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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Marriott's in Hilton Head, South Carolina

*those circled in yellow are timeshares located in Sea Pines, those circled in blue on the beach, orange located on the marsh side of the Island,... Green is The Residence Inn, and Red The Resort both non timeshare locations*

If you want a quiet relaxed vacation at Hilton Head, think Marriott. If you want an active beach vacation with the kids think Hilton Head, if you like to golf...think Hilton Head. Are you a history buff, think Marriott's at Hilton Head.

Marriott has a huge presence on Hilton Head Island, something for anytime of year, and a variety of budgets. Not only that, but you can focus on the type of vacation you want by the location.

There are 3 Marriott Time Shares in the prestigious Sea Pines Plantation. Marriott's Heritage Club and Marriott's Harbour Club both in Harbour Time, Mariott's Monarch on the beach. Both Heritage Club and Harbour Club are within walking distance to shopping, dining, and the harbour. The Monarch has beautiful beach front views and is within biking distance to the shopping and dining in the harbour as well as The Sea Pine's Shopping areas. All 3 locations are 2 bedroom 2 bath facilities available to owners, and renters. Beautiful accommodations to choose from. Heritage Club is the smallest and probably the most quiet if you're looking for a more relaxed adult location. Monarch is the oldest of all Marriott's timeshares, as it was the first built and where Marriott got it's start in the timeshare business. Don't let that fool you though, as they're always updated.

We enjoyed a wonderful week at The Heritage Club and plan to return. I wouldn't suggest this location for families, as the pool area is small and without the kids extra stuff that exists in many other locations. It was however perfect for us, as we like the quiet and the un-congested areas. We no longer have small children and so prefer the more adult vacation spots.

A nice galley kitchen which we found to be very efficient. We like to cook our own meals the bulk of the time on vacations. The door at the end leads to the small utility room with a stack washer and dryer.
Living room area with fireplace looking into the bar area and kitchen. The dining room is to the right of the bar stools, and sliding glass door with balcony right behind me. I was standing at the door when I took this photo.
One of 2 jetted tubs. This one is in the 2nd bedroom.
The bar area looking into the kitchen. We had our cocktails here most nights.
The second bedroom.
Master suite with jetted tub, and sliding glass door to the balcony.
The dining room area.

The villa was laid out nicely and had plenty of room, though the living room was one of the smaller one's we've seen in our travels, we found it to be very comfortable. The villa can sleep 8 with 4 in the 2nd bedroom and 2 on the sleeper sofa in the living room though I believe that would be a bit crowded in the space provided with the table able to seat 6 and the living room doesn't have seating for more then 4 or 5 comfortably.

The balcony is large enough for a table and 4 chairs, so eating outside during nice weather would be a plus.

More details for Monarch and Harbour Club (in Sea Pines Plantation) discussed in the next post, as well as more detail on the commons spaces at Heritage Club.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Sticky Fingers, Charleston South Carolina

It's Menu Monday time.
Well, doesn't that look good! Though this mouth watering picture of Ernie's Pecan Pie is on the wall at Sticky Fingers in Charleston, South's not on the menu. Got our attention because both hubby (who's name is Ernie by the way), and I love Pecan Pie.

We choose Sticky Fingers for dinner on our recent trip to Charleston because it was close to our hotel, Marriott's Renaissance in the historic district. We had walked, and walked, and walked all day long and wanted something close. During the day we had passed (several times) Sticky Fingers that seemed busy with customers, and assumed that to be a good sign. wasn't.

Our meals were very disappointing, again! We've heard raves about how good the food is in the south and so far I would argue that's not true. The decor is interesting, as the building there at 235 Market Street has 100 year old pine floors and dates back to 1875. Our waitress was friendly; but everything else was lacking. The food wasn't good. Hubby had what is suppose to be their award winning ribs, though he wouldn't give them any award. The dry rub appeared to be coated on top of the meat, not rubbed into the meat and cooked slow in order to absorb the flavors. He loves good slaw, but after a quick taste left it on his plate. I had the toughest brisket ever, tough and dry. A good slow good brisket usually falls apart, I had a hard time cutting this with a sharp knife.

The tables, chairs, and floors all looked like they needed to be cleaned. We ate, we didn't linger like we typically do. We learned from our waitress they were being purchased by a new owner. Perhaps that's a good thing; as it we would not return nor recommend this restaurant. It's in such a good location, I do hope the new owners can turn it around.

After returning home, I learned this was a chain restaurant, which had we known, we probably would have avoided. The chain started in 1992 in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and now there are 16 locations throughout North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. We rarely enjoy dining at chains and this opinion certainly didn't change after our visit. The website indicates they boast southern and real low country charm. Don't let that lure you into thinking this is the place to isn't!

Still hungry for a good brisket, since the above didn't satisfy my appetite, I purchased a brisket and will cook it slowly in my will be tender and juicy, as it should be. Care to join me?

Join me again, next Monday for Menu Monday on Feb 20th
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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Biking on Hilton Head Island

There she is, my beautiful lime green bike with basket and lock. We had quite a good time the week we spent together. Rentals are everywhere on the Island, save yourself the trouble of transporting your own bike and rent for a very reasonable rate once you're there. There are public rentals, rentals at hotels, rentals on the various plantations. All are easy to obtain and reasonably priced. I rented my Lime Green Companion for $30.00 a week from Marriott's Vacation Time Shares. Each time share has an arrangement, making the process very easy. I've rented in the past while staying at Grande Ocean where due to the size of the facility there's a rental shop right in one of the parking garages. This year, we stayed in Heritage Club in The Sea Pines Plantation. I simply let the front desk know I needed a bike, and within 10 minutes the "bike guy" pulled up in his truck and got one ready for me. Quick and easy. At weeks end, I merely left my bike in the rack and he picked it up. They adjust the seat for you, check to see if you want a basket and or lock for no additional charge.

Within Sea Pines there are 17 miles of bike paths, believe I traveled them all, some multiple times. Sea Pines is private and so you do need a pass on your bike and or need to know the code to get back in the plantation's gate once you leave.

Additionally, there are 50 miles of public bike paths throughout the rest of The Island. It's fun, it's good exercise, it's pretty and a lot of fun.

I rode on the trails, and I rode on the beach which is 12 miles (though I didn't ride the whole distance on the beach). I visited historic areas on the bike and found a wonderful yarn and book shop, The Courtyard from my bike. Blogged about the yarn and book shop here, check it out.

The above map shows you the 50 miles of public paths, the toe area is Sea Pines that has it's own set of bike paths.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Courtyard in Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head South Carolina typically makes most people think of sun, surf, sand, beach, and golf. I like all those things too; but there's so much more in Hilton Head. I'm not a golfer, so when hubby plays golf I rent a bicycle and explore. I love history and there's much of it there in Hilton Head, and I love yarn....I like to look at it, finger it, buy it, knit with it, and crochet with it. Located at 32 Palmetto Bay Road, #10-A in The Village Exchange, I was able to ride by bike to this yarn shop. Not once, but twice! On my first trip I met a lovely lady named Judy, who was manning the shop. She was very helpful. I had my sunglasses on while riding, and you can't see colors of yarn well with sunglasses once inside you take them off, right? Argh, now I can't read the labels, what type of yarn is it, what's the yardage etc. Judy was very helpful, very friendly and helped me out. I purchased 2 skeins of yarn with her help.

See the lovely reddish scarf to the right in this picture. I got yarn to make that in a different color. Look at the wonderful selection this shop has of yarns. The displays are fabulous, the space well designed. A very comfortable shop. A rocking chair invites you to sit down and study a pattern, chat with other shoppers, or read a book. Scroll back, notice the upstairs...books a plenty there, as well as the opposite side of the shop. This is a book and a yarn store. How perfect is that! A yarn after all is a story, what a perfect pairing.

Adorable handmade cards. I actually meant to buy a couple and forgot. We all have people on our list that would really enjoy such a special card.

I kept thinking about this shop and some yummy yarn I saw and ended up pedaling back a 2nd day. Again I was greeting with warmth. Had several nice conversations with other patrons and the owner of the shop, Jennifer. Turns out Jennifer and I hail from the same local; before she left the frozen tundra that can be Central Ohio and settled there in Hilton Head, South Carolina. We exchanged business cards.

I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this shop, The Courtyard to all who enjoy books, and or yarn. Please visit their webpage for a look see, and be sure and put this on your places to visit when in Hilton Head. Even if you plan to spend your time on the beach, you need to pick up a couple of books. Don't bother packing them, buy them here...that saves room in your suitcase for souvenirs. Jennifer's email is available on the webpage if you have questions.

You might be wondering if I purchased more yarn on my 2nd visit, when I could see betcha. I purchased 2 skeins to make the fabulous shawl you see in the pictures just beneath the scarf. One skein for myself, and one for Darling Daughter. Later, I'll be posting about those yarns and projects on my personal blog, Sandy's Space. Please pop in for a visit anytime; I always have plenty of projects going......and currently am trying to finish a few before starting new ones.

I do plan to visit The Courtyard again on all my visits to Hilton Head and encourage you all to do the same. Tell em, Sandy sent ya. Staying in Sea Pines it was about a 9 mile bike trip for me, and well worth every mile of exercise.

I've traveled to Hilton Head 3 times, and have often blogged about it. For additional information about where to stay, what to see, lodging etc., please type in Hilton Head in the blog's search box.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Smokehouse Charleston, South Carolina

This will be the first of many post about food during my travels. I'll be posting restaurant reviews on what I'll call Menu Monday's.

As the sign reads this is Southend Brewery Smokehouse, circa 1880 and is located at 161 E. Bay Street, Charleston, South Carolina, right on the corner (see street light), very near the waterfront.

Taking this photo was an after thought as we left after a late lunch. After thought....key words. Don't be mislead by the very nice webpage, the photo's showing white table cloths, the words fine dining, or best brewery, or must be experienced and not to missed, or even beautiful building.

Yes it has some unique character with old wood floors, and a glass elevator which takes you to the 3rd floor, though that doesn't make up for the bad food or bad service. I had a watery Bloody Mary and a very greasy and flavorless hamburger, and cold fries. Now not being a health fanatic, I actually enjoy a good greasy hamburger from time to time...we all know you need some grease to give the meat flavor. My burger was the worst of both worlds, no flavor and greasy. Hubby's crab sandwich wasn't bad and his beer (one brewed here at the facility) was ok. Though he felt one was enough.

I love old, I love historical...but that shouldn't be confused with dirty or in need of repairs. The stairs leading upstairs (where one must go to use the washroom) are covered with very dirty and badly in need of being replaced carpet. You can see the vats of beer from the 2nd floor and the game room is available there as well.

When we were initially seated, hubby noticed his chair was wet and so we moved to the table next to the one we'd been taken too. When the server and receptionist returned we told them of the wet chair. Though there were 2 of them (and we weren't there during a busy time), neither made an effort to dry the table and chairs off, or move the chair to an out of way spot to keep another patron from ending up with a wet bum. Bad service. The chairs at the table we moved ourselves to had crumbs on all chairs which we brushed off in order to sit down........again no effort on the part of the staff........though there was a group of 4 staff members very busy chatting with each other 2 feet away playing with their cell phones and talking about who got drunk last night.

We were never asked if we wanted anything else before out bill was tossed on the table. Definitely not "Southern Hospitality".

Another item that might make this establishment unique or interesting is the ghost story, which I learned after returning home and reading their website. So, if you're into a good ghost story I suggest you check it out; but let that be the end of your interest in this establishment. I do not recommend this restaurant and I would not return. It appears to me, it's been a very long time since those nice pictures were taken that you see on their webpage.

Stop in next Monday, Feb 13th for another review.
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