Sue Holland -- April 2001 -- Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort
In 1998 my grandmother passed away in late September, and since she was my only family living within 1500 miles it left Christmas looking rather depressing. Rather than stay home, and since I'd given up on traveling to the cold frozen north during winter months, I booked us into a studio at Hilton Head for 5 nights over Christmas. We loved it so much I bought more DVC points there the day we returned home, so we could return the same week every year and have enough points to rent a 2 bedroom unit so we could invite friends with us and not have to take time away from our other trips. The only thing I didn't like was the cold damp weather the day it rained. In 1999 we returned over Christmas for 6 nights in a 2 bedroom unit with friends. It was a wonderful trip, but again we had some days of colder than normal weather. I booked for Christmas 2000 - this time without friends, 7 nights in a studio. I had some points left over, and was in the process of buying more, so I decided to book a trip during Chris' spring break, and see what Hilton Head was like in warmer weather! While talking with Darla one night she mentioned she was thinking of going to HH on her son's spring break, and it was the same dates as ours. We ended up deciding to share a 2 bedroom unit for slightly more points than the 2 studios would cost us, since our dates were exactly the same! We've known each other for years, our sons get along well despite the age difference, and we felt comfortable it would be a fun trip. We're independent enough to go our separate ways if one of us wants to do something the other one isn't interested in, but we'll probably do most stuff together - as long as she doesn't try to get me into any Wal-Mart's, lol! She says I won't be able to get her on rollerblades again - so we each have things we refuse to do!
During the December 2000 trip we had record breaking cold weather almost the entire time - which was miserable! I was really glad I had this Spring trip scheduled! I've since canceled plans for December 2001 (will do WDW but not HH) and pushed HH back to spring break 2002. I think I'll be ready to risk the cold weather again in December 2002 (can you tell I plan in advance, lol)! By then hopefully it's like childbirth - the memory fades with time and you're willing to do it again.
When I realized Chris had no school on the Friday before the trip, I decided to add Friday & Saturday at WDW. Normally I'd stay onsite, but I had a bunch of Marriott gift certificates that I'd earned doing rewards programs online, and it was enough to pay for 2 nights at the new Fairfield Inn Marriott Village during Easter weekend - so I booked the room there. It's very convenient to WDW, not more than a few miles from Downtown Disney, but it definitely is not the same as a WDW resort in terms of quality or convenience. We'll have to make do, but I'm glad it's only for 2 nights! It wouldn't be such a big deal if I was traveling solo, but Chris will be dependent on me for transportation when we split up between DisneyQuest and Comedy Warehouse. It's nice to be able to do our own thing at times, and have Disney transportation to get us back to our resort. I think that's an especially important benefit for families traveling with teens who may be planning to go off on their own for part of the time.
This will be the first visit so close to Easter for us. I've heard the horror stories about massively crowded parks, so we'll play it by ear and see how it goes. I have a very low thresh hold of intolerance when it comes to crowds, and staying offsite I cannot go lay by the WDW pools (a perk for DVC members when staying using my points). The best part of the WDW portion of the trip for me will be spending time with friends who live in the area. Leesa & I plan to go to Comedy Warehouse one night, and Nancy is meeting us for lunch on Saturday. The only one missing is Kathy <g> - but hopefully next trip there will be more time (and there won't be any holidays).
Speaking of the Comedy Warehouse, I did not renew my annual pass there when it expired. In fact, I mailed it back to Disney before it expired - following Mark & Layden's departure from the club. Many people wrote letters to Disney expressing concern over what was happening at the Comedy Warehouse, but so far I've not heard of anyone getting a reply. I had a message from Disney one day, stating that one of their representatives would be contacting me in a couple of weeks, and that was 3-4 weeks ago. I keep in touch with a couple of regulars there, and want to see with my own eyes if it's as bad as some of the reports have been. The problem seems to be that there are not enough of the regular actors left to fill every show, and at least one of the new actors has had an extremely difficult time improvising or getting the audience to laugh.
Once at Hilton Head we'll get to meet up with our friends Rich & Deb (richym1 and debkay) from Michigan. They're stopping at HH for a few nights on the way to WDW for Easter week, and will be leaving the day after we get there. They're great people, and a lot of fun. I think Rich wants to compare toys - he, Darla & I all have relatively new digital cameras and they're all different. We've joked with them, calling them "studio trash" since they're staying in a studio rather than the spacious 2 bedroom villa, so we expect they'll spend the evening in our villa! Actually, I think Rich is the one who coined the "studio trash" name years ago, when he had a trip planned in a studio at either OKWR or BVR. We are just kidding though - no offense intended towards anyone.
In December 2000 I was dissatisfied with several little things at the HH resort - things that might not have bothered me if I hadn't been there the previous 2 years when those little things were not a problem. I ran into some cm incompetence a few times - generally cm's were very nice, but they did not seem to have a clue at times. Things like having a fire in the fireplace all the time and warm cider & cookies were slowly disappearing to the point where last trip there was a rarely a fire and only warm cider a couple hours at night, and I think only 1 tray of cookies - not replenished. It's minor stuff, but it was a nice touch and I missed it! I'm most likely going to add more HH points again, but I would like to find out that my experiences last trip were just a fluke - and not a sign of what to expect, so I'm holding off on the purchase until after I return.
The rest of the week we plan to do a lot of bike riding, walking on the beach, swimming, some shopping (mostly the Disney Catalog Outlet) and will eat out each day. I'm hoping it will be warm enough to lay in the sun in a swimsuit on the beach - we'll see! I suggested Chris bring his boogie board, but he's convinced the water will be too cold, and he's probably right. I don't think he's forgotten about the trip when he was around 8-9 years old and we were along the coast of Oregon in June. As a Florida kid, he was used to the water at the beach being well into the 80's but I knew the Pacific in this area was most likely only in the 50's. We were staying on the beach, and of course he wanted to go play in the waves, so I let him put on his swimsuit. He didn't seem to notice the rest of us in jeans & sweatshirts, and he ran right into the water....and let out this SHRIEK when he felt how cold it was! LOL, now he's highly suspicious of my suggesting he go in the water if we're not in Florida <g>!
Finally, I'll spend a little time "working" at Hilton Head. Last year the people at MousePlanet.com approached me asking if I was interested in writing professionally for them. It was a flattering offer, but I did not have the time to take on anything additional, so it never happened. They approached me again in February, checking to see if anything had changed, and after some emails & discussion I decided to go ahead and sign a contract with them. I'll be a columnist there, with the first article appearing on 4/13 and then twice a month from there. I'm working on a series of articles on Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, so I'll want to check on some things and also take some pictures that do not have Christmas decorations in them!
The plans so far...
Fri 4/13: Drive to WDW, c/in Fairfield Inn, MK, DisneyQuest, Comedy Warehouse
Sat 4/14: AK, lunch at Concourse Steakhouse w/Nancy, Epcot, Comedy Warehouse
Sun 4/15: Drive to Hilton Head, meet Darla/Steven, dinner/evening with Rich/Deb & family
Mon 4/16: Relax - bike, rollerblade, beach, eat out
Tue 4/17: Relax - bike, rollerblade, beach, eat out
Wed 4/18: Relax - bike, rollerblade, beach, eat out
Thu 4/19: Relax - bike, rollerblade, beach, eat out
Fri 4/20: Leave HH, Lunch at WDW, Arrive home
DAY 1 - FRIDAY, APRIL 13, 2001:
PLAN: Drive to WDW, c/in Fairfield Inn, MK, DisneyQuest, Comedy Warehouse
ACTUAL: Despite being exhausted (worked 97.5 hours the 2 weeks that ended yesterday and spent the last 4 nights in a row at baseball games) I managed to get us on the road by 6:30 for the boring drive. We arrived at the Boardwalk about 9:15 and parked in the back of the parking lot under a tree to help keep the laptop cool in the trunk. We went to the bus stop and soon an empty Magic Kingdom bus arrived. It barely filled halfway, so the driver went back and stopped at the Yacht Club, then went to the Beach Club before finally going to MK. The construction for Beach Club Villas (new DVC resort) is coming along nicely - they've got multi-levels in place, and the building looks pretty big (I think about 5 stories or so). They had signs at the entrance to both YC and BC advising people that they are not able to accommodate people wanting to park there to go to Epcot, which would be due to them losing a significant portion of the parking lot to the Villas construction.
We got to the MK just as the ferry from TTC was arriving, but luckily we beat the crowd to the turnstile and were inside quickly. It was still before 10am, and the park was noticeably more crowded than I'm used to! There were long lines at everything in Tomorrowland - even the Timekeeper thing. Chris didn't want to bother with Buzz Lightyear, so we used both of our passes to get 2 Fastpasses for me to use on Space Mountain (10:50-11:50). The standby line was 30 minutes at this point. We walked around, but everything in Fantasyland had 30 minute waits so we did not ride anything there. Small World had only a 5 minute wait, but I didn't even ask if he wanted to do that, lol!
We were able to walk right on the Haunted Mansion, and when we came out of the stretch room the ride vehicles had stopped. They got it going again in under 5 minutes, so it was no big deal. Back outside, Chris commented on how hot it was - especially compared to his last trips (Feb & Dec). We stopped in that kitchen store at the HM exit and he got a German chocolate cake lollipop - it actually had a center core of coconut inside. We wandered through Frontierland and I got a small chocolate Mickey truffle at the candy store there. I checked the schedule at Diamond Horseshoe, but the first show was still 20 minutes away and I didn't feel like waiting. We walked around to Adventureland and decided to see the Tiki Birds. It' had been a few years since we'd been in there, and it was pretty cute. Last time we saw it was just after it had been redone.
By now we were in my Fastpass time so we headed back to Tomorrowland. Chris hung out in the arcade while I rode twice - and he somehow got on of the New York state quarters. It was the first one we'd seen. The standby line at Space Mountain was up to 70 minutes now (11am)!! I cannot imagine why those people were willing to stand in a 70 minute line for a 2 minute ride! The wait was also long on Fastpass - it stopped a little ways back before the Fastpass collector, which I'd never seen happen before. I enjoyed the rides, but I think they need to cut down on the number of Fastpasses given - having fewer fastpassers in line will keep it moving faster.
By now it was after 11:30, and we were getting hungry. I thought the chili at Whispering Canyon sounded good, but Chris didn't want to eat there. Since he doesn't come as often as I do, I decided to let him pick a place (within reason, lol) and he chose Cosmic Rays. Ugh - not my favorite place, but I can manage there. The line wasn't too long, and it moved pretty quickly. We shared a single cheeseburger, fries, and an iced cappuccino ($7.90). I was thinking it would be a frozen drink, but it was not - it was simply iced, just like the name implied, lol! Oh well - it was ok, but would have been better frozen. I mostly figured the caffeine would do me good, as I was still exhausted!
After lunch we stopped at the Main Street Bake Shop to pick up a couple pieces of banana nut bread (Chris' idea), then left the MK. We got on the waiting BW bus, and it left right away. For some reason, it drove forward and stopped at the Swan/Dolphin stop and loaded the bus (to standing room only) with those people! When we finally left, the first stop was the Swan. We got off there - couldn't stand the idea of staying on the bus while it made stops at the Dolphin, YC, BC and then finally BW. We walked back to BW from the Swan, which is an easy & pleasant walk.
I decided to go check in to the Fairfield Inn; Chris decided to go to DisneyQuest. I dropped him off there on my way to Marriott Village (exit 27). I checked in, but the room was not ready - and not expected to be ready before 3pm. They'd been sold out last night, and were sold out again tonight. I left the laptop with the front desk people (no shade in the parking lot), grabbed my swimsuit and went out to lay by the pool for a while. The Fairfield pool wasn't too busy, and it's a pretty good size. They've got a spray fountain area, but no slide or anything fancy. I didn't notice any hot tub either, but didn't really look very hard. I got wet, then rested on my lounge chair for a while, and then read part of a magazine. Eventually 2 women came over and sat on a couple of chairs just one chair away from me, and they each lit up a cigarette. It was pretty disgusting, so I quietly picked up my stuff and moved to a different area where I could breathe! About 2:40 I checked on the room - still not ready. I got dressed back in my regular clothes, and got the stuff I'd be bringing to the room, and checked again - still not ready. Finally they had someone from housekeeping check, and it was ready about 3:30. When I went up, I could see the housekeepers still working in the rooms nearby.
The room is basic - but clean & fairly attractive. It's got 2 double beds, an easy chair, desk/table with 2 chairs, 3 drawers and place for the TV & refrigerator in a wall unit thing, and your typical small bathroom. It'll be fine for 2 nights. We're up on the 5th floor, which proved to not be a problem for my stalker Maria at all. I heard a clinking noise, then some tapping - she was out there hammering her rappelling equipment into the side of the building so she could reach my window <g>. She's so resourceful - and found me as soon as I logged on, lol!
I watched the end of General Hospital, talked to Maria, updated today's report, and downloaded the message board stuff for reading later. Since we're only here 2 nights, I'm not going to bother to unpack at all - we can live out of the suitcase! I nibbled on my banana nut bread - Chris will probably eat his in one sitting though! I could see I-4 out my window, and it had bumper to bumper traffic the entire time I was in here. At 5 I drove over to the Premium Outlets to visit Character Premiere. I like this outlet center, but didn't have time to really wander around today. Character Premiere had a pretty good variety, but nothing I needed. Some of the stuff was the same from February. They're still trying to get rid of the 2000 logo merchandise, but it didn't seem to be marked down a second time.
Driving back to go to PI, I was about to pull out onto the road that crosses under I-4 when I suddenly heard a BANG and felt my car shoved forward - the guy behind me had hit me! He was very nice, and very apologetic. He thought I was going, so he went ahead - but the car coming was kind of straddling both lanes so I was waiting for it to pass. I know how the guy felt - I'd been in exactly his spot once and pulled forward thinking the car in front of me was moving, only to hit them! We checked my car - no real damage, thanks to my entire car being plastic (with a metal frame underneath). I was able to wipe the scrapes off my bumper with my finger, and think it'll clean up just fine. The poor guy just kept apologizing - he was a young guy, and a Disney cm. From his costume I'd say he was a bus driver, lol!
I drove to Downtown Disney and parked at PI, arriving around 5:45. Chris & Leesa were due about 6, so I sat on a bench in the shade to wait for them, too tired to wander around. Chris arrived first, so we caught up on what had been going on. One of his teachers is a DVC member, and we'd been IM'ing earlier, so of course Chris wanted to know what he'd said <g>. I was hungry, but it turns out Chris already ate, so I ended up not actually getting any dinner. There just wasn't time later.
Leesa arrived, and her husband Darryl was with her. Since this is Friday night, he came out so that they could get complimentary tickets for both Chris & me. The ticket booth wouldn't open for an hour, and he waited around - which was very nice of him. He went to go talk to some people for a while, and I walked around with Leesa & Chris. As we passed the Rock & Roll Beach Club outside bar, we saw that Debbie from the Comedy Warehouse was the bartender so we talked with her for a while until she got busy. She was one of the first servers at the Warehouse that I got to know, and she's getting married & moving to Ft Lauderdale in a month or so.....another familiar face that won't be there any more.
Chris went off to drive the remote control boats while Leesa & I went to the Jazz Club kitchen to find Nancy. She was able to come out and chat with us for a few minutes. They'd gone to the MousePlanet site late last night or early this morning and Nancy went through my trip reports to find when she started appearing in them to figure out when we'd met, lol! She also learned what the marshmallow thingy is - she's seen it mentioned but started reading after it's description <g>!
By now it was 7pm, so we met up with Chris and Darryl gave us our complimentary PI passes. He left, and the 3 of us got in line at the Comedy Warehouse. The first show featured Jen K, Jen B, Greg, Philip, and new guy Todd. I was very happy that 4 of the 5 were "regulars", and all actors that I like a lot. Actually, I really like ALL of the regulars, lol! The show was pretty good. Greg & Jen B were especially funny in the Schmeopardy skit. Jen was a nun who's an assistant principal at a middle school who's main focus is to keep the kids from having sex, and Greg played some flaming steward on a greyhound bus (like a flight attendant, but on a bus).
As we were leaving, Leesa's phone rang - her date was lost trying to find Disney (she & her husband are separated but still friends), so I gave him directions. Chris & I then went out & got back in line for the 2nd show, while Leesa went to meet her date. On the way up the stairs I ran into Mary & Krista (2 of the "regular" actors), and they said hi. I've not really talked to Krista much, but she knows my face. Mary & I have talked a few times. They're both very good, and I hoped they'd be in the next show. The line was quite long - I checked with cm Jose and they were up to 155 people in line, so I knew there was a good chance we'd still have a front row seat, but it would be way up top. We got in line anyway, and I chatted with him a bit. Further back in line was one of the other regulars - Kim. She's a math teacher at a local community college, and she'd read one of the letters I'd written about Layden's departure and my concerns about the Comedy Warehouse (Leesa had asked if she could send it to her). Kim had also written a letter. We started talking about that stuff, and I invited her to join us. We were seated 2nd row down from the top, but since I wasn't taping the shows tonight the seat didn't really matter. I enjoyed talking with Kim, and after the show we exchanged email addresses - we wish we could think of something that would make Disney respond. I know there have been many letters sent, and she knows of others that I wasn't aware of, yet to our knowledge nobody has received any sort of reply or acknowledgement from Disney, which is a real shame.
This show featured Mary, Krista, Greg, Jen K, and Christine - another great cast! They did the conducted story, with Greg being the winner to wrap up a story about a woman with a mullet. Jen & Mary did a great job on Jen's rock & roll death by DVD. As we were leaving after the show a young man & woman waited for us to come by and asked if I was Sue. I'd noticed him there because he looked familiar to me! I later realized he resembles someone I know from work - but it turns out he reads the trip reports on RADP and I think this was his first time at the Comedy Warehouse. I was glad he got a good cast. We chatted a bit, then left the club. Outside we ran into Greg, and said hi to him. A couple of the actors are doing some other local stuff, and he told us who/what - but unfortunately I won't be around to see them. I think if I was a local here I'd be out every night, lol!
We said goodbye to Kim, and decided not to stay for show 3. The line was really packed solid - there's no way we'd get a seat that wasn't behind a row of people. We wandered around a little while, then left PI to drive back to Marriott Village. We walked through the other 2 hotels - Springhill Suites and Courtyard, but their pool areas looked a lot like ours. The one at the Courtyard was probably the nicest, and was partly inside but mostly outside. They had a hot tub inside, also. Between the Fairfield Inn and the Courtyard they have this "village" area with a bunch of food places (Pizza Hut, Oscar Mayer Deli, TCBY & some others) and outdoor tables. It looked pretty nice.
We headed back to our room and settled in for the night. Chris was asleep by 10:30, but I wanted to finish up the report and get it posted, and respond to some of the email. I'm undecided on whether to head to AK early tomorrow morning, or to just sleep in a bit and go to Epcot (figuring by 10 AK would be jammed so bad you wouldn't be able to move through Harambe). I guess I'm going to have to decide before I turn the lights out tonight! Tomorrow will be our last WDW day, since we're heading for HH early on Sunday.
We did everything on the plan today - plus saw Nancy and went to Character Premiere. The weather was unseasonably warm (90) and the crowds in the MK were what I'd call unbearable if I'd planned to do much park stuff, but it was still a great day. It feels strange to be at the Comedy Warehouse without Mark, Layden, and Matt being there - but it was good to see so many familiar faces are still there. It still feels like a 2nd home, but that might be due to the cast tonight being mostly the regulars.
Miles walked: 5.2DAY 2 - SATURDAY, APRIL 14, 2001:
PLAN: AK, lunch at Concourse Steakhouse w/Nancy, Epcot, Comedy Warehouse
ACTUAL: I got up at 6, deciding that I could rest once we got to Hilton Head. With such a short time here I couldn't see "wasting" the least crowded hours sleeping. Chris was up at 7, and I went downstairs to the restaurant to pick up our complimentary breakfast. I had a nice warm blueberry muffin and 1/2 of a bagel. He had a couple of the muffins and a couple bowls of cereal, and we were out the door by 8. I'd brought the Hot Pot to heat water for cappuccino since Fairfield Inn doesn't provide coffee makers in the room and I didn't want to have to go to the lobby for hot water!
We drove to Animal Kingdom and were parked in the Peacock section - which is pretty far away. I would have thought they'd fill the closer sections first, but I guess not. We rode the tram in, and entered the park easily - the initial crowd had already gone inside so the lines were not very long. As per my usual routine, we headed directly to Harambe and picked up a couple of Fastpasses for the safari (9-10am). With 35 minutes to wait, we walked to the gorilla section of the Pangani Forest Trail. Sadly, none of the bachelors were out, but 4 or 5 of the ones on the family side were pretty active. We stayed watching them for quite a while, hoping the ones on the other side would show up, but they never did. We wandered around Harambe a while until it was 9am, then did our safari.
The driver was a man named Clay, and he was the best one I'd ever experienced. Rather than sounding like he was merely reciting a script, he sounded more realistic. He did a great job pointing out the animals and even throwing in facts that I hadn't heard before. When we got to the poacher chase part, even that was fun - rather than seeming pretty lame <g>! One other thing that impressed me - after giving the spiel in the beginning about remaining seated at all times, when he saw someone get out of their seat he brought the truck to a complete halt and told them to please sit down. It only had to happen twice, and the rest of the guests realized the rules really do apply to them, lol! We were in the front row, but anyone sitting behind an idiot who decides he is going to stand up to take a picture would have their view blocked, so I'm glad Clay paid attention and kept people sitting down safely.
We were finished with AK at this point, so we drove over to Epcot and walked right into that park. They must be desperate to sell those Leave a Legacy tombstone-looking things <g>, since they've reduced the price from $35 to $25. Personally, I wouldn't do it for $5 - but maybe more people will do it now that they've knocked $10 off the price. I'd be irritated if I'd paid $35 though and now people were getting it for almost 30% less!
The tip board said Living With the Land had a 15 minute wait, so we decided to do that. I'm not sure the wait was really that long, either - maybe more like 10. They've got it set up for Fastpass now, but we just did standby. Afterwards, Chris went to Ice Station Cool for some soda while I waited for him outside the exit and watched the end of the Kristos' performance. When he came out, he wanted to go to the exhibits in Test Track, so we headed over there. The posted wait for the standby line was 2 hours! I couldn't believe anyone would stand there knowing it was 2 hours, but I guess they have their reasons....which I obviously don't understand. Most of the people in line did not have small children, so the single rider line would have worked great for them. From the time I started entering the single rider line to the time I met Chris in the exit area it was not more than 15 minutes total! They put me in a car with a (young) grandmother, her 3 granddaughters, and her boyfriend. The youngest girl was pre-school age, and sat in the back row between me & grandma - and after she got in the car decided she was scared. She cried through the entire ride, scared of everything. I felt bad for the girl, but also sympathized with the grandmother. When it was over, I was glad to get away from there. Chris was lusting after some sporty car from Cadillac - I think a prototype thing, not a current model. He'll need to do very well in school to someday afford that kind of car - and Nancy told him the same thing when he told her about the car at lunch, lol!
We stopped in MouseGear - Chris likes to watch the metal thing that small balls travel on (hard to describe - it's kind of like a vertical maze, and the balls drop and cause things to happen) and I browsed at the merchandise. I'm not impressed with any of the merchandise offered this year so far. I'm pretty limited anyway in terms of size, but right now it seems the stuff in my size is limited to things that I consider either ugly or much too juvenile looking for someone my age. Perhaps it's just as well - I don't *need* any more clothes. It's always fun to look though!
We left Epcot, filled the gas tank, and drove to the Contemporary. The guard there was very friendly, and simply showed me where to park when I said we were having lunch at the Concourse. He didn't check to see that I had a priority seating, and he didn't give me a 3 hour parking pass. We had about 30 minutes to kill, so we walked around outside in the pool/marina area. I always enjoy coming to this pool (when staying on property as a DVC member), I think because the deck area is so big & spread out it doesn't feel as crowded as other pools. We went back inside and rode the elevator up to the 15th floor and went out on the observation deck. Normally when we've been up there it's been night time, so it was fun to see the view during the day. Chris used the telescope machine up there and enjoyed the level of detail he could see.
At 12:30 we met Nancy down on the 4th floor, and were seated at the Concourse Steakhouse right away. It wasn't busy in there at all. She & Chris each ordered the steak burger, and I asked them to make me a 1/2 portion of the Caesar salad. Their burgers were both cooked a little more than they should have been, but still tasted good. My salad was ok - last time was the first time I'd ordered it here, and I wasn't thrilled with it. Now that I've been not thrilled by it two times in a row, it's time for me to switch to something else. The food was secondary anyway - it was nice to spend time catching up with Nancy. Next month we'll plan a day by the pool sipping frozen alcoholic drinks, since I'll be staying on DVC points and can go to Stormalong Bay! The lunch check before 20% DDE discount and tip was $32.78. After paying the bill, we left the Contemporary. Nancy headed to work at PI, and Chris & I went to the Marketplace at Downtown Disney. He was hoping to find a lollipop like he'd gotten at MK yesterday, so we checked out Gourmet Pantry. They didn't have them, though. He headed off to DisneyQuest, with a $10 Cheesecake Factory gift certificate I'd given him to pay for his dinner, and instructions on when/where to meet me later tonight.
I spotted a DVC friend (Arlene) who's working at the Gourmet Pantry, and stopped to talk with her until guests started coming over to buy stuff. Usually when I come through it's when she's not working, so it was good to see her today. We talked about Comedy Warehouse, and she's noticed a definite difference since the 3 guys left - which is what I was afraid of. As somewhat of a regular there I can overlook them having a bad night from time to time, but a guest who's spending a lot of money for an infrequent trip to WDW deserves to see great shows no matter what night it is, or which actors are working. That first impression is so important, and that is the basis for the guest to decide whether to ever return to the Comedy Warehouse.
After leaving Gourmet Pantry I swung by Ghiradelli briefly, then walked through World of Disney before driving back to Fairfield Inn to relax in the room. As I got to Crossroads, I noticed the traffic lights were not working. Surprisingly, the drivers were very civilized, and were taking turns as if the lights were working. All the other lights I came to were also out, yet there were no cops directing traffic and no big traffic jams. When I went into the hotel I could see they had no electricity either. I climbed the stairs to the 5th floor, which is no big deal, and went into the room. When I called to see when they expected electricity again, they told me at least 1.5 hours!! Yuck - I'd purposely left WDW in order to update the report and get online. Since we're leaving early in the morning, I don't want to be up late writing an entire day's report. So, I grabbed the laptop and drove "home" to OKW. One of the bell services guys who recognizes me asked when we'd gotten in...so I didn't lie - I told him Friday <g>. He said it must have been late - guess he worked Friday. I told him we were just up for 2 nights on our way to Hilton Head (not mentioning the Fairfield Inn) and we chatted for a few minutes before I went into the main building. The lobby area was full of people waiting for their rooms to be ready (it was about 3pm), but there was a chair near an electrical outlet so I sat there with the laptop on my lap and updated the report. Just before I left, a group of 4 or so demon children came in unsupervised and kept turning the volume of the TV up as far as it would go, then shouting/screaming over it. Ugh - thank goodness they got bored eventually and went off to wreak havoc elsewhere.
About 4:15 I packed up the laptop and drove back to Fairfield Inn. Happily, they had electricity again! Leesa & I finalized our plans for tonight, then I uploaded some pictures to Photopoint (www.photopoint.com , then to see my albums enter email@example.com - the pics are in the album called WDW/Hilton Head 2001). I do plan to keep the Photopoint account, and need to remember to set up the payment after I return from the trip. I don't have the time or knowledge to set up web pages, so the $10/year is well worth it for me to not have to worry about it. If there's some other site that remains free, then I've got almost 13 months to make the switch, rather than rushing around now.
At 6:20 I was out the door to go meet Leesa at PI. She got there shortly after I did, and we were both able to enter the Island using her pass. It's good for her and a guest, and her guest can be a different person every night. I'd never heard of this pass until she told me about it, but it makes a lot of sense. We got right in line for the 1st show, and soon I saw the family from Ft Pierce (Sue, Dan & Kelly) come over and join the party behind the people behind us. Eventually they saw us, and I went back to talk with them - they'd been wondering if I was up here (they don't read the trip reports or any message boards) but hadn't seen me. We caught up on some Comedy Warehouse stuff, and then it was time to go inside. I always enjoy seeing them - they're really nice people.
Leesa & I got the perfect seats for this show (without even counting the number of people in line, lol). The cast consisted of Joy, Krista, Jen B, Brian, and Philip. I was glad for the chance to see Joy over here for my first time. She'd worked at Adventurer's Club for quite a while, mostly as Gabby the maid. She opened this show, and seemed very comfortable and confident. This was the only night I saw her work here, but based on this limited experience I liked what I saw and think she could do well. She's got a certain "attitude" - if she comes up with something that wasn't very funny, she can quickly turn that into a funny moment with an expression or some other quip. That's so much better than coming out with something that doesn't go over well and then just standing there watching it die!
The highlight of this show was the Cliché game - where they torture an actor who was sent outside while a guest gives a never-heard of cliché or saying. Everyone was suggesting stuff that had been heard before, so as a last resort they called on Leesa. I say last resort only because if the actors know you, they generally won't call on you - it's better to get suggestions from the general audience rather than any friends or regulars. Her saying was "I'm not vertically challenged, I'm leg-room gifted" and Philip was chosen to be tortured. He's excellent at figuring these out, and watching him being frustrated by the clues is so entertaining for the rest of us, lol!
After the show we hung around talking to Jen B for a while, then went out & got in line for the next show. This time Philip & Brian were out, and Mary & Todd came in to join Krista, Joy and Jen B. This show wasn't as good as the first one. Todd is new, and although he might be an excellent actor in a scripted role, the improv doesn't seem to come very easily. The Ft Pierce family commented that the shows they saw a week or so ago and also earlier this weekend weren't as good as they used to be - that seems to be what I'm hearing from just about everyone.
During the show they did a really strange thing. The show always starts with the keyboard player doing a warm-up thing, then the actors come out and do 4-5 games. Tonight we had Carol do the keyboard thing, then the phone game, then another game, and then the actors went backstage and Carol did another keyboard thing. The stage was dark, and although Carol is absolutely wonderful, talented, and a valuable member of the cast - we're (speaking for Leesa & myself) there to see the 5 actors doing improv. After she was done (& she was great, as always), Krista came back out on stage - it felt like the show was starting again, it was so disconcerting! We didn't stick around after the show, so I didn't ask anyone what's up with this.
Outside, we ran into the Ft Pierce family and talked with them a little while. Leesa was headed back into line for show 3 - she's planning to see all 5 shows tonight, but I needed to leave PI to meet Chris. We all said goodbye, and I'll see Leesa at PI next month when I come up for 4 nights. Chris was right on time, waiting for me outside PI. I thought about getting a chicken empanada, but the line at Bongos was much too long so we just left. Back at the Fairfield Inn for the last night he watched some TV and finished his banana nut bread while I worked on the report and ate an apple.
We did everything in the plan again today, and had a nice day. I could have lived without the power outage, but it got me back to OKW for an hour or so, which is somewhere I hadn't planned to be this trip. We're planning to leave early in the morning for the long drive to Hilton Head, eager to start that portion of the trip!
Miles walked: Did not wear the pedometer today - probably 5-7 miles walked.
DAY 3 - SUNDAY, APRIL 15, 2001:
PLAN: Drive to Hilton Head, meet Darla/Steven, dinner/evening with Rich/Deb & family
ACTUAL: I was up at 5, got Chris up at 6, and went downstairs to check out. They don't do express checkout here, which is kind of strange. My balance was only $.24, so it was almost as painless as a DVC stay, lol! I picked us up breakfast - the same stuff as yesterday, and we were on the road at 7am. Since it's Sunday, and a holiday, traffic was very light. We arrived at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort just before noon - excited to be back! There did seem to be more traffic than we're used to in December, and also it's a whole lot warmer right now! Chris was commenting that it almost didn't feel right to be here without heavy jackets and ice on the boardwalk!
There was a wait to check in, since 2 parties were ahead of me and they only had 1 guy working. The front desk here is so much smaller than at the WDW resorts. The cm was saying today is a very busy day, with 60 rooms checking out and 61 checking in (out of 103 rooms total). Chris went to Big Murgie's Den while I checked in, and immediately got into a game of pool with a man & his son. The villa wasn't ready, so we got our keys and paperwork and then walked over to the bike rental window. You can rent bikes by the hour, day, or length of stay, and since I'd already talked to Darla beforehand, I knew we would all be doing the family length of stay deal (for members it's $50 for the first 2 bikes and $10 for each additional bike - for nonmembers it's $10 more than members). We ordered the 4 bikes, and picked up mine and Chris', along with baskets and combination locks. We rode around the resort, and across the street into Palmetto Dunes. Since it was getting close to 1pm and Darla was hoping to arrive around 1, we didn't continue all the way to the Beach Club. Instead, we turned around and went back to Live Oak Lodge (the main building) to wait for them.
We played a couple games of pool, and then needed to get the starving Chris something to eat. There's a takeout window next to the shop, called Tide Me Over, so we rode our bikes over there. We'd never gotten anything from here before, but the prices were reasonable and the menu sounded pretty good. Chris got a cheeseburger & fries for $6.36 and raved about how wonderful it was. I tried a small section, and agreed it was pretty good. We sat out on the deck overlooking the marsh, and Chris commented "It feels like we're home now". LOL - that's how I feel about OKW, but I like being here, too. After we finished the burger we rode back to Live Oak Lodge for more waiting <g>. Chris called to talk to his dad, and I set up the laptop to catch up on the trip report...to save from doing it later when Darla & Steven were here. Unfortunately, my beeper only works in Florida, so they have no way to reach us when they arrive if we're not hanging around here. On the plus side, I got all caught up with the message board posts I'd downloaded <g>.
About 2:45 they still had not arrived, so I called Rich's room to see if they were around. They'd left a great message on their voice mail, so I was able to determine where they were - but also knew they would be ready to head back to the resort shortly. I left a message for Darla at the front desk, then went for another bike ride with Chris. We rode over through Shelter Cove and then to the mall before returning to the resort. When we got back I spotted Darla's van in the parking lot, and Chris saw them walking nearby. It turns out the drive from Washington DC was much further than she'd thought - by more than 2 hours! We went over to the bike rental window to pick up their bikes, then rode around the resort for a little bit.
We sent Chris in to check on the room, and he came out to say it would be ready in 10 minutes. We hung around out front, and soon Rich & his family drove up. They'd had a great day at the beach house, and LOVE this resort. They headed up to shower & change for dinner, and we got our room number and went to move in. We got the non-smoking top floor request met, but didn't get the marsh view. However, our view is great - trees block us from seeing most other buildings. I mainly just didn't want to be overlooking the pool (too noisy for me) or on the other side of the pool (too far from the main building). Most of the buildings here are non-smoking. I took several pictures of the 2 bedroom villa - before we actually moved all of our stuff in, lol! Darla & Steven are sharing the 2nd bedroom & bath, I'm in the master bedroom & Chris is on the sleep sofa in the living room. The 2 bedroom villas here are larger than BWV or WLV, but smaller than OKW. It's the right size for the 4 of us, but I really wouldn't want to see more people than that in here.
We unpacked our stuff, and then Rich & Deb came over with their older daughter Kristen to see our villa They both fell in love with it, and it sounds like they'll be adding more points here again so they can do at least a 1br for a week each summer. We stood around talking, and then it started thundering. They'd left their younger daughter Amanda asleep back in their studio, and were concerned that she might wake up from the thunder & be scared that they were gone. Deb & Kristen headed back, and got caught in a torrential downpour! The storm wasn't too long, but it was very severe - lots of lightning and thunder, too. We compared digital cameras with Rich, and used the TV to view the pictures he'd taken today.
When the rain stopped we decided on Hilton Head Diner for dinner. Rich went back to get his family, and the 4 of us led the way in Darla's van. None of them had been here before, or had gotten recommendations for it from any of their friends, and they all loved it. I was surprised it wasn't busy, but we were seated right away - we put the kids at one end of the table and the adults at the other end! Chris & I got our usual - eggs, sausage, home fries and pancakes for him; French toast for me. Darla got mushroom garlic fettuccine that she said was excellent, and Steven just got a couple of eggs. Rich had a surf & turf thing with lobster tail, steak & I think some crab cake things. Deb had a broiled seafood plate with several different items (they might describe it on their report), Kristen had kids' chicken fingers, and Amanda had scallops. Everybody loved their food, and I'm sure they'll be back again. The menu is huge - and everything (including desserts) is made here. On the way out I bought one of the cinnamon twist things for breakfast (it seems to have some chocolate in it also this time) and a jumbo chocolate chip cookie for Chris.
We got back to the resort about 7:45. Rich's family were headed to the 8pm campfire. After discussion within our group, we ended up with Darla & Steven going to the campfire while Chris & I went to Piggly Wiggly to pick up breakfast food. The shelves were almost bare in sections - it was so weird! Darla had given me her list, and I had to hunt her flavor of bagels down in the frozen food section. The whole bread aisle was mostly empty - in Florida this would mean a hurricane was coming, lol! We got what we needed and drove back to the resort. I dropped Chris off at Live Oak Lodge and walked back to the villa with the groceries. He caught up with me - there were a bunch of young kids at the pool table - he was hoping for teens or adults. After dropping off the groceries we went to the fitness center. The campfire had gotten moved indoors to Community Hall due to the rain, and we spotted the others in the very warm and very crowded room. It was more enjoyable working out, lol! They've got some relatively new exercise equipment in there, so hopefully I'll get back there most days. About 8:30 we saw the campfire people wandering around, so we went to meet up with the others. The cm's had made s'mores in the oven, since there was no fire. I think they came out better from the oven :-)
Deb and the girls decided to go swimming, and Steven went with Chris to play pool. Rich came back to our villa briefly, then went back to his studio. The boys came back - the pool table was very crowded, so they'd decided to go swimming instead. Darla and I got our laptops fired up, decided who would get online first (Darla), and sat on the king bed in my room so we could talk while we did our computer stuff. She got online and uploaded her trip report from the first 2 days, showed me her pictures (they're wonderful), while I wrote my report offline. Steven & Chris came back about 10:15, and Chris wanted to go walk around for a while - so I told him to be in by 11. Steven wanted to go with him, but Chris said no, and after Chris left Steven announced that Chris had met a girl, lol - so that's where he's headed! Evidently it's a girl from Massachusetts - Steven didn't get her name or age <g>.
We really wish there were 2 separate phone lines in these villas - it would be so much easier if we could both be online at the same time. But, it's not a major problem, and we're just happy to be here! The day followed the plan once again, and it was a great day. Tomorrow looks like it will be our only good day for laying around the beach & Beach House, so that's where we'll head. The rest of the week at this point is expected to be in the 60's - perfect for biking and other outdoor activities :-)
DAY 4 - MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2001:
PLAN: Relax - bike, rollerblade, beach, eat out
ACTUAL: Last night Chris came home right on time, and I said "So, what's her name?" LOL, he just grinned and said he figured Steven would say something <g>. For those who want to know - her name is Meghanne, she's 14, and will be here until Saturday. She & her family will be at the beach house all day today.
He & Steven watched TV for a while, while Darla went to bed and I got online until around 12:30. This morning I opened my eyes about 7:15 - looking directly into the sun shining around the side of the door curtain, lol! I got up around 7:30 and went out to check on Chris - and was surprised to see him and Steven both asleep on the sleep sofa. Yesterday he & Steven were driving us nuts - and we'd joked about putting them in their own studio - away from us, and Steven decided he was going to sleep with Chris. I warned him later Chris probably wouldn't want him to, since whenever we've brought a friend of Chris' on a trip he's refused to share a bed (would sleep on the floor first). I guess Steven must have fallen asleep while they were watching TV last night, and Chris let him stay there - so Darla & I each had a bedroom to ourselves!
I showered and by the time I came out again Darla was up and the boys were waking up. My cinnamon twist turned out to be chocolate chip rather than cinnamon walnut, but it wasn't bad. I had half of that with some cappuccino and ate my breakfast with Darla out on the porch - it was nice & warm, and just beautiful out there. It's very quiet also, other than the noise from the birds and insects. The boys ate breakfast in front of the TV, while watching some cartoon.
We decided today was definitely a Beach House day, so about 9am we got on our bikes to ride over there (1-1.5 miles away). We ran into Deb getting ready to head for OKW and stopped to talk to her briefly, then continued riding. We were smart to head out early - only 1 other family had set up camp around the pool. We got towels and set up our chairs, then walked down to the beach. Chris decided the water really was too cold to bother with, which is no surprise. Steven went in a shallow pool of water and was busy watching the little hermit crabs. Darla & I took a long walk on the beach, admiring the nice homes built along the water. Chris rode his bike on the beach for a while.
It was about 11 when Darla & I got back to the Beach House. We saw Steven's sandals on the beach, but no sign of him, so we figured they were at the pool. Sure enough, as we got to the gate she recognized his voice at the pool area. It still wasn't terribly crowded yet - they were playing volleyball in the pool. This pool is shaped like a letter H. The first long part is 4 feet deep, the other long side is 3 feet deep, and the volleyball net is in the middle of the cross-bar between the 2 long parts. There's also a pool basketball game at the end of the 3 foot section. There's no water slide and no lifeguard - but there is both over at the Big Dipper pool at the main resort. Soon other kids joined them, including a girl who turned out to be Meghanne.
The weather was absolute perfection, and I really like this spring break stuff at Hilton Head <g>! I'm glad Chris & I are coming back next year for spring break, and hope to get some weather like this again. I think summer would still be too hot for me - the beach would be fine (but more crowded than I like) but I probably wouldn't be able to enjoy the biking & stuff as much if it was 10 degrees warmer. Pretty soon all the chairs around the pool filled up, and the beach got pretty crowded also.
About noon the boys were hungry, so Darla & I got them some food at Signals snack bar. This is the first time it's been open during my trips, lol! I was impressed with the menu selections - they had a few more things than just burgers & chicken fingers. I saw them make a chicken Caesar salad, and it looked wonderful! However, I knew if I got that I'd never be able to eat dinner. Chris wanted chicken fingers, so I ordered that (4 chicken fingers & fries for $6.95) and ate a little of his meal. I was mainly interested in drinking my lunch <g> but those were the best chicken fingers!! He & I ate on our chairs in the sun, while Darla & Steven ate at a table in the shade, and she told me Steven said those where the best chicken fingers he'd ever had, lol! She went back in to get a refill in her mug and told the girls working in there what Steven had said. She bought the HH refillable mug. It's really cute, and has 2001 on it. It's good for free refills of soda, coffee & tea until January 2002. I wonder how long before the WDW resorts start putting the year on there, to put a stop to the "lifetime free refills", lol!
After lunch I went down to the beach with Chris & Meghanne - they were going to rent a couple of those low-slung yellow banana bikes. He's always rented them when we've gone to Daytona Beach Shores, and loves them. Here in December there aren't any rentals on the beach, since it's too cold for that stuff. The rental was $8/half hour or $12/hour, with no discount for members. There was only 1 of the adult size left, so the cm took our name and told us she'd have 2 around 1:15. We headed back to the pool until then.
When we went back to get the bikes for the teens (Steven didn't want to do one) I met Meghanne's family and talked to them for a while. It turns out they're going to a wedding in my hometown very soon - small world! They seem really nice, and recently added on points at Vero while they were on the Disney cruise this past February. Smart people <g>. I headed back to the pool to read a magazine and chat some more with Darla. It's so relaxing here - I love it! Around 2 Darla decided to ride her bike back to the resort and come back with the van to pick up Steven and his bike. Poor Steven isn't much of a bike rider - winter in Ohio is not a time to get much practice in order to build confidence and endurance. She asked him what he wanted to do, and he said ride back in the van, lol. Chris came back from bike riding, and wanted to head back to the resort to play pool. Meghanne waited for the Disney shuttle and he rode his bike back.
After Steven dried off I had him get his bike and waited with him at the entrance until Darla arrived. Once she got there I rode back on my bike - and although they passed me on the road I actually got back to our building slightly before they did. We ran in to a freshly showered Chris coming down the stairs, heading off to Big Murgie's Den. The rest of us showered & got cleaned up. I threw in a load of laundry - all my warm weather clothes. Darla got online. She suggested to Steven that he go use his scooter, or go get a drink in the refillable mug, but he just wanted to watch TV and eat some of his Easter candy. I updated the report and caught some of General Hospital. Steven ended up falling asleep watching TV, but he'd been up late last night and then out in the sun all day today.
Eventually I grew restless being indoors, so I checked on Darla. She'd just finished online, so we decided to go for a walk around the resort. I brought the map with me so I could update my list of which buildings were smoking - in case anyone ever asks. It turns out of the 21 buildings, only 2 permit smoking - and they're both at the far end of the resort. We ran into Chris & Meghanne while we were walking, and made arrangements with Chris to be back at the villa in time for dinner.
About 5:45 the 4 of us rode our bikes over to Shelter Cove Harbour for dinner at San Miguel's. We've come here every year, primarily so I can get their chili - which is made with chunks of sirloin and no beans. They've got outdoor seating which we've never gotten to enjoy because it's always too cool in December. This is going to be our only warm night, so we decided this would be the night for San Miguel's. It was very busy, but we were able to be seated right away. A guy playing a guitar started singing songs that Darla & I enjoyed (although I wasn't that impressed with his voice) but Chris thought were pretty lame. It was a beautiful evening - still in the 70's, with a slight breeze, sitting out by the water listening to live music...it doesn't get much better than that!
Unfortunately, the chili now has beans in it (glad I asked), as of about 2 weeks ago. Chris was ordering Nachos Supremo, which I figured would be huge - so I didn't order any other food for me. I did order a big glass of their wonderful sangria, though! I love that here :-) Steven got the kid's quesadilla with some chicken added, but he ended up not liking it. The rest of us thought it was fine...bland, but not bad. Darla got the chicken chimichanga, which she raved about! It was huge, and full of shredded chicken breast. She was very happy with it. I was not impressed with the nachos at all, and wouldn't order them again. We didn't finish them, but Chris took the rest home to eat later.
Chris left us a little early to be back at the resort to meet Meghanne for the 7-9pm teens night of pool at Big Murgie's Den. They actually close the doors to the den and put a sign up saying teens only. Chris/Meghanne were planning to go swimming after playing pool for a while and had invited Steven to come with them. Steven loves to swim, so Chris told Steven to be ready at 8:30. Darla, Steven and I sat around San Miguel's a bit longer, then got our bikes and rode back to the resort.
Once there, my room key didn't work (earlier today Chris' didn't work & needed to be replaced). We used Steven's, and after I put Chris' leftovers in the refrigerator I decided I wanted to get out and do something while it was so nice outside. Darla was tired, so she stayed in to do stuff on her laptop. I stopped by the front desk to get a new key made, then rode back over to Shelter Cove. I browsed through the shops - they're usually not open in December, lol. They had a guy singing outside Scott's Fishmarket restaurant at the opposite end from San Miguel's and also a really good singer/guitar player in the center stage area. Lots of people were sitting or standing around listening to him - he sounded great and he was singing fun songs (Runaround Sue, for example - upbeat tunes familiar to people my age & older). The Italian restaurant here looks really good, and they've got outdoor seating also, and this performer was right next door to them so the outside diners got to enjoy his concert. Perhaps next spring we'll eat there :-) After walking around I went for a bike ride, then returned to the resort and went to work out in the fitness center for a while. I like the weights they put in there - they're very comfortable and they've got all sizes.
After exercising a bit, I checked on the kids in the pool & returned to the villa. Darla had sat on the porch for a while, but now was back indoors. On the porch she could hear the 3 different entertainers over at Shelter Cove, lol! Over there you can only hear one at a time, depending on where you stand.
I got online and finished up the report for today, and downloaded some pictures I'd taken today. Hopefully I can get through the email and a couple of the boards before it gets too late tonight. Tomorrow is supposed to be only 63 degrees or so, and windy, so I don't imagine we'll be doing much long distance biking <g>. Darla wants to go to the Disney Catalog Outlet, and so do I - tomorrow sounds like a good day to fit that in! Other than that, we'll just play it by ear. Today was a great day, and it's been a wonderful trip so far. Darla & Steven have been excellent travel companions and I'm just loving Hilton Head in this gorgeous weather. There's no doubt I'll be calling to order the additional HH points I've been thinking about buying - once I get back home.
DAY 5 - TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2001:
Plan: Relax - bike, rollerblade, beach, eat out
Actual: Chris got home at 11 last night, and said they'd been walking back and forth through the resort. LOL, this from a kid who hates to walk - and would have been on his bike or scooter (but Meghanne didn't have a bike). Darla finished up her computer stuff, then came & laid on my bed to talk to me while I was doing my online stuff (she was tired). A little after 11 or so she said she was going to bed, but only made it as far as the living room - I found her watching TV with the boys, lol! Around 11:30 she went to bed, and the boys stayed up watching TV & talking until after midnight.
This morning I was up around 7:30, and when I came out after showering Darla was also up. She got online and I decided to go rollerblading since it wasn't windy now but was supposed to get windy during the day. I skated to Shelter Cove and then throughout the resort. When I got back Chris was in the shower but Steven was still sleeping. We had breakfast in shifts today, as everyone was doing different things. I ate out on the porch again - finishing the chocolate chip twist thing and some cappuccino. Steven's sunburn was bothering him, and he didn't feel like doing anything outside. He still had some money and said he wanted to go to the outlets with Darla & me...but Darla figured he'd be whining as soon as he saw we weren't going to spend our time in a toy store so she had me tell him what kind of stores were there, lol! I think I bored him to death with talk of all the clothing stores, bra stores, etc....all the stuff a boy could care less about!
Chris took off to go play pool....actually to hang around and wait for Meghanne. I asked if he wanted to go for a bike ride, but he claimed his sunburn would hurt if he rode a bike - from the shirt rubbing on it. Um, ok...yeah, right ;-) I heard Darla telling Steven that after she & I got back from shopping she'd take him to Wal-Mart to spend his money. Since it was so nice outside now I suggested she do that first, and I'd go bike riding. Steven didn't want to get a movie, didn't want to ride his scooter, etc - I figured this way he could get his stuff out of the way and spend the time playing with whatever he was wanting to buy...plus I'd get to enjoy bike riding before it got windy! She liked the idea, so that's what we did.
I got my bike and stopped by Big Murgie's to see Chris. He was alone, so he rode over to Hilton Head Diner with me (surprisingly, he was racing around on his bike and the "sunburn" didn't seem to bother him at all). I bought a couple of the cinnamon twist things for future breakfasts, and Chris took them back to the resort while I continued on my bike ride. I rode down to Pope Circle and back. It was a gorgeous day, and nice ride. Several other people were riding, rollerblading, or jogging. The sun was breaking through, the wind wasn't too bad, and it was very comfortable riding. If I rollerblade again, I'll have to drive over to this side of the road and skate on this path - skating inside the resort isn't much fun because it's too small of an area.
Back at the resort I checked on Chris - he, Meghanne & a couple of older teen boys were sitting around Big Murgie's Den. The other boys seemed nice - we chatted briefly, then I returned to the room. I grabbed the camera and wandered around the resort taking pictures of different things. A family was digging for crabs, but all they had were little tiny ones - perhaps an inch or so big. There were kids in the pool, some playing shuffleboard, some riding their scooters - yet the resort still seemed very peaceful & relaxed.
I returned to the villa to download the pictures, and soon Darla & Steven returned from Wal-Mart. She'd gotten some aloe stuff for Steven, and had him put it on, then took him to the gift shop to get a hat - thinking that might make him more likely to want to go outside. I finished up working on the day's report so far and waited for them to return so she & I could go to the outlets. We're planning to go walk on the beach later - maybe Steven will be ready to leave the villa by then if he's feeling up to it.
We walked over to Live Oak Lodge to check on Chris before leaving, and to get Steven's room key recoded. So far Darla is the only one with a room key that hasn't needed to be redone. She wondered why that was, and I told her it had to be because they know she's the Queen (DVC), lol! Chris wasn't in the building - but I knew he didn't want to go shopping anyway. We drove over to the outlets and did a little shopping. I got some great deals in the petite store ($5 each for 2 corduroy slacks and a top) and Darla got a pretty dress & sweater for her July cruise in the shop next door. From there we headed to the other outlets. The Disney one was a disappointment - not much there at all. I picked up a shirt for my sister-in-law, but couldn't find anything for the person I needed to buy for! We went in the bookstore and I got a cookbook for someone, and Darla got some audio books for the ride home. Our last stop was the candy store - I got some cashew brittle and she got some fudge. By now it was 2:30 so we headed back to the resort.
Steven & Chris were watching TV - Chris must have gotten back just after we left. They'd hung out in the room mostly, watching TV. Chris said they did go outside and use their scooters for a little while. Darla & I discussed what to do next. She wasn't up for walking on the beach, and neither was Chris. We ended up with her getting online while Chris & I went to play pool. Meghanne had to baby-sit, so Mom was an acceptable companion this afternoon <g>. Chris had gone over ahead of me, and by the time I got there he was in the middle of a game with another teen. I waited until they were done, and the other kid wanted to play again so I told him he could play. I went to the fitness center and worked out for about 1/2 hour. When I finished, it was extremely windy outside. The marsh had whitecaps, lol! The wind was blowing the trashcans so the little doors were flapping & clanging in the wind.
We were all back in the villa shortly after 4, and decided to go to dinner (early, but we hadn't had lunch). Steven didn't want to go - his stomach was hurting, and he only wanted to stay on the couch watching TV, so Darla let him stay behind. The 3 of us went to Big Bamboo Cafe, an old favorite. Tiare was our waiter (Pat - the same guy we had in December) and we had some fun with him. Chris and Darla both insisted he sounded & acted like Layden at the Comedy Warehouse, but I didn't agree at all. I did ask him if he knew Layden - thinking it was an extreme long shot but perhaps with his unusual name they might be related, lol! He wasn't, though, and had never heard of Layden (despite Layden's Disney nametag hanging over the bar).
The restaurant is themed after a 1944 cafe during the war. They've got $12.95 early bird meals from 4-6pm that include beer/wine, soup/salad, meal, plus dessert. Chris ordered one of them - the 7 oz strip steak with grilled salmon filet, with potato & vegetables. He got the soup (NE Clam Chowder) rather than the salad, and I drank his glass of wine. His dessert was a piece of German chocolate cake. I got the chicken Caesar salad, which is delicious and served in the most incredible bread bowl - I love it! Half of it is sitting in the refrigerator now, so it may be lunch tomorrow. Darla got their most famous menu item - the Wardog. It's a large all beef hotdog, stuffed with cheddar cheese, wrapped in bacon, dipped in beer batter & fried. They put it in a toasted roll and smother it with chili, more cheddar cheese, and onions! It comes with fries. To me it sounds disgusting, but she said it was delicious. Tiare was telling us the previous owners dreamed it up one night when they were pretty drunk...they were one-upping each other on what to do to this hotdog, and when they actually tried it the next day they were surprised it actually tasted good. It's one of their most popular items. The total check was about $33 plus tip.
After dinner we did some shopping in the area, buying some tee shirts, then drove back towards the resort. Darla suggested we stop at the Beach House, so we did. We were the only ones there, and there were very few people on the beach either. When the wind blew, the loose sand just blew across on top of the hard sand. We didn't stay out there too long, and walked around upstairs at the Beach House before leaving. Chris pretended to be stealing the precious DVC towels <g> and we took his picture. We put the towels back though, so don't blame us for any dues increase next year, lol!
We drove back to the resort, and dropped Chris off at Live Oak Lodge to play pool while waiting for Meghanne to meet him at 7:30. Darla & I went back to the villa, and found Steven just finishing some pop tarts. He seemed to be feeling better, and he walked over to Live Oak Lodge to hang with Chris. Chris had said Steven could go swimming with him & Meghanne later tonight, but with it being as cold & windy as it is, I'm not sure they'll still go swimming. I got online, and Darla came in to play with her camera & laptop. The boys came back to the villa - Steven settled in to watch TV and Chris changed into long pants & a jacket before heading back out.
We're in for the evening (except for teen-about-town Chris). Tonight is my online time, so I'll be relaxing online under my sheets/blanket. Darla's doing her offline computer stuff and Steven still hasn't tired of TV watching <g>. Tomorrow is going to be cooler than today, and tomorrow night they're saying it'll be in the mid 30's!!! Holy cow, that's like December! I'm starting to think even if we came in July we'd find 30 degree weather in Hilton Head...only for our stay (it's supposed to be in the 80s again by Saturday - the day after we leave)! Oh well, we're still having fun and it's a great place to be! I've been completely happy with the resort this trip.
Today I did everything on the plan...we'll see what tomorrow brings :-)Sue
DAY 6 - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2001:
Plan: Relax - bike, rollerblade, beach, eat out
Actual: Last night the weather predicted wind chills in the 20's, and colder temps for tonight. They think the record may be broken for the all time latest freeze - the records go back to 1870 and it's never been that cold this late in the year here. If anyone else needs a late freeze, just send me a ticket and I'll come for a vacation <g>.
Steven decided he wanted to go swimming last night, so Darla took him over to the pool to see if he really thought it was warm enough. He very quickly changed his mind and came back to change into long pants and warmer clothes before returning to the pool area to hang out with Chris & Meghanne (playing ping pong). I think Darla thought they'd eventually tire of Steven and send him home, but they didn't - so after 10pm Darla went out looking for him. Chris' curfew was 11pm - mainly because I'd be waiting up for him and I didn't feel like being up all night!
Today is Member Day - with special activities and a few discounts for DVC members. Darla & I had planned on going to the grand villa for coffee and a member update this morning, so I wasn't surprised to see her up & dressed when I came out of my room. She'd been online since she'd woken up early. They boys were still in bed when we left at 8:30. The open house was in building 28, which was a short but chilly walk. Darla had never seen the grand villas here, since her last stay was so short. They are laid out exactly like the ones at OKW, but scaled down a little smaller. They also have a fireplace in the living room, and a bucket of wood outside.
They don't do a full continental breakfast like in the other locations - it's strictly coffee, juice and some mini-muffins. We enjoyed talking to the other members who were there, but didn't really learn anything new from the DVC cm's. In fact, we probably knew more than them, just from being online & keeping up with things. We were there for over an hour though, then returned to our villa. At 10 there was the members' Behind the Ears Tour, which walks around the resort and explains a lot of the theming details, including hidden Mickeys. I've done it a couple of times in the past, and Darla wasn't interested in doing it - so neither of us bothered with it today. I do recommend it for anyone who's not taken the tour.
We did learn that currently at Vero and here, the magical beginnings program is $10/point and the minimum number of points for that program is only 50. Normally the minimum is 100 points, and currently the offer is only $5 at WLV. It sounds like they're pushing to sell out Vero & HH - the cm said they expect HH to be sold out within a year, and she emphasized that if you ever want to stay here during the summer, you'll have to have points here for that stay - it just books up at 11 months, so there's no availability left at 7 months (there have been exceptions in the past, but supposedly it's getting tougher). Anyway, I'd figured I'd add 35 more points here (to beat the June price increase), but since I don't need to use the points this year I might as well just get 50 and take advantage of the magical beginnings deal. Rather than waste time doing it here though, I'll just call my guide on Monday & let him do the paperwork. I wonder what the price will be when the Beach Club points go on sale....but I do want points there, so I'll have to pay the price. Otherwise, I'd consider a bunch more here before it sells out (& before the price increase). It seems like usually Darla & I add points about the same time, but contrary to what anyone might think, there really isn't any big points competition going on, lol! In fact, neither of us told the other we were planning to add points until after we'd each reached our own decision. As boring as it may sound, we have more important things in our lives than worrying about who has more DVC points <g>.
By now the boys were up and dressed, eating breakfast and watching cartoons. Darla had Steven clean up some of his stuff and I asked Chris what his plans were - to make sure he didn't think he'd be sitting around watching TV all day! It was nice & warm on our porch, sheltered from the breeze, so I decided to go rollerblading. Darla wanted to go sit by the swimming pool, and dragged Steven with her. Chris headed off to play pool and would probably swim with Meghanne later.
I drove across the street from the resort and left the car in a parking lot there, then put on the rollerblades. The bike path was excellent for skating, and I skated for about 5 miles or so. It felt great, and I'll do this more often on future trips. After skating I drove back to the outlets to look for something in the toy store to go with my niece's birthday gift (I've got to mail it Saturday when I get home). Traffic was terrible, and all the stop lights drove me crazy! The toy store was kind of dumpy, but I found a Barbie doll that didn't look too bad, picked up a car for Steven (a PT Cruiser, which is also on the tee shirt he got last night), a couple of hot lollipops which let you spray water into your mouth for both boys, and then left. Coming back I took the Cross Island Expressway. The $1 toll was well worth it!
I was back in the villa at 12:30, and everyone else was still out. I got online briefly and updated the report while watching Port Charles. The housekeeper came by to do the trash/towel service, which didn't take long at all. Around 1pm I went to the pool to see if Darla wanted to go to the beach, but she wasn't over there. I decided to ride over to the Beach House, and ran into her on the boardwalk behind buildings 14 & 15. Turns out Steven refused to go to the pool, so she took him for a walk over to the mall. They saw Chris on their way & he decided to join them. While over there they got ice cream, then walked back. The boys were now playing pool, and she was headed back to the villa to upload some of her pictures & get online.
I rode to the Beach House, and had hoped to get another Bahama Mama but the pool bar was closed. :( So, I went down and walked on the beach for a while. It was a beautiful day - sunny and not too cool. I headed south, hoping to find the Hilton, and it was very close by. A friend is staying here before her DVC stay next year, and I wanted to take a look around. It's got 2 high-rise towers, with the balconies angled out so they all kind of face the ocean. There were 2 pools that I saw - nothing particularly large or impressive, but not bad. They have a pool bar & snack place near the beach, that's open to the public - and lots of lounge chairs. The location right on the beach is nice, and it's a beautiful section of beach!
After I'd walked for a while I rode back to the resort, and found Chris & Steven still playing pool. They were thirsty, so I went back to the villa and brought them each something to drink, then went back to hang out with Darla. She was online with a few of our DVC friends - it was too weird to try to talk to them without a keyboard, though <g>. The boys came back just before 3, and I gave them their lollipops. I got online during General Hospital, and was frustrated with how slow everything was working - either I got a very slow connection, or AOL was acting up. We talked about dinner - there are 2 restaurants left that we plan to try, so we'll do one tonight and the other tomorrow. I could stay here a lot longer if I didn't have to be back at work on Sunday...it's been great!
After General Hospital we got ready to head out for our early dinner/late lunch - whatever you want to call it! My legs are feeling the effect of all the biking/blading/treadmill work - especially I think the biking into the wind yesterday - but I'm not going to wimp out and suggest we skip riding our bikes to dinner <g>! Those are the activities I enjoy here, so I'll keep going until it kills me and hopefully Darla will drag me back to the villa and prop me in the bushes outside our building. My stalker Maria will probably share her blanket with me ;-)
At 4:30 we were ready to go. I noticed Darla had her keys in her hand, so I asked her if she was riding her bike over. She responded with a loud "HAH!", which I took to mean "no, I'd rather not tonight". She asked Steven if he wanted to ride his bike or ride in the van - no surprise, he chose the van. So, they drove over while Chris & I rode our bikes - and we not only got there faster but we had our bikes locked up & were waiting for them when they pulled in! Darla had joked that we'd probably beat them, but didn't really expect us to (we didn't rush - just rode at a normal pace).
We were eating at Giuseppi's, which is in the shopping plaza with Piggly Wiggly - just on the other side of the mall. Darla's family had ordered food to be delivered from there in December, and said it was wonderful. She was expecting a "restaurant" though, and was surprised when she saw it was just a hole in the wall type place. It scored major points with me by being completely non-smoking, though, and smelled great inside.
Darla & Steven ordered the mozzarella sticks, 2 slices of pepperoni pizza for Steven and a calzone for Darla. We got the garlic cheese toast and a 16 inch cheese pizza, and wine for me. Chris insisted he wanted the whole 16" pizza, but I knew he wouldn't eat it all. I got a slice of it, plus most of his crust. We took just over 1/2 of it home with us - he plans to eat it for a snack later tonight & possibly tomorrow. Everything was excellent, and we wouldn't mind returning on future trips.
After dinner Darla went to get gas and make a trip to the dreaded Wal-Mart to pick up a cassette head cleaner (to listen to her audio books on the trip home). We rode our bikes back to the resort and went to get gas in our car as well. Once we got back, Chris went to Big Murgie's Den and I went into the villa to watch the weather on the news. It looks like it'll be a very cold night/morning but the afternoon should get into the lower 70's - so we'll head to the Beach House for part of our last day :-) At dinner I talked to the kids about what they liked/didn't like about HH - research for a future article in the HH series on MousePlanet (www.mouseplanet.com).
When Darla returned from Wal-Mart she & I walked over to Big Murgie's Den. We played pool with the boys - and the Hollands won. We let some other people play a game, and walked around finding hidden Mickeys in the building, then played a couple more games - this time the moms vs. the boys. A lady from the internet (Tammy) stopped by to say hi - she'd recognized us from our pictures and was checking to see if we were there. The moms won both games, thanks to the boys hitting the wrong ball in! We couldn't humiliate them any longer, so Darla & I left to go walk around, while another boy joined Chris & Steven playing pool.
We checked out the campfire, which is fun for families with little kids but way too lame for us kid less people <g>. We browsed in the shop, and I picked up resort tee shirts and Disney pens for Christmas presents for my nieces. We walked out on the pier, then walked around some more - until it was time for s'mores. Darla was so full she didn't want any. I was full too, but had to get one. I got the ingredients, and will heat it up in the microwave later (or tomorrow) when I feel like I can eat something else! She decided to walk over to Shelter Cove, and I headed inside to get online since it was getting late. The boys came back a little later, with the game Sorry. They played the game out in the living room. Darla & I chatted for a while after she got back, then she went to play with her pictures before heading to bed.
It was another great day, and the weather turned out much nicer than I'd feared. Tomorrow is our last full day here, which is kind of depressing. I know I'll be back though - but I wish I had the time to spend a week here a few times a year without taking time away from my other trips!
DAY 7 - THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 2001:
Plan: Relax - bike, rollerblade, beach, eat out
Actual: Well, this is it - our last full day here this trip. Darla was up early, doing her online stuff. I came out of my room around 8:30 and had my breakfast - cappuccino and part of a cinnamon twist. I'll have to go by the Hilton Head Diner and buy more of these to take home if they've got any. The boys woke up around 8:45 and soon everyone got into their swimsuits. It was still a bit chilly for me though - I was in no hurry to go lay at the beach house if it was only 50 degrees!
Darla was ready to go to the beach....she wanted to get Steven's swimming time in before the sun got too strong. They were going to drive over in the van, and Chris & I would ride our bikes. I mentioned it was a little too cold for the beach right now, and she laughed at me! She really did - sheesh, you think you know who your friends are <g>! I sent them on their way, while I killed a little more time (for the sun to warm up). Eventually I put on my bathing suit, wrapped the mesh hip cover thing around my waist and then put a light jacket on top of that! I didn't feel like freezing on the bike ride over - the cm's walking around outside had their winter coats on still!
I'd called my guide before Darla left, but got his voice mail. After I hung up I realized I might as well increase the # of points by another 10...it makes my numbers look nicer ;-) Hopefully she'll stop me if I start thinking of any more points before Beach Club Villas goes on sale.
The bike ride to the beach house wasn't that bad, and once there it felt pretty good because the breeze was very light. The boys were already in the pool playing volleyball, and Darla was walking around with her camera. I set my stuff up on my chair, then went for a walk on the beach with Darla. We headed south so I could take some pictures of a nearby hotel for a friend. We had a nice walk - many people were out enjoying the beach, but it wasn't too crowded.
Back at the beach house we laid on our chairs until it was lunch time. Everyone ended up with chicken fingers again - they really are great here! I also got a virgin pina colada for Chris & I to share. After lunch Chris rode his bike back to the resort, and soon Darla & Steven drove back also. I stayed behind for a while, finishing my magazine and just enjoying being there. A little after 1 I rode the bike back, but stopped at Hilton Head Diner to get some stuff to take home. I got one of those cinnamon twist things and one of the chocolate chip twist things - plus a chocolate chip cookie for Chris that he decided wasn't very good (too hard). After storing the baked goods in my bicycle basket, I rode back to the resort.
Darla was doing laundry & taking a shower, and the boys were watching TV. They decided to go play pool, and I started packing. I'd missed the call back from my DVC guide, so I tried calling him and got his voice mail again. He then called me back & missed me, but in his message he said he'd stay on the line & try again in a couple minutes so they didn't send anyone in to see him. Sure enough, a couple minutes later the phone rang, and it was him. I didn't bother to ask any DVC questions - I figure I'd hear anything new on the boards <g>. He processed my add-on, so I'm the happy owner of another little piece (60 points) of this resort!
I showered & finished packing, then got online to send the pictures taken earlier today. The cable TV was going in & out during General Hospital, which aggravated me. Darla was fighting with the door to the laundry room - it kept closing on her, and she started yelling at it like a warrior woman (hiyahiyahiya) - guess she was aggravated also <g>. We mostly just hung out in the villa for a couple of hours. The boys came back, and Chris headed back out after about 2 minutes. Steven headed to the couch for some TV. I finished up the next MousePlanet article and sent it in, along with the accompanying pictures.
When I was finished I put most of our stuff out in the car, so we didn't have to deal with it early tomorrow morning. Darla was gathering her stuff together, and getting ready for dinner, so I took another walk around the resort. I saw Chris come home as I was leaving, but he was gone when I got back. Darla said she'd seen him ride by on someone's golf cart, so I have no idea what he's doing now! Around 5:45 Darla sent Steven back to Live Oak Lodge to return the Sorry game they'd borrowed last night, and to see if Chris was there. We had plans to leave for dinner around 6, but would leave sooner if everyone was here. It turns out both Steven and Chris were late getting back, by around 10 minutes....and they each were in the doghouse for a while because of it!
We went to Nick's Steak & Seafood - a place that's owned by the same people as the Hilton Head Diner. Chris & I rode our bikes; Darla & Steven went in the van. The menu is very extensive - steaks, seafood, pastas, Mexican, Greek, salads, burgers, etc. We had a short wait to be seated, but it was mobbed, with lots of people waiting when we left. Our server was a loser. Darla asked for separate checks, and the girl said she was "too busy". Chris & I shared a gyro platter, and when it finally came out (took a long time) and she hadn't brought an extra plate I asked for one and was told "it'll be a while, I'm busy". She had forgotten the ketchup for the fries and the tsziki sauce for the gyro, but when I called to her she didn't hear me! I went to the hostess or manager (not sure which she was) and explained what was going on, and she brought us what we needed. The restaurant was very busy, and the girl seemed to have too large of a section (perhaps someone had called in sick), but she could have at least smiled and tried to be pleasant. Also, the customer doesn't need to be told that she's "too busy" to deal with them!
The food was good - but not special enough to make me ever give this restaurant another chance, considering the service. Darla got a buffalo chicken salad that she said was excellent. Steven got the kids' popcorn shrimp. It's a shame our last night here ended up being our only meal that wasn't a great experience. We've been real happy with everything at the other places we visited.
After dinner Chris & I had a chilly ride back to the resort! I stopped to pick up some brochures for someone, and then met Darla & Steven at the bike return area. We locked our bikes up, and then Darla & I walked over to the front desk to settle our account. We had charged the bikes, I'd charged Chris' banana bike on the beach, and then we had 7 pages of phone calls, lol! We just split them in half....no point in even trying to figure out who did what! We got the bill paid, and returned to the villa. Darla's a Survivor addict, so she & Steven watched that while I worked on the report and got online. It sounds like we'll all be on the road by 6am or so, and hope to get to bed relatively early tonight. Chris has a 9:10 curfew, as he needs to get to bed also, and not disturb Steven.
Steven gave me one of the chocolate bunnies from his Easter basket, which was really sweet of him. I think he'll miss having Chris around, and Chris will probably miss having a little brother-type, also. This trip has gone by so quickly!
Today was another fun day. I never got around to rollerblading again, but we did everything else. It's hard to find time for everything! Chris & I are stopping for lunch at WDW tomorrow on the way home, and I'll post the summary with that report.
DAY 8 - FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2001:
Plan: Leave HH, Lunch at WDW, Arrive home
Actual: I heard Darla & Steven leave around 4:30 am, but didn't get up until almost 5 myself! We were on the road by 5:45, through fog but little to no traffic. We arrived at WDW by 11, and parked at Pleasure Island. We walked over to the Marketplace and went to the Ghiradelli store to buy some chocolate. I'm taking a friend out to dinner for her birthday tomorrow night, and couldn't remember if I'd picked up any gift during the trip - chocolate is always safe when buying for another woman <g>! Chris wanted some of the chocolate covered raisins, but at $12/pound I wasn't willing to pay that price. He used the rest of his money, and I just kicked in the amount he was short.
Shopping done, we walked through PI and to the West Side for lunch at Wolfgang Puck's Express. He went into the Virgin store to look for something while I ordered him his favorite chicken fingers with macaroni & cheese - and got an extra side of the mac & cheese for me. We ate outside, in the relative quiet of an uncrowded Downtown Disney. When we finished, we walked back to the car and continued driving home. The drive is 8 hours without the stops - not too bad I guess, but it just about kills me! I hate spending that much time in the car.
It was a great trip, and we had a wonderful time. I enjoyed spending time with Nancy & Leesa at WDW, and seeing the regulars at the Comedy Warehouse - I was lucky that so many of them happened to be working my 2 nights. The MK was absolutely mobbed, but AK and Epcot were not too bad. Regardless, I can't see going so close to Easter in the future unless I'm really not planning any park time at all.
Hilton Head was a nice mix of relaxation and physical activity. The one warm day (Monday) was wonderful - it's such a nice place when you're not shivering, lol! Even the cold days were no match for the cold we've experienced in December, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we experience next year in late March.
My next trip will be a short one - 4 nights at Old Key West starting May 26th. It'll be a solo trip, and I hope to primarily spend time with friends - lounging around by day and visiting Comedy Warehouse by night. After that, Chris & I head to Vero Beach for a couple of days in July, followed by a week at Old Key West.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to write about my joining MousePlanet - I appreciate the support and hope you enjoy the column. A new one should appear on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month in the Everything But the Parks section.
Thanks for reading, and until next time...