Hilton Head

It cleared up for one evening on the beach at Hilton Head

This year we thought spring break would be a good chance to visit both of my sons. Tim and his family had just moved into a new house in Clarksville, Tennessee. Mickey and his family had just moved to South Carolina. It turned out that Tim would be out of town for work then so the grand tour wouldn't work. Mickey thought he could get some vacation days though. Since neither Sandy nor I had ever been to South Carolina, we thought it would be fun. Charleston, close to where Mickey lives, sounded like an interesting city. We thought we could add a couple of days on the coast and have a fun trip.

We looked at places on the coast and decided on Hilton Head Island. Since we both used to golf we had certainly heard of it. We stopped playing when we moved to Singapore and never really picked it up when we came back. Still, Hilton Head was supposed to have nice beaches and would certainly have some interesting restaurants and shops to check out.

Molten Lava Cake for dessert at Giuseppi's

It's always tough to fly east because of the time change. By the time we got our luggage and our rental car and got out of the airport it was midnight. Since we knew we would be late we got a hotel just outside the airport. We weren't in a rush the next morning. We slept in, had breakfast and headed toward Hilton Head. The drive down was pretty easy and took about two hours.

We had a lot of choices of where to stay on Hilton Head. We ended up opting for Hilton Head Beach and Tennis Resort. It was a bit of a gamble. The big-name, fancy resorts on the beach were all really expensive. The cheaper places tended to be away from the beach. This looked like a good compromise. The resort consisted of apartments that were rented out by the owners so we weren't sure what they would be like. We figured that there was some risk but we wanted to be close to the water. It turned out to be a good choice. The condo we stayed in was quite nice, the rates were reasonable and it was nice to be right on the beach.

When we got there it was overcast but first thing we did was take a walk on the beach. It really is very nice. It has fine white sand, is very level so walking is easy, and is extremely wide. It reminded me of the beaches at Seaside and Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast. Although it was cloudy we didn't want to waste any time. The forecast for the next two days were not good so we wanted to take advantage of any time that we had to walk along the ocean. And the beach on Hilton Head certainly was great for walking.

A pretty sunset walk along the beach

By the time we finished our walk on the beach it was well into the afternoon and we were getting hungry. We set out to explore the island and find something for lunch/dinner. We found a lot of restaurants that looked good and had a hard time picking one out. We were predictable and finally settled on Italian at Giuseppi's Pizza and Pasta. Our meal was very good and Sandy had an awesome Molten Lava Cake for dessert. The owner was clearly a Pittsburgh expat as the place was decorated with Steelers, Penguins and Pirates sports items.

After dinner the sky had mostly cleared by the time we got back to the resort. Time for another walk on the beach. As the sun went down we were treated to a real show as the blue in the sky deepened and the clouds shown with various shades of gold and red. After sunset the full moon rose over the ocean and gave a very different lighting to the beach and the water. We even got some nice pictures of the beach and the full moon.

Full moon over the beach

The next morning the clouds were back again. At least it wasn't raining so we took another long walk on the beach. The forecast was for rain so we decided it would be a good afternoon to hit the two huge outlet malls that we had seen just before we reached the island the day before. They had quite a selection of stores and Sandy made quite a haul. Even I got a pair of low-top hiking shoes, hiking socks and (of course a Salty Dog Cafe tshirt. The rain held off until we were just before we finished so we ended up sprinting to our car through a downpour when we left.

We had dinner at Hudson's, a seafood restaurant right on the water. There was a Hudson's Seafood Market just up the street from the restaurant. Since they had their own fishing boats and their own fish market we figured that it was a good place to go for fresh seafood. We got a table right by the window so we had a view of...clouds and rain. But we could imagine how nice the view was when the sun was out. They also had a patio right on the water that looked like it would be a great spot for dinner or drinks when the weather was nice. Regardless of the rain, our dinners were excellent. We capped the evening off by sharing their "Mud Pie - Enough For Two". A photo of me alone getting ready to start in on this massive dessert somehow made its way onto Sandy's Facebook page. Good desserts were turning out to be the trend on Hilton Head.

Sandy made quite a haul at the outlet mall

We had one more day on Hilton Head but it rained the whole time. Since we couldn't walk on the beach we took a trip to Savannah, about an hour away, to visit the Eighth Air Force Museum. I'll describe that trip in a post of its own next.

We enjoyed our visit to Hilton Head. The beaches were certainly very nice, although we have nice beaches on the west coast that aren't as far away. There were a lot of interesting restaurants. And a lot of them had cool tshirts. I have to admit that I like to get tshirts from businesses in exotic locales more than just generic tourist tshirts. There were a lot to choose from here. I really had to show some restraint. There were certainly a lot of golf courses, although the weather certainly wasn't conducive to playing. We have both been away from the game for a while anyway. And for the distance we traveled, I wouldn't rate them as scenic as courses that we have played on in places like Hawaii or the Canadian Rockies.

Probably the thing that we liked least was that Hilton Head was very pedestrian unfriendly. Everything was spread out so that you had to drive to get anywhere. And even for places close by the resort, there were no sidewalks. I spend enough time driving to and from work. When I am on vacation I like to be able to walk to places. So did we enjoy our visit - yes. Would we come back - not if we had to make a trip just to visit Hilton Head.