We easily obtain our rapid test. Atlantis provides free onsite testing for each guest. The process easy and shortly we obtain our negative results. The email makes us smile and some stress is lifted.
Our last day on the resort is a return to all the things we loved most. We wake early to have time to accomplish our large list.
The resort is much busier than when we first arrived. Restaurants now require reservations and we find ourselves standing in lines for water slides, and food. Out eldest grandson does not understand why we are cueing and is annoyed he has to wait.
Our preferred beach chairs require staking our claim early. The reason for the sudden influx is a US holiday, relaxed requirements for testing from Canada and a convention. We reflect how fortunate we were to have had the resort to ourselves.
Finding a place to eat proves challenging as we have not made reservations. We go to one of our favourite spots, Carmines and are turned away. Our next choice, Frankie gone bananas advises us to return in 90 minutes. We comply and return at the agreed time. The restaurant is half full though we know even a few guests creates havoc with their system. We are then advised to return again in one hour. After some discussion, we are directed to a bench outside where we are advised to wait until we are called. The live band is mere feet away and although the music is lovely, it’s too close and loud to enjoy. We chill for 20 minutes with no updates, then decide we could wait for a very long time. We decide to walk to the burger shack at the end of the village. It’s a surprising 50’s diner themed space and larger than the outside would suggest. We are served, find a picnic table, then wait forever until we finally receive our order. We sit at our picnic table, munch on our burgers and fries and listen to live calypso music. The music reminds me of a cruise to Nassau thirty years previous. How amazing is music that can transport one back in time. Occasionally, folks get up and dance. We smile as we watch young children and families dance impromptu.
We have an arduous travel day the next day and an early start. We take one final look at the yachts then begin the process of packing, checking and rechecking.
Our day begins early. We are awake at 0500, having barely slept for fear of sleeping in, only to finally fall asleep just before the alarm sounds. We have arranged for Germaine to take us to the airport. He is less chatty, likely due to the early hour. There is no traffic and soon we are at the airport.
JetBlue is our airline and is accommodating with our group. John receives free checked luggage for his service in the Navy. The hour flight to Orlando goes quickly and we are offered both food and drink.
We arrive in Orlando and it seems as though the pandemic is over, large crowds, nearly no masks and zero physical distancing. It’s a lot to take after two years of limited contact with people, we are soon overwhelmed. We get our rental car, load our bags and soon leave the busy airport behind to travel the busy highway for the 5 hour drive to Hilton head island.
We leave Florida behind and pass through Georgia, then leave Georgia to enter South Carolina. We are all eager to reach our destination, content to stay on the highway. The trees change from predominant palm trees to incredibly large trees with drooping grey hair attached to the branches. We learn these are live oak trees, a type of evergreen tree that can grow 80 feet tall and spread upwards of 100 feet at maturity. It is iconic of the old South. We learn the grey moss hanging from its branches is also alive. The moss dangles from the live oaks limbs and gulps moisture from the air. Clever, during hot weather the moss continues to provide moisture to the tree, ensuring its survival.
We find a Costco and excitedly shop with prices that seem such a bargain after the expense of the Bahamas. We are tired of dining out and buy what we need to enjoy meals at our home away from home.
We have rented a house close to the beach. The pictures on Airbnb are stunning, though we are tempering our enthusiasm as reality can sometimes be disappointing.
Our grandchildren are amazing for this long day of travel, they are quiet and only near the end do they wonder how much longer.
Our daughter tells them as we arrive in Hilton head that we will first explore the home and then bring in our bags. We arrive and soon we are all running through the house exploring and exclaiming about each space. The house sleeps 28 and our group of 7 is lost in the space. There is a playroom, a media room, beautiful kitchen, 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, two decks and an elevator. Outside, there is a pool, bar and several lounging spaces. This place is perfect and we applaud our daughter who found and booked this amazing space. The house is decorated with a beach theme and one room flows seamlessly into the next. Every bedroom has a tv, the living room has a karaoke machine. John and I are given the master bedroom, complete with walk in closet, large shower, deck, king size bed and dresser. The bed is soft and so comfy. It’s perfect.
Our daughter, son in law and grandchildren take over two bedrooms and the playroom. There are 4 floors and so much space that we cannot hear the kids on the top floor when we are on the main.
The kids unpack their swimsuits and race to the pool. They quickly make up for their quiet during the road trip to let off steam in the pool.
We are excited to begin this second part of our holiday and look forward to exploring tomorrow as we quickly fall asleep with the sweetest of dreams.