We just arrived at a campground near the beaches along the South and North Carolina state line. It rained today so we went to do a little recon mission of the area. We drove to North Myrtle Beach and worked our way south to Myrtle Beach. It was about 18 miles worth of resorts, restaurants, golf courses, shopping malls, tourist traps and beach-related outlets.
As we drove around we saw signs using the phrase “Grand Strand”. It seemed to be similar to the usage of the term “Lowcountry” around the Charleston area.
So…being of sound mind and body…I immediately went to Wikipedia to find out if there was a definition of “Grand Strand”. According to our favorite Internet source of truth:
The Grand Strand refers to a large stretch of beaches on the East Coast of the United States extending from Little River to Georgetown, South Carolina. It consists of 60+ miles along an essentially uninterrupted arc of beach land. It is said that the Grand Strand term was coined by The Myrtle Beach Sun columnist Claude Dunnagan in 1949 and “Strand” itself derives from the German, meaning “beach”.
Just like the 12 spies that went into the promised land to scope it out…we have observations on what we saw today. Here are some of them:
- Obviously this is a land of milk and honey. The luxurious resorts, dozens of high-end golf courses and very expensive restaurants show there is a lot of disposable income here.
- It appears to be one of the nicest strips of beaches in the country.
- There are a lot of retirement communities here…I think this is referred to as “Old Money”.
- Finally there is just a hint of the famous “Gatlinburg-itis” which is a disease that causes area planning commissions to lose their minds and allow some of the most gaudy touristy traps you can imagine…only to realize (too late) that it cheapens the overall area and becomes a blight. Hopefully they will wake up before it is too late.
We will be here about 3 weeks and we feel it is our duty to conduct a full reconnaissance of the entire area….specifically the beaches…and then report on what we find. Since the next 10 days will be in the 70’s and 80’s we will start immediately.
It’s a thankless job but we must push on.