My apologies if this is inappropriate since it's not IN Florida. But, it's on the way for many of you, and it is a Disney resort.
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
Dates: May 27 June 1, 2010
Travel Method: Personal car
Resort: Disneys Hilton Head Island Resort
Experience: Fairly experienced (10th stay at this resort)
Id always assumed (wrongly) that Hilton Head Island was no place for me since I dont golf, dont play tennis and really dont care about shopping. Then I read a number of trip reports written by Donna (ILUVWDW) about her familys stays at Disneys Hilton Head Island Resort and it didnt sound that bad. When my mom died and then my grandmother died 9 months later (just a few months before we would have spent Christmas with her as usual) I booked Chris & myself into the resort and loved it so much I added points there more than once <g>.
Id gotten away from staying here when I was with SB, partly due to the distance (8 hours from Ft Myers), partly due to using some of my vacation time to visit him during his work season away from home and partly because I knew it wasnt really his kind of place. Now Ill soon be living 4 hours closer, SB is no longer in the picture, and I need to get back to doing more of what I enjoy which includes Disneys Hilton Head Island Resort!
Although this is my 10th stay its the first in truly warm weather. One year Darla (ILUVDVC) and I shared a 2-bedroom villa with our sons during April, but otherwise Ive always been here when its been chilly or downright cold. Itll be nice to see how different things are when the weather is actually beach weather my only concern is the extra crowds since its a holiday weekend at the start of their peak tourist season.
My days will most likely be pretty repetitive laying on the beach, walking on the beach, riding a bike if its not too hot, and going out to dinner. I figure almost any dinner will yield leftovers, which takes care of lunch the next day. Ive found a couple new spots by looking at the book of menus the island publishes, and one in particular looks good enough for 2 visits (one for their early bird menu and one for regular menu). Im planning to visit Mezzaluna, which we discovered over New Years but if I change my mind at the last minute thats ok too. Im not much of a restaurant breakfast person but might have the great French toast from Hilton Head Diner on my last day before returning to Gainesville. I definitely need to check out Flamingo Donuts and Sweet Caroline Cupcakes both look wonderful (& fattening). Mostly this will be a relaxing trip soaking up the luxury and home-like feeling that is DVC.
The plans so far are:
Thursday 5/27: Work Gainesville, drive to Hilton Head, get bike, Wise Guys with Dottie
Friday 5/28: Beach, Tapas Restaurant
Saturday 5/29: Beach, Mezzaluna
Sunday 5/30: Beach, Wiseguys
Monday 5/31: Beach, dinner somewhere
Tuesday 6/1: Hilton Head Diner, Drive to Gainesville
DAY 1 Thursday 5/27/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
Plan: Work Gainesville, drive to Hilton Head, get bike, Wise Guys with Dottie
Actual: Work passed quickly, and I ended up leaving at 10:45 instead of 11 since I wanted to be sure to be checked in before General Hospital. That turned out to be a good decision once I learned what a pain checking in was! I arrived around 2:45 and had no wait for my room. Its in the main lodge, right around the corner from the front desk.
I walked over to check it out before unloading the car and was dismayed to hear a loud voice from the connecting 1-br villa. I could hear it from inside as well, so I was not happy! Thankfully it turned out to be a very friendly and exuberant maintenance guy (who I met in the elevator later) and there were no signs of any kids so once he left the couple in there were quiet <g>.
Something was a little bit odd about my studio I noticed the bed seemed really low. I went down to the car and brought my stuff up, then took a few photos of the room. When I entered the bathroom I saw this is a handicapped unit no tub, just a big roll-in shower. As a result I have 7 or 8 bath towels instead of 4, so they must think the bathroom will be a mess after a shower. I then took another look at the kitchen I noticed everything was low. There is a shelf rather than kitchen cabinets, which is a shame.
I got unpacked and then ran into the next problem. When I turned on the computer I was unable to get to the internet (this was abut 3:15). I tried and tried, then finally called the front desk. They sent over an engineer, who discovered the modem was unplugged. He fixed that & reset it, but I still could not get the internet. He tried and tried until finally he left at 4:15. Crap!!! Had I known it would be like this I seriously would have stayed home (or gone to WDW). Now I was stuck captive in the room waiting for the friggin internet provider to call to try to walk me through a bunch of stuff I shouldnt have to deal with on vacation. Also, I think I only have until 5pm to pick up my bicycle.
I stopped by the front desk and confirmed the bike barn closes at 5. I later called the front desk to politely express my displeasure and ask if there was another room I could move to if this wasnt resolved quickly. They checked & came back offering to arrange for a bike for me and also to come to the room to try to work on the computer. The manager called over to recreation to have them leave me a bike and the cast member from the front desk came over to try to figure out the computer problem. She knew more than me, but not enough to get it working <g>. She left around 4:30 and said shed call the internet provider again. Arrgh.
The front desk cast member (Marissa) called stopped by to have me sign the paperwork for the bike and told me they were not charging me for it. That was very nice, but I just want internet! She went over and got my bike and then locked it up downstairs for me. When I went down later she showed me where it was excellent service on her part. In the meantime the internet provider guy called and we went through a bunch of stuff together, none of which resolved the problem and everything appeared to be right. He said hed have to send a tech over but since it was 5pm it probably wouldnt be tonight. This really SUCKS.
I walked over to the Mercantile and chatted with Dottie for a bit. It was weird walking around the resort when its so hot out Im used to freezing here <g>. The humidity is pretty low today so its very warm but still comfortable. Eventually I headed back to the Lodge and took the laptop to Big Murgies Den thinking Id get online there but had the same problem. Frustrated, I went back to my studio. The resort is sold out so surely theyd have heard from other guests if the internet was down to the whole building or resort!
There was only an hour before Dottie was coming by to pick me up but I was starving since I hadnt had lunch. Id eaten a few crackers with cheese while struggling with the internet so I cut up a few more slices and poured a small glass of wine. After this day I think I need a 64-ounce cup from 7-Eleven for my glass of wine, lol!
Shortly before 7 I rinsed out my plastic wineglass from Epcot and got ready for Dottie to pick me up for dinner at Wise Guys. Dottie was right on time and since shed been to Wise Guys before she knew how to get there. Hopefully I can remember next time, but I do have it in the gps just in case. The restaurant has a huge wine list and several small plates which are great for sharing. The inside looked really cool but we chose to sit outside away from any smokers. Of course, the people who later sat at the table next to us included at least one smoker that stench just takes my breath away its so disgusting! But, wed chosen to be out there so we made the best of it. Evidently South Carolina is very smoker friendly, which is a real shame.
At first our server didnt realize our table was in her section so we had a bit of a wait. Once she found out she came over to apologize for the delay. We each had a couple glasses of wine (the wine list is 2 full pages, same as the food menu) and the Wise Guys salad (with dried cranberries, gorgonzola, candied walnuts, apples and/or pears & a great balsamic dressing) and we shared the baked goat cheese with tomato sauce & crostini and the bbq chicken pizzetti (flatbread). Everything was outstanding, as I believe is true of the entire menu. The flatbread rivaled Jikos, minus the shredded granny smith apple on top. This was a huge portion, served on a long rectangular plank. The goat cheese was delicious as well, and the garlic toast was perfect with it. We sat there eating, drinking and talking for a couple hours, not realizing how late it had gotten.
We skipped dessert, and settled the check - $63 before tip. I didnt ask if they take Tables in Wonderland <g>. It was excellent, and I look forward to returning to try other items! Dottie dropped me off at the resort and I put the leftovers in the fridge nothing like bbq chicken pizza for breakfast, lol!
It was a beautiful night so I went downstairs and took a bike ride around the resort and over to Shelter Cove. The shops were closed but there was live music outside the Italian restaurant there. When I went back to the resort I stopped in Big Murgies Den and played pool the solid colors won <g>. After that I returned to my studio in time for the 10pm news and a cup of cappuccino. On the weather they were talking about how hot & muggy (humid) it had been today. LOL, these people dont know humid! Come to Florida!!
The internet problem has been a MAJOR issue totally frustrating, and I do NOT plan to spend my vacation time sitting in the studio waiting for a tech tomorrow (or any other day). Other than that its been wonderful I love the resort, had a great time with Dottie, loved Wise Guys and would be ecstatic looking forward to the rest of the trip if I knew the internet would be resolved.
Tomorrow should be the beach in the morning beyond that Ill play it by ear!
DAY 2 Friday 5/28/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
Plan: Beach, Tapas Restaurant
Actual: It was nice & quiet last night no noise from my neighbors, so these are good people. Id try to move to fix the internet problem but I like the room location, view, and quiet neighbors. I got up a little after 6 and after making the bed took the laptop out to my big porch and tried again to no avail. As I sat in a rocking chair watching the sun come up over the buildings across the water the only noises were the many birds chirping and the occasional fish flopping.
At 7 I went inside to watch some Good Morning America and made cappuccino. Some bbq chicken pizzetta was an unconventional but delicious breakfast. Shortly after 8 I went to the front desk to confirm the tech would be let into my room. Marissa was working again so Im confident shell get it right. She thought they started working at 8 or 9 but wasnt sure. I packed up my stuff and around 8:30 (early, but it was hot outside and the sun came up before 6) drove over to the Beach House.
Since it was so early hardly anyone was there yet. I primarily wanted to be sure to get a parking space under the building rather than inside, and there were only 2 cars there ahead of me. I went upstairs and took a few photos at the Beach House first and then returned to the car to get my chair and beach bag.
This beach is absolutely beautiful Id say its my favorite of the beaches available to me. Its very wide, with a big soft sand area and also a huge harder area when the tide is out. Its great for people to ride bikes and its so big it accommodates a large number of people without feeling too crowded. There are chair rentals on the beach but Id rather bring my own and set up where I want to be (as opposed to taking a chair in a row of other people).
It was very warm but without the FL humidity it was fairly comfortable. The slight breeze was definitely cooler than Id find at home! Around 9:30 I called the resort and asked them to contact the internet people again. Dawn from the front desk called me back at 10 to say theyd just come through the gate and engineering would be with them in my room. I thanked her and never heard anything else.
I stayed on the beach almost 3 hours before deciding that was enough for one day. I wouldnt have stayed that long if the first hour hadnt been so early. I drove back to the resort and went up the back stairs to the studio. I just love the location of this room! The studio was empty and the internet guy had me online. Hed left a note saying it was McAfee that was blocking something. He undid it wrote out instructions for me in case theres a next time. I figured the problem was on my end somehow, when nobody else was complaining about the internet. Thank goodness its fixed! I dont understand why it wasnt a problem last time I was here, or any of the other places Ive taken this laptop, though.
I decided to look for Flamingo Donuts now that I could get online and then drove over there. Its only a few miles away but the traffic was bad since its on the way to the big public beach. Flamingo makes custom donuts, and each one is made/baked after its ordered. I decided to try 2 and ordered the smores (chocolate glaze, graham cracker & mini marshmallows) and reeses (chocolate, peanut butter chips, something else). I paid for them ($3.60) and waited for them to be made they came out in a box and were still warm! There was also a 3rd donut in the box for some reason, with chocolate glaze and lots of nuts!
Theyre impossible to pick up and eat while warm, so I drove back to the resort (traffic miserable at the start again) and once I was in the studio grabbed a fork to give them a try. Theyre good, but Im really not a donut person, lol! A bite or 2 of each was plenty and surprisingly I thought the one I didnt order was the best of the three! Well see if theyre still any good after they cool down. It was worth a trip over there to try it, but I dont know that Ill bother every trip.
I updated the report and got yesterdays posted, then took my shower. To my surprise the shower was just fine. It looked small but there was plenty of room for me to move around without hitting the wall or the shower curtain and as a result I had no water on the bathroom floor. It was a very pleasant surprise! Once Id dried my hair and got dressed I ate some of the leftover baked goat cheese and then walked over to the Mercantile to see Dottie. Id left a pair of sunglasses in her car, so shell bring them in tomorrow. I saw her handsome son Harry working at the bike window he works here when hes out of college.
Dottie & I chatted for a bit and then another guest joined us some guy Dottie had mentioned me to earlier. No, she wasnt trying to set me up, lol. We talked about Vero vs Hilton Head in my book Hilton Head is the clear winner!! Im mostly left with an eh feeling at Vero, while Hilton Head is a definite wow. But, its worth trying once (for a short stay when its convenient) to see if you agree or disagree. Even though Vero is right on the beach, it pales in comparison to this resort. Guess thats why I sold my 3 Vero contracts and rarely visit any more <g>.
I was back in the studio before 3, which not-so-coincidentally is when General Hospital begins. I got some ice and on my way back in stopped to see Marissa at the front desk. She knew I was up and running on the internet and was happy for me Ill have to mention her on my inevitable small but significant sample guest satisfaction survey as shes really been wonderful.
Back in the studio I ate more of the baked goat cheese and had some wine with a few crackers & slices of cheese. Laying here on the bed using the laptop with a view of my jumbo porch and rocking chairs is so nice! Ill have to spend more time out there with wireless internet I can be out there while working on uploading photos or doing whatever.
Jim the engineer stopped by hed been the one with the internet tech this morning and hes the one who wrote the note/instructions. Very nice guy, which is typical for the cast members at this resort, going all the way back to opening. The cast here has been consistently great.
I watched General Hospital and somehow forgot about the cranberry walnut cookies until it was way too late to check for them. They come out at 3pm each day. They also have lemonade available all day long during colder weather its hot apple cider. I booked a bunch of dining reservations for my 10-night BCV trip over Thanksgiving. A few days ago a booked a 10-night HAL cruise for the same time so by September Ill decide which reservation Im keeping (probably HAL) and Ill cancel the other (and the meals if its BCV).
Shortly after 5 I left the photos uploading and headed out for Tapas Restaurant. I sort of knew where it was and was confused when the gps had me turn right off the main road but I followed the instructions. I ended up riding through quite a bit of Hilton Head before being brought back to the main road and told to turn right in other words continuing where I was headed in the first place, lol! Oh well, with my detour I got to drive through a tunnel under a golf course.
The restaurant was hard to find because its small and not very well marked plus its set way back in this big strip mall type building. I was the first person to arrive that evening, and had the place to myself for a while before 2 other couples arrived. Here its small plates, ideally meant for sharing when youre more than a solo party. I had a glass of their house pinot grigio, the raspberry spring salad (fresh greens topped with candied almonds, feta, cranraisins and fresh raspberry vinaigrette) and the veal piccata. The salad was a pretty good size bigger than necessary. The veal was 2 small medallions in a to-die-for sauce. It was strange that there was no pasta or anything but the taste was superb. Id read theyre known for their sauces, and I can see why.
They also brought delicious warm French bread yum! I figured if their desserts were as good as the regular food I had to try one, and the server assured me they were. I went with the chocolate decadence cake, which was a combination of brownie, chocolate mousse, toffee, caramel & whipped cream. OMG was that good! I ate almost all of it and was pretty full when I left. My check was $33-something before tip, so it wasnt cheap but it was very tasty.
After leaving the restaurant I stopped at Piggly Wiggly for a bottle of Chateau St Michelle Riesling for the room and a couple gallons of water since Im going through water much quicker in the warm weather. Instead of returning to the resort right away I drove over to the Beach House and took a nice walk on the beach. The tide was getting high and I was surprised by how many people were still on the beach this late. It was absolutely gorgeous out there, and for the first time in my life I walked the beach without getting humid frizz hair! I really like the weather here this time of year (they do get humid in the summer) and will definitely be back.
After my walk I went back to the resort. Some people were sitting behind the building in the rocking chairs on the grass overlooking the water. Theres a hammock out there too, and a picnic table and grill. I think theres also a horseshoe pit the same stuff scattered all over the place around the resort.
I was only in the studio briefly it was so pretty outside I grabbed the camera and went out for a bike ride. The musician at Shelter Cove is playing by Scotts Fish Market (not the Italian place) and there was more music at that center stage area. Today there had been an art show over there but I never made it over. I rode around for a little bit and took some photos of the early stages of sunset from the western tip of the little island the resort sits on.
From there I rode over to the campfire area and walked to the end of the pier over the marsh. A lot of people were at the campfire, and the fire smelled great. I chatted briefly with Dottie & picked up my other sunglasses, then headed back to the studio. Theres no light on the porch but I dragged the tall floor lamp from the corner so that it was by the glass door and turned it on. With that I had enough light to read while in a rocking chair on the porch after dark. I had a small glass of wine while I was out there, and stayed outside until about 9:30.
At that point I came back inside and finished up todays report. This day flew by time is going by too fast. It was an absolutely delightful day in just about every way! Im so fortunate to have discovered this place and to have the means to spend time here. Tomorrow should be more beach time and then dinner at Mezzaluna.
DAY 3 Saturday 5/29/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
Plan: Beach, Mezzaluna
Actual: After another quiet night for sleeping I woke as the sky brightened around 6am and got up at 6:15. It was beautiful outside even slightly on the cool side (60s). Back home it doesnt get that low this time of year, so its a nice treat! There are more clouds right now but its supposed to be very sunny again today and no rain except further inland.
I brushed my teeth, ate part of a donut, then searched for some local news on tv tough to do so early in a small market like this! I had the internet though, so I was able to be online. I updated a trip spreadsheet and relaxed with my cappuccino, then later took the rest of the leftover bbq pizza out to the porch for breakfast. The rest of the donuts will go in the trash overall I ate about half between yesterday and today.
Around 9 I drove over to the Beach House, once again securing a parking spot underneath the building. When I left the parking lot outside was completely full and a van was waiting to take my spot. Popular place on a big holiday weekend! Today I took both the chaise lounge and a low sitting chair with me and set up camp at the edge of the dry and wet sand. It was high tide now and as it moved further out so did I. This way I never had people obstructing my view!
In a word, the beach was GORGEOUS! It was sunny & warm without being too hot. I saw dolphin swim by, little tiny crabs walk sideways down the beach, and there were no smokers anywhere near me. People were out having fun, and nobody was obnoxious or disruptive at all, despite some pretty big crowds. I took my little chair to the waters edge and sat out there a few times, letting the waves wash up over my lap. The water was warm enough to get right in it really was ideal. I will definitely have to do this each year while Im in Gainesville, and always do the 5 nights so I have 4 full days of this bliss.
Just after 12:30 I packed up my stuff and drove back to the resort. I was hungry, so I opened the wine and cut up some cheese to go on crackers. I took the food, wine and laptop out onto the porch (theres a double outlet out there) and sat in the shade catching up online, eating, sipping wine and enjoying the gorgeous weather. I was still in my swimsuit, wanting everything to dry so I could shake the sand out of it (from sitting in the waves).
Sometime after 2 I forced myself inside to take my shower. It was so heavenly out on the shady porch it was tough to get moving. I waited for the cookies to come out at 3 and then walked over to the art show at Shelter Cove. It was beautiful in the shade but a little too hot in the sun. There were a lot of vendors and I saw a lot of nice things. The few things I went over to check out further were pretty expensive - $5,000 and up, but they also had a lot of stuff that was more reasonable. Perhaps Ill find something for the Gainesville house next year.
I also wandered around outside the shops and restaurants at Shelter Cove, then headed back to the resort. I grabbed a cup from the lemonade dispenser and walked over to the Mercantile to visit with Dottie. Outside I used the soda machine to fill my cup with ice water. We chatted for a bit and then I headed back to the studio for a little while.
Shortly after 5 I drove the 2-3 miles to Mezzaluna for their sunset menu. It used to be 5-7pm but now its 5-6:15. It used to include salad or a cannoli and now its just the salad. When you first walk in you can tell they let people smoke at the bar, and thats really disgusting. I forgot Id noticed that last time too. Of course being here early theres nobody really at the bar but there is a bit of stale smoke smell at first.
I was the first customer and a couple other tables arrived while I was there. Their sunset menu includes a glass of house wine (or soda, coffee or tea), salad and entre for $12.95-$15.95. I ordered the chicken francese, which is $14.95. They brought out some warm bread and the end was almost too crusty like it had been reheated. They serve oil over shredded parmesan cheese with the bread. The salad was ok nothing special at all. The chicken francese was pretty good a little too much lemon taste, and it was served over penne pasta. The portion was one large chicken breast. Its not the greatest chicken francese Ive ever had, but its pretty good I took half back for tomorrow.
This was the cheapest dinner yet, at $16-something plus tip. On the way back I stopped at Fresh Market and got a red velvet cupcake since I wanted something sweet. From there I went back to the resort to put the food in the fridge and then headed out for a bike ride. After that I grabbed my book and went downstairs to lay in the hammock behind my building to do some reading before the sun set. Once it was getting dark I went inside and played a game of pool before returning to the studio for the night.
Today was another nice relaxing day in a beautiful setting. I just love the beach here and the weather is so much more comfortable than FL right now. Its been upper 80s, even 90 but without the oppressive humidity it doesnt feel that bad. Tonight I was almost cool in the shade, thanks to the breeze.
Tomorrow is another repeat of today, with beach time and then dinner (at Wise Guys again).
DAY 4 Sunday 5/30/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
Plan: Beach, Wiseguys
Actual: I evidently have new neighbors upstairs and they have some little demon child who is in training for track & field events in some future Olympic games. I swear that kid did not stop ran from one end of the studio to the other, then immediately did the other direction, etc. I finally called the front desk and told them they said theyd take care of it and it did get better. Now the resort has been sold out since mid March, Ive been here 3 days and this is the first Ive been bothered but that, so it tells me these people are more obnoxious than most! What parents let their kid tear back & forth like that??? If theres something wrong to make your kid do that, book ground floor out of consideration for other people.
At midnight on Saturdays the internet resets and you need a new code to get on for the next week. I dont know why they do that, as its a real pain for anyone staying over the weekend. I woke up at 6 when the sky brightened and sure enough was not connected to the internet. I spent 45 minutes struggling with that following the instructions left by Jim the engineer before finally discovering that I could only get to the sign on screen through Internet Explorer (not Mozilla). I have to shut down all the protections and firewall in McAfee, but I can specify 15 minutes or so that itll remain that way (then it defaults back to being protected). Anyway, I finally got back online.
It was just before 7 so I went out for a bike ride, enjoying the peace & quiet before everyone else woke up. When I got back to the resort I made a piece of toast & some cappuccino and caught up on online stuff. Around 9 I drove over to the Beach House and was met with clouds. What the heck??? I set up my chairs knowing the tide was still coming in for another 70 minutes and went for a walk on the beach. I headed south since I normally head north to pass the nice houses.
When I got back to my chairs I did some reading and by 10:15 the clouds had left and it was a bright sunny day. The breeze was stronger than the last 2 days and once again it was just beautiful on the beach. I stayed until about 12:30 and then drove back to the resort. I put a load of laundry in (there are 2 washers and 2 dryers here) and returned to my porch for a lunch of wine, cheese & crackers. An old college friend was online (Ill see her in mid July at BLT for a night) and I chatted with her a while on Facebook.
I finally got up and transferred the clothes to a dryer and while that was running took my shower. I wanted to be sure to get to the Shelter Cove Mall next door before they closed (possibly at 5pm) today. My Trash & Towel service had been done while I was on the beach I love when it works out that way! By the time my hair was dry my clothes were too so I brought them back and put them away. The lobby area was mobbed with people, possibly because Sunday has always been a heavy check in day but also BLou Crabbe and Shadow were sitting outside by Shadows doghouse for a meet & greet.
I drove over to the mall, staying off the main road. Its a very small mall and honestly theres not much here. But, I always end up buying something. Today I tried on a maxi dress in Belk and it fit like it was made for me! What a pleasant surprise, lol! It was also 40% off and it was a petite, so it actually ended at my ankles like its supposed to. Itll fold up small and be great for casual nights on cruises. Theres a kitchen store in the mall now and I found a set of pfalzgraf (spelling?) dinnerware on sale that I bought for Gainesville. Its service for 4 (16 pieces) and pretty heavy, so I made that my last stop. I also picked up a covered cake pan/carrier more for making rice krispie treats than boring old cake <g>.
It was a long trudge to the car but I made it, lol! From there I drove back to the resort, leaving the kitchen stuff in the trunk. Since I go to Gainesville from here I can leave that stuff in my office. Back at the resort I was shocked to see a new basket of cookies out so I had both a chocolate chip and a cranberry walnut. I relaxed in the studio for a while until it was time to leave for an early dinner.
Between 4:30 and 4:45 I left for Wise Guys. Once again the GPS tried to make me leave the main road for a scenic detour but this time I knew better. I found Wise Guys easily since it was my 2nd time here the 1st would have been difficult if Dottie hadnt been with me. This time I ate inside and chose to sit at the bar. The bar tenders took great care of me and were very nice. Id brought a book to read so I didnt need a babysitter <g>.
I forgot theres a cheap house wine ($3.25) during the early bird and ordered the Chateau St Michelle riesling. The bartender said they no longer had that suggested another Riesling that had replaced it. He brought me a sample and it was excellent. A staff member on a laptop at the bar mentioned a Riesling that was one of their specials right now so I tried that as well loved them both but decided to go with the special which I later saw on the menu was $9/glass. LOL Disney prices!
I ordered the early bird dinner, which was 3 courses, because it was cheaper than just the 2 courses I would have ordered. For course 1 nothing really appealed but I decided to try their pimento cheese. Ive never had this before and never wanted to try it, but the bartender and laptop guy both raved about it & explained all of the ingredients. To my surprise, it was excellent! It looked nothing like that nasty orange stuff Ive seen in stores. At Wise Guys the food is excellent but so is the presentation of the food its just beautiful. In the case of the pimento cheese it was a small plate with a scoop of cheese in the middle. A rectangular cracker was laid along side (4 of them, framing the cheese) and 3 more crackers were standing up, having been stuck into the cheese.
For my salad course I ordered the Caesar. This was huge and not nearly as impressive as the Wise Guys salad Id had the other night. I barely made a dent in it. Id eaten maybe 1/3 of the pimento cheese, wanting to pace myself. The bartenders saw I still had the salad in front of me and held off on ordering my 3rd course for quite a while until I said I was ready. I had ordered the spicy zin ribs, which came on a rectangular place. On either end was a pile of cole slaw with 2 ribs crossed over each other. In the center was a small scoop of goat cheese whipped potatoes. It looked beautiful and I was kicking myself for having left the camera in the studio (by accident)!! It tasted excellent wow!
Id ordered a glass of the cheap house chardonnay and noticed a huge difference between that and the $9 riesling, lol! I didnt want to spend almost $20 on 2 glasses of wine, though. They have a great looking dessert menu here and I ordered the crme brulee flight 4 small portions of crme brulee. WOW was this great, too. Id ordered it at the recommendation of the bartender despite a couple of other things that really looked good (chocolate fondue, chocolate hazelnut crepes). The 4 crme brulees were vanilla bean, raspberry chambord, grand marnier and kahlua mocha. They were all outstanding.
I was there almost 2 hours and the check was $36-something plus tip. So, its not cheap but its excellent food & service, and its nice to be able to finish something for a change! I brought the leftover pimento cheese back but ate all 4 ribs and crme brulees. It was a beautiful evening when I got back to the resort so I put the cheese in the fridge and headed out on foot to walk around a bit.
It is SOOOOOO nice up here I love the comfortable weather. We wont see that til almost November in Florida, lol! I walked over the bridge and along the water at Shelter Cove, stopping to listen to some of the entertainment (3 different locations). People were out enjoying themselves and it was really nice. Itd be nicer to be here not solo, but solo is better than nothing! I walked all the way to the end of the path, and discovered a restaurant called Ocean Grille. The prices are lower than a lot of places and its right on the water (on the marina) Id never noticed it before.
I walked back to the resort and walked on the path along the water there until I reached the tip of the island. An adirondak chair was conveniently facing the sunset so I sat there for a while. The low clouds really ruined any sunset tonight, but it was very pleasant being out there by the water with a nice cool breeze. A big sailboat came in while I was sitting there. Once I realized thered be no pretty sky I wandered back through the resort.
A campfire was going on again tonight, but they had a while to go before smores and I didnt want to compete with all the kids for one. I met Steven (a trip report reader) during my travels he & his family arrived today for a week. Im so jealous, lol I dont want to leave day after tomorrow already!
I continued back to Live Oak Lodge and went to my studio, in for the night. In no time it was dark outside and so far no running heathen upstairs. Today was yet another wonderful relaxing day in this paradise. Everything has been ideal the weather, the surroundings, the beautiful beach, and tonights dinner. Heck, I even got a nice dress and some dinnerware, lol what more could I ask for?
Tomorrow is my last full day, sadly. Once again itll be morning on the beach followed by whatever else I feel like doing. Not sure where dinner will be tomorrow right now Im just playing that by ear.
DAY 5 Monday 5/31/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
Plan: Beach, dinner somewhere
Actual: I slept well again last night and as usual woke up with the sun around 6. I got up at 6:15 and sat on the porch for a little while, then went iinside. I packed up some things since Im leaving tomorrow and just hung out online while watching morning tv (something I never do since I work for a living). I had my cappuccino and laptop so all was well with the world, lol. Breakfast was leftover chicken francese and I drove over to the Beach House shortly before 9.
Today it was pretty overcast but I was optimistic it would clear up like it did yesterday. It never did, though. I took a short walk to the north then returned to my chairs. People were more bunched together than the past few days since high tide wasnt until after 11. It was very breezy today, and several lifeguards were all bundled up in long pants and jackets, lol! I didnt think it was cold or cool at all it was nice & warm even with the breeze.
Eventually it was so cloudy I got up and took a walk to the south, then returned to my chairs and packed up. I left around 11:30-11:45 figuring it just was not going to be sunny today. Once again the parking lot was full, and later I had a message on my phone advising that the parking lot was full & to please use the shuttle.
Back in the studio I responded to an email from one of SBs friends who had hoped we were back together by now. Um, no. She means well, but sometimes you have to cut your losses and move on. I took my shower, got dressed and decided to do lunch instead of dinner today. I checked the menu book and then checked a couple places out further online. Skull Creek Boatyard had come highly recommended but in the end I settled on Frankie Bones (due to the menu having more appeal). Frankie Bones is right next door to Wise Guys and run by the same company (Skull Creek Boathouse is too, along with a few others).
It was an easy drive over there and I did not bother with the GPS <g>. I got there about 1:30 so it wasnt busy at all. My server was very nice, and lunch was great. I ordered the Chateau St Michelle Riesling but they were all out of it, lol! There must be a shortage on this section of the island <g>. Instead I went with the house pinot grigio, which was fine. For lunch I had their goat cheese salad, which was 2 medallions of pecan encrusted goat cheese on a baby spinach salad with dried cranberries, raspberry dressing & crispy potato straws. It sounded different and it was, but it was very good! They brought some warm bread with this weird spread that ended up being delicious with garlic, paprika, butter, etc.
Everything was wonderful and they even have a smores dessert. I asked about it and learned they bring graham crackers, a Hershey bar, marshmallows and a flame to toast your marshmallows over that sounded very cool, but too much for one person! My server said the carrot cake was good so I got that to go. It ended up being a massive portion, but Ill eat what I can between now & tomorrow. Lunch was $22-something before tip, which was not bad at all!
I drove back to the resort and played another solo game of pool before returning to the studio for a while. Around 5 I went out for a bike ride but it was starting to rain slightly so I went back inside. It never really RAINED, so after a little while I went back out for a bike ride. Its a lot cooler than Florida but still hot riding in the sunshine. Im not sure Id last on a bike in FL 9 months of the year <g>.
Tonight they were doing a Memorial Day barbecue at the pool for a fairly reasonable (for Disney) price. Its $22.95/adult and $10.95/kid for ribs, chicken, burgers, dogs & the usual sides. I was going to return my bike while I was out but the area was mobbed with guests and cast members, and BLou Crabbe was standing playing a banjo or something in the spot to leave your bike. So, I rode back to the studio and Ill return it later or in the morning. The barbecue ends at 8 and the pool games end at 9, so people will be all gone by then.
HAL decided to announce a sale today, and it knocked $150 off my Panama Canal cruise over Thanksgiving. Every little bit helps thats $150 to go towards another cruise, lol. I finished up the wine with some cheese & crackers out on the porch enjoying being here. A little after 8 I went out for one last bike ride around the resort and then left the bike at the bike return area. I walked back to the studio and was in for the night.
I would have liked more sun this morning, but it was still pleasant on the beach in the clouds. Frankie Bones ended up being a great pick for a restaurant. Ive had 4 full days of just relaxing I think this length of stay is perfect for me! Tomorrow Ill take a cue from the weather. If its sunny Ill spend part of the morning on the beach and if not Ill have breakfast at Hilton Head Diner and hit the road for Gainesville.
DAY 6 Tuesday 6/1/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
Plan: Hilton Head Diner, Drive to Gainesville
Actual: I was up shortly after 6 and when I went out onto the porch I saw the ground was wet. Evidently it had rained lightly during the night. I decided to play it by ear and see what would be looking like around 9. I got cleaned up and made some cappuccino, relaxing in the studio. There was no bill hanging on my door knob but thats because I had no charges.
By 8 it was totally overcast, yet weather.com had it looking itd mostly clear by 9 for 4-5 hours. I packed up what I could, and waited. Around 8:30 I decided to take my chances, so I loaded up the car and drove over to the Beach House. It was sunny briefly but then became cloudy. When I looked behind me (inland) the sky was dark, with thick clouds as if it would be raining. It was only 9:30 but I decided to just hit the road rather then get caught in rain on the beach.
After putting my chair in the trunk I went upstairs to the ladies room to change into regular clothes, then began the long & boring drive to Gainesville. As it turned out, I drove into rain before leaving the island. The drive to Gainesville is slightly longer than the ride from Ft Myers to Gainesville but since its not all highway driving its somewhat miserable. Theres no way around it to get here, though. It just means I wont be here frequently or for short stays!
Overall this trip was wonderful in almost every way. The one exception would be the clouds yesterday & today. Oh yeah, the internet challenges were a negative, too. I turned the laptop on in Gainesville and got right online with no problem I dont understand why it cant be that way in Hilton Head! On the positive side, I ended up loving my room and even with the clouds the weather was 100% better than it was in Florida during this trip! It was a treat to do nothing but relax for 4 whole days, I had mostly great meals & got to see Dottie. The cast members at the front desk were super, as was Jim the engineer they really went above & beyond trying to help.
The photos are on snapfish at: http://www1.snapfish.com/mypoints/th...016/a=5159584/
My next trip will be 4th of July weekend in a non-Disney, non-DVC oceanfront Hampton Inn in Daytona Beach Shores unless I cancel it because of getting settled in Gainesville. In mid-July I have 1 night at BLT Ill be there less than 24 hours and the purpose is to see an old friend who will be ending a conference at the Dolphin. Thatll be the next report for Disney/DVC related message boards/groups. Until next time thanks for reading.