13 - WEDNESDAY 15TH AUGUST
Were off to
Charleston today. Everybody is fed and ready to go by 9.30am.
Before we drive off Hilton Head Island we find a pay phone to ring the Waldorf Astoria. This is the place we believe we left my Chinos, you remember the missing trousers? These were brought along for when we have nice meals in WDW, especially Victoria and Alberts. When I say we left my Chinos its because we are accepting a sort of collective responsibility for the error. I am obviously a numpty for not packing them, but Tam is usually obsessive when it comes to checking hotel rooms before we leave, so she has to take some of the blame. Anything that deflects the guilt from me is ok in my book.
The Waldorf say they have at least one pair of trousers and will forward them to the Villas at Wilderness Lodge to meet up with us in a few days. A big thank you to the customer services staff at the Waldorf.
The drive to Charleston takes longer than anticipated as its 115 miles, but some of its along roads with a 45 or 55mph speed limit.
Tam redeems her map reading credentials in Charleston by navigating us to the visitor centre without incident. Here we book up the 1.00pm tour with Gray Line. If you book at the visitor centre they just get you on whatever the next tour is thats leaving, but also give you a discount, $17.50 instead of $20.
The tour is conducted in a sort of mini-bus, which is air conditioned, a blessing as its hotter than my underpants were last night, and thats hot baby! The lady guide is very knowledgeable and clearly has a real passion for the city. In comparison to Savannah its much bigger and some of the mansions and plantation houses are far grander. We are told that, contrary to popular belief, cotton was not the main crop of the area, rice was.
We pass Harrys on the Market, the oldest continuously working restaurant in Charleston. The lady tour guide tells us of an ingenious method they used to beat prohibition. It was illegal to make or sell liquor, so they did neither. Instead they charged people to enter in order to see their blind tiger. The problem is, they didnt have such a beast. In order to recompense people when they complained, they gave them a drink! And this was legal! Hats off to Harry and his incredible disappearing blind tiger.
The tour lasts for 1 ½ hours and is very comprehensive. It would be nice to spend more time here and look around inside some of the properties that have been restored to their former grandeur.
Charleston has more old buildings than Savannah where a combination of disastrous fires and some bad planning decisions have resulted in some modern monstrosities amongst the splendour of the old properties.
If I had to pick one to tour from Hilton Head it would be Savannah. Its nearer and easier to walk round. It has a very relaxed feel to it and seems more intimate than Charleston.All the squares shaded with trees hanging with Spanish moss are lovely. By the way, Spanish moss is neither Spanish nor moss. It isnt a parasite and does no harm to the tree gathering all the nutrients it needs from the air. Just a little biology lesson for you. Tomorrow where babies come from.
We are back in the car by 3.00pm and heading back to Hilton Head. Those of you paying attention will have noticed that we havent had lunch yet. In fact if you were just thinking they havent had lunch yet, take this gold star and go to the top of the class.
We are going back to eat an early bird special at the Boathouse II restaurant where you can get 3 courses for the price of an entrée. We all have a Twinkie to stave off hunger pangs on the drive.
We pull into the Boathouse II car park at 5.00pm. Its quite a large place with dining inside or outside overlooking the inlet. They have overhead fans going so we plump for outside. Apart from one or two at the bar, we are the only people there.
Although the early bird menu is restricted, all 4 of us like the sound of the chicken stuffed with 3 cheeses and spinach for our entrees. Tam and I start with lobster and shrimp chowder while the girls have Brunswick stew, which is shredded pork and vegetable broth.
Desserts are pecan pie for me and Tam, key lime lie for Ind and ice cream for Georgia. Along with 4 beers (not all for me!) and drinks refills for the girls, the bill comes to $107 including tip. Now thats a good deal.
And I hadnt touched a drop at this point.
By the time we
finish our meal at 6.00pm there are many more people arriving to
eat. I can see that this place is popular in the evening and with
Back in the car we drive to the local TJ Maxx so I can buy a pair of Chinos just in case the parcel from the Waldorf doesnt appear at Wilderness Lodge.
Returning to Disneys Hilton Head resort I have a beer and write a bit of the trip report while the women discuss what we should do. India wants to swim, so we go down to the pool where they are having an evening BBQ going on for children close by that Tam wants to see. There are hordes of the little darlings singing strange songs and sticking skewers into the fire. India takes one look and beats a hasty retreat to the pool closely followed by her father. I vaguely recall one of these strange campfire rituals at Vero Beach when my two were very small. All a bit pagan if you ask me. At least the cast members dont strip off and start chanting, although that might brighten the proceedings somewhat..
Tam and I had opened our last bottle of wine in the room and poured some into polystyrene cups to take with us to the pool area. Classy all the way.
Georgia has been wanting to play shuffleboard and the court (pitch? alley?) becomes free, so we have a mini-tournament with me and India in the final. Disaster! The child wins. I put this down to a very dodgy playing surface that doesnt suit my more sophisticated playing style.
The women are now on a high and move on to the table football and table tennis. The wine has now run out, so guess whos despatched to get more from the room?
I think the biggest problem with the hot evenings is that you tend to feel sticky all the time. Believe me, if theres one thing you dont want to feel, its me when Im sticky.
Returning with the wine we continue the gaming. With hindsight, playing energetic table games when the temperature is still above 80° and more humid than the crotch of a sauna attendant is probably not the wisest of moves.
It is now decided to move to Big Murgies Den to play pool. Its 9.50pm and we get in just one game before a CM comes in and says theyre closing the room for the night, so can we please finish up. My lord, does nothing stay open past 10.00pm? Tam looks incredulous then says Party on Wayne.
Party on Garth. Youve got to laugh havent you.
We leave Big Murgie to enjoy his den alone, pausing only to wave goodnight to camp Glenn on the way through.
In the room people read, shower, write up trip reports and drink beer. You can work out who does what
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