

Next we went to eat lunch at Dye’s Gullah Fixin’s.  It was a buffet style restaurant where reservations are required because they want to know exactly how many people are showing up.  It had good fried chicken, as the reviews said.  The food was good, but nothing spectacular.  After that we went to a gift shop so that I could get the shot glass I still needed.  I found a decent one.  It wasn’t my favorite kind that has a lot of tourist attractions on it, but it would do.  Dad and I also got a t shirt for Derek.  Erin got a sand dragon thing as a souvenir.  We headed back to the condo.

After resting for a while, we went back to the beach.  Erin and I did some body surfing with the boogie boards.  I was able to go pretty far a good number of times.  After a good while, she had to go back to the room to check something.  I did more boogie boarding with Dad.  The current going in had gotten stronger and so had the current going to the right.  Boogie boarding was fun, but eventually we gave into the currents.  We also had problems with our stuff sitting on the beach in all this time.  While I was boogie boarding with Erin, Dad took pictures of us several times.  He had to move our towels and stuff up because the tide was coming in.  After Erin left, and Dad and I were boogie boarding, people on the beach moved our stuff up for us once.  Still, when he went back to check on our stuff, it was wet.  He had to move it up a lot.  When we gave into the tides, Dad and I carried the stuff back up to the room.  The 3 towels were wet with sand, and the beach umbrella broke from a big wind.  Dad’s waterproof camera bag wasn’t zipped all the way, so a little water got in it, but thankfully no harm was done. When we got back to the room, we took care of the stuff and rinsed the sand off of ourselves.

We had dinner at the condo, trying to get rid of some of the food so we wouldn’t have to take as much back.  We had quesadillas using the leftover taco meat.  We made some mac and cheese from the box.  Dad made a cucumber and tomato salad.  We also tried a new experiment of making fried plantains.  We just melted some butter in a skillet and cooked the plantain slices.  After they were mostly cooked, Dad smashed them.  We added cinnamon and sugar.  They were alright, but a little dry in the middle.

Dad cleaned up after supper and started packing up the kitchen stuff we brought.  Erin and Teagan watched Monsters, Inc.





14 June 2012 – Hilton Head

Dad woke Erin and me up at 9 a.m..  We had breakfast which consisted of toast with cut up apples and peaches.  Then we got ready for our outing to the Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge.  We packed some lunch items, water, binoculars and cameras.

The wildlife refuge is on an island between Hilton Head and the mainland.  It is only about 10 minutes from the condo.  When we got there, we drove to the parking lot.  It is in a nice pine forest, so there is plenty of shade.

There were lots of trails to bike on and walk.  We decided ahead of time that we would mostly bike since we walked a lot at Sea Pines Forest Preserve yesterday, and since biking would allow us to cover more of the refuge.  We saw marshes with birds on them.  [Mostly we saw white ibises, but we saw one group of wood storks, also. — rh] The binoculars we brought definitely came in handy.  Erin and Dad were saying what kinds they were and stuff, but I didn’t really care that much.  They looked nice though along with the landscape.  Then we got to the main attraction here – Ibis Pond.  The pond had an island in the middle of it with a lot of birds on it.  In another area close by, we saw some flowers and I took a few pictures.  We biked around more on some side trails.

We took a path to Shell Point.  The ground was a little softer, so the biking was a little harder.  We stopped occasionally for a break, but the mosquitoes prevented the breaks from being very long.  The path lead to a nice view of a couple of marsh area, but that’s about all.  Dad and I had a nice exhilarating ride on parts of the trail, but Erin started not feeling well.

From there, we went back to the main trail, then back to the car.  We figured we’d get water, have lunch, and enjoy a little break.  After a while I realized that since Erin wasn’t feeling well, we’d probably go back to the condo after lunch.  At the car, Erin’s stomach hurt and she was feeling dizzy.  We went back to the condo for her to rest and get better.

I had lunch at the condo, and then left to meet my friend Melissa that also came here with her family.  She took me to the place she is staying  (Harbor Point).  As planned, she took lots of pictures of me on her film camera.  First we started in the woods, then we moved to places around her condo.  Then we went back to her condo.  Next I went with Melissa and her mom for a walk around the harbor that’s right by their condo.  We also went in a few shops on the way back.  Soon afterwards Melissa took me back to my condo.

While I was with my friend, Erin and Dad went to the Bluffton Farmer’s Market and got some fresh shrimp and a tomato.  They said the market was very interesting.  In addition to the usual assortment of fresh vegetables, there were lots of unusual fresh breads, fresh flavored pastas, jams/jellies/salsas, etc.  There were also lots of prepared foods like empanadas, crepes, smoked pork, and on and on.  The town of Bluffton reminded them of Leipers Fork back home.  After they got back, Dad went to the beach for a long walk.  Erin was in the condo when I got back.  She was feeling much better.

For dinner we made pasta with the shrimp and it had a garlic lemon butter sauce.  We also had some french bread.  We all pitched in to make the meal.  Erin sliced the bread and was in charge of sautéing the shrimp.  I was in charge of the garlic and a few other small jobs.  Dad peeled and deveined the shrimp and made the sauce.

Afterward, we played Mario Karts gamecube.

13 June 2012 – Hilton Head

I got Teagan and Erin up at 9:15 a.m. so we could get ready for an outing.  They had omelets for breakfast, and we headed out around 10:15 a.m. for a trip to the Sea Pines Forest Preserve.

There is a $5 fee to enter the Sea Pines area.  We entered the preserve and parked to do some short hikes.  First we went to the Indian shell ring.  This is a ring mound that was left by native Americans about 3000 years ago.  The large ring was about 100 yards in diameter and consisted of discarded shells from the natives.  The significance of the ring is not know for certain, but it may have been used in rituals and ceremonies.

The trees, especially the live oaks, in the area have a lot of resurrection fern and Spanish moss on them.  There are lots of palmetto bushes, also.  We walked to an observation deck at Old Lawton Rice Field, but the trees and bushes were overgrown and we couldn’t tell there was every a rice field there.

We continued along the Bridle Trail to the Rice Field Trail which passed over a shallow water area that we could tell was a rice field in a prior life.  Then we headed back toward the van along the vanishing swamp trial (the water is only occasionally there). The entire area that we walked was very beautiful and quiet, despite being in the middle of a very developed beach area.

We drove to a few other places in the preserve, did a little walking, and then left the preserve to head to the south beach area.  We were there about 3 hours.  We left the preserve and headed toward the Salty Dog Cafe for lunch.

As often occurs with us on Hilton Head, we had a little difficulty finding our destination.  The heavy tree canopy interferes with the GPS signal, and the minimal signage make visual identification of destinations difficult.  Once we found the cafe, we were seated immediately.  This restaurant is very popular, and from what I’ve read seating commonly takes an hour at night.  So we had planned our day to arrive for a late lunch around 2:00 p.m.

Erin ordered the Mahi sandwich, Teagan had the She Crab Soup with shrimp salad sandwich, and I had a shrimp po-boy.  Everyone was happy with their meal.

We looked in several shops, both before and after lunch.  We also watch the three macaws they had in the shopping area.  Then we headed back to the condo.  We were going to take a quick look at Coligny Beach on the way back, but just as we got there a downpour hit.  So we passed up that outing.

We got back to the condo and rested for about an hour.  Then Teagan and I went on a bike ride.  We were going to ride along the beach, but it was high tide and there was really no sand left to ride on.  So we headed out on the bike paths north of the condo.  We biked through a Marriott property and a Westin property, passing various golf courses and tennis courts along the way.

We got back to the condo around 6:00 p.m.  A storm looked like it was heading our way, so we went into the condo to see what it would do.  After it passed, I headed to the beach.  There was a beautiful rainbow over the water.  The wind had died down, and the water was relatively calm compared to the wind-churned surf we’ve been seeing.

I swam for a while, then went for a jog/walk along the beach.  While I was jog/walking, Erin and Teagan came to the beach. When I got back, I bodysurfed a little, then headed back to the condo to start supper.  We had our version of nachos along with some guacamole that Teagan and I made (mostly Teagan).

At some point during the week I picked up some jalapenos from Publix.  They may be the hottest jalapenos I’ve every tasted.  In fact, they taste more like a serano pepper even though they look like a jalapeno.  Anyway, we’ve been attempting to each them during the week, so we added those to our nachos as well.  Pretty spicey.

After supper, we play Mario Karts Wii.

12 June 2012 – Hilton head

Dad took a walk on the beach.  Then he woke up Erin and me and we ate lunch.  Dad and I had bocca burgers and Erin had a regular hamburger.

Next I went zip lining at Broad Creek Marina.  It was insanely close to where we went kayaking the other day.  This was my first time zip lining and I’d been excited about it ever since I found out there was a zip line course at Hilton Head.  There were 5 other people in my group and 2 instructors.  I soon found out that I was the only traveler in the group, and everyone else lived here.  After we got our gear on, the instructors gave a lesson about how to do it.  After that, we started the actual course.  The first few were simple so that you could get used to zip lining for people like me who’d never done it before.  The ropes started getting longer as time went on.  At some point it started raining, but they still go on when it rains.  It actually makes you go faster.  At some point we heard some thunder so we had to wait for the storm to pass.  We didnt have to go down though.  The course was pretty intricate because it had towers, which were basically like regular stairs in a building but without the walls.  There was also a spiral staircase, 2 suspended bridges, and another bridge.  These were spread out in the course.  We just waited in one of the towers for the rain to pass.  Then we went back up and did the last 4 lines or so. The 2nd to last one was the longest and fastest line and it was my favorite.  The male instructor had announced before that it was his favorite too.  They are thinking about adding a racing zip line course, rock climbing, and a few other things.

While I was zip lining, Dad went to a fruit/produce stand that our kayak guide had told us about.  It was closed though.  He also went to the grocery store to pick up food, and a dug store.

While I was zip lining and Dad was out, Erin stayed at the condo and went bike riding on the beach some.  Dad and I have still yet to do it.

After Dad and I got back to the condo, Erin and I went to play mini golf.  There was actually a place very close to our condo, so we rode our bikes to it.  Dad rode with us to pay and left.  They had 2 courses there, I won the first and Erin won the 2nd.  Then we played in the arcade afterwards. We did air hockey, racing, basketball throwing, pacman, etc.  We rode our bikes back to the condo.

For dinner we had chicken thighs, mashed potatoes with gravy, and vegetables.  Then we played sequence.  After that  Erin and I made brownies.  We had some and went to bed.

11 June 2012 – Hilton Head

Mom and Dad straightened up around the condo, then they got Erin and me up.  For lunch Dad made quesadillas.  One had the leftover dirty rice in it with cheese and jalapenos, while the other one was just cheese and jalapenos.  Erin and I split both of them.  The dirty rice one was an interesting thing to try.  Both Erin and I agreed it was our favorite of the 2.  These jalapenos were spicier than usual so the one without dirty rice was hotter since it had more of them.

Next Dad, Erin, and I headed to go kayaking at Kayak Hilton Head.  The water we were in was Broad Creek which is the body of water that cuts through the middle of the island.  Erin and I shared a kayak and Dad used a single person kayak.  This was Erin’s first time kayaking and she hasn’t been canoeing either. She did really.  The guide’s name was Mary and she had some nice stories about the island.  She didn’t give too much information like some guides do, but she gave a good amount.  Some of the stories were very interesting.  When we got back to the dock she showed us some different kinds of crabs they caught with a crab trap, including a blue crab and stone crab.  The bottoms of the different crabs looked interesting.  As she said earlier, the bottom of blue crabs looks like either the capital building dome or the Washington Monument, depending on the gender.

We headed back to the condo and got ready to go to the beach.  Mom had left to go back to Virginia by the time we got back.  At the Beach, Erin and I set up at a different spot than Dad, the same way we did yesterday with Mom.  We walked down the beach and Erin collected shells.  Then she decided to try boogie boarding, even with her friction burn.  The waves were rough though and also not all that great for boogie boarding.  By the time we were done with that, Dad decided to head back to the condo.  Erin and I followed soon after.

We spent about 1 1/2 hours at the condo and then went to eat dinner at A Lowcountry Backyard, which is the top rated restaurant on yelp and a few other sites.  They had local cuisine and it sounded nice.  When we got there we still had a 20 minute wait.  We went to the bar while we waited, and also noticed the restaurant is only 2 small rooms including the bar. I got a latte, Erin – water, and Dad – bourbon.  It was interesting watching the lady make my latte.  When we were seated Erin ordered shrimp and grits, me – island crab cakes with collard greens and “mom’s” maccaroni salad (haha), and Dad – The Bischick (chicken over biscuits with gravy) with collard greens. We all thought the restaurant deserved the ratings it got.  My crab was very flavorfull and Erin liked hers, even though its only the 2nd shrimp and grits she’s had before. Dad especially liked the collard greens.

We came back to the hotel for the night.

10 June 2012 – Hilton Head

The bedrooms in the condo don’t have an outside window, so the natural morning light didn’t wake us up like it does at home.

We couldn’t find any coffee filters in the kitchen of the condo, so Teagan and I headed to Publix to stock up on groceries.  Linda called and said she found them right when we were about to head to check out and buy our groceries.  We ate sandwiches at the condo for lunch.  The weather forecast showed rain arriving around 2:00 p.m., so Linda headed to the beach to try to beat the rain.  She only has one full day with us here, since she has to head back to work on Monday.

Teagan, Erin and I decided to explore the island a little via car, so we headed toward the south beach.  Along the way, we stopped at an “Hilton Head Information” center.  It turned out to be a front for a couple of timeshare salespeople.  I endured a brief sales pitch, but quickly cut off the presentation, grabbed some information brochures, and exited with all my money still in my pocket, as far as I could tell.

We took the South Forest Beach drive.  Somewhere along the way we had to pay a $5 toll.  This took us all the way to Lands End Road in the South Beach area.  Then we back-tracked and went to the Harbor Town area where the lighthouse is.  We stopped there and visited several shops.

In the meantime, Linda had called and said the sun was out at the condo, despite the forecast, so we headed back in that direction to see if we could get in some beach time before the rain arrived.  Along the way, we stopped at the General Store where two rented bikes awaited us.  Teagan and Erin rode them back to the condo.

Linda had been at the beach most of the time while we were out.  When we got back, Teagan and Erin got ready and headed to the beach.  I shuttled supplies back and forth, but didn’t really do much at the beach.

After a couple of hours at the beach, Teagan and Erin returned to the condo and Linda quickly followed.  Erin had a knee scrape from skim boarding, but it was not serious.  After a little first aid, Teagan, Erin and I went on a short bike ride.  I had brought along Teagan’s bike for a third one.

After about 30 minutes of riding, the predicted rain finally arrived, so we headed back.

Teagan, Erin and I worked on supper.  We prepared dirty rice, baked cauliflower, and garlic bread.

After supper, we all played several games of Presidents.  I won the first one, then Teagan won five in-a-row.

After that, Teagan, Erin and I played Mario Karts Double Dash.  Erin doesn’t play this game much, and Teagan almost always beats me, so let’s just say Teagan had a good night in the games department.



9 Jun 2012 – Hilton Head

Teagan and I left home at 8:30 a.m. to head to Erin’s house to pick her up.  We left Erin’s house around 9:15 to go to Hilton Head, SC.  We first headed toward Nashville to pick up I-440 which took us over to I-24.  We headed southeast toward Chattanooga.  We stopped in Monteagle for gas and lunch at a Wendy’s.  We noticed it was about 6 degrees cooler atop the Cumberland Plateau.

We continued through Chattanooga and picked up I-75 which took us to Macon.  The traffic in Atlanta slowed us down a little.  From Macon, we took I-16 to near Savannah, then I-95 for a few miles north to Hilton Head.  The traffic getting into Hilton Head was not bad compared to what it can be.

Linda, who has been working in Richmond, VA, drove down from there and arrived on the island before us and had already checked in at the Hilton Head Beach & Tennis Resort.  We met her at the two-bedroom condo, Admiral’s Row #228, around 7:00 p.m.

After we carried in some of our things, we walked to the beach to find food.  We stopped at Jamaica Joe’s Beach Bar, but they stopped serving food at 6:00 p.m.  So we walked to Coconutz Sportz Bar, also on the resort property, and ate supper there.  Linda and I split a Carolina style pulled pork sandwich and the young ladies got fish sandwiches.  The food was good.

We returned to the condo and brought in more stuff from the car.  We set up an N64 console and played Mario Karts 64.