I’m just back from a summer SOLO getaway in South Carolina! The unique word in that sentence being, solo… I don’t get away with out my baby girls too often and I really enjoyed the solitude. Not only was I traveling alone, the town was also quite still for it being peak season. I’ll take a calm solo trip to Murrells Inlet any day!
I have to be honest, this trip was totally last minute and I hadn’t researched the area except for a few minutes before hitting the road. Hey, when you get the chance to take a mommy’s getaway, you jump on the opportunity! I wanted to visit a place that wasn’t uber popular and preferably, a place that I hadn’t researched extensively. I wanted to take advantage of being child free to really explore a new place the old fashion way. You know, getting around on foot, asking around, guessing by sight. That fun stuff! haha I don’t get to do those things as much when I’m traveling with my munchkins.
Now, I’m definitely not complaining about traveling with my daughter, but let’s just say traveling without them has a certain… appeal. haha Being able to drink “colorful juice” without having to fend off little hands is nice, as is the stroller free strolling. All the traveling I do has a certain focus on my children. Not total focus on their needs alone, but I do what I do for them after all. The traveling, experiences, and education. It’s for them. I want to give them a fun, eventful, meaningful life. I want to give them opportunities and options that I never had growing up.
However, after not giving myself enough attention for the past three years of motherhood, I know just how important alone time to do what I love is just as important. Years of self neglect lead to depression and disappointment in most areas of my life. This trip to Murrells Inlet was really all about me. What do I want to do? I told myself that I am free from the restrictions of traveling with children, so I can truly go wherever without consideration of their needs. Something that moms can’t do very often.
After a relaxing morning on the beach, I was off to find some lunch at the Dead Dog Saloon along the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk. The marsh walk is lined on one side with seven main restaurants. On the other side you will find boats lining the water way as well as the famous goat island! Goat Island was a shock for me. I thought I smelt a petting zoo! Then, I followed the curve of the boardwalk to see.. an island of goats! Very fun and pleasant surprise. I later learned that the owner brings to the island to stay for the warm seasons.
The marsh walk was a great place to grab a drink and bar hop on your way down the boardwalk. All the restaurants along the way seemed to be popular. However, the Dead Dog Saloon and Creek Ratz seemed to bring in the most diners. Creek Ratz also has a large free parking lot across the street from the marsh walk which I was thrilled about. One of things that I dread about going to the beach along the east coast is finding any open parking spaces, let alone free parking.
While on the marsh walk I realized I forgot my memory cards for my camera. queue eye roll. So after a quick trip to buy a memory card, I was on the road to Huntington Beach State Park where I planned to spend the rest of my day. I started by visiting the stunning Atalaya Castle. I had heard of the castle through family members actually. They had visited the castle around 15 years before my visit. I remember them talking about the castle, to my surprise it popped up on my trip to Murrells Inlet. ha!
As an avid history nerd, Atalaya was the perfect stop on my travels through this gorgeous little beach town. The castle was owned by the Huntington family who used it as a beach home to get away from the frigid northern winters in New York. The family were philanthropists and did wonderful work for the area that is now Murrells Inlet during the Great Depression. Their story and family history fascinated me while their castle was absolutely breathtaking. I have so much to say and share about the family and Atalaya Castle that I had to give them their own post. You can read it, here.
After a drive through the park I parked on my way out to explore the nature walk and observation deck. The nature walk is a short boarded path that takes you to the observation deck. The deck allowed you to look both ways over the marshy areas. You can bird watch and if you’re lucky spot an alligator in the water below. While I was there, a thunderstorm was coming in over the tree tops and gave the area a unique look over the water.
Close to the nature walk is the causeway that I drove over to get into the park. On either side of the causeway there are walking paths where you can get close to the water and wildlife. I stopped for pictures and to enjoy the scenery. I didn’t stay as long as I would’ve liked to due to the thunderstorm coming in, but I still was able to enjoy the area thanks to seeing a lot of wildlife near by!
One of my favorite things about South Carolina is the high number of produce stands. On this trip to Murrells Inlet I made sure to stop for some fresh South Carolina peaches. I got them from one of those little stands where you are paying on the honor system. (love them!) After a stop for peaches I stopped at a little store called Dewey’s. Dewey’s sells pecan, boiled peanuts, peaches, other produce, candy, fudge and more! I loved this little shop and picked up some boiled peanuts while I was there. They heat the peanuts right in front of you in their kitchen while you wait. Then, hand them to you in a grocery bag..
I had never tried boiled peanuts before, but I am well aware of how popular they are here in the south. I have lived in the south my whole life. I few years in this state, a few years in that state. I’m afraid I’m going to get cyber bullied by all the southerners reading this, but I HATED boiled peanuts. They have the consistency of a pea or a bean. The outsides were sorta of soft and hard at the same time and once you bit into one it was mush just like a bean. I hate beans and peas so….. yeah, I hated boiled peanuts. However, the service and shopping at Dewey’s were wonderful and I will recommend anyone going to South Carolina that it is worth stopping by the little country shop for some great home made products.