South Carolina Coast - Beaufort, Kiawah Island, & Charleston

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by giradman, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. giradman

    giradman
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    Susan has 'chimed in' to the thread, and as expected first talked about the food - INDEED, the local oysters were wonderful! BUT, she enjoyed the entire trip and learned some new history of the area. She really enjoyed the Parris Island Museum (especially how the modern Marines are trained there), the Santa Elena Foundation, and the Hunley Restoration Center. This was really a great trip that combined history, natural beauty, ocean sites, and great eating - for those interested in what has been described, then make an effort to visit! Dave :)
     
  2. giradman

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    Kiawah Island - April 2019 - New Trip Just for Relaxation & Food!

    Well arrived on Kiawah Island for a 4-night stay - again, we rented a 2-BR villa sitting on a lagoon and close to the Sanctuary Hotel, discussed previously. Our arrival was early so a 2 hr wait or so for our villa to be ready - we visited the Hotel and I took some 'new' pics of the exterior, especially from the beach (a number are nice panoramic views). We'll be eating our last dinner there on Thursday night.

    I took a short walk on the beach, then headed inland to the golf courses and lagoons looking for some alligators - BOY, I was lucky having gotten to the island just 2 hours previously. A probably 10 ft alligator was 'sun bathing' on the bank of a lagoon - a brave golfer even drove off near the monster; then all of a sudden the alligator decided to walk near the ladies tee box, while two gal golfers came up in their cart - not surprisingly, they drove further down the path to tee off! Great start of the trip - BUT, expecting rain tomorrow, so may not be picture time - wait and see, i.e. the weather changes quickly on the coast. Dave :)
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  3. giradman

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    First Full Day - intermittent rain, so we slept in, had a late breakfast in the condo and then headed to the Fitness Center at the Nature Center - our first visit (I usually walk outside but not in the rain) - the exercise room is modest in size, but had the usual machines and weights and was quite adequate for our needs. Then we made a 'Gator Tour' reservation for the next afternoon - 2 hr van and walking excursion which should be a LOT of fun - more later.

    On Kiawah Island and just off island are a half dozen excellent golf courses designed by some famous people, e.g. the Ocean Course by Pete Dye (will be the site of the 2021 PGA Tournament), Cougar Point by Gary Player, and Turtle Point by Jack Nichlaus - we decided to have a light salad lunch at the Turtle Point Bar & Grille (in the clubhouse and also home of Tomasso Italian restaurant which we've not tried) - see map & some pics below of the back of the club house, putting green, and several of the beautiful holes.

    On our way back to the condo, I walked near an Osprey Nest that I've been viewing for a half dozen or more years - some of the top branches have disappeared (probably storm damage - pic about 4 years ago back on an earlier page, if interested) - on our visit a year ago, I did not see any activity in the nest nor did I initially in crossing the bridge toward the ocean, BUT on my return, an osprey was on the nest and I could see several chicks zooming in my camera - last pics below of that experience - I was thrilled and assume it's the same couple of birds.

    For dinner, we ate at the Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course; tomorrow, the Jasmine Porch and last night the Ocean Room, the last two at the Sanctuary Hotel; all discussed earlier. As usual, the Atlantic Room was fabulous - we both started out w/ a half dozen oysters from Beaufort, SC (start of this travelogue); Susan had the rack of lamb and I the grouper (fresh caught today!) - shared a dessert. Dave :)
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  4. scifan57

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    There’s certainly plenty to see and do in and around the resort. I hope the weather cooperates as much as possible during your visit.
     
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  5. giradman

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    Thanks Scifan.. - weather looks much better for today and tomorrow - probably will do a beach walk and after another light lunch, off for our alligator nature tour this afternoon.

    BTW, we have a 'youngster' in our pond that is sunning as I type - went out to take a few pics from afar, but the gator jumped into the water - back out sunning again near our screened-in porch - suspect 3 ft long - took a few 'poor' pics because the sun was in my eyes (reason the animal picked this side of the pond to 'warm up') - for those interested, a few myths & facts below - click to enlarge (more in the LINK) - Dave :)
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  6. giradman

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    Late Morning Walk to the Ocean

    Only about a 15 minute walk to the ocean, over the bridge w/ the osprey nest, near the tee box and pond of the 17th hole of the Turtle Point Golf Course, and the walkway for beach access. Our first encounter was a large alligator (likely the same one from my first day's walk), near an appropriate sign. This access point is near the hotel, so a few panoramic beach pics, followed by Susan getting her feet wet in the ocean.

    Those ocean front homes are private residences and I can just imagine what a 20+ ft storm surge would do if a hurricane decided to hit Kiawah Island directly? We took a different beach access back and walked between the green and tee areas of holes 15 & 16 of Turtle Point Golf Course - just beautiful w/ houses on one side and dunes/ocean on the other (couple pics of the houses).

    On the way back, saw an anhinga drying its wings on the 17th tee area (next to same pond w/ the large gator seen earlier); also crossing the bridge (no parent ospreys at home in the nest), but a couple of pretty moorhen ducks swimming in the pond. Now off to a light lunch and our alligator nature tour. Dave :)
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  7. giradman

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    Nature Center Alligator Tour

    The Nature Center at Night Heron Park offers a variety of tours (last year we took the boat dolphin tour) - this year, the 'Alligator Tour' - 2 hr van excursion stopping at 3-4 sites - naturalist guide (young man w/ a degree in nature science) took us to a number of locations on the island, mainly the eastern half - probably saw several dozen alligators in the ponds, most were young ones (as shown by the pics below) but at least one big guy (assume male by the length - guide stated that the females max out at 8 ft) - the last stop was the most interesting w/ a half dozen or so 'baby' alligators (probably a year old) sunning on a man-made platform - their mother was circulating in the water keeping a watch - see the pic for some interesting discussion of 'motherly behavior' of these ancient animals (Source).

    There are close to 700 alligators on Kiawah island and virtually all ponds on the island are inhabited by a small number of alligators - ongoing research is being done (LINK) on the island's population of these reptiles - alligators have been captured and tagged (blue for males & yellow for females) for tracking; newer technologies include placement of GPS devices to better understand the movement patterns, home range size, and post-capture response of alligators on the island; Nuisance Alligators: "When people feed alligators, they will begin to associate people with food, creating a very dangerous situation. These animals often have to be destroyed. Town biologists typically remove 2-6 nuisance alligators per year under the state’s Nuisance Alligator Program." (Source). Dave :)
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  8. scifan57

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    How close do you get to those alligators in the tour?
     
  9. giradman

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    Hi Scifan.. - the guide likely takes his tour to the same places, so I suspect at least some of the alligators are 'use to' people watching and shooting pictures - as to your question, the largest of the alligators was in a small pond near the Ocean Course, where we ate the other night - we were probably 20 ft or so up an embankment from the gator, which did not move once; maybe 15 ft from one of the smaller ones in the other pics - the guide provided a lot of 'gator history' and some funny stories. Dave :)
     
  10. giradman

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    Folly Beach & Morris Island Lighthouse

    On our last full day, we decided to leave the island for a half-day trip to Folly Beach for a visit to the Morris Island Lighthouse (next post), a little souvenir shopping, walk on the pier, and lunch at Snapper Jack's (see pic - shared a dozen FL oysters & a delicious snapper sandwich w/ fries).

    Folly Beach (see first quote, maps and initial pics below) is Charleston's get-away Atlantic coast beach - situated on a barrier island just a half hour from the city (our trip was about 45 mins using the River Road which is often lined w/ live oaks full of Spanish moss - their branches cross over the highway for a wonderful 'tunnel effect'). The Folly Beach Pier (second quote), the newest one was built in 1995 and is just over 1000 ft long - there are magnificent views of the beaches extending in both directions - pics are a combination from the web but most my own w/ a lot of panoramic shots, including Susan. Dave :)

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    #40 giradman, Apr 11, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019

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