Monday, October 13, 2014

Visit Broadway at the Beach!



For Myrtle beach family vacationers, a “must” is Broadway at the Beach. This venue offers a wide variety of restaurants to suit any craving, shopping that includes reminders of Myrtle Beach to basic footwear, clothing, nick knacks and so much more. There is never a moment of boredom or complaints about nothing to do when you are at Broadway at the Beach. Thoughts range from scanning all of the available choices to trying to decide what to do first. With movies, attractions, miniature golf, a fabulous aquarium, ducks and fish to feed, a zip line, boat rides and an old fashioned carousel  located beside gentle rides for the pint-sized folks, there is something to delight everyone--from toddlers to grandparents.

My own grandchildren have always loved visiting the upside down building known as Wonderworks, an intriguing experience that is educational and entertaining. Plan to spend a good chunk of time touring this attraction, as the variety of displays are worth seeing. Many exhibits are hands-on, interactive, informative and fun. For details, visit http://www.wonderworksonline.com/myrtle-beach/.

When my nieces and nephew were young children, they thoroughly enjoyed the Magiquest experience. It’s rather hard to describe and can be somewhat daunting for the elderly, who may view it as many children running around half-crazed with fake swords. They aren’t really swords, but more like magic wands. Kids love it, and you can see more at http://www.magiquest.com.
 
As the sun goes down, there is active nightlife that gears up at this location--time for the adults to kick up their heels at Celebrity Square, where you will even find a Hard Rock Cafe.


With so much to see, just walking around this venue is a treat. During a recent stroll, I encountered some unique planters that surround the front of Rooster's Bar & Grill. You must admit that this is an eye-catching sight!

The hungry fish and ducks eagerly await the visitors who place quarters in the fish food vending machines. I've never seen fish with such gigantic mouths. They climb all over each other when a generous tourist drops a handful of fish food. Don't believe me? Check this out! Are those ducks or geese? I'm not sure, but you get the idea.


Now this clever guy decided to avoid battle with everyone else in the water. He (or she) is waiting directly in front of the vending machine to catch any stray food that falls from the dispenser! This one is pro-active and definitely not a crowd follower.


During the peak summer months, be prepared that Broadway at the Beach is a popular destination for families. Arriving early can save you some waiting time if your youngsters tend to become antsy. A visit in the early fall, when our weather is still summer-like and the family tourist season has subsided, can lead to an invigorating, yet relaxing experience.For complete information about all things Broadway at the Beach, visit http://www.broadwayatthebeach.com. Come to Myrtle Beach for tons of family fun!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Myrtle Beach for Mom & Dad



Myrtle Beach is an exceptional destination for families. With a variety of options for entertaining the kids, the Grand Strand has tucked away a little secret that Mom, Dad & Grandparents should discover. The Market Common is an urban village, positioned off Farrow Parkway and is a lovely location for shopping, dining, strolling, catching a movie and so much more! See http://www.marketcommonmb.com.
 
From the strategically placed fountains to the colorful and well-maintained landscaping, visitors are encouraged to linger in rocking chairs, on benches or at a variety of tables & chairs. The shoppers can relax as they take a break from exploring everything that the Market Common has to offer.
 
There are easily recognizable chain stores, along with adorable boutiques that proud local owners have established. The streets represent a mini-town that is clean, upscale and pleasant. The residents and guests of this charming community have almost everything they need at their fingertips and within walking distance.

With ongoing activities and events that include musical entertainment, Movies Under the Stars, a farmers’ market from May through October and horse & carriage rides, the Market Common always has something happening.

A new addition for 2014 is a lovely pool & lazy river complex for residents and guests that looks mighty inviting on a hot summer day!

Danny Kuhn, resident of the Market Common, said, “What I love most about living in the Market Common is the proximity of almost everything I need.  It has shopping, dining, movies, books, park, gym, and recreation center, all within just a short walk.  On my bicycle, I can have my toes in the water at Springmaid Pier in 7 minutes.  Some weeks, I don't even get into my car until it's time for church on Sunday, avoiding the summertime traffic.   And, increasingly, the Market Common is trying to promote special events on a larger scale.  It was great this year to attend a fun, outdoor New Year's Eve celebration and just walk a couple of blocks home when it was all over."

When you’ve had enough of the beach, miniature golf and all of the typical tourist attractions, plan an amazing stop for the grownups at the Market Common. You deserve it!


I'll be back soon with more fun things to do in the Myrtle Beach area!
Pack up your car, and come along to visit. Don't forget the golf clubs.

Exploring the world,
Mary Anne Benedetto




Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!


*****



Friday, May 9, 2014

Tropical Paradise - Key West, FL



Key West, FL--Notorious as being a haven for adventurous scuba divers, amazing sunsets, a serene location for writers and artists, and a place where the colorful characters emerge at sundown. I have always been intrigued with the idea of visiting Key West. Many years ago, my husband and I were trying to coordinate a vacation to that destination without success. The problem was that we were trying to arrange Marriott points with frequent flyer points, and it just wasn't happening.

We opted for a different Florida location for that particular vacation, but I knew I would someday try again regardless of how long it might take to arrange. The opportunity arose this spring when we were staying at the Sanibel Harbour Resort. As I scanned through brochures featuring local activities, I spotted an advertisement for the Key West Express http://www.seakeywestexpress.com. There it was right before my eyes--the opportunity to take a day trip to Key West from Fort Myers Beach and just check it out. No need to find a hotel there, as we would only be in Key West for a few hours. It would offer me a little taste of this popular destination, and I would then know if I would ever want to return for a longer stay. Perfect.  It would be just like sampling different ports when cruising and deciding where you might return to spend more time in the future.

So off we drove to Fort Myers Beach in the early morning hours to climb aboard the Key West Express, a large catamaran that transports passengers to Key West's vacationland in just three and a half hours. There is only one problem. The boat leaves Fort Myers by 8:30 a.m. (last call at 8:00 a.m.) and arrives at the terminal in Key West at approximately 12 noon. You spend a few hours sightseeing, and before you know it, you are boarding for the sailing that returns you to Fort Myers. This boat departs Key West at 6:00 p.m., with last call being 5:30 p.m. You do the math: 3.5 + 3.5 = 7. With 7 hours total travel time, you are on a boat longer than you are in port. We had to make the most of our exploration time.

How to maximize our short stay? We bought tickets for the Conch Tour Train http://www.conchtourtrain.com, which took us to all of the highlights that we needed to see and offered a great deal of local historical information. We decided to hope off at Hemingway House for a fascinating tour. See http://www.hemingwayhome.com.  A guided tour provided much history and insight about the author, Ernest Hemingway, the home, the lush gardens and the approximately 40 cats that roam the property. This tour immediately inspired me to choose some of Hemingways books for my Kindle, and I intend to read a biography of this very interesting and talented personality. It would seem that he had a short attention span relative to his love life, and being there in the room where he did much of his writing was incredibly inspiring. Im not a person who thinks much about ghosts, but I have to say that being in that house gives you the feeling that his spirit is very much alive.
 
Hemingway's Writing Room

 
Another View of Hemingway's Writing Room
Pool in Hemingway's Lush Back Yard
Lazy Days in Key West-Cat Sleeping in a Plant
Artwork in the Living Room
We were hungry after all of our touring, but didnt want to venture too far off the beaten path from the terminal, where we would catch the return sailing of the Key West Express. We stopped in an Irish pub called Finnegans Wake Irish Pub & Eatery. Strangely, we ordered pizza, which turned out to be absolutely delicious. With tummies full, we headed back to the terminal to prepare for the voyage to Fort Myers.
 
Fred & Mary at Finnegan's Wake Irish Pub-Key West
Caution: Three and a half hours is a long time to sit and do nothing. On the sailing to Key West, I had a very nice chat with a sweet lady seated beside me, which made the time go quickly. My husband dozed and watched a movie that was offered for public viewing. As soon as we boarded for the return, I desperately wished I had either brought my Kindle or a paperback or had purchased a book at the Hemingway House Bookstore. I ventured into the snack bar area and discovered that on their posted list of menu items was Playing Cards. That would do the trick! So I talked my husband into playing Crazy 8s and Around the World until he just couldnt stand it any longer. Lesson learned. Always have access to something to read!

In spite of the quick turnaround, we loved having a few hours to explore Key West.  Without question, I will return to this tropical paradise in the future for a longer visit. And do you know what they say about those Key West sunsets? Just take a peek and swoon...

Stop by for more visits to amazing places!


Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!


*****