Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pets On the Beach, But Not At The Rental

So you are all ready for your Sunset Beach vacation: You've booked your vacation rental, pre-ordered your groceries, and packed! But just when you're ready to head down the road, you find out the arrangements you made for Fido to stay with friends have fallen through . . . And you cannot bring pets into your vacation rental! What's a responsible pet owner to do? Fortunately, there are many very good kennels near Sunset Beach, which can provide safe, comfortable and healthy accommodations for your dog (And some take cats as well.) during your stay.

Costs at most kennels in our area range from between $15 to $40 per day, depending on your dog's size and care requirements. Many kennels in the area provide for climate controlled indoor exercise environments, as well as safe outdoor play times several times each day for your pet's stay, depending on his/her socialization needs. Some even offer grooming services too. All work closely with our local vets and animal hospitals, and require current records to ensure all the animals in their care are up-to-date on their shots.

Sunset Beach rules prohibit dogs on the beach during the Summer season (from Memorial Day through Labor Day) between the hours of 8am through 6pm. However, during the cooler parts of the year, it is common to see folks out for a walk on the strand with their furry friends (Just don't forget the leash.). Kennel owners work hard to arrange their pick-up and drop-off hours to allow vacationing owners convenient access to their dogs for such pleasant excursions throughout the week.

Below are just a few of the many animal boarding facilities in the Sunset Beach area. If you think you might need their services during your next holiday, give them a call and ask for more information on what they have to offer.

Diamond A Kennels‎ (4.5 miles from Sunset Beach Bliss Condo)
Sunset Beach, NC‎ - (910) 579-7575‎

K-9 Country Club‎ (7.5 miles from Sunset Beach Bliss Condo)
Little River, SC‎ - (843) 280-4350‎

Wags & Whiskers Inn‎
(9 miles from Sunset Beach Bliss Condo)
South Brunswick, NC‎ - (910) 754-5207‎

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Museum of Coastal Carolina near Sunset Beach, NC

If you're looking for a fun place out of the sun (or rain) to go with small children during your visit to Sunset Beach, nearby Ocean Isle has a very nice natural history museum. Despite is smaller size, the Museum of Coastal Carolina has a lot to offer to its visitors - and most particularly to families with children. Amongst its plentiful displays of ocean-related artifacts and exhibits, there are lots of hands-on activities thoughtfully provided throughout the various display rooms, to keep the younger members of your party richly entertained during the course of your visit. Also the native American and Civil War artifacts on display add yet another dimension to your appreciation of the area.

When our family visited during latest beach trip, my 5 year old spent a very long time observing the many different creatures the museum's touch tank and peppering the very patient docent who was there at the time with question after question. Next, we passed through an rather elaborate walk-through display of a coastal habitat, while the kids pointed out the various life-sized creatures modeled there and ran around with their own newly-created jellyfish and seahorses made from the simple kits thoughtfully left out on low craft tables set up throughout the museum. A walk through the aviary to watch the birds, plus a viewing of their collection of non-venomous live snakes, rounded out our lesson on the region's natural features admirably. We ran out of time before we ran out of museum, and so we plan to re-visit it on our next trip.

Tucked away from the crowds and often exhausting size of other more well-known museums and aquariums, the Museum of Coastal Carolina is a reasonably-priced and reasonably-sized place to go for a few hours of quiet fun. It is also possible to save a little extra on admission to its sister facility, the Ingram Planetarium in neighboring Sunset Beach, when you buy a combination pass for both.

Learn more by visiting the Museum of Coastal Carolina website at

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Restaurants, Restaurants, & more Restaurants . . . Oooh! Ice Cream!

Being just ten minutes down the road from all the fine seafood that Calabash, NC, has to offer is just one of many advantages we discovered after finding our place in Sunset Beach. In the past few months, we have started on our task of trying out the local food with gusto; and the job has been a very pleasurable one.

Below is just a few of the very many choices in dining out that our area enjoys. There are tons more really nice places we've tried, and as time goes on, I hope to tell you all about them in this blog. But in the meantime, we've done our best to include menus for all in our guest book at the condo.

Ella's of Calabash (1148 River Rd, Calabash)
OK, this place has obviously been a fixture in the town of Calabash for quite awhile. It has pedigree. It also has THE BEST cocktail sauce we have ever tasted. Do yourself a favor and buy a bottle on your way out. Also, for those who love all kinds of seafood, order the steam pot and plan to share. You will need to, as your portion of shrimp, crab legs, and shellfish will be so generous and so perfectly cooked that you will suffer pangs of regret for every morsel you are forced to leave behind.

The Grapevine (9991 Beach Dr SW, Calabash)
In Calabash, they have got the gourmet going on at the Grapevine! If you try nothing else, get their Greek-style marinated chicken breast. (My mouth's watering, just thinking of it.) You can get Calabash-style seafood there, but where they really shine is their Italian pasta dishes and Greek-inspired creations.

Sarah's Kitchen (1649 Seaside Road in Pelican Square)
Cute little diner-style place where you can get an excellent breakfast, with hot southern-style biscuits, and generously proportioned pancakes. To grab a quick and tasty sandwich or burger for lunch, they are a good place to go. They are small, which means your food is hot and care is taken w/ your meal; but the number of tables is limited and they can fill up fast.

Boundary House (1045 River Rd, Calabash)
Of course, you cannot leave the area without treating yourself to a meal at the Boundary House (named after the original "boundary house" built on the state line in the early 1700's). Walking in, the building and decor alone is a feast for they eyes. But their food will keep you coming back. Anything on the menu is going to be fresh and fantastic and their desserts are made in-house. They handle seating and serving large groups with aplomb; and combine a casual atmosphere with upscale service.

Calabash Creamery (9910 Beach Dr SW, Calabash)
It just wouldn't be Summer without the joys of Ice Cream. Just 10 minutes down the road from us, their crisp white building with wrap-around porch and 2 cow statues out front ("Scoop" and "Dip"), is hard to miss. Be warned: Every kid in your car will suddenly explode into a frenzy of pointing and entreaties to stop for ice cream. This is one of those times when we must defer to the wisdom of children. With more than 24 gourmet flavors available throughout the year, multiple visits to the Creamery are . . . well, necessary for a happy and fulfilling life (Just my opinion.) They also have "no sugar added" flavors and pretty good coffee, so that no one in your group will be left out of the fun.

Bagels & Sandwedges 925-9 Seaside Rd., SW, Sunset Beach)
If you're after a quick breakfast or lunch, and you love your coffee and your bagels, this little place just down the road from our neighborhood is a good bet. The bagels are fresh and they are not stingy with the fillings either. Gourmet coffee is available, and while you munch on your delicious bagel creation, you can gaze at the amusing depictions of bagels golfing all over the walls. We love it there!

Anyway, there's more. I've still got to cover that nice little Irish Pub over towards the Beach, the excellent family Pancake House next to the gift shops, and . . . well, stay tuned.