Bay's Travel Blog

I don't travel much any more. Resist!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Day 2 - Bliss, bikes, & beaches

Tuesday, August 16th

Having gone to bed so unnaturally early, I was awake before 8:00 in the morning. This was actually going to be the recurrent theme of the vacation for me. I was early to bed, early to rise for the duration of the week. Anyone who knows me knows that this is nothing short of freakish behavior, but it seemed to work for vacation.

When I arose, I found Wesley already in the gleaming kitchen, making coffee, biscuits, and gravy. The kids got up slowly -- Emily more slowly than the rest of us -- and we all ate a huge breakfast of Wesley's fabulous cooking. I cannot make biscuits & gravy. It's a handicap in a Southerner, I know, but at least I was smart enough to marry someone who is so talented.

After breakfast, I hung out a bit on the screened porch, drinking coffee and finishing Monday's report. Wesley went to the rental agent's office to finish the paperwork on the house and to pay the rental fees for the linens. When he came back, we decided to rent a couple of bikes for the week, so I called Edisto Essentials and made arrangements. (There are two bike rental businesses on Edisto; one charges for delivery, and Edisto Essentials boasts both lower rental prices and free delivery.) Wesley called the boat tour place, Edisto Watersports & Tackle to arrange our ACE Basin boat tour. The person with whom he spoke advised us that they don't send the boat out unless six people have signed up, and we were the first four for the Wednesday evening tour, so we should call back on Wednesday to ensure there would really be a tour that night.

Then some confusion occurred. Wesley and Woodrow got dressed for the beach, and Emily and I elected to stay at the house to wait for the bike delivery, then go to the Edisto Essentials office to pay for the bikes. I told Wesley that we would join them at the beach after we had done our chores.

However, our chores took longer than expected. The bikes weren't delivered for quite some time, and then I didn't find the Edisto Essentials office just immediately. I walked into a shop by accident, and just looking at the pretty things kept me preoccupied for too long. Then the Edisto Essentials office turned out to also be a shop with pretty things, all of which needed my attention. You understand. Of course. Right?

After that, I turned the Prius away from the beach because there had been a pick-up truck with produce on the roadside Monday when we came in, and I wanted peaches and tomatoes. The truck was not there on this late Tuesday morning, so I kept driving in hopes of finding another roadside stand. I drove nearly to the bridge, which is at least 11 miles from the beach. Turning around and heading back toward the beach, I spied a sign next to Main's Market, touting "George & Pink Fresh Produce."

Last year when I took the Pink Van Tour (Island Tours & T'ings), the tour guide (a lovely Southern lady whose name I've completely forgotten) mentioned that George and Pink were wonderful people with wonderful fresh produce. So I turned down that dirt lane, and oh! Oh, my! What a picture that road makes in my mind! If it hadn't been for a fear of swarms of mosquitos, I would have stopped the car and taken a photograph. The road was entirely surrounded by ancient live oaks, their heavy branches dripping with Spanish moss. Ferns and dense, low brush made the ground dark green, and sun dappled through the live oak leaves and highlighted low palmettos just off the road. It was gorgeous, and just thinking of it brings a tear to my eye. (The left eye, because that one *always* tears up more readily than the right eye. I don't know why, but I'm legally blind in that eye, anyhoo.)

Pink herself was manning the produce shop that morning, which was a low, dark, tiny shack with screen windows and door, with a fan blowing a cool, shady breeze throughout. The dirt floor was packed down hard and held up wooden bins of fruits and vegetables. Squashes, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, and peaches abounded, and a cooler held more exotic fare from someplace off the island. I chose peaches and tomatoes while chatting with Pink, and Emily chose a cantaloupe. Em loves cataloupe. I do, too. Woodrow and Wesley won't touch the stuff. So my purchases totalled the mindboggling price of something like $4. Insane. I would've paid a hundred dollars for 'em.

Headed back toward the beach, I suddenly realized we had left our towels at the house, so I went there in as big a rush as I dared. We had found two really good radio stations during all that driving around -- one classic rock station that played Heart and Aerosmith and Queen in rapid succession, but I was in search of something a little more mellow for most of our stay. A Hilton Head station named The Wave 104.5 was just the ticket. Wesley and I are staunch "adult alternative" listeners. We want to hear it all, from rock to folk to pop and almost everything in between, except rap. (I like some rap, but Wesley can't stand it.) The Wave became my constant companion on Edisto, and now that I'm home, I miss it.

As I pulled up to the Pink Flamingo, Wesley and Woodrow were just walking around the corner. Bummer! I had messed up our timing so much that they had walked back to the house -- braving the mosquito breeding ground.

Oh, a note about the road names. We were on Jungle Shore Road, with easy access to the beach if you walked a block down either Cheehaw or Dawhoo streets. We made jokes about those street names for the entire week. Woohoo and Hoohah streets! Yeehaw and Yahoo streets! Hoohoo and Woowoowoo streets! Whatever you can make up, it fits there. Try it! You'll see!

In any case, the boys were home from the beach, and we were past noon now. I thought about going to the beach. But ... I don't even *like* the ocean. It's no fun without Wesley. I thought about crying petulently, but put that aside. Emily hopped on a rental bike and rode off into the sunset. The child is fearless. OK, she's 17. She's still a child, and she's still fearless. Woodrow was more conservative and was home within minutes.

When both kids were home, we gathered up and went to the Sea Cow for lunch. The Sea Cow has indoor and outdoor seating. I was so hot that I would have liked to sit inside, but it was full, so we got a table outdoors on the screened porch. Waiting for our order, we all got too hot except Wesley, who is apparently impervious to heat. Emily went searching through the few shops that are close to the Sea Cow. This was the first time I've ever seen those shops open. I guess the tourist season goes later now. The *world* is getting so crowded that more and more people come to Edisto, even when most children are in school. I guess.

Woodrow and I went to a little bookstore/coffee shop that is adjacent to the Sea Cow. The air conditioning felt like heaven. Then we went back to the restaurant's screened porch and ate. I had a chicken salad, heavy on the curry, with fruit and a plain bagel. It was just OK. I'm not that wild about the Sea Cow.

Back at the house, I crashed and took a two-hour nap. When I woke up, we went to the beach around 5:00, and... it was perfect. The ocean was slightly cooler than bath water, so I cooled off a bit and then dried off in the shade of a beach house where we had set up chairs. I watched a little family get professional portraits taken on the beach. They were all dressed in white shorts and shirts. I'm sure the photos will be gorgeous from that glorious afternoon light -- but I bet that stuff is expensive.

At one point, I looked at Woodrow playing in the surf and realized his back was covered with red welts. Oh, my gosh, it looked like he'd been whipped. It was horrifying. Closer inspection revealed that they were mosquito bites. I asked him if he had been shirtless when he walked home at noon, and he said no. So more probing revealed that he had been lying on the hammock on the second-story porch at the Pink Flamingo -- shirtless. That upper-level porch is not screened in. OW. I'm surprised he didn't complain more!

When the flies started biting my ankles, we packed it in and headed back to the house, where I finally had my first outdoor, enclosed, hot-and-cold shower of the trip. I had planned for this event by bringing down my shampoo and clothes before we left for the beach. I waited while the others performed peremptory rinses, and then I took a real shower. Civilization. That's all I can say. It is the definition of civilization to bathe in the outdoors.

Then, of course, you either have to dress or wrap yourself in a huge towel and run like mad for the stairs before some nosy neighbor spies your streaking.

We dressed for dinner and went to the Sunset Grille for dinner. (Now you're all singing "Sunset Grill," aren't you?) We've never visited this restaurant before, because it's at the south corner of this slightly triangular island, and we generally avoid that end because it's so... common and ordinary and almost over-developed. They have a golf course down there and three-story condos for rent. Blech. The marina is there now, too. Lots of noisy people. That's why we avoid that part of the island.

The Sunset Grille is part of the marina, and it's upstairs. And when we got there, it was crowded and noisy. Well, there's a bar. And there are a lot of people being loud. Although the joint was supposed to be the sister restaurant of the Old Post Office (which was a genuine gourmet restaurant a few years ago until their chef and owner decamped), I found the menu to be completely ordinary. Woodrow got a hamburger that smelled good. Emily and Wesley got grilled tuna steaks that looked very good. I was stupid and got the crabcakes. For some reason, I can never remember that I do not like Low Country crabcakes. I picked at my tasteless globs of crabmeat and goodness-knows-what, while everyone else made noises as if what they were eating was yummy. Hmph.

The whole meal was $85 and totally not worth it. I won't be returning.

Oh, I forgot to say earlier that the Gallery Cafe, which we've loved for many scrumptious, gourmet meals before, had closed before we came to Edisto this year. I miss it. That night, with those horrible crabcakes, I *really* missed it.

Back at the house, the kids resumed their chess play. Wesley and I tuned the house radio to The Wave and stuck one speaker out on the porch. We lit the mosquito lamp and sat out there in the humid night with the ceiling fan to keep us cool, sipping cocktails and talking about ... nothing much.

Until the Great Excitement. Wesley went inside for something, and I was just sitting on the porch, contemplating the creaking, whirring, mysterious dark marsh, when a crash and curse sounded on the porch upstairs, scaring me so much that I jumped up yelling, "Wesley? Wesley??? Where... where ARE you?!"

Woodrow had locked himself out of his room by accident. His room had two doors -- one to the porch and one to the hallway. He had locked the porch's sliding door on purpose, and had accidentally locked the doorknob to the hall before closing it. (They're those cheap doorknobs that you push in and turn a little in order to lock the knob in place. *Really* easy to accidentally lock those. I've done it myself.)

Wesley had decided to check to see if Woodrow's porch door were really locked, so he started to go out of the porch door from the unoccupied bedroom, but discovered that there was a screen door there. He walked right through it. Oops.

There goes our damage deposit.

I went to bed around midnight, hopeful that the next day would find me eating something truly fabulous, swimming in the ocean, playing in the surf, finding pretty shells, watching the marsh, listening to really good music, and just generally playing. And for the most part, that's exactly what I was going to experience....


At 26/8/05 8:43 PM, Blogger Amy said...

While I wait for the next installment of your Edisto trip report, I keep re-reading the ones you've already posted. I can almost close my eyes and feel the hot sand under my feet and the constant ocean breeze in my hair. My only complaint about your report is that you might let others know about the little piece of heaven on Edisto. Please make up some unpleasant lies so no one else will want to visit. It wouldn't be so heavenly if it got too crowded.

At 26/8/05 10:14 PM, Blogger Bay in TN said...

I know. I did try to write it without alluding to the name of the place, but it just didn't work. But don't worry -- there are lots and lots of people who really don't like the fact that Edisto has absolutely no glitz or glamour. One of the shop clerks was telling me that she sees more people who complain about what the island doesn't have -- and then she never sees those people again. Can you imagine??? No, I can't, either!


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