So Adrienne and Emily and I, along with Adrienne's mom and step-dad, took a weekend trip to Myrtle Beach this weekend. We used 66,000 of our annual timeshare points to stay in a 2 bedroom ocean view unit at the Wyndham Ocean Boulevard resort.
I've stayed at Ocean Boulevard before, with my sister, but not since it was completed. It has four towers, three on the ocean and one across the street, along with 2 indoor and 2 (somewhat heated) outdoor pools, a (nicely) heated outdoor lazy river, and something in the neighborhood of 8 hot tubs scattered amongst the four towers. Plus a game room with pool and pingpong tables, a computer lab, an ocean front "bar and grill", etc. With a full kitchen and washer/dryer in the unit, it's a pretty sweet place.
Anyway, we arrived early Friday afternoon for our 2pm checkin, and since Adrienne was diagnosed with strep that morning, and Emily started complaining about her throat hurting on the way down, the very first thing we did was Adrienne took a nap and I took Emily to urgent care. Great way to start a vacation! Well, we got Emily on antibiotics too so the weekend went pretty good. Jan and Bob arrived around 6:30pm and we all wandered down to Main Street in North Myrtle Beach - only 3-4 blocks from the resort - and had dinner at a seafood joint whose name I cannot remember. It was pretty good though. I was the only one that got seafood, and I got the soft shell crabs which were fantastic and apparently in season. Biggest soft shells I'd ever seen!
Saturday morning, North Myrtle Beach celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a parade and a festival. We walked up to Main Street again about a half hour before parade time and bought Emily a cool little duffle bag. And she needed it too, because the parade was long and lots of the paraders were tossing out candy and beads. Emily ended up with like 16 strands of green beads and a whole slew of candy. As far as she was concerned, it was the best parade ever.
After the parade, we headed back to the resort for our vehcile, and drove up to Barefoot Landing (a few miles down US-17) to get a kite for Emily at Klig's Kites. Klig's sells all kinds of kites, including some very expensive ones (like $300!) but we bought a nice little kite for Emily that was $25. A lot more expensive than the $2.99 drug store kites, but flies a lot better and will probably last a lot longer too.
After shopping, we hit Joe's Crab Shack for lunch. Nice place, good service, great food. They "Pick Your Shrimp" special is a pretty good deal. I had sunset glazed and malibu shrimp (5 of each) plus popcorn shrimp and a side of slaw for $11.99. And it was all good.
Back to the condo for some kite flying, a little time in the ocean (BRR!), and a little more time in the lazy river before we headed out to Mutiny Bay Miniature Golf. Emily has done mini golf before but never to real extravagant mini golf course, and this qualified. We mini-golfed along the "rocky shores" of a pirate-infested "lagoon", and even witnessed an barrage of "cannon" shots between the pirate ship in the bay and the stone fortress around which we putted. Emily was very impressed.
We followed that up with a light meal at Denny's (well, I had the french slam, but adrienne and her mom both had just soup). Rushed back home just in time to get into the room before the nasty storms hit (including a tornado warning that was issued while we were eating dinner).
Sunday, we spent some more time in the indoor pool, and we tried to fly the kite but the wind was erratic and there were lots of downdrafts, making it dangerous to others for us to be out flying the kite. We spent some time in the game room playing ping pong and had lunch at the pool bar before heading out to the NASCAR Speedpark, a go-kart racing facility. Emily was only tall enough to go on "The Qualifier" track, which she did twice (at $3.23 each), and then we spent $5 in game tokens in the arcade. We netted enough tickets for two tootsie roll pops and a "Magnetic Snakes and Ladders" game. I guess $11 for an hour of entertainment for the 5 of us wasn't too bad (though the entertainment for the adults was watching Emily ride the go-karts). She'd never been go-kart racing so she thought it was the coolest thing.
Jan and Bob left after that, and Adrienne took Emily down to the pool for a bit while I researched seafood restaurants. We eventually settled on a place called The Sea Merchant which turned out to be pretty good and it was very close to the hotel (about 6 blocks down Hwy 17). I had Grouper Parmesan, which was great. Adrienne had the crabcakes, which were only disappointing when compared to the crab cakes we had at The Channel Marker in Atlantic Beach, NC.
Monday morning we checked out of the hotel and headed down Hwy 17 to go to Ripleys Aquarium. It was kinda cool but very small. We were in and out in about an hour. Good thing the adult tickets were free, I don't think it would be worth $17. The North Carolina Aquariums are just as nice - nicer - and cost a lot less. Ripley's Aquarium is only 21,000 square feet, while the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is 93,000 square feet, while the Georgia Aquarium (which I went to in February while on business in Atlanta) is over 550,000 square feet!).
Overall, a great time, even though the weather was a little on the chilly side - low 70s on Saturday, mid 60s and windy on Sunday), and I don't think it was even 50 degrees when we got to the aquarium on Monday around 9:30am!