Joan Randall, a Woodstock resident, set out on a journey to “Discover America” she has agreed to share her stories with the readers of the Vermont Standard.
These are her stories.
Blog #7 Ferrying & Sailing
Archer and Joe, the two hospitable sailors, who invited Bode and I aboard for a cocktail, were going to follow the 7:30 a.m. ferry out of the Silver Lake Harbor through The Ditch and into the Pamlico Sound for their return to North Carolina. The Sound is quite shallow throughout, which explains why so many early settlers ran aground there, and had to throw the livestock overboard to lighten the load so the ship would be able to pass. The livestock were often left behind when the ship set sail, and thus the origin of the wild ponies in the Outer Banks. We were booked on the 10 a.m. ferry to Cedar Island, NC the cost for which is only $15 for a two and a half hour crossing. I am starting to believe what Joe, Archer and every Southerner I have talked to have said, and that is that Northerners pay too much for everything! If I remember correctly I paid over $150 to transport myself and the Jeep on a 35-minute ferry crossing to Martha’s Vineyard. The locals are up in arms that the State of North Carolina wants to raise the ferry to $30. It still sounds like a bargain to me, but I am a Northerner.
By 1 p.m. we were traveling on Route 12 headed toward Beaufort, N.C, (spelled the same but pronounced differently than Beaufort, SC.) I had learned at lunch yesterday, from a Nicholas Sparks fan, that Beaufort, N.C. was the setting for one of his romance novels. He felt Sparks had captured the town perfectly in the novel. He handed me the much beloved book to read on the ferry. I have yet the time to read the novel, so I will take his word for it. It was a beautiful town. The wind was still blowing and it felt like we had not driven very far, so after a relaxing lunch in town we headed South taking the coastal Route 17. Our goal was Georgetown, S.C., about a four-hour ride. We never made it. I was becoming tired and the traffic was stop and go in North Myrtle Beach. Archer’s words came back to haunt me, he told me to bypass the Myrtle Beach area.
We pulled into a dog-friendly hotel, a chain, which is usually of high quality; this certainly was an exception to the rule. When we returned later in the evening and I turned down the sheets it was apparent they where never changed. I was too tired to move to another room. The front desk came with clean sheets and we changed the bed. Bode had no desire to stay in that room, it was not to his standards. In the morning we arose early. The Jeep was parked right outside the window. I opened the window and placed the luggage outside where the Jeep was parked. I left like a burglar. Who cared? We just wanted out of that dump and were on the road by 7 a.m.
Within an hour we were in Georgetown. A beautiful Southern town with magnificent moss covered oak trees lining the avenues, just as Joe had described. Even amongst all this beauty I was still in a sour mood leftover from North Myrtle Beach. Bode too was acting out. He wanted to run free and be off leash. We were not a pretty sight even amongst all this Southern Charm. We came upon an interesting market in the center of town, and stopped to get a drink where I struck up a conversation with the owner. They chuckled at my experience in North Myrtle Beach and joked those spots were to contain the Northerners. She then went on to welcome me to a “real” Southern coastal town. There was only one Inn that was dog friendly in Georgetown, it was the Jameson and she highly recommended it. They were quite accommodating at the Inn and allowed us to check in at 11 a.m.. The desk clerk told us that Pawleys Island was a dog friendly beach, so in no time we were off to discover this spot. We found a bit of shade and I settled in for a nap as Bode was quite content running up and down the beach chasing sea gulls, soon he became tired and snuggled up near for a nap as well.
After a nap and an afternoon spent on the beach we had a change of attitude and were back to normal. We were ready to enter the world again. As we were walking down the beach, Bode made friends with an interesting couple who was originally from this area, and now live in Chicago. They wanted to know how we came across Pawleys Island, one of the best-kept secrets, even though it is America’s oldest seaside resort town. I must admit the immediate feeling you have when entering this resort is that you were stepping back in time. All the cottages were still original, my best guess is that they were built in the 1920’s, charming and quaint. Not a hint of over-development, or McMansion in sight. They recommended two great spots to dine; one needed a reservation a day in advance since it was at a local woman’s home and the second was at Hog Heaven. Since we were only here for the night, we stopped at Hog Heaven for an all you can eat southern buffet for the ridiculous price of $7.01. Well, I have to admit it was the best fried chicken I ever tasted and Bode certainly agreed. We took our food to go and when I opened the to-go box the woman had prepared I was surprised to find enough food in that container to easily live off of for a week. It must have weighed five pounds! Southern hospitality!
Back in Georgetown, we came across the pier where all the shrimp and fishing boats were docked. I am sure not too many women with small white dogs come to these parts. We were an instant curiosity and the men stopped working, left the boats and came to find out why we were there. The men had fallen on hard times. Each and every year the restrictions and regulations imposed make it harder to make a living from fishing. Sound familiar to our dairy farmers back home? I am not sure what the answer is nor am I sure if they felt any better at the end of our long conversation or if a middle ground can ever be found.
We meandered back to the center of town, stopped for an afternoon tea at a coffee shop and struck up another conversation with patrons of the shop. This time it was politics. There where many in town that were opposed to and had genuine concern about the Tea Party movement that was becoming active in Georgetown. Was it because we were only one day away from April 15th that all this controversy was arising wherever we turned? I politely exited that conversation by telling them that I had a dog tied out front and I needed to make sure he was okay.
One thing I will comment on is the distinct dialect in this region. I noticed in Ocracoke, certain locals have a language of their own. It is a rapid-fire language that I could not follow, similar to something I distinctly remember hearing in the West Indies. Evening was settling in and it was time to retire to the Jameson for the evening
– All Bode’s Well.
CHECK OUT JOAN’S VIDEO SHOTS OF NORTH CAROLINA
Catch-Up on all of Joan & Bode’s travels – click here