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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:24 am 
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Location: Morgantown, WV
I hope I don’t bore everyone to death with our trip report, but I enjoy reading everyone else’s, so here goes. This was the first trip without our son, who is now in college and chose to stay at his apartment and work. So, for the first time ever we brought another kid with us, our daughter’s best friend. We had two 13-year old girls with us and they were wonderful and we all had a great time!

Saturday, August 3rd
Sarah and Morgan got up early because they couldn’t sleep. We got on the road by 8am. The girls watched movies, and Misti and I tried to listen to one of three audio books we had gotten from the library. We stopped in Wytheville, VA for lunch and gas. We all got sandwiches from Sudway and got gas for $3.23 per gallon (which is $0.36 less than back home). We arrived at the Fairfield Inn in Florence, SC and since no one was hungry yet, the girls decided to swim. We got ready for dinner and headed over to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. As soon as we were seated at BW3, someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was a family from Morgantown with their daughter who played basketball with Sarah & Morgan on the Middle School team. They were returning from the beach as we were arriving. Small World! We had a great meal and great service, and got to watch some of our Pittsburgh Pirate’s baseball game on TV. We headed back to the hotel and got some sleep before continuing the drive in on Sunday.

Sunday, August 4th
I woke up early and took a walk for about 30 minutes at the shopping plaza behind the hotel. When I got back to the room, the girls were getting their showers. They went down for breakfast while I got my shower, and then I joined them. We left for Myrtle Beach a little after 8:00 am, knowing that we would be very early. Along the way, we stopped at a roadside stand for tomatoes and peaches. When we arrived at the beach, we took the long way in and drove up Ocean Boulevard to kill time and to show Morgan the beach.

Each year, we like to start our vacation with a church service on our way in. It’s a great way to start a relaxing week! For the past three years, we’ve been going to St. Philip Lutheran Church on Highway 17. We arrived too early, so we went over to Food Lion to pick up coupon books and the Sunny Day Guide. When we returned to the church a few minutes before 11am, I noticed a sign that said Summer Church started at 9:30 am. We had missed church!

It was too early to check in to the hotel, and too early for lunch, so we stopped at Bargain Beachware to shop. The girls immediately found dozens of things they wanted, but we encouraged them to just browse and save their money for later in the week. I decided that I really wanted two new beach chairs to sit in the surf. We found them for about $14 each, and really enjoyed them all week. When we were done shopping, we grabbed a quick lunch (hotdogs and a friend bologna sandwich for me) at Sam’s Corner before heading to the hotel to change into swim suits.

We went out on the beach and walked for about ½ hour, just soaking up the atmosphere, looking for seashells, and cooling our feet in the surf! Sarah and Morgan decided to take their Boogie Boards out in the water and ride the waves. It was a little rough, but fun. Misti and I were looking for seashells when Sarah told us that Morgan hurt her foot. As it turned out, she got stung by a Jelly Fish. Many people got stung during the week, but we knew what to do. We went to the lifeguard stand and sprayed her foot with the vinegar water. She felt better instantly, so the girls went up to the pool complex while Misti and I continued to look for seashells and got the chairs out to sit in the surf. We all met up and the girls wanted to throw football with me in the pool. As competitive athletes, they got very rough with the football so I had to call it quits. We dried off and headed up to the lobby to check into our room.

I’ve reviewed the Monterey Bay Suites several times, so I won’t re-hash that here. We really like the resort, and our room this year was on the 11th floor, facing North (which was a first for us). Since it was a suite, the girls claimed the Living Room with the balcony, and Misti and I had the bedroom. We got dressed and headed to our favorite restaurant… Duffy Street Seafood Shack. Misti and I shared the Pirates Plate of broiled fish, shrimp, scallops, and crablegs with an appetizer of hushpuppies. Sarah had her “usual” which was Teriyaki Wings. Morgan had a chicken quesadilla and was fascinated (and grossed out) by our seafood. It was her first time seeing seafood, as her family has never been to the beach.

After dinner, we drove back towards the hotel and decided to play mini-golf at Jungle Safari. Sarah decided that she and Morgan would team-up against Scott and Misti. Several people got holes-in-one, but Misti and I won the game. It was fun, and the owner of the golf course was very nice. He even called Morgan and Sarah aside and gave them advice on how to beat us, and then gave them coupons. We then headed to Food Lion to buy all of our lunch food for the week. We took the food back to the room and put everything away, and then headed down to the beach for a walk in the dark. It was very windy, but warm and clear enough to see stars. Back up to the room and we all went to sleep.

Monday, August 5th
One of the great things about Monterey Bay Suites is their free hot breakfast. Each day they have cereal, fruit, eggs, potatoes, meat (bacon, sausage, etc), grits and sometimes pancakes. Sarah set her alarm early, as she decided that they would be the first one to the breakfast each morning. This was a mistake, because Sarah got very grouchy during the day and I insisted that she would sleep in the rest of the trip.

Misti and I got up later and made it to breakfast by 8:30 am. After breakfast, we took our new chairs, the beach toys, blanket and towels, radio, umbrellas, and everything to the beach for a day in the surf. The surf was very rough and the girls insisted on going out on their boards. Misti and I sat in the chairs in the surf and watched the girls. They were not paying attention, and were being carried way down the beach with the tide, eventually getting about a block away. Misti ran after them and made them come back up the beach. Sarah was grouchy, and they decided to just go up to the pool to get away from us mean old parents! Misti and I walked the beach for awhile and then headed up to the room for lunch. The weather reporter on TV said that it was the lowest humidity and most-comfortable dew point in August she could ever remember, and told the viewers to enjoy the “perfect” weather for a few more days. When we went back down to the pool we noticed just how low the humidity was, and added to the fact that it was breezy, it made it feel very cold on beach and in the pool (despite being 85 degrees).

We spent the afternoon on the beach, and the girls decided to bury each other in the sand and make “mermaid” bodies out of the sand. They had fun, took a lot of pictures, and then asked to go back to the pool. Misti and I spent the rest of the afternoon alone on the beach… either talking a walk, looking for shark’s teeth, or sitting in our chairs in the surf. It was awesome!

Sarah really wanted to go to the Liberty Tap Room for dinner, so we drove across the street. I had a couple of good IPA beers (Pale Ales), some Oysters on the ½ shell with jumbo shrimp, and a house salad. Misti had the SheCrab soup and some spring rolls. Sarah and Morgan shared a pizza and said it was very good. Morgan had never seen raw oysters, so this grossed her out even more than the seafood the night before. After dinner, we drove to Broadway at the Beach and I gave the girls an hour to shop or do whatever they wanted. They had looked at shirts that said “Thing 1” and “Thing 2,” but ended up buying “Brat 1” and “Brat 2” shirts. Misti and I shopped a little and then went to the Pepper Palace to sample some hot pepper sauce. I made the mistake of trying a sauce with Ghost Peppers and had to run out of the store to find ice cream. It was very hot, and I don’t know why I tried it. Maybe it was the IPA’s I drank! We met up with the girls and fed some fish for a few minutes before heading back to the hotel. They went to the pool until 11pm, and then we all went to sleep.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:30 am 
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Location: Morgantown, WV
Part 2 of our trip report.

Tuesday, August 6th
I got up early on Tuesday, got a shower, and was the first person in line for breakfast at 7:00 am. After breakfast, I drove 30 miles to play golf at the Diamondback Course, which I got for only $25 through an ad in the newspaper (I found that ad on Patrish’s coupon page here on the website). I was paired with two nice men from Greensboro, NC and enjoyed the golf course which was in excellent shape. After golf, I drove through North Myrtle Beach and stopped at Oscars for a cheesesteak hogie. It was too big to finish, but very good.

While I was gone, the girls slept in (yay!), and Misti did some laundry. When I got back to the room around 1:30 pm, they were just getting ready to have lunch. The weather turned gloomy and it began to rain a little, so we took a cooler and went to the 10th floor pool/ hot tub. We met some great people and ended up talking to a family from Philadelphia until about 7pm. We didn’t realize it was so late, so we got the girls up to the room and everyone showered before heading to a late dinner.

The girls decided that they wanted Italian food, and I wanted to eat somewhere close to the hotel so I wouldn’t have to drive in traffic. We “googled” Italian food and found a local place called Luigi's Trattoria. It was on 61st Avenue North and was hard to find because it was behind other businesses. But it was well worth the trouble of searching as we had a fantastic Italian dinner for a very good price. The decor is nice, as they have white linen table clothes, wine racks, and well-dressed waiters. The place is small with several different rooms, so it felt intimate. I convinced the girls to eat off of the children’s menu, and while Morgan had Spaghetti, Sarah had Fettuccini Alfredo for $6 each. Misti and I shared a lasagna and a salad, and we all had fresh Italian bread with olive oil to dip in. The entire bill was about $40 and was one of the best meals of the week. When we got back to the hotel, the girls headed back down to the pools and lazy river while Misti and I sat on the balcony and enjoyed the view. No UFO’s this year, but some pretty stars!

Wednesday, August 7th
Wednesday was our “Boardwalk” day. We spent the morning and afternoon doing what we did all week… the girls were up in the pool and Misti and I made great use of our new chairs by sitting in the surf for literally hours. The sea was calm, the weather was warm, the skies were blue, and it was about as peaceful of a day as you could have!

We came up to the room around 5pm to get ready. We then drove to downtown and parked. We went straight to the SkyWheel. While Misti and the girls rode the skywheel, I got seats at the Landshark Bar & Grill. When the girls were done, we ate dinner together. Misti and I shared an appetizer of queso and chips, while Sarah and Morgan shared an order of warm pretzels and cheese. Misti and I shared a blackened fish sandwich for dinner which was very good. Misti had a fun Bahama Mama drink, and I had a Landshark Beer. The girls had smoothies, but I can’t remember what they ate. The food was good and so was the service. We looked at the pictures they took on the Skywheel while we ate, and since it is an open-air bar, there was a constant breeze off of the ocean, and we could see the beach. I really enjoyed the Landshark.

After dinner, we went to the arcade to play games. The girls tried to win tickets while I played the old-fashioned baseball game. It was much more crowded since it was the evening and we usually go during the day. We then went shopping at the Gay Dolphin. I got tired of shopping, so I gave Misti and the girls some money and told them to go shopping. I stopped to see the Elvis impersonator at Plyler Park and then did something I’ve always wanted to do. I went to the Bowery and watched a very good country band perform for about ½ hour. When the girls were done shopping they texted to say they were ready to leave. I wanted to stick around for fireworks, but Sarah was done so we drove back to the hotel. The girls begged to go back down to the Lazy River at 9:30 pm, so we let them. Misti and I went out on the beach for a walk and watched the fireworks at 10pm. After the fireworks we stopped by the lazy river and told the girls that it was time to go. We all went upstairs and went to bed.

Thursday, August 8th
Thursday definitely had warmer weather. Once again, Misti and I went to breakfast together while the girls slept. It was very warm and humid, so we were able to spend a great deal of time on the beach. I wore my Pittsburgh Pirates hat every day, and many people stopped to talk about how great the season was going. The Pirates were in first place, with the best record in baseball, and ended up sweeping the Marlins in an afternoon game on Thursday. I even had a St. Louis Cardinal fan stop and talk about how good the team was.

The girls never came down to the beach. They went to breakfast and right to the lazy river/ pool. Misti and I searched for seashells, walked the beach, and sat in the surf for hours. We went up to the pool area around Noon and talked to many of the people we had met over the past week. At one point it started to rain very hard and we all moved under the cover of the inside pool. It lasted about 10 minutes, and when it was over the sky turned blue again and it was hotter than ever. After a quick lunch, we went back to the 10th floor pool and met some girls who were in town with their High School Softball Team to play in a tournament. We had a great time talking to them and their parents about AAU/ travel sports (our son played travel baseball for years, and our daughter currently plays AAU/ travel basketball).

Thursday was the girl’s choice for an evening out. A few weeks before our vacation, I had presented them with a list of options to choose from for Thursday night. The list included the new Pirates Feast show, Medieval Times, a Magic Show, a Hypnosis show, a baseball game, a Hawaiian Luau, and many other things. To my surprise, they chose to go and see stock car racing and the Myrtle Beach Speedway. I went on line and was able to get free tickets to the races. Our evening started with pizza from Michael’s (which I’ve reviewed several times). Misti and I also shared a Greek Salad. We headed to the speedway, paid $15 to park and brought drinks in our own cooler. We stayed for the entire series of races and the girls really seemed to enjoy themselves. We went back to the hotel, and I don’t remember what happened after that. Must have gone to bed.

Friday, August 9th
A few weeks ago, I posted that we would be heading down for a visit in August. Patrish responded and offered to have a meet-up. I’m a long-time member of the message board, but had never thought about a meet-up. I talked it over with Misti and she thought it would be a great idea. Patrish and I picked Friday for lunch at the Nacho Hippo at Market Commons.

The girls had decided to bring dresses for the trip, but had not been anywhere fancy. So they decided to wear them for the meet-up. Patrish and her husband Wally came first, and we discovered that Wally and I had grown up in the same hometown (St. Albans, WV) and had both gone to college at West Virginia University. Patrish was exactly how I knew she would be (and that’s a compliment!). We also met Pat and Rich from the Message Board, who had relocated from New Hampshire to Myrtle Beach with their rescue puppy. And also Don and Maureen who had just purchased a home on the Grand Strand. The meet-up was great and we took many pictures afterwards. It was probably the best part of our vacation for me!

Oh, and the lunch was really good too! Sarah had two regular tacos on a platter with rice and salad while Morgan had a chicken quesadilla. Mist and I shared two tacos… the Baja Fish Taco, and the Rock Lobster Taco. I also ate Sarah’s salad which came with her platter along with rice. Delicious!

When we got back to the hotel, we decided to spend the rest of the day on the beach or at the pool. The ocean water temp was the warmest of the week, but we only took a brief walk and did not get in the water. We went to the main pool and talked to some people and then when the sun went behind the hotel, we headed to the 10th floor pool to catch the end of the sun. We talked to a few people and then went up to the room to see what the girls wanted to do for dinner. They wanted to just finish the food in the fridge and forget about going out. Misti and I ate up whatever they didn’t finish. By then it was about 7pm and the girls wanted to pick up some more souvenirs. Misti took them out to the bargain beach stores and they came back with a bunch of stuff, while I caught up with my favorite baseball team via the internet. We packed most of our stuff in the car, took a final walk on the beach at night, and then went to bed.

Saturday, August 10th
Saturday was departure day, and our drive takes about 9 hours. We got up early and finished packing. We were the first ones in line for breakfast at 7am, and got a table outside overlooking the Ocean. It was a great way to end our vacation and to say goodbye to the beach. We had an uneventful drive home, and dropped off Morgan at her house around 5:30 pm.

We’re taking a year off from Myrtle Beach next summer and using up our final Disney tickets in Florida. But we’ll be back in the summer of 2015, looking for new places to eat and be entertained. In the meantime, I’ll still be here posting reviews and asking questions.

Scott


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:07 am 
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Great detailed report! Thanks for taking the time to share you vacation with us! I will have to look up Luigi's Trattoria. Always looking for new places to eat that are yummy and reasonably priced! So glad you went to the met-up. Aren't Patrish and Wally the best? Thanks again!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:19 am 
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What an awesome trip report! I am very jealous of your trip to the speedway. I love short-track racing. We have a place close to us called Bowman Gray Stadium. You may have seen it on the History Channel a couple of years ago. It is quite the entertainment. Sounds like you guys had an action-packed week and I enjoyed every line of your report. And good luck to the Pirates the rest of the way. Maybe my Atlanta Braves will give them a tough time in the playoffs.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:21 am 
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Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation! Thanks for sharing it with us! Love those breakfast taters at the MBS, they were the best when we were there a couple years back! I'd stay there more, but I truly hate that parking garage! That's the only one I've backed into a pole while parking. lol

We stay at the Long Bay, we'll be looking for Luigi's next trip. Thanks for the review!

Quote:
The sea was calm, the weather was warm, the skies were blue, and it was about as peaceful of a day as you could have!


That right there is what it's all about on a vacation in MB! :sunny:

Oh, and I love the MB Speedway night the girls choose, very cool. And an evening at The Bowery is one thing I have wanted, too, and haven't gotten to...we've been in there, but not long enough to really enjoy it.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:52 am 
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Sounds like a wonderful trip!! I love the Bowery!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:18 am 
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Great Trip Report! Thanks for posting!
Angela


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:54 pm 
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Great trip report. We discovered Luigi's a few years ago. It really is a great spot with good food and prices. I agree with it being tricky to find. It sounds like a good time was had by all. Thanks for sharing.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:02 pm 
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Location: Rochester N.Y.
Scott,
Fantastic trip report.I really had a great time reading along.We (my wife Patti,my 17yr old son Jordan,and my 16yr old nephew Jonah) leaving in 27 hrs and you have me more excited than before.
Thanks fore sharing....
Ron
P.S
I can understand the excitement in the Pirates.They are doing great.As a matter of fact,Im an Orioles fan and the last year and a half has been the best time to be a fan,in a long time.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:18 pm 
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Thanks for the great report! We are counting down the days until our September trip and I have to make time for our own report for once. Strangely enough, I too was raised in St. Albans, WV. I attended both Hansford Elementary and Saint Albans JR, High (Both of which are long gone now). While I am a life long Red's fan, I remember when the Pirates had their AAA farm team the Charlie's in Charleston and I attended many games with my family. Small World......


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:39 pm 
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What an awesome trip report, Scott! :nanner: :nanner: :nanner: Glad y'all had a great time! Hope things at our favorite place to stay were good... we're hoping to be down our usual week in Sept! :hello:

Karen in Upstate SC

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:32 pm 
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Loved your report! Sounds like you all had a wonderful time. I made lots of mental restaurant notes :lol: We are probably coming back in Sept. and I was just sitting here thinking as I was reading your report "I have never been the the famous Bowery". Do I dare try it guys? I am not sure that is my kinda place, but I am always up for new adventures.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:22 pm 
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Thank you for the report....sounds like you all had a GREAT week at the beach. :sunny:
Cyndi

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:04 pm 
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Scott, thank you so much for this excellent trip report!

When we had lunch at Nacho Hippo, you asked me why I started this message board. Just reading your trip report and seeing the responses, is the reason!

Before Wally and I moved here, I was National Advertising Manager at the Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA) I traveled to advertising agencies and other businesses in major cities all over the United States. I spent a lot of time by myself, and I often searched for message boards to find the best things to do in cities that were strange to me. I never found a forum like this, so when we moved here I created it for Myrtle Beach.

I am happy to say I have met many amazing people here on the message board, and many of them have become friends. So it was with Scott and Misti. Meeting them was like seeing old friends after a long absence.

I'm sorry you will not be coming to Myrtle Beach next year, but we'll be awaiting your return. Thanks for taking the time to write this wonderful review of your vacation!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:42 am 
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I'm tardy in reading this and have been away from the MBMB...life gets in the way. I loved reading your report. We enjoyed our visit at Monterey as well. The ladies at the breakfast buffet were always so kind to my daughter. We did the Disney thing 2 years in a row (different seasons) 2011 & 2012. Miss the beach, though...your trip sounded great and why this board is great. I'm so glad Patrish had the foresight to create this board. It is quite unlike others. Many others are snark-fests! LOL. Very enjoyable read.

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