Sleep Inn Charleston Review – July 19, 2008

Well, it was bye-bye Hilton Head; hello Charleston. The sad day finally arrived after a very event-filled week; we had to check out. We made room reservations at the Sleep Inn of Charleston, SC. Only about 100 miles away, we decided to make a day-trip out of it.

Sleep Inn of Charleston – Hotel Review 1524 Savannah Hwy (US 17 S)
Charleston, SC, US, 29407
Phone: (843) 556-6959
Fax: (843) 556-1187
Website: Click Here

Address:

Booking: I booked this hotel online at Hotels.com. This worked out alright, but we aware, they take the money immediately, rather than waiting for you to pay after your stay. My rate was $115/night and my in-laws were able to get theirs for $112/night. The hotel’s website is HERE.

Check-in: I found the lady at the front desk very pleasant and informative. She asked if we had plans for the evening in Charleston and if she could make recommendations. We welcomed her input and found her info helpful. In addition, she gave us coupons for some restaurants in the area. We informed her we planned on doing a ghost tour in Charleston and if she recommended one. She said she never goes on those tours, “I have enough spooks at my house,” she said.

Since my in-laws made reservations just the day before, rather than when I made mine earlier this month, we weren’t guaranteed that their room would be near ours. The lady made arrangements for us to be almost right across each other.

The Room: Our immediate impression was that it was clean, but had seen some wear in its short life of what looked like about 2 years old. There was a overpowering smell of a “hotel” that maybe at one time allowed smoking, but now no longer does. The smell was readily apparent, but once it cooled off, the smell tended to fade. The beds and linens were clean and comfortable. Interestingly, they had no tub, but one huge shower that sprayed copious amounts of water. For a pool, they shared the pool with the Best Western next door.

Only complaint I really have was not relative to the hotel itself. The guests in the room above us were quite loud and obnoxious at 3 a.m. After enduring what sounded like a 400 lb. man and an annoying idiot bouncing on the squeaking bed non-stop, I made a phone call to the front desk. The clerk was very, very helpful and understanding. She said she would do what she could. A few moments later all the noise stopped and I returned to peaceful sleep.

Breakfast: Was about a 3-star out of 5. They had doughnuts, waffles, cereal, and all the other customary ingredients of a continental style breakfast.

Overall Impression: I would certainly stay here again, but hope in the mean time I can arrange it to do so minus the annoying occupants we endured. Hopefully too, they do something about the pre-mature wear on their walls and carpet. The rating I give this out of 5 stars is about a 3.5, especially for $115 price I paid.

Charleston’s Highlights
I’ll write about Charleston’s highlights in another posting. There are definitely a couple of things you won’t want to miss when going there.

Hilton Head Beach Mangold Family Pics – July 18, 2008

We just barely beat the storm that blew in to get some of these pictures. A lady on the beach was kind enough to snap our group pics. I thought the white shirts and blue jeans were a classy way for everyone to dress to get these shots. The colors seemed to pop against the sand and the water. The pics of us with the resorts in the background were taken in the dunes just above the beach. You can’t see them, but our feet are getting eaten alive by biting ants! And, if it looks like our eyes are closed in some of these shots, they probably are, the sun was so bright in our eyes, we squinted alot. Shortly after these pics, we had to race back to our villa to avoid getting soaked!

 

Hilton Head Island Vacation (Deep Sea Fishing) – July 18, 2008

Deep Sea Fishing
The in-laws took Nathan and Katelyn deep sea fishing today. They got up around 7 and were at the dock by 8 a.m. The captain’s name was “Chip” and he was quite reasonable. He took the 4 of them on a 4 hour fishing trip for $400.00. The kids had a blast. Katelyn mostly just took pictures, but Nathan and Don (my father-in-law) both caught a total of 7 sharks! In fact, Nathan hooked a 200 lb. Hammerhead Shark that was about 6 ft. in length. This was the first one of the season according to the captain. They were unable to fully bring the shark into the boat because the line snapped when the shark swam beneath the keel of the boat and snapped the line. They did get a good look at it though. Nathan was naturally just beaming with pride! If you’re going to do deep sea fishing we whole-heartedly recommend Captain Chip see his website here.  His number is (843) 290-0371. While the kids were away with the in-laws, Shan and I headed back to Coligny Plaza, and a few other shops around town while the kids were gone with the in-laws. This has been truly one of the more relaxing vacations we’ve ever taken.

Time to Start Packin’
As much as we hated to start to, we had to start packing our things up for the drive-out tomorrow. We have made every attempt on this trip to try and not rush the vacation away. We started out the vacation with the mindset that we were going to take it slow so that we could enjoy it, and not be able to say, “man that vacation went by fast.” So far, we’ve been able to do just that. The pace is so much slower here in the south which helped a great deal. For the first day or so, we had to check our selves to not fall into that northern mindset of rush, rush, rush!

Hilton Head Island Vacation – July 16, 2008

Putt-Putt and Shopping – Since my injury prevents me from playing real golf, and since I have endured watching some poorly executed tee shots from our deck, I have had the itch to try my hand at golf. Unfortunately, putt-putt is as close as I’ll get for a while. We found a great place on William Hilton Parkway, near our villa called Legendary Golf. This plays unlike any putt-putt course you’ve ever been to. Each hole is set up and contoured just like a miniature golf hole. There are bunkers, water hazards, roughs, and flags at each hole. The total price for our family was $34.00, but worth every penny. Interestingly enough, each tee included a scripture about the gospel; very inspirational, educational, and recreational all in one. This will likely become one of our Hilton Head Haunts when we return.

Outlets – There are several outlets in Hilton Head, two of which are Tanger Outlets and the kids love going to them as do we. We didn’t spend a lot of money, but enjoyed walking around looking for bargains. Nate and I bought a pair of tennis shoes at the Famous Footwear Shoe Outlet, located at Hilton Head Village 1460 Fording Island Road, Suite 240, Bluffton, SC 29910 Phone: (843) 836-3304. I bought a pair of K-Swiss for me and a pair of Hurley’s for Nate. Our bill came to $60 for 2 pair of designer shoes. My shoes are so comfortable to walk in, even with the brace and my support sock.

My Reading Material – The Innocent Man by John Grisham – There was a lot of leisure time being at the villa so I took advantage of that by reading a book by John Grisham called the Innocent Man, which is a true story about a small town police force and small-time prosecuting attorney in Ada, Oklahoma, that wrongfully brought about the conviction of several innocent men, one of which was sentenced to die by lethal injection. This was a superbly written novel, that reads more like fiction and the reader will be amazed at how corrupt the judicial system can be. If you’re a supporter of the death penalty, this will make you second guess your logic.

Shipyard Plantation – Galleon Golf Course – My favorite place to read was on the deck in view of the 6th hole of our resort’s Galleon Golf Course location in the Shipyard Plantation. Here is a VIDEO of a flyover of the golf course. Interestingly enough, there were several botched tee shots that found there way on the very deck I was reading on, many others hit some of the homes across the fairway from us as well. Be very careful when reading or enjoying time on the deck. If you hear the tee shot, be watching for the ball!

The Weather – The weather was forecasted to be thunderstorms everyday. We ran into some weather off and on, but nothing that took away from our trip. One night the thunder and lightening was deafening, unlike any I had ever experienced. The next day, there were tree limbs and such blown in the roadway and bike paths, but all in all, it sounded much worse than it was. There is a tropical storm (later turned hurricane) in the middle of the Atlantic called Bertha that is causing a bit of a raucous with the beaches, but nothing that prevented us from enjoying the water. The waves were a little more rough and the weather man warned against rip currents that actually were blamed for 3 deaths on the New Jersey Coastline.

Hilton Head Island Vacation – Tuesday 7/15/08

Rodger Dale & Shan at Harbor Town Light July 2008

Harbor TownThe kids wanted to spend as much time as they could at the beach, so more often than not, that’s where they were today. Shannon and I wanted to see the local lighthouse at Harbor Town which was just a short drive from our villa. There were many small shops and a quaint little harbor, but the view of the harbor, from the top of the lighthouse was breath-taking. I was able to negotiate the 114 steps up and was it ever worth it. Every few steps, there was a landing where you could read about the history of the island, which provided me with an opportunity to take a break while making the climb with my cane.

18th Hole of the Sea Pines Resort Golf Course from the Harbor Town Light Look-out Photo by Rodger Mangold

There was a small fee to gain access for the day to the Sea Pines Resort where the lighthouse was located ($5.00/day/car) and another fee for going up into the lighthouse ($3.00/person). The views were not only of the harbor, but of the ocean, and the 18th hole of the Sea Pines Resort. You can view the web cam HERE to see almost the entire area surrounding the lighthouse.

Murphy’s Fish ‘n’ Chips – One of my favorite dishes of all time is fish and chips. When reading up on some of the local flavor in Hilton Head I stumbled upon an ad for Murphy’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. Mr. Murphy states in his ad that he’s from Ireland and serves authentic Irish cuisine including fish and chips. I was immediately “hooked.” So for lunch, Shannon and I head to Murphy’s and were the only people there. In fact, Murphy was the gent that waited on us. True to his ad, he was in fact an Irishman, and his fish and chips did not disappoint. Made with cod fillets, they were scrumptious. He tended to our every whim. He took our order, cooked, served it, visited with us some, and was very pleasant. He kept smiling a “wee” smirk. I think he was tickled that I told him we were putting his fish and chips to the test.

The place was a bit small, and more pub than restaurant. We were the only guests there so it was quaint and quiet. We enjoyed visiting with Mr. Murphy and watching his feed from the UK of a soccer tournament while we ate. Plus, in the background he was playing Irish/Celtic music. I know we were in Hilton Head Island, but for a few moments we felt like we were in Ireland. Murphy says he appeals to a smaller crowd and is considered a stepping stone to larger restaurants and pubs in the area. He doesn’t mind he said, it keeps the atmosphere more family friendly. Incidently, our bill with (2) meals and (2) iced teas came to about $22.00.

Salty Dog Café – Later we took the kids to the Salty Dog Café where we had some ice cream and took in some of the sights. We were told, anyone that goes to Hilton Head Island, MUST go to the Salty Dog. It was a quaint outdoor café with a souvenir/general store. The ice cream was excellent, but a little on the costly side. There is a webcam here as well that is located next to the thermometer in the café. There are two red-painted foot prints to stand on to be in view of the webcam. In addition to the Salty Dog Café, there is a Salty Dog T-shirt Outlet. The kids chose to pass up on the T-shirt or any of the souvenirs.

Hilton Head Island Vacation – Monday 7/14/08

Tourist Nightmare ALERT – What I am about to describe is a pure tourist nightmare, and consider this a warning. We stopped by a “visitor center” that was actually a disguise for a rental property company that lures you into listening to their sales pitch for “90 minutes,” as the try to entice you to by into a “time-share-type” of plan that would enable you to stay at any resort within their catalog. I did not want anything to do with going to this meeting, but they promised us $100/couple for listening to the plan. We took it with the intention of being able to put the money toward a deep-sea fishing trip for Nathan, Katelyn, and my in-laws. MISTAKE!

The whole presentation wound up taking almost 3 hours, the didn’t want to give us the $100 when we were explicitly told that’s what we would get. Actually, if you figure, we should have been given $200/couple since they took 3 hours of our time instead of the promised 90 minutes. The guy would just not take no for an answer. Finally, Shannon had to get out-right rude, as did I, to get him to just cut us a check and let us go! We weren’t even interested in the plan, we just wanted the cash. I know this guy had to make his living too, and he did a great job of explaining the plan, but honestly, how many times, and how many different ways can you tell a guy NO? FYI the name of the property group was Spinnaker.

Coligny Plaza Shops – A tourist trap that is a must for any visitor to Hilton Head is Coligny Plaza. There are tons of small shops, ice cream stores, a True Value Hardware Store, a souvenir shops, restaurants, and even a Piggly Wiggly! We had ice cream at the “Ice Cream Cone” shop. Katelyn had her hair braided “corn row” style at “Hair and Company.” Nathan and Katelyn both bought sand-dollars and star fish at the “Shell Shop.”

Hilton Head Island Vacation – Sunday 7/13/08

Getting Around Town – Our first order of business, once food was taken care of, as with anywhere we go for the first time, is to familiarize ourselves with the area. Thanks to our Delphi NAV200 GPS we were able to quickly get to where we wanted to go. In addition to the GPS my phone, the Blackberry Curve 8830 from Verizon Wireless, is equipped with GPS, call VZ Navigator. The VZ Navigator was especially helpful in finding area restaurants, stores, and attractions.

Bike Rides – Our bikes were indeed delivered as promised by Patriot Bike Rentals of Hilton Head Island. They were excellent bikes for getting around the resort and getting to the beach. That was just about our first order of business, trying out the new bikes and seeing the beach. I was a little worried that with my injured ankle that riding a bike would prove too much. My doctor gave me the approval so I made the attempt and I am glad I did. I was able to get around fantastic on the bike. There was a short distance that I had to walk the bike to the actual beach, which proved challenging on the softer sand, but once I was on the packed sand, it was exhilarating riding the bike along the beach with the waves crashing to the shore.