Sunday, July 7, 2013

Myrtle Beach~ Part 3

Part 3, the last 2 days of the trip.


We hadn't checked out the beach, so since we knew Friday & Saturday were going to be nice, we planned on beach/pool outings. 

The development that Mom & Dad R currently live in has a deal with one or the beach-front hotels for free parking/beach access and use of their amenities. Awesome. So we went to check that out, but it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. The bathroom by the front desk had no toilet paper or paper towels and was a little sketchy (should have been clue #1), the "pool and lazy river" were the smallest we had ever seen (should have snapped a pic! Combined, the space was maybe 100ft x 40ft... The "lazy river" held about 20 people in it, if that, and went around in the shape of the letter C. Once we walked out to the beach, we laid out our stuff, looked around, and both realized we weren't very comfortable here. It felt like a shady part of town and neither of us was comfortable leaving out stuff to go in the water together; and I didn't even want to venture out myself. So we laid out for about 20 mins and then decided this wasn't right and changed plans. I sent Cara a text (my personal myrtle beach your guide!) and realized we were in the area she had suggested we avoid. Oops! Now we know for next time, we got the awkward exploration part over with and will head to the nicer, family-friendly areas next time! 
Proof we made it to the beach, if just for a little bit... Sketchy beach, plus overcast skies... Not fun, but we are all about adventure so what the heck. :p

We ended up back at Broadway at the Beach and went to Joe's Crab Shack for lunch. We always see commercials on TV for them and there aren't any near us, so we had to cross it off the list. I wasn't too keen on it, it was a lot more expensive than we realized, so after a few drinks, apps, and an entree, we spent $70 for not a lot to write home about. The seafood buckets looked great but were like $30 a piece and up. Oh well. It was a strike-out kinda day; that little black cloud was back to following us around again! 

We went back to the house and borrowed the pool pass for Mom & Dad R's new housing development (they're moving to a new house/nicer development in the winter). When we got there, we couldn't figure out how to get into the pool area. The clubhouse doors didn't have a scanner for the pool pass, and the gates were locked. We were so confused, so we walked around to the front of the clubhouse and the door was unlocked so we walked in... And the alarm started beeping. Umm? We obv don't know code, and were so confused, and NO one was around. Sooo I walked out the door close to the pool and WOOP WOOP WOOP, the alarm is now going off, full-blown, as if we had broken in... Oops, I guess we technically did. But the for was unlocked. What the heck? We were so confused and stressed out, why was bad luck on our side today?! Lol... So we walk back out the main door and wait... For police, anyone to come turn off alarm? Kick us out? Yell at us? was so embarrassed, but it's not like anyone was around (there were people in pool area but they seemed not to notice and I was trying to hold off from making it known that it was my fault). About 5 mins later, alarm deactivates and we found the way into the pool. Turns out no one is supposed to go in the clubhouse unless you reserve it for events... But why in the world is it unlocked? There was that little black cloud again, dammit. We were starting to hate today for lots of reasons... No, scratch that, already didn't like today. 

We finally make it to pool area safely, and 5 mins in, we feel raindrops. A little girl nearby shouts "I KNEW it was gonna rain today!"... I look at Scott, make a face, and say "Nope... I am not moving. This is not happening. We are staying." Luckily, you could tell it was just a passing sprinkle because the clouds were passing quickly and the sky was beautiful  behind it all. Phew! So we were able to relax and enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and pool for a couple or hours. It felt so nice to just soak up the sun and feel like we were on vacation and having a small bit of luck. :) 

Ahhh... Relaxation by the pool :) 

Some of those silly black clouds... Luckily didn't linger long at all; they knew what was bet for them! 

A cute little gazebo with a walkway that leads to a nice peaceful spot overlooking the intercostal. 

Beautiful area to take a walk to some day... Right down the street from Mom & Dad R's future beach home. Yay!! 

There are some gorgeous high-roller type houses along here. I guarantee someone famous lives here somewhere. HUGE houses- one being built looked to be about 20,000 square feet... Wish I was kidding. Imagine what their holiday parties are like... Wowsers! 

Just one of the houses in the development... I wish I had snapped this sooner. Lots of garages, long walkway to house, amazing... And still smaller than the house I mentioned earlier. (Wow)

After we showered and changed, we headed out for dinner (just the 2 of us because Mom R and Brian were driving back home the next morning and had to get to bed earlier). We planned on going to Margaritaville (at Broadway) but once we got there, we realized that was not happening. Restaurants and shopping areas are typically crowded on any average Friday night, but this was unlike anything we'd seen. You would have thought it was Christmas season because there wasn't a single parking spot available at the entire place- multiple cars were parked in their own spots on the grass, people were fighting over spots, etc.... Black cloud again... So we drove around and tried to steer clear of the touristy places (not easy to do when you're not from the area) to find something without a wait.
On our way to dinner... Somewhere. Haha. Not where we expected, but gotta go with the flow!! It's always an adventure and things don't work out as planned most of the time. 

After driving around for about 45 mins around we left the house (thanks, black cloud), we eventually ended up at a BBQ place (Sticky Fingers) and even though there was a 25 min wait (not bad for a Fri night), we were able to quickly find 2 seats at the bar and just decided to eat here. There was an elderly couple next to us who started chatting with us and we found out they were both originally from NY (He was from upstate near Hudson, and she was from Beacon/Fishkill area, right by us!)- go figure!! It was cute too because he thought we were both so young, so that's now flattering as I quickly approach 30 (I used to hate the fact that I have such a baby face, but now not minding as much). 

While seated at the bar and waiting for our food (the rib smoker shut down and food took a lot longer to come out, so we had quite the wait in between a cheese fry appetizer and drinks... but it was fresh off the smoker and really yummy, so who cares), Scott became what I call "the guy in the green shirt". There was a large family seated at a table just to our right. I'm talking 2 parents with 7 kids... 1 older teenage girl (maybe 14?), 3 girls around 12 (possibly triplets, not sure), and 3 young boys, triplets around 3 or 4 years old. The boys and the oldest girl were facing us, and Scott was making faces at one of the boys, making him laugh. We realized a little later that the older sister thought Scott was smiling at HER, and she kept watching Scott with puppy's oh eyes (hehe!)... Oops! When they got up to leave, she kept looking and blushing, and smiled back at Scott as they walked out the door. We told the bartender and she thought it was sweet because Scott made the girl's night, without even realizing. I said I bet to her, he is simply "the cute guy in the green shirt"... Haha. It just made me laugh. 

The food was really good, and worth the wait, so we were happy that the day wasn't lost on a bad note. 

*Saturday: Our wedding anniversary!!! <3

When we woke up Saturday, Mom R, Brian, and the dogs had already left (around 6am), and I had woken up with a lovely scratchy, sore throat and headache (awesome). Scott and Brian had been sick earlier in the week, so I suppose it was inevitable. I was miserable and weepy for a bit, but once we got outside I felt better in the fresh air and sun.

Saturday was our 6 YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY~ WOW, where did the time go?! It amazes me how quickly it all goes by. We've been together 14 years now and it just still shocks me how it's so long and almost half our lives. Crazy to me. But here we are, 6 years (or 14) down the road and still best friends. Sure we get on each other's nerves but that's what makes it fun. We love each other and I am thankful each and every day to have Scott in my life. I don't know where, who, or what I'd be without you. I sincerely hope we grow old and crazy together! <3

We exchanged anniversary cards (we always get 2 each- one serious, one cute/funny), and showed pics of what gifts we got each other (kept home to make things easier). 6 year gift materials (traditional/modern) are candy, iron, or wood. Candy was a really fun theme, so that was the focus for us. I found a bunch of cute candy gram ideas on Pinterest and copied a love note I found, using different candy logos in the wording. I printed and laminated it, then put it together like a little book. To go with it, I collected as many of the features candies in the note as I could find (about 30), and arranged them in a basket. I took a pic of it at home and then showed Scott the pic after he opened the cards. I also got him an engraved steel beer mug that says "Scoot, 7-6-13" on it. He got me a candy basket filled with various sour candies (one of my favs- yum!!!). Talk about a fun theme! 

Candy gifts

Once we headed out, we went to Margaritaville for lunch and to grab a few things in the shops that we scoped out earlier in the week. We also stopped back at the pool for a few hours, then went out to a nice dinner at a local restaurant (Aspen Grille) that Scott found on Yelp. The food was seriously AMAZING. Everything was incredibly fresh and delicious. We loved every single bite of every dish (and we got a lot being that it was a special occasion). Unfortunately, we felt the waiter stereotyped us as a young/cheap couple (or both?) because he 1)only offered us tap water, where others were offered choices.... And 2)when he picked up our paid check, he turned around and looked to see what tip we left- pretty much right in front of us... Wow. We thought that was rude and it seemed as if he assumed we stiffed him on the tip, when in reality we have like a 25% tip. I hate that us looking young makes people assume we don't have some of the things we have because of our own hard work. I call it the Pretty Woman stereotype, because in the movie, Julia Roberts's character is stereotyped. Oh well, I still stand by the fact that the good was incredible and I would totally go back each time there on vacation. 

Here's what we ordered:
-2 glasses of German Riesling (duh)
-Shrimp risotto appetizer 
-Fried green tomatoes with a pancetta bernaise sauce 
-Scallops with corn/bean risotto and fried spinach 
-Hangar steak with potatoes and bacon braised cabbage
-Almond Joy martini 
-Crème brûlée 

Considering what we paid for average lunches at places like Joe's Crab Shack and Margaritaville (spending like $70 for drinks and food) and getting mediocre food, the $120ish we spent here for an upscale dinner and more courses and drinks, it really wasn't badly priced. Plus, we walked away with some leftovers to boot. Well. Worth. It. Yum- my mouth is still watering just thinking of it all. (... I wish I was kidding- I want that restaurant in my town!)

Broadway at the Beach sign near Margaritaville. 

Inside Margaritaville- the thing at top is a hurricane funnel cloud that spins and then a giant tequila bottle comes down and spills into a giant blender. It happened while "It's 5 o'clock Somewhere" played. Cute ;) 

Cool signs and clocks in The Man Cave Store- we bought a Gators clock for the bar ;)

Some more pool time!! :)

On our way to dinner 

Dinner at Aspen Grille... Us with our glasses of wine, and a pic of the fried green tomatoes. Yum!!

After dinner, we met back up with Dad R and went to play mini golf. His friends Ann & Bill from the development still had family visiting (their son and 2 teenage granddaughters), so we invited them all to go with us. There were 8 of us together, so we played in teams of 4. Our team was the 3 Riccis plus Holly, the oldest granddaughter, and the other team was Ann, Bill, their son Alan, and granddaughter, Cara. We took the lowest score at each hole for the team and added it that way. We won 34 to their 37. Our whole team ended up with a hole in one at one point or another, Scott with 2! For the record, Scott best me by 1 stroke- I typically beat him at mini golf, so it was big for him to win. ;) It was a fun way to spend an evening out. 

Ann, Bill, Cara, Alan 

Dad R, Scott, me, and Holly

Pretty view from putt putt 

My new Virginia friends- this trip was the first time Scott and I had met any of them, and yet we spent 4 nights of our trip with them because they're all such nice, sweet, genuine people. They all came over to meet us one night, we went to the baseball game the next, 4th of July (both Bill & Holly's birthday also), and mini golf. They were all fun to hang out with. :) 

Mini golf collage  
After the game, we drove down the main strip of Myrtle Beach to check it all out. It was all so crowded and filled with people, teeny boppers walking around without any parental supervision, and just seemed like pure chaos. I would never want to stay in the heart of all that activity. I think it would give me an Scott attack to stay there and have to venture out at night. I wouldn't feel comfortably doing so, neither did Scott. (I'm sure M and Dad are smiling as they read this, happy that I'm admiring that because  sure they wouldn't want us to either: daughter of a cop, my dad wouldn't feel good about that situation and I understand why). 

When we got back to Ann & Bill's house, Holly and I noticed there was a fireworks display going on nearby (no doubt discounted firework purchase I'm sure) and it actually turned out to be a better show than the neighbors that did it on the 4th! We were lucky we caught it and  
Bill jokingly said they were anniversary fireworks! :) 

This morning, we slept in a bit and got on the road by 10:15. 12 hours later (10:05pm), we are driving through Pennsylvania and still have 3 hours to go. We hit a ton of holiday traffic on I-95 (about 2 hours of stop/go from 65mph to 0 because of merges and backups. Ick.) and we also took an alternate route in VA that brought us northwest to famous Route 66 for a bit and now we are connecting back to 84 soon so it will bring us home from the west, rather than south. This let us bypass the DC area completely, as well as Jersey traffic, which are often hotspots anyway. This way adds an hour but we've also been moving nonstop the whole way and it probably helped avoid even more stop/go traffic spots alone 95. 

Typical holiday traffic backups. 

The GPS has us getting home just after 1am, which stinks, but Scott wants to just get home to our own bed and house. I don't blame him, but in the dark it's easy to get tired, my contacts are getting dried and blurry so I'm no help, and my throat is getting drier/sore again so I can't talk as much. I tried to talk him into stopping and offered to drive the rest of we tomorrow, but he's stubborn and as long as I stay awake, I know I'll be of some help. 

Me getting bored and taking random pics/making faces...
Yup. Sorry, cooped up in traffic makes us a little crazy. :p
Pretty views while passing through West Virginia along Route 66. 
Pretty mountain views (we were up high on another mountain too) and sunset in West Virginia. 

Sunset on way home. <3 

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