Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vacation Tips for the Frugal Vacationer (Mom)

Now, even though I only live a few minutes from the beach my family needs a vacation too (not everyone goes to the beach for vacation, shocking, I know) and sometimes we go on what we like to call a stay-cation by taking in local events and activities aimed at tourists. There are a lot of free things to do at the beach if you know where to look, and when you’re vacationing on a budget it’s wise to make the most of what’s offered.  

Start planning your activities before you leave home. Traveling long distances with children can be challenging and even exhausting, especially for little ones strapped in car seats for hours on end. When I’m organizing a trip with the family I like to plan ahead for long hours of boredom and the ever-so expected, “Are we there yet? ” with simple entertainment for the kids. 

I like to create goodie bags filled with treats and activities that can be easily enjoyed in the car (and are quite too). If it's a surprise, fill the bag with subtle clues about where you're going, one's that aren't quite so obvious but will keep them entertained (for part of the trip anyway). For older children, include information about where you’re going or staying to give them something to look forward to. Also, give them landmarks to look out for throughout the journey to make things a bit more interactive. Of course, movies, coloring books, crayons, books, and tablet are essential. And let’s not forget blankets, pillows, stuffed animals for when they finally succumb to the boredom of the open road and fall asleep (yes!).    

Research local events and activities before leaving home and create a planner (tentative of course) for your stay. Remember to look for free and/or inexpensive things to do.  For a small fee you can visit any State Park and enjoy organized programs, and events, as well as self-led activities. If you’re coming to the beach, take the whole day and enjoy a cookout with the family. The Myrtle Beach State Park has picnic shelters, a playground, a fishing pier (fees required to fish), and biking trails. If the state park is not for you or in your budget, check out the Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach for free entertainment nightly.  They’ll often have bouncables and face painting for the children. The Marshwalk in Murrells Inlet also provides free entertainment from local bands at many of the restaurants, as well as hula shows near the marina. The Pier at Garden City is another great place to catch live entertainment in the evenings throughout the summer and there is no charge to enter. To make it more fun for the kids, give them glow stick bracelets and necklaces to light up the night!

When you finally make it to the beach with all your gear, get your umbrella set up, the chairs in place, and the kids slathered up with SPF 110, there are all kinds of free activities like Frisbee, corn hole, football, and of course building sand castles, flying kits, or collecting sea shells (sharks teeth are really easy to find once you know what to look for). 

Some tips for the adults, remember to put your smart phone in a sandwich bag. You’ll protect it from water and sand and the touchscreen will still work. A plastic soap holder/container makes a great place to store money, jewelry, and house/condo unit keys. Use baby powder to easily remove sand from you skin and hair. It will draw out the moisture and the sand will easily fall off. And finally, Aloe Vera gel ice cubes for those sunburns you’re gonna get from forgetting to reapply that SPF 110. Make the cubes ahead of time by freezing ice cube trays filled with 100 percent Aloe Vera gel. It’s soothing and healing. 

Have a great summer!

- Kimberly Raley-Kimes
Advertising and Marketing Director 
Garden City Realty,Inc.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Where to Celebrate July 4th at the Beach

Where to Celebrate July 4th at the Beach

Wishing you a safe and a happy July 4th!

July 2-3 Events

Address: 1251 21st Avenue North
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans will celebrate Independence Day with post-game fireworks displays. 

July 4 Events

31st Annual Murrells Inlet July 4 Boat Parade

Location: The Point at Garden City Beach
Address: Garden City Beach, S.C.
Time: 12 p.m.
Phone: 843-652-4236

The 30th annual boat parade begins at noon Friday, July 4, from Garden City Point. The parade runs along the Marshwalk and down the inlet to the Hot Fish Club. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. at the end of Veterans Pier, and can be seen from anywhere along the Marshwalk as well as down the marsh shoreline at Belin United Methodist Church and Hot Fish Club.  

Location: Town of Pawleys Island
Address: 321 Myrtle Avenue, Pawleys Island, S.C. 29585
Time: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Phone: 843-237-1698

The Fourth of July Parade on Pawleys Island, South Carolina is a fun community event. Visitors and locals parade down the Island in anything that becomes a makeshift float - be it a boat, car, or flatbed truck.

Location: Surfside Beach Pier
Address Surfside Beach, S.C.
Time: Fireworks with live entertainment 6 to 10 p.m.
Phone: 843-650-9548

Address: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Time: various locations throughout the Myrtle Beach area

The 2014 Salute from the Shore flyover returns for the fifth year and will be passing over the Myrtle Beach area shores on July 4, 2014.

Location: lawn of the Kaminski House Museum
Address: 1003 Front Street, Georgetown, SC 29440
Time: 7 p.m.
Phone: 843-520-4750

Celebrate the 4th of July with the Indigo Choral Society on the lawn of the Kaminski House Museum on Front Street in downtown Georgetown.  


Venue: Croissants Bistro and Bakery
Address: 3751 Robert Grissom Parkway, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Time: 4 p.m.
Phone: 843-448-2253

Croissants Bistro & Bakery are excited to bring the community back together again for some friendly competition.     

Venue: Market Common Myrtle Beach
Address: 4017 Deville St., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Time: 7 a.m.
Phone: 843-267-7443

8K, 5K and 1 mile race through the beautiful Market Common. Celebrate your Independence with more than 1,000 runners.

Venue: Broadway at the Beach
Address: 1325 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Time: 10 p.m.

July 5 Events

Venue: Myrtle Beach Speedway
Address: 455 Hospitality Lane, Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29579
Visit Website

Location: La Belle Amie Vineyard
Address: 1120 St. Joseph Road, Little River, S.C. 29566
Phone: 843-399-9463


Ongoing Summer Events

Now through August 8

Venue: Brookgreen Gardens
Address: 1931 Brookgreen Dr., Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Time: 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Phone: 843-235-6000

After a day at the beach, visit the gardens in the cool of the evening when the gardens remain open until 9 p.m. Enjoy outdoor theater, concerts, and special programs just for kids.

Now through September 1

Location: Plyler Park on the Boardwalk and along Ocean Boulevard
Address: Mr. Joe White Avenue, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Now through August 29

Location: Plyler Park on the Boardwalk and along Ocean Boulevard
Address: Mr. Joe White Avenue, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Time: every Friday running June 6 through Sept. 1, 2014

Now through August 30

Location: Plyler Park on the Boardwalk and along Ocean Boulevard
Address: Mr. Joe White Avenue, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Time: every Saturday running June 7 through Sept. 1, 2014

The Boardwalk District's celebration of summer known as Hot Summer Nights begins in June. Look for the following free events at Plyler Park, on the boardwalk and along Ocean Boulevard, starting in June. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Garden City Realty completes several user enhancements to its Mobile and Web sites

Garden City Realty, Inc., a leading real estate firm and vacation rental company, is pleased to announce the completion of several enhancements to its mobile site and Web site under the direction of Kimberly Raley-Kimes, Advertising and Marketing Director at Garden City Realty, and leading Web site host and design team, Visual Data Systems.

Among the mobile Web site improvements is booking capability, full site viewing ability, and sales search functionality. Year-to-date, Garden City Realty has received more than 46 thousand visits via smartphone users to its mobile Web site. Combined with tablet users, this comprises more than 33 percent of traffic to Garden City Realty’s site.

“We are constantly thinking of ways to be better and provide valuable information in the most direct way possible. We put a lot of thought into the redesign of our Web site last year and have seen a substantial increase in mobile visits.” said Raley-Kimes. “Anything we do moving forward must definitely keep the integrity of the Web site intact while staying abreast of what’s necessary to keep us on top of the market.”

The ability to search sales listing through Garden City Realty’s mobile Web site provides users with an alternative to downloading the firm’s mobile application, which has GPS search capabilities. Search options include databases for Garden City Realty’s sales listings and the Coastal Carolinas Association of REALTORS Multiple Listing Service.

New to is a valuable vacation rental home search tool, Neighboring Homes, which groups vacation rental homes together geographically and includes a responsive map to assist in narrowing search results. And finally, users searching Garden City Realty vacation rental properties via its associate Web site,, are now redirected to which features updated and advanced search options, enhanced use of photography, mapping, and streamlined navigation to help visitors quickly find what they’re searching for.

About Garden City Realty, Inc.

Since its establishment in 1973, Garden City Realty’s rental department has grown from 18 properties to more than 500 and the sales department has had more than one-half billion dollars in sales volume in the past 20 years.

Today Garden City Realty’s stockholders include Lee Hewitt, Broker-In-Charge of Real Estate Sales who has been with the firm since 1981 and Dennis McElveen, Broker-In-Charge of Vacation Rentals, who began his career with Garden City Realty in 1977.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Vintage beach houses and childhood memories

Ok, so a recent comment about one of our posts on Facebook got me thinking, and since I haven’t written a blog in a long time - like a long, long time - I thought it might be worth writing about. Or at the very least I can finally cross - Write Blog - off of my to-do list. 

I’m originally from a small college town in Western Maryland where, when I was a child, its Main Street was abounding with businesses - mostly family-owned and operated. I very clearly remember on many occasions excitedly walking to Main Street with my Nana, that’s Nana Banana by the way, to get a new dress or a summer outfit from the “fancy” children’s boutique. I thought it was fancy because the store only sold children’s accessories and clothing. I remember thinking the ones hanging in the clear bags must’ve been really special to deserve such treatment. Likewise, I remember walking to the furniture store with Nana (same Nana Banana) and picking out my new bedroom furniture and vanity.
I remember going to the hardware store with my Pap (just Pap), which I thought was super cool because it had an escalator. He’d piddle around or talk with random people - who I’m sure he knew but I didn’t care because I just wanted to ride up and down the escalator. I remember the lawn and garden section was in the basement and it smelled of fertilizer. I remember going to G. C. Murphy Five-and-10 store and strolling through row after row of stuff and things...and more stuff - it was like 30 years ago, I can’t remember every detail except that they sold stuff.  I remember the hardwood floors and wooden sorting tables, and I remember it was where my Nana bought me a Flower Patch doll….that’s right a Flower Patch doll. I did not get a Cabbage Patch Kid until Christmas of 1984 when I was 12. 

Sadly, my treasured little town does not exist in that capacity anymore, and it’s been decades since it has. Only a handful of those old family-owned businesses still exist. Fortunately however, many of the old stores and banks are occupied with new businesses. Part of the old G.C. Murphy’s building is an extension of the campus book store for the local university, and the old hardware store with its escalator is now a pizza delivery shop – though I'm sure the escalator is no way involved with the preparation or delivery of the “pizza pie,” as Pap would say. 

When I think about the little Appalachian town as it was when I was growing up with its bustling Main Street, I get nostalgic and often desire a place like that to raise my own children. So when a recent comment about a vintage beach house on our rental program was posted to Facebook I felt sad. Yep for a house, I felt sad for a house. 
I felt sad for the little under-appreciated beach house that survived Hugo and spawned decades of fabulous vacation memories for generations of families.  I thought about all the amazing stories and secrets the little beach house with the dark paneled walls and ceilings could tell. I thought about how neat it would be to stay in the little beach house with kitchen counters that remind me of the house my dad grew up in. I thought about sitting in one of the rocking chairs on the screened porch passing away the evening with my children like I use to do with my Nana. Without even stepping inside, this little house has already evoked so many great memories for me that it’s difficult to understand why someone wouldn’t appreciate its charm and character. I mean have a heart...really.

Unlike the Palmetto Bug, that’s a fancy name for roach here in South Carolina, vintage beach homes seem to disappear a little more each year. Vacation rentals with all the comforts of home are replacing the quintessential beach homes of yesterday. As these vintage homes sell, they’re often demolished and replaced with larger, more accommodating homes with all the fancy upgrades. Don’t get me wrong, I love the big beach homes, they truly do offer all of the creature comforts of home. Understandably, I see why a lot of people prefer the newer properties over the older ones - granite counters, stainless steel appliances, spa-like master bathrooms, hugemongous TVs (they’re so big you need huge and humongous to describe them), wine coolers, outdoor kitchens, hardwood floors, swimming pool, hot tub, and on and on. These homes truly offer an all-around fabulous vacation retreat. 

But with my two children, Captain Chaos and Darling Drama, I’m more comfortable in situations where I don’t have to worry about the fancy vase on the mantle getting broken with the beach ball that I’ve told them countless times to take outside, the seashell on the fancy mirror getting chipped off because it’s prettier than the shells on the beach and Darling Drama wants to take it home, or the glass-top table that my son thinks is fun to bang his cup and spoon on - or STAND on - getting broken. 

I mean really glass-top tables? Glass-top tables! Glass-top tables! No glass-top tables! (It’s like wire hangers! Wire hangers!…eh...never mind.) They’re serious torture devices for OCD people like me. Even on vacation I wouldn’t be able to relax knowing there are finger prints and drink rings all over the glass-top table. I would literally keep a bottle of Windex and paper towels on top of the table at all times prepared to clean at moment’s notice. 

Anyway I digress. There’s just something charming about these vintage beach homes that can’t be duplicated with the newer ones. Maybe I’m too sentimental, but I appreciate their distinctiveness and history. I know that just as most of my beloved Main Street in Frostburg has changed, there will be a time when the only vintage beach homes still standing are those that have been family-owned for generations, and just as their great-grandparents were pleased with the way the home functioned when it was built decades ago as will the young contemporaries. 

After all, who comes to the beach to watch TV on a 72-inch flat screen? Isn’t the whole point of coming to the beach…well umm, to go to the beach? That’s like going to Disney World and not leaving your room…seriously.

You really don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t get out and explore this beautiful coast. 

Please note: I have nothing against big TVs or people who watch them...honestly. But glass-top tables do drive me crazy.                       

- Kimberly Raley-Kimes
Advertising & Marketing, Garden City Realty, Inc.
Garden City Beach Vacation Rentals | Surfside Beach Rentals | Myrtle Beach Vacation Rentals - 2008