Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Ultimate Beach Vacation for She Who Hates the Beach

I know what you're going to say, so let me stop you right there.  Everyone is supposed to love going to the beach.  If I don't enjoy parading around the seaside in 90+ degree weather, clad in scraps of spandex, dripping with sweat, and smeared with sunscreen, then there must be something wrong with me.  I'm probably an alien, or a communist, or a Death Eater.  My family has suspected as much for years, so to head off your argument, let's all just agree that I'm an alien commie Death Eater weirdo who hates going to the beach.

Unfortunately (for him), I'm married to a man who LOVES the beach, who has been begging me to accompany him to one of these horrible sand-and-sweat factories for several years.  So this year I gave in, and attempted to pull off a Beach Vacation for She Who Hates the Beach.  Last week, our whole family escaped to The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort on a small island near Charleston, South Carolina in an attempt to find "something for everyone" in our little clan to enjoy. 

Kiawah Island appealed to me for its non-beachy aspects: No crowds, no boardwalks, no traffic, and no noise except for the sound of waves crashing against the beach (until we arrived, that is).  The resort area is restricted to residents and resort guests, and the only other place I've seen such lush tropical landscaping is at my father-in-law's place in Naples, Florida -- and his property outshines the local botanical gardens.  This 5-star hotel has all the mandatory Rebecca amenities such as air conditioning, spacious marble bathrooms, room service, fine dining, beautiful decor, as well as balconies overlooking the Atlantic Ocean where we were able to eat breakfast in the morning and relax with a bottle of wine in the evening after the kids went to bed.  Check out the view from our balcony:

Isn't it gorgeous?  I would have spent more time out on the balcony if it hadn't been in the 90s and so humid during the day.  When I stepped outside to take this picture, my camera lens immediately fogged up and I had to clean the lens and wait a minute for my camera to warm up before I could get a good picture.

The Sanctuary is only six years old, but it was designed to give the impression of an Old Southern pedigree.  I love the authenticity of the slender wood ballasts on this curved stairway descending to the hotel lobby, and the serenity of the enormous Low Country murals on opposite walls, painted by Karen Larsen Turner, whose available paintings are displayed in the Wells Gallery at The Sanctuary.  I also noticed that every speck of trim throughout the public areas of the hotel -- the lobby, the stairwell area, and the hallways leading to guest rooms -- was painted with a glazed finish very similar to what my decorative painter did for my master bathroom cabinetry.

Here we have Lars and Anders, enjoying a game of chess in the hotel lobby.  A few minutes after I snapped the picture, I had to end the chess game prematurely due to rising tempers, rising voices, and raised eyebrows from a few other guests.

But by and large, The Sanctuary is a very family-friendly resort.  We were pleasantly surprised to see families with children of all ages everywhere we went, and the hotel concierge even arranged babysitting services for us for the one evening that I dragged Bernie to a "Jacket Required" dinner destination. 

The Golf Learning Center at Kiawah Island offers Junior Golf Camp for two hours each day after lunch, and I signed Lars and Anders up for these lessons on three of the five days that we were there.  They had a ball, and even after two hours of golf lessons in 94 degree heat, I still had to drag Lars off the golf course kicking and screaming when it was time to go to dinner.  Isn't the scenery beautiful?  This is Lars on the Cougar Point golf course, mugging for the camera.

Anders' Batman driver cover was a big hit everywhere he went.  It was a recent birthday gift from Aunt Janice the Manice, one of Anders' favorite gifts.  We also had to get him new clubs while we were on vacation, so his previous clubs are destined for his cousin James.  Now Anders tells me, "Mom, I'm a serious golfer."

...Oh yeah, and there was also that beach that everyone makes such a fuss about.  As far as beaches go, it was great.  You just walk onto the beach directly from the hotel, and the staff sets up chairs for you with fresh, clean terry cloth chair covers and towels and beach umbrellas.  Complimentary bottled water is available to hotel guests in a huge cooler right on the beach, and they even have shovels and buckets and other sand toys for the kids.  All you need to do is show up in your swimsuit with some sunscreen, a good book and your sunglasses and you're good to go.  I lasted all of four hours under the shelter of my beach umbrella on Tuesday, which has got to be a record for me.  On other mornings, I made myself comfortable in the air conditioned hotel lobby with a mimosa or a cappuccino and my book while Bernie and the boys worshipped the sun and played in the water on their boogie boards.  But I couldn't resist venturing down to the beach from time to time to see what they were up to and to snap some pictures.  I love this one of Lars flying his dragon kite on the beach.  A perfect memory of a perfect summer day:

So, would I have rather gone to Paris, or anyplace else with gorgeous architecture and museums and historical tours and no sand?  Absolutely!  But this one was for Bernie, and for my little boys.  May they always remember what it felt like when they finally smacked the golf ball 50 yards, and when the kite soared up into the air and Lars harnessed the power of the wind to sail a dragon through the sky.


Janice the Manice said...

Looks heavenly, guess you aren't up for a Whelan family camping trip anytime soon, although we do have a three room tent. We're kinda fancy, too. :)
Princess Petunia would go GAGA over that Dragon kite, by the way. We have to fly a kite every time we go to the beach. She even asks if I put it in with the toys before we leave the house. She has her priorities.

Anonymous said...

I am also an commie death eater! 2 days of sand in my bathing suit, rogue waves trying to kill me, and a sunburn even after re-applying sunscreen is about all I can stand. I did find a rocky beach with no waves in Costa Rica once, but proceeded to get an agonizing sunburn so- there you go-