During college, Adrian and I decided to do internships at a resort in Surfside, South Carolina. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s probably because it’s a very small town that is shadowed by the (mind-bogglingly) consistent summer revival of Myrtle Beach just 4 miles north. I say mind-bogglingly because I still cannot bring myself to appreciate what is Myrtle Beach. It’s a strip of bars, mini-golf courses, and beach spots that are home to bikers and tourists. There are a few other very expensive “family” environments (aquarium, Ripley’s, etc.) but unless you are going for the Carolina-style southern food, then it’s just another beach.
Driving down King’s Highway, you will see many blinding store fronts. The lights are eternally blazing and difficult to comprehend. The cheap apparel on the inside is even worse. But, you go inside. You don’t know why. You just do.
The next thing you will notice is the numerous mini-golf courses. They adorn a number of theme: pirates, under the sea, etc. But the real kicker is the fact that you will almost always see large families there, day or night. They are never empty, even though you know it may seem ridiculous that you are passing yet ANOTHER course.
The beach in Surfside is nice, I will give it that. And maybe that is because it is considered the “family” beach spot, but there is always a place to lay out and enjoy the waves or sun. Since we were working at a resort with odd hours, we often went to the beach at night after all of the tourists left. We particularly loved going when it was stormy out since it was guaranteed to be vacant and the waves would be enormous and crashing against the shore like it was the end of the world.
Another surprisingly pleasant thing about South Carolina is the history. We discovered a number of settings that had preserved canons and forts. It was beautiful and rich with discovery. Drive about 3 hours south and you will get to Charleston, SC where the Gullah women will make you something pretty with dried reeds and rubber bands; the restaurants serve Carolina bbq; and the street vendors sell unique specialty items. Take a walking tour if you must, but even just a walk around the town will satisfy your thirst for some deep religious history. I know I sound like I’m blogging for a tourism site, but that’s how much I enjoyed Charleston.
The people. The people of South Carolina (well, I can’t speak for all of it, but I can for our little niche) are about what you would expect from most southern states. They love sweet tea and will be highly offended if you choose not to dance to the country music with them. However, they are also forgiving. I met a lot of people of many races and nationalities, and enjoyed learning about all of them. They will treat you like family, good and bad, and I learned very much from those people.