We haven’t taken a family vacation to the beach in many, many years. When Carly suggested it, we decided to go to Hilton Head, SC. It’s about the same length of drive as to places on the Florida Gulf Coast, plus, we’ve had to go to Hilton Head for a weekend in November the last two years for an event that Carly participated in. Other than getting to eat a meal or two between activities and maybe a couple of free hours once we arrived on Friday afternoon, we didn’t get to really explore the island.
Since we had been there and I did get out a little bit, we had decided we wanted to stay somewhere in the area near Coligny Plaza. I went on VRBO and found a fabulous 2 bedroom condo about a block and a half from the beach. Carly brought a friend along and the 4 of us headed for the beach.
Now what I was most looking forward to was eating a LOT of fresh seafood – what with being on the coast and all. Boy, I was not disappointed!
Besides the restaurants and great dinners, there were the other food stops that also are required for vacation. First, Lori really missed her Keurig – so I did have to make several runs to the local coffee joint right on the front corner of Coligny Plaza. Java Joe’s is one of the places I had found on our previous trips when I was sent out for breakfast. The big difference being there in July rather than November….it’s a LOT more crowded. One morning I came in and the line filled up almost the entire inside. All for a Mocha, non-fat with no-whip (At least that’s what I was told to get – remember, I don’t drink coffee….). One morning, Lori came along – and wouldn’t you know, minimal line that day….oh well….
One other place we love in Coligny Plaza is the French Kiss Bakery. If I went to Java Joe’s, then a trip to the French Kiss was just automatic. They make some of the best pastries we’ve had – Carly loves their Chocolate Croissants. I love almost everything else. They have wonderful desserts as well, which I almost went for at breakfast, but we came back one afternoon since we hadn’t been eating nearly enough.
Now what’s a vacation at the beach without a little ice cream? Not as good as a vacation with a LOT of ice cream. Our favorite place to get some frozen stuff was actually a Gelato shop not far from us in the Village of Wexford shopping center. This was another place I had found during our November trips – which Lori always questioned because it was too cold to eat cold stuff….nope, never too cold!
So we made “several” stops at Pino Gelato. I especially liked the two scoops with Sea Salt Caramel and Dark Chocolate Gelato. There were just way too many wonderful looking flavors to choose from – but I limited myself to only two at a time.
Another place that Lori and I visited was the Island Winery for a afternoon “Happy Hour Tasting.” I was really surprised to find out there is actually a winery on Hilton Head Island. One of the shops we visited in Harbourtown carried a small selection of the wines and the clerk told us about the winery. She also told us she had a number of customers that come back to buy the wines year after year.
We looked them up and they had an afternoon guided tasting with snacks that looked interesting. Since we were celebrating all things July (My Birthday and Wedding Anniversary), one night we got the girls dinner and took it back to the Condo and Lori and I headed out alone. Since we’ve visited many wineries and I was still struggling with where the grapes were on Hilton Head, we decided to go to the Happy Hour Tasting. We learned that where you visit is only part of the winery – the tasting, barrel and storage area. The actual winery was in a second building behind the one we visited. We learned that they shipped in the grapes from other places and they made very small batches of their wines. Unfortunately, they only had stock of a few wines when we visited and a number of the wines we were told to try were out of stock for the moment. (When we were sitting in the barrel room, I did see several barrels labeled with wines I would rather have tried.) While the wines we tried were interesting, none of them were ones we would bring home. It was a great place to visit just from the novelty (And as we learned later, the Hilton Head Brewery is around the corner and also gives tours).
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay on Hilton Head and after we got back, found out that a number of other friends had either just been or were going soon – and all of them were staying right around Coligny.
I’m out of room for this week, so I will write about the fantastic seafood and meals we had next week.
So, if you always head to the Florida Coast for the beach, consider a trip to Hilton Head sometime. From Huntsville, it’s about a 7 1/2 hours driving (as long as you don’t get stuck in Atlanta traffic). The scenery, things to do and the food are all worth going for!