Back in the 1980’s, I thought I’d move to the big city of Atlanta. One thing about cities is that you learn to value your friends. Despite being in the center of millions of people, you can find yourself alone. So as a young, single college grad working at a brokerage firm, I made one of my dearest friends. It was great to have a buddy at concerts, art gallery openings, new restaurants, and the ever-popular activity of those without kids or attachments— spontaneous road trips.
Spending hours in a vehicle with another person requires you to figure out how to navigate annoyances and grumpy moods. To help with this, my friend and I came up with this great idea of the “Courtesy Call.” Any time someone started griping or perhaps even snapping a bit, the other would holler, “Courtesy call.” All drama had to end. At that moment. And it worked for us. We quieted or changed the subject.
Flash forward years later, we decided to meet and take our kids to Charleston, South Carolina, an exquisite Southern city. We stayed near the heart of the historic district, walked the cobblestone streets, and took a horse and buggy tour. Ornate architecture preserved through the years took us back in time. The harbor offered fresh seafood and a boat ride out to Fort Sumter. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
While reminiscing on the Charleston trip, we shared a similar discovery. Kids don’t quite understand or accept the Courtesy Call concept. AT ALL. (Okay, sometimes husbands don’t either.)
That’s the truly great thing about friendships and why you should hold onto them. You get each other’s concepts—and humor.
My sister has a condo on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. And no she won't let you borrow it. :)
Through the years, I’ve been privileged to spend time there with her, but oddly, we’ve tried and failed a number of “sisters-only” trips. We are only three sisters. Shouldn't be that hard, right? But due to one conflict or another, we’ve managed only one. Ever.
Last summer, we tried, but again, one of us couldn’t attend. My son ended up taking the place of my middle sister. A seventeen-year-old young man and two ladies aged over the half century mark. You know he had a blast …
Since he was along, we ditched the shopping and bird-watching, and we spent even more time on the pristine beaches. We also headed out on really, really, really long bike rides.
Did I mention they were really long?
My sisters discourage discussions of age, but my oldest sister led the biking charge. Although she was in college when I was born, happily/sadly she looks fantastic and can kick my behind in tennis any day. Also she can ride for miles on a bike without whining like her baby sister.
Hilton Head is the perfect place to pedal until it hurts so good. Shaded bike trails wind through the aesthetically protected community. We started at Palmetto Dunes and rode out and across to the Veterans’ Memorial Park. The area offers both sunny and shaded areas that overlook a pond and the marsh, as well as a monument for fallen and missing soldiers. Bird watchers may want to bring the camera.
On another ride, we cycled over to Shelter Cove. This fun shopping area provides not only dining and nightly entertainment, but also a spectacular view of the marina, especially at sunset.
My personal favorite bike rides were at low tide on the beach. Well ... because I love the beach, the sea air, the sound of waves. Oh did I mention I love the beach?
After all the physical activity, clean up and skip out for early dining, because almost every restaurant on the island offers fine dining at a deep discount in the evenings between five and six. I also adore food and discounts!
I know it’s only January, but you might be dreaming of warm sand and ocean and starfish and sunsets, too. So check out Hilton Head Island for a great time under the Southern sun. And no, my sister won't let you borrow her condo. :)
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Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson