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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 7:39 pm 
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Location: southwestern PA
Enjoying your report. Can't wait to read more.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:02 pm 
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Location: Windham, NH
Thank you, Cathy.

There are 3 1/2 days of the trip remaining to write about. I willdo the best I can to have the report finished in the next few days.

NHDad


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:43 pm 
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Location: "Southern" New York
Thanks for letting us tag along...Sounds like you had a lot of fun!

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Hugs, Emmy


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:53 am 
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Location: Windham, NH
Emmy:

I hope you have enjoyed the report. I will be posting more soon. Standby. . .

NHDad
"Southern" New Hampshire


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:00 am 
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Location: Windham, NH
Day 4 Continued

The waitress came to our table right away and she was an excellent salesperson. She did it in such a way as not to be pushy, but to encourage diners to make the most of their enjoyable time by buying cutesy drinks. And my wife and Jessica were sold on the “logic” of buying their beach drinks in little “Hurricane” blenders http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 / , where their drinks contained more than twice the amount of ordinary drinks, at $15.95 and $16.00 respectively! We ordered simple entrees: me, a foot long hotdog and tator tots ($1 extra) http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 60/ry%3D60 / ; a bacon cheeseburger for Emily and my wife and Jessica went for the Caprese Panini sandwiches. http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /. Although not rushed, we were in and out of the restaurant very quickly.

As most of you know if you have been to a Jimmy Buffet restaurant, there is always a gift shop nearby. And the gift shop for this restaurant was just outside of the front entrance way. We did buy some hats and clothing souvenirs and returned to our car. This evening, we had tickets to the Carolina Opry.

Over the years, we have attended the Carolina Opry show a few times (4 or 5?). The last time we went there a few years ago, we all decided that the show was getting “old” and we probably weren’t going to it again. But, a few months ago, when I asked the ladies if they wanted to attend a show, they told me that they wanted to give the Carolina Opry another try.

With all of the time that we spent in the restaurant’s gift shop, we were cutting it close to getting to the show on time. And I recalled that it wasn’t just going in with one’s tickets and being seated, but a convoluted process that took ticket holders to see a local travel assistant (read: time share front man) and then back in line for an opportunity to stand with one of the show’s star and have a family photo taken, that would be for sale for $20 as you made your way out of the theater at the end of the show. This process had taken us 15 – 30 minutes previously, so I thought for sure that we would be late for the show on this evening.

But I was wrong or we had the good fortune to be so late that the two processes mentioned were not done. We parked, walked into the building and were immediately seated. We had great seats for the show, sitting in the fourth row, on the right side of the row. The show had a variety of numbers, including a variety of singing, from show tunes to country music http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... ry%3D400/; to tap dancers http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, to comedy routines http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /.

Overall, my wife, Emily and I thought that the show was entertaining. Jessica, who has an ear for music and has seen many of the original musicians perform live, thought that many of the numbers were not done well. She said that the singers were not very close to the original artists and in general, she was disappointed.

Having gone to the Opry years ago, when most of the entertainment and songs were Country & Western with a mixture of Southern Gospel, I was disappointed that the Opry has lost its origin.. The cast is essentially the same as it has been for years (that is both a good and bad thing), but the music is too varied to be called an “Opry”. For the amount of money paid for the tickets, it was OK, at best.

Would we go again? The short and sweet answer is a flat “No”. . .


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:46 pm
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Location: Windham, NH
Day 5

As Monty Python would say, “Now for something completely different!”

For years, during our MB vacations, we have done pretty much the same things – get up and have breakfast, go to the pool and beach most of the day, go out for dinner and then either shop or go to a show. Not that we haven’t had a good time (as the MBMB can attest), but for this vacation we decided to have a day off from our usual routine.

After I had spoken to the fisherman from Quebec City, I had an interest in seeing Charleston. He had said that Charleston was one of the most beautiful cities in the world (it was actually named the top tourist spot in the world by Conde Nast travel magazine). I asked the ladies if they wanted to go there and they said “yes”. And we did. . .

The morning started off a little differently, in that we all got dressed to go out and then we went to breakfast. We planned to take the Charleston Harbor Cruise, which departed at 11:30 Am so we expedited our usual leisurely breakfast.

We got the GPS ready and left the HI&S a little after 9 AM. The trip should have taken about 2 hours according to “Jill”, our GPS lady. ((Our first GPS was named “Babs” and the newest one, that we left at home, is named “Margaret”). We drove along the state highways (with oodles of traffic lights) for what seemed to be too long. I was worried that we would miss the boat (pun intended) if we didn’t get moving a little faster. We did get the opportunity to pick up speed after a while, but as we got closer to Charleston, the traffic became heavier and there were more and more traffic lights that turned RED as we approached them. . .

We got to the address at the wharf, only to note that it was a small parking that appeared to be full (unbeknownst to us, a children’s pirate show http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 / was scheduled to begin at noon!). We drove around and saw a spot so narrow that the ladies had to get out of the car before I could enter the spot. I slipped the car into the space and very gingerly maneuvered my 230 pound svelte self out. While I parked, my wife went to the ticket office to buy tickets for the harbor cruise and the Palmetto Carriage Ride. With tickets in hand, we walked down the pier and entered the boat http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /.

As I stepped on the gangway, I rendered a salute to the boat’s captain and he returned the salute. I mentioned to him that I had learned that when I had boarded the USS Constitution when I commissioned new lieutenants. He and I talked about me being a retired Army officer and he, a retired Navy officer.

Once on board, we decided to sit on the boat’s upper deck http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /. We stayed there for a few minutes until it was so hot (it was approaching the high 90s and very humid in Charleston), that my daughters and I decided to spend the rest of the cruise down below in the air conditioned portion of the boat, while my wife decided to stay on deck to work on her tan.

The cruise was enjoyable and interesting. The captain/narrator provided very insightful information about Charleston, its harbor and the many historical events that happened in the area. http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 60/ry%3D60 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 / , http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 60/ry%3D60 / and http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /. It was also pointed out to us that every time that the boat passed a certain house on the shore that a lady would wave to them http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /.
While we were out on the cruise, the pirate show had begun. When we spotted a “pirate” with his parrot, I took a photo of Jessica. http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /.

To Be Continued. . .


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:39 pm 
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Great report - digging the detail and all the pics ! Geez.... think we met you and the kids a few years back at a Kirk's Ice Cream meet-up, the girls are beautiful...what gauge is your shotgun ? :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:54 pm 
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I am loving your trip report. You have taken so much time and it is such an enjoyable read. Making memories are the best.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:17 pm 
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Location: Windham, NH
Thanks, folks. More to come.

Yes, Kirk (and family), we did meet you a couple of years ago. Since that time, our youngest, Emily, has grown quite a bit (she's 3 inches taller than her sister).

NHDad


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:18 pm 
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Location: Windham, NH
Day 5 Continued

As we disembarked from the boat, I asked the first mate if he could suggest a place to eat lunch. He recommended the Fleet Landing restaurant http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /. It was a short drive away. When we arrived, the parking lot was full. I parked in the lot next door. The restaurant was previously owned by the US Navy, where sailors in the early 1940s used it as a point of embarkation.

After a short wait http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, we were seated and greeted by our waitress, Hanna, a native of Charleston. She took our order of a chicken Cobb salad http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 60/ry%3D60 /, a Black Angus burger http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, a signature burger, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /and a fried shrimp basket http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 60/ry%3D60 /. The meals were very good and more surprisingly, they were very inexpensive. We were impressed by the service and food quality. As a remembrance, I bought myself a t-shirt.

Although we were told that we could walk over to the carriage tour, with the heat and humidity now at their peaks, we opted to drive the mile or so to it. One good thing about buying the combination cruise and carriage tour was that we were provided with free parking in the vicinity of the carriage ride.

At the barn http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, we went into the air conditioned ticket office/variety store/souvenir shop, where we were told that we were scheduled to go out on a tour in about 20 minutes. We were also told that because of the heat, the tours might be cancelled, but that didn’t happen, thank God.


To Be Continued. . .


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:26 am 
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Location: Windham, NH
Day 5, Part 3.

About 15 minutes later, we were asked to line up on a staging platform in the barn. A minute or two later, a team of two mules pulling a carriage came up to the platform http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 / . We (14 of us) all filed in the carriage and off we went. The carriage driver/tour guide was a guy in his early 50s, who joked that he was a native, 7th generation “Charlestonian”. He said if he wasn’t careful, he could have married himself as a 3rd cousin!

As we left the downtown area, the driver stopped at a corner to have the city assign him a touring area. Evidentially, there can only be 20 carriages active in the city at one time. The city controls this by assigning each carriage a particular sector to bring its guests, so as not to cause traffic jams. The tour took us around a section of the city that had many beautiful houses, churches and buildings. http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 60/ry%3D60 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 60/ry%3D60 /, and http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /.

The guide did point out many of the details about Charleston’s architecture and people. However, he was not a historian or person who could share a lot of depth. For example, when we rode up to James C. Calhoun’s house, he told us that we would all say “Oh my God” when we saw how beautiful it was. He didn’t tell us that Mr. Calhoun was the Vice President of the United States (he ran for President twice), that he was a senator, a member of the House of Representatives and was the Secretary of War. He was also pro-slavery and was one of the leading proponents of South Carolina succeeding from the Union. However, the guide did provide other details. He described how the water levels rose significantly when the city receive excessive rain. He pointed out to us how many of the local business had sand bangs located near their doors and how one could see on the brick work where the rising waters had stained the bricks 4 or 5 levels up. http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /.

After the carriage ride, it was nice to see that the mules were well taken care of. They were given water, had ice packs placed on their backs and were kept in the shade. http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /.

We walked down the street a short distance and went to the Market buildings. They were a fairly large set of buildings where one could buy everything from food to clothing, arts and crafts to books. http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 60/ry%3D60 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... /ry%3D400/, and http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 60/ry%3D60 /. I did buy two books; one was a large pictorial book of the city and another was a book on the historical aspects of the city. The ladies bought some clothing articles. All in all, we had a great day in Charleston. I highly recommend taking a day trip there when one is in MB.

We headed back to MB in the early evening, stopping for gas in a small town south of Georgetown, in the middle of swamp country. I found it interesting that the store carried a myriad of products. When we were there, a number of local folks came into the store and called the manager by name. It appeared to me that this store was the oasis or focal point to many rural folks from miles around.

When we got close to the HI&S, we decided to stop at Diary Queen for our dinner. Once again, the ladies didn’t fluster me when any complex orders.

We got home with enough time to watch a little TV and get to bed. Tomorrow would be our last full day in MB.

To Be Continued. . .


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:52 am 
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Location: Windham, NH
Day 6

For the last full MB day, we resumed our usual practices. We had breakfast and stayed by the pool/ beach most of the day. http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 / I made it a point to spend as much time as possible playing at the beach. http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 60/ry%3D60 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /.

For lunch, we had some meatball sub sandwiches from Fatman’s Dream and they were very good. This year, my wife went to get the sandwich, in previous years, I recall what the two ladies painstakingly put the sandwiches together; using what I thought was homemade meatballs and sauce. This year, my wife got the impression that the ingredients were “store bought”. Whatever processes were used, the sandwiches were very good.

More time in the pool and at the beach in the afternoon. After getting ready to go out, we all decided to go to what used to be our favorite “fast food” (II don’t know about you, but what used to be truly fast service in the 1980s, isn’t as fast 40 years later. . .) restaurant, Chick-Fil-A. When we lived in Atlanta, about 20 years ago, we enjoyed going to Chick-Fil-A, especially its Dwarf House restaurants.

After dinner, we headed to Broadway at the Beach (BATB). We have been going to BATB for years. This evening, BATB was crowded, with very few parking spaces. The walkways were full and the stores were bustling with customers. We walked the whole place and stopped in a few stores to look around and buy some things. And although there were some new stores and restaurants, the place was essentially the same as it has been for years.

Jessica had scheduled a return flight to Boston for that evening. So on the way back to the HI&S, we dropped her off at MB airport. She had a good time and we enjoyed having her with us.

We went back to the HI&S and got organized and started packing for our return home the next day.

To Be Continued. . .


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:25 am 
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Location: Windham, NH
Day 7

I woke up early and took a look out onto the beach http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /, http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 and enjoyed thinking about just how good life was to me and my family to be able to spend time in such a nice place. I also got a good laugh thinking about how Emily enjoyed her sleep http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 / and that she would be very busy with school and sports in just a few days.

We went down to breakfast and returned to the room to check out. As I have done before, I labeled the body boards that we used for the week with the kids’ names and hometowns http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /. As we left the hotel, we placed the boards in a basket for other kids (and “big kids”) to enjoy. We packed the rental car and off we went to the airport.

On the way to the airport, we stopped at a gas station to fill up the tank. While I was standing next to the car, a rough-looking lady came up to me. She told me that she “forgot” her wallet at home and needed a few dollars to put gas in her car. I stopped before she could go any farther with her excuses and sob story. She abruptly went to her car, turned it around and drove off across the street. When I got back in the car and told my wife what had happened, she told she had heard the whole dialogue between me and the women. My wife told me that the women’s male associate appeared to do the same thing to another motorist at a gas station across the street. Yikes!

At the airport, I dropped my wife and Emily with our luggage at the curb and went to the rental car return. When I arrived, there was no agent. She came casually driving up a minute or two after I parked the rental. She fumbled around for her equipment, got the car’s mileage and ran the report. She gave me the receipt and off I went.

In the terminal, I met up with the ladies and we all walked over to check our bags. At the desk was a very upset woman with a heavy Eastern European accent, complaining that should have to pay a fee to change her flights. The agent was trying to explain to her the policies of the airline and she wouldn’t have a thing to do with it. The woman must have been there a while, because two MB police officers were standing there watching her. Off about 20 feet away, was a 2 or 3 year old girl playing on an IPad. The irate woman asked if someone could keep an eye on her daughter while she went to get her husband. The police volunteered and off she went. We were next in line and another woman rushed ahead of us. The agent told her that we were next and told the woman to wait her turn. She didn’t like that, but she did get behind us in line.

To Be Continued. . .


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:27 am 
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Location: Windham, NH
Day 7 Continued

After checking our bags, we proceeded to security and off to the departure gate. The flight was late, so we sat in the gate area and waited. http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /. The plane finally arrived and we were paged to report to the gate desk. The agent there told me that because the flight was so late, we would most likely we would not be able to get to our connecting flight in Philadelphia. So he booked us on a flight that departed two hours later than the one originally booked.

Once boarded, I was seated next to a man from Florida who was headed to New Hampshire to do some construction work for a few weeks before return to Florida for the winter months. He appeared to be a nice man, but proceeded to lace most of his sentences with “f-bombs”. Not that I haven’t heard such language before, but it got rather old after a while.

The flight to Philadelphia was uneventful. Once in the terminal, we discovered that the departing gate was located quite a ways from our arrival gate. We walked for a while, took a bus and walked some more. We got some food to go at a Pizzeria Uno and Au Bon Pain, and then sat in the gate area to eat. We boarded the flight on time. The flight was actually a tad early arriving in Boston.

In the terminal we walked down to the baggage claim area, retrieve our baggage and went out to the curb to wait for the bus. The bus was there within a few minutes and took us to our car in the regional parking lot. After a 30 minute drive, we were back at home.

At home, the dogs Lily and Bentley http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a1d60 ... 0/ry%3D400 / and Fritz http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a0d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /were glad to see us (and we them). The house did smell like “dirty dogs”, but that was OK. . .

Within a few hours, we were back to our normal routines. A few days later, Emily started her high school soccer season http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /. And two weeks later, she returned to school http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a3d61 ... 0/ry%3D400 /.

And that ladies and gentlemen is this year’s trip report. I hope that you enjoyed it. We are looking forward to having many more vacations in MB to share in the future.

May you have successful and healthy lives until for the next year. God Bless.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:58 am 
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Posts: 96
Location: Hagerstown, MD
I loved reading your trip report and seeing your pictures. Thank you for taking the time to post it!
Angela


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