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Old 08-03-2008, 04:02 PM   #1
podsnel
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HHI Trip Report, July 27- Aug 2, 2008

Hi! Just home from a 4 night stay at HHIR, and I'd love to share the details with you!

It all started this past Spring when we were planning a trip to Ohio to visit DH's younger brother, Steven, his wife Mariana, and their 3 sons, DN9, DN6, and DN3. My boys (DS11 & DS9) really love their cousins, and were jazzed about making the trip to see them while DS14 was away at a special needs camp for a week this summer. After reading so many wonderful things on these boards about HHIR, I thought, I wonder if they'd mind taking a drive??? Lucky for us, they said YES!!!! So I was able to book a 2 bdrm for 4 nights in August, using the cash discount. Unfortunately, DS14 got a week in July instead, so in May I was able to switch our reservation- what a relief!!!

Our journey started on Sunday with a ride north to DS14's camp- we were there at 1:30, all ready to check him in and then hit the road to the south. DS14 had other plans, though. As in, he was not getting out of that car, no way, no how. He is autistic, and for I don't know what reason he just decided he'd rather spend a week in our home in Scotch Plains than at the camp he's been to 2 years in a row and loved. After 1 1/2 hours of us and the counselors and directors pleading with him, and him SCREAMING at the top of his lungs, we gave up. So sad, so stressful. He did not want to come to HHI, either, so we were in quite a jam- I frantically called my wonderful cousins, Sheree & Henry, who live nearby and love to watch our kids- God bless them, they said "We'll be at your house in 1/2 an hour!". Just like that. Can you imagine? We are sooooo lucky to have them in our lives! Anyway, we went home, went to the kennel to get the dog, hugged the cousins, used the forbidden "T" word (they get upset if we thank them too much!), hugged and kissed a thankfully happy DS14, and at 4pm, we were on our way!! We were doing the drive in 2 days, so we made it to the Hampton Inn in Wilson, NC, just shy of midnight-the only traffic was at that AWFUL DE toll booth!!! Anyway, we were back on I95 by 8:30, and with just a couple of stops, including, of course:



we were at HHIR by 1:30, beaten by the Ohio crew by just a few minutes!! It was so exciting to see the beauty of HHIR in person after all these months of looking at photos on the internet! We checked in, but our room wasn't ready so we were told to call to check over the next hours. Everyone was ready to see the beach, so that's where the boys went, while we girls went to see about bikes and activities. As you can imagine, all the bikes were gone, so we tried all the other places, and they were gone from them, too! It all worked out in the end, but it was a little sad for a while, there! We also tried to sign the boys up for kids night out- they were going to the movies, but that was all filled up, too! (You know, I actually called the resort a couple of weeks before to ask about this, and the front desk had told me they just added more CMs if there were more kids- however, that is NOT what they do). Well, we quickly put them in the Thursday night KNO, as well as signing us up for the Dolphin Eco Tour on Weds at 11am, which would be Member Day. I also signed my family up to make Mickey TieDye shirts on Thursday afternoon. Then we headed over to the beach by the shuttle. WOW, this beach is HUGE!!! And the boys were all having fun, splashing and swimming in the VERY warm Ocean. We decided against renting the chairs and umbrellas, because they were not movable down to the water, they had to stay way back on the beach, and that doesn't work when you have little ones to watch! We thought we'd go buy some at Walmart, but never made it there, but that's ok! We enjoyed ourselves all the same. We went up to check out the beach house and get some lunch, and before we knew it the room was ready so we went to unload the cars. The 2 bdrm villa is REALLY, REALLY spacious and beautiful. Both Mariana and I thought photos just don't do it justice. After unpacking in room 1712, we sent the men over to order some take-out from Scott's, so convenient just over that bridge! I hopped in the shower, and by the time I got out the villa was empty as everyone had decided to just eat outside at Scott's instead- good choice!
Here's Steven & Mariana-

And all our boys-
DN9 & DN3:

DN6 & DS9:

DS9 & DS11:


Dinner was very good, except for DSil's because DBil ordered the wrong thing for her. Oops!

Back at the room, the cousins all snuggled together and watched some cartoons before heading to bed-

They would have stayed like that all night, I think, if we would have let them!
Next up- The men go golfing, and EVERYONE has a GREAT day!!!

Last edited by podsnel; 08-03-2008 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:22 PM   #2
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I'm really anxious to hear about the golfing. Where did they go? Thanks for the reports.
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:46 PM   #3
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Disneyaholic in the flesh!!!! Day 2 of fun at HHI...

Tuesday morning the phone rang early with mickey (I THINK it was Mickey) saying it was time to get up and start enjoying the day. DH & DBil had a tee time of 7:30 at Palmetto Dunes' Fazio course. From NJ, DH had decided to book at Hilton National, but when we were driving onto the island we saw the course was on the mainland. Since we were only here for such a short time, he decided the right thing to do was to try to get in at Palmetto Dunes, and Catherine the CM was very kind to get him a tee time and cancel HN. Hilton National will have to wait for our next trip (of which I hope there will be many!). So the two brothers went off for 18, and I thought, I wonder if I could get on a kayak tour this morning with DS11? DS9 just wants to be with his cousins, so he won't mind, and DSil probably won't mind (which she did not ), so at 8:10 I went down to recreation. Turns out 2 other men had the same idea as me, and were waiting for Jeff the kayak guide to show up to see if they could get out! While we were waiting for him, I decided to run upstairs to get a drink mug, which I thought I could get in the gift shop. The VERY lovely CM told me they sold them at the food window, but then asked me, "Are you Podsnel?" I am SO GLAD she asked!!!! Dottie said she had been looking at all the blondes coming in yesterday and today, hoping to find me because she knew when I was arriving. It was so wonderful to meet Disneyaholic, I truly wish I could have talked to her for a while, instead of just a very fast chat because I had to make sure not to miss the kayak guy!
Dottie helped me iron out many, many details of our trip to HHIR, and it was nice to be able to thank her in person- I just wish I wouldn't have been so rushed! I am sorry about that, Dottie! It turned out that Dottie would be off for the rest of our trip, and if I hadn't met her then, I never would have!! Anyway, Disneyaholic, I hope you will continue to enjoy being a CM AND a decorator in your lovely new condo, and you will be the very FIRST person I look for when I come back to HHIR!
Well, I went back down to the rec window, and because it was just DS11 and myself in a double kayak, Jeff said he'd be happy to have us come along- AWESOME!!! I ran back to the room, sunsreened up DS11 and myself, drank 2 sips of coffee (I was afraid to drink more- what was I going to do all full of coffee in the middle of the marsh for 2 hours when the coffee wanted to- ahem- make its' exit???? )and ran back to the rec window. On our trip were 2 other families, one of which had been to HHIR 6 or 7 times in the summer using their OKW points- WOW! Anyway, we LOVED the kayaking, I think it was our favorite activity in HHIR. When we paddled out, DS11 flipped a shrimp into the boat (hey look at that! We're so awesome, the shrimp are jumpin' in the boat!!) which was pretty cool. We saw at least 4 dolphins, one was a Mother & baby ( I think the Mom was called Lucky because she had a chunk taken out of her dorsal fin), and many birds, and of course, oysters. Jeff, the guide, was very knowledgable and informative, and also funny! We thought the whole thing was great, and DS11 who is sometimes too-cool-for-school was thrilled about the whole experience. What a great memory to have with my son!

Here's a pic of the boys having breakfast that moring-

Sorry I don't have kayak pics, I didn't want to get the camera wet.

We got back to Aunt Mariana hanging by the pool with the 4 remaining boys, who were all having the time of their lives. I went back to make sandwiches for the kids, and the men got back, reporting they had a fabulous time! Both of them were very impressed by the air conditioned golf carts, having never seen that before. While I was kayaking, Mariana had called Palmetto Dunes for bikes, and they had them for us!!! AND they said they'd deliver them to the room, which the CM's were later surprised to hear they did. While we waited for the bikes, we had some lunch from Tide me Over-

DH enjoyed his tuna sandwich (they make a good one! Yum!)


and we swam a bit:


and then thought we'd ride the bikes to the beach. This did not go well at first, Mariana's seat kept slipping and 3 of 4 kids were too small for their bikes- so after trying and trying, they had to give up, and 3 boys and Uncle Steven rode over in the van, while Mariana (pulling DS3), DH & I rode over, but Mariana stopped at the bike place and later that day they exchanged the kids' bikes for actual kids bikes, instead of the adult bikes they were originally given. Are you following this? Bottom line is, if you get bikes from someone who will be delivering, be sure to request KIDS BIKES, because just giving them the heights doesn't work.

Well, we were having fun at the pool games at the beach house,



Notice the cloud rolling in above ds9's head-


when we heard thunder, so that was the end of the games, and 95% of the people at the beach house. But not us! We're tough! We hang! We're idiots!! What's a little rain and thunder and lightening when you're having fun in Hilton Head?!



Actually, some of us had the bikes, so we were not all that into riding back at the moment! Good thing we got those bikes!!! Really, we had fun at the Beach House in the rain- the kids played games, video and foosball variety, and we ate some wings and had some beers...what's wrong with any of that? The chance of imminent death made it all VERY exciting!



Back later with Star Spangled Tuesday Barbeque!
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:57 PM   #4
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I can't wait to hear more. My family went to HHI in June (for the second year in a row) and loved it. We already have our resevations for June 2009.
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:46 AM   #5
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I'm really anxious to hear about the golfing. Where did they go? Thanks for the reports.
Fazio 2x- that's it! We felt a little time constricted because we were only there for 4 nights and wanted to do so many other things in that time, like the kayak and the dolphin tour. Also, because of the summer heat, I don't think we would have done well playing any time but the morning! But next time we'll go back for a week, and so the options will be different. Funny thing was, I had so many wonderful golf recs from here on the DIS, but as much as I AM a planner, DH is not, and he half listened to everything I said. So when we got there, we took what was available at Palmetto Dunes at reasonable am tee times. Next time? I'm booking it all myself waaayyyy before we go!

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I can't wait to hear more. My family went to HHI in June (for the second year in a row) and loved it. We already have our resevations for June 2009.
I would LOVE to go in June- my favorite week for vacation is the week at the end of the month, right after school lets out (which for us is around June 21st, also our anniversary ). But we stopped going away that week this year, because my 2 youngest play travel baseball, and it's a big commitment, they are not supposed to miss too many games. HHIR was one of the best family vacations we have ever had, it is such a great family place, and even just the island itself was so unique! Hopefully we'll be going back Aug 2009!

And thank-you for reading!!!
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Old 08-04-2008, 10:54 AM   #6
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Star Spangled BBQ and I do the Macarana VERY BADLY!!

Well, eventually the rain stopped, and we were able to ride back to the resort. (Although, as a back-up, we were told it would be ok to leave the bikes locked up at the beach house overnight and take the shuttle back ) Tonight DH and I would be watching all the boys so DBil & DSil could have a night out alone. Because i had met the lovely Disneyaholic that morning at the Mercantile, and she said the SSBBQ was a really good event, we decided to take all the boys there. I had read on the DIS that the food was not that great, but Dottie had told me it was improved, and she was right- the food was just fine. Our boys LOVE ribs, so they were absolutely thrilled to eat a bunch of them, along with hot dogs, chicken, burgers, baked beans, corn on the cob, cornbread, cole slaw, potato salad, watermelon and apple pie.


It was all good, and we had a gorgeous view from our table to boot! Everyone had been given red white and blue flag bandanas and leis, so I tied some do-rags on 2 of my nephews-



There were many activities for the kids to choose from- DS11 tried the watermelon seed spitting contest-


Then DH & DS11 did the watermelon eating contest-


Next was the race to stuff the CM's tshirts with beach balls- Harry, Disneyaholic's son, is the lucky CM getting stuffed on the left-

He's buried in there, under all the balls in his white shirt!



What a good sport he was! He did that contest 3 TIMES!!!! When I asked him about it the next day, he said it was much hotter than usual- when the contest was done, he fell into the pool- which was a BIG hit with the kids!

DN3 loves balloon animals, and although he wanted a gorilla (which B'lou Crab doesn't make) he got a monkey which was so cute!


Then he got a snowcone-


Next, DN9 competed in the worm and bug dig (not what it was called, but I can't remember the right name! Sorry!)-


(you had to pull out the gummy worms and bugs from the pudding and lick them clean to win)

The rest of the boys got some snowcones, too-


And I went off to take some pics of the beautiful sunset- which I'll put in the next post, since I think I'll go over the limit if I put them in here! By the way, I apologize for the quality of some of these photos- I must have had the wrong setting on, I can't figure out why they are not more sharp-
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Old 08-04-2008, 11:30 AM   #7
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Excellent Report!!!

Really enjoyed your pictures!
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:26 PM   #8
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Hi Ellen Great start to your report!! You ARE SO LUCKY to have cousins like Sheree & Henry. They must be amazing people.
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:41 PM   #9
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OK, I'm totally in. Why? Well, let me list my reasons.

1. I've been to Disney and love it.
2. I've been to HHI and love it. (but never Disney AT HHI, so looking forward to this).
3. I noticed one of your DNs had an Ohio State shirt on. Who can go wrong with that???

Great report - great pics!!!
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:53 PM   #10
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What a great report! Real fun to read and see the pics. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Glad your cousins came to the rescue.

My daughter works with autistic children for our school system. She also provides periods of respid care for two other children on the weekends (more in the summer) and the parents are sooo grateful because as you know not many people understand or have the patience to provide proper care. My daughter has Aspergers and relates well with the children. It has become a major purpose of her life.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:38 PM   #11
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Thank you for sharing your report-I'm so glad everything worked out for you. It sounds like you had a wonder trip! We're (just my DH and I) are going mid September for a week. I can't wait! Also-now you have to try Vero Beach! We were there in 2007 and LOVED it-it looks like they also have many things for the kids-your boys are adorable, by the way!
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:58 PM   #12
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Looks like you guys had a great vacation!! God bless Sheree and Henry. There's a special corner in Heaven with their names on it.
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Excellent Report!!!

Really enjoyed your pictures!
Thanks, Liferbabe! I am so happy you like it, I love writing it!

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Hi Ellen Great start to your report!! You ARE SO LUCKY to have cousins like Sheree & Henry. They must be amazing people.
Hi Kathy! I'm so glad you're here, NOLA girl!!

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Originally Posted by karajeboo View Post
OK, I'm totally in. Why? Well, let me list my reasons.

1. I've been to Disney and love it.
2. I've been to HHI and love it. (but never Disney AT HHI, so looking forward to this).
3. I noticed one of your DNs had an Ohio State shirt on. Who can go wrong with that???

Great report - great pics!!!
LOVE ALL your reasons for reading!!! HHI is an amazing place, really very unique, I think. And I had no idea it was an island any different from any other beach island I've been to before this trip.
Steven went to Ohio U, and he & Mariana met in Ohio. At their wedding, there was a big Ohio State game going on, and they had TV's all over the reception! So I guesss you could say they're fans-

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What a great report! Real fun to read and see the pics. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Glad your cousins came to the rescue.

My daughter works with autistic children for our school system. She also provides periods of respid care for two other children on the weekends (more in the summer) and the parents are sooo grateful because as you know not many people understand or have the patience to provide proper care. My daughter has Aspergers and relates well with the children. It has become a major purpose of her life.
Hi Disdaydreamer! I am glad you're enjoying the TR, I am thrilled to be able to share it! And, by the way, you were right about the wildlife, it is fabulous and it is everywhere!

What a beautiful thing that your daughter is working with autistic kids- she truly must have an incredible understanding of them if she herself has Aspergers! Such an amazing, purposeful life she is living- you must be so very, very proud of her!

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Thank you for sharing your report-I'm so glad everything worked out for you. It sounds like you had a wonder trip! We're (just my DH and I) are going mid September for a week. I can't wait! Also-now you have to try Vero Beach! We were there in 2007 and LOVED it-it looks like they also have many things for the kids-your boys are adorable, by the way!
Hi SLM! You will have a great time with your DH- do you golf? Bike? Eat? Then you'll be happy- there are over 200 restaurants on that island, and we barely made a dent- can't wait to go back for more! Do the kayak trip if you can, it was excellent- it also made me feel less guilty about all the Mickey Ice Cream bars I ate while we were there!!! And I do want to try Vero, I've been told by many people how incredible it is, it looks gorgeous in all the photos I've seen. It was just voted one of the top 10 family destinations by Travel & Leisure or Conde Nast or something like that- DHHIR was an honorable mention.

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Looks like you guys had a great vacation!! God bless Sheree and Henry. There's a special corner in Heaven with their names on it.
Yes, I do believe there IS a special corner in heaven for Sheree & Henry. We are EXTREMELY blessed to have them in our lives, we appreciate them so much! They have watched our children many times, when DH & I have gone away overnight or on trips, and they always make us feel like we are somehow doing THEM the favor when we call! Literally, from when I asked Henry "Would you be able to watch Sean this week" to when he said "No problem- we'll be there in half an hour!" was about 2 seconds- there was no sigh, no can I think about it, no well, I really wasn't expecting this.. just, see you in half an hour (to which i said we won't even be home in half an hour, please take your time!). All 3 of our boys adore them, they love to have them here, so of course it's good for everyone. And because they watch Sean, we are able to either do things with the other 2 we might not be able to do if we had Sean with us- and, we are able to do grown up things and get a much needed respite from our life of insanity here in Scotch Plains! This time they actually said it was so quiet because we had Ty & Tim with us!
So thanks, everyone, for noticing how wonderful they are, they completely deserve the praise!

Ellen
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:33 PM   #14
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Star Spangled BBQ and I do the Macarana VERY BADLY-Part 2!!

I left DH in the pool with the kids so I could go out to the fishing pier and take some sunset photos. As luck would have it, the Sunset Fireworks Kayakers were on their way out into Broad Creek for their tour-









Really, is there anything more serene than a perfect sunset?





Sorry for posting so many, I was just in complete awe...
So I walked back to rejoin the festivities-



And a look back to where I had been-



How could you not feel great after that?!!!?

The activities now involved lots of dancing; a group of kids who had learned the dance "We're all in this together" from High School musical (they were super!), a hula hoop competition, the Electric Slide (guess what opened at the end of THAT song!),SHOUT, the CM's doing their thing- and then the Mom's were asked to do a dance. I was asked to join in, so I did. THEN they told us we were doing the Macarana!!! OK, I stink at line dances. Everyone goes left, and I go right, women are shaking their booty and I've got my hands on my head in some bizarre out of time gesture...I just can't do it. In my own defense, I am an ok dancer, I've even won dance contests (back intheday!), but my sense of rhythym wants to do its' own thing! Lucky me, I was up in the front corner! At least that way I could take all the unsuspecting newbies behind me down with the wrong moves- HAH! Where are the pictures? Oh, they're with the ones from my humiliating stage appearance at the Nick Hotel Nick-at-Night debacle of November '07- NOWHERE!!!! DH didn't feel either event was camera worthy, I guess...although me eating eggs the next morning in my pajamas, now THAT was something to get the camera out for!

Anyway, here's some more of the fun I felt was camera worthy-





Got all the boys back safe and sound, and they all got in that yummy tub for a great big cousins bubble bath-


Mariana & Steven got home around 10:30 or so, and reported the evening did not go as smoothly as they had hoped- since my computer was acting wierd, I wasn't able to give them all the restaurant recs I'd been saving on here for the past few months, and they tried to get into the Waterfront Cafe, but after driving all the way there, they couldn't find parking, and not realizing everyone takes the trolley over, they drove back and had a mediocre meal at Redfish. They did enjoy all the music over in Shelter Cove after dinner, so that was good for them! You know, it's all a learning experience, right?
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:46 PM   #15
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Sounds and looks like it was a fun trip.

I can't wait for our HHI trip next year for July 4th
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