Category Archives: Travel

East Coast Done: Day 10

Sun. May 28, 2017:
Toronto, ON

The early wakeup sucked, even more-so because I did not sleep well. But it was not as bad as previous times. At the airport I grabbed us some snacks to hold us over: a Babe Ruth chocolate bar, some Swedish Fish and an orange Fanta. All part of a healthy breakfast, no doubt. Because we had a layover in Charlotte, NC our flight was considered domestic and there was no duty-free shop. Even though the flight was a mere 30 minutes, it felt longer because there were really annoying people behind me talking the whole time.

We stopped at Auntie Anne’s to grab pretzels because there was no line and we had about 10 minutes before our connecting flight started boarding. When we got to the gate the boarding time was listed as 15 minutes later than we had been told. We had felt rushed for nothing. The cinnamon sugar pretzel was not as good as the sweet almond or the original.

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Posted by on July 1, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel


East Coast Done: Day 9

Sat. May 27, 2017:
Charleston, SC

Based on the quality of our hotel room we were not going to chance it with a hotel breakfast. Besides, there was a Dunkin Donuts on the way, therefore the choice was quite obvious. I had Biscoff cookies to hold me over until we got there. I went with my usual go-to, the coffee cake muffin. Only after I had ordered did I see that they had a vanilla birthday cake donut! But it was too late. I had also gotten Brent a chocolate donut covered in pretzels which was surprisingly good. I was already dreading the next morning’s super early wakeup- our flight was at 7:30am.

We had a 1.5-2 hour drive ahead of us and an episode of Gastropod all about southern food, it was kismet. They even talked about Charleston, SC and mentioned a restaurant we were going to try for dinner that evening (given we had failed to get reservations). We passed by four different cars all pulled over by cops all within a close distance to each other on a stretch of the South Carolina interstate. The drive felt like it took forever, it had been close to 3 hours in the end.

We got to Middleton Plantation just before noon. It was perfect timing because there is no better time to see a bunch of gardens than at high noon and in the heat. I had thought ahead enough to grab the sunscreen but I had failed to grab the water. No problem we thought, there will be water fountains throughout. I had forgotten how bad Charleston water is. This water however was somehow even worse. I chose dehydration over it, that is how bad it truly was. Easily the worst water I have ever tasted. It was lukewarm, thick and it had an umami taste to it. The gardens were ok and the plantation house was just a pile of ruins after the Civil War. The highlight was the 700-1000 year old oak tree overlooking the Ashley River. The farm section was awesome. We saw chickens, sheep, goats, cows, horses, turkeys, water buffalo, pigs, piglets, an annoyed peacock (everyone kept posing for pictures with him) and a chill cat. One of the turkey’s had somehow gotten out of the enclosure and we tried to heard it back in while its mates all called out in alarm and a horse just looked on. As I was trying to take a picture of another horse it lifted its head up and over the fence- mildly scaring me. It was cute to watch the piglets rolling in the mud.

The flooded rice fields looked very pretty amidst the rolling hills. A guy next to us pointed out three alligators just chilling in the water. Soon we spotted a few more. It was cool to watch them float there with just their eyes poking out above the water and then they’d submerge and resurface elsewhere. There was a giant heron sitting on a branch overlooking the water. We saw some turtles both in the flooded rice field and in a nearby pond. The only food onsite was a sit-down restaurant. I was hot, dehydrated and voraciously hungry. We stopped at a gas station to fill up the car before returning it in the morning. I ended up grabbing a tonne of food: Whatchamacallit, Bright Side Skittles and two sodas, Cherry Sprite and USA Mountain Dew (red, white and blue flavours mixed together making purple). It was all so delicious and quickly devoured but I was still hungry. And of course what snacking session is complete without an episode of Say Yes to the Dress– it was after all 3pm on a Saturday and it was the third episode in a row.

We took an Uber to Husk restaurant. The lady was really chatty but nice. We got to Husk at 4:40. I was feeling hopeful because the lady was on the phone and saying that they do have walk-in spots available. I tried to put our name down and she told me to come back 15 minutes before open… 35 minutes from then. We went to the Husk bar next door and got a table upstairs. I couldn’t resist ordering a Dragoon Punch. The recipe had been found by the Preservation Society of Charleston in the archives and it dated back to 1738. It had California brandy, Barbados rum, peach brandy, black tea, lemon juice and raw sugar. It was so good!!

Brent continued holding our table at the bar while I went over to get my name on the list. At first it was just a bunch of people loitering about outside with no clear line forming. I sat on a bench and watched. Around 5:15pm a line started to form. There were about 10-12 people ahead of me and by the time it got to me we were told we could get a table at about 7:45. Not ideal but still we would take what we could get. I did not have data on my phone so I pulled up Brent’s contact info and read it off the screen to the server (of course I don’t know it off by heart).

Back at the bar we ordered the fried chicken to hold us over until dinner. I was not impressed at all. The hush puppies on the side were far better than the chicken. The Foggy Ridge craft cider from Virginia was delicious.

We went for a walk around town to see what was going on for the Spoleto festival. Two doors down from Husk there was a parking lot with food trucks and tables and a stage set up. We walked past the security guard and once inside we quickly realized that this was not a Spoleto event- it was a wedding. We had just crashed a wedding. It was embarrassing and we quickly got out of there. The open bar sucked, it was just martinis so it would not have been worth it to stay anyways.

We walked over to the arts fair we had passed in the park earlier but it was all shutting down for the evening. On the way we had passed a cat café. I gasped with joy at the sight of a kitten in the window. I got all excited and asked Brent if we could go in and right on cue, as another couple approached, Brent played the mean guy and dramatically said no just to make them laugh. With not much else to do we decided to go scope out the venue where the jazz concert would be. What we were trying to figure out was where to pick up our tickets.

We passed by a parking garage and went in because we saw signs for a bathroom. It was the second worst bathroom I have ever been in. There was no toilet paper and one of the taps was missing and the toilet seat was all scratched up. We walked by Husk but there was no point in sitting outside, we still had some time. We walked to a nearby park and watched some dogs meet and get their leashes all tangled. By 7:45pm we still had not gotten a text about our table. At 8pm we walked over and sat outside. A family came out and the mother complimented my dress and immediately after asked me to take their picture outside of the restaurant. I went inside to follow-up and see what was going on. I had been warned that we were not guaranteed a table so I thought maybe there was just a delay? She seemed confused, she said they had sent a text and gotten no response. I pulled out my phone, pulled up the contact info and verified it- it was definitely correct. I had for sure given them Brent’s phone number… his old phone number. I panicked and in a blink said that it was correct and that we had just never received the text. She said she would see what she could do. And by 8:10pm we were seated and it was all good. I still felt kind of bad, it was clearly my fault but they had no idea.

I was way too full from the fried chicken to even look at the appetizers or to think about dessert. Plus we had a concert to get to. I was fine just ordering a main (even that seemed like almost too much food). I ordered another cocktail, this time a Husk bartender concoction that had pepper in it. We had already decided on our mains earlier at the bar. Ever since I had gone in initially and seen on the board that they had catfish, that was stuck in my mind as the dish I wanted to order. I stole a bite of Brent’s pork chop and it was amazing. It was a very close call but he won. The meal was amazing and it is difficult to say if it was the best of the trip, competing with Mrs. Wilke’s Kitchen and Bowen Island.

We got to the concert 20 minutes after it had started and we stayed until 10pm. I really enjoyed watching the Cuban jazz band the Pedrito Martinez Group. It was all great except for the part where the singer tried to get the crowd to sing along but instead of just the usual one or two simple words he was trying to get them to sing a long complicated sentence in Spanish. It failed epically. There was one guy at the back of the crowd, who was just loving the concert, he kept yelling YEAH really loudly.

Getting back was not as easy. The first two Uber drivers couldn’t find us and bailed on us. When we got to the hotel there were three cop cars pulled up outside but it did not seem serious, maybe just a fight? The hotel did not have a business centre so we could not print our boarding passes. I had to rush to finish writing in my note book so I could go to sleep.

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Posted by on July 1, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel


East Coast Done: Day 8

Fri. May 26, 2017:
St. Mary’s, GA

The early 7:15am wakeup was not problem, I had gone to bed at 10pm and slept like a rock. My wakeup was made all the better with Biscoff cookies and Dunkin Donuts iced coffee. Apparently we were up at the rabbit hour, I could not believe how many rabbits we saw by the side of the road munching on grass. We were listening to Stuff You Should Know in the car and for once I did not fall asleep while we were driving. Even though we had purchased our ferry tickets online we still had to wait in line to pick them up. What was the point?!

When we arrived we saw that there was a street festival being set up but it did not interfere with the parking. It was a 45 minute ferry ride to Cumberland Island. We sat on the lower deck out of the sun because we would essentially be spending the whole day outdoors (our return ferry did not leave until 4:45pm). We somehow wound up in seats right next to the snack bar. We hadn’t really eaten a proper breakfast so it only seemed fitting to buy some Doritos cool ranch, Skittles and to keep things healthy: peanut butter crackers. We also split a bottle of water to get a head start on staying hydrated. We glared to kids who grabbed drinks from the cooler and did not close it. Only one of the docks on the island was operational which made figuring out where to go for pickup in the afternoon a lot easier.

Cumberland Island was wilder than the other islands we had been to because it was largely untouched. There was only one hotel and bikes were only allowed on certain trails. Other than the hotel shuttle and a tour car there were no other cars on the island.  We arrived at around 10am and we had basically the whole day to explore the island. I had varying levels of hope throughout the day of seeing wildlife. We had a list of what we hoped to see and a list of what we hoped not to see. That second list was pretty short: rattlesnake.

We started out with the beach. The ranger had warned us that getting to it you had to cross hot sand dunes plus the beach has no shade. He called the dunes the Sahara desert of the island. It made sense to start there and get it out of the way. There was no one else on the beach, the ranger and his group had gone in the opposite direction of us. We figured we would eventually run into them.

Walking through the dunes Brent claimed to have seen a small crab scuttling across the sand and then into a hidey-hole. All I saw were squiggly marks in the sand. Walking along the beach was nice and relaxing, it was quiet and peaceful because there was no one else there. Just like the tide, my hopes of seeing a crab were low. I was keeping a vigilant look out. Soon enough we saw a ghost crab walking sideways, he was halfway into a hole. He poked out, then hid, then poked out and a second crab also may have poked the tip of his (or her) claw out. We had no idea who else was also in the hole because the second creature never emerged, we just saw something moving. Further down the beach we saw another ghost crab but this one seemed to be dying. He did not scuttle away as we approached and he was only moving one leg.

We passed a giant osprey sitting on a log, carefully watching us as we walked by. It was creepy knowing that it was watching us that whole time even though we kept our distance. Eventually our nice beach walk was ruined by the sight of factories off in the distance. It may have been Florida. We may have also passed into Florida on our ferry ride over. It was crazy just how close to Florida we were. Alas it did not count as new state for either of us so it was not that exciting.

It soon started to feel like we had been on the beach for a long time. We still had not passed the group going in the reverse direction. We had not seen anyone. We had been out there so long we had to put on sunscreen. As we walked we kept an eye out for the markers leading us off the beach and continuing the trail. Just as Brent started to wonder if we had passed it and mentioned that we really have to keep an eye out- I interrupted him with a there it is! The markers were almost impossible to discern, they were white with thin black stripes but it easily faded into the white of the sand dunes. Walking through the sand dune passage I could see what the ranger had meant by Sahara desert. It was bad. It was made worse by the bright sun reflecting off the white sand. I wanted out. We had a brief break on a boardwalk but then it was right back into the sand.

As soon as we were out of the dunes and on a trail in a grassy meadow we saw a brown feral horse. We got super excited! A wild feral horse! We did not think we would see any. He was much slimmer than his domesticated counterparts, I could see his ribs. He also did not care at all about us, he just went back to munching on grass. A few minutes later we saw another feral horse, this time a white one. A family passing us in the opposite direction did not seem to care at all. We were bewildered. Had they been to the island before? Was this just a beach day for them?

On the way to the bathrooms we heard a ruckus near some of the ruins. We turn to look at the commotion and we saw a deer taking off. A kid had gone over to look at the ruins and inadvertently scared a young deer- which scared the kid. By the bathrooms there were some picnic benches inside the building. It felt good to sit down in the shade. We refilled our water bottle and ate granola bars and cookies.

Near the edge of the ruins of the Carnegie mansion were the ruins of the servants’ quarters. There we found a trail to the salt marsh. We had glimpsed the salt marsh from the cemetery but now we got a closer view. This time we saw some wildlife: a wild racoon (much cuter than its city counterpart). He was much lighter in colour and it was adorable to watch him hunt in the tall marsh grasses. We also saw some small fiddler crabs scurrying about in the mud. There was an egret nearby as well.

When we got to the ruins of the main house we realized why the people we saw earlier were not excited about the feral horses. There were 5-6 of them hanging around the ruins, oblivious to all the people gawking at them. We watched as people got a little too close to them. At the ice house museum we learned more about the house but also the history of the island and the archaeological finds. On the way to the ice house museum we heard a loud thudding. Someone (or something, maybe) had spooked the horses and they were galloping away. I was glad we were so far away from them. Near the ice house museum there were 3 more horses just hanging around in the field. As it turns out feral horses are quite common. We walked over to see the broken down dock, it was definitely not functional.

We walked along the River Trail back to the dock for another rest break. Along the trail Brent almost stepped on a tiny crab. I was very confused. What was a crab doing on a wooded trail?! It was a nice trail with lots of trees shading us from the sun. Along the way we passed a couple going in the opposite direction who asked us if there was anything cool back that way. They got really excited when we mentioned the feral horses. We stopped for a brief moment because there was stuff falling from a tree. We looked up only to see a red-headed woodpecker going at the tree. He was picking off bark and Spanish moss and dropping it. He also pecked at the tree a bit.

We sat on the porch of the ranger station in rocking chairs. It felt good to sit down, my legs were starting to hurt. It was a much needed break: there were bathrooms and potable water and I had a chance to reapply sunscreen.  The most important part was the cool shade. There was a guy fishing off the dock and he caught a stingray in his net. It was suspenseful watching him try to release while having no idea what he was doing.

For our afternoon hike we decided to head north as far as we could. We had about an hour and 15 minutes. We were going to try and make it to Willow Lake which looked like a reasonable plan based on the map. We were hoping to see some alligators in the lake. Along the way we noticed a turn off to the beach. Not heeding my warning about the heat and the sun, Brent suggested we go have a look. It was instant regret as we stepped back out on the white hot sand. We quickly retreated to the shade of the canopy of the maritime forest. We switched from walking on the roadway to walking on the pedestrian trail. We kept hearing rustling in the leaves but it was just lizards. Brent heard some rustling coming from underneath a tree and then he noticed an armadillo rutting around in the foliage. He was so cute digging around and looking for bugs. This was probably the most excited we got about wildlife on the trip. The armadillo did not care about us at all- he just went on digging. This was confirmed with a second armadillo sighting. It looked up, confirmed we were not food and kept digging, even getting quite close to us. Brent even posed for a few pictures with it, the armadillo was not phased. We saw the second armadillo as we approached another beach entrance. In looking at the map we realized that we still had a long way to go before we would reach the lake and not enough time at all. We were not even halfway there.

We walked back along the roadway because we wanted a glimpse of the super fancy hotel. Alas, in keeping with it being super fancy, it was hidden from the road and far down a private driveway. When a tour van drove by we moved to the side of the road. The driver waved, so Brent waved back and so he thought we needed help. It was mildly confusing. We saw one more armadillo but it was further away and we did not get a good look at it.

By the time we got back to the meeting point I was exhausted. I was covered in sand and sunscreen and sweat. I was tired of the sun. I was sick of the smoke-flavoured bad water. We sat a picnic bench because all of the rocking chairs were taken. We still had 45 minutes before boarding. I had a short nap. I awoke to find ants all over the tabletop, eating the cookie crumbs from my earlier snack. It was fun to watch the disordered chaos as they tried to coordinate carrying crumbs and breaking it up into smaller pieces. One ant tried to carry a giant piece and he was succeeding until his friends came in and piled up on it all tugging in different directions, leaving all the other crumbs unattended. We watched an ant carrying a crumb down the side of the bench after a long struggle only to drop the crumb.

I was so tired on the ferry ride back. I had a cold Coke and some peanut butter crackers and I fell asleep listening to podcasts. I was too hot, tired and in need of a shower to think about getting food from the street festival. I just wanted to get to the hotel room. The street festival looked pretty lame anyways, there was no one there and we felt sorry for the vendors. It was all very awkward. The hotel was less than stellar. The tub faucet was missing and in place there were pliers on a small knob. It did not matter- it felt so damn good to shower.

For dinner we had an epic plan. There were a bunch of fast food chains all near each other. The plan was to grab items from a few to create a mega-fast-food dinner. Brent had a Chick-Fil-A spicy sandwich and we split an 8 piece nuggets box. While Brent was at Chick-Fil-A I went to the gas station and grabbed some iced coffees and strawberry M&Ms. I fed Brent the sandwich as we sat a red light. Up next we went to McDonald’s where I got a pico de gallo burger. Brent at the last second got a smoky BBQ bacon burger. His bun was better because it was artisanal but I won by a long shot with the guacamole. Finally we went to Arby’s for curly fries. In all the places nothing met my drink standards: I wanted a frozen lemonade or something close to it. In a moment of bad judgement I ordered a Ghiradelli chocolate milkshake at Arby’s. Can’t go wrong with Ghiradelli right? Plus I had never had a milkshake since childhood. Now I know why: they’re just too thick and heavy. It’s not a good food. We were so hungry that the meal never fully came together, we ate it in parts. By the time we got to the hotel we were just eating fries and nuggets.

Our hotel room was right above the bar below. We had to turn the AC on to drown out the noise as we tried to finish the episode of Olive Kitteridge we had started the night before. The bed was crappy and the only good thing about the hotel was the dog that greeted us when we checked in.

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Posted by on July 1, 2017 in Adventures of Pinka!, Travel


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

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