We recently returned from an 11 night trip that took us 1,600 miles from Lakewood, OH to Marietta, OH to Mooresville, NC to Winnsboro, SC to Columbia, SC to Myrtle Beach, SC (back to) Columbia, SC and finally returning home to Lakewood, OH on Monday night. We spent a total of $50.00 on hotel rooms, slept in six different beds, visited with so many of Steve’s friends from USC, their wives and kids AND actually got to spend time at the pool and beach…Oh, we also managed to fit in Game 6 of the NCAA baseball Regional’s as well. No wonder I’m so tired!!
Taking our time to get to our vacation destination is a rarity for us, but with Memorial Day weekend occupancy and traffic, we decided it was in our best interest to arrive in Myrtle Beach on Monday.
And so it begins…
And so it begins…
On Thursday night (5/24), Steve and I departed home and drove about 2 hours and 45 minutes on 77 South to Marietta, Ohio…the last exit before you enter West Virginia. We stopped at the Marietta Brewing Company where we enjoyed a quick dinner, a pitcher of beer, and witnessed Phillip Roebuck performing as the One Man Band! It was a pretty cool performance with an interesting audience.
With the use of only 7,500 Marriott points we checked into the Fairfield Inn for the night. The hotel is a mere one month old, so everything was notably nice and new…especially the treadmills!
They were so nice; we couldn’t resist using them :) So we both ran a few miles in the morning before our spectacular free breakfast, complete with Belgian waffles, breakfast sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, etc.
On Friday morning, we made the 4.5 hour trek on 77 South to Mooresville, NC. With another 7,500 Marriott points we checked into the Towneplace Suites. It was another nice hotel with a full kitchen, which we didn’t need other than to keep our snacks cold.
I had researched places to eat and found a good BBQ place just south of our hotel. Unbeknownst to us, there was a huge race in town at the Mooresville Raceway, so traffic heading south was not good and required patience, which I did not have :) When asked if we were in town for "the big race" I simply associated it with a marathon of some kind...Steve got a bit of a laugh out of that. I guess I don't have race car driving in my blood.
Anyway, as a result of my extensive research, I knew there was another place just North that would suite our needs just fine. Duckworth’s Grill and Taphouse was where we enjoyed a beer sampler, chicken wings and a cheese steak wit onions and whiz…surprisingly very good, but will never compare to Jim’s in Philly.
On Saturday morning we enjoyed another run in the hotel fitness center and another free breakfast before heading to Charlotte to stop at a few places, including a second Duckworth’s location.
Now, why would we visit the same restaurant (although different location) twice? A free beer tasting of course! Yes, through my stupid (yet awesome) research, I read that the Duckworth’s in Charlotte offers a free beer tasting every Saturday at noon.
We weren’t sure what to expect, but decided to give it a try. We’re happy we did! We were given ten samples of a variety of craft beers from all over the world, including four from local North Carolina breweries. The “beer geek” simply chose several of his favorites and let us taste them. There was only one other patron taking part in the tasting, so we were happy with the individualized attention!
Next we stopped at the VBGB beer garden, voted
’s best new bar with a huge outdoor patio. A little bit of background on this place...Very few people have heard of the show “Drinking Made Easy” on HDnet. For obvious reasons, it is a favorite of mine and Steve’s. It’s a TV show where two friends travel around the country and go to popular or historical bars in different cities. We always talk about visiting the same bars they visit and now we finally have!! Charlotte
As an avid follower of the show and it’s hosts of Facebook and Twitter, I gave it a try and tweeted this picture of Steve (wearing the shows t-shirt) in front of VBGB. Why would I tweet this? To be retweeted, of course! It worked and Zane Lamprey (the show’s host) retweeted my tweet to 45,000 other followers…I guess that makes Steve Schur famous or something.
Not only does VBGB feature 30 craft beers and imports on draft, their tap system guarantees beer delivered to your pint glass at 32 degrees…they also set your beer on a “frost rail” that’s 5 inches of ice going down the bar to keep that beer extra cold.
After a beer at VBGB, we drove about an hour South to Winnsboro, SC where we stayed on Lake Wateree with Cal, Keleigh, Caleigh and Dru Caldwell…along with John and Kerri Martin and their three girls. It was a full house with lots of great company.
Steve & Cal drinking O'Doul's and Busch NA...It was so nice of Cal to give Steve the superior of the non-alcoholic beers. What a guy.
We went on a boat ride, watched the kids swim off the dock, sat around, shared stories (both old and new) and relaxed. It was a great time with great friends.
Our next stop was Columbia, SC where we stayed with Greg, Karen & Lauren Airasian. Greg & Steve grilled out and Lauren swam in the pool. It was great to catch up with them as it’s been over two years since we’ve seen them last.
On Monday morning, the Burritt’s (Steven, Edie, Kate & Sarah Jane) and Dietrich’s (Brian, Sandra, Sam & Aaron) stopped over for a fabulous breakfast prepared by Karen. It had been just as long since we’d seen any of them and the kids had a great time together.
I love this picture below.
Steve, Jon, Brian and Greg...University of South Carolina circa 1995
After several days of visiting with friends, it was time to hit the beach! Only 2.5 hours away from Columbia, we made our way to Paul & Sue’s condo in Myrtle Beach. We always love the time we spend there, regardless of when we go for how long. We were excited to visit some of our favorite places, sit at the pool & beach and RELAX!
On Friday we spent a lot of time at the pool. The question of the day... What exactly does this sign request? No martini's, bottles of wine or cocktails at the pool? Or simply no glassware?
After we parted ways with Greg, we had to make one final stop...A trip to Myrtle Beach isn't complete without a car bomb at Finn McCool's.
We were right. Jon ordered the Isle of Palms (burger with housemade pimento cheese and jalapeno bacon) while Steve and I shared the Fripp Island (burger with southern salsa, boursin cheese and a fried green tomato). While both were delicious, I'd go back and get the Isle of Palms every time.
The Gamecocks came out strong with 3 runs in the first inning and pushed it's lead to 4-0 in the top of the sixth. Clemson scored 2 runs in the bottom of the sixth and made things interesting in the ninth by pulling to within 4-3 on a two-out RBI single. Clemson panicked the crowd with a hit deep into right, but luckily it wasn't out of the park. It was a fly out to right to end the game and send the Gamecocks to the Super Regional.
Boiled peanuts? Guaranteed worst in town!
We were really happy to add this spontaneity to the end of our trip. It was great weather and we got to see the two-time defending champions win their Regional.
After the game, we headed to Pearlz Oyster Bar to get some dinner and another oyster shooter. I'm not sure what got into us this trip...oyster shooters? Whatever. They were cheap and quite good.
When we woke up on Monday morning, we were so sad! Not only was our trip finally coming to an end, but we also had a 9 hour drive ahead of us...and we were tired. We stopped at the Mellow Mushroom for lunch before saying goodbye.
Steve and I have been at our jobs for 17 and 10 years, respectively. With years come more vacation time so we accumulate/earn our vacation days and never want them to go to waste :) We use the basketball off-season to our advantage! This wasn't a trip that we had planned for very long (on my standards) but we both had the opportunity to get away and some vacation days to burn. WE ARE SO GLAD WE DID! We can't say enough about how great it is to catch up friends, spend time together and relax.
It's truly a life that I love living.
It's back to work until our next trip...Live Aqua Cancun! My craziest trip planning & the best deal I think I'll ever find (hopefully not!) Beginning July 15th we'll be at the all-inclusive, adults-only, little piece of paradise for two weeks to celebrate our six-year anniversary. Thinking about that will surely make these next 5 weeks fly by!
Until Then...Stay Happy.