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Monthly Archives: June 2017

East Coast Done: Day 7

Thurs. May 25, 2017:
Jekyll Island, GA

Say what you will about terrible in-room coffee, it still gets the job done. And no way was I going to pay $10 for a buffet breakfast at a hotel. Instead I snacked on my beloved Biscoff cookies. The sun was out and we still had a beach pass for the day. We had a little bit of time before we had to head out. I was ready to stretch out on a lounge chair under an umbrella. My head was hurting because I had not slept well. The pillow had hurt my neck. But first I took a quick walk down the beach. There were so many new shells brought in by the tide! Brent went into the ocean but I was too tired and it was still too cold because it was early in the day. I opted for relaxing and listening to The Science Show podcast. On the way to the change room Brent had to stop and dip into every resort pool on the way. On our way out we saw some cute little lizards.

We drove to a see lighthouse and its associated museum. We did not pay the admission to climb inside the lighthouse because we could see our next destination from the shore: Jekyll Island. We passed some stairs down to the beach access except the stairs led right into the ocean. The water level was so high it engulfed the bottom few steps. There were a lot of magpies flying around. We passed the small main street and the library that a porch with rocking chairs. Rocking chairs! At a library! On a porch! We drove by a funny liquor store sign that said Adult Beverages.

We stopped for lunch at Chick-Fil-A. The crispy chicken sandwich with pepperjack cheese was delicious. We ended up getting a free 2nd order of waffle fries, I guess they just assumed that no way only one of us had ordered fries? It was way too much food. Plus I was not a huge fan of the fries to begin with. I was also not feeling the Chick-Fil-A sauce for the nuggets. The sweet & sour sauce was way better. As we drove we passed a dead turtle in the middle of the road. We drove to Sonic for drinks which might seem a bit like overkill but the cherry limeade is just that good! I couldn’t resist getting a Snickers ice cream concrete (mini size mind you)- it was new and I was intrigued. It was Snickers pieces in caramel flavoured frozen custard. I was in heaven. Only as we were leaving did I notice that they had an even newer product: frozen cherry limeade! Ack! I wish I had seen it earlier! Eating the ice cream made me cold, however the car had warming seats and pretty soon I was another level of heaven. Eating cold ice cream while my butt was kept warm.

We were staying in a fancy hotel resort on the island. There was a wedding going since 9:30am and it just seemed like awkward timing, by the time we saw the bride she was sitting at the bar drinking with a few people- it was early afternoon. As soon as we settled into our room I cranked up the heat, I could not believe how cold it was in there.

We decided to head out for a walk and to see the “historic district.” Initially we were going to bike but it was much closer and it just made sense to walk. The historic district was just a series of small cottages turned into small shops. We ended up visiting a sea turtle rehab clinic and gawking at lots of super cute turtles. The clear highlight was the young little loggerhead, who was under a year old, swimming around. There were also some really giant turtles who were sick, it was a really sad sight.

Back at the hotel room we decided to drive around the rest of the island because the stops we wanted to see were pretty distant from each other so biking did not make sense. Plus we had a full day of walking ahead of us the next day. We drove to Driftwood Beach first. We walked out to the fishing pier but bailed quickly. There was nothing to see and it was super windy. I had high hopes of seeing some turtle nest eggs and my hopes were fulfilled. I had also secretly been hoping to see baby turtles emerge but I knew it was not going to happen. And it didn’t- wrong time of day and year, we were too early. I did not expect to see this much wildlife during a leisurely walk on the beach. We saw tiny crabs scuttling and battling on the banks of a creek from the marsh. The heron- sorry, egret- nearby seemed to not care or he was just not hungry.

Off in the water I noticed a boat slowly chugging along, leaving behind a trail of black smoke or dust. I was mildly concerned, Brent did not care at all. The minute I stopped paying attention suddenly it was all look behind the boat! And so much excitement. Brent claimed to see something swimming along behind the boat and coming up for air. I stared and stared and saw nothing. Then a small dark triangle, a dolphin fin?! As soon as I noticed it I saw a few more! We later confirmed that we had seen bottlenose dolphins. In total we saw three groups, one appeared to be a mother and child. Driftwood Beach eventually lived up to its name. The driftwood was all twisted, contorted and strewn about. From there we could also see across to where we had been that morning. Driftwood Beach had not been that popular as a beach destination. As we drove we saw some cars parked by the side of the road near a beach access point, we had to go check it out. We saw some more driftwood, but on the way back to the car we saw a snake slither across our path.

We stopped at another beach, now this was the popular beach destination. Everyone was out with their towels and their beach chairs. It was low-tide so people were out on the sandbanks and in the mudflats. We decided to walk out to the sandbar because there were showers by the entrance to the beach so we could rinse off our feet afterwards. When people call it a mudflat I had no idea what that actually meant. It was thick, goopy mud that stuck to your feet. It felt slimy and weird. I found some sand dollars and thought they would also make great souvenirs. Until Brent told me they were alive. I was really grossed out, even more-so when I tried to rinse them off and I noticed the weird fringy underbelly. I thought sand dollars were just round flat shells! I tossed them with the hopes that they were already dead. By the showers we overheard a dad telling his kid that she can’t collect sand dollars because they are alive. I felt kind of bad but it was already too late.

We stopped in at the Beach Village to get snacks at the grocery store for the following day’s hiking trip. And of course to peruse the alcohol selection. It turned out way better than expected. They had a mini bar inside! I ordered a shot of a peach liqueur and the lady poured out the rest of it so really I had a shot and a half. We walked around the store as Brent sipped his beer. Before leaving I ordered a green tea because they had the South Carolina plantation tea and a brownie that I would soon regret. It was too heavy and it was not even the brownie I had asked for. I had ended up finding another new cider, Original Sin. Brent stopped in at the liquor store but I was too tired. I sat outside trying to eat the brownie.

We drove down to Jekyll Point and saw some turkey vultures on the beach. There was a fishing vessel off in the distance and they were just being swamped by birds. I imagine the whole surface of it was just covered in bird excrement. We watched a guy catch a horseshoe crab. It caught him totally by surprise and he struggled to loosen it and set it free. He had to flip it on its back to get the hook out while the crab kicked its legs wildly. It was so cute to see it scuttle back into the ocean. By the time we got to the nature centre we were too late, it was closed.  It had taken us over 3 hours but we finished the whole island.

I was tired and covered in sunscreen. All I could think of was having a shower and then snacking on some jalapeno cheddar popcorn and sea salt caramel popcorn- our own version of the Chicago mix. After my shower I was so ready to watch Say Yes to the Dress. Brent said there’s no way it is on, it was 6pm! Sure enough, TLC came through for me with a great episode. I retorted that it was all day every day. The Angry Orchard apple ginger cider was subpar, it just tasted like juice, but it’s tough to complain about a nice cold shower cider. Up next was Chopped because shocker, SYTTD was not on. Chopped had become my second go-to show, it was on almost as often.

Even after wolfing down the popcorn I was still pretty hungry. We had an easy dinner at the hotel café. We split a pizza on the patio. The pizza was double-cheese by default. I had low expectations of this snack bar pizza but it was surprisingly really good. Despite how much cheese was in the centre of it and how poorly the toppings were distributed. I opted for a peach bellini over another Angry Orchard cider.

We stopped back in the room so I could grab my DLSR before we headed out for an evening walk. We walked along a trail that hugged the salt marsh shore. It was the perfect walk because we had set out at dusk. As the sun was just starting to set the lighting was more than I could ask for. On top of that it was high tide so just the tops of the grasses were poking up in the marsh. A much nicer view than before when it was just mud and oyster shells. The fresh air and the cool breeze were so relaxing. We finished off the night by watching Olive Kitteridge and going to bed early. We had an early wake-up and I was not 100% dreading it: I had a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee in the fridge.

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Posted by on June 29, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

East Coast Done: Day 6

Wed. May 24, 2017:
Saint Simon Island, GA

Because we had pre-ordered our breakfast the service was fast- which was a good thing as we had early lunch plans. The country ham was delicious but the real stand-out was the bacon. It was so crispy yet it was nowhere near burnt. The buttermilk waffles were a bit of a let-down. I was starting to rethink my stance on biscuits and on marmalade: those two food items were turning out to be quite tasty. Maybe I had just been eating bad biscuits and crummy marmalade before? Over breakfast I joked about watching Say Yes to The Dress when we got back to the room, and what do you know, it actually was on!

Mrs. Wilke’s Dining Room was open from 11am for lunch but we were going to have to line up early because they do not take reservations. We got there 20 minutes before open and there was a huge lineup. As we stood in line we people-watched and to our horror we saw a man approach. He was going in for a class chat & cut which was already bad enough. Things only got worse as we realized he had a plastic recorder- the worst instrument of all time- tucked into the waist of his pants. We watched in suspended terror… as nothing happened. Then 20 minutes later he started to play. Thankfully he immediately stopped. Sometime around then the people behind us got unbearably annoying. The one guy was so arrogant and he would not stop talking, his friend barely got in a word, their respective ladies had left. He would occasionally switch to Spanish which annoyed me even more: just stick to Spanish so I can’t understand! He kept saying the stupidest things, to the point that I wondered if it was a gimmick to make people leave so he could move ahead in line. We did not budge.

We finally got in around 12:15, right before it started pouring again. Luckily the annoying guy was not at our table. The lunch was served family-style, everything was set out on table and we served ourselves. By default we each had a glass of sweet tea and you had to ask for water or unsweetened tea. It was nice to be able to control my portion sizes and not have to eat cabbage or greens. It was absolutely worth the wait. The fried chicken was some of the best I have ever had and I definitely had seconds even though I was a bit full. The Savannah red rice came in a close second, tied with the sweet potato dish. I was still not digging the cornbread, even though Brent said it was amazing. We were ready to get up and leave to pay our bill when a server came over and told us dessert was still on its way. There was just so much food! It was a good thing we had not left. The peaches a la mode were amazing. Easily one of the best desserts I have ever had in my life. The ice cream was slowly melting over a soft buttery graham cracker crust underneath which were the best damn cooked mushy peaches of all time. It was other-wordly and I would wait in line for that dessert alone.

It was still raining when we went back out. There was one block that was super windy. We passed by a squirrel chilling on a branch, he was sort of afraid of us but he also had no intention of going anywhere in this weather. We returned the umbrella (we had downsized to just one) and grabbed the car key. It was time to head out to Saint Simon Island.

The rain and thunder had worsened. By the time we got to a nearby gas station to fill up, the sky was black and the rain was a torrential downpour. On the highway there were huge puddles. I saw a car go through a puddle and the water went clear over the roof of the car like a giant wave. We were staying at the Sea Island Inn which was a 5 minute drive from the resort and the beach on the island. On the way in we had seen a giant osprey swoop down and land on its nest.

After we had settled in at the hotel and gotten our beach passes we headed back out. On the way to the car we saw something scuttling- a bug? No it was a weird little crab. Two crabs- scuttling around like beetles. We stopped at grocery store on the way to the resort. The drink selection was great and they had a deal where you could fill a cardboard 6 pack for $10- regardless of which singles you grabbed! I ended dup finding 3 different ciders and we grabbed two six packs. There was another guy there, equally as overwhelmed by the selection.

At the resort check-in the lady said she would highlight a few key features for us on the map. Except she kept going and in the end she highlighted everything. We walked down to the beach but it soon started raining again and it was windy and cold. It was a TV and ciders kind of afternoon. I did manage to find some nice shells to take home as souvenirs. I also saw a “dead” horseshoe crab but I was afraid to approach because what if it wasn’t dead? What if he was faking it?!

We stopped at CVS on the way back. I was in need of face powder and by chance we found Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream which pairs nicely with BBQ flavoured Lays kettle chips. An excellent dinner when staying on a resort. We still had some “mega” Mike & Ike’s left over from our grocery trip store. I don’t know why they were called mega, they were regular size, there was just more flavours in the box is all.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

East Coast Done: Day 5

Tues. May 23, 2017:
Beaufort, SC to Savannah, GA

The thunder had been so loud in the night that it actually roused me from my sleep- resulting in me sitting up in bed and screaming. We skipped the hotel breakfast and went to Chick-Fil-A instead. I was way too early in the morning for a greasy sandwich so I opted for chicken nuggets instead. They were amazing, they not only looked like they were made with actual chicken- but also tasted like it! There was a Dunkin Donuts two doors down but it was raining so we drove over. It was in the direction we were headed anyways. The donut selection was dismal so I stuck with just coffee and my beloved coconut flavour.

We drove to Hilton Head Island to see the beach. A car had driven off the highway and into the swamp. We were surprised how far into the swamplands they had made it. Luckily no one was hurt just confused. The island was really more like a series of resorts and golf courses. I have never seen such a concentration of golf greens, they really should rename the island to Golf Head Island. Either there was no public access or we couldn’t find it. We parked at a resort and walked down. On the way to the beach, literally steps away, people were hanging out by the hotel pool. I was bewildered, the beach and the ocean were right there! Chlorine is the worst! The ocean was surprisingly warm. I took off my crappy sandals and waded in up to my knees. The water felt so nice- until my legs dried. Then they were unbearably itchy. No problem, I waded back in- ah sweet relief. Until they dried again. It was a vicious cycle and I had no idea how to get out. On the way back to the car we saw a guy wearing a Blue Jays hat but he was walking in the same direction as us and we couldn’t catch up to him to give him a customary nod.

Up next we tried to drive to another beach. It was within a resort park on the island, Sea Pines. We had to pay a toll to get in and what for? They didn’t even have public parking! How are we supposed to enjoy the beach? What did that toll pay for? All we saw were a bunch of trees and lots of houses. Hilton Head Island was a disappointment.

On the way there we had passed an outlet mall and now that we had extra time from our failed beach attempt, I was ready to shop. Except as soon as we pulled in, the sky tore open and a torrential downpour came down. Not great for an outdoor parkade. I ended up having to run from store to store. It was a successful trip, I ended up with almost exactly the same PUMA shoes to replace my old ones and a dress for Camilla and some purple shorts from the GAP for cheap. I rounded out the trip at Auntie Anne’s for pretzels. I was about to get the hot-dog wrapped in a pretzel but then I remembered that we were going to Sonic later. I thought better of it and ordered the sweet almond pretzel instead. I had a bite of Brent’s garlic parmesan pretzel but it just wasn’t as good. The sweet almond pretzel was just so damn good and made all the better because it was warm.

Driving to Savannah, Georgia was confusing because some buildings had Savannah in the name but it was not clear that we were in Georgia, we were unsure if we had crossed over yet. Eventually we saw a giant bridge- that HAD to be the crossing into Georgia, we were so close to state #34!!! Down by the river, the first sights of Georgia were not pretty, it was just industrial ugly buildings.

That soon changed once we were in the town of Savannah. Our hotel, The Gastonian, was a beautiful old house. And at 5pm there was going to be complimentary hor d’oeurves and wine and then at 8pm dessert! I was really digging the southern hospitality. By the bedside table in our room there was a welcome card and chocolates. There was also a card to pre-order breakfast for the next morning. I was in love with this place.

We went for a walk “downtown”, despite the rain warning. Thankfully it did not rain while we were out. The squirrels in the park were so slim, it was almost as if the humans had not been feeding them. The park was very pretty with lots of large trees and a giant fountain in the middle that for some reason, everyone within the vicinity needed a picture of. There was a girl taking a picture of a historical plaque and her friends asked why she would not just read it then and there rather than taking a picture and she said she wanted to read it later- prompting Brent to loudly tell me he was going to read the plaque now. The ladies all giggled.

There were lots of big beautiful houses in the town and every few blocks there was a nice small square with greenery and benches and the odd gazebo here and there. It was a well planned out town centre. We walked by the Savannah College of Art & Design- I secretly booed them for not being as good as OCAD.

We did not pass any stores where we could pick up some snacks and our car was parked in an awkward spot, making it tough to head back out to Sonic. Thankfully our hotel would be offering hor d’oeurves soon, just enough time so sneak in a quick shower. I could not for the life of me get the hot water to work. I tried turning every tap all the way- and still nothing. I was ready to resort to taking a bath in the separate hot tub instead when on a whim I mentioned to Brent my inability to get hot water. He turned the shower knob and sure enough- hot water. I contend it had something, for some reason, to do with my turning the tub knobs. It had to be.

The hor d’oeurves selection was awesome just a ton of meats and cheeses and crackers. They had both red and white wine. I had half a glass of white wine while we ate and then half another glass as we walked around the house and looked at the open rooms. It had started raining outside so we stayed for a second round- I had yet to try the red wine and they brought out another tray of deli meats. Our nice relaxing afternoon was soon interrupted by a creepy old couple who were touching each other and reminiscing about getting drunk on tequila. It was crazy how bad it was raining. We actually had to borrow a hotel umbrella to get back to our room, which normally is just a short walk outside and in through a side entrance. We would have been soaked without an umbrella. We even had to turn back to get a second one, resulting in our being laughed at by the other people in the hotel. There were mini streams forming in the street, I stuck my toe in to measure and it was 1-2 inches maybe. The weather forecast warnings of flash flooding suddenly seemed more real. For a second the rain had let up and out of nowhere we saw our neighbour run to his car to get something. No sooner were we in our room, it stopped raining.

We started watching Olive Kitteridge but had not looked at the time. We did not have enough time to finish the episode, we had dinner reservations at Elizabeth on 37th which was a 20 minute walk. It had started raining again when we went out, thankfully it was a lot lighter. Even still we each took an umbrella.

We skipped on splitting an appetizer because we had to leave room for dessert- it was what they were known for. The first drink I ordered had Georgia peach whisky with orange-infused sweet tea vodka. I hadn’t had that much wine back at the hotel so I had a second. How could I resist rosé wine with local peach cider- it wasn’t as good as the first drink. As we sat there waiting for our food we snacked on fresh bread. On a whim I decided to try the marmalade. It was delicious!  Who knew marmalade could be good? Before our mains arrived we were served a salad of lettuce and feta cheese and watermelon. It was weirdly good. For my main I had the Savannah red rice with sausages, Georgia shrimps, fish and okra- all tossed in delicious spiciness. The portion size was far too large and I could not finish it. I had a bite of Brent’s almond-crusted fish, my dish won by far. For dessert I had the Savannah cream cake. It was good but I was not impressed, it was too dense. Brent’s blueberry cobbler which was more of a cobbler crumb atop baked blueberries and blackberries (it lacked the base) was by far better.

On the walk back there was thunder and lightning. We decided to go back via the next street over to get a different view. We came across a guy who needed help getting up to his front porch. I carried his bag of beer to the front door and apparently that was all he wanted. Meanwhile his yappy little dog was not at all impressed with Brent’s drunken attempts to pet him or even go near him. I was way too full for the late evening dessert spread at the hotel.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

East Coast Done: Day 4

Mon. May 22, 2017:
Beaufort, SC

I woke up around 8am because I could not sleep any more. My back was hurting from the too-soft mattress (yes there is such a thing!). We head breakfast at the hotel, out on the front porch. The French toast was good but the ham on the side was way better. Nothing at breakfast was outstanding and the service was quite slow, we decided we would skip on it the next day, it was not worth it.

We went for a walk to Beaufort National Cemetery to see where Union Soldiers from the Civil War were buried. Seeing all the little headstones aligned and in rows it really hit home just how many soldiers died during the war.

We walked back to the hotel along the waterfront. All the birds were out in full force and singing and we saw another blue jay. The route we took was a much more scenic way to enter the town centre, with the waterfront and huge trees draped with Spanish moss on one side and big beautiful houses on the other side.

We drove to Shrimp Shack for lunch. The name did not lie, it was quite the shack. Brent was keen on getting the shrimp burger. We had no idea what to expect: shrimps on a bun, shrimps ground into a patty, a burger with shrimps on top? Turns out it was option B. I opted for the shrimp salad sandwich which was just shrimp mashed up with mayo and topped with lettuce. The bread was just Dempsters-style soft bread. Even still, as I sat there eating it all I could think was: migawd I have eaten so much bread today– and it’s barely non. At this point, I had eaten about 4 slices total.

The previous day we had passed a roadside shop that advertised grilled donuts and alcohol. Outside the shop I met the friendliest and scruffiest little muffin of a cat. It was black and skinny and clearly lived outdoors- his little ear had a nick in it. But for all his rough-looknigness, he was the most affectionate little munchkin, rubbing against me and meowing. It took all my self-will not to take that little scraggle-muffin home with me. The people working in the store were equally friendly. While Brent was picking out beers I got us some boiled peanuts, self-serve from a slow-cooker so you knew they were fresh. I did not know what to expect: they were boiled with their shells on and apparently you eat them whole? I waited until we were in the car before trying one. It was awful, I immediately spit it out. No part of it was good. It was rubbery, it tasted bad and the fibres from the shell were just awful and pokey. I even went back for another. This time I peeled it- but the peanut was rubbery and bland.

We tried to stop in at the Penn Centre historical museum but it was closed, as we expected given they listed their hours but it never hurts to check. We stopped at Wal-Mart to grab snacks and drinks. There were no good ciders so I opted for a bottle of wine instead. I also took the chance to stock up on Dunkin Donuts coffee and I could not believe I had forgotten (until I saw it on the shelf): Biscoff cookies!!! I ended grabbing the last two. By the register I found an Oreo Milka bar and some coffee peanut M&Ms. Snacks in hand, a diluted glass of sweet tea (mixed with half unsweetened) we headed back to the porch. I was getting used to this new lifestyle. I even finished my book and started another one, The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood. I had thought ahead and downloaded it to the iPad before we left for vacation. Eventually I switched over to cider (I still had one left). The coffee peanut M&Ms were ok but the caramel ones were way better.

After writing out my postcards I found a post office around the block from our hotel. The plan had originally been to walk down to the waterfront and get ice cream after but it started raining and thundering as soon as we set out and we did not want to get caught in it if it got worse. On the way back to our room I grabbed another sweet tea and a chocolate chip cookie (it had pecans in it!)- this hotel was awesome. We sat around watching TV, the season finale of Bob’s Burgers, and just waiting for pie time. It did not disappoint. As I was going downstairs for pie I realized we had missed cheese hour. I skipped on the key lime pie because we still had dinner reservations that night and I did not want to ruin my appetite. Brent had not even come down for any pie- until I came back to the room with a slice of pecan pie and a piece of lemon loaf.

At the Saltus River Grill we started out with fresh oysters, even though it was not oyster season. How could we resist a local oyster called Single Ladies?! We felt silly ordering just two oysters therefore we also got one each of the oyster from Nova Scotia. Four seemed less silly. For my main I had the crab cake. Soon after I had ordered the server came by a little bit concerned. She told me it’s not like a regular crab cake with the breading. It was just a patty of crab meat seared- I was more than ok with that given that they served us fresh bread at the table. I could do without bread crumbs. And it turned out to be the best crab cake I had ever eaten. I stole a bite of Brent’s steak with truffle butter but it paled in comparison to my crab cake. The drinks selection was great, I had a Bold Rock Cider. Alas we were way too full for dessert.

Walking back along the boardwalk it started raining again. I noticed a chalkboard sign inside a BBQ restaurant/bar. I could see that it said CRAFT BREWS, how could we pass that up? It was well worth the venture, the selection was great. I started out with a Windy Hill Gala Peach Cider. I had to have a second. I asked the guy if they do half-pints, he said he could do 11oz instead of 16oz. It was settled, we would stay for a second round- we had confirmed that the bar was not closing, they were just shutting down the kitchen. For my second I had a Snafu Tang, a sour beer made with oranges. It was so good! Brent teased me that mine was barely smaller than his, but I pointed out the circumference of our glasses. A guy walking by our table was talking smack about the Blue Jays and him and Brent got into a sidebar that I understood nothing of. It was nice to sit and relax, listening to 90s music while discussing potential songs for a first dance at our wedding. We were also waiting for the rain to stop but it was not letting up. When we closed our bill the guy asked us if we wanted any water to go. I am not sure if this was a joke about it raining or a comment on our inebriation.

By the time we got back outside it was raining even harder. Brent kept running ahead and hiding under awnings while I slowly made my way towards him. I had given up, it was raining hard and I knew I was going to get soaked. I joked that it was ok because I needed to wash my hair anyways. I had to shower quickly once we got back, Better Call Saul was on soon. For the first time in a long time we watched one of our shows on TV as it aired as opposed to online afterwards. The storm had gotten even worse, there was thunder and lightning. Outside there was a loud bird/frog/bug calling out regularly. I thought it was the fan being squeaky. Good thing I had not opened my wine, it had a cork in it meaning I’d have to drink it all in one day because I had no empty bottles to pour it into.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

East Coast Done: Day 3

Sun. May 21, 2017:
Charleston to Beaufort, SC

The warm cinnamon was just as I had dreamt and been expecting: awesome. We were in no rush to leave so I could eat my breakfast and watch TV, Say Yes To The Dress (SYTTD) just so happened to be on. We drove to Kaiwah Island resort to have lunch at the Ryder Cup Bar, overlooking the ocean and part of the PGA golf course. When we got to the resort we were given a map of the grounds. I could not for the life of me find the restaurant. We had to pull over and Brent took over looking at the map. It was not just me, the map was terrible and did not have the restaurant or the golf course it overlooked. I was vindicated. We had to use Brent’s work phone to navigate us there. It was definitely worth the hassle as the view was stunning. We sat on the terrace overlooking a practice green and behind it, the ocean. The cool ocean breeze was just a bonus.

I couldn’t resist ordering the jalapeno margarita, it was delicious and just the right amount of spicy. I ordered the crab-cake, expecting the usual. I was not expecting it to be between two buns with unnecessary lettuce and a tomato. I tossed them to the side of the plate and asked Brent if he wanted a side salad. We walked around on the veranda afterwards looking at the views. It had taken us almost 20 minutes to drive there from the gate entrance so we were going to enjoy it.

As we drove to Beaufort we saw our first armadillo- alas it was dead so it doesn’t really count. We passed a sign for the Carolina Cider Co. it got me all excited with their promise of peach cider. What they failed to mention was that it was non-alcoholic cider. Who does that?! And there was no sign of the promised pecan pie.

We checked in at the Rhett House Inn and once again, southern hospitality prevailed. Free sweet tea and cookies! And later they would be serving a cheese plate and free pecan pie in the evening! I was all for this new lifestyle. We walked to a nearby market to restock on drinks. We feared it would not be open because it was Sunday and we had been warned that on Sundays liquor stores are closed. Our hotel didn’t even serve alcohol, it was self-serve and based on honesty. For an early dinner we drove to the Gullah Grub Restaurant. It was like 4pm and we were the only people in there. The service was great, the owner’s young daughter was taking our orders and it was adorable because she was so careful in writing down exactly what we said, spelling it all out. I ordered two small dishes of their specialties: fried mac and cheese and the shrimp gumbo. I swear the mac and cheese had some egg baked into it to hold its shape. The cornbread was still warm from the oven. I had a bite of Brent’s BBQ ribs and they were amazing, they had sauce and rub and were so meaty and juicy. On the side I had “swamp water” which was a much better name for the Arnold Palmer i.e.: lemonade and iced tea.

We drove to Hunting Island with the hope of spending the rest of the day hiking and to see a lighthouse. Alas the park was closed due to damage from a hurricane last year. The only things that were open were the nature/visitor’s centre and part of the pier. We got to see some turtles and snakes in terrariums and the damaged pier overlooking the salt marsh. Brent was reading the info panel on the pier and it pointed out an osprey nest, we looked up and sure enough, there was an osprey sitting in a giant nest atop a pole. We walked over for a closer view and it started to soar. As we drove away we saw that there was another osprey still sitting on the nest. We also learned that we had not seen ibises earlier but egrets.

Back at the hotel we could see that a storm was brewing and we could hear thunder. But the second floor porch was covered and there was a nice breeze. We sat there reading, I wrote in my book while sipping sweet tea (that I had to mix with unsweetened because it is unbelievable how sweet the sweet tea down south is). We were basically counting down until it was time for pie. I could smell it baking earlier and I was super excited. We watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I downed a terrible Angry Orchard cider, as we awaited pie o’clock.

The pecan pie was amazing!!! There was also incredible key lime pie and after one bite of Brent’s awesome chocolate cake I could not resist cutting myself a tiny slice- they were all so good!!! We went for a short walk afterwards, the rain had stopped and the air was fresh. We walked over to St. Helena’s Cemetery, we saw a woodpecker and a blue jay. There was so much Spanish moss on the trees and it was all so pretty. When we got back to the hotel almost all the baked goods were gone, it’s a good thing we had gone early. We spent the rest of the evening watching Netflix, my poor sore feet needed a rest. The blisters were driving me nuts. In the morning I had grabbed an orange from the hotel and it was the perfect evening snack.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

East Coast Done: Day 2

Sat. May 20, 2017:
Charleston, SC

I woke up at 7:30am because the headache I had in the middle of the night was still going. I had been mostly asleep when it first hit and I couldn’t make myself get up and take an Advil, I had assumed I could sleep it off. We stopped in for the breakfast buffet. I did not have high hopes and was pleasantly surprised to find warm cinnamon buns. The other options left much to be desired: the choice between low-fat yogurt and a too-big container of greek yogurt? As we walked back to the town I sipped my terrible hotel coffee, made all the worse by the hot weather. Bad hot coffee is that much worse when it is 30+ outside, and it was still morning!!

We started out our day at the Charleston Museum, the first and oldest American museum. We saw some Civil War stuff, giant rounds of ammunition and skeletons and taxidermied animals. At the museum we also confirmed that South Carolina water tastes swampy and smells of beets. It was not just the water in our hotel room. The museum was fairly small and we finished with enough time to go to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. Along the way we passed through the town square where they were having a farmer’s market. I got a Charleston Tea Plantation tea mixed with lemonade and some teabags as souvenirs for my family.

What we did not anticipate was that the Chick-Fil-A was in a campus dorm building in the College of South Carolina campus. And it was closed for renovations to boot. No worries, we found another one a few blocks away! We got there only to discover that it was in the College student centre- which was closed on weekends during the summer season.

We decided to just stop somewhere on the way to the ferry, we still had plenty of time (even with the sunscreen application pitstop). We had seen a Chipotle earlier but before we got to it we found a Five Guy’s because burgers > burritos. The guy at Five Guys ended up giving me a free drink- no complaints here. The jalapenos were so good but towards the end it was getting too spicy and making me cry. It was the perfect amount of food.

We got to the ferry just in time and it was a short 30 minute ride over to Fort Sumter. We had been on a previous trip to Gettysburg and now we were getting to see where it all began. We were given an hour to wander around the fort and the island, with the option of listening to the ranger talk about the fort. He was so fake and overly energetic we had to get out of earshot. Later on as we looked down, a kid shouted at him to calm down.  In the museum section (aka hiding-from-the-sun-and-basking-in-the-cool-air-building) a kid was counting the stars on the Civil War US flag and he was so concerned, he was yelling for his mom because it only had 33 stars and as soon as she started paying attention to him he lost interest and moved on.

In the walls of the forts there were birds’ nests. There were also shells still lodged in the walls. We watched pelicans swoop into the water- all the while trying to avoid really annoying know-it-alls boring their companions with all their talking. For the ferry ride back we went to the lowest deck, we had had enough of the sun and needed shelter. Sipping my white wine and eating mini Charleston Chews, Brent sipping his beer, our peace was soon ruined by annoying nerds talking about the stupidest bro-things. I was too tired to care or to move. Thankfully the ferry ride back was short.

We took a roundabout way to walk back to the hotel following the shoreline. We gawked at some more gorgeous houses. The heat and sun started getting to me. I was tired and covered in sunscreen and the air was so thick and muggy. I was drenched in sweat. Along the way we saw a lizard and a pretty song bird, they distracted me from my tired state for all but a few seconds. We stopped at a Rite Aid on the medical campus to get some beers and Gatorades for the trip. I was so dehydrated I got a pomegranate-blueberry green iced tea to tide me over for the rest of the walk and an old fashioned cream soda for once I was back in the hotel.

Once we got back I made a beeline for the shower. I was covered in a terrible mix of sunscreen and sweat. The caramel M&Ms we had gotten at Walgreens hit the spot to hold me over until dinner. We drove to Bowen’s Island Restaurant for dinner. The place did not take reservations and we had to line-up. We were there 17 minutes after open and there were a good 25-30 people in front of us. Thankfully the line moved quickly as you placed your order and then sat a table waiting and there were plenty of tables. The choice was easy and we barely had to debate: seafood platter of fried fish, fried shrimps and crab-cake that came with fries and hushpuppies. We also ordered a side of fried oysters because that was what they were known for. The crab-cake was unbelievable, easily the best one I had ever had. Second place went to the fried oysters. The shrimp and fish were tied for a close third. We had no idea what hushpuppies were, turns out it was just fried balls of cornbread and they were surprisingly good (given my dislike of cornbread). Even at the restaurant the water tasted like beets.

The restaurant did not have any specialty drinks (they did have specialty beers though, so not fair) do I opted for a whisky sour, I saw that they had Maker’s Mark. After dinner we walked down to the dock to look out onto the water, the sun was just starting to dip to the horizon. I was mad that all I had was my phone camera, it was so pretty. We also stopped to look at an enormous pile of discarded oyster shells- literally hundreds of thousands of them.

We stopped at the McDonald’s next door to our hotel for dessert. I had tried to order the Twix McFlurry but the guy said he did not have enough topping left and it was being discontinued. To make up for it he put extra Oreo bits in mine.

During the day I had noticed people riding around on the streets in golf carts and initially I had found it unsettling but then I realized is it really that much different than riding a Vespa scooter? By the time we got back I was exhausted. My feet hurt so bad, I had a blood-filled unpopped blister on each heel. We spent the rest of the evening watching TV, which was periodically interrupted by barks from the dog next door. I went to sleep dreaming of a warm cinnamon bun for breakfast.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 

East Coast Done: Day 1

Fri. May 19, 2017:
Toronto flight to Charleston, SC

I was thrilled that we got to the airport and through security really quickly and with no delays- I wanted to go to David’s Tea to get some tea for the week. What I did not anticipate was that David’s Tea was in a different section of the terminal and I could not get to it. As we waited for our flight to start boarding I ended up making a sizeable dent in my book, The Undoing Project, to the point that I thought I might finish it before we got to Charleston, SC.

We had a layover in Charlotte, NC. The internet said that the Chick-Fil-A was still under construction but as we approached we saw the lit-up sign… and immediately our hopes were dashed. The sign was complete but that was about it. Why did they light it up?! So mean. We ended up eating at the Burger King next door. I went with the hotdog, because really how badly can you screw up a hotdog? It was about the same quality as an IKEA hotdog, not good but edible. The chicken fries however, those were another rubbery story with terrible dipping sauce to boot. Zesty cheese sauce does not go well with terrible chicken fingers. I had noticed on the terminal map that there was a bar called Carolina Beer Co. and it just so happened to be near Pinkberry- it was meant to be. The lemon flavour was ok, but the strawberry was far and away better. The guy even gave me a free topping (granola, if you must know). The bar was super chill, no one cared that I sat there eating my half-delicious-half-disappointing dessert. There was a diversity celebration happening nearby with the cheesiest of dance music. While they were playing the Macarena a guy was running towards them, I like to think he didn’t want to miss out on dancing. In fact he was going to find his travel partner as their gate had been switched. My reason for his panicked run was far better.

On the way to our gate we stopped to buy a Cheerwine. Apparently this is a North Carolina thing that neither of us had tried when we each separately visited North Carolina.

The flight was so short that I never even spit my gum out. I was about to but then I realized I needed it. Still?– I  thought? Oh wait, we are beginning our descent. State 33!!! We also had a new record from getting off the plane to getting into our rental car. I could not believe how hot and humid it was. The girl at the car rental place said it was only going to get hotter in the summer. But South Carolina was absolutely gorgeous. There were palm trees everywhere and everything was so lush and green. It was a short drive to our hotel alas we had to listen to the radio because our car was so new it did not have an aux input for our iPod, just a USB input. We were staying at a Holiday Inn and I did not expect to be greeted with a free glass of wine. Everyone was also super friendly. Our trip was off to a great start. The wifi passcode did not work and I immediately started fretting, I needed to sync my FitBit steps, I was trying to win a challenge! The Cheerwine tasted like cherry Dr Pepper. The water in the hotel smelled like beets and tasted funny.

We walked to dinner at Magnolia’s. At first it was a pretty crummy walk. There was construction outside our hotel and we had to walk through parking lots and construction pits. It was also a bit sketchy at first. I did get to finally see a shotgun house. It was abandoned and I was mildly tempted to peek inside to see if I could see all the way through. It got nicer once we were on the medical school campus.

We passed a fake square-shaped lake and lots of big beautiful houses. There were so many lush green trees and they were just covered in Spanish moss. The houses had wrap-around porches and fans. We passed through a small park and a saw a white-bellied squirrel, and it was not fat. A red-tailed hawk swooped into an awning. There were a lot of gorgeous churches closer to downtown. There was a firewatch tower that reminded me of a game I had recently played on the Xbox. I never did manage to get a picture of it.

Even though we had a reservation we still had to wait before we were seated. No one really seemed to care and things just went at a slower pace. As we waited we watched people without reservations get turned away because there was no availability. Dinner at Magnolia’s was delicious. We made the mistake of each getting an appetizer because Brent wanted the fried green tomatoes and I wanted the crab bisque. Despite my hatred of tomatoes, I tried a bite and it was actually really good. For the mains, Brent had the scallops, shrimps and grits. It was ok, but I think I won with the bourbon fried catfish. The flavour had sunk in past the crispy outside and it was incredible. The black-eyed beans and corn salsa were just as good. The only problem was the portion, it was enormous and I could not finish it. We were way too full for dessert. I ended up having two cocktails at dinner, both were made with local liquers. The first one had spiced rum, cranberry juice and peach schnapps. It tasted like a Bath & Body Works Christmas candle- in a good way. The second was an Arnold Palmer (which I mispronounced as Almond) made with Firefly vodka and sweet tea- the clear winner.

The walk back was annoying because the streets were poorly lit. At one point it got scary, we passed under a construction awning that was not lit and super dark. The one upside to the poor street lights was that we could see a lot of stars. It was unbelievable how hot and humid it still was outside, it was nighttime!  When we got to the hotel it was still really warm in the room. I wondered why and went to check the thermostat. Turns out I had turned up the temperature before we went out. I was thinking of the temperature outside, not the temperature I wanted the room to be.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel

 
 
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