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!

July 5, 2008 – Smoky Mountain Knife Works then on to Hilton Head

We woke with the anticipation of officially heading towards the thrust of our vacation this year: Hilton Head Island. We woke to showers in hopes they would taper off by the time our started down the road. Now, no trip to Sevierville, TN is complete without stopping by the Mecca of all knife stores Smoky Mountain Knife Works 2320 Winfield Dunn Parkway Sevierville, TN 37876 Tel. 865-453-5871.

We initially made a trip there and spent roughly 2 hours, but we had to make one more pilgrimage there. Nathan wanted a knife with an “assist-open” feature. Typically, there is a spring in the mechanism that enables the user to “flick” the knife with your finger to open it. This is similar to a push-button feature found on switch blades, but is legal in most states. He settled on a Buck knife (about $70.00) and I too got a a couple of new knives. I’m fond of Gerber, SOG, Leatherman, Kershaw, Columbia River, and Buck knives.

  • Nate’s New “Buck Tempest” – See Pic HERE
  • My New “Buck X-Tract” – See Pic HERE
  • Plus several others

On our way out, we were stopped by a camera crew, it looked like a local Channel 10 News (WBIR) crew. They wanted to know if the high gas prices effected our travel plans. Of course, it did impact our trip, but only in that we had to budget extra money to offset the fuel prices. They also asked us how we liked Tennessee and what kind of plans we had. I’m not sure if they’ll air the footage or not, but it was sort of cool being interviewed.

From there we spent about 8 hours getting to Hilton Head Island to check into our villa. I drove all the way with a few stops for lunch, gas, and bathroom breaks. We ran into some weather on the way. We had some difficulty getting into the actual resort area since it wasn’t on the GPS, but all in all it was a good trip. We’re getting about 24 MPG, travelling at about 70 MPH.

Gas prices throughout where we were travelling were from $3.87 up to $4.05. Still beats Michigan’s $4.20.

July 4, 2008 – Mangold Family Vacation

We started our morning with an excellent breakfast at Cracker Barrel (1 of 2 right in Pigeon Forge). From there we went to the outlets yet again for a couple of last minute things. Nathan and I found a place called “Lids” that sells hats. They had this huge contraption right in the middle of the store that was an embroidering machine. This machine for about $10 would add details to just about any hat in the place. We had a blast picking out our hats and customizing them.

We then took the kids to the NASCAR go-carts for the remainder of the day. The price wasn’t too bad, it cost about $25.00 for both of them to ride a couple of times. The wait time was a bit excessive with the holiday crowds, but they walked off the ride with a smile on their face.

We had lunch at Huck Finns. This, to me, is the only place to get catfish in all of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, or Sevierville. The bill was a bit steep, but the meal was well worth it. We each got an entree which includes hush puppies, a sliced onion, pickles, and white beans with ham. I of course ordered catfish. Shannon and Katelyn ordered calabash shrimp. Nathan ordered fried clams. This restaurant serves their drinks in “Mason” jars. This is an old southern tradition that I often even did as a child visiting Mangold’s Grove. While I’ve been down here, I’ve ordered nothing but sweet tea. I even got Nathan hooked!

Thankfully, the weather cooperated. In fact so much so, we enjoyed the fireworks from our hotel lawn. They were about 5 miles away at Patriot Park, but we had an excellent view from where we were.

We surely could have covered more ground in Pigeon Forge had it not been for the miserable traffic AND my bum ankle. I’m good for about 3 hours and then I have to get it elevated. This is the first week I have been able to put weight on the left foot with the help of a cane. So much of this vacation is going to involve taking pain pills, going to the extreme with my foot, taking more pain pills, keeping it iced and elevated.