Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pictures of Brookgreen Gardens

Just a few pictures of Brookgreen gardens near Myrtle Beach. I loved the place. More to come about it...

Hugo's New Book

I have a review of Hugo Kerr's new book, The Cognitive Psychology of Literacy Teaching: Reading, Writing, Spelling, Dyslexia (& a bit besides) available at Suite101. You can read it here...

Back from the Beach (Our Stay at South Beach Resort)

Cheryl and I just returned from a week in Myrtle Beach, S.C. We stayed at South Beach Resort, where we own a time share. It was our first time staying there; we bought the time share at the end of the summer in 2006 and missed out on staying there last year.

Our room at South Beach ResortThe resort is quite nice. Our room was small and a little cramped, but that was mostly our fault. We reserved a studio. Next time we'll get a larger pad...

Other than the size of the room, it was really pretty had to find anything at South Beach to complain about. We tried (since I knew I'd be writing about the place) and came up with almost nothing.

Check-in and check-out were both a breeze. The staff at the place was very friendly. The Owners' Club at the resort entrance had a concierge's station and the three or four people who worked there were very helpful. They were there from at least 8:00am until 8:00pm. You could ask them where to eat, or for directions to some place. They would get you show tickets if you wanted. And much more...

The Front Desk at South Beach Resort Inside the Owners' ClubThe Owners' Club housed a number of attractions. In the front area you have the concierge's station and the Front Desk. There's a DVD library, a few dozen books to pick over if you want something to read, a couple of computers for Internet access, a few items for sale with the resort logo on them (golf shirts, etc.), and brochures on Myrtle Beach's attractions. Further back in the club there is an exercise room (which I didn't use), an arcade area and a pool table (you buy tokens to play), a sauna, some offices, and an indoor-outdoor pool. As you walk out the back you find the pool area; there are a couple of hot tubs (who needs that in June?), a small baby pool, and a lazy river.

There were a number of activities based at the Club. We didn't take advantage of any of them, but if you had young children the activities would be great.

This grass had a purple tint to it...There was a second pool facility. The Lagoon Pool had a sloped, easy access entrance, a safety rope at about the three foot level, and a deep end that only went to 4 feet 9 inches. There's a waterfall at the deep end. The pool wraps around a small bar (open from 4pm to 9pm, I think) and there's live music most afternoons.

Landscaping at the resort was very nice. There were Palmetto trees everywhere and a variety of flowers and ground cover plants along the edges of the manicured lawns. It's well lit at night. And the grounds are populated by a few dozen squirrels (which were fun to watch). Everything seems wheelchair accessible.

Pool at the Owners' ClubThe room itself was pleasant and well furnished. We had a half-kitchen (no stove in the studio units) with a fridge and microwave. There was a TV (complete with VCR/DVD player), a sound system, iron, coffee maker, toaster, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting. In the studio we had a four-place setting of Fiesta dishes. There were knives and a cutting board, flatware, wine glasses - even a corkscrew. Best of all, it was clean.

The air conditioning looked much like what you find in most hotels; but it lacked the musty smell that almost every hotel from Super 8 on up to the Marriott seems to have. There was also a ceiling fan.

Life in a time share is a little different than at a hotel. No one comes in to clean up after you (you can get that for a fee, if you want). We had access to a washer and dryer that we shared with the guests next door.

One of the nicest surprises in our stay was the free tickets. We got eight tickets that let us in to a variety of attractions. They included an all day wrist band at the NASCAR park, free admission to five of the area's mini-golf courses, admission to two of the area's golf courses (I don't golf), and admission to a nearby water park.

On top of that, we got tickets to see the "Good Vibrations" show at the Carolina Opry for sitting down with our Owner Rep.

Mike Meeks, our Owner RepBecause we'd never stayed at the resort before, we didn't actually have an Owner's Rep until now. Our Rep is Mike Meeks (a nice guy who moved down there from the mountains not too far from here). We met with Mike on Saturday morning and went over some of the services South Beach offers its owners.

I'll throw in a plug here: if you're interested in seeing South Beach, give Mike a call. His number is 843-913-5306. He can probably set you up with a tour of the place and talk to you about buying in. Mention my name to him. And if you don't want to talk to him, email me.

If I had to whine about something it would be Internet access. Almost every hotel up and down Ocean Blvd has free wireless access in the rooms. At South Beach Resort it was $4.99 for half an hour, $9.99 for the day, and $49.99 for the week. I thought that the price was kind of steep; but more to the point, I guess, I thought that at a place like South Beach I ought to be able to get the same kind of Internet access that comes free at most Best Westerns. And that was really my only complaint...

All in all our stay at South Beach was a great experience and we'll definitely be back there next year.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Finishing Up in Myrtle Beach

Well, after six days here on the Grand Stand (the long stretch of beach along South Carolina's north shore), Cheryl and I are about ready to check out and go back home.

It's been a fun week. We've been to Pawley's Island twice, walked around the gardens of Brookgreen, eaten out a few times, played some mini-golf, been to the Good Vibrations show at the Carolina Opry, and done a little shopping.

Pictures to come next week...