Smile #156 – Nice to Meet You, Myrtle Beach! Again…[Part III]

Nice to Meet You, Myrtle Beach! Again…[Part III]

Even though we made sure we covered every inch of our exposed skin with sunscreen, Bubble and I still woke up more burnt than expected.  We are two pink lobsters.

For a change of scenery, we drove from the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach to the serene Brookgreen Gardens.  Visitors can roam freely throughout the 9,170 acre of beautiful nature with scenic ponds and lakes, incredible figurative sculptures and well maintained walking trails.  The garden currently also features a LEGO exhibits.

We started off at the Live Oak Allee garden.  What a spectacular sight of these mighty oak trees!  300 years is a long time to be alive.  The countless twisted and curled branches split from the large truck offered shades from the radiating heat.  The undisturbed garden looks absolutely picturesque.

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We move deeper into the Sculpture Garden.  At the north end of a trail is the newest addition, the Labyrinths.  According to the sign, labyrinths are looked as an archetypal symbol of journey and renewal.

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We followed the Low Country Trail to the other side of the garden.  Along this trail, remains of a slave village showcased the plantation life.  At the end of the trail leads into the LEGO exhibit.  Right next to the spider LEGO displays were 3 very real, very alive tarantulas!  Holy cow!  They were all busy weaving their web.  Other LEGO figures were scattered between each animal exhibit. We met a red-tailed hawk, who actually turned around when I said out loud, “let me snap a pic of you!” Maybe I can be the future bird whisperer!  We skipped the butterfly house to avoid me screaming bloody murder/accidentally smacking one.

Despite the heat, Bubble and I quite enjoyed our nature walk among majestic oak trees and creative sculptures.

Leaving the garden, we then headed to the historic fishing village, Murrell Inlet.  This quaint little town is widely known as the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina.”  As seafood lovers, it was obviously we have to try it out.  We stopped at Lee’s Inlet Kitchen.  It was highly recommended by a fellow traveler.  Lee’s is the only one of the original Murrell Inlet restaurants still operated by the original family!  How impressive!  Lighted up neon signs and dated memorabilia decorated the entrance.  Our hostess showed us to our seats across from the bar.  At a quarter to 5pm, nearly every table was occupied.  We might found a hidden gem!  Between us, we ordered a broiled flounder, a bowl of red clam chowder and a fried soft shell crab.  Everything was fresh.  Actually we were a bit shocked to see the whole crab stayed in tacted.  The whole crab is edible.  Bubble found his favorite method of cooking crabs.  No more prying meat from its sharp, thick shell.  It was definitely a cholesterol buster, but worth a try!  Our meal also came with a generous portion of hush puppies. They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

After all that food, the half mile long Marsh Walk is exactly what we needed.  The wooden pier extended far into the waters overlooking the inlet.  We stood a while to take in the sights of the natural wonders.

Along the boardwalk, vendors set up tables to sell various handmade goods.  A guy sat painting large poster of creative sea life.  Another guy showed how to turn clay into beautiful ceramics cups.  How talented!

I must admit Myrtle Beach has plenty to offer beside the coastline.  Bubble and I very much enjoyed our days exploring the lesser known attractions.   My relationship with Myrtle is yet to be over… In fact, we already have a list of new attractions to visit next time we are in town.

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Smile #155 – Nice to Meet You, Myrtle Beach! Again…[Part II]

Nice to See you, Myrtle Beach!  Again…[Part II]

Bubble surprised me with breakfast in bed.  Ham and cheese sandwich with some chips and a cutie.  I love vacations!  #Spoiled

Today has all the elements of a perfect summer day – the blue sky with only a few clouds flowing, the cooling ocean breeze and the beaming sun shining from above.  We set out the picnic blanket and spent half the day out on the beach.

Bubble immediately ran towards the water.  I laid down to sunbathe.  I am ready for that sun kissed brown skin tone!

After roasting for a few minutes, I joined him in the water.  I stayed closer to shore at around upper thigh level and he was much further out at upper waist level.  For a while I stood there enjoying the waves crashing on.  He swam back to me and attempted to pull me out.  I refused and stood my ground…well, until he remembered that I weigh less and he can just pick me up and go.  Jerk!  He finally let me down in about upper-waist water level.  To stay above the water, we have to jump the waves.  As the wave crept toward us, I either jumped too early or completed missed it.  Because I gripped on to him so tight that he can’t jump higher, the water usually smacked him in the face.  That’s what you get for pulling me out!

Inspired by Pinterest, I wanted to create an anchor with seashells.  Where we were stationed, there is only the black shells pieces and white/orange shells.  The black ones are easy to spot against the white sand.  However, finding the larger white shells was a challenge.  Our best opportunity is wait until each wave retreat pulling layers of sand and revealed new shells for us to grab.  We ran back and forth for a while until we gathered enough shells. It is worth all the hard work when the anchor completed.

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Four hours passed by before we realized.  We are both slightly tanner…or redder.  I am sure we will feel it later today and definitely tomorrow.

For old-time sake, we grabbed dinner at our favorite, Old Cafe Vienna.  They had moved into a much larger location since we have been here last.  Situated on the intersection of N Kings Hwy, the restaurant is much more spacious with plenty of sitting and has added a beer garden on the side, perfect for a cool summer day.  The dessert display case stock with apple strudel, Napoleon and chocolate cake had me drooling as soon as we walked in.  Ordering dinner was a tough decision.  Everything on the menu sounded appetizing.  After some time, I settled on today’s special of pork loin and Bubble ordered the pork cutlet.  The food is still as delicious as we remembered!   The meat was perfectly cooked and absolutely tender and well-seasoned.  Our food baby grew and grew until we couldn’t fit another bite.

Part of Bubble’s birthday present, I surprised him with tickets to Cinque Extreme.  It is a new thrill show at Palace Theater featuring some of the world’s most dangerous circus artists. I like the MC, a mime who kept the crowd entertained before the show starts and between each performance.  He even solicited people from the audiences to join him on stage.  One of his acts, he invited a lady on to the stage.  He kept persuading her for a kiss.  He gave her flowers, she declined.  He gave her wine, she declined.  He gave even more wine, she declined.  Eventually, he tricked her to look away and when she turned her head back, he got close to her and her lips accidentally glide over his.  The mime’s mischievous look had the audience burst out laughing.

The schedule alternated between intense acts and lighthearted acts.  An aerial acrobat swinging and spinning upside down looked at ease on a swing.  Three men jumping out of a two-story building on a trampoline in a choreographed manner.  A lady balanced over 10 hula hoops all over all her body and while she was hanging in the air.  Everyone was extremely talented.

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The featured act, Globe of Death had us sitting at the edge of our seats!  Daredevil motorbike riders hurtled inside the 5000 lbs globe at 60 miles an hour.  Upside down and side to side!  They are completely defying the rules of gravity.  It got even more dangerous when a lady entered the globe.  She stood at the center testing destiny while three bikers circled the globe.  Holy cow!  How do you even rehearse for this type of performance?!

Bubble loved the show.  Guess I made a good choice on his birthday present!

 

Smile #154 – Nice to Meet You, Myrtle Beach! Again…[Part I]

Nice to Meet You See you, Myrtle Beach!  Again…[Part I]

I must’ve be psychic when I predicted my relationship with Myrtle Beach hasn’t quite ended.   I returned for an even longer trip just three weeks later.  But trust me, there was a lot of contemplation and hesitation before we confirmed that booking.

Bubble and I takes a beach trip annually in celebration of summer and his birthday.  We had hoped to returned to Savannah.  Sadly we decided a little too late.  We would either suffer from high prices for a decent hotel room or affordable prices for a less than optimal motel room.  After weighing our options, the best alternative for price and livability circled back to Myrtle Beach.  Welcome back to Myrtle Beach then!  Let’s rectify our last trip and make it fun and memorable!

Waking up undisturbed on a Monday morning was such an exhilarating feeling.  It almost felt surreal.  No alarms shrieking, no to-do list needing to check off and no morning traffic. We leisurely got out of beds and got ready for our road trip.

We finally made it down to Myrtle Beach around 3pm.   Although the humidity was at its peak, it was compensated with some ocean breeze.  We settled in our angled ocean view room.  Our home for the next few days.

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The abundance of entertainment explained why visitors love Myrtle Beach.  We passed by at least 50 billboards advertising shows and attractions.  For the first time, we are actually going to check them out.  Tonight, we attended the popular Medieval Times Dinner and Show.

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It felt as if the clock had turned back to 11th century Spain once we entered the grey stoned castle.  We were given a crown and from then referred to as the Lord and the Queen throughout the night.  We waited in the Great Hall until it was time.  Swords and weapons displayed highly in the great hall would make a great collection piece.

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The crowd is divided into color-coded section.  The audience is to declare their allegiance by cheering loudly for the assigned knight.  We were a part of the Blue Knight’s team.  Each time our knight raises his sword, we cheered and waved flags of support.  Our section were the loudest and most enthusiastic ones in the crowd by far.

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Dinner came at a slight surprise.  This was a “hands-on” feast, which means no utensils as those were not yet invented.  Our waiter demonstrated that our left hand is our fork, our right hand is our knife.  Put our curled hands together make a spoon.  LOL!  Just don’t think about how many guests had drunk out of those exact same cup….hmmm.  Dinner included tomato bisque soup fresh from an insulated pitcher with garlic bread and roasted chicken accompanied by sweet buttered corn and herb basted potato.  For dessert we got an apple turnover.

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The tournament unfolded before our eyes while we enjoyed our meal.  Six knights are to compete for the title of King’s Champion in a series of mini games and a furious jousting tournament.  Our knight went into battle with the red knight.  The knights clashed  weapons with force enough to sever a limb.  Literally sparks fly as the knights began fighting.  The heated duel ended when our blue knight pinned down the red knight and stabbed him with a sword.  Unfortunately he was quickly defeated by the red/yellow strip knight in the next round.  Each knight slowly eliminated.

 

The white/black strip knight claimed victory.  The final joust between the white/black strip knight and the dark lord left the audience at edge of their seat. No worries, the evil cannot triumph over the good.

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Overall, we enjoyed the show.  It is unique and unlike any other shows we had been.  Although the food isn’t five-star worthy, the jousting was definitely impressive and well orchestrated.  Next time, we need to check out Pirate Voyage Dinner and Show.

Smile #153 – Nice to Meet You, Canaan Zipline!

Nice to Meet You, Canaan Zipline!

Summer is the ideal time to seek new adventures.  Nothing says adventure like ziplining across the Catawba River!

I had ziplined once in Austria and absolutely loved the experience.  There is nothing quite like the feeling of zipping across a valley or down a mountain.  So when a Groupon offer came up, I immediately sent it to Lil Sis.  It took almost no convincing for her to say yes.

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Canaan Zipline is located just outside of Charlotte.  We made an early morning reservation in hopes to avoid the brutal heat wave.   Upon arrival, our guides AJ and Lindsay outfitted us with harness and equipment for the tour.  Then we made our way to a trial zipline to learn safety procedures.

Our first flying station is at the top of a 70 foot tower.  Not going to lie, I was slightly out of breath after climbing 100 steps up.  From there, one by one, we zipped through to the next observation platform.   When it was my turn, I was too distracted by the surrounding that I completely forgot to brake.  I flew right into our guide.  Nothing like nice to meet you than a body slam.  HAHAH!

We continued on to our second, third, fourth zipline.  The view kept getting better and better!  We zigzagged from one side of the Catawba River to the other.   Next time you know, we are zipping through our 9th zipline and also my favorite zip.  The 900 ft zip is the longest one and the view of the river is spectacular!  Kayakers were literally paddling right below us.  We flew through waving to everyone.

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Our Canopy Tour took about three hours to complete.   There was not a single dull moment!   We loved our guides, they were so friendly and definitely made the trip even more enjoyable!  We even learned about pirates and cow bones in the area.  This trip has opened Lil Sis to a whole new world.  She is hooked on this adrenaline filled adventure and has began researching our next ziplining adventure.  I can’t wait until the next tour we do!  🙂

 

Smile #152 – The Unprepared Bride

After saying the big “YES”, most Brides-to-be would get on to the planning .  I, on the other hand, said “YES” and did nothing…  Like every other girl, I have a Pinterest board titled The day I say I do, it is full of inspiration on everything wedding related. Whether my budget can afford all these brilliant ideas is a whole different story.

There is just so much materials available on the web and I’m easiest distracted by the next upcoming trend. Then it leads me to repeatedly reevaluate my options. Here to save the day is Lil Sis, AKA Miss Maid of Honor. She is shouldering some of this craziness with me. 🙂

In fact, she came to the rescue with a Bride-To-Be Wedding Planning step-by-step guide.  She handpicked articles that explain what to do, what not to do and how to do. What an awesome and thoughtful gift! I’m sure I’ll be referencing this quite a bit in the upcoming months!

Thanks, Maid of Honor!  🙂

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