Another great line from my favorite movie, The Big Lebowski. Toss in a few expletives, and that’s exactly what I thought when I saw a comment in The Tidal Eyechart from some clown in Findlay, Ohio, who bellyached that Myrtle Beach was rundown and that there was nothing to do here in the winter.
How can anyone say that? Forgive me a moment while I go through the short list: there’s the beach, the Atlantic Ocean, a state park, Brookgreen Gardens, golf courses, Ripley’s Aquarium, the beautifully redeveloped air force base, fishing piers and the Intracoastal Waterway. The Murrell’s Inlet marsh walk is just down the road. So is Atalaya, the rather gothic-looking, beachfront estate formerly owned by the Huntingtons.
Run down? I don’t think so. There may be a few holes left vacant in strategic places by overbearing, money-grubbing land barons, but run down? No way. When was the last time you were on the outskirts of Cleveland? That’s run down.
Did I mention that the beach is here even in the winter? The beach they call The Grand Strand? The beach and the dunes and the seabirds and looking for fossil sharks teeth…Oh, and there is my favorite gift shop, The Gay Dolphin, and its fossil cove — my mecca. The new, wider boardwalk is a fun place to hang out. Just don’t go too early in the morn; there are some generally harmless vagrants committed to the Occupy Bench campaign.
There are live oaks all over town. Their canopies spread horizonally to diameters of 100 feet — sometimes farther. I check them out from beneath year round, studying the divergent, twisting limbs for the story that each has to tell.
Sunrises are magnificent about 70 percent of the days in winter. Dress warmly, take a blanket down to the great salt pond and watch Ra peek over the horizon. Early mornings are often good for dolphin sightings in the winter. They love the serenity of those silent waters. Wait till afternoon on the milder days and sit up at one of the accesses from 62nd to 65th avenues north; the diehard surfers are out there hangin’ ten. That’s fun to watch for awhile.
Come down. Have a good time. Pick up after yourselves when you’re outdoors. Follow the law and the police will leave you alone. Well, now I’m stretching it.