Tag Archives: travels

You know South Carolina’s Grand Strand. Now what’s the Hammock Coast?

If you’re a South Carolina beach lover like my family, then you of course adore the famous Grand Strand – that gorgeous 60+ miles of sand that includes the wildly popular Myrtle Beach. But you might not have heard of the part of it that has recently become known as the “Hammock Coast“.

Back in 2010, the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce voted on a new name to use in branding efforts for Georgetown’s beaches and other visit-worthy areas. The discussion came down to two names: Hammock Coast and Chicora Coast. Georgetown includes Pawleys Island, which is the birthplace of the cotton hammock, while Chicora name comes from the Chicora Native Americans. (The Pawleys Island area is also reportedly known as Chicora.) In the end,  Hammock Coast won and the marketing efforts  began.

The Hammock Coast area of the Grand Strand includes the following areas:

  • Georgetown
    • This is the city within the County and the County Seat, which has a great harbor, boardwalk, restaurants, and shops and plenty of history. My family and I visited this city in 2014 and loved it. The historic downtown area suffered a devastating fire in 2013, so I would encourage you to pay a visit yourself and lend your support to the many small businesses that remain.
  • Garden City
    • We stay in Garden City for a week at the end of summer each year and it is a wonderful place to be. Garden City straddles the line between Horry and Georgetown Counties. It’s well known for its small “downtown” area near the beach, which includes a little amusement park, delicious Sam’s Corner diner, Pavilion arcade, Painter’s ice cream, the famous Garden City Pier, and a plethora of other shops.
  • Murrells Inlet
    • This town is directly south of Garden City; you can actually see the titular inlet from many of the houses on the main drag of Garden City. We visit the inlet quite frequently for kayaking, eating, and just plain strolling around.
  • Pawleys Island
    • This is a little town that we may visit this summer.
  • Litchfield Beach
    • This is an unincorporated area north of Pawleys that sounds like a quieter community.
  • Andrews
    • This is a small town that is located in both Georgetown and Williamsburg counties.

So far the marketing efforts for Hammock Coast seem to be pretty low-key. Although at one point there were plans to include a pop-up ad with a “vacation interruptor” figure that implored visitors not to visit, thankfully that gimmick seems to have been dropped as best I can tell.

I didn’t even realize there was a branded name for our part of “the Strand” until I saw the name in a guide last year! Frankly, I appreciate that. I absolutely love the name and think it neatly combines the history of the area with the true relaxed vibe of the county. However, part of the appeal of the area is that it feels like a nice low-key little beach town, and a more in-your-face marketing campaign would belie that. After all, if we wanted to go really commercial, we’d just head back up north to Myrtle Beach!

You can visit the official Hammock Coast website here.

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Blue Heron in Georgetown (South Carolina)

A blue heron takes off from the docks in downtown Georgetown, South Carolina. This photo was taken by my husband last month with my old iPhone 4.

heron

I’ll post more on this historic little town later this week. It’s more than worth a visit!

Seein’ the States: Recent and Upcoming Travels

December:

Las Vegas for our first wedding anniversary! It was fabulous as always. It was my second trip and Eric’s first. We had a fantastic time in our gorgeous luxury GO suite at the Flamingo and trekking all over the Strip. We did get slowed down a bit by an unfortunate case of tendonitis I developed – talk about painful! Because of that we did not make it over to Sam’s Town, the Stratosphere on the North End, the Vegas sign on the South end or to downtown (Fremont Street or “Old Vegas”). However, that’s what follow-up trips are for! We hope to get out there again this summer and experience “hot Vegas” for once.

Austin, a first time trip for me, for a week for business. Didn’t get out to see much on this first trip which didn’t bother me because I knew I’d be back at least twice in 2014 – but I definitely ate my weight in Tex-Mex. One of my best friends, Beth, made the trip down from Lubbock to visit on my last night there which was GREAT. I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Airport Austin which I highly recommend. I’m finally at Elite Silver status for Marriott which is encouraging me to seek out Marriotts more often.

Corpus Christi for Christmas with my wonderful in-laws! I got the grand tour, including stops at the Texas State Aquarium and Padre Island, and ate lots of great food including fabulous Puerto Rican homecooked Christmas dinner. We also ate at a great restaurant in San Antonio. Christmas this year will be in KG, but I’m sure we’ll be back to Corpus again before then. His parents very nicely put us up in a Residence Inn Marriott.

January/February:

-Return to Austin for nearly two weeks – this time my husband joined me for a good deal of the trip. It was nice to have him there and we did lots of fun things including walking all over the famous 6th Street, where we visited a quirky arcade bar, bought way too many books at BookPeople, chilled out in a city park, and ate a ton of good food including a fabulous meal at one of Sandra Bullock’s restaurants, Bess Bistro. Sadly, it was not bat season or we would’ve seen an impressive display from the winged critters, some of Austin’s most famous residents! I will be back in April. And yes, it was the same Courtyard Marriott again – impeccable service!

Albuquerque, another first time trip, for another long business trip of about 12 days. I love it! I had seen New Mexico before, but only briefly. ABQ is full of friendly people and gorgeous views. Even the highways are decorated with art – glowing blue “mountains”, pottery jars, a giant rattlesnake – and in the background you can see the lovely Sandia Mountains. Eric flew out just for the weekend and we saw two old friends (and groomsmen) of his, Seth and Mike. We discovered we love New Mexico’s famous green chile at the Owl Cafe with Seth and tried a homegrown ghost chile at Mike’s (and some tasty homemade peanut brittle made with ghost chile by his father-in-law). We rode the tram up to Sandia Peak and ate at the High Finance restaurant at the top while snow whipped around outside. I stayed at a Residence Inn at the “25” development.

Upcoming trips include (for work) Miami and Austin and (for play), our annual Lynch family Beach Week to the Grand Strand in September! I’m also trying to plan a birthday-week trip driving up the East Coast to visit Portland, Maine. That would add at least three new states to my U.S. state checklist! Currently, I’m just 20 states away from having all seen all 50.

My current U.S. “states visited” map courtesy of visitedstatesmap.com:

50 states map30 down, 20 left to go!

Texas Landscape Observations

Texas Trip 2 of 4 (Winter ’13/’14) is nearly done. I’ll be back in two weeks for another stay in Austin.

Southeast Texas is chilly and gray and sometimes rainy right now; I’m told that’s rare even in December. As I observed in Austin (more central) last week and in College Station-Bryan (much closer) in 2008, what I’ve seen of this state is mostly flat with a large amount of sprawl (including tons of restaurants – Texas boasts plenty of great food). Many times the only real height in the landscape comes in the form of towering highway overpasses. Corpus Christi is much flatter than Austin however, and sits right on the beautiful bay which is part of the Gulf of Mexico and displays many colors in its waters even on a cloudy day. The road to Corpus from San Antonio is largely farmland and reminds me of a cross between my own hometown in rural Virginia, and the even more rural area of Quintana Roo state in eastern Mexico. (We’re just four hours from the border here, says my mother-in-law). Huge clusters of prickly pear cacti welcome you on your route, along with the occasional herd of cattle. These areas must be perfect for stargazing – a favorite activity of mine wherever the night sky is untainted by city lights.