Wednesday, August 6, 2014

NC State Line - Calabash, Sunset Beach 8/6/14

     Welcome to Vereen Gardens, our last stop in Little River SC.  The Vereen name goes way back in this area - in fact George Washington's diary mentioned that he stayed here with one of the Vereens when he did his southern tour in 1791. 

     This 115 acre park was donated to Horry County by Jack Vereen back in 1972.  It features numerous walking trails, picnic areas and a few pavilions.  But odds are if you are not specifically looking for it you will slip right by it.

     Boardwalks span tidal marshes out to small islands.

     And one of the ultimately leads out to the Intra-Coastal Waterway.

      Several benches are at the end of the pier, making a nice spot to watch the variety of traffic that uses this waterway.

     There are several beaches along the edge of the river.

     And an old cemetery dates back to the 1700's.

     And once we leave Vereen Gardens, less than a mile up the road we finish South Carolina and begin on North Carolina.

      The first town along the coast is the river town of Calabash NC.

     Just inside the town limits is Marsh Harbour Golf Links, built in 1980 and closed in 2002.  

     When I was out on the river Monday I had spotted what looked to be a large house that was overgrown.  The Captain of the boat said it was a golf course clubhouse that had closed about ten years ago.  I was determined to get back and see it if I could.

    Online articles referred to some folks getting busted for making meth back here, and references to the numerous snakes and other critters.  Finding the old entrance, I was confronted with a locked gate and numerous no-trespassing signs.  But having come this far I couldn't help looking further.

     We get to thinking that our civilization is pretty firmly rooted, but a look at what nature has reclaimed in a decade shows that nature can dismantle things pretty quickly.  Walking back the mile and a half long lane, I flushed deer several times.  These buck are rare to see - usually when I spot deer it is the does.

     Here is the first fairway I came across . . 

     I saw several copperheads, and flushed a little gator that made a noisy retreat into a nearby pond. There were signs that there were dogs protecting the property, and when a buzzard starting circling fairly low overhead I wondered if he knew something I didn't.  But the desire to photograph an abandoned place far exceeds common sense . . and so I arrived at the clubhouse.

     This is the view out to the Intra-Coastal over what was the 18th green.  It looked like there might have been a swimming pool and some old condominium foundations put in, but the underbrush was thick and I didn't want to push my luck with the critters.

     Then on to Calabash.  This is a small river town that has a shrimping and deep sea fishing fleet.

     Fresh shrimp are coming in every day.  The price today - $ 4.75 per pound.  That has fallen a long way since we saw the first day's catch bring $ 10 per pound in McLellanville six weeks ago.

    The bulk of the town is restaurants, and although I didn't go into any some of them looked pretty good.  There are about twenty of them in a square mile, and not a hotel in sight.  But of interest in the town is a large sprawling variety store. It has holiday shops, a beach shop and a nautical gift shop all under one big roof.

    It seems like there was at least half the size of a football field just devoted to Christmas stuff.  All manner of decorated trees grace the shop, and a huge variety of figurines of all types line shelves.

     Row after row of shelves hold all manner of differently themed decorations,from sports teams to elegant to hillbilly.

     The beach shop had all the usual signs, mugs, beach wear etc.  But the nautical area had some neat stuff.  Here is a helm complete with an old engine throttle.

     Model ships ran from a few dollars up to twelve thousand dollars for this one.

    Many other artifacts were for sale - including old portholes for $700 and wooden stair-well covers for $ 300.

     And just around the corner we find a bridge running over the Intra-Coastal to Sunset Beach.  This is a residential community, although most of the beach houses seem to be vacation rentals.

     Of course, a beach town has to have a pier.  Here is a shot taken from the boat ride on Monday.

     But one thing about this beach we have not seen for a while is development that has left a large buffer of dunes.  In fact I don't recall seeing this kind of buffer since clear back at Kiawah Island in SC.

     Long wooden walkways run out over the dunes.

     A lot of people are on the beach, but it is about one twentieth the density of people on Myrtle's beaches.

     I am told that there is a stone marker about three miles down this beach (behind me in this photo) that shows the North Carolina - South Carolina state line.  After the golf course walk, I decided another five miles wasn't for me today, so you have to make do with the green sign above.

      And today's parting shot is from Little River SC.  I think this is the last of scores of putt-putt theme parks.  The creativity in many of these is striking.  This one shoots flames out of the top of the mountain at night.  They really are works of art.

Happy Thursday !!

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