On my last morning in Bethesda, I quickly looked at my map to guesstimate where I might end up that evening and make a hotel reservation. Myrtle Beach seemed like it might be too crowded, and Georgetown looked dull, but Pawley’s Island right between the two…interesting! It sounded quaint, very casual and appealing. I got online and much too quickly made a reservation at a local Motel 6 (oh, more to come on that later!). I left around 10am, and planned to take I-95 and get there as quickly as possible. Well, as they say, the best laid plans….it was not to be. Construction as far as the eye could see turned I-95 into a parking lot. Normally that would have irritated the hell out of me….but I’m looking at everything in a new way. So, I chose to look at the situation as an exercise in letting go of control, and patiently crept along until the next exit presented itself. I made my way to Route 1 and turned south. The trip took much longer than I expected, but what the hell, I am on no schedule whatsoever. I arrived in Pawley’s Island around 7pm, very hot and tired. Upon checking into the hotel, I realized that I had NOT done enough research…it was old and worn and just a bit scary….although at least it was clean.
The upside of the hotel was that it was barely a mile and a half from beach access. I scoped out the location and walked onto the beach. OMG it was beautiful! It was clean and uncrowded. The evening was warm and breezy, and the Atlantic waves crashed gently onto the shore. I walked into the water up to my knees, it was warm and felt amazing. I strolled up and down the beach for an hour, looking forward to the next morning and what I was certain would be an amazing sunrise. With darkness quickly approaching, I made my way back to Scary Motel.
My alarm was set for 5am but I woke at 4:30. Still can’t break the early morning habit. So, I packed up a few things and made my way in the pitch black to my beach. Flashlight in hand, I set my little beach chair up and settled in with camera and iphone in hand. Slowly the sky began to lighten, from dark blue to pink to orange. The clouds on the horizon filtered the sunrise and it finally showed over the horizon at around 6:15, in a glowing red sphere. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen.
On of the advantages of being back on Facebook is that everyone knows where I’m going and can contact me. When I checked in on FB in Pawley’s Island, I received a message from one of my former 5am WOD-mates at Derby City Crossfit, Katie Love Bower, who coincidentally was vacationing in Pawley’s Island that week! So that afternoon I met up with her and had a nice afternoon on the beach reconnecting with her and meeting the rest of her family, her gorgeous one year old Benjamin, her husband Curt and his two adorable kids, Thomas and Stephanie.
Friday morning I chose to sleep in rather than experiencing another sunrise, and surprised myself by not waking until 7:30am (that’s quite a feat for me!). I packed up my car, and stopped for breakfast at a nice looking spot I’d passed several times. It was a unique local family run breakfast/lunch joint, and I enjoyed a fantastic meal….two eggs over easy, bacon fried to perfection, grits and a biscuit. Oh, and coffee…lots of it! Satisfied, I headed south, and in 15 minutes or so arrived in Georgetown, the third oldest city in the state. I stopped in the historic little downtown and went for a little walk along the boardwalk, enjoying the sunny morning. Back to the car and continuing my drive south to Mt. Pleasant, where I stopped at Jack’s Cosmic Dogs and enjoyed my first soft serve twist cone of the summer.
The next stop was Charleston. I crossed into town over this HUGE scary bridge, drove down to Murray Blvd, parked my car, and walked along the Charleston Harbor Wall, looking out at multitude of boats on the water until I arrived at White Point Garden. I sat near the gazebo in the center of the park and enjoyed the shade before I headed back to my car. After a not very scenic hour and a half, I crossed yet ANOTHER huge scary bridge into Savannah, GA. I arrived at my hotel and was pleasantly surprised to discover that despite the outward appearance of the hotel itself, my room was much improved over the tired old Motel 6.
I got online and looked for suggestions for casual local dinner and noticed several recommendations for Crystal Beer Parlor. Back into my car I went and drove several miles south through some very interesting neighborhoods til I arrived at a very non-descript looking building. Inside however, it was great, and PACKED with a Friday night crowd. I took a seat at the beautiful wood bar and asked the bartender for some kind of a chocolaty porter. He brought me the most delicious coffee stout and as I sat there, the most wonderful wave of happiness overcame me. I felt alive really for the first time in my life. I can’t explain why, other than I am just so grateful to have the means to be on this adventure. I couldn’t stop smiling as I just took in everything around me….the friendly, bustling bar and wait staff, the Friday night crowd around me, the rich flavor of the beer. Dinner followed, a tasty perfectly done burger and hot sweet potato fries. I asked the bartender what he’d recommend for dessert; he told me the house specialty was peach cobbler. Despite my love for all desserts chocolate, I trusted his suggestion and was not disappointed. The cobbler was hot and bubbly, with baked on sugary crusts on the edge, and topped with vanilla ice cream. Perfect end to the meal, as well as to the very long day!
This morning I packed up and thought I would hit the Savannah riverfront before I left for Florida. So I parked right on Bay Street and walked down the uneven brick sidewalk to the stairs down to River Street and the waterfront. One of my Norton Common YMCA peeps strongly suggested that I check out the pralines in Savannah, so I walked into River City Sweets and bought me some. They are delicious!
Next I took about an hour to walk around the beautiful homes a few blocks away from the riverfront. I had no idea where I was going, but ended up exactly where I hoped, in front of the Mercer House, featured in the fantastic book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Mission accomplished!