Thursday, November 3, 2011

Unwinding in Willow Tree

October 30-Nov. 2, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Left Emerald Isle, North Carolina—next stop in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina. This is a state neither of us had ever been, so the adventure seems a little more uncertain as we plot our journey along the coast of S.C. We both wanted to see the Myrtle Beach area but after splurging on a campground right on the ocean in Emerald Isle, we decided we could set up camp a little further out and explore the area on the coast with daytrips. I had read about a campground that earned the coveted 10-10-10 from Woodall’s called Willow Treewhich was about twenty miles from Myrtle Beach. We decided to check it out since November was considered off season—too cool for summer travelers and too soon for snowbirds to arrive—so the price was right (about $37 a night). What a beautiful place this turned out to be. The sites were extremely roomy and situated around a man-made lake with a one-mile walking or bike trail around it. Several sites also included hot tubs and all had fire rings (my personal favorite). The clubhouse was lovely and the pool was also inviting but rather cold. They also had a large Jacuzzi by the pool which we enjoyed the first night we were there. We stayed here four nights with forays into town each day. While we loved the place itself, it was almost too peaceful with few campers there and all activities on hold for the arrival of the snowbirds.
Willow Tree pathway around pond
Swings by the pond, one of my favorite things

Our coach at Willow Tree
Our first trip into Myrtle Beach left us quite unimpressed. We explored the new boardwalk on the beach which seems to have infused some new life into what appeared to us to be a tired resort town. The main highway running through the area is filled with golf course, elaborate miniature golf venues, and show theaters such as Opryland, and other eclectic forms of entertainment like jousting castles, etc. The second and third day we took side trips to the beach and visited mega campgrounds there designed for family activities and resort-type vacations—albeit these were all tired looking places too. The best discovery was a state campground on the beach that looked good, but we admitted we were happy to drive the 20 miles to our peaceful retreat in the willows. So much for the Myrtle Beach area. We were excited to “pull up stakes”and head to Charleston—a place we knew held much more promise just based on the Pay Conroy novel we both had read called South of Broad.

Myrtle Beach boardwalk
Vic on the Myrtle Beach boardwalk

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