Site 44 W/E hookups; A Destination campground at a fantastic beach and close to golfing, Brookgreen Gardens, and Myrtle Beach.
11/13/17 – The drive from NC to the park was pretty uneventful and uninteresting, and a little bit of a pain driving through Fayetteville with many traffic lights. We were way past hungry so stopped at a Hardees in a very poor little town less than an hour from Myrtle Beach. The Hardees seemed to be the only thriving business.
Rt 17 along the coast from Myrtle Beach to Huntington Beach SP was about 20 miles of wall to wall malls. Our whole mood changed entering the park. The people were very friendly and the drive over the causeway very pretty. Our site was relatively easy to back into, but we did have to skirt some overhanging trees. Our site had water and electric hookups, but there was three very easy and clean dump stations for the way out (some sites are full hookup). The bathroom/shower building was new this year, so really nice. Once we set up we just had to take a walk to the beach before the sun went down.
The SP beach goes on for miles in each direction. Beautiful! This is definitely our first destination park. We could easily see ourselves staying here for weeks if not a season. The land for the state park was donated by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. The Huntington's winter home “Atalaya Castle” is open for visitors at the par, but we did not have time to see it. We did watch a detailed video about the property on the Huntington Beach SP web site (southcarolinaparks.com/huntington-beach, and saw that the “castle” looks more like a prison and the rooms are all empty. Anna was a very successful sculptor when they met. She worked primarily with animals and would have live examples housed at the castle as her models. She also had pet dogs and monkeys.
This is the path to the beach from the campground.
11/14/17 – Sandy's cousins David and Toni, and their friend John were supposed to be sailing south past us, but were delayed by weather so that we got to meet them at their mooring in Georgetown, SC, just 19 miles south of us! We went to a nice down home lunch spot Atlantic House.
11/15/17 – Almost directly across Rt 17 from the campground is Brookgreen Gardens (www.brookgreen.org), which is understandable in that this 9,127 acre property was donated by the Huntingtons and was created as a showcase for Anna Hyatt Huntington's and other sculptures. We walked along the gardens and sculptures and sat in on a talk about the Gullah Geechee culture whose origin is the western african slaves brought to the area. We had to leave that to get on a boat tour through the man made channels and river where 4 rice plantations existed going back to the 1700s. One sign said that one tract of land deeded was for 48,000 acres in 1711. The plantations became one of the wealthiest in the country. This was very interesting and a uniquely local experience. Along the river are tall slave-made dykes which kept the abandoned rice fields from view. The dykes are now tree covered and they are letting nature re-take the area naturally. Along the banks we saw two large alligators resting in the sun. Walking back to the truck we saw and photographed many more sculptures including a great Don Quixote done by Anna.
This statue depicts Anna and Archer Huntington
Don Quixote by Anna Huntington
Here I am reflecting the sculptures.
Typical for us it was mid afternoon and we hadn't eaten yet and wanted to try one of the many waterfront restaurants in Murrel's Inlet. After referring to Yelp, we settled on Wicked Tuna. They had a great sushi special along with some tuna poke and beef gyoza. Mmm good.
11/16/17 – We really wanted to take advantage of the beach and the good weather to do one of our prime objectives for the winter – which is hang out at the beach all day. We walked a good mile and a half one way along the beach and weren't even close to the end. To return quickly we simply grilled hot dogs for lunch and went back to beach to read where small beach flies started biting us. It's not all fun and games so we went to Pawley's Island to do wash at a laundromat, hit CVS, bought groceries, and stopped at a great Italian restaurant - Gio's for dinner on way home. Gio's was a real unexpected treat in a tacky restaurant area.
11/17/17 – I went golfing at Blackmoore CG in Murell's Inlet with two ex-Pennsylvania residents George and Don. Shot a 96 which is good for me, especially since I was very nervous – expecting to be outplayed. Conditions were great and some nice water holes. Afterward, went back to trailer and ate leftover Italian and watched a bad Hercules movie.
11/18/17 – Every time we came and went to the campground we would see people walking the boardwalk with cameras and tripods taking photos of the many birds in the marshes on either side when the tide was low. Not uncommon to see several egrets and herons within 20 feet of the causeway. I wanted to take advantage of this so this day we went to the day-use area and took lots of bird photos from the causeway and a boardwalk that cut into several hundred feet of the marsh. There were tons of oysters rising out of the muck. Dinner was grilled leftover meatloaf which came out really good.
When your camping you are surrounded by people with at least a couple things in common. The couple next to us were really nice and live 2 hours south of the park, within an hour of Savannah. After learning about our plans to go to Savannah next, they gave us a list of recommendations for places to go,things to see, and places to eat. They even invited us to their house for Thanksgiving! After they had left the park, we contacted them to let them know we wouldn't be coming for Thanksgiving because we had to fly back home unexpectedly. They offered to drive us to the airport(!) which was only 20 minutes away for us and two hours for them. Can you imagine! Super nice.
A typical way to meet is that people walk the park, either alone or more commonly with their dog(s). Another thing we are finding is that if someone has an airstream or likes our airstream, they are quick to say hi and begin a conversation. Several people have asked to see our unit, either because they have never been inside one or are thinking about getting one.
One late afternoon a guy about our age walked by while I was putting something in the truck and he stopped to let me know that he had an identical airstream a few sites away. We started the inevitable conversation about where we've been and where where going, and ended up talking about Woodstock. We had been in the town, he went to the site of the concert in Bethel, NY. He was very enthusiastically recommending we visit it. He talked about a story he learned there (maybe in a video), about a kid who came to the concert in 1969 without any money and someone yelled to him asking if he wanted to make a few dollars slinging hot dogs. He said, “sure”. After, the concert, he was walking along and someone asked him, “hey can you paint?”, and he said, “sure,” and that started a series of odd jobs. At thanksgiving, several local families asked him to join them for dinner and he said he made each one! Bottom line is the guy never left and now works at the Woodstock museum. The person telling me this story said he saw the guy, wearing his bib overalls, letting a staffer know that he was taking a break for lunch.
You meet people in the strangest places (and example of a typical meet).
As I was just finishing dumping our gray water (water from the sinks and showers), a young couple came up us and asked about the trailer. We must have talked for 20 minutes! Thank goodness no one was waiting. They live nearby and come to the park all the time. In fact they moved to the area just to be close to this park. They wanted to know how much we liked it, traveling, costs, etc. They said they were very envious and I could relate. We felt the same way for years!