Monday, July 21, 2008

Fun in the sun in Holden Beach

Nestled right in between Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC Holden Beach is one of the Brunswick County islands in North Carolina. White sand, peaceful lapping of the ocean waves, fresh seafood, and of course our family bring us back every year. The nightlife consists of the occasional 50’s and 60’s beach bands passing through so if the party scene is your thing, this is not the place for you. If that is what you are after head straight for Myrtle Beach, about 40 minutes away!

The area also hosts one of the largest concentrations of world class golf courses anywhere in the US. We took a spin at the driving range one afternoon
and were lucky to even hit the ball! If you have never tried to hit a golf ball before, it’s quite a bit harder than you think. Right down the fairway I am ashamed to say is not really part of our vocabulary at this juncture but we had some good laughs at one another on where the ball actually went, if it went anywhere at all.

After attempting to whack the ball as hard as we could (which we found out later was probably why we sucked so badly) we decided that the putt-putt course might be a better fit. We come here every year during the summer and there always seems to be a least a half a dozen more of these tributes to commercialism that have sprouted up. The array of choices is stunning – From pirate ships sinking to volcanoes that spew “lava” to dinosaurs roaring this place has it all and in abundance. It never fails to amaze me how busy every one of them is no matter what day you go.

If anyone ever writes a book on how to appease the family and still not gain weight during a trip home, it would have to be a best seller. I swear I put on an extra 10lbs every time we visit. Moderation would be a good start to that equation but when the words “Homemade Peach Ice Cream” are passed around how could one really resist? Follow that up with another batch of Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream and you are certainly heading for trouble. I think for sure we are hiking Mt. Kinabalu now!

On the subject of food, the area also has lots of fresh seafood. Naturally in the time honored southern tradition most of it is battered and fried but there are a few “healthier” choices on the menu from time to time. Steam pots and steamed shrimp (apply Old Bay liberally!) are on most menus and make you feel a little less guilty about eating a whole basket of Hushpuppies with Honey “butter” (actually that oh so good for you margarine full of the good artery clogging Hydrogenated Oils – get real butter if you are going this route – at least there is “some” nutritional value) while waiting for your meal. For those of you not from the south Hushpuppies skip the battering of some type of animal flesh and is simply the batter itself deep fried in all its greasy goodness (Cornmeal deep fried). Bet you can’t eat just one (even though you really should just eat one!).

Clogged arteries and all, we pack up and head to our next destination, my hometown – Dobson, NC!

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