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

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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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Ascona, Switzerland

#swissitalian #lakemaggiore

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#WanderlustWednesday

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Glass Beach

Kauai, Hawaii

#hanapepebay #seaglass #hawaii

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#WanderlustWednesday

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Venice, Italy

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Road Tripping From Vegas to the Grand Canyon – Part 3

So, it turns out taking two MBA classes in summer school and having a full time job is actually, like, really time consuming. So here we are with the final leg of the trip!

We woke up bright and early and had breakfast at the hotel before it was time to board the Grand Canyon Railway. The train leaves from Williams, AZ and goes to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Right before you get on the train there is a cowboy show. The cowboys also make their way onto the train too.

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The train ride take a couple of hours, and honestly I was shocked by what you see on the way there. For the most part it is surrounded by evergreen trees and some areas have big grassy fields. For whatever reason, in my mind I thought it would look like a desert. Our seats on the train were in the caboose, so it was fun to be able to go out on the plank at the end of the train to look around. The cowboys made there way through the train and there were also musicians that came through the car. We had access to snacks and drinks in our train car as well so that was really nice. Overall I really enjoyed the train ride, it was very relaxing.

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We saw a quick glimpse of the canyon on the train ride in, but when we got off the train we were still surrounded by trees so we still hadn’t had a chance to take it all in yet. We walked to a bus stop after we got off the train and took a bus to the rim. The bus made several stops so we were able to get lots of different views. Y’all this place is unreal. I don’t care how many pictures you have seen, the pictures cannot do it justice. It is an absolutely amazing place.

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After the bus tour we walked around a bit, there are a few shops that we checked out, and we had lunch at the Arizona Room. Just an FYI, if you’re planning a trip to the Canyon, pack a water bottle. There are signs everywhere advising you to drink because of heat related illnesses that are common there, but there is NO water for sale anywhere. The park is trying to cut back on littering so they have water stations where you can fill up bottles everywhere, but you have to buy a $15 dollar souvenir bottle if you don’t bring your own. Also – you can buy all the sugary drinks in plastic bottles, just no water. Just Saying.

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We spent the night at the Maswik Lodge. There are only a few hotels to choose from on the Canyon rim and they fill up quickly so you have to book your trip pretty far in advance. It was so cool to spend the night on the rim. We watched the sunset, which was amazing. The canyon changed colors as the sun went down, and it was absolutely beautiful. The night we were there the moon was bright and full so we were even able to see a little of the Canyon late at night. We had diner in the dining room at El Tovar. El Tovar is a really neat historic hotel and the food at the restaurant was great. The restaurants and shops were all within walking distance once we got off the train, so after dinner we walked back to our room. If I get the chance to go back to the Grand Canyon in the future I would love to go on the mule ride to the bottom, but they typically book up months in advance.

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The next morning we got up and had breakfast before heading out to take in more views of the Grand Canyon. We walked around and took another bus to different parts to take in all the views. It was so beautiful. That afternoon we boarded the train back to Williams, AZ. After the two hour train ride we had another long ride. We loaded up the car and were off to Phoenix. We spent the last night of our trip at the Marriott at the Phoenix airport. We had an early morning flight home from a great trip.

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If you missed it see Part 1 and Part 2 of the trip here.

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#WanderlustWednesday

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Florence, Italy

#duomo #viewfromthetop #giottosbelltower

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Road Tripping from Vegas to the Grand Canyon – Part 2

I loved Sedona. It is absolutely beautiful there. Everywhere you turn there is another stunning view. We started our day walking around the downtown area and doing some shopping. It was mostly touristy shops but there were a few nice stores as well. Then we checked in for our Pink Jeep tour. The Pink Jeep tour was SO much fun! Our guide was great, he was a Sedona native and made the experience so awesome! We chose the Broken Arrow tour which is a crazy off road experience down Broken Arrow Trail. We bounced all around in the jeep and at some points it felt like we would bounce out, but it was a blast. We stopped at several different places to take pictures and walk around. Each place we stopped had amazing views.

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Thank goodness for seat belts!

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The pictures really don’t do this place justice. It is so beautiful and literally every direction you turn you are surround by these amazing views, each formation a little different than the others. After our Pink Jeep tour was over we asked our guide where we should have lunch. He suggested Mariposa, so that’s where we went. It was realllly good. But the view was even better. It has the most amazing outdoor space with the most incredible 360 degree views.

We made one last stop at the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona to take in the views and then we were headed back to Williams, AZ. It was finally time to see the Grand Canyon! After arriving in Williams we spent the night at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. We had tickets for the train to the Grand Canyon bright and early the next morning.

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Stay tuned for the last part of the trip, where we finally made it to see the Grand Canyon.

If you missed part one of the trip check it out here.

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MummyTravels