It was a wonderful final few weeks in South Carolina, and in fact Maryland. I travelled to MD and spent a terrific 5 days back to the area where I once called home, and grateful to be with family over Christmas. I participated in lots of Christmas festivities, partook in some wonderful meals, and even got some advanced Pokemon Go lessons from the masters that are my sister-in-law and her sister. Then, it was back to Longs, SC for my final week there, and wrapping up some tourist things to do. P.S. – yea, that’s me in this picture wearing a Pokemon Snorlax Onesie. It was declared to be a “Onesie Christmas” so I Gotta play along!
Saturday, Dec 22nd was “family” Christmas. The event was hosted by my brother and sister-in-law Mike and Helen (who were also my gracious hosts for my accommodations while in MD). There were over 30 folks in attendnace – many of whome were youngins. It’s been many years since this event saw so many kids under 10, and it was was truly special being with all of them. We had our second annual “Something Store” mystery swap that was loads of fun. Some great gifts went home with many folks. I was also the recepiant of a special gift, perfectly chosen by “Santa”. A Lego version of a 5th wheel camper and pickup truck. What a thoughful Santa! Now I just need to put it together.
Then it was Christmas day with the daughters and grandson. I set the alarm for 5-dark-early, got a shower, coffee, then drove the 60 min trip to arrive at Ashley’s house by just after 7am. Samantha arrived shortly thereafter with her boyfriend Ryan, and his 18 month old daughter. We quickly added our gifts to those that had already been delivered by Santa, and prepared everything for the big reveal. My grandson AJ had long since been awake, but was sequestered to his upstairs bedroom until everything was ready. He was such a trooper for having the patience and fortitude to channel the emotions and excitement for as long as he did. Well done!!
Then we commenced to open presents. Santa was very generous this year, and everyone got some wonderful gifts. We got about an hour or more into it, then took a breakfast break. We made cinnamon buns, and mimosa’s – yummy! Great way to ring in Christmas. After the break, we ventured back into the gifts, and finished unwrapping them all. Wow – what a Christmas!
After hours of unwrapping, followed by another mimosa or two, we ventured into the spoils that were Christmas and began playing with some of our gifts. AJ checked out his Pogo Stick and his vintage Rockem Sockem Robots, the 18 month old played with her blocks, and the adults played a few rounds of new card games (“What’s That Meme”, “DOS”, “Flux – Drinking Edition”). There was lots of fun and laughs all around, and the day quickly passed into early afternoon Ashley had prepared snacks and some wonderful Tacos to fill the bellies, then we continued the game play into the evening. A truly blessed day to spend with family!
Last Chance To Play Tourist
Upon returning to SC following my Christmas getaway, I wrapped up a few things on my to-do list with Joanne before departing. One of those items was a visit to the Duplin Winery to participate in a 10-wine sampling. The vineyard and bottling actually occurs in Duplin county North Carolina, but they have a well established presence here in Myrtle Beach, SC as well. They proclaim to be the oldest and largest winery in the South. Established in 1975, they produce upwards of 450,000 cases of wine each year. Their primary grape is the Muscadine, which is native and common in the southeastern US. The grapes are large and have seeds and very thick skins, and are often used to produce sweet to dry medium bodied wines. To those who frequent drinking rich full bodied wines, these wines are definitely an acquired taste – one that honestly I did not acquire. But it was a fun visit anyway.
Joanne and I also went to dinner at the Key West Grill at Boardwalk at the Beach. The dinner was good, but the local mascot was the best – a large Macaw. Lastly, we took a 6+ mile bike ride through North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex. Wow, was this place impressive. It is a free city park and offers amenities that far exceeded my expectations. Several soccer fields, multiple baseball fields, biking and hiking trails, even a pully-powered water ski area. Truly an amazing place!
First and foremost, I want to thank my dear friend Joanne for hosting several dinners, playing tour guide, and generally being there to hang out with while I was in Longs. I had a wonderful time – due largely to your company. Thank you Joanne (and happy birthday – I won’t tell the age however).
I’ve now landed in Savannah, GA at the Skidaway Island State Park. So far, I’m very excited about the facility, and the surrounding area. Lots to see and do, and I’ve only got 10 days to do it. So, I’ll be off and running. In fact, I’ve already booked a 90 minute Segway tour of downtown Savannah for this Sunday. I figured that way, I could get an overview of the town, and pick out the few places worthy of a longer visit. If nothing else, it will be a fun way to tour the city. More on that to come. Till then, safe travels and Happy New Year!