Sometimes a fit father needs a getaway with his lady that can fall within a budget and meet all their needs to relax. Well I am here to tell you that I found a fat slice of vacation heaven in Hilton Head, SC.
Hilton Head is an island just north of Savannah, Georgia, steeped in tradition, as it became a refuge for freed slaves following the Civil War. The descendants of those ex-slaves are known as Gullah or Geechee and are still in place around the island carrying on their culture, which continues to influence the way of life on the island. I had no idea I was in for such a treat with this off the radar gem hours away from the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina most vacationers dwell in.
For the trip I took the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer SE. It was pretty bare with not many bells or whistles other than an auxiliary iPod hook up that would be my lifeline in an otherwise endless nine-hour drive to paradise. The Lancer held up well and although it was devoid of any significant options, its acceleration and handle were surprisingly ample for the road trip. The trunk space and interior space was also deceiving. Three car seats is a tight squeeze but for this getaway for two, it was more than enough room for luggage for a few days with room to spare for junk.
The drive also included minimal gas stops. The Lancer’s 29 hwy mpg saw to that. We hit a few rough patches of rain but the all-season Yokohama tires and traction control made for assured handling. Soon the clouds opened up to the warmth of the sun that welcomed all to the beautiful waterside community that would envelope us for the weekend.
The Main Street Inn & Spa was magnificently nestled behind Palm trees and walls; recessed from the street. As I pulled the Lancer into the estate, my attention was drawn to the antique large centerpiece fountain which added to the Inn’s secluded elegance. Once inside the walls, amenities included a pool and surrounding shaded garden with serene paths for walking. Our room included a queen size canopy bed, microwave and fridge. In the bathroom was a separate shower and bathtub with French doors opening to reveal a private terrace with table and chairs.
Each day there was a grand breakfast served and in the afternoon complimentary wine and cookies helped make the stay even more pleasant. The general manager of the inn, Denise Hatcher, was accessible, attentive and helpful.
Although it was hard to pull us out of our personal oasis at Main Street Inn, we remembered one of the main reasons for the getaway and hopped in the Lancer in route to the beach! I did not have high expectations for the beach. Secretly, I wanted to vacation in Florida but the budget would not allow. Once my toes touched the sand and my eyes caught a glimpse of the scene, I was good. Would I say the beaches in Hilton Head were par with Florida? Yes I would!
With the beach off the checklist, Lawton Stables was a destination of equestrian proportions. I decided we would do something special as a couple which was horse ridding. It was my first time and of course I got the biggest horse in the stable. Once we got a feel for one another, the stead was as easygoing and responsive as the Mitsubishi Lancer. We enjoyed the one-hour guided tour through the 603-acre Sea Pines Nature Preserve, a scenic treat of nature and smells. I won’t get into the smells, but overall it was an amazing experience.
Next up was a spa treatment. Normally, I would suggest staying where you are, if there is a spa in your hotel. South Carolina is a magical place, so instead we followed the pixie dust on a scenic and beautiful ride along empty roads to where the tree branches hung low as if to create a lavishly green tunnel welcoming us to Palmetto Bluff Resort in Bluffton, SC.
This spa is “pinch me” worthy. It is its own secluded villa away from everyone. My date was already bubbling with excitement from the exterior. Once inside, we opened the doors to an intimate couples suite with a relaxing and sexy experience that began with a “lovers bath” on a private outdoor veranda. Touches of awesome Southern hospitality included blood orange mimosas and chocolate covers strawberries to a disposable camera to capture the very intimate moments.
Warning, my health food only eaters may want to look away and skip to the “Departure” section now. Although breakfast was served daily at the Main Street Inn we did venture to the much talked about Signe Bakery which serves breakfast all day starting at 8 a.m. with an award winning bakery to boot.
We decided to get up close and personal with some traditional food at Dye’s Gullah Fixin’s. Authentic Lowcountry cooking which is a version of Soul food cooked with very little seasoning other than salt and pepper but somehow bursting with flavor. Fried chicken that was light and crispy, sweet potatoes that were perfectly sweetened with sugar cane and greens that melted in our mouths. Speaking of dessert, the sweet potato pound cake was pillow top moist and its only denseness lied in its wonderful flavoring.
The place that really knocked our socks off was dinner at Frankie Bones. Although, it felt like we had ventured back in time and made a wrong turn into a mafia restaurant. But either way it was a hit! A Sixties theme with pictures of Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe adorning the walls and even a replica of the infamous sexy leg lamp from A Christmas Story helped illuminate the lobby. The food was aces with steak that sliced like butter because it was so tender.
Leaving was sad as there was so much left to do like exploring the museums. But all things must come to an end. Best believe I will be back with the kids next time.
Main Street Inn & Spa
Palmetto Bluff Resort
Signe’s Bakery Cafe
Dye’s Gullah Fixin’s
Frankie Bones Restaurant and Lounge
Mitsubishi Lancer SE