April 17-19, 2013
Charleston was a hard act to follow but each of our next three days was memorable in its own way. Leaving Charleston, we cruised up the ICW to Georgetown, most of it through more pretty marshlands. Along the way we saw several nesting ospreys and more dolphins.
Some of the houses we passed were set far back from the waterway, with exceptionally long piers stretching out across the marshes.
Occasionally some of the neighbors came out to say hi as we drove past.
We arrived in Georgetown in mid-afternoon and were met by a very friendly and helpful dockmaster at the Georgetown Landing marina. There were a few other Loopers in port, including Lightfoot, Fandango and Blue Moon. After tying up and plugging in, we decided to postpone the daily boat wash so we could see some of the town.
Georgetown is the third oldest city in South Carolina and in its heyday was the center of shipping for the local rice and indigo plantations. Even today the town probably is bigger than we were able to see on foot, but the waterfront area is very attractive, with a long “downtown” street and a relatively new harborwalk along the river.
One of the highlights of the town is the Rice Museum, but we decided to skip it because the guided tour (the only way to see it) takes an hour and a half, and we didn’t have much more time than that to see the whole town. Maybe next time we come through. We keep reminding ourselves that when we eventually bring Blue Heron south towards Hilton Head, we’ll have another opportunity to see things we missed or particularly enjoyed this time.
Everyone we spoke with recommended Portofino, an Italian restaurant on the river. We were seated at 7:00, but by 8:30, with still no meal in sight and other diners who came in later moving on to dessert, we gave up and left. The owner was apologetic and declined to take payment for our wine and salads, but it put a damper on our Georgetown experience. According to John and Katie on Lightfoot, who ate there earlier for lunch, we missed a great meal. Too bad.
The next day we had a pretty ride up the Waccamaw River. The scenery was very different from what we had been seeing recently. We were out of the marshlands and away from palm trees and back into deciduous forests. The new green leaves had popped out and the woods looked very lush. We also saw an incredible number of nesting ospreys all along the way. It’s no mystery why the Osprey Marina has its name.
I guess Osprey Marina is on the fringes of the south end of Myrtle Beach, but it certainly appears to be isolated in the middle of the forest. It is a very pretty and peaceful spot. The marina gave us a generously stocked goodie bag when we arrived, and gave the dogs a whole bag of “Pupperoni” sticks. Joey and Bailey give this place a gold star! It also had the cheapest diesel on the ICW, $3.37/gallon.
One of the boaters in the harbor owns an Italian restaurant about 5 miles away and is happy to send a courtesy car to the marina to bring people to his restaurant. Since we had missed our meal the night before, we were happy to join Lightfoot to check it out. Turns out the chef trained with Emeril and the food was really good! And as the portions were huge, we had plenty of leftovers for the next day. This was my veal-eggplant-mozzarella tower. Wonderful!
As Craig said later, for a little marina in the middle of nowhere, Osprey turned out to be a very enjoyable stop.
The next day we had a very short ride (about 19 miles) to Barefoot Marina in North Myrtle Beach. It was a peaceful trip and a couple of times we took turns riding on the bow with the dogs.
Myrtle Beach immediately felt much more touristy than any of our recent stops. This was a first – we’ve never cruised under cable cars anywhere on our trip. This is a golf course where you park your car on one side of the ICW and ride the cable car to the course on the other side.
Once again, the marina staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful, especially dockmaster Brian. Lightfoot pulled in right behind us and the four of us had lunch at the marina restaurant, Dirty Don’s. There was a storm coming in that evening so we planned to eat on board that night.
A nice surprise at Barefoot was finding Rick ‘n Roll just down the dock from us. We enjoyed a great visit with Gold Loopers Betsy and Rick before the storm blew in. It was Betsy who two years ago inspired me to learn to play the harmonica. It’s no fault of hers that I haven’t done so yet, but I will, one of these days!
We had planned to stay two days at Barefoot to wait out the weather, but in the morning the heavy rain had stopped and the wind forecast looked worse for the following two days, so we decided to move on. It was a cold and windy trip to Southport, North Carolina, and we were glad to get into port and secure Blue Heron for a few days.
Next: Southport, North Carolina
(Real-time update: I’m almost caught up! On April 25 we are in Beaufort, North Carolina)