Weekend at Hilton Head Island

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Last spring, I found myself in Augusta, Georgia for about three weeks on business.  I also found myself in desperate need of a vacation.  I had recently driven 1,200 miles as I moved from Des Moines to El Paso, Texas (previously, my longest solo drive had been under 200 miles) and I was working a bunch of hours.  I knew that Augusta was pretty well situated to the coast, and a quick stop at Google Maps refined my search to Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island and Tybee Island.

March is definitely "off-season" on the Atlantic Coast, so I was able to use a few of my Marriott Reward Points and book two free nights at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa.  Leaving Friday after work, I headed towards Hilton Head Island with my car packed and the GPS ready to lead me.

The hotel was beautiful, but definitely experiencing a lull in customers that time of year.  Upon check-in, I was greeted and thanked for being a loyal Marriott Rewards member.  Most Marriott hotels do a great job of building loyalty with their guests and this was no exception.  Ever see Up In The Air with George Clooney? That stuff matters! Each time I called the concierge desk, I was greeted by name and offered excellent recommendations for sites to see, shopping and restaurants near by.

Saturday morning, I slept in a bit and then found a nearby Panera for breakfast.  Instead of eating there, I decided I really wanted to go sit on the beach.  Looking like a complete fool, I headed out to the sand in flip-flops, jeans and a sweatshirt for my picnic.  To the locals, I was a crazy person on deck chair - but as an Iowa girl, I was loving the "warm" (high 50s) weather!

Early Saturday afternoon, I decided to do a little shopping.  After a few quick stops a local souvenir shops and an outlet mall, lunch sounded good. I found a Mexican restaurant in a shopping center and walked over the foot-bridge to the restaurant when I noticed a log floating in the water.  I kind of jumped and laughed to myself thinking "I thought that log was an alligator!"

Yeah, it was.  I, of course, did the most sensible thing I could think of - I ran back to my car to get my camera and zoom lens to take a few pictures.  When I finally went into the restaurant, I got to hear the story of these two gators.  When they were small, they were left in this pond and they have been kept ever since as unofficial pets or mascots. Without any barriers between the pond and the restaurants (which included outside dining) I was a little alarmed by their "mascots" but I was pretty sure I was safe inside with my margaritas.

The rest of Saturday was spent exploring the island in my little rental car.  As the sun began to set, I rushed out to the beach to enjoy every moment of it. 

I watched as some of the seagulls dove down for their dinner and others sat on the beach pecking at the sand.  After watching the tide come in, I retreated back to the hotel looking for dinner recommendations.  The concierge desk suggested that we try out King Fisher.  The name made me smile - in India, KingFischer is a large company that operates a domestic airline and brewery (awesome combination, right?)!  So I headed off to King Fisher for some of the freshest seafood I've ever had.  A bit over priced, but a great dinner overlooking the lighthouse.

As Saturday came to a close, I felt so rested and relaxed.  Sunday Morning, I woke up and drove to Charleston, South Carolina.  I didn't do too much sightseeing in Charleston, but I did visit Boone Hall Plantation, one of our countries oldest working, living plantations.  Boone Hall was also where they filmed North and South with Patrick Swayze and was the exterior for Allie's summer home in The Notebook.

Boone Hall had tours of the main house, "hay rack ride" style tour of the grounds and interactive tours through the old slave quarters.  The place was beautiful, and it was a gorgeous day for the wedding that was taking place there later that evening.

The back side of the main house

The avenue of Oaks

Mid afternoon, I began my trek back to my hotel in Augusta, Georgia.  My little trip to Hilton Head Island was a great experience - I thought it was as beautiful (with better beaches!) as Hawaii!  It was such a relaxing trip, and it left me well rested for the week ahead.
Much Love,


  1. I've heard good things about Hilton Head; it looks lovely!

  2. Hey Ree! Thanks for commenting! It was so much fun - a great vacation destination! :)


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