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 – 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.”

Mangold Vacation 2008

This is one of our most exciting times of the year; VACATION! Each year, with the Lord’s help, we have been able to enjoy a modest vacation away from the hectic pace of life. This year, thankfully, will be no different. Our destinations include the following:

Pigeon Forge, TN: July 3 – 4
Hilton Head Island, SC: July 5 – 11
Charleston, SC: July 12 – 13
Frederick, MD: July 14 – 20


Pigeon Forge
We will be in Pigeon Forge, TN for just a couple of days to celebrate the 4th and to take in some mountain music and air! We booked a reasonable hotel at the Econo Lodge Riverside at 2440 N. Parkway Pigeon Forge TN 37868. It promises to be a great time, in a great location. I was told by the clerk that fireworks are viewable right from the hotel. I will be posting my review of the hotel during our stay. It’s been billed from a 2 to 3 star hotel but several sites. Incidentally, I located this hotel at Kayak.com for a rate of $79.99 (Thu.) and $99.99 (Fri.). This rate includes a non-smoking room with 2-queens with a AAA discount.

Hilton Head Island
We are super excited about this new venture for us. We have never stayed in Hilton Head and have heard many great things about it. Our friends, Pam and Ray Slone, recommended this destination to us. We booked a villa on the island at Resort Rentals of Hilton Head. This was a superb find and very affordable, especially when you can split the price with another family. In our case, my inlaws are going in “halvers” with us. The rate for the week came to $1386.45. Here is a link to the actual unit we will be staying in (LINK). As is the case with the accommodations at our other destinations, I will be posting a review of the unit here.

Charleston
Yet another recommendation from several people, Charleston is an historic destination by the sea. Some have even said, this would be even a better place to stay than Hilton Head. Of course, that remains to be seen. Our accommodations are at Sleep Inn Charleston 1524 Savannah Hwy (US 17 S) , Charleston, SC, 29407 Phone: (843) 556-6959. The rate was a bit more than I really wanted to pay, but not having been to the area, I had to rely heavily on the reviews of former guests at the hotel to determine a clean and safe hotel to stay at. According to Hotels.com this hotel would be recommended by 77% of its guests and is a 2 star hotel. Our rate was $115/night for 2-queens, non-smoking with the AAA Discount. With taxes, the room comes to $132. We typically like to keep it under $100/night, but again, not having stayed there before, we chose to hedge our stay by spending a bit more to ensure we are in a good area and at a good hotel.

Frederick
Of course, if you’re a visitor to this blog, you may have stumbled upon the fact that we have many relatives that live in the Frederick, MD area. Our accommodations here will be with family. Uncle Mike and Aunt Sharon Mangold will be our hosts and we so look forward to seeing them. But no visit to Maryland would be complete unless we frequented my Aunt Yolanda and Uncle Donny Johnson’s home where my Mamaw Dovie lives as well. This leg of our journey will be pure relaxation and lots of quality family time catching up with them. We have not seen them since last July. Way too long for my liking. Here I will visit with Mamaw and show her some of the new pics that my newly discovered cousins were kind enough to share with me.

Gas Prices
A huge crimp in our style this vacation is of course the gas prices. I created a spread sheet that I will be using to track gas prices as I go through the trip. I project our fuel cost for the entire round trip will be between $400 – $500. An actual figure, bar any other long distance trips, is $420. The total miles at 2168, with an average gas price of $4.00/gal. I know this may seem conservative considering gas is now over $4.00/gal in some areas. But, doing a search of gas prices in each area, the average still is around $4.00 with prices ranging from Michigan at $4.17 on down to South Carolina at $3.79/gal. So taking into account mountain driving and flat terrain driving, I estimate our price per mile will be approximately $.19/mile for fuel. I will track it throughout the trip to see how close my estimates are. Gas prices were taken from the AAA website Fuel Price Finder. Mileage and time estimates were made using Google Maps.

GPS
The GPS we will be using is the Delphi Nav200. I purchased this unit last November (2007) for $129 at Sears. It has been a terrific unit that has seldom steered us wrong. I tested this unit in 2007 for our trip to up east in Maine. We used to travel from Bar Harbor, ME through New York, NY to Maryland with excellence results. Just getting through New York sold me on this unit. Granted, there are slimmer and trimmer models on the market, but this unit has proved itself worthy of my demanding qualifications and will accompany us on yet another Mangold Family Vacation.