Friday, December 30, 2011

Pre-Drywall Meeting

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     We had our walk through with Ben today. He is thorough. I'm not sure I'll remember half of it, but we covered a lot of information about the house today. Everything seems to be coming along really well.

     There were a few exceptions, of course.

  •  Our hot water heater is only 50 gallons. I know we were told we were getting a much larger capacity. Luis remembers the same. I'm not sure who made the switch, but our project manager had a list which didn't specify the exact capacity. Ben is going to check up on this for us.
  • Our central vac canister was put in a space all by itself, although I had spoken with the sales rep and the supervisor of the installer to be certain it would be in the same corner as the furnace, hot water heater, electric, and low voltage panels. Instead? They put is smack in the center of the one open area.  They also did not move the cable/cat5 panels in the two large bedrooms upstairs. I had a call from our sales guy saying it was done, but they were both still in the same place. Ben is going to talk to them about these issues
  •   We went to Lowes after meeting with Ben and bought some soundproofing insulation. We raced back, trying to beat the darkness, and put it between the studs along the one wall in our bedroom which needed it to keep us isolated from the noise of the house. (Two walls are exterior, and one is next to our bathroom.) We installed it in the dark. I was glad to get it done so the drywall crew can do their stuff tomorrow morning. Ben says the drywall process should take a total of about ten days. I hope it goes faster, like everything else has so far. 

  
     While we were in the dark house putting the last of the insulation in the wall a Guardian guy came upstairs to move a cable box. He was smoking a cigarette! He just walked up and started talking to us. I thought he reeked, but once I got done with my work I looked at him and the thing was glowing. That's annoying, since they aren't even supposed to have food in the house. I guess if it's too dark to see the signs he thought he could go ahead and smoke in the house. I put a call in to Ben to let him know about it. If I had to choose one element of the process to give the lowest score right now, it would certainly be Guardian. We've been hung out to dry by them more than once. They are the ones causing me stress right now.
   
     Ben took care of a few other things for us. If I could only give 10s to one person in the process, it would be Ben. I am also glad that if there is going to be one person who is the most careful, it is our project manager.

     The basement bedroom is as bright and cheery as any of the other rooms since it has a big egress window.

     Because of the extra wall space in our kitchen (we did not want the morning room) we got extra cabinets. Nice surprise, since I was hoping to buy upper cabinets to put there later.

     We also discovered an extra recessed light at the foot of the stair. Another happy surprise, since I was wondering if I should have added a bit more lighting to the family room. I put recessed lights in every room without lights except that room. I even put them in closets and in the catwalk. How did I miss the family room? How? I have no idea!

     I took a lot of pictures, but they aren't even exciting to me. I just needed them so later I would know where stuff was behind the walls.

      By the end of the tour I was about a hundred times more excited than before. I didn't know if I was going to break my face smiling or start to cry. We will be in our new home, soon!



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Anyone Know What Happened to MZ?

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     Her blog was "Our Future With a Ravenna." I went to see it tonight and *POOF* - gone. :(

Oodles of Progress

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     We went to see our house today. It's such a good thing we did! We walked in to find electrical work being done. (a day early) and Guardian wiring being done. Guardian was also a day early. Unfortunately for us, our Guardian rep never got back to us about the changes we were making, so all the wiring was done except in one room in the basement. I was not a happy camper. I didn't know if I wanted to kick dirt or cry. The installer agreed to help me by changing some of the things which were 'no problem'. The main things were now the two cable outlets in the two large bedrooms. The Master and the Bonus room had the cable placements wrong. I didn't have the heart to ask the guy to change those, since he was pretty much done.


     Fast forward a couple of hours and I was getting calls from the Guardian rep and my PM about the issue. I was going to just be bothered by it and leave it at that. I was going to run tacky cable around my baseboards and door frames. Nope! They're going to make it right. I believe what my Project Manager said about making these homes as if they were for his family. Because he does care about what we want and how we want it.

     Tomorrow they are installing our central vacuum stuff. I am invited to meet them in the morning.
     We have our pre-drywall walkthrough next Thursday.

  

    

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Click!

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     We just locked in our rate and we are pretty happy about it. Of course yesterday had the all-time best offer, but because the offer did not arrive until after 2:00 and had to be acted upon by 4:15 we missed the window. Today was still a fantastic lock! I'm glad this last variable has been taken off the table.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Wish You A Merry Christmas

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     I'm working myself into the right frame of mind to go get my Christmas shopping finished today. I can't help but think about next Christmas in our new house. As a matter of fact I keep thinking about it so much that I am not letting myself get excited about this Christmas. I'm usually as excited as anyone about Christmas. This year has me looking to the future more than any other time in my life. Next Christmas will be so different. But not just next Christmas. Future Christmases. With a house full of family. Five kids from sixteen to twenty-six. Boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses. Grandchildren. I can't wait to watch life unfold!

  Here's a picture of some babies from a long time ago, in their Christmas duds:


     Merry Christmas to you, whoever you may be. I hope this Christmas is lovely, and your future Christmases are filled with the promise of great love.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Uppity-Up-Up-Update!

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Catwalk

Daughters' room

Fireplace

House Rules

Kids bath up

Master Bedroom

Master 2

Master Shower

Master Jetted Tub

Mikes' room





Crazy picture of view and the back of my phone. (hooray!)
Today we went in and walked all throughout the first and second floors of our house! It's just amazing how fast they do things. They had poured the footers in the basement and garage today. They'll pour those on Monday. We're just rolling right along and it's so wonderful. I'm glad the whole decisions and changes part is over. Now we just get to watch the fun stuff happen.

*Obligatory apology here for the quality of photos taken with my phone.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shingles, Windows, And Door

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 Welcome to our dark day. The house brightens it right up, don't you think?

Not sure why these boxes are strapped to the house. Did my house win a sweepstakes already?

This really gets more exciting every day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quick Call

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     We just got a quick call from our project manager who told me our roof now has shingles. They work fast!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Today: Roof

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It looks like they put the roof on today. It looks like they put the windows in, too. I can't believe how fast things are coming along!

Monday, December 12, 2011

2nd Floor And A Spacesuit!

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Ryan Homes Ravenna 2nd floor and spagegirdle!
    
The day I have dreamed about has arrived! My house is wearing a spacesuit! Just yesterday we had a first floor. Today we have a second floor and the spacegirdle is nearly complete. They sure are fast!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Framing, Day One.

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     We heard from our PM today. He said everything is going perfectly so far. We have had our lumber delivered and they started framing this morning. We had beautiful weather yesterday, and woke up to snow-covered everything this morning. They started framing anyway. Hooray! We plan to go see the progress some time tomorrow. We will be taking pictures, of course!

*While writing this post I got a text message from Bobby - with a picture. He says they are done for the day.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Overheard This Week

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Me: I have fried chicken and mashed potatoes ready.

Punky Young Son: Is it for now or for dinner? (It was 4:30 pm)

Me: Yes, it's for dinner - now.

Punky Young Son: I was trying to nap.

Me: Sorry, Majesty.

Punky Young Son: I prefer Sir or Lord.

I politely declined his request. He still opted to partake of the chicken and potatoes. 

What A Difference Two Days Make

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     Today I went back over by the house to keep the baby so I stopped and took pictures before I went in. This is what I saw:


 After Babywatch was over I stopped and took more pictures. While I was there I had seen them working on this:


     Our lumber will be there next week. I could have a framed house next weekend! I'm excited! We're all excited!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We Have A Big Hole In The Ground!

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     Giant mounds of dirt have never been so elating! Yesterday we stopped by our house which isn't a house yet and took pictures of this:






     Isn't that some pretty dirt?  The footers are poured. The components of the egress window were there as well. Gary said the lumber will arrive next week. Let's hope it's Monday. There sure aren't many trees remaining. They must have cleared a lot of trees.

     After seeing our hole and having our meeting we stopped by my cousin's house to see her and the baby. Baby girl was all smiles. She's getting her personality already! No pictures of her, because I was busy holding and kissing.


5 Big Macs Vouchers, 5 Large Fry Vouchers: $13

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Here's a great deal for the starving college students in your life, or anyone who drives by a McDonalds. I wish I could have bought more than one of this deal. One is the limit.

Go buy it today at Living Social Big Mac Deal.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

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     Today we had our pre-construction meeting. This was a very long meeting. If you are ever going to have one, make sure you eat breakfast. And possibly take lunch. Maybe a couple light snacks. Anyway, our project manager, who I'm going to call "Ben" ('cause that is his name) went through the construction process with us. He shared all kinds of information with us. Lots of it was stuff I had never really considered. We are fully confident in his ability to create our lovely home.

     From now on, we wait. I hope I can take it.




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh Hungry

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I just got a chance to tell about my favorite Thanksgiving dish and a chance to win a prize over at these blogs:
Eclectic Recipes.
Real Mom Kitchen
Taste And Tell
Reluctant Entertainer
Buns In My Oven

Sweet potatoes covered in tiny marshmallows - I'm already dreaming!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

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     I thought I would share a few things here about the Ravenna we are buying from Ryan Homes.

  • Our sales rep worked hard to get me the oak stairs I want. The final price for those is $1350. It's worth every penny.
  • We changed the laundry/master closet configuration. The cost for this change is $25. 
  • We asked for a dedicated 220v for our current electric range in Harry Potter's room in the basement. It made sense to quit crying over the double oven they will not do in the Ravenna model and just put the range I already have in the basement for an additional oven. It costs less and allows me to not heat the main floor in the summer.
  • We added a dedicated circuit in Harry Potter's room for the extra freezer. 
  • We got pricing for laminate flooring upstairs in the hall and bonus room.  ($1050 hall, $2185 bonus room) We then changed our mind and went to hardwood floors. Pricing for the upstairs hardwood to follow.
  • We asked for a dimmer switch and it was explained to us that they can't put a dimmer switch in with the energy saving bulbs. No problem.
  • We asked for the storage room in the basement to be finished. It came back at $4150, but the wall/door was missing and it was all one big room. We sent it back to them for pricing adding the wall and door. They came back at $4550. This includes the recessed lighting and carpet and padding choices we made. We also needed to add an egress window in the room because we plan to use it as a guest suite. The egress window is $1290. The room came without a closet, so we are asking for a closet as well. I'm expecting it to be around $400 -$500 since the one in the bonus room is $400. We shall see what happens.
  • We requested an extra 'lane' in our drive to the side of the house. They added an 8 foot apron. The cost of this is $1265.
  • We added a recessed light in the big hall closet upstairs, and another one in the nook of the bonus room.
  • We added an outlet in the garage, the master closet, and above the cabinets on the tiny side wall. I asked for the one above the cabinets to be on a switch. I plan on throwing some rope lights up on top where nobody will see them, but we can enjoy the glow in the middle of the night. It will also be fun for Christmas decorations!
  • We are doing something special with our landscaping as well. We haven't turned it in to them yet, but one of our wonderful sales reps is helping us get what we really want!
We might be changing our granite. We will find out about more about this Monday or Tuesday.

I just spoke to Gary, who says our lot is staked now! It's exciting because it means something is starting to happen!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Many Meetings, Cont.

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     We have had a ton of meetings in the last few weeks. It feels like the house meetings and preparations for these meetings are taking a lot more of our time and attention than we had expected. We went to Rite Rug again and choose hardwood flooring. We met with Guardian again and finalized with them. We added the central vac and surround sound in the basement and family room. We also got a couple of speakers outside. (Now I think there needs to be an option to sound proof the Master bedroom so I can have some peace while everyone is making noise!) Who's with me?

     We did not have our walk through with the project manager yet, since we were changing flooring. Because we are doing hardwood upstairs as well, we have to get non standard pricing for zone 2. (Zone 2 really just means upstairs) There is another meeting with the sales reps where we finalize everything, which they say they want to do this weekend. I guess we'll be doing the walk through with the project manager later this week. Maybe. Who knows?

     We're waiting to hear about closet upgrades. Our sales reps have never had anyone ask about it before.  There are quite a few things we are doing which nobody else has even asked to do before. I'm either very strange or very clever! Or a bit of both.

    
    









Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween Is Over, But I'm Still Scared

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     It takes a lot to shock me. The other day I came out of my doctor's office and on the way to the car in some landscaping thingy in the parking lot I spied a giant pair of granny panties. Who does this? Who tosses their giant butt-covers on top of wood chips and doesn't look back. It's haunting me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stairway To Heaven

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     Our wonderful sales rep strikes again! I swear, if you live in the area you definitely want me to hook you up with Gary. He has gone above and beyond trying to get me the house of my dreams. Are you old enough to remember "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us..." from Burger King? Gary is like House King. He has tried to get me all the non standard options I have wished for. He's had pretty good success at it, too. The stairs are one of the most important non standard requests I've had. 

     At first the powers that be came back with a 'no' on the stairs. But Gary didn't take that lying down, bless his heart. He went to the project manager, shared the blog I showed him, and got the wheels in motion so I could have the stairs of my dreams. After all the machinations, I got a 'yes' on the stairs, And a price. $1,350, baby! I am all the way happy about my stairs, which I will be dressing up in all sorts of ways. Like Sara's Halloween stairs or the stairs of wisdom  or some amazing book stairs. Tomorrow we meet with Guardian and have another meeting with Julie. Next week we have our pre-construction walk through with our project manager, Ben. Bayberry Estates, here we come! Hooray!




Saturday, October 29, 2011

Colors Appointment Today

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     Our colors appointment was today. Boy did we go over a lot of stuff! I'll start with the feedback we received to our non standard requests. 

  • We asked for a full stone front: No
  • We asked for a double oven and gas cooktop: No
  • We asked for a drawer stack in the kitchen instead of one of the cabinets: No
  • We asked for the storage room in the basement to be finished as well: Yes - $4,150

      We are still waiting for some information on our stairs and upstairs flooring.

     I learned that putting the cabinets I love in the upstairs hall bath automatically puts them in the basement bath. Hooray! I love that I was able to do oil rubbed bronze cabinet hardware, interior hardware, and plumbing fixtures. The brushed nickel will not be residing in my house! The proposed start date is November 23rd. It can not come soon enough for me. 

     Julie was phenomenal! She's very meticulous which brought me peace of mind. She's a great compliment to Gary. We spent a few hours today making sure everything was exactly the way it should be. While we have a few things to finalize, we're mostly done and I am relieved the decision making part is coming to an end. It's been fun, but also quite stressful.

     Thursday we meet with Guardian and finalize our stuff with Julie. After that we have our pre-construction meeting with our project manager, Ben. We have heard amazing things about Ben. I am glad he will be the one looking over the construction of our house. 

     I'm really praying my stairs come through the way I want. *fingers crossed*


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Just In...

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I just noticed that many of the entries on my blogs fall under the category "Weird true story."

That is all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Update: Colors & More

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     Today we went to meet with Gary and make decisions about colors that we can't make on Saturday during our real colors appointment. (It's a long story) We did a bunch of change orders and it took the whole two hours with Gary. Then, at five o'clock the loan officer arrived and we had our meeting with him. It wasn't as bad as a lot of people said it would be.  It lasted a long time, though. By the time we were done we were drained.

     The loan officer told us our close date: February 6th! Somehow hearing that made me twice as happy as I already was. We have only a couple of things left to do then it's the waiting. I'm officially excited. I don't know how I'm going to wait until close. How does everyone do it? Thankfully, the holidays will be here so they will make time pass faster, right?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

For Everything (turn, turn, turn).. There Is A Season

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Suck: Feeling impatient!

Rock: Something so wonderful is happening in your life you are feeling impatient about it. (They don't call it 'feeling like a kid at Christmas' for nothing.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

All The News That's Fit To Tell

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Plenty of storage in the kitchen
   
     Since I was in the neighborhood today I stopped by the model home and talked to Gary. Bless his heart, he puts up with crazy real well. I spent a considerable amount of time doing non-standard requests with him again today. He's coming around to my way of thinking because he even suggested one himself today. Yay Gary!

     
I have answers back on a couple of my non-standard requests:

* I asked them to change the wall of the master closet/laundry room to give me more closet space.            Answer: Yes    Cost: $25

* I asked them to do a different island for me. I didn't like either island offered with the Ravenna model. Answer: Yes   Cost: $2000

Harry Potter's Room

I have a list of other non-standard requests submitted:

* Double oven and gas cooktop - pending

  One storage room in basement finished - pending (this was Gary's idea!)

* Seat in the master shower - pending re: cost

  Extra outlets in the garage and master closet - pending

* Swap one kitchen cabinet for set of drawers - pending

* Take the stone the rest of the way up the garage for a total stone front - pending

* Wood stairs instead of rough with carpet cover - pending prices 

* Laminate floors upstairs instead of carpet - pending prices  

* According to the local sales reps these things have never been requested for this model before


     I'm sort of waiting for someone, anyone, to tell me I'm not being absurd with the non-standard requests. It's just that I really prefer these things.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flooring Is Not Boring

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     Welcome to today's edition of  "House News." I'll be your host, as usual. Today we met with Jessica the floor girl and we choose all our flooring and tile for the house. It takes a lot longer than I would have thought because there are so many options. I went there knowing what I was going to do, but nearly every decision I had already made was changed before we were finished. The one thing I know you are all wondering about ( I mean, really, how did you get any sleep?) is the cabinet choice. We settled it today. We are definitely taking the Rushmore cabinets with the maple buttercream glaze. It looks amazing with the floors we chose (which we upgraded while we were at the appointment. It looks amazing with the granite we chose, which we also changed during the appointment. Frankly, pretty much nothing stayed the same as we said it would be going in except the plain old linoleum we kept in the basement bathroom and the laundry room. 

     My kitchen is going to be gorgeous! I'm excited about all the choices we made today. We even decided some things today for the colors meeting we will be having soon. We decide hardware, exterior,  paint and counter tops at that meeting, as far as I know. Now that the decisions are almost done I'm feeling more excited and less overwhelmed. Thank goodness for Jessica, she helped us a lot.

     If anyone else built a Ravenna would you share what non-standard items you requested and how the requests were handled. I don't want to miss out on clever ideas just because I didn't think of them myself.





Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Went Back To The Model Home!

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     I went back tot he model home to take more pictures today. All of the pictures I named disappeared from the folder. I can not find them anywhere. This is the model of the Ravenna. We have made some different choices. 

Here are a few of the things about it I love:
(Super Happy Kitten) Kitchen

We might end up with the cabinets above. Here are the other cabinets I really, really love:
(Super Happy Kitten) Cabinets:Rushmore Maple Butterscotch


     What do you think? Am I being totally spoiled about the cabinets? I know I can live happily without them, but it doesn't stop me from super loving them. 

Super Sexy Master Bath (I am saying 'super' a lot today, right?)
  
I might really love the Rushmore Maple Butterscotch cabinets in here, too. Totally reasonable, right?

Master shower & toilet

I have a big old crush on the Master Bath.

Ravenna Floor Plans and House News

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     We have an appointment to choose our floors tomorrow afternoon. Things are moving right along! Our house is called the Ravenna.

 The floor plans for the house are here:
First Floor


Second Floor


Basement


     I talked to my flooring girl yesterday and she said the upstairs is always done in carpet. She doesn't even have the option for hardwood on the stairs or the second floor. It looks like we will be asking for another "non-standard request."  I think Gary is going to start calling us the non-standard request people. 

     Meanwhile, I am still scouring the internet trying to find a blogger who actually took the Rushmore cabinets I want and see what they think about them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This Is My Happy News!

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     Oh boy, I have news to share! We are building a house! It's going to look a lot like the one in the photo. We spent the last two days with our sales representative, going over all the options and putting in our special requests. We still have to choose the flooring and colors and do a few other things, but the structural things are all decided. We are going through Ryan Homes and getting the Ravenna model. I'm so excited that I feel numb. I wonder if anyone else experienced this feeling?



    
     I am very seriously considering a different cabinet color called Rushmore Maple Butterscotch Glaze. They are real wood vs. veneers and oh-so-pretty. 

     We got to make so many decisions in the past two days that we can hardly see straight. We realize there are still many more choices to make. I got the bathroom of my dreams with a jetted tub, double sinks, a separate shower with a built in bench and a closed off  area for the toilet which I will refer to as the toilet closet until I think of an acceptable name for it. I am probably the most excited about the master bath and the kitchen. I plan to spend most of my awake time in those two rooms. 


     Here are the basics, for anyone who is interested: 
  • 6 bedrooms, 3 full baths, and laundry room upstairs. 
  • Living room, dining room, family room, kitchen with dinette, office, mud room/area and powder room downstairs.
  • Finished basement with a large unfinished storage area and a full bath.
  • Two car garage. 
     I feel like this is perfect for us for now and when the kids are out and start families of their own it will have space for grandchildren to stay.  When those grandchildren get too big to sleep over maybe we'll move to a house with less bedrooms and a giant living/dining area. We'll see. That's a decade or two down the line for us.

     This is my happy news!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Eating Your Way Through Hilton Head Island

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When on vacation, everyone who is anyone (related to me) knows eating is the most important part. Can I get an 'amen'?

Here are a few of my personal Hilton Head Island eating recommendations:

DO NOT MISS: 

1.Charlies L'etoile Verte. (translation: Charlie's Green Star) No idea why they only gave themselves a green star. Clearly they were being modest because we give them a gold star and four enthusiastic thumbs up! We went for lunch on Wednesday and tried to go for lunch again on Friday, but they were closed. This broke our hearts. No, really, it did. The lunch menu was quite impressive. Even more impressive was the food when it was delivered to our table. Amazing. The freshest of the fresh. They do not ignore a single detail at Charlie's. 

Sweet tea was right on the money, they brought fresh lovely bread to the table,  the mixed greens with a champagne vinagrette was fresh and lovely, the duck was perfect and the fish was yummy. The sides were prepared with so much love and attention to quality that I cleaned my plate. Garden fresh peas and carrots - this from a girl who understands 'garden fresh'.

Top this off with a price you will not believe. We could have paid at least this much for lunch at any casual dining chain. 


2. British Open Pub. I had the fish & chips because, duh! My husband had the shrimp & chips. We were both over the moon in ecstasy. The beer batter they make puffs up in grand style and the eats are delicious. Everything coming out of the kitchen looked great. The pictures on their site do not do them justice.

3. Bluffton Family Seafood. I know you have to go to Bluffton to eat here, but you want to do that anyway. Especially on Thursdays when they have the farmer's market. This place has only been open a few months, but they've been running the seafood factory for, like, ever. They know what they are doing. Let them fry you up a basket of your favorites. It will make you happy, I promise. It's small and nothing fancy, but it's worth the trip. Check out the big table in the bar, it's interesting.

4. Catch 22. This place is pretty much a Hilton Head Island staple. The food was amazing. My husband ordered ribs and I swear they were from a brontosauras! I have never seen ribs like them in my life. I only wish I had thought to take a picture, because really, there is no way to describe how big they were. They really should put a photo of them on their website. They were not only huge, but tender and delicious. We had a memorable meal. I'm sure we will be returning to Catch 22.

Hudson's: Another Hilton Head Island staple. Much more friendly than Old Oyster Factory, with better food. Anyone else I know who has been to both agrees.

Fuddruckers: Because every vacation should include one big honkin' burger just the way you want it.


Do not go:

Old Oyster Factory: Probably the most disappointing meal I've had on the island, ever. The wait was about two hours, even though lots of tables were never used. The food was blah at best, bad if we're being honest, and the cost for the ordeal was ridiculous. If you must go, don' t miss the mascarpone souffle. It could quite possibly save your night. I recommend taking it with you and eating it from the comfort of your hotel bed.

The Smokehouse: Maybe my least favorite place on the island. All around disappointing. The service had no love, it was beyond freezing cold inside, and the food took a long time, even though the place was practically empty. Adding insult to injury, I've had better barbecue pretty much anywhere else I've ever had barbecue besides the McRib. Maybe a place for the 'go get wasted' crowd. Definitely not a place for a good meal.

Michael Anthony's: No, no, no, no, no! Don't say I didn't warn you. If you go, it's your own darn fault! I had a tiny serving of the most bland gnocchis the world has ever seen, a disappointing Caesar salad, and an over-hyped dessert which left much to be desired. Skip it. No, really - you'll be better off at the Carrabba's chain restaurant, not that I'm jazzed about endorsing them. To top off the lousy skimpy meal, we had two separate tables full of local women who were their to drown their sorrows and talk about everybody they didn't like. They were there when we arrived and still at it two hours later. Take my word for it, this is not the experience they want you to think it will be.


Please share your experiences, good and bad, while eating your way around the island.

HIlton Oceanfront Resort: Hilton Head Island, SC

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As usual, I used Priceline to bid on a resort on Hilton Head Island. This time my bid got me The Hilton Oceanfront resort. It's in the same plantation as the Marriott Resort & Spa. They are practically right next door. The Hilton Oceanfront is different than the other resorts we've stayed at on the island. Here's my view:

The lobby is smaller than the other resorts. The lobby (among other places) is a free wi-fi area.  The front desk staff is much more friendly than the Crowne Plaza but not as friendly as the Marriott. The Concierge, Will, is great. The bellmen are all great. You never have to go through this lobby to go to the pools or other outdoor areas, which is a plus to me. 

The room is pretty nice. It has a table with a couple of chairs, a larger than usual fridge for a hotel room, microwave, a few plates, mugs, bowls, and silverware. The bathroom is a bit awkward with door configurations rendering the outer area unusable since it's a tight pass-through to the actual bathroom, but it's nice to have two sinks and counters. In our King bed room there was also a desk with chair, two more chairs, plus a sofa bed. Adding up all the chairs in the room and you have 6 plus a three seat sofa. There was a good sized balcony with two chairs and a table inside, upping the possible seating to 11. No real complaints about the room at all. It has an iron & board, hair dryer, and safe. Two robes are provided as well. Coffee maker with decent coffee. The freezer section of the fridge doesn't keep things frozen. We learned this the hard way with Blue Bell ice cream turned to liquid.

My biggest complaint of the whole stay would be the housekeeper we had. One day of our stay we had a different lady because it was the regular housekeeper's day off. The regular housekeeper returned and the service she provided was just junky. The replacement should replace her permanently. She did the whole thing with love. The regular lady didn't clean a lot of stuff - sinks, floors, counters - all dirty when she was done. Replacement housekeeper had made everything perfect, left the towels all fancy-folded and put toiletries on the tray in an organized way. Regular housekeeper literally tossed the stuff on the tray all willy-nilly, left the same dirt on the floor our whole stay, left the same thing in the sink, threw out toiletries which were still half full, and in general had a nasty attitude when we saw her. She even kept leaving only decaf, even though my husband only drinks regular. I would have to go out in the halls and find other maids and trade after she did our room every day but one.

Room service is totally lackluster. We are usually big room service piggies, but this place left  much to be desired, even for us. If my husband says a chicken sandwich was too greasy to eat, it had to be bad.

The layout of this resort kind of wins me over. It's not as high-falutin' as Crowne Plaza or Marriott, but you go down the hall and go outside and you are at the pool. You are almost at the beach. If you want to go to the beach from your room in the Crowne Plaza you have to go through the lobby and walk through a maze of gorgeous to get out to it. I enjoyed the simplicity of being dressed for the beach and being practically there when we got outside. The balconies all allow for an ocean view. Ours was nearly the furthest from the ocean, so it wasn't a perfect view, but you could see it. It beats the views we've had at Crowne Plaza and Marriott. (I don't mention the Westin much because we only stayed there once for a couple of nights and I wasn't impressed. Sorry Westin lovers.)
The fancy restaurant on site was also disappointing to me. Not much on the menu and I felt like it was trying to hard to be 'fancy' and not trying hard enough to be delicious. The desserts were sad looking, so we passed. It just seemed like there was no love. 

The pool setup at Hilton Oceanfront Resort was pretty nice. Two pools, one for adults only, which was far away from the family pool. The water was like a lukewarm bath, which was good for me. There are also two jacuzzi tubs, although they were a maze-walk away from the pools.  The bartender at the pool area bar was unfriendly to the extreme, but reviews online all seem to agree about him, so I guess it's not very shocking. We kept our encounters with him to two. 

There is a little cafe/store downstairs which offers many types of drinks, a bunch of candy, some desserts, and things like microwave popcorn. The cafe serves you at little tables. Burgers and pizza, etc. We used the store part, but not the cafe. 

If you go through Priceline you can't use Hilton Honors at this property, which is the only oceanfront resort on the island with this policy. That said, internet is $9.99 a day per device unless you sit in the lobby or other free wi-fi areas. Parking was $9.00 or $10.00 a day with valet parking being an extra $3 per day. Valet parking doesn't seem as necessary in this resort as the others because it seems like parking is readily available, but don't take my word for it because we used the valet.  


You can't go wrong with any oceanfront resort at Hilton Head Island as far as I can tell.  They each have their strengths and weaknesses.


Go on and visit. Tell them I sent you!