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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:15 am 
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I can't believe it's taken me this long to get back on here and post a trip report!! We got home last Sunday afternoon, but school started yesterday so things have been BUSY! Josh started Middle School this year so we had 2 separate Open Houses on Monday and Tuesday nights, cheer, soccer and fall ball are all starting for Jessi...it's been a bit nutty! But here I am, ready to finally share about our trip!! I'll include some pictures along the way, and links to dining reviews.

Friday, August 10th

Our plan was to leave when Dave got home from work, he was working a half day. We were hoping for noon (he starts at 6:30), but it was rainy and very cool here (very odd for this summer) and he was home even earlier. We forced ourselves to eat a very early lunch and we left at 11:15 AM. Destination for the night: Rockingham. Had a good drive, with just a few sprinkles here and there once we passed Canton. No construction issues or accidents, etc. Potty break somewhere in W. Va and we made it to the stop past Wytheville (can never remember the name) for gas and dinner. Dinner was Burger King - we stopped at this exact one back in March on our Disney trip, but then it was for breakfast, since we left at 3 AM. Paid $3.34 for gas here in VA, I had filled up at $3.70 at home!

Onwards to Rockingham. I've mentioned before that we stopped there last trip. In 2008, when we were driving on 220 there, Josh needed an emergency bathroom break and Dave stopped at this Farm Supply store there and the kids saw the owners' dog, Pepper. In 2009, we ended up stopping for the night at the Comfort Suites right across the street from that same store and in the morning the kids went over and saw the dog, DH likes talking farming with the owner, etc. So the plan was to stay there again as it was a very clean hotel with nice big rooms and a good breakfast. Kids were super excited to see the dog (though we warned them many times she might not be there).

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans....I did NOT reserve a room there in advance, because they have a 24 hour cancellation policy. Dave could not be guaranteed to get off work at a certain time, and if he ended up having to work later, we would have just stayed in Wytheville for the night. So of course what happened? We get there and they're booked full. :( Front desk lady told me to try Quality Inn just up the road. We drove over there, but it was motel-style and just didn't look great.

Much to the kids disappointment, we weren't staying in Rockingham. We figured we'd just drive on a bit, and I'd check on my iPhone for a place to stay. We forgot that there's not much of ANYTHING past Rockingham. Driving on 2 lane roads in the dark, made me so nervous (I always worry someone will come over the double yellow). I forget the name of the next town, but it's not very nice and we didn't want to stay there. OK, keep going. I found a Best Western Executive Suites right where you would normally pass 95 (don't remember the town name), go in and they have only King rooms available, can't sleep 4. OK, now what? DH was tired, had been up so early. We decided to detour just a little bit and go down 95 to Florence. We've always had luck with Country Inn and Suites and I found one that had double bed rooms available. So that wasn't much further. We checked in there, I think it was about 9:45/10 pm at this point. At first the front desk told me they only had smoking rooms available with 2 beds and I wanted to cry, knowing we'd just have to do it. But then she said they had King rooms with a sleeper sofa, so I took that. It was actually a very nice place, large, updated rooms. Good continental breakfast. And only $85/night with AAA, so even cheaper than Rockingham would have been.

We watched a little of the Olympics and then went to sleep. We were not in a hurry to wake up in the morning as we knew we only had about an hour and a half drive left and couldn't get into the condo until 3!!


Last edited by sandym718 on Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:50 am 
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Saturday, August 11th

We took our time in the morning, got showers and enjoyed the breakfast. We were on our way a little before 10 I think. We ended up just taking 501 into the beach because it was early and traffic wasn't bad. Even though we were staying up near 22, we weren't headed there first and wanted to see the ocean and the main part of the beach.

Drove around a bit seeing what was new, etc. and then headed to Broadway at the Beach. Walked around a bit. Josh was very disappointed to see the John Deere store was gone. We don't have JD's, but any tractor place is better than none. This was easily remedied the very next day at BL :)

Since we couldn't get into the condo until noon, and we knew we'd be in MB by lunch (even if we had stayed in Rockingham), we decided we'd do a big lunch instead of our usual dinner out, then go grocery shopping and then just have dinner in the room. That way once we were in, we could stay in for the day/night and the kids could have beach time. We decided on Margaritaville -see my review here: http://www.funbeaches.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=13590

We then went to Wal-Mart by the outlet mall and stocked up for the week. This all went quicker than expected. We were done by 2, so we figured we'd just head to Ocean Creek and see if the unit was cleaned. This was our first time renting from an owner, so we weren't quite sure what to expect. We stayed at OC in 2009, though, so we knew just where to go and we were feeling good driving back in through the "plantation" off the main road. I like the feeling that the security gate and the drive back give...stepping out of the real world in a way.

Went up to the room (11th floor of the North Tower). Open the door and the unit is definitely not cleaned. Quite a mess actually. Yikes. Ok, so we go down and walk outside a little on the decks, sit in the lobby a bit. No one had sunscreen on yet, so we didn't want to be outside too long. Right at 3 PM, we headed back up. I had a feeling that it wouldn't be ready yet...and it wasn't. The cleaning "crew" - a very nice Latino lady and her family, explained that the previous renters had not checked out on time, so when they came earlier they couldn't clean, had to leave to do others and then come back. She said it would be about 40 minutes. This is not a big deal, but the kids were very anxious to get on the beach. They said we could come in and change, but we opted to just wait. I did decide to place a call to the owner just to let her know what was going on and just IN CASE we had any other problems with the unit. Again, this being our first time renting direct, I was a little nervous and just wanted to cover our bases. I can happily say we had NO other problems, we were thrilled with the unit and would highly recommend it to anyone. We will likely stay there again. If anyone is interested in staying at OC, and wants the VRBO information, let me know.

It was about 4 when we finally get into the room. Checked it all out...VERY nice. Not the most up to date (though some things were), but VERY clean and with lots of good amenities and extras. The 2 BR Layout is perfect for our family.

We unloaded all the luggage, and as we were, the kids went on the balcony. What was coming in, but a storm of course! Oh jeez!! Knew it wouldn't last long, but the kids just wanted ON the beach, LOL!! We worked on unpacking at as soon as it passed, Dave took the kids out while I finished unpacking.

I should mention that in all this up and down on the elevator (trying to get in the room), we saw couple who mentioned how the elevators had been breaking down a lot. They saw the look of horror on my face and assured me it would be fine, just press the button, etc. But i HATE elevators to begin with and did not want that. So....from that point on, I did the stairs. All 11 floors (or 12 if we came from the parking garage) every time all week. I refused to use the elevators (which of course never broke down when Dave was on there). I took it as a good opportunity to get some exercise! Jessi actually did them with me most of the time. I did them at least 3x/day, she would do 2 usually. Just thought I'd mention that tidbit ;)

I headed down to the beach after unpacking to find the kids trying to catch little fish at the shore line. Still very overcast, so it made for some good photography lighting. Just sharing a few:

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It started raining again, so we decided to head back up for some dinner and relaxation. Saw a bride coming onto the beach for a wedding ceremony. I felt bad for them that it had started raining again
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We headed back up to the condo. Dave and I had leftover nachos (for dinner tonight AND lunch the next day - those nachos were 5 total meals!), kids had PB&J. We watched some TV, read, called home, etc. Kids had a TV and DVD player in their bedroom, so they watched a movie. We discovered that the main TV had DVR which was great. We use ours religiously at home and it was so great to be able to record some things (like our guilty summer pleasure- Big Brother) and then watch them whenever we came in for the night.

I'll be back later or tomorrow with some more updates, but here's a few condo pictures:
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:58 am 
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Loving loving your report. Thanks for the pics....Oh and your kids are adorable!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:29 pm 
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Sandy, the room looks great, and your kids are soooooo cute! You got some really good photos! Thanks for taking the time to do a trip report (and I also loved the Margaritaville review/photos.)

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:00 pm 
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That's wonderful that the condo had a DVR! I have a feeling that when I leave for my vacation, my DVR will weep because our condo will not have one. Big Brother is on my summer guilty pleasures too!


Last edited by Sun Waves Sand on Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:31 pm 
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sound like an awesome trip...loved looking at the pics of the condo...I think it looks nice...and the kids look as if they love the beach!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:39 pm 
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Location: Upstate SC... just a little south of Charlotte, NC
Really enjoying your trip report so far, Sandy! LOVE the photos, too! I agree with Deanna... your children are adorable! Looking forward to the rest of your report!

Karen in Upstate SC

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:05 pm 
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Thank you so much Sandy for taking the time to write such an excellent trip report. Your children are lovely. Looks like they really enjoy their time on the beach. Looking forward to the next installment.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:06 pm 
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I also am looking forward to your next tidbit. Your kids seem to be thoroughly enjoying their time at the beach. Wishing you lots of beach time for your stay.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:30 pm 
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Thanks so much everyone for the kind comments. We really have been blessed with 2 wonderful children!!

Sorry for the delay in updating, things are so busy at back-to-school time!!

Sunday, August 12th

I'll start off by saying that we had a wide variety of vague plans this trip. The past few times we stayed only 5 nights, this time was 6, so we thought we'd do a few more things. I was seriously considering a day trip to Charleston, thought about spending more time in Murrell's Inlet. Wanted to check out the new Boardwalk, try some new restaurants (BBQ House in particular). Well, NONE of that happened. I guess it's a casualty of not having been to the beach (any beach, but MB in particular) in 3 years. We just wanted to veg out, do the things we knew we enjoyed, etc. We also let the kids make a lot of the choices - Dave and I didn't honestly care enough about anything in particular to make demands, I guess. We just went with the flow!!

So today during the day was like almost all our other days...beach, pool, beach, pool. Ocean Creek has a DJ on weekends, so the kids enjoyed the popular music while at the pool. DD even joined in a few line dances. Kids really got into boogie boarding and did a lot of that. We loved having the owner's locker key and we were able to use her chairs and then we stored our own stuff (boogie boards and sand toys) in there. I even did a little boogie boarding with Josh today too!! Lunch was up in the unit - leftover nachos for Dave and I, PB&J and fruit, chips, etc. for the kids.

We came up every afternoon around 4/4:30, took our showers and got dressed for the evening, then headed out. Tonight the kids were begging to go to Barefoot Landing. Not really sure why, I mean we all like it, but why they wanted to so bad...I think it's the "bouncy" bridges, LOL. We didn't have dinner plans, but I had a craving for steak, so we decided on T-Bonz. A first visit for us. Read my review here: http://www.funbeaches.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=13609 Overall, quite good. Oh, and while we were finding our way, one of those "discount ticket" stand ladies asked if we needed a map, gave us one, and also gave us a $5 off coupon for T-Bonz! Then tried to sell tickets...not us!

After dinner we walked around a bit, and Josh very happily discovered the Farm Country toy store (I think that was the name??). Lots of tractors and this one was even BETTER than the old John Deere store at BATB because it had blue (Ford/New Holland) and Red (International/Farmall) tractors which is what we have here on the farm. Josh and Dave spent a ton of time in there.

We wrapped up the night with Maggie Moo's - my favorite ice cream anywhere!!! See my review(s)! here: http://www.funbeaches.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=101&t=13610

Then it was back to the condo, watched some TV, read, caught up with emails etc. and another peaceful night's sleep at the beach!! A few photos from this day:

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:58 am 
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Sandy, your photos are excellent! Thanks so much for sharing them, and of course for the trip report and reviews.

I had to smile at your comment of all the things you MEANT to do, but how the beach always won out. Wally and I are like that when we go on any beach vacation. We sit there on the beach and talk about all the things we could be doing instead. Then we just sigh and continue to sit there on the beach.....and repeat. :cool:

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:54 am 
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Sorry for the delay...every time I think things can't get any busier...they do!!! Of course now I'm forgetting some of the details, so bear with me.

Monday, August 13th
Another day of beach/pool, beach/pool! Breakfast and lunch in the condo. I usually started a load of clothes in the morning, moved it to the dryer at lunch and then put it away before we went to dinner. Then ran another load some evenings of towels, etc.

Today was our first weekday here, so the first day of kids' activities at the pool. Josh wanted nothing to do with this, but Jessi sure did. Today she made a tie-dye shirt and got her face painted. Funny thing - there were 2 guys doing the activities this year. One didn't really speak at all, was not very friendly to the kids. The other guy, Robb, was great. When he was painting Jessi's face (I took her up for an early shower this afternoon, so she could get her face painted at 4 and keep it on for the evening), I noticed his name tag said he was from Ohio. Turns out he's from Olmsted Twp, less than 10 minutes from where we live and about 2 minutes from my sister's. Super great guy, we talked with him all week. He's 20 and in the Hospitality Mgmt. program at our local community college, in MB for an internship. We even gave him our contact information as we expressed interest in coming to learn to shoot/hunt on our farm.

Tonight we decided to head back to BATB. Dinner was at one of our favorites - Liberty Steakhouse. See my review here: http://funbeaches.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=13655 Then we walked around for awhile. Jessi and I had found a coupon for Build-A-Bear in one of the coupon books. She hasn't done one in a long time, but the picture showed a special "Myrtle Beach" bear with palm trees, sunglasses and flip flops on it, and it says MB on the foot. She HAD to have that. Turns out we didn't use the coupon because they had a better in-store deal. Bear, outfit and shoes for I tink $29.99? She brought a ton of souvenir money (Grandma is too generous!) so she bought this.

We spent the rest of the night back in the condo, reading, TV, etc.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:48 pm 
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Awww. I love the bear. The butterfly on your face is beautiful!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:43 pm 
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Love the face painting and the bear! It's things like this that make a vacation memorable. You will cherish these photos for years to come.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:50 pm 
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such a cute bear and love the face painting...by the way...Grammies are really good at giving out money for vacations!!! Thanks for the nice report!

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