Our Trip to Hilton Head Island

Okay, gather round closely, because I’m going to say something controversial here. Are you ready for it?

We went to Hilton Head Island, and we didn’t love it.

It was fall, so it was off season, which may have affected our experience. But y’all I don’t know what all the hype is about.

We stayed at the Marriott SurfWatch property, which really couldn’t have been nicer. We had a really nice room with a view of the ocean. The rooms are actually more like condos, with a full kitchen and living room area. I think they would be great with a family. The resort had really nice pools and a beautiful beach area. Even in the fall we found that the water was still warm enough for the outdoor pool. There was a beach bar with good drinks and decent food. The resort is also conveniently located to grocery stores and other things on the island. I think our mistake was leaving the resort property. We like to go out adventuring and check out the local restaurants when we visit somewhere new, and this is where things went downhill.

We headed out to see the famous Hilton Head lighthouse. The lighthouse is in the Sea Pines Resort community. We didn’t realize we couldn’t just drive right up, the community is gated, and they charge an $8 dollar (cash only) fee for a day pass. They advertise this as a luxury gated golf resort, and while there were some gorgeous homes it was mostly condos that were built in the mid 80’s and nothing special.

We finally made our way to the lighthouse and found a bunch of kitschy t-shirt shops all selling the same thing in the area. For an additional $4.25 per person you can climb the 90 foot lighthouse and take in the view (and another t-shirt shop at the top). We opted not to do this, instead walking around and checking out the scene. We drove around the resort area and checked out several different shopping spots and restaurants hoping to find something less cheesy, but no such luck. We did make our way onto the beach here, and it is beautiful. The beach is wide with plenty of room for running and playing, so that’s a pro!

We ended up having lunch at Fishcamp on Broad Creek after leaving the Sea Pines area and doing some driving around the island. This was probably our best find of the trip. The atmosphere was great, we sat outside, the weather was perfect and the food was good.

Based on the recommendations of several people we made a dinner reservation at Il Carpaccio. I’m not going to go into to much detail about this place, because some people clearly love it, but we left. After they served our bottle of wine and salad. We paid for it and wasted a full bottle of wine. I have never ever left a restaurant after placing my order. EVER.

We found ourselves in the parking lot of the restaurant starving and with no plan for dinner. OKKO, a hibachi restaurant was close and seemed like a safe choice, so we went for it. The food was standard hibachi, good but nothing special. The family at the table with us were locals and they told us about the Purple Cow Bakery next door, so we picked up a slice of cake on the way back to the hotel. We figured we had earned it. It was really good cake, which we obviously ate for breakfast the next day.

After returning to the hotel, we discovered what was probably the best part of the trip. The island has what appears to be very strict lighting codes, so when you’re out at night it is super dark. When we ventured out onto the beach at night, we realized this made for the BEST stargazing. We sat out on the beach for a long time enjoying the fact that we could see so many stars.

The next day we ventured out looking for some other things going on on the island, and mostly found more t-shirt shops. We decided to abandon looking for the fun spots on the island and head back to our resort to just hangout. We rented bikes from the resort and rode down the beach and had a great time. We spent the afternoon at Sea Salts, the resorts beach bar, watching college football and eating. We had planned to venture out for dinner again, but after striking out so many times, we decided to order Carraba’s take-out, because it was right at the entrance to the resort, and at least there would be no surprises.

While the beaches at Hilton Head were beautiful this really just wasn’t our scene. We loved the resort, and had we gone in with a different mindset of just hanging at the resort and relaxing instead of trying to explore somewhere new, this may have been an entirely different experience.

Here’s the thing… I think if you planned to golf all day there may be a lot for you here. If you have a family and you plan to stay in and cook, there were plenty of nice resorts with big pools and beach access and you would never have to leave. Sometimes hanging at a nice resort and stargazing is just what you need, so it definitely isn’t all bad.

However, there really is not much in the restaurant scene, which is probably one of our top things about going on vacation. Hilton Head is VERY commercial with all the chain restaurants you can imagine and a huge outlet mall with ALL the stores. Obviously, this sounds perfect to many people, or it wouldn’t be such a popular spot. So to each their own I guess.

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Have you been to Hilton Head? What did you think? I’d love to know!

 

 

 

#WanderlustWednesday

Bavaria, Germany

#viewsfromacastlewindow

  • This little girl is #travelgoals! All 50 states in 5 months!!
  • Travel is wonderful, but it can be expensive. Here’s how to travel debt free.
  • VR is finding a place in the travel and tourism industry.
  • Pumpkin season has officially arrived. Are you even a parent if you don’t take your kid to a pumpkin patch to take their picture? Here’s 15 must visit pumpkin patches.
  • Food tourism has taken off recently. Here are 30 of the best “foodie” cities in the US.

#WanderlustWednesday

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Florence, Italy

#theduomo #cathedralatsunset #chasingsunsets

  • You should travel. Travel is important. Here’s why.
  • Insider advice from a 24 year old who won the Best Job in the World Campaign and spent 3 months travelling Europe.
  • Travara – the worlds first purpose-driven travel and lifestyle media platform to align with Sustainable Development Goals launched today. Check them out.
  • Did you hear that several major airlines are raising their checked baggage fees? Again?!

#WanderlustWednesday

Southport, North Carolina

#happyplacebythesea #intracoastalwaterway #hurricaneflorence

Hurricane Florence has devastated the entire eastern part of North Carolina. While there is significant damage to the area, we think our beloved happy place has been mostly spared. Bridges and roads in to town are flooded out, so we won’t know for sure until we are able to visit. In the wake of Hurricane Florence here’s what you can do to help:

  • The Carolina Panthers have teamed up with Visit North Carolina and Discover South Carolina to show their support with these #Careolinas shirts with all proceeds benefiting relief efforts
  • The Shop Forward released Carolina Strong shirts with all proceeds benefiting relief efforts
  • Help The Red Cross. Find a blood drive near you here. Make a donation to the Red Cross recovery efforts here. Sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer in NC or SC here.
  • Support the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Florence relief efforts
  • Donate to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund here or by texting FLORENCE to 20222.
  • Register with the state of North Carolina to be a volunteer. They are urging people not to self deploy to the area, instead register and let them know how you can help so your skills can be best used. Check here for other volunteer opportunities in North Carolina.
  • The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina supports some of the hardest hit areas. Give to their efforts here.
  • The Diaper Bank of North Carolina is in need of supplies. You can donate to them here or purchase items from their Amazon wish list.
  • Check this article for a few other organizations you may consider helping, and some important reminders to think about before you donate to any unfamiliar groups.
  • Remember while many people are in need of material items, water, medicine, and non perishable food, cash donations can help ensure that organizations are able to purchase those items which are in the highest demand. They can also be purchased locally which can help to stimulate the local economy. Only donate material items to those organizations which are specifically requesting you do so.
  • To find the latest on power outages, road conditions, and storm cleanup in North Carolina.

Remembering our Heroes!

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World Trade Center Antenna
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NO DAY SHALL ERASE YOU FROM THE MEMORY OF TIME. -Virgil

 

I went to New York in January of 2002; we visited Ground Zero on that trip and it was still in absolute devastation. While I have made many trips to the city since then, this was the first time I returned to the World Trade Center site since that visit. It was so nice to see it in a different light now.

We toured the National September 11 Memorial and Museum on a recent trip. The memorial and museum is very well done. I think going with the guided tour allowed us to get a lot more out of the museum, so if you have the chance to go I would encourage you to go with a guide.

Thinking of all of those who were lost and those who lost loved one on this tragic day in 2001.

Friday Favorites – Packing for a Girls Weekend

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shoes / white top / black t-shirt dress / wallet / earrings / cross body bag

These are just a few staples that I pretty much always include for a girls weekend away, or any weekend away really. What are your go to items when packing?

  • I walked all over NYC in these rose gold sneakers recently. Bonus for not looking like a total tourist in mom shoes.
  • I can’t get enough white shirts. I love a plain white tee, or a nicer lace look. I have a closet full of white tops. #confessions I love to pack them because they go with every thing in your suitcase.
  • This dress has been my favorite purchase of the summer. I have worn it with the rose gold sneakers and with heels. Add a little jewelry and it’s a whole new look. Plus it is SOOOO comfy. Versatile looks like this really help keep you from over packing.
  • This small wallet fits perfectly in a cross body bag and holds all you need for a day out sightseeing. I.D., credit card, and a little cash. I bought this just for travel and to use in cross body bags but I have used it so much more! It’s so nice not to be carrying around a huge wallet full of stuff you don’t need.
  • Take your look from day to night with a fancy pair of statement earrings. Change the flats to heels and add these to the black dress and your ready for a night on the town.
  • This is my absolute favorite cross body bag. It holds much more than most, while still being a small convenient size. It also has a few zipper pouches that help keep your things secure when you’re in a crowd.

 

 

P.S. Did you see my post about a girls weekend in Nashville? Check it out here.

#WanderlustWednesday

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Switzerland

#thehappiestcowsliveinSwitzerland

  • So many amazing travel gigs in the news. This week it is a dream job with a nice pay check travelling to Mexico’s most popular beach destinations.
  • Talk about a travel disaster. Here’s what to do if you lose your phone on vacation.
  • The arrival of the Pumpkin Spice Latte should signal fall is on the way (even if it is still 100 degrees), here are nine gorgeous fall getaways to consider.
  • The first of its kind “Beer Hotel” that opened this week, takes the shower beer to the next level.

#WanderlustWednesday

Bellingrath Gardens

Mobile, Alabama

  • Wanna travel the world as a gin taste tester? Not into gin? The Queen is hiring. You probably missed your chance to be the “Cat Lady” on this Greek Island.
  • Travel advice from the “master of disaster” OtterBox founder Curt Richardson.
  • Tourism is a great thing, but there are costly down sides to overtourism.
  • Have you been on any of these seriously underrated American Road Trips?
  • This country’s state run airline is up for sale… any bidders?

A Girls Weekend in Nashville

If you missed the first part of our trip see it here.

Saturday morning we woke up and headed to take a tour of the Grand Ole Opry. The home of the Opry is now about a 15 minute drive out of town, but the experience was well worth the drive. We loved our tour guide. Getting the behind the scenes tour was so cool. Being able to see where the artist come in their special artist entrance to perform, and check out the green room, and all the dressing rooms, as well as going out on stage was a really cool experience. I would love to come back and see the Grand Ole Opry show here sometime. After our tour we went into the Opryland Hotel to look around. It is so pretty inside.

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P.S. Did you know that there was a post office at the Opry and each member has their own box where you can send them mail?
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Opryland Hotel

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Next we headed back to town to Musicians Corner at Centennial Park. It was a really nice day so we just spent the day relaxing in the park and listening to the music. There were food trucks and ice cream trucks at the concert. We had banh mi that was delicious. The music was awesome and it was just a perfect afternoon in the park.

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So many selfies!

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From the park we went to check out some local breweries. We went to Jackalope Brewing Company and Yazoo Brewing Company. Both were really fun atmospheres for a laid back Saturday afternoon.

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Dinner was at City Winery. We had made reservations, but the place was empty. The food was good and the restaurant was very nice, but I think I would rather go here when they have an event. They host concerts and different events that look fun, but it was kind of dead the night we went. There also wasn’t much near it and the area where it is didn’t seem like the best area to be walking around… so we headed back to The Listening Room because we had loved it so much the night before.

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Once the show finished up we headed for lower Broadway. We decided what’s a girls trip to Nashville without checking out all the Honky Tonks. There was great music, and we wandered in an out of different places dancing and singing for awhile before we got tired and headed back to our hotel.

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Because you haven’t seen enough selfies!

We woke up the next morning and went to check out the County Music Hall of Fame. Y’all you could spend HOURS in this place. It is so full of memorabilia and things to read and learn about that in order to see it all would take quite a bit of time. We hit the highlights, stopping to check out the exhibits from some of our favorite artists, but no way we could see it all. The one thing we kept noticing is how tiny all the stars look. Their clothes are on display on mannequins, and I think I’m too big to be famous (and I’m not very big at all). They’re so TINY, even the men!

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Tay’s Guitar
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I love this song! So neat to see it being written.

We loved our weekend in Nashville! I can’t wait to go back. Next time I hope to get to see the Grand Ole Opry and to see a show at the Ryman. Or maybe both at once, since during the winter months the Opry moves back home to its roots at the Ryman.

 

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#WanderlustWednesday

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Ascona, Switzerland

#swissitalian #lakemaggiore

  • Packing advice from astronauts… pack lightly!
  • Don’t be the tourist with any of these top most annoying travel habits.
  • Want to have a sleepover on the Great Wall of China with four of your besties?
  • Travel more, work less. Be more productive. I like it.
  • The youngest person to ever visit all 196 countries is now giving away all his travel miles!