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Old 06-28-2011, 10:03 PM   #76
Love That Mouse
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OOPS, I forgot. They told us that the breakfast buffet is a trial event for the summer that is replacing the shrimp boil..now if someone would tell the cooking cast member that it's not a bacon boil, we might have a decent buffet
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:08 PM   #77
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Love reading your report, it's disapointing to hear about the breakfast buffet replacing the shrimp bol. Now the shrimp boil!!! That was a great meal!!! My family would actually pay for that one, it's ashame that they aren't doing it anymore.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:04 PM   #78
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Day 6 - Part 2: Exploring the island

After our interesting buffet experience, we stuck around the beach house and did some swimming and relaxing.





It really is a great, refreshing pool!

Went back to the hotel for DS2 nap. DS12 headed back to the pier for some more crabbing (I told you he loved it). DW and I spent more time on the great balcony of the room reading and just LOVING the atmosphere.

DS2 woke up and we headed to "One Hot Mama's" for an early dinner. We had heard good things about the restaurant and, as previously mentioned, I love BBQ. Although we do not follow the show, the restaurant's owner is Orchid, who is appearing on "The Next Food Network Star" on the Food Network. From the "Restaurant" magazine the front desk gave us, we literally drooled at the menu. Plus, the prices! Incredibly priced. Surely, this place is "too good to be true." Folks, this place is a complete winner on EVERY front: atmosphere, food, portions, taste, service, cleanliness, etc. AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING! And the prices! Incredible! If you've got a fan of BBQ, you MUST head to "One Hot Mama's"! The pulled pork sandwich was the best I've ever head. Not just the pork and the sauce, but the bread! Orchid makes the bread homemade everyday at the restaurant, and it shows! Absolutely incredible. I'm drooling on the keyboard just thinking about it. The ribs were amazing. Perfectly smoked and prepared. Too many restaurants serve ribs that are falling off the bone and impossible to eat. This place makes ribs any KCBS judge would love! I'm rambling now, but you get the point. "One Hot Mama's" is located just before the entrance to the Sea Pines. Seek it out! You will not be disappointed. Orchid, the owner, was there on the day we were there. But, alas, she was out on a catering job.

After that incredible dinner, we headed out to Sea Pines to see the lighthouse and the little shopping villages. We parked in the little parking area and took the trolley into the lighthouse area. I recommend that as parking can be a bit hard-to-find. Cost is $5 to enter the Sea Pines area, although it will be refunded if you spend some money with their merchants (check the materials given to you at the guard station).

In Sea Pines, we headed right to Harbor Town and the light house. Word of caution, you have to WALK up the light house and down and it is 144 steps (I think that was the number). Carry a 2 year-old and you will break out in a sweat. It costs $3.50 to go to the top and there are things to read and explore on the way up. The view is SPECTACULAR:







Who doesn't love those binoculars!


After the light house, we headed to the southern tip of the island and the land of "The Salty Dog." We did not eat there, but we really enjoyed the charm of the shops and the area. Sea Pines was a great experience and beautiful. Definetely a "Must Do" if you find yourself at HHI.

The next chapter of this trip report will be the last one. . . sniff sniff. It's a report on our day trip to Savannah and eating at Paula Deen's place. Needless to say, I'll try to get the report done before the butter induced coma kicks in. . . .

Until next time. . . .
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:30 PM   #79
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Love your trip report! I sooooo want to go back

Do you think the dolphin cruise is available year round?
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:29 PM   #80
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Love your report. Making me long for "home." Also love the Pittsburgh references. We are heading to DVC HHI (our home resort) this weekend -- check in on Sunday -- for what will be our 15th summer (and 20+ trip). We are really lucky that even our big kids (DD21 and DS19) want to go back each year and the "little girls" (DD 14, DD12) love the place too. Now -- none of them will do ANY of the activities anymore but it has become such a great tradition we'll have tons of fun anyway.

Thanks for the review of One Hot Mama. We try to add one new eating out place each year and that was on our list of a place that everyone might like. You sold me. I actually was thinking of NOT cooking any dinners in the room and just eating out all week. My kids all said -- no, way, you have to make your special chicken and pasta. Trust me -- nothing special about it...just 14 years of it and I guess we have a tradition. B'Lou is a gem for sure. He used to do the story telling at night under one of the old Oaks....now that put you in the mood for ghost stories. Probably freaked out too many 2 year olds though.

Glad you enjoyed your trip and thanks for the excellent review. I'm ready to go now.
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:54 PM   #81
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Ditto here except we are booked for the last week in October this year. Can't wait to read how your trip progressed, activities available, restaurants to visit and PICS, PICS, PICS!
Ditto here as well except we are booked for the first week of October. We did an overnight last year (it is nicely halfway to WDW and home for us) and are hooked. Big surprise for me as DW is very very fair with red hair (she is the fairest of all to me)

The kids love it as well so we plan on going there more often. We may even buy in there at some point.
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:19 PM   #82
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Love your report. Making me long for "home." Also love the Pittsburgh references!

Thanks for the review of One Hot Mama. We try to add one new eating out place each year and that was on our list of a place that everyone might like. You sold me. I actually was thinking of NOT cooking any dinners in the room and just eating out all week. My kids all said -- no, way, you have to make your special chicken and pasta. Trust me -- nothing special about it...just 14 years of it and I guess we have a tradition. B'Lou is a gem for sure. He used to do the story telling at night under one of the old Oaks....now that put you in the mood for ghost stories. Probably freaked out too many 2 year olds though.

Glad you enjoyed your trip and thanks for the excellent review. I'm ready to go now.
Go Steelers!!!

You will NOT be disappointed in One Hot Mama's! Especially the prices. A great value! Next time we are down we want to try the Sunday Brunch at OHM's! Looked incredible!

Thanks for the kind comments!
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:22 PM   #83
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Love your trip report! I sooooo want to go back

Do you think the dolphin cruise is available year round?
Not sure if the dolphin tour is year-round. My initial guess is yes it is.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:50 PM   #84
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Podsnel directed me over here to read your TR. I am going to HH Oct 23rd for 5 nights and I am really looking forward to it. I got a phenomenal deal on a member cash rate for the last 4 nights of the trip. $150/night for a 2BR. What a deal! I kept my points in the bank.

It's a girls trip and I would like to make a basic itinerary of things we want to do. The Dolphin tour sounds fun. We are also going to try to drive to Charleston and Savannah for day trips. There's so much I want to do and such little time.

Thanks for all your info so far.
Where did you get that awesome deal???
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:03 AM   #85
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Quote:
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Love your trip report! I sooooo want to go back

Do you think the dolphin cruise is available year round?
I know that I went on a dolphin cruise in February a few years ago. Saw dolphins then, too.
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:05 AM   #86
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Where did you get that awesome deal???
Off-season rates are MUCH lower. In November, we paid less than $100 for a studio, and this coming November it's about $125 for a 1 BR, with the member's discount only, no other discount.
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:46 AM   #87
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The thought of that is hysterical! BTW, you mentioned One Hot Mamas. Did you know that the owner is one of the contestants on the Food Network Show, "Food Network Star"? She's Orchid and she seems so nice that we're considering going to her resturaunt on our next HHI trip.
Oh my gosh! I was just watching the "Cougartown" episode yesterday when she told Paula Deen she was from HHI. I told my DH now there's another reason I really like her! I was wondering if she had a hand in any of the HHI restaurants. Oh yay! Can't wait to try One Hot Mama's on our next trip to HHI. Thanks for that tidbit!!
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:36 PM   #88
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I love this trip report! Makes me long for a HHI trip! In fact, I priced out one yesterday for the first weekend in August (yes, just a month away). Southwest had a DING to Spartanburg/Greenville airport for just $40 each way from Louisville. Now I know that's almost 4 hours away but that's better than a 12 hour drive from here! But alas, there was no availability for the time frame we needed.

I did go on the WDW website today and checked availability for each day individually. I about croaked when a Saturday night studio was $389!!! OUCH!!

Guess we'll be waiting until next year. Thanks for writing this fabulous trip report. Off to check out the resale sites for HHI...
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Old 06-30-2011, 09:14 PM   #89
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Final Day! Savannah: Jewel of the south

All great things must come to an end. . . .Thus, our trip to HHI had to come to an end. . .

We checked out of the hotel and headed for a day trip to Savannah. The drive to Savannah is absolutely gorgeous! Enjoy the trip! But then you see it. . . This GORGEOUS high bridge leading to the city of Savannah. Breathtaking!

We dropped my DW off to get in line for the Paula Deen restaurant. In case you've been living under a rock for the past 10 years, in addition to excellent historical sights and squares, Savannah is the home to Paula Deen. Her restaurant downtown, The Lady & Sons, is a mecca for those who love southern cooking, butter, and the phrase "Y'All". They do NOT take reservations in advance. To get a seat for that day, you have to line-up outside the restaurant. They begin taking these reservations at 9:30 AM. You can choose between a lunch slot (11:00 - 3:00) or a dinner slot (5:00 - closing, no exact time is given on the door, just a "?"). DW got in line at 9:30 and the line was already wrapped around the corner. As you got close to the front of the line and the podium, they split the group into two lines, lunch and dinner. We wanted lunch so DW got into that line. By the time she made her way to the podium at 10:15 for lunch reservations, she had her choice of an 11:00 or any time between 2:15 - 3:00. She snagged the 2:15 time. Not quite sure when they officially "sold out" for the day, but it was before noon. Bottom line, if you want your choice of times, line-up early. If you can go with the flow, you can probably skip the early line-up, show up at 9:30 and you SHOULD be fine. As with all things in life, your experience and mileage may differ. . . .More about lunch in a bit.

My DW and I decided that the best way to see the city is to do one of those touristy "bus tour." We chose "Old Savannah Tours" simply because they had a booth set-up right across the street from Paula Deen's restaurant. So while DW stood in line, DS and I purchased our tickets for the bus tour. They sent a "bus" to come pick us up and send us to the main "depot" for the departures. We boarded our open booth and began our tour. I have to say, it was great! For a total of $51, we got a day of on/off privileges, and a FANTASTIC way to see the city.



Some of the great sites we saw: The square where Forrest Gump filmed the infamous Park Bench scenes. Our tour included a special guest! Check out who boarded our bus at that square!



He was looking for Jenny's house and wondered if we knew where we could find her. It was somewhat cheesy, yet great at the same time. Here are more pictures from around the town:

This is the actual Forrest Gump square:


A great pub used in a Julia Roberts movie. . .


The line for Ms. Wilkes. There is a huge fight in Savannah over who makes the best fried chicken. Mrs. Wilkes seems to be the favorite. I think the battle is kind of like the whole "soda" and "pop" fight between Maryland and Western PA residents. My relatives are still angry that I have joined the "soda" team. . . .So here's a picture for the line outside Mrs. Wilkes. Next time, we'll try it. . . .


Do we look like tourists or what?


Typical GORGEOUS Savannah home:






A trip to Savannah HAS to include the riverfront. You have not LIVED until you try a fresh candied praline from a candy shop on the riverfront!



DS2 thanking his mom for the tour!

And DS12 loving the tour as well!


Needless to say, we loved the tour. Our guide was extremely informative and worth every penny we paid for the tour. I would suggest you start at stop #1 and go through all 15 stops (it takes about 90 minutes). Then you can decide what "area" of Savannah interests you and get off at that stop next time around. Here is a scan of the tour map. Sorry for the size, but I figured you would want to see the details:



We made our reservation at 2:15 at Paula Deen's place. She was there that day as was her sons! There was a blood drive going on that she was a sponsor for! Anyhow, the question everyone wants to know. . . .How was the food? In a word A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!!! Do yourself a favor, and do the buffet. This has the "best of" Paula including Fried Chicken, fried catfish, baked chicken, red rice, REAL cream corn, baked zucchini, macaroni and cheese, grits, green beans, and hoe cakes (stop giggling guys. . .). Are you drooling yet??? You should be! Price was $13.95 and a GREAT bargain for the quality of the food! Tip for you: Get the HOMEMADE Lemonade. Be prepared for your knees to buckle! And it's the kind of lemonade that gets better as the ice melts. . . Truly amazing! And don't even get me started on the OOEY GOOEY CAKE! I'm going into butter shock just thinking about it!

Even DS2 had to dip his binky in this liquid gold!


Thank you mommy for this!


After lunch, we headed back out into to the town and did some more sightseeing and walking. We left at 5:00 to head back to our hotel in Florence, SC. Thus, the end of the trip. . .

*****Final thoughts*******

I could go on and on about how much we hated checking out of HHI. Those who are worried or on the fence about going to something non-WDW. . . All I can say is reread this trip report. I'm hoping that my love of HHI comes through my words and pictures.

I went to HHI worried about my ability to "slow down". . . HHI reminded me WHY I need to slow down and relax on a vacation. It's so easy to get hooked on the "frantic" of WDW. Let's face it, WDW is a BLAST (we're heading to SSR tomorrow for a week vacation). But every now and then you need to be reminded that sometimes the best vacations are the ones where you truly just "let go" and breathe. More importantly, I think it's places like HHI that help us teach our children that it's okay to truly. . . . relax!

Thank goodness I have an amazing wife who really pushed for this vacation. It's why I love her. This was her idea and I am so glad that her inner-radar was right (as always).

Thank goodness for places like HHI! HHI keeps the "Disney Magic" while subtly reminding you to "relax" and to let the stresses of life go away. The ocean, of course, helps to relax you. But so does the easy going manner of B'Lou and his stories; the smiles and calmness of the cast members; the sights of Spanish Moss hanging off an old oak while you are involved in a great book; the smell of salt water and the marsh; and the way the sun sets over that marsh as two dolphins play in the shimmer of the water.

I still love my WDW, but I will always have a special place in my heart for our first trip to Hilton Head, Y'all!
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:14 AM   #90
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What a wonderful trip report!You should send it to Disney to publish.We'll be at HH from July 30th-Aug. 6th.We've been many times but each trip is special.Can't wait to try One Hot Mama's.
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