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A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

Eastern Kentucky
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A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

Here's a fairly lengthy summary of my family's trip to Hilton Head, for those who are interested.

After several days of rain and cool weather here in eastern KY, we were anxious to pack up and go somewhere sunny and warm. Mother Nature smiled on us Saturday morning, and we woke up bright and early to find that it was not raining. We loaded up our belongings in a cargo bag, a rubbermaid box, and a half dozen or so trash bags just in case. Then, we loaded the back of our truck Beverly Hillbilly style and headed out to Hilton Head. The weather was beautiful all the way there.

Since we left home at 6:00 am, we arrived around 1:30, two and half hours too early to check into our condo. So, we stopped by a McDonalds (the only one we've ever seen that did not have golden arches) for some lunch, and then cruised around Hilton Head for an hour or so to kill some time. That was long enough for us to determine that Hilton Head's roadways were designed by someone whose goal apparently was to control the tourist population by killing off a dozen or so a week in car wrecks caused by traffic circles. I can't help but wonder if the same person came up with the tan and green color scheme that makes it incredibly difficult to find things.

Around 3:00, we went on over to Island Getaway to see if they'd let us go ahead and have the keys. They did. We arrived in Palmetto Dunes a few minutes later and headed on to our villa at Barrington Court.

I had originally hoped to stay in the Forest Beach area, but after seeing the madness that was Coligny Beach and the beauty that was Palmetto Dunes, I was very glad I decided to go with Palmetto Dunes. Barrington Court was very nice. The parking under the building was very convenient, although the spots were a little tight for our extended cab full size truck.

Our bikes from Island Cruisers were waiting for us in the bike rack when we arrived. Three of the four were perfect. The fourth one had a loose seat that tilted backward when anyone got on it. We could've easily fixed it with an adjustable wrench, but since we didn't have one of those, I called Island Cruisers on Tuesday, and they sent someone over promptly to repair it.

Okay. On to the condo... It was great. It was very clean, had a well equipped kitchen, and had comfortable beds. We were very pleased with the condo, especially considering what a good deal we got on it. From our balcony, we had a view of the ocean, although somewhat obstructed by the trees, and a view of the pool and turtle/fish pond. The pond was also inhabited by a double crested cormorant who provided us with hours of entertainment.

After getting our stuff unloaded on Saturday afternoon, we headed out to Shelter Cove for some dinner and some grocery shopping. We ate at Guiseppi's Pizza, and the food was delicious. We then stopped in TJ Maxx to buy a couple of beach towels for the two 19 year olds who didn't think to bring beach towels to the beach. We got two nice towels for a total of $10 + tax. Then, we headed on down to the Piggly Wiggly and bought some food. The Piggly Wiggly was a madhouse. I noticed that groceries are quite a bit more expensive than they are at home. That night, around dusk, we went for a walk on the beach, and suddenly realized we had not brought a flash light.

On Sunday, we went to the beach. The water felt great, and even my DH, who is terrified of ocean water, got in and had a good time. We also realized that the beach chairs we brought from home were broken, and the two in the condo were far too flimsy for comfort. Then, I got stung by a jellyfish. We got out of the water and laid in the sun while a half dozen or so more people got stung by jellyfish. After the jellyfish incident, we decided to give up the beach and go shopping.

We headed over to the Tanger Outlets, and were shocked by the size of the crowd there. We later learned it was tax-free weekend. My stepson found a pair of golf shoes for $39.99. No one else bought anything.

After the trip to the mall, we stopped by Walmart to purchase some cheap beach chairs and flashlights. We found three beach chairs for $15, which did not seem all that cheap, for the skinnier folks among us, and a more sturdy one for $30 for my larger, heavier husband. Then, we went back to Palmetto Dunes and went for a long bike ride.

That evening, we went out to the South Beach Marina and had supper at The Wreck of the Salty Dog. DH had a steak. I had pasta. I don't remember what the kids ate, but we were all in agreement that the food was very good.

On Monday morning, the guys played golf at the Robert Trent Jones course, while my stepon's girlfriend and I went to the beach. Again, people were being stung right and left by the jellyfish. The heat was unbearable. After being chased out of the water by the jellyfish, we moved to the pool.

That night, we went to Harbourtown and looked around. We climbed the lighthouse, walked around on the 18th hole of the golf course, took some sunset photos, and ate at the Crazy Crab. I had crab legs. DH had a steak. The kids tried and disliked shecrab soup. The food was very expensive and nothing spectacular. The restaurant was also very tight and cramped inside.

On Tuesday morning, we went on a two-hour kayak tour with Kayak Hilton Head. We arrived at the dock at 7:30 that morning, and the mosquitoes feasted on us while we waited to get started. None of us had ever kayaked before, but we really enjoyed it. Our guide was excellent, and we saw dolphins and a variety of birds.

After our kayak adventure, we stopped at IHOP for some breakfast. Hilton Head's IHOP rules. If you haven't eaten the Hawaiian pancakes, stop whatever you're doing and go to IHOP right now. We also rode bikes and went to the beach that day.

That evening, we, after a long search, found One Hot Momma's and had dinner. The food was excellent. I highly recommend the beef brisket and macaroni and cheese. After dinner, we played a highly competitive round of putt-putt golf at Pirate Adventure Golf.

On Wednesday, DH and I went to Savannah. We did an on/off trolley tour with OldTown Trolleys. We also ate lunch at the Lady and Sons. We arrived at 10:20 and were able to be seated at 11:00. The creamstyle corn was delicious, as was the mac and cheese. The rest of it was average. After lunch, we walked and/or rode the trolley around the several different spots in the historic district. We then went to River Street and checked out the shops. The storms blew in around 3:30, so we hopped back on the trolley and went back to the visitor's center and got our truck. We had hoped to check out Tybee Island, but didn't because of the weather.

That night, we cooked in the condo and then went out to the Shelter Cove mall to kill some time while it rained. A clerk in Brookstone yelled at the kids for sitting in the massage chairs they had on display. I was under the impression that the chairs were there so that people could sit in them, but it seems that this is not the case. The kids in question here are 19, not small children. We also had some overpriced ice cream in the mall before calling it a night.

On Thursday, the guys played golf at the Golden Bear. The girlfriend and I rode our bikes on the beach all the way to Sea Pines, around Sea Pines for a bit, and then back to the condo. Then, we went to the beach. It was a gorgeous beach day. The jellyfish had disappeared. The guys joined us at the beach after golfing.

We hoped to go on a sunset cruise that evening, but the storms started around 5:00 and didn't stop all night. We ate at Giuseppi's again, walked around Shelter Cove a bit, and then went to Coligny Plaza. Apparently, everyone else in town also went to Coligny Plaza.

Friday morning started our rainy. After eating breakfast and sitting around the condo, I declared my intentions to go outside and have fun anyway. We all put on our suits and went to the hot tub in the rain. The water in the pool was too cold for swimming. After getting out of the hot tub, we went back to Pirate's Adventure for another round of putt-putt. By the time we were done, the rain had stopped and the sun was trying to come out.

We went to Kingfisher that night. The service was great, the food not so much. I had the prime rib, and it was tough. The steamed veggies were very bland. DH and his son did not want steamed veggies, but the restaurant does not allow substitutions, so they had to order and pay for a side order of cole slaw. My stepson commented that the rolls were hard enough to break out windows.

After dinner, we went down to the marina and inquired about the sunset cruise aboard the Holiday. It was 6:40, and we were the only people there. The captain told us he needed 8 more people to do the cruise. We sat down and waited to see if anyone else showed up. At 6:55, we had given up hope and were trying to decide what else to do with our last night. Then, the deckhand yelled at us to come on down and get on the boat. A party of 7 had just called from the parking lot, and the captain had decided that 11 was close enough to the 12 customers he needed. So, we went on a cruise on an 80 passenger boat with 11 people on board. The other family went to the top deck, and we had the whole bottom deck to ourselves. The clouds made for some beautiful colors in the sky, and we took great pictures.

After the cruise, we went back for one last round of miniature golf. The course was crowded. Our golf outing was made somewhat unpleasant by the two obnoxious teenagers playing behind us. They were obviously on a first date, and the young man felt he could best impress his date by making fun of our putt-putt skills. The fact that we could hear every word they were saying did not seem to bother them.

On Saturday morning, we loaded the truck, cleaned up the condo a bit, returned our keys, and then went back to the IHOP for breakfast before heading out. We got on the road around 10:00 am, and got back home to the beautiful Appalchain Moutains around 6 pm.

All in all, except for the storms and the jellyfish sting (which is now itching like a bad case of the chicken pox), we had a great time.

Georgia
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1. Re: A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

Glad you had a great time. After having time to look the island over, will you come back? If so where will you stay?

Eastern Kentucky
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2. Re: A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

We'll probably come back someday. My husband only gets one week of vacation a year, and there are so many places we want to go. When we come back, we'll probably stay in Palmetto Dunes again. We really liked it.

Omaha
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3. Re: A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

Thanks for the summary! I've been looking forward to hearing about your trip. It sounds like you made the most of your time. I'm glad you were happy with your decision on the condo. Palmetto Dunes is wonderful, and we tried the condo route for the first time this year at Barrington.It seems so much more practical than a hotel for an extended stay. (I have to agree, the garage is great, but kind of tight.... but we really appreaciated it the night hail was predicted.) We also love Giuseppe's - we usually do takeout and go back to the hotel/condo. Funny, we have the same reaction to Coligny every time we venture down there. It just seems crowded, and we end up glad we picked PD. I'm sorry about your jellyfish sting, but glad your trip was good overall! Consider it a learning experience for next time - you know what you will do again, and what you won't (Kingfisher's is on our won't list for similar reasons) But, there's just something about Hilton Head that makes you keep wanting to come back... ( and I'm from Nebraska, so it's a long road trip.)

Charlotte, North...
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4. Re: A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

OK, so I have to ask as an unabashed fan of Palmetto Dunes (and an owner of a vacation Huntington villa there) was it so really all-fired inconvenient to get to other shops, restaurants, etc.?

After the hundreds of postings here that wax eloquent about how Coligny is "close" to everything, have you discovered like many that this shouldn't necessarily be your overriding factor in determining where to stay?

Scott

Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

Nice trip report, by the way.

And on Lady and Sons - we loved our first trip there years ago before they moved - met and talked to Paula and her two sons as well. "What you see on TV is what you get" with her - she's funny. But, as you discovered, lately her restaurant is not worth the wait. Average. At best. Ah well, the price of fame!

Scott

SW Illinois
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6. Re: A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

IsleBeBack, we've stayed in Palmetto Dunes (and in Sea Pines). We don't find the PD location inconvenient at all! Now, granted it's just DH & me, so when we travel, we're 100% on vacation -- no cooking, cleaning, etc. So with so many good restaurants all over the island, we're out and about 3-4 times/day anyway ... so stopping while on our way to/from lunch or dinner to do some shopping is definitely *not* an inconvenience for us. Plus, for us part of the appeal of PD is the feeling that while we're just minutes away from restaurants & shopping, we're almost out in the middle of nothing but nature's beauty -- and the biggest draw of HHI - the beach!

Eastern Kentucky
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7. Re: A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

It really wasn't all that inconvenient to drive to shopping and restaurants. I guess the kids would have liked to have some entertainment within walking distance, but they got by. We drove through the Coligny area and rode our our bikes through Coligny Beach. It was very congested. I don't think we would have liked it nearly as well as we liked Palmetto Dunes.

Omaha
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8. Re: A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

I agree with Islebeback! We've stayed in PD about 8 times and in Shipyard once. Every time we've ventured to Coligny we experience the "Ugh, I'm glad I'm not here. Remind me why I like bumper to bumper traffic in a traffic circle?" response. (Granted, traffic anywhere on the island can get congested in the summer, but it's an oasis inside PD.)Coligny is too crowded, and we aren't into the cute little gifty shops anyway. Tourist junk is tourist junk, wherever you go. When we rented this year, I actually checked out the location of the rental company to make sure I didn't have to drive all the way down there to check in. To me, being "close to the action" translates into sitting in traffic, hunting for parking spots, having difficulty finding a place to park my towel on the beach, and waiting an hour or two to be seated at restaurants, so being away from that is exactly what we want. We find PD to be quiet and relaxing, and it has the BEST availability of ocean views on the island. We absolutely love it! It's close enough to restaraunts, shopping and activities that it isn't a hardship to get there, but you have peace the rest of the time.

Indiana
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9. Re: A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

The coligny area can get crowded, but we stayed at Seacrest condos (across from Coligny) it was where the rest of the family wanted to be and it is a beautiful place oceanfont with two pools, with a little bar & grill in between them and a nice size hot tub. The grounds are lovely. We only went to Coligny once . . . to a fun little spot called the Big Bamboo, try it.

louisville
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10. Re: A summary of my vacation 8-8-09 to 8-15-09

We have stayed in Coligny twice, at the Breakers, and we love it, we like being able to walk to get to just about anything we need.

When we were there last week we tried to drive through PD and when we stopped at the guard shack to ask if we could drive through and take a look around and he very rudely said NO and for us to turn around, that will be my first and last trip to PD.

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