Hilton Head Island... Disney Style
I love road trips so if nothing else, I hoped to have a fun drive and spend some relaxing time just laying around doing not much of anything. Little did we know what awaited us.
We left Thursday after work, drove until about 30 minutes from South of the Border and found a hotel to crash before finishing the last 3 hours to Hilton Head. Friday was an easy drive to the island though the first impression was of Bluffton (or Bluff-ghanistan as Hilton Head Island folk like to call it), the town that used to be 1 square mile and has mushroomed to 55 square miles of outlets, luxury car dealerships, restaurants, and private golf communities. We were not impressed.
Crossing over the bridge however was another thing all together. At first glance, it felt like a scene out of "The Stepford Wives" but quickly calmed down to just being pretty and green and manicured. Lots of gated communities, all signage has to be small and unobtrusive, and plenty of old trees covered in Spanish moss. And yes, lots of golf courses.
Arriving at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort was entertaining as it's on a little island of it's own adjacent to a marina and shopping area. We thought we were in the wrong place at first but no, there was the signs directing us to keep going, we were almost there. Check in was easy and of course we were greeted with the lovely, "Welcome home!" from the cast members.
Wanna see where we stayed?
Home (aka our room). The balloons were attached to a card from the check-in cast members wishing me a happy birthday! And my name was on TV, listed among the other DVC resort celebrations going on during my stay!
Part of our balcony. The balcony across has a picnic bench on it because it's a larger room.
The boardwalk in the back of the resort. The tide is out so there's no water to see. This place gets 8 foot tides! When the water goes out, it goes out.
The campfire pit is shaped like a Mickey. How could it not?
My most favorite tree. As a little girl I was a notorious tree climber. The resort was full of old trees just begging to be scrambled up but this one, my tree, I wanted to figure out how to take home with me. It's just stunning!
Remember I said I don't play golf? Well I played a round of golf each day to be official. Mind you it was miniature golf but I think that counts. Don't you? We ate at some fabulous restaurants but how could we not. This island has over 150+ restaurants to chose from.
Two highlights from the trip were getting to bicycle on the beach. Yes folks, the way the tides work and the composition of the sand, you can bicycle on the actual beach and we did. It was a blast! You can get from one end of the island to the other that way. Just watch out for little kids who are so tickled with the shell they're running to show mom and dad that they don't notice you pedaling right at them. The whole island is set up for bicycling and with it predominately flat, it's an easy and enjoyable time.
The other was typical Disney magic. On the way back from our island bicycling we stopped off at the DVC beach house to check it out and relax a bit. Sitting at the pool bar we struck up a conversation with Carol, an outstanding cast member who had us laughing as well as learning about all sorts of interesting island facts. She asked us if we had any plans the following day and we told her that other than our nature excursion to Pinckney Island refuge in the morning, we were basically just winging it. She told us about her favorite jazz club, The Jazz Corner, that on the last Sunday of the month has a 3-6pm Dixieland Jazz happy hour that wasn't to be missed. Nor were the excellent desserts. So we figured why not and while walking to the little club the next day, who should we spy but Carol heading there too. She invited us to sit with her and her husband and they'd show us a great time. Boy did they!
The place was jumping as we walked in but we were able to get a good table in the middle of it all. The music was outstanding, the company was hilarious, the drinks were stiff (Phew!) and the raisin maple carrot cake Bryan and I shared was sinfully good. If you get to Hilton Head Island and it's the last Sunday of the month, don't walk, run to this amazing place. I don't know what it's like in season, but we had to laugh when we realized we were the youngest people in the club. No one seemed to care. Actually it seemed to give everyone an excuse to show off. The end the time with a rollicking' rendition of "When The Saints Go Marching In" that turned into a second line, dancing around and between tables. With colorful umbrellas and all! And of course one of the ladies dancing handed me an umbrella and had me up there dancing away. I looked around on my second or third pass when I realized they'd gotten Bryan up there too and he was hamming it up for the crowd, flipping around and balancing his umbrella on his finger tip. I think the second drink might have helped too. LOL!
Will we be back? You betcha! And for a week next time with our own bikes in tow and our dancing shoes on. Anybody wanna come along?