Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Jim & Vickie's Excellent Adventure # 1,756,327,980


Yeah, I know, kind of a corny title. But it's one of those things that stay with you and when a new adventure comes along, it's added into the mix with the previous ones. Let me give you a little back story so you aren't totally lost.

When Jimmy & I got together, we had both been in unsatisfying relationships. Ones that spent a great deal of time on the sofa watching the world go by instead of being part of the continual movement. Nothing in either relationship could even remotely be considered adventurous or exciting. We promised each other our life would never be dull or boring, it would be full of new things and adventures. Each time we set out on a spur of the moment road trip promising to just *wing it*, we have never been disappointed. And this past weekend was no different.

It's been a while since we've been able to just throw a few things in the backpack and take off for a couple days. Life can get more than overwhelming and cause one to just focus on what needs to be done in order to make it to the next level. We've been there for two years. Now that he's senior driver trainer, the bills have been paid off early, there is money in the bank and we are able to look towards the future with a positive outlook. There was a purpose to the trip, we figured out what we want to do for retirement and wanted to begin the search for the perfect place to be our sanctuary.

We began in Santee, SC., around lake Marian. This area gives us the perfect location to satisfy both of us. Jimmy wants to be able to walk out the back door, walk down to his private dock, jump in the fishing boat and spend the morning or evening fishing til he can't fish anymore. I want to be able to get to the beach more, it's been two years since I spent any time with Manannán mac Lir and my soul had begun to ache. Lake Marian is one hour from Charleston, SC and I've found a new favorite place there. But I'll get to that a bit later.

While we were in Santee, we talked to some of the locals, some of the people who live and work in the area. At one time, for a few years, Lake Marian was one of the lakes in the Bass Master's tournaments. Because of that, there were lots of new people coming in and out, some stayed while others kept moving. Many of the places have been closed for a few years and tourism is down. However, there are quite a few places that would suit someone in the market for what we are seeking. We looked at two different locations on Sunday and based on what we saw have decided we'd need to do more in-depth investigations before we make any type of permanent commitment. It was very difficult for us to reconcile the fact of houses that would cost many thousands of dollars had been built right next door to a falling down but still inhabited mobile home. There wasn't damage from hurricanes or storms, just so very many run down and even some overgrown with plants. None of them had been abandoned. No, I'm not trying to be judgemental or elitist. I just haven't been able to wrap my head around that concept yet. However, the one factor that has caused the only hesitation about buying in this area is the size of the lots. They are very small and your neighbors are less than 6 feet away from your back door.

No, we are not antisocial. We have decided we want a small piece of property, perhaps two acres. We want to build a small log cabin, have a garage as well as storage for the boat. I also would like a garden space and a nice wrap around porch on the cabin. Yes, we have found the blueprints for one we are considering, and the size of the lots we recently looked at would prohibit either the garage or boat storage. We could have one but not the other. Luckily, the guy at the general store told us to go into Calhoun county and we'd have better luck finding the size lot we are looking for. That's for a different trip, gives us a reason to go again, sooner rather than later, LOL!!

I didn't take any pictures during this leg of the journey, I was too busy whipping my head back and forth trying to take in everything I was seeing.

Over lunch, we talked about what to do for the rest of the time we were out. Since the primary reason for this trip was to get to the boat dealer in Monks Corner, and they wouldn't open until 8:30 Monday morning, we had all afternoon and overnight to find something to occupy ourselves. Once Jimmy told me we were only 60 minutes away from the ocean, of course, I asked if he'd drive down there for a few hours. I had planned to come back to Monks Corner and find a hotel for overnight. But those plans quickly were changed. You see, my husband spoils me so much ... we finish our lunch and hit the highway once again.

South on I95 we go, and then go East on I26 into Charleston. Before we are even half way across I26, he's got me online looking for hotels. we've never stayed in Charleston before. We took a day trip a few years ago with another couple but drove down and back the same day. As we are driving east, I look up and see a billboard advertising the 5 islands of Charleston. Kiawah Island, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, Seabrook Island and Sullivan's Island. I get the Priceline app all loaded and see what I can find for hotel listings in any of these locations. The ONLY one that has direct beach access is The Boardwalk Inn at Wild Dunes Resort on Folly Beach. I went to the website for the resort and was positive we couldn't afford to stay there. It has a FOUR Diamond rating with five pools, one that is designated adults only from 9am to 6pm, direct access to their private beach, fine dining, multiple casual dining locations and every amenity you could possibly dream of. And Priceline has a Tonight Only deal that is right within our accommodation budget!! WOOT! BUT, before I book that room, we drive over and have a look around to see exactly what we might be getting ourselves into.

There's a gate, OH CRAP! Are they going to let us in? We find out it's a PRIVATE residential resort and the Inn is part of the community. The gatekeepers let us in and give us directions to the Boardwalk. This place is beautiful, so well maintained and just a whole bunch of Oh My's kept popping outta my mouth. Yep, you guessed it, I booked a room through Priceline, and as soon as the email verification comes through, we drive right on up to the valet parking and go check in. The people at the front desk were super nice, answered all of our questions, and didn't make us feel like we were out of our element. I asked if it were possible to have a room with a water view (I didn't ask for beach front, LOL) and Viola! Upstairs on the fifth floor, we go inside and OMGs! Yes, we DO have a new favorite place to go!!

Jimmy even snapped some pictures with the camera on my phone and then out the door and down the elevator we go, off to explore and see what kind of trouble we can get into. This is the main part of the room with the King size bed (SIX pillows) and the sofa/hide a bed. On the wall opposite of the sofa is a glass topped table with two chairs perfect for eating or doing any type of work if that is what you'd need to do. The balcony is a very nice size, 2 chairs, and a small table. Yes, there is water view, but you need to look over the rooftops of the houses. I'm OK with that, it is more than I expected. The bed is raised and Jimmy had to help me get into it when we finally stopped for the night, LOL!

From the room, we went down to the Grand Pavillion for some adult beverages and access to the beach.

Beach first. I didn't spend as much time wading as Jimmy thought I would. I wanted to be close to him and wading in the surf is just not something he enjoys. I did take enough time to release the anxiety and stress I have been carrying around for two years and then accepted the reenergizing I look forward to finding each time I'm near the sea. I found a few sea shells I had thought to bring home to the Witchling, but Papa pointed out I'd be in big trouble if she figured we'd been to the beach without her. She is her Abi's child in as much as she LOVES the ocean and all she has experienced so far. Back up to the Pavillion and to the bar we go.

I ordered a Peach Sunrise, and Oh BOY! was it ever tasty! Jimmy had a sweet grass lager and said it was quite enjoyable. This is the view from my chair at the bar overlooking the water. Yes, that is a dune right there in the foreground and the green umbrellas are for hotel guests. There was live entertainment with steel drums!! Yep, the feeling of the Caribbean was right there on Folly Island, LOL!!

There is oh so much more to tell you about, but I think I'm going to stop here for this time. Sensory overload is no fun and the next thing I want to tell you about is the food we had for dinner Sunday night. I'll write more in the next few days and give you all the deets about that meal. I will say it was an experience we won't soon forget, in a GOOD way, LOL!!