1,821 km or 17 hours, 10 minutes of driving with a couple of stops in between. On our first day, our three car convoy travelled 10 hours (1,053km) to Virginia. We were stocked up on homemade peanut cookies (thanks Laurie!) and jerky, among other snacks. Each car was equipped with a walkie talkie, which proved to be extremely practical and entertaining over the course of our drive. Comms training was delivered at 07h00s in Ottawa, and we were on our way by 7:20am. The first wrong turn was made before 9h00, when “Judy” missed the exit for the U.S. border. The next miss happened shortly after Customs, when “Margo” missed the rest stop meet up. But after these two tiny missteps, we remained together for the rest of the day! Snow quickly became a figment of our imagination, and the temperatures slowly rose as we made our way south.
We hadn’t planned accommodation for our stopover, as we wanted to see how we felt during the drive. We drove until the sun set, and this found us in Ashland, Virginia. All hotels close to the highway with more than 3 stars were booked, so we settled for a Days Inn with free continental breakfast. It was musty, but we made the best of it! We enjoyed half price apps and $3.99 Sam Adams seasonal at Applebees. All in all, a successful first day on the road!
The next morning we hit the road by 8am, and things got increasingly green as we progressed. A code “yellow” occurred within 1 hour of the drive, so we stopped for a bathroom break before we made it out of Virginia. I will not name names for who called the code… The trees were in full bloom mid-way through North Carolina, and the temperatures rose to 18 degrees! When we hit traffic on I-95, we opened the sunroofs and got our first taste of the sunshine. We couldn’t wait to reach our destination!! We arrived in Beaufort County by 5:30pm, and stopped for a quick grocery run before pulling in to our beach house in time for dinner.
Beachyhead is the name of the beach house we’ve rented for a week in Saint Helena Island. We found it to be full of southeast coast character and charm. The home has more local art and keepsakes than a museum, and is stocked full of everything one could need for a week away from home with nine friends (except toilet paper…) The weather during our first three days has been incredible, and we’ve spent our first few days lounging by the pool and walking along the beach. On a few mornings we have caught sight of porpoises swimming past the house as the tide goes out. We’ve made use of all the spaces the home has to offer including two screened in porches, an upper balcony (and roof ;), guest house, pool and outdoor bathroom. The barbecue and gas stove have been heavily relied upon, with everyone pitching in for cooking and bartending duties. Drinks of choice for the week are pina coladas and homemade margaritas, thanks to Simon’s blender!
On our third night we ventured into the charming town of Beaufort to dine and restock the fridges. Many of us got our fill of seafood for dinner including oysters, clams, shrimp and flounder. Afterwards we grabbed gelato from a local coffee shop and wandered along the waterfront, stopping to swing on wooden benches along the pier. We were just in time to catch the sunset, but many of the shops were closed at this hour so we hope to venture back another day to peruse the shops and historic buildings of Beaufort.
It’s been a wonderful first couple of days in South Carolina… We are one happy crew of Canadian snowbirds!
Liz & the SC Crew