Sunday, February 1, 2015

Hasta la Vista to January 'n' Vacation Daze

Well, hello to February. Here's to sharing a few enjoyable vacation captures with y'all, as I hope for a future of new ones. There is no particular order… every millisecond was greatly appreciated.
Vacation Days Daze certainly helped January to zip along in this rapid-fire game of life. We had such a nice time, as we escaped bitter temps and snow. But all good things must come to an end (I guess!) and thus did holiday. But not before it embedded our brains with more fond memories of Murrell's Inlet and Myrtle Beach.

Yep, that's us, right above Barnes & Noble. A gorgeous condo, fit for a king (or princess, in my case) and a well-behaved, adorable pooch. A perfect location for the movies on a rainy day, with a huge multiplex on one side. We did have one such event and saw "Imitation Game" with Benedict Cumberbatch. Excellent and recommended. But the rest of our stay was sunny and conducive to lots of long strolls. Piggly Wiggly was just around the corner, a quick walk for supplies, when we weren't trying one of the many fab restaurants or beaching it. A GREAT experience at this Myrtle Beach complex. And a GREAT view, thanks to Tyler, our booking agent. Sunrises and sunsets were enhanced by the pretty little city and centrally located fountain. G-d willing, we'll head back to the same digs, when the time is right.

A huge part of our vacationing here is because of its pet-friendly nature. Consider, for example, the pet fountains along the boardwalk. Mambo is such a pleasure. He travels well, sleeps when we do, absolutely LOVES the beach and is a people magnet who simply loves attention, especially when it's coming from kids. We only have him on lead when socially correct. He never bolts and has been that way since puppyhood. It would break our hearts to leave him home… thus the type of vacation we've been enjoying for eight years, now.

We'd enjoy coffee outside of the Starbucks-providing Barnes & Noble, each morning and late afternoon. Mambo would hold court, as all kinds of people stopped to inquire or guess about his breed. On Martin Luther King Day, we were surrounded by about twenty children, a photo-op missed. Three sets of twins and their moms stopped on another day - two captured by NIK. On the boardwalk, we'd have to avoid eye contact to make our mileage. Honestly, though, it's fun. Dog lovers are nutty and chatty, just like us. And the attention to our Big Beach Bum is totally warranted.

We're still lovin' Surfside Beach and Huntington Beach State Park, both discovered and well explored last year. Also, since we stayed in the Market and closer to Myrtle Beach, we embraced its long boardwalk. Beautiful… and lengthened just in time for our arrival. It's a two-mile round trip, wind blowing on our faces, sand and water riding shotgun. Wanted to pack it up and bring it home, along with all its inspiration to hike. The ferris wheel is a landmark that one can't miss.

Yes, just be. What better place on earth than a beach to relax and feel. Where the clouds are hung for the poet's eye...

Each morning, we'd walk in Market Common Park with Mambo. A couple of refreshing miles started our day with lots of local wings, such as the peaceful swans and weirdo chicken-ducks. Hmm, quite the mixed species there. Between breakfast and lunch, we'd hit the Myrtle Beach boardwalk or Surfside or Huntington for a couple more miles, as we discussed where we'd have lunch to quickly nullify those calories burned. Hey, at least we had the mileage and the bonus of salty species… of birds, that is! Gorgeous, all.

I'd be remiss were I not to mention the fabulous fare we devoured, in between burning calories. This calls for a list:

Best margherita pizza - Toffino's in Market Common
Best desserts - Toffino's
Best Italian - The ORIGINAL Valentino's, not to be mistaken for #II AND
Giovanni's in Edgewood, MD, recommended by Trip Advisor on way home
Best Chinese soup - P.F. Chang's
Best peanuts and fried everything - River City on Surfside Beach
Best breakfast - homemade omelets from previous night's leftovers 
Best Alfredo for Joe and grouper for moi - Mr. Fish, the ORIGINAL, not to be mistaken for Mrs. Fish (notice a trend?)
Best huge and fattening choco-chip cookies 'n' coffee - Barnes & Noble
Best porterhouse steak - Piggly Wiggly, on sale for so cheap
Best Jelly Belly beans - Myrtle Beach Market 
Need more? I'll try to remember…

They sure do go 'round 'n' 'round, eh? But home, sweet home always feels so good. We're refreshed and happy to be here. We stayed a few extra days, so as to miss a snowstorm, but experienced yet another one the day after our arrival. It worked out so well, though, 'cause Gav came to hang out with us. We'd not yet seen him for his birthday. Man, can that boy cuddle.
Here's to the ever-revolving wheel of life.