The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘South Carolina’ category

Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Day 7

Friday, August 26, was the third day of SEVROC.

We got up around 7:00 am and ate breakfast in our room.

After breakfast I sat outside our room, enjoying the crisp air of the morning. I also watched fog rolling over the mountains.

At 8:42 am a heavy fog was still rolling over the mountains.

At 9:00 am a few of our friends left A Holiday Motel to ride up The Rattler (NC 209) to Hot Springs.

They are off, with “Skid” in the lead.
Skid’s blog post will provide details and photographs of the ride.

At 9:30 am Bob and I left en route the Fred W Symmes Chapel. We traveled via Interstate or highway most of the way and arrived at 11:12 am.

The Fred W Symmes Chapel is located in Cleveland, South Carolina. The chapel is also known as “Pretty Place” because of its amazing view.

The Fred W Symmes Chapel
As I walked into the open-air sanctuary, I was filled with awe.
Such an incredible place to visit!
What a breathtaking view!

We left the chapel around 11:30 am and began the second part of our sightseeing journey. We visited several waterfalls, as well as a visitor center for the Pisgah National Forest.

Connestee Falls Park is located about 6 miles from Brevard NC, along U.S. Route 276. We took a very short stroll from the right rear of the parking lot to the viewing area for two waterfalls: Connestee Falls and Baston Creek Falls. There is a Connestee Falls that is a gated community. You need to drive past the gated community to Connestee Falls Park. There is a realtor’s office next to the park. I tell you this because EVERY SINGLE TIME we have visited Connestee Falls and Baston Creek Falls, we have turned into the gated community and were turned away!

This wheelchair accessible trail leads to an overlook of the Connestee and Batson Falls.
The viewing platform sits on top of Connestee Falls.
Panoramic view of Connestee Falls and Batson Falls
I zoomed in to capture this picture of Batson Falls.
This video shows the Connestee Falls, as it drops to the bottom of its hill and joins Batson Falls, as it drops to the bottom of its hill.

From Connestee Falls Park we drove to another waterfall. Located a short distance from Brevard along Route 276 is Looking Glass Falls. It had started to rain, as we approached Looking Glass Falls. As a result, we didn’t hike down the trail to lower viewing platforms. We viewed the falls from the top viewing platform only.

Looking Glass Falls is 60 feet tall.

From Looking Glass Falls we backtracked a short distance and visited the National Forest Visitor Center Pisgah Ranger Division.  It was pouring rain; glad we didn’t have to park far from the building! I obtained a National Park Service passport cancellation stamp for Pisgah National Forest and looked at the exhibits.

This is a replica of the entrance gate that once stood at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest.
This is the only bear that we saw, while on vacation.

The rain stopped, as we drove through Brevard.

Our next stop was at another waterfall.

Shortly before reaching Highlands is Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls. 

Sequoyah Falls flow over a man made dam. 

Our next stop was at Bridal Falls. At one time it was possible to drive under the falls. The road under the falls has been closed the past few times, when we visited.

There wasn’t much water falling at Bridal Falls.

By the way this was our first visit in the summer in this part of the United States. In the past we have visited in May. Waterfalls have significantly more water flow in May.

Our last sightseeing stop was at Dry Falls.

Bob took this picture of me,
as we hiked down the stairs to the base of Dry Falls.
Dry Falls is 75 feet tall.
Dry Falls earned its name because you
can take a trail to walk behind the falls
and not get wet (well, not too wet).
Bob took this picture of me, when I was behind the falls.
I kept as close to the rock wall, as possible,
without hitting my head.
I stayed mostly dry.

Well, I stayed mostly dry behind the falls. It started to rain again on our hike back up the stairs. We both got fairly wet!

At 3:16 pm we began our drive back to A Holiday Motel. Wouldn’t you know the sun came out a few minutes’ drive past Dry Falls?

We ate dinner at the Sagebrush Steakhouse in Waynesville and made it back to A Holiday Motel around 6:00 pm.

Tonight was the “hotel room crawl” at A Holiday Motel.  It had been a long day. We called it a night at 9:00 pm, without participating in the crawl.

Today’s Map

South Carolina Vacation: Surfside Beach SC to Warren PA

On Wednesday, February 16th, We “checked out” of Airbnb ”Seaside Cottage” around 6:30 am and drove to the beach, where we watched the sun rise. 

Bob and I at Surfside Beach
minutes before the sunrise
Watch along with us, as the sun rises!
Surfside Beach Sunrise

This was the first sunrise on the beach that I saw in the week we were in Surfside Beach.  I wasn’t able to get to the beach in time for sunrise the other mornings. A prescription drug that I take with dinner rarely allows me to leave the house before 9:00 am, unless I have the availability of a close by bathroom. Bob saw a beach sunrise the first and last day.  

After seeing the sunrise, we began our drive back to Pennsylvania.  

We arrived at the Quality Inn New River Gorge (Fayetteville, WV) around 2:00 pm.  We checked in and carried our baggage into our room.  Soon afterward we walked to Elliott’s Whitewater Bar & Grill, located on the hotel grounds.  There was a flurry of excitement, as we entered,  I thought there was going to be a bar brawl.  The guy cussing was told to “just go”.  He did, after a few minutes and more cussing.  Someone walked out with him to make sure that he left and didn’t hit anyone’s car!  The bar quieted down after that man left.  Later we learned that the unruly man had been there for several hours drinking Jägermeister and was saying things he shouldn’t be saying to the underage waitress.  The waitress felt so uncomfortable that she asked the manager to come sit in the bar.  A couple of the men at the bar, who had been there for only a short while, kicked out the unruly man.   By the way, the food and service were excellent.  Bob ordered a pork chop with onion rings.  I ordered fish sticks with a loaded baked potato.  Both meals included a side salad.

Soon after dinner we drove to the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, where we viewed the New River Gorge and the New River Gorge Bridge.  The Canyon Rim Visitor center is about a mile north of our hotel. We had planned to stop at the visitor center the next morning, but it likely will be raining.  So we visited this afternoon.

New River Gorge Bridge, as seen from Canyon Rim Visitor Center Grounds

We have stopped often at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, but we had never seen this particular view of the bridge. As we were crossing the bridge I noticed a man and a woman standing at an overlook. When we arrived at the visitor center, the first thing we did was look for that overlook. The trail shown in the photograph displayed above leads under the bridge. Bob walked down and back up that trail (steep climb!), but was not able to walk under the bridge. The passageway was locked.

New River Gorge Bridge, as seen from Canyon Rim Visitor Center Grounds

We walked down a boardwalk to an overlook of the bridge. We could have walked farther, but neither of us felt like doing steps.

Bob and I at the overlook of the New River Gorge Bridge

We walked behind the Visitor Center, where we saw the New River Gorge.

New River Gorge
(photo by Bob)

Around 6:00 pm we lost power at the hotel. We had no electricity until 8:11 pm. We never did find out what caused the outage. The power outage did not affect the hotel only. Nearby businesses lost their power as well. By the way, soon after the power went out, we lied down and fell asleep. The power coming back on awakened me. That is how I knew the time the power came back on.

We departed Quality Inn New River on Thursday, February 17th, shortly before 7:15 am. Before leaving, we enjoyed a complementary breakfast of scrambled egg patties, sausage and biscuits; orange juice and tea/coffee; and muffin/danish.  The hot food was served to us.  The remaining foods we were free to pick up ourselves.  The server told us the way they do breakfast is not COVID related.  They do breakfast this way year round.

We reached the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border around 9:30 am.  We still had a 3 1/2-hour drive until we would be back home.  Up to this point we had avoided the forecasted rain! Ten minutes later, at Masontown exit (exit 14 on I-79), we caught up with the rain.  The rain was with us the rest of the way home.

We got off I-79 at the Slippery Rock exit.  We were getting tired of interstate travel.  The slower pace was welcome.

We stopped for lunch at Eat’n Park in Franklin.  Bob ordered a chicken sandwich with cheesy fries.  I ordered a turkey club sandwich with a fruit cup.  We each ordered pie for dessert. 

We were back on the road at 12:35 pm and returned home at 2:00 pm.  We drove a total of 1,750.40 miles, since our departure on February 8th.

This was the first time that Bob and I had ever been to the South Carolina coast. We enjoyed our visit very much — so much, in fact, that we are already talking about going back next year.

South Carolina Vacation: Myrtle Beach

Having recovered apparently from the previous days illness, we decided to drive to Myrtle Beach in the late morning on Tuesday, February 15th. It was about a 15-minute drive.  We parked along 7th Avenue and walked the boardwalk from 7th Avenue to 14th Avenue and back. It was a chilly and windy walk to 14th Avenue. 

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
You can tell how windy it was
by looking at the flags.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
This is the SkyWheel.

The SkyWheel is not a carnival ride, but a modern, safe observation wheel towering 187 feet or about 20 stories in the air. The SkyWheel has fully enclosed gondolas with glass windows and doors for optimal views and photography. The gondolas are heated and cooled allowing for year-round operation in any type of weather. A flight includes 3 revolutions and lasts about 10 – 15 minutes. We didn’t ride the SkyWheel. I don’t care for heights!

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
Beyond the palm tree is Pier 14.

Pier 14 provides opportunities for shopping, dining and fishing. The Pier was closed for the season.

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
This is the view from Pier 14.

With the wind behind us, it felt warmer as we walked back to 7th Avenue.

We viewed Pier 14 from the beach.
We viewed the SkyWheel from the beach too.
Myrtle Beach boardwalk
This is a closer view of the SkyWheel.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
The sculpture in front of the SkyWheel
is called “The Goddess of the Sea”.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
“The Goddess of the Sea” sculpture

On our way back to Surfside Beach we stopped at The Market Common. The Market Common is Myrtle Beach’s premiere dining, shopping and entertainment destination. We didn’t go shopping; we didn’t attend any entertainment event. We did, however, dine. We chose the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant for lunch. Bob ordered the Ahi Tuna Salad (togarashi & sesame seed crusted seared Ahi tuna, romaine, cabbage, pickled cucumbers, wasabi vinaigrette, wonton strips, sriracha drizzle).  I ordered the CBLT Sandwich (grilled chicken, bacon, Swiss, crispy onions, tomato, lettuce, fresh avocado mayo, brioche bun).  Both entrees were good; the service was excellent.

After lunch we returned to our Airbnb ”Seaside Cottage”. We would be leaving for home the next day, so we packed. We relaxed too, especially enjoying the warmth of the backyard porch.

Bob and I relaxing on our back porch.

Oh, and I can’t forget the moon. We saw the moon each and every day, while in South Carolina. The moon became more and more beautiful, as the week progressed.

Full moon
Viewed from our backyard

Isn’t the moon gorgeous?

South Carolina Vacation: Super Bowl Sunday and Valentines Day Monday

We went to bed the night of February 12th around 9:30 pm and got up around 5:30 am the next morning.

At 7:15 am, after breakfast (eggs for Bob; oatmeal for me), Bob went for a walk.  He took his umbrella, as it was drizzling. Bob walked to Food Lion and brought back tea bags and chocolates.  When Bob left, I began working on AncestryDNA “thru-lines”.  ThruLines shows how I may be related to my DNA matches. I have a cousin in Canada, who is a DNA match. We are distant cousins, as ancestry says we are 4th-6th cousins. Neither Kelly nor I have been able to figure out how we are related. The research continues…

We ate lunch at a nearby Texas Roadhouse.  Bob ordered pulled pork, rice and broccoli.  I ordered BBQ chicken, baked potato and a vegetable combo of broccoli and carrots.  We shared a slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream covered in caramel sauce.  We sat in seating near the bar. Our waitress took care of the bar patrons, as well as those seated at nearby tables. She was very good at her job.

 I noticed the temperature on our way back to our Airbnb.  It was 60 degrees, overcast and drizzling…not a good beach day, but still better there than in Warren.  At the same time it was cloudy and 24 degrees (feels like 15 degrees) in our hometown of Warren PA.

Our friend, Marge from back home, invited us to join her and Neil and Neil’s cousins, at her condo, for some food before the Super Bowl .   We decided to stay at our Airbnb.  We ate leftovers and had chips and salsa, while watching the game.  I watched the game through the halftime show and went to bed.  Bob watched the game to its conclusion and, then, went to bed.

On Valentines Day we met Marge and Neil at 9:00 am for breakfast at Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin in Garden City Beach.  I can’t recall the exact breakfast entree Bob chose, but he selected hash browns instead of pancakes.  Marge ordered Sticky Bun Pancakes (cinnamon swirled pancakes, blended with pecans and topped with cream cheese icing).  I ordered cinnamon pancakes topped with bananas and pecans.  I can’t remember what breakfast entree Neil ordered, but his breakfast included two pancakes.  Bob was the only one who didn’t order pancakes.  The food and service were good; the company was excellent.  

Bob and I had planned to make a return trip to the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk.  We didn’t make it there. We ended up staying at our Airbnb “Seaside Cottage” for rest of the day.  Soon after we got home from Flapjack’s, I got ill. Bob is a sweetheart.  He went to the store and got ginger ale for me.  

We had brought a steak with us from home specifically for Valentines Day. I took the steak out of the freezer the day before. I didn’t think I would be able to eat the steak, but I asked Bob to grill it anyway. I planned to make mashed potatoes and vegetables for side dishes. The mashed potatoes did not get made. I did heat up a can of green beans. I had very little energy. I ate one bite of steak, a few green beans and a corn muffin. I spent rest of the day and evening running to the bathroom.

I did watch two movies with Bob, in between lying down and bathroom runs.  The first movie was called “Turbulence”, and the second movie was called “Safe”. 

In “Turbulence”, there is a shootout on a flight transporting prisoners, and a flight attendant had to outwit a serial killer and land the plane herself. 

In “Safe” Mei, a young girl whose memory holds a priceless numerical code, finds herself pursued by Chinese mobsters, the Russian mob, and corrupt NYC cops. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter whose life was destroyed by the gangsters on Mei’s trail.

This was a rough day for me. I pretty much missed out on an entire day of vacation.  I wasn’t able to eat any of the chocolates that Bob gave me for Valentines Day either.

South Carolina Vacation: Return to Pawleys Island

We had nothing planned for Saturday, February 12th. We thought we would just spend the day at our Airbnb ”Seaside Cottage”, enjoying some down time. It isn’t easy doing nothing.

Shortly after 10:00 am we decided to take a drive to Vandy’s Point, located at the far southern end of South Waccamaw Drive.  Vandy’s Point was indicated on Google Maps as a Tourist Attraction. 

Surfside Beach to Vandy’s Point

Our access was denied about an mile from Vandy’s Point by a private gated community.   You are  able to walk on the beach to get to the point (at low tide only, I read).  Public parking is available a few blocks away from the guard house.  We did park and walk out on the beach.   The guard told us it was a mile to a 1-1/2 mile walk on the beach to reach Vandy’s Point.  We chose not to walk to the point and returned to Surfside Beach.  

In the afternoon we decided to make a return trip to Pawleys Island to see the southern part of the island. We had seen only the northern part of the island the day before. We exited U.S. Route 17 onto the North Causeway Road, which took us to Pawleys Island.  At the end of the causeway we turned right and drove to the island’s parking lot South.   We walked out on the beach.  I took several videos from the beach, which I have stitched into one video of approximately 60 seconds for your listening pleasure.

I had hoped to find more starfish and other seashells. None caught my eye.

We left Pawleys Island via the South Causeway Road and returned to Surfside Beach.

South Carolina Vacation: Murrells Inlet Marshwalk

On Friday, February 11th, we explored Georgetown, Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet Marshwalk — a few places south of Surfside Beach. This blog post is about our visit to Murrells Inlet Marshwalk.

Leaving Pawleys Island we continued north on U.S. 17 and arrived at a Murrells Inlet.  Murrells Inlet is known for the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk, a 1⁄2-mile-long boardwalk overlooking a salt marsh. 

Murrells Inlet Marshwalk

The Marshwalk allowed for the opportunity to photograph pelicans and other birds up close and personal.

This was a very noisy bird.
Resting Pelican

I took several photographs of pelicans in flight.

Murrells Inlet Marshwalk Pelican
Murrells Inlet Marshwalk Pelican
Murrells Inlet Marshwalk Pelican
Murrells Inlet Marshwalk Pelican

It has been quite some time that I have photographed with my Olympus camera. I have used my iPhone for most photographs the past couple years. I am happy that I was able to recall how to photograph birds in flight!

Murrells Inlet Marshwalk Bird
Another Resting Pelican
This is a Mobile Floating Water Park.
Have you ever seen one of these water parks?
It was a first for us; looks like it could be fun.
Bob took this picture of the pirate and me.
A friend on Facebook said she thinks the pirate is checking out my rack.
This goat in a tree startled me!
Murrells Inlet Marshwalk Sculpture

Many restaurants have been developed along the boardwalk.  We arrived at Murrells Inlet at lunchtime.  We selected J Peters Grill and Bar, as our lunch destination.  Bob ordered a Salmon entree; I ordered the shrimp platter.  Both meals were delicious.

South Carolina Vacation: Pawleys Island

On Friday, February 11th, we explored Georgetown, Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet Marshwalk — a few places south of Surfside Beach. This blog post is about our visit to Pawleys Island.

After our mid-morning treat at Indigo Bakery in Georgetown, we began our drive back to Surfside Beach.  We exited U.S. Route 17 onto the South Causeway Road, which took us to Pawleys Island.  At the end of the causeway we turned left.  We visited both the marsh side and the ocean side of the island. 

Pawleys Island Chapel is located on the marsh side of the island.

If interested, you can read about the history of Pawleys Island Chapel by clicking this link.

There are docks that cross over the marsh. We walked out on the dock in front of the church. It was one of the few docks that did not say “private”.

At the end of the dock we saw a bird.
In the marsh we saw a bird.
This bird resembles a Great Blue Heron, but it is too small.
I assume it is some kind of heron, though.
The ocean side of Pawleys Island has a nice-looking beach.
We found this jellyfish on the beach.

We found a few seashells on the beach, too, and a first for me, a starfish shell.  

Pawleys Island Starfish and Seashells

We left Pawleys Island via the North Causeway Road.

Next stop: Murrells Inlet Marshwalk

One of life’s embarrassing moments (written by my husband, Bob)

While vacationing in South Carolina, we visited Pawleys Island, near Myrtle Beach. We left the car parked directly in front of a little church building where an event was apparently taking place inside. As I usually do, I clicked the lock button on my keyless remote to lock the car as I walked from it, but didn’t hear the doors lock. I stopped and walked back to the car while trying to lock it with the keyless remote, which still didn’t work. I opened the drivers door and used the lock button on the door to lock all the doors. Trying the keyless again to unlock, it still didn’t work. I suspected I would have to learn how to reprogram it later. We went on our way exploring a public dock that extended into the marsh area where Linda photographed a couple birds. We then returned to the car, where the keyless remote still didn’t work. People were exiting the church, some now standing in front of and behind the car. As I used the key to unlock the drivers side door, the alarm triggered, horn blaring and lights flashing, as people around the car didn’t seem to give a second thought. I frantically clicked the buttons on the remote, hoping they would stop the alarm, but it still didn’t work. I quickly used the key to start the car and finally stop the alarm. We were on our way again. A few minutes later, we stopped again at a beach access parking area on the ocean side of the island. As we walked from the car I habitually clicked the keyless remote, and it worked. Guess I won’t have to learn how to program it after all…

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