Monday, June 02, 2008

Hilton Head and Asheville (part deux)

So we're back from vacation - probably the best vacation we've had, ever. Really relaxing. Stopping in Asheville on the way down and the way back was a great way to break up that drive, too.

We always stay in a fairly inexpensive condo about a 5 minute walk from the beach. Nothing has changed much at those places since we started going, and May is a great time to go because it's nice and warm for swimming and sunning, but not so hot that you can't enjoy biking and golfing. The only downside is that we showed up on Saturday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend - never realized Hilton Head was so popular with college pukes. Saturday and Sunday nights were a bit noisy, but after they left, it was peaceful for the rest of the week.

The beer scene is deplorable - but I knew that from the past trips and bought beer in Asheville before arriving. The Hilton Head Brewing Company, which has been around since 1994, was still the disappointing place we remembered from our last visit - but at least this time they had four beers on tap rather than one! All were pretty crappy, however. The food was decent, and Dana swears they offered the best turkey burger she's ever had.

We ate lots of seafood. Lots. Including two trips to The Sea Shack (no website), where we had the best fried seafood ever.

We rent bikes for the week - single speeds with fat tires, foot braking, and wide seats - when the tide is low, you can ride your bike on the sand for miles (literally), which we enjoy. From the beach, you can usually spot pelicans and dolphins. On the numerous bike paths that cover the island, we spotted tons of different types of birds, lizards, and of course, alligators. Largest we saw was about 8-9 feet long, sunning itself in someone's back yard.

On Saturday, we drove back up to Asheville to stay over. This time, we enjoyed a few flights of fine Belgian beers on tap at The Thirsty Monk - great place! I also picked up a few more bottles of good stuff at Brusin' Ales to bring home.

In summary, great vacation. I enjoyed many fines beers, though the majority of the really good ones were of the Belgian variety. There were a few good North Carolina brews and I enjoyed trying some new breweries, but many that I got to try were not quite up to the quality of Pennsylvania beers to which I've become accustomed. The brewery that did stand out was The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, with a focus on darker brews.

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