Slowly but surely Bill and I have continued to explore our new surroundings, but it’s always much more fun when friends stop to visit and assist in our exploration! Such was the case this past weekend when Barb and Bill Michalsky spent two days with us in Murrells Inlet on their way back to NJ from Florida.
They arrived early evening on Saturday after nine hours in the car, so we just relaxed, drank, ate, and caught up on each other’s lives and activities. Both Bill and Barb are skilled raconteurs, so throughout their brief stay, stories of past, present and “small world” were flowing!
After breakfast on Sunday, we began the tour, as neither Barb nor Bill had ever been in the Myrtle Beach area. Our first stop was Huntington Beach State Park. The day was picture perfect and the beach was beautiful. Also on the State Park property is Atalaya Castle, which we decided to tour. My Bill played tour guide as we meandered through the home of Archer and Anna Huntingnton, named after the Spanish word for “watchtower.”
Archer Huntington was an authority on Spanish culture as well as an accomplished poet while his wife, Anna, was a sculptor. Atalaya served as their winter home and included horse stables, a dog kennel and a bear den, due to to Anna’s passion for sculpting animals…Hmmm. The one-story brick building was constructed in a square – employing only local workers – and includes a stunning center courtyard along with 30 rooms for the Huntington’s and their staff. Relating to the home’s name, in the center of the structure stands a 40-feet high watchtower that originally held a 3,000-gallon water tank. It truly is a remarkable edifice that was enjoyed as a winter home from the early 1930’s until 1955. It is now a National Historic Landmark that hosts an annual arts and crafts festival in honor of the Huntington’s during the fourth week of September.
From Atalaya we drove to the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk, where our first stop was the Tuna Shak for cocktails – the house tour took a lot out of us – again, it was a gorgeous day and we walked the pier and the boardwalk. At the northern end of the Marshwalk is Dunken Jack’s, and by the time we reached that we were ready for a snack – and another drink! Before we went in, however, we took in the sights on Goat Island! What is Goat Island you ask?
Well, for the past 40 years the owners of Drunken Jack’s have put goats on this small island to help keep the underbrush under control – what a goat luxury! The goats are brought to the island in early spring and brought back to a local farm in late fall. They are fed well, serve a purpose, and I’m sure they make friends with the egrets, herons, ducks, and whatever other wildlife may stop by for a visit!
We couldn’t let our friends leave town without a quick drive through Myrtle Beach and Market Common, after which we returned to our home in Murrells Inlet to regroup and prepare for our dinner out at Hot Fish Club! We had a lovely meal overlooking the marsh as the sun set, both literally, as well as on our delightful visit with Barb and Bill Michalsky! As Woodrow Wilson once said, “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together!”
Stay Calm and Travel On…