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Thread: Sue (Holland) Rayford, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, May 22-27, 2019

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    Sue (Holland) Rayford, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, May 22-27, 2019

    Who/When/Where:

    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (61), husband
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3 in July), grandson
    Dates: May 22 - 27, 2019
    Resort: Disneys Hilton Head Island Resort
    Experience: Very Experienced 22nd stay

    INTRODUCTION:
    Were headed back to Hilton Head! Last year SB missed the trip, so were happy hell be joining us for most of it. Hes got another trip (baseball-related) starting 5/29, so to get time off for that one he scaled back this one. Chris, Amanda, Ari & I suffered through a lower level villa last year, with extremely loud, rude people staying upstairs so hopefully this year well be on the top floor. I made that request, and will restate it when checking in. I expect the resort to be sold out, since were approaching the holiday weekend. Next year my Hilton Head trip will be in early May nicer weather, and much smaller crowds.

    Ari loves the beach, and so do I. Well be out there each morning. Ill drive over, so I can bring some chairs and a cooler. The others may ride over with me, or may take the shuttle. Chris has a Tesla (electric car), and fortunately theres a charging station in Shelter Cove (very close short walk to the resort). I think he doesnt want to get sand in it, so he may not take it to the beach.

    Ari still naps, so afternoon will be down time. Sometimes his parents sleep too! Thatll give me time to keep the report updated and catch up with online stuff, so its not all waiting for the end of the day.

    We love the Serg restaurants on the island, and happily stick with them. Since Chris & Amanda werent impressed with Poseidon a couple years ago, thats probably where Ill head on the first night since Ill be the only one there in time for dinner. Thatll leave the other choices for the nights when Chris family will be there. Skull Creek Dockside was excellent last year, and since SB has never been there we may make a visit. We may do Poseidon again, since SB really likes it. Marleys Shrimp Shack was a great inexpensive option, and we enjoyed Marlins too along with Skull Creek Boathouse. We also need to visit the French Bakery in Shelter Cove at some point, and may hit Scotts Fish Market for happy hour. One thing for sure, we wont go hungry this trip!

    Im not sure what time the Hollands (Chris, Amanda & Ari) will arrive, but when they do we can find them something to eat somewhere and Ill just get water since I will have already eaten. SB will likely arrive last, and plans to just eat the food well have in the villa. On my way in, I plan to stop at Kroger to pick up the basics, then hopefully get settled in the villa before walking over to Poseidon for happy hour/lunch/dinner. They have a pimento cheese served with warm naan bread thats outstanding (and something you dont see in Gainesville).

    The plans so far are:
    Wednesday 5/22: Drive to Hilton Head, Poseidon
    Thursday 5/23: Beach, Eat Out
    Friday 5/24: Beach, Eat Out
    Saturday 5/25: Beach, Eat Out
    Sunday 5/26: Beach, Eat Out
    Monday 5/27: Hilton Head Diner breakfast, Drive to Gainesville


    DAY 1 Wednesday 5/22/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (61), husband
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3 in July), grandson

    Plan: Drive to Hilton Head, Poseidon

    Actual: Chris, Amanda & Ari were on the road at 7 this morning, with the Tesla app giving them a 10-hour drive time (with stops for charging). Thatll be a long day for Ari, being cooped up in a carseat for most of it. I went into work briefly to do a few things, then loaded up the last stuff and was on the road by 10:36. The drive is annoying, with the first part being in small town Florida with the speed limit changing every 100 yards. Other than loads of cops out in Georgia (who didnt get me), the drive was uneventful.

    Coming onto the island, I needed to make a stop at Wells Fargo, and once that was done I continued to Kroger. After getting out of the car I called the resort to see if my room was ready, and it was good news, as I can get all the groceries I need and get them right into the fridge.

    Kroger didnt seem as nice as it did in past years, particularly with the cashiers being less friendly. I had a bottle of wine and assumed I couldnt do self checkout with that, and the line I picked had this ignorant young woman ahead of me. After her order was paid, she still stood there on her phone, then stepped aside but left her bag of groceries in the way. I moved it out of the way, and she gave me a look but shes the twit in MY way. She was still standing off to the side when my stuff was bagged up and I left. Very strange.

    At the resort, the cast member wearing a Mickey glove greeted me from the parking lot thats a nice touch. Inside, both cast members were checking in guests, so I had to wait my turn. Once I got up to the counter I quickly got our parking passes and room keys, then headed out. Were in building 14, which is one of the 3 I requested. The drawback is parking is tough in this area made worse by there being a Disney utility cart taking up part of one of the 2 remaining parking spots.

    I initially parked in the other spot, but did a really crappy job. The spots are narrow, to try to squeeze more cars in, but many people drive big-*** vehicles that simply dont fit. The person next to me was right on the line, leaving me no room to stay inside the line on my other side. I started making trips to the villa, taking as much as I could carry at 1 time, up to the 2nd floor. Eventually the utility cart left, so I moved my car taking several attempts to parallel park in the other space, In the end, I managed to get it where Im not too far over the line, lol!

    After finally getting everything inside, it was almost 4pm. Chris & Amanda were getting closer, and had one more short stop for charging in Savannah. I unpacked somewhat, then walked over to Poseidon. It was very warm outside, even in the shade, even with fans blowing. Several of the tables were in the sun, so I sat at the bar in the shade.

    I ordered the house pinot grigio and the west coast pimento cheese (served with warm naan bread). It was all delicious, although I went through a couple cups of ice trying to keep the wine reasonably cool. It was busy, but never too full for people to find a seat. I imagine closer to the weekend itll be tougher, so Im glad I came over tonight.

    Amanda texted as they were coming over the bridge, then again when they were parking at Kroger. By that point I was walking over to Kroger, and met them at the entrance. Ari was excited to see me, which is always nice! We picked up more groceries, including a battery for my wireless mouse. When I turned on the laptop earlier, the mouse was dead! Thankfully the new battery worked, so it wasnt the mouse itself that needed to be replaced.

    We drove back to the resort and brought everything inside. Amanda needed to do a little work, then she unpacked their stuff. Chris brought the car over to the charging station in Shelter Cove to plug it in, I updated the report, and Ari sat next to me watching a Disney Junior show.

    Eventually everyone was settled, and it was almost 7:30, so time for Ari to eat. Wed bought some frozen macaroni & cheese, so Chris heated that up and Ari ate some for his dinner. The rest went in the fridge for future meals. Once he finished, SB was arriving at the gate. We met him outside Ari went running to him but somehow jammed his finger in the process. Fortunately, no serious damage was done to either party.

    SB went up to get settled, and the rest of us walked along the marina to the end of the resort and then back inside to the Mercantile. We got a couple movies for Ari, and looked around a bit, then walked back to the villa. Chris & Amanda walked over to Whataburger for their dinner, and Ari stayed with us.

    Whether that was a wise move remains to be seen. We started out watching one of the movies, but then SB (Grandpa) started playing torpedo which consisted of throwing the 2 throw pillows at Ari while yelling torpedo. Ari would run & scream, then bring the pillows back and throw them at SB to do it again. Ari loved it, and hopefully hes not too wound up when his parents get back!

    Today was a nice start to the trip, and were looking forward to hitting the beach in the morning!


    DAY 2 Thursday 5/23/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (61), husband
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3 in July), grandson

    Plan: Beach, Eat Out

    Actual: Chris & Amanda got back around 9:30, and seemed to have enjoyed Whataburger, but it was a longer walk than they expected, and of course very dark since Hilton Head doesnt use much outside lighting. I was working on a puzzle online, with Ari sitting next to me calmly, watching the movie and the puzzle. They let him stay up until the puzzle was done (5 minutes), then he went to get ready for bed, without any resistance.

    SB & I turned the lights out at 10:30, and never heard any noise. I was up at 5 and went out to the living room to make my cappuccino. He popped out by 5:30, saying that was the most uncomfortable nights sleep hes had. That surprised me, because I found the bed very comfortable. He asked if the sofa pulled out, and it does, so he plans to try that tonight.

    Around 6:15 I got dressed and went out for a walk, but not before learning that SB had run out of test strips for his blood sugar meter. Last night I learned he left all of his meds (other than insulin) at home, too. I swear from now on I need to just pack for him, as this is ridiculous! I walked around the resort and around Shelter Cove Harbour, then picked up some towels from the main pool. I chatted with Mike the pool guy over there very friendly guy, and a great cast member.

    When I returned to the resort SB & I headed out to a local CVS to buy him a new meter & test strips. At that time, the engine coolant light came on in his car another pain! He says he has some in the trunk, but if not he can get himself to a store to buy some. He was going to get the oil change and fluids checked before the trip, but did that actually happen?? Of course not.

    Back at the villa he checked his sugar, then I fixed breakfast for us. Chris, Amanda & Ari came out and fixed their breakfast next, then we got ready for the beach. SB & I went over first, taking both cars. We parked under the Beach House and were out on the beach by 8:30. Surprisingly, we werent the first people out there! When its so hot here, it makes sense to get out early when its more comfortable, and this morning there was a nice breeze that kept it relatively cool for a while.

    We went down to the water and SB said hed like to bring his chair down there and keep his feet in the water. I told him to go ahead, so he did. The tide was coming in, so eventually the water was up to his butt in the chair. He stayed there until a ferocious baby stingray (no bigger than a dinner plate) swam by thinking of Steve Irwin, SB left the water immediately, lol!

    I spent the morning on my chaise lounge, except for getting up after Chris & Ari arrived. Amanda was taking care of some work crap and joined us later via the resort shuttle. Ari loves the beach, and we played with his sand toys, set up a beach horseshoe game, and then Chris got him water to add to the beach toy fun. With the tide coming in, the waves were bigger, so he didnt spend as much time in the water as he would have if the tide was going out. The tide pools were already too deep and wavy for him to play easily.

    SB headed back first, around 10:30 or 11. He took his shower and relaxed watching ESPN. Chris, Amanda & Ari left around 11:30 Ari had wiped sand in his eyes just before then, and was not happy and tired, too. They came back to the resort and got lunch at Tide Me Over. Ari got what looks like a popcorn bucket but its probably meant to be a pail for the beach it has a picture of Shadow (the resorts mascot golden retriever) on it. I stayed on the beach until noon, then headed back.

    I made lunch for SB some rotisserie chicken and steamed carrots/broccoli/cauliflower. Hed eaten some tuna earlier, so sticking with the low carb and low sugar stuff. I poured a glass of wine and cut up some cheese & crackers, then got online. Chris & his family came back from lunch he sat out in the living room with me, while Amanda got Ari a bath and a shower for herself, then naps for both. Eventually Chris went to wash his car somewhere, and I took my shower and got dressed.

    Id mentioned a DVC member bathrobe Id seen in the Mercantile last night to SB, and he mentioned it being a birthday gift (yes, 6 months from now but its way too hot to wear it in the next 6 months at home). So, around 2:45 I walked over to check it out more closely & try it on. This one comes in some degree of sizes the smallest being small/medium. Stuff that comes one size fits all does NOT fit me its enormous!

    The resort is well shaded, so the walk was comfortable. The bathrobe was still there, so I tried it on and bought it. I wanted to get a couple of the luggage tags Id seen last night, but they were gone someone had bought them all. Should have got them last night! The cast member threw in a HHI car magnet, and I went back to the villa.

    The Hollands were still napping, and SB was still watching crap on tv. I thought about going over to Kroger to pick up a few more things, but SB didnt want to plan what hed be eating tomorrow so the heck with him. I went out to the living room and updated the report. When he decides tomorrow what he wants, he can either go get it or do without.

    Pretty soon the Hollands were up, and since it was nearly 3pm I left with them to walk over to Live Oak Lodge for them to get cookies and lemonade. I skipped the cookie, since theyre really not that good. From there we walked over to Shelter Cove and bought stuff at the Hilton Head Social Bakery their stuff looks so pretty, and tastes delicious. I got the chocolate bomb, which is a flourless chocolate cake topped with chocolate mousse and coated in dark chocolate ganache, with chocolate shavings around the bottom and a white chocolate medallion on top. They got an apple orange tart and a dark cherry tart thing, along with a bag of linzer cookies and a bag of chocolate macarons. We brought it all back to the villa and stashed it in the fridge.

    SB got ready and we all left for dinner tonight Skull Creek Dockside. This is a relatively new Serg restaurant, right next door to Skull Creek Boathouse on the site of the old Chart House. We were surprised by how full the huge parking lot was, given that its only Thursday and wasnt even 5pm! Several cars ahead of us also turned into the parking lot. Chris dropped us off at the door, but then found a really close parking spot in the shade.

    We had a brief wait, but learned a table outside would be 1 hour and 15 minute wait (at least). So, we decided to eat inside. We stepped into the shop briefly, and they had Dockside baseball caps SB liked, and they were marked down to $5 so I bought one. Soon we were taken to our table, with a nice view of the water.

    Here, each row of tables is tiered up a bit higher than the previous row, so even in the back people would have a view. Its a big restaurant, too! Like all the Serg restaurants, they do a sunset dinner option for $18 that includes soup or salad, entre and beverage. Chris & SB both ordered one of those, while Amanda & I stuck with the regular menu. I had the pulled pork flatbread, which was pretty tasty. I could only eat half, and took the rest home. SB had a house salad and a bbq platter consisting of chicken, brisket, cole claw and he subbed creamy collard greens instead of the macaroni & cheese. Chris had a stuffed flounder, with red seafood chowder. Amanda had swordfish, and Ari had pasta.

    Everything was delicious, and Amanda in particular said her fish was out of this world good. After settling the checks we headed out and returned to the resort. SB was full he took some of his dinner home too. He laid down & watched softball on tv and the rest of us wandered around the resort to let Ari do the different activities.

    The first stop was basketball, and I was impressed that Ari will toss the ball up in the air a bit, and most of the time catch it. He wasnt able to throw it up to the basket without help, though. He & Amanda played on a hammock nearby, then we moved onto golf for a little while. After that was corn hole, then we walked out to the end of the pier & watched the crabs down by the water, before heading back to the villa.

    I ate a few bites of my chocolate bomb, and it was delicious! They watched some of Aris other movie, then Chris & Amanda returned both to the Mercantile while Ari & I worked on puzzles online. SB came out of the bedroom and I fixed them both some crackers and cheese, then Ari & I went out on the balcony for a while. Hed look in at SB, who would pretend to hide under the blanket. He is really enjoying Ari!

    Chris & Amanda returned, and before long it was time for Ari to get to bed. Theyd gotten a grown-up movie to watch after he goes to sleep. I plan to spend a little more time online from the bedroom before turning in.

    Today was a really nice day great weather, great company, great food! With the breeze and the shade, the resort has felt great so far. Tomorrow Im hoping for another fabulous day.


    DAY 3 Friday 5/24/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (61), husband
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3 in July), grandson

    Plan: Beach, Eat Out

    Actual: I slept really well last night, and got up at 5 to make my cappuccino. Id brought the coffee maker and the mug/cappuccino powder into the master bathroom so I could heat the water without walking SB. He was up by 5:45, and went out to the porch and knocked on my window it was still dark, but I knew it was him, lol! On Hilton Head if someone knocks on my window Im assuming theyre just being friendly and want to say hi its not a dangerous place <g>. He said he slept much better on the sleep sofa, so that might be what he decides to do tonight.

    Shortly after 6 I got up and put some walking clothes on, then headed out for my morning walk. It felt a little humid, but still very nice this early in the day. I did my usual walk, but detoured a bit to check a couple of the happy hour menus at places in Shelter Cove Harbour. One in particular sounds good (the Italian/sports bar place dont remember the name), but Im afraid this trip it will be too hot to be out there even in the shade. Ill keep it in mind for early May next year with Pete & Judy.

    I was back in the villa by 7 and made breakfast for us. SB had scrambled eggs, bacon, and the rest of his brisket from last night. I had the rest of my pulled pork flatbread. The others were up around 8, and were sitting down to their breakfast when SB & I left just before 8:30. They finished up the last 3 eggs, and made crescent rolls. Its sure nice having the full kitchen!

    SB & I took both cars to the beach house again, and were the first to arrive today. We set up our chairs in the same spot, and it was beautiful for a while nice breeze to keep it comfortable. Within an hour though, it was getting pretty warm! He decided to head back to the resort just after 9:30, so then it was just me for a while. Chris & Amanda had taken Ari to make a jelly fish wind chime over by the pool, and texted me a picture. He did a good job!

    They arrived via the shuttle around 10:30 or so, and got the beach umbrella out of my car. That really helped, as by now it was really hot in the sun. We played in the sand, went in the water, played in the waves, looked at sea life in the water, and just had fun. Chris buried Ari in the sand, and Ari enjoyed breaking out. Around noon Id had enough, so we packed up our stuff and I returned to the resort while they took Ari up to play at the splash pad by the beach house pool for a bit.

    SB was laying in the bedroom watching sports on tv, and had already eaten his lunch some rotisserie chicken, the rest of his chicken & collard greens from last night, and a pita. I fixed myself some crackers, cheese & wine and updated the report at the dining table. Housekeeping came by to empty the trash when theres 5 of us, I like that they do this daily. The kitchen trash can was emptied yesterday, but today was overflowing since wed disposed of a couple to go containers.

    The Hollands got back a little after 1, and Ari ate some of the macaroni & cheese, but he was getting tired and irritable so it didnt go as smoothly as it should. Hes got a stubborn streak, so when his dad is insisting on something, Ari will tend to dig his heels in too. That never ends in his favor, of course. I told him when he was 30 he could do whatever he wants, but Im sure that sailed over his head at this point! Chris & Amanda had gotten a burger at Signals, so they were set.

    Eventually I took my shower and got dressed, then sat outside on the porch for a while. They were up around 4, and Ari & I did some puzzles together. We headed out after 4:30, going to One Hot Mamas. Amanda had never eaten there before, so it was her pick. We were seated almost right away, but then it filled up really quickly. Its not a very big place. They do a nice happy hour, with $5 appetizers, but only in the bar area and that didnt work for us since the only tables were high-top and we didnt want to do that with a squirming toddler.

    Service was very slow Chris & SB ordered appetizers, and it took forever for them to come out (beef tip ends for SB, wings for Chris). We were concerned all the food would be brought out at one time, but thankfully that didnt happen. It did mean Ari was waiting a long time for his grilled cheese, which was difficult for him.

    For dinners Chris & Amanda each got barbecue chicken, I had the pulled pork sandwich with cornbread/sausage stuffing as my side, and SB had a burger. Everything was good, but I wont be rushing back here too many better Serg choices out there. I ate part of my sandwich and took the rest home. Chris got a strawberry shortcake for dessert, which he shared with Ari. After settling the checks we made a tip to Kroger for more groceries, and then went back to the resort.

    Amanda turned on a movie for Ari, and I updated the report. SBs legs were hurting him, so I got him some Alleve at Kroger. He was also stuffed and bloated from all the food, so overall he was miserable in many ways. His solution is to stop going on trips, since he has no willpower. Hopefully hell get over it when he feels better, and perhaps learn from it and not eat to excess like tonight. Hes mostly been doing very well for the last month or longer, except for tonight.

    I walked over to the pool with Chris, Amanda & Ari SB wouldnt have made it. The pool wasnt busy when we got there, but then all of a sudden lots of people arrived. Ari went down the slide several times, loving it! Amanda & I sat on chairs and watched him, and Chris got in the pool with him. Around 8 Ari moved over to the kiddie pool and I decided to head back to the villa.

    I sat with SB and we talked for a while. Hes regretting eating like he did earlier something we all go through from time to time. The others got back around 8:20, and Ari had his bath. I finished up todays report & got it posted while watching the sky turn pretty shades of pink after sunset.

    Today was another great day except for SBs issues. Next year well be with Pete & Judy, so well eat smaller happy hour appetizers mainly. That will work better for both of us, vs these big restaurant meals each day. I can order a meal and only eat a fraction of it (putting the rest in a to go box), but he cant resist eating it all.

    Tomorrow were headed back to the beach for the morning, although well see if SB feels up to it. Hes planning to head home in the afternoon. That way he can catch a ballgame on tv and be rested for going to work early Sunday morning. Tomorrow supposed to feel hotter than today, so well see how that goes!


    DAY 4 Saturday 5/25/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    SB (61), husband
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3 in July), grandson

    Plan: Beach, Eat Out

    Actual: I slept well, and so did SB. Once Chris & Amanda went into their bedroom last night, he went out to the sleep sofa. When I checked on him later, he was feeling much better either the Alleve had finally kicked in, or the negative effects from dinner were wearing off. In any event, in the morning he said hed had his best night of sleep yet.

    I got up at 5 and had my cappuccino, then at 6 headed out for my walk (and the sunrise). Shelter Cove Harbour is full of white tents, since the Art Festival runs today and tomorrow it will be very busy, and too hot to be enjoyable in my opinion! SB was still asleep when I left, but he was awake when I returned. I gave him another Alleve, to hopefully prevent any issues today.

    He wasnt hungry yet, so I made my breakfast. Soon the others were up and Amanda made their breakfast, then I made some for SB. Wed gotten another 1.5 dozen eggs at Kroger last night since were going through them so fast. After breakfast there were 9 left, but since SB wont be here tomorrow Ill boil up whats left and take them home for him to eat as hard-boiled eggs (or Ari may eat a couple).

    SB decided to hit the road this morning rather than go back to the beach, and Id already packed up his stuff. His legs were feeling better today, and I dont imagine hell be so foolish with his dining choices in the future we honestly didnt stop to think about it at the time.

    Around 8:30 we all headed out, SB in his car on the way to Florida, and the rest of us in my car going to the beach house. The tide was out nice & far, but on its way in. The tide pool would be nice & shallow for a couple hours, which gave Ari the chance to play in it. We walked around for a bit, looked at the small crabs & fish in the water, and avoided the occasional jellyfish.

    Back at the chairs, Chris set up the beach umbrella, but after a while the wind blew it down, breaking the holder (plastic) in the process. We dug that out of the sand to dispose of later, and just put the umbrella directly into the sand, getting it down deeper this time. I laid in the sun doing some reading, Chris sat in the shade, and Amanda & Ari played in the tide pool. They joined up with another family from the resort who have a couple young sons and were scooping up hermit crabs from the sand (and releasing them back into the tide pool).

    We noticed the area where the waves crash (looks like a sandbar when the tide is low enough) was getting littered with dozens of jellyfish. Eventually when the tide got higher, the jellyfish were all washed into the tide pool area, so that was our cue to head back to the chairs. They left around 11 or so to catch the shuttle back to the resort, and I stayed on my chair.

    My intent was to come in at noon, but by 11:30 it was just too hot to stay out there, so I packed up my stuff and drove back to the resort. Theyd gotten back not too long before me, and were in the dining room having lunch. Ari was eating his pasta from Dockside, and Chris & Amanda were eating their leftovers from One Hot Mama along with some macaroni & cheese. Most of my pulled pork sandwich is in the fridge, and Chris can have that tomorrow.

    I took my shower and got dressed, and Ari was napping by then. My lunch was more of the crackers/cheese/wine with just enough left over for 1 more day. The others were all relaxing or napping in their bedroom, so I had a quiet couple of hours. Ari was awake by 2:30, and he came out to help me with the last puzzle.

    Chris & Amanda went to the Mercantile to get a new movie and some soda shed bought the refillable mug here. Ari & I spent some time on the porch, then put our shoes on and went down to look at the boats in the marina. Evidently some of them are worth 7 figures way out of my budget! Once Chris & Amanda came back we went over to Live Oak Lodge for cookies. We were a few minutes early, so we sat in Big Murgies Den and Ari played his version of checkers with Amanda. Theres no apparent rhyme or reason he just moves pieces off the board regardless of which color they are <g>.

    The cookies came out, and they all got some, but I passed again. The pool table became available, so we played a little of that, then headed back to the villa to relax until it was time to go to dinner. I took the laptop into the bedroom, and struggled to stay awake! Around 4:45 we left for Frankie Bones.

    The parking lot had plenty of spaces, and its a pretty big restaurant, so we figured we wouldnt have a problem. But, since we didnt make a reservation there would be a long wait for a table inside. We could eat outside (not in this heat), or at a high-top table in the bar otherwise the soonest wed get a table would be 9pm! It was 5pm now. So, we took the high top table and Ari did fine. It was just more challenging keeping him still, and when hed drop something (a crayon for example), then it was gone for good.

    Service was a bit slow to start, and we were given everything except the early dining menu. It was 5:25 by the time we saw our server again to ask for it, and he brought over a couple. He ended up being very nice, but we did seem to sit for longer than necessary at the beginning. Chris ordered the chicken marsala from the early dining menu, which looked to be a smaller portion but came with soup or salad (he chose Caesar) and a beverage. Ari had the kids corn dog & French fries. Amanda & I stuck with the regular menu small portion of chicken alfredo for her and the appetizer meatball sliders for me. Her pasta was outstanding! My sliders were on soft yeast rolls, each with a meatball, marinara sauce, and ricotta cheese. They were delicious! There were 3 of them, and Chris ate the third one.

    While there I got on the Serg app and made us a reservation for Black Marlin for tomorrow night, so we didnt run into the same issue of being told itd be a 4-hour wait! We settled the checks and headed back to the resort, then walked around to do some of the recreation. Unfortunately, its a holiday weekend, its the start of Hilton Heads peak season, the resort is clearly sold out, and there are people everywhere! The 2 bedroom next to us has people who leave their shoes outside the door, and I counted 12 pairs of shoes out there its crazy! Chris & Amanda can hear them at times since their bedroom shares a wall with their 2nd bedroom. So annoying.

    We couldnt play basketball, because bigger kids and adults were already playing there. The hammock was occupied. We were nearly run over by what seemed like 10-20 bicycles coming around the corner as we were walking. Bocce ball was busy, but Ari messed around with the outdoor checkers game, stacking up the pieces. Shuffleboard was in use, but we stopped to play ping pong. Ari was excited when he hit the ball, even though it rarely went back over the net or even in the direction of the net, lol! Before long wed had enough it was hot, and Amanda & I didnt feel like getting bitten by bugs.

    We went back to the villa, where they watched Aladdin and I watched HGTV. Tonight may be a little bit earlier night for me well see! Today was another great day, although I do wish it wasnt so hot! SB made it home safely and said he really did enjoy himself when he was here. Tomorrow is our last full day, so for me that definitely means the beach in the morning. Well play the rest by ear, other than our dinner at Black Marlin. At some point I need to get the photos sorted & uploaded, too.


    DAY 5 Sunday 5/26/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3 in July), grandson

    Plan: Beach, Eat Out

    Actual: Once again, I slept well and got up at 5 to make my cappuccino to bring back to bed while I got online. Around 6 I dressed and went out for my walk. It looks like they have at least 2 security guards working through the night while this art festival is going on. That way if any vendors have left some stuff in the tents it is probably safe from anyone hauling off everything.

    Some of the people staying on the bigger boats were up and about, either sitting out to watch the sunrise, walking their dogs or getting their day organized. A guy was out with 2 of his kids on stand-up paddleboards. When I got back to the villa I ate one of the Greek yogurts Id bought at Kroger, and did some puzzles. Eventually I got up and made an egg and bacon for myself, then when there was no sign of life from the other bedroom I changed into my swimsuit and drove over to the beach house.

    Although I got there at 8:30, there were already a few cars parked underneath. I set up in the usual area of the beach, and left my stuff there while I took a 30-minute walk past some of the nice big houses. Several jellyfish were spotted, but they were mostly still so I couldnt tell for sure if they were alive. I wasnt going to get close enough to find out, either!

    Not long after I got back to my chaise lounge I got a text from Amanda saying they were on their way to the beach. When they arrived, we walked again along the tide pool. We found one big crab, which Chris picked up on one of Aris toys to give Ari a closer look. From the scream, I dont think Ari wanted a closer look, lol. Eventually I went back to my chair and they hung out down by the tide pool with Ari. I joined them for a bit, then Amanda stayed in the water with Ari while Chris & I sat in the chairs.

    A little bit earlier, this group of people (probably from the resort) came and set up their umbrella & chairs directly in front of me blocking my view. Thats so annoying! I got up and moved all of our stuff right up next to them, so at least I could see the water. Later, Amanda had no sooner come up to sit in the other chair when 4 people who were off to our left ahead of us dragged their chairs over right in front of us! Isnt there some sort of beach etiquette, or am I just expecting too much? Amanda wanted to watch her kid and husband play, but instead she had a view of chairbacks and the back of 4 strangers heads.

    Around 11 Chris & Ari came back and the Hollands went up to the pool for a short while. I stayed on the beach until just after 11:30, and then drove back to the resort. It was hot outside, but there was a really nice breeze the entire time. It could have been so much worse!

    Back at the resort I was surprised Id beaten them there. I took my shower and they came home while I was showering. Amanda heated up a frozen pizza theyd bought the first night, and Chris ate the rest of my pulled pork sandwich from One Hot Mamas. Once I was dressed I cut up the rest of the cheese with some crackers. Ari ate several pieces of the cheese, along with 2 slices of pizza. I boiled up the rest of the eggs (for easier traveling), then settled down with a glass of wine to update the report.

    Ari & Chris went to their bedroom for naps, and I imagine Ari was asleep pretty quickly. Around 1:30 Amanda & I walked over to Shelter Cove Harbour to check out the art fest. Despite a breeze, it was hotter than hell over there!! It didnt seem as busy as normal, which might be because its so hot. Many of the booths were not of interest to me at all, but there were quite a few that had some really pretty things.

    We were back inside the air conditioning by 2:15, which felt great! We hung out there until Ari woke up just before 3, then we walked over to Live Oak Lodge for cookies. Today I got one too, but Ari had to save his for after dinner. The cast members had a big tub of iced bottles of water out front, free of charge. I noticed another cast member going around with a pitcher of ice water for people sitting out on the porch outside Big Murgies Den.

    From there we walked over to the Mercantile to return the movies, and get a new one for Ari to see tonight. While there we ran into Gordon, despite being told he wasnt working until Monday. It was great we got to see him, and chat for a bit. On the way home we stopped at the shuffleboard court briefly, then walked back to the villa. It was very steamy out there, and its not even very humid yet (any day now). I cant imagine being here in the summer months!

    We went back inside, and a maintenance cast member came by to take care of a few minor issues. Around 4:45 we walked over to get Chris car at the charging station, then drove to Black Marlin for dinner. We had a reservation, but it didnt look like we really needed it. The outside filled up faster than the inside, which puzzled us since it was close to 100 degrees out there. But, they had music starting up out there. They also allowed smoking, which is disgusting another reason to stay inside.

    Dinner was good, but once again service was slow. After ordering we didnt see our waiter again for a very long time (someone else brought the food out). He never refilled Chris drink and I dont recall him checking on us. The room we were in had a couple big tables, and it looked like he was busy with one of them when wed see him in the distance. We also had some challenges with Ari not behaving, to the point Chris removed him from the restaurant for a while he was led out crying because he knew he was in trouble. Once they came back inside, he was back to behaving (for the most part as much as most boys his age behave).

    For dinner we started with the hush puppies, which came with pimento cheese. These were very good! Even Ari liked the hush puppies. Chris got an early bird dinner, starting with the tomato bacon gorgonzola soup and the seafood alfredo. He said it was very good, but heavy. Ari had a kids burger, which looked really good for a kids meal. I got the cheese flatbread, which was ok. Amanda had the fried mahi mahi with French fries she loved her fish, barely touched the fries. Walking out, Chris said he thinks Dockside and Black Marlin are the best of the places we ate at this trip.

    We stopped in the store, and Amanda bought a kit where you get the pearl from an oyster and put it in a necklace included in the box. When we got back to the resort, she & Ari took it out to the porch and opened the oyster out there. The pearl was kind of small, and looked dark to me. She put it in the seahorse pendant but evidently it kept falling out, so Chris took it back and swapped it for a different one. Well see if that ones any better!

    While he did that, Amanda took Ari over to the pool to see what was going on at the family dance pool party. I chose to stay in the villa dont care for those noisy crowded parties at all, and even at 7:45 the feels like temp was still 94. The air conditioned villa felt much better! Amanda showed me a video of Ari when he joined the donut eating contest, and it was really cute. He got on his knees, hands behind his back, and had to eat a donut tied to a long string held by Amanda. Towards the end, a bunch of the other little kids were standing around him changing Go Ari, go Ari, go Ari, lol!

    Chris got back with the new pearl kid about the same time as Amanda & Ari, and they went back over to the pool for a bit longer. I dont think any of them were going IN the pool just there for Ari to dance. I was already undressed (in a robe) at that point, and was too lazy to put clothes on to go back out.

    They got back around 8:15 or so, saying it was crazy hot out there and the breeze had died. Id brought Ari a big necklace of stars that flicker on & off (red, white & blue), so he wore that a bit and will have it for whatever they do for 4th of July. I was playing a mahjong tile matching game on my tablet, and he wanted to do that too, so we played that until it was time for bed. Hes pretty good at matching games, so once we were down to a reasonable number of tiles he could figure the rest out without any help.

    By just after 9 we were all headed to our bedrooms for the night. Today was yet another wonderful day here. I was shocked it wasnt really uncomfortable on the beach I thought it felt worse yesterday then it did today. Ill miss my nice routine of waking up, taking my walk, and going to the beach but at the same time, its getting so hot & crowded here I really dont mind going home & saving my vacation time for another day.

    Tomorrow were going out for breakfast, then will drive back to our homes.






    DAY 6 Monday 5/27/19
    Who: Sue (60), DVC Member
    Chris (32), son
    Amanda (30), daughter-in-law
    Ari (3 in July), grandson

    Plan: Hilton Head Diner breakfast, Drive to Gainesville

    Actual: This morning was the dreaded day the end of this stay at this beautiful resort, and going back to face the long hot miserable Gainesville summer. Sigh. I got up at the usual time, and enjoyed my cappuccino from bed as the sky lightened outside. Since were planning to leave at 7, I didnt really have time for my morning walk so todays a lazy day. Too bad I dont get credit for miles driven, lol.

    Most of my stuff was packed up yesterday, so this morning it was just the last few things and then the cooler. The rest of the leftover food got put in the trash (all open, partially eaten). Chris & Amanda had to wake Ari up, so he was pretty cranky until we got going. Amanda was NOT happy when he spilled his milk on the floor, then just stood there without saying something or going to clean it up. Fortunately by the time hed brushed his teeth and gotten dressed he was back to normal Ari.

    Chris had charged their car up to about 92% last night (its not good to go to 100% unless youre driving it right away), and brought it over this morning to load their stuff, then drove it back over the little bridge to let it charge while we went to breakfast. I met them at the charger and we made the quick trip to Hilton Head Diner in my car.

    There was hardly anyone there, which was great! We were seated right away, and service was better than the last few dinners, lol! Ari had the kids silver dollar pancakes, but the kitchen messed up and made the adult portion. It was a massive platter, with 10 or 12 pancakes that were way bigger than a dollar coin size. Chris got the country fried steak & eggs, Amanda got the short stack (pancakes), and I got the French toast. Everything was very good, and it didnt take long to eat breakfast. Chris snuck up to the register and paid the check, then after a quick restroom visit we headed out. I always get the twisty cinnamon things here, and picked up a couple to bring home.

    We drove back to the resort and said our goodbyes. Happily, Ill get to see them again at the end of June, when I go down there for a dental appointment. I hit the road, and I believe they made a detour to a Starbucks for Amanda before doing the same. Theyll be on the road all day, but my trip is only half as far. Traffic was light, and I pulled into home at noon.

    The album for this trip is on Snapfish at https://www.snapfish.com/library/sha...18060/SNAPFISH

    Overall, this was a wonderful trip, despite the heat, and the humidity arriving today. The beach was gorgeous! The resort & the cast members who work there are awesome they make it easy to want to go back year after year. Our villa was great, thanks to being on the top floor. We really didnt do many resort activities, partly because it was hot, partly because it was crowded, and partly because of the times they were offered. For example, they only do the campfire a couple times a week, and its at 6pm. Why they do it then, when sunset is just after 8pm, is beyond me. Campfire time conflicts with dinner, its still hotter than hell (not fun sitting around a fire), and its bright daylight.

    We did experience some less than great service at some dinners, but the food was all very good or excellent. Dockside continues to be the favorite, and no doubt well head there with Pete & Judy next year. We can skip One Hot Mamas. Were mostly looking forward to Poseidon, though. But, what Im most looking forward to is cooler weather hopefully by about 10 degrees or so!

    The next DVC trip will be a weekend in a treehouse at Saratoga Springs for Aris 3rd birthday in mid-July. Until then, thanks for reading!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford
    WDW1972

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    Great report as always. Its nice that even though you are together you do your own things the. Do things together. We are doing the same thing in June. We have 11 people including an almost 2 year old and a 6 and 8 year old so I had to plan some different things for some of us. Its the young kids first trip so I want things to be as perfect as possible. Im looking forward to staying at Saratoga for the first time In November


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