I am here, back in my domain. The home field advantage is once again mine. My first blush impression of the vacation past, and of South Carolina in general, is that it was a lot like home. As it turns out, South Carolina is in a part of the country known as the “south.” As such, its climate in late July is best described as “hot, damn hot, and wet.” As it happens, the same can be said for Florida. As the name implies, Myrtle Beach is on the coast, a coast with a lot of sand. As it happens, Florida is known for it’s beaches too. In fact, shortly after we arrived in Myrtle Beach we were asked where we were from. After hearing our reply, our fellow vacationers mumbled something about not understanding the appeal of South Carolina when you live in Florida. Indeed. We were still in Kansas (so to speak), and that was precisely the problem.
Way back in October or November Myrtle Beach seemed like such a good idea, but looking back on it, we may have been caught up in the emotions of having a child, that or we weren’t getting enough sleep. I was living in a dream world where all vacations are created equal, where they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable traits, that among these are: rest, relaxation, and the pursuit of entertainment. Alas, unlike our founding fathers, my revolution was not won. Our vacation was a slice of home, strapped to the top of a van and driven eight hours north, to a stretch of tacky, paved over sand, the likes of which mine eyes have not seen since an ill-fated road-trip to Daytona during my college years. The rest of the trip was tainted by the fact that I could have skipped the eight hours in a car with two kids and two in-laws, and driven all of thirty minutes to a hotel right here in the Sunshine State. These many moons since the trip was conceived, I had visions of seeing sights and taking in sounds not known in these parts. Yet in six days we ate at a grand total of three restaurants that don’t have locations in central Florida. And to top it all off, South Carolina is pretty damn flat too. Their idea of a hill is a highway overpass. Sound familiar, Florida residents?
Ah, but it wasn’t really so bad. It was somewhat relaxing (at times). The hotel we stayed at had a really cool pool. Saturday night we took a drive down the coast a ways and had some of the best homemade ice cream I’ve ever had, perched on a pier overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Thursday evening we walked the riverfront of historic Savannah, and had the second best homemade ice cream I’ve ever had. Now that I mention it, Savannah was the saving grace of the trip (and home to two out of those three restaurants I mentioned before). If I had it to do all over again, and I could have my pick of destinations, I’d pick Savannah over Myrtle Beach and not think twice. It was on that Thursday evening, our first of two evenings when Georgia was on our mind, when I walked on my first, honest to goodness cobblestone street – ate in a place called “Spanky’s” – and had the second best homemade ice cream I’ve ever had (sitting at a cobblestone street-side table in a wonderfully strange city, watching the pedestrians and occasional car go by, looking out over the river, on a breezy, lazy, weekday evening).
Now that’s a vacation.