To coincide with Throwback Thursday, let’s continue the tale of my Southern vacation. After a quick stay in Savannah, Thom and I drove 45 minutes to our next destination–some call it Hilton Head Island; I call it Ohio Jr.
If you’ve never been to HHI, you might be unaware that it’s the official vacation spot of the Buckeye state. I’m not sure why, exactly. The only reason Thom and I went is because we were the only people in the entire state who had never been.
I mean, I’m not complaining. It was a lovely place with great weather, and we subsisted on a diet of iced coffee and Miami Vices by the pool. Life was grand.
We stayed in an area called Palmetto Dunes which was chock-full of golf courses, hotels, the beach, and a handful of restaurants. I would highly recommend renting a bike (Hilton Head Outfitters had them for $10 an hour and so forth) and exploring the scenic nooks and crannies.
Hilton Head isn’t exactly offbeat. It’s chain restaurants and commercialism at its finest, so I was thrilled when I came across the wondrous, yet random, Palmetto Dunes General Store. We were here every single day. Sometimes, twice a day. I MISS IT.
They had EVERYTHING. Soft-serve ice cream reminiscent of my childhood? Check. A deli with the most delicious fried chicken in the back? CHECK! A crazy candy section? YES. Fanta in the most batshit flavors like peach and pineapple? SO MUCH YES.
I wasn’t the only one in love with the General Store. People would congregate outside eating popsicles, ice cream, and that amazing fried chicken at all hours of the day. Pro tip: the fried chicken sells out fast, so call in advance for large orders or show up before peak lunchtime to get a combo (get the mac and cheese).
I wouldn’t consider HHI a “foodie” place, but there were definitely some gems that could make me eat my words. The Porch (located in the Beach House Resort at Coligny Beach), was one of the more interesting restaurants we visited. The food was great (I had the catch of the day and Thom had more fried chicken) and it had the best ambience. The restaurant was decked out in wood, vintage decor, and there was a lovely breeze coming in from the ocean. Plus, we could easily park at the resort, a HUGE perk. Parking at Coligny Plaza is a nightmare at dinnertime.
Thom had a birthday during our stay, and he chose Alexander’s for the celebratory dinner. The minute they plonked down the basket of warm, chewy bread, I knew this was going to be a successful meal.
Have I mentioned that I like a good bargain? Well, I do. Here’s a secret about a lot of restaurants in Hilton Head–they have Early Bird Menus. Alexander’s, for example, has a pretty sweet deal for $15.99. This includes a soup or salad, entree, and includes a complimentary glass of iced tea or lemonade. You can also snag Vella Chardonnay, Blush or Merlot wine for $4 a glass. The catch? You must be dining between 5:00p-5:45p.
What is a birthday without a sinful dessert? I’ll tell you: the worst birthday ever. I owed Thom a birthday cake upon our return home (it was blue velvet cake–long story), so he took the pie route. Peanut butter pie, that is.
Another cool spot was A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant. The food was pure comfort, the patio awesome, and the inside was friendly. Plus, there was banana pudding in huge mason jars.
As with Savannah, we didn’t do a whole lot of planning. Our days revolved around lounging at the pool/beach, eating and drinking delicious things, and going to the General Store a hundred times a day. We also did a lot of exploring and aimless wandering. My only complaint? We had to drive so much. My travels usually take me to places with a metro system or the ability to walk everywhere, but this was not the case on the island. Not a big deal, but I wasn’t expecting it.
After four relaxing days, we packed up the car for the last (and my favorite) leg of the trip: Charleston. To be continued!