Do you think that spending Christmas at a South Carolina beach is strange? Because before i did sio, I had. But then again, our warming climate, sometimes even exceeding 70 degrees this time of year, it actually felt great. And the hotels cost next to nothing.
My wife had been telling me for years about this thing her family (usually her three sisters, mom, dad, brother-in-law, and their kids) do when they make their way down to Myrtle for three days to lounge, exchange gifts, and have dinner at Medieval Times. Ideally, I will get to all of these within this post. But if it goes on too long, I’ll get to part II.
The First Chill Day Together
After spending a great day in Lumberton North Carolina with friends and attending church there on Sunday, we decided it made the most sense to continue down to the beach and check into our room, this despite everyone else moving their booking day to Monday. Or perhaps because of it, as who turns down a chance for a nice day with just each other.
Another fallacy that makes most of us think going down there is strange at this time of year is that one must spend most beach time in the ocean. On Sunday, we didn’t even take a walk down there. We took a nice meal at the Olive Garden, where I had my usual spaghetti with meat sauce and two sausages, along with their flavorful salad and a decadent brownie lasagna. She got the Chicken Alfredo and lemon cream cake. The rest of the night, after a fairly tiring travel day, was given over to relaxation: reading, watching TV, and collapsing at 10:30. And it is rather fortunate that we did, because this is about all the “quiet” we had.
Christmas Eve Coincidences
Monday rolled in and we out of bed by 8:30. I had actually risen earlier to do yet more reading, basically my last of the trip, then did a little radio station browsing as usual. and finally down to Hot Stacks, of which I think there are only a few in the fairly immediate area, and a tradition along with the aforementioned restaurant whenever she and I visit this gaudy tourist town. The breeze we felt on stepping from the vehicle in front of our hotel made it seem that ocean strolling might be a bad idea, however when we opted to brave it anyway we found that there was less breeze than perceive bed, and walking in the sun felt great. We headed north for approximately 1.2 miles then turned back, encountering more people than I had expected. Apparently, visiting the beach on Christmas is not just not strange but actually quite popular. There are some drawbacks though, most notably the lax housekeeping. All their very limited staff had done was to dump our trash and removed the used towels, without even supplying us with new ones. We pointed this out to the receptionist, she apologized, and all that was done to fix it was another stack being slapped on the room’s desk. So we basically didn’t even bother with trying to get service on Christmas.
The other side of service issues is that, we assume, people are grouped into a small area of the hotel. So for instance, our room was only two doors down from one of her sisters, and even cooler, our childhood friend whom we knew would be coming happened not only to have booked into our hotel, but was housed in one of the large apartment-sized rooms in the other tower, but right next to her parents. This made late-night conversation with our friend after Han ginghams with the family very easy.
But before I go there, I should note where we chose to eat. Finding a Christmas Eve restaurant that stays open after 6 was more difficult than I had thought. Initially, we had planned to go to Magnolia Cafe on 26th Street, which was practically right next door to the Carolinian Resort where we were housed on Ocean Boulevard, but they were about to close and we didn’t wish to scrape the bottom of the buffet barrel. After some frantic searching we settled on Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. I think there are even fewer of these locations, and not surprisingly, most are in the South. And oh, man! That food was insane. The meals are served family-style, meaning that three meats and four sided are chosen by the table and served in bowls, from which each person fixes a plate by rotating a Lazy Susanb turntable. We had meatloaf, fried chicken, pot roast, Mac and cheese, yams, cream corn rice I think, and some other vegetable I cannot recall. I had meatloaf, Mac and cheese, and cream corn. And believe you me that was enough! I was so full I was nearly bent double. This with one of those ridiculous cheesy biscuits, sweet tea, and a dessert of Vanilla pudding was still nearly too much. The food was delicious but it is not a meal I would eat too often.
We wrapped up the evening by chatting with our friend and her husband for nearly 3 hours. It was nice to connect with another couple and expand our perspectives a bit. We also expanded our knowledge of wine, as a couple of different kinds were tried and much fun was had in so doing. And yes, this will be continued in Part II.