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Day 103 - South Carolina Here We come (Photo's Added)

We played (Pro) Minature Golf in Myrtle Beach, then camped at Huntington Beach State Park: Castles, Beaches, Birds and Allegators (I am not making this up)

sunny 64 °F

Logistics:

Miles Driven - 69
Weather - Sunny & Cool
Camped at Huntington Beach State Park (Yes!!!)

Musings:

Narrative:

We were only about 10 miles from the South Carolina border this morning, so Mom suggested we go a little bit north and visit Ocean Isle. She had seen something about a seashore museum and wanted to visit one more beach before we left for SC. So we headed north and found Ocean Isle (after a few minor U-turns), but never did find any museums. What we did find was miles and miles of condo's, beachfront rentals or vacation properties, and lots and lots of signs telling you to keep out. As we were heading back up to the way off the island, we did find one public beach access - not very well marked except to tell you all the things you couldn't do at the beach. Now doesn't this look inviting!

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However, we did stop there and visit the beach. The water and surf were fine of course. Mom collected some sand and relaxed for a minute, then we decided to keep driving in search of beaches with more friendly natives.

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Right across the border in South Carolina is North Myrtle Beach, then Myrtle Beach. These are really built up seaside resorts, which we don't generally find of interest. As we were driving down the highway however, we passed several miniture golf courses. Mom had been saying it might be fun to stop at one someday so when we drove by one that had a sign saying it was one of the ten best in the world (or country, I've forgotten already), it seemed like this would be the place to stop. Can you believe there are miniture golf pro's! I'd always thought this was just a casual activity:

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Anyway, this was a big, fancy miniture golf course based on Hawaii. They had a big volcano with water mist spraying out the top, lots of hills and palm trees and astroturf greens. Mom has a most interesting swing, she just grabs the club with one hand and swings it. I place both hands carefully on the club with a golf grip, address the ball carefully, take a minute or two to eye the shot, then swing. In the end however, our scores aren't all that different. Hm, just a curious observation - as they say 'different strokes for different folks' - or golf strokes in our case.

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She enjoyed the game, but got a little tired being on her feet for so long so we figured one round was plenty.

We pushed on to get a little farther south actually trying to make some progress for a change. While trying to decide where to stop for the night, Mom said there was a state park on the beach with camping - which sounded pretty good. When we got there, we found it had it's own 'Castle'. The wealthy folks who owned the peninsula in the 1930's had built their winter home there in the form of a Moorish estate. The family wanted the property saved from development as a nature reserve, so eventually turned it over to the State. The house is run down (as a house anyway), but quite interesting.

The man who built it was Archer Huntington and his wife, Anna, a sculpter. They bought the property in 1930 to help Mrs. Huntington recover from TB (which she did). In 1931, Mr. Huntington hired a local contractor to build a house as he directed, but without plans. He hired local workers who had been hit hard by the depression. Mr. Huntington was a specialist in Spanish culture and language and designed the house (in his head) to resemble the Moorish architecture of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. It is a square, 200 feet on each side, one story masonry building. The rooms are around a central courtyard with a covered walkway and 'tower' in the center. Very unusual.

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Although the house is now in a state of disrepair, Mom couldn't help thinking how much Dad would have loved living there - he'd probably have every one of the 50 rooms filled with his stuff (and then the courtyards also!)

We went ahead and set up the RV at our camp site, Mom was pretty tired after playing miniture golf and going through a 50 room 'castle' (as it's affectionately called by the park staff). The weather was nice and the park very lovely, but this must be the off season as there weren't very many people in the campground. You might have noticed that I'm not uploading pic's of the RV much anymore, but thought it might be interesting to show just how uncrowded things are now.

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Earlier, as we'd driven across the causeway to get to the campground, we'd seen heron's in the marshes along the road. So after I got the RV parked and Mom settled in, I took the camera and tripod back to the causeway by foot to see if I could get any more bird shots. It turned out to be a pretty long walk (I needed that) and was getting dark, but I was able to grab a few shots. This Heron was pretty much parked in the pond by the road, traffic and people with camera's didn't seem to bother him much.

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Farther down the causeway were some Wood Storks. These are found mostly in Florida, but have been moving up the coastline as development in Florida reduces their habitat.

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I hadn't brought a flashlight with me, so started heading back before it got too dark - but had to stop for at least one more sunset shot.

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Once I got back to the RV, I let Mom know I was OK, then took the short walk over to the beach (the west side is marsh, the east side is Atlantic Ocean). Since the sunset had been so nice over the pond, I was curious to see how it looked on the other side. There was a light fog starting to drift over some houses at the far end of the beach, which was pretty cool - so I tried to get a shot of that. Not much light, but I had fun.

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So we pulled in to find a campground and maybe a beach. We never expected the waterfowl and 'castle' also - what a treat! With that stroke of luck, we settled in for the night - not exactly quiet as waves were breaking on the beach a hundred yards or so away, but pleasant.

Posted by jl98584 21:10 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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