Monday, July 26, 2010

Myrtle Beach, SC ~ July 16-25, 2010

We just returned from another outstanding vacation with some really great friends and as you might have guessed, we had a lot of fun! From July 16-25, Steve and I vacationed with Sean, Alex, Bob and Jenny in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

As much as we love visiting new destinations, there is something really, really special about Myrtle Beach. Of course, we were married there and have vacationed there more than any other place, but it’s become a second home to us. I love that when we visit our “regular” places, such as Finn McCools, Greg Norman’s, The Office and (for now) Harry the Hats, they remember us…It may be for a variety of reasons, but in any case, we’re a memorable bunch! More on this later…

Steve and I left on Friday afternoon and made the 10.5 hour drive to Myrtle Beach. We arrived at 2 am only to find out that the Holiday Inn reservation that I had for the night was cancelled and the hotel was booked (…long story) so we headed to Kingston Plantation where we’d be staying for the rest of the trip to see if they had anything available. Even if it was simply to brush our teeth and sleep for a few hours, we really didn’t want to sleep in our car after spending all that time driving. Anyway, after a short delay, we were put in a one-bedroom condo and eventually got to bed around 4 am. We were really happy with the decision.

On a side note...You may have figured out that we love going to happy hour. We like getting started early so we're not out too late (most of the time), but most importantly, we like a good deal. We have also figured out that in Myrtle Beach, happy hour is just a younger term for "early bird specials" as we are ALWAYS the youngest people in the restaurant. A couple of years ago I found a Myrtle Beach Happy Hour web site where one guy identifies, rates, suggests and prices the different happy hours in the area. He covers a very large area and I could only dream of visiting each establishment, but due to my fairly infrequent visits to the beach, I have simply used his guide as a staple for our happy hour needs as well as our general dining needs. I also follow him on twitter to see where he might be on a particular night. He is my hero :)

On Saturday, Steve and I sat at the beach for a few hours, picked up some drinks and snacks at Costco and eventually checked into South Hampton. We used this magical happy hour guide and made our way to Thoroughbreds and then to The Backyard Sports Bar, Baron’s, Side Street Saloon, and Harry the Hats before calling it a night.

On Sunday, we spent more time at the beach and then went to Ruth’s Chris for an anniversary dinner. The restaurant views are spectacular since it is located at the Grand Dunes Marina & Resort and the food was absolutely amazing.

We finished the night with a bottle of champagne on the beach…this has become somewhat of a tradition, or at least another one I’d like to continue!

Monday is when Sean, Alex, Jenny & Bob arrived at the beach. Steve and I begrudgingly sat in our beach chairs at the beach as we patiently waited for them all to arrive. It sure makes the time fly! That night we all headed to The Office Italian Pub for some happy hour food and drinks and then over to the Backyard Sports Bar for the rest of the night.

This is just a funny picture. In recent years, there have been a few people that have mistaken my brother (Sean) and I for twins. This was never in question when we were growing up, but as we have gotten older our mannerisms have likened and we simply spend way too much time together. Anyway, when it comes to our skin tone...we question whether we're even related! Sean has the (albino/100 SPF/allergic to the sun/will never be tan in his life) skin tone, where Shannon has the (tanorexic/0 SPF/I love the sun/don't mess with my beach or pool time) skin tone. Needless to say, there was no one in Myrtle Beach that questioned whether we were twins or not.

This is the Kingston Plantation shuttle. We LOVE this shuttle! Not only is it free and drives us within a pretty decent radius of the resort (1 mile+), but we all fit and it’s our own personal designated driver. With the exception of Greg Norman’s, most of the places we eat and drink at are within the range of the shuttle so it’s a no-brainer every time.

Tuesday had us all at the beach for the majority of the day. We went to Greg Norman’s Australian Grille for happy hour food and drinks. Their $5 appetizers are the best deal at the beach and the view is awesome.

I'm not sure if Steve was bored or just being artistic, but he's always looking for new pictures for my cards and I thought these were pretty nice. He was drinking a Pinot Noir at Greg Norman's.

We stopped into The Carolina Vineyards Winery at Barefoot Landing (more below), the Fire Island Grille and then Harry the Hats for karaoke!

I think it’s hilarious that we always stop into The Carolina Vineyards Winery and do a tasting of their pathetic wine…wine that Steve has refused to taste after our first time six years ago. It’s even more fun when we have someone new (this trip it was Bob) to expose to their disastrous wine made with “100% peach grapes” because everyone’s reaction is the same. If you don’t know what really bad wine tastes like, then I suggest you stop into their little shop at Barefoot Landing. I promise they will not disappoint!!

When it came time to karaoke, Sean and I eventually made it up to perform together and sang “Goodbye Earl” by the Dixie Chicks. We were told we weren’t bad, but Alex took a plethora of pictures as if we would never ever sing again!

Little did she know that Sean would follow it up with a dance performance to Bump & Grind with these two strangers from Parma, Ohio. We’re still not sure whether they really wanted him around, but once they found out he was from Lakewood, they couldn’t say no…It was the first LP he ever owned, so there was no holding him back. I’m so glad we have documentation.

I also love that Lee McDonald (the karaoke guy) recognizes Steve and actually said, “Wow Steve, I’ve never heard you sing this song” when he had already exhausted his regular repertoire of songs. Whether it’s because of his incredible voice, his adorable face, or the group of misfits that always seem to follow him, I’m not sure :) but as much as he dislikes the rest of us (and we don't like him), he and Steve have something special. Lol! This is him...And you wonder why we refer to him as the "Angry Karaoke Man."

Steve has been singing Lee McDonald karaoke for as long as we've been going to Myrtle Beach. Lee particularly remembers Steve from his role as Diana Ross in "Endless Love" which he has done several times as well as his Lionel Richie version of "Lady" and his always impressive and most favorite "At This Moment" by Billy Vera and the Beaters. Anyone who has vacationed in Myrtle Beach with us and watched karaoke knows Lee and most likely knows Steve's Diana Ross impression. It's no wonder he's unforgettable. The problem is that Lee McDonald karaoke is different than your typical karaoke artist...He is known to take over the microphone as much as possible along with his wife and his friends and family. We didn't let that stop us because we didn't care whether he liked us or not! We had fun anyway :)

On Wednesday (July 21st), Steve and I celebrated our 4-year wedding anniversary. Our day consisted of more beach time (of course) and dinner at California Dreaming. As always, the food was great and the salad and croissant were as good as we remember.

Not only were we engaged and then married in Myrtle Beach, but so far we have also had the privilege (thanks to my amazing and generous mother and father-in-law) to celebrate each subsequent anniversary in the same place. Every time we visit we are reminded of that special day and how perfect we really are for one another.

Wedding Day ~ July 21, 2006

1 Year Anniversary ~ July 21, 2007

2 Year Anniversary ~ July 21, 2008

3 Year Anniversary ~ July 21, 2009

4 Year Anniversary ~ July 21, 2010

Jenny really wanted to be a part of our picture :)

On Thursday, we made the move from South Hampton to Windsor Court. After packing up our stuff, we all headed to Finn McCool’s for lunch and then to the pool for the remainder of the day. For dinner we ate at Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant. The food was great, but the margaritas were a disappointment and the live (loud) music slightly annoying. After dinner, we headed back and sat at the pool for a few hours before going to bed.

Friday was a pool day for Alex and I, while the rest of the group read and relaxed in the condo. For lunch Sean and Steve picked up River City Café and then Alex, Jenny and I went to the Tanger Outlets for a little shopping.

Later that night we went to Greg Norman's for happy hour and then to Harry to Hats for more karaoke!

After this picture, we asked the boys to LOOK like they were actually having fun…

…and this was their response.

The girls are always so cute in their pictures.


Steve, Bob and Alex were definitely the singers of the group. Later in the night, Sean and I would make an appearance, but Jenny refused! As a means to satisfy all of our whining and annoying peer pressure, she agreed to be the back-up dancer for Alex and I as we sang "You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes. I guess that’s good enough.

Saturday was departure day for Sean, Alex, Jenny & Bob. After they left, Steve and I went to lunch at River City Café, to the beach, the pool (I wanted to maximize my last day of sun!) and then to The Office Italian Pub for dinner. We made it an early night as we knew we had to rise early the next day and drive 10.5 hours…Never a fun time :(

We always have a great time together, with friends and with family. I am happy to say that we have done it again! One of my favorite things about vacation is creating new and fond memories that will stay with us forever and I hope that everyone else walked away from this trip with memories as well…Thanks for being a part of mine.

Until next time…

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