Day at the Beach

Today was a day at the beach--literally. We set out (the lovely Robin, Kevin, Aubrey, Ryder, Calleigh, and me) this morning for Surfside Beach just a few miles from our digs for this lovely week in Myrtle Beach.
We had no trouble parking, and setting up our substantial camp on the beach. It was a beautiful day to spend at the beach--well, a few hours, anyway.
Kevin and Calleigh spent the most time in the surf, and the four youngest members of the family took the water and the sand and fun while a couple of us (no names, of course) mostly sat and read and people-watched. Some people are just lazier than others, I guess. But my supervisory abilities made a success of the whole endeavor.

Fun at Barefoot Landing

Last evening, top off our first full day of family vacation in Myrtle Beach, the six of us (missing the rest of our family--Aaron, Nina, Miles, and Mia) headed out to Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, a collection of shops, restaurants, and attractions along the intercoastal waterway.
We saw some really big Nerds there (not mentioning any names), and bought and consumed more than our share of sweets (rock candy for the kids, ice cream for the adults, and some fudge to bring home). 
Calleigh couldn't wait to ride the merry-go-round (I couldn't tell if she called it that, or "miracle-round," but either way it's adorable). 
But Ryder couldn't be convinced to ride anything but Daddy's lap on the rapidly rotating (as these things go) merry-go-round. 

It was a truly enjoyable time on a beautiful evening in North Myrtle Beach. 

Smokin' Hot Grill & BBQ

After buying a whole lot of groceries today on our first full day in Myrtle Beach, we all decided to head out for dinner and the evening at Barefoot Landing on the north end of Myrtle Beach. We decided on dinner at Smokin' Hot Grill and BBQ.
It took us a little while to find the place but we did, and settled in for some good barbecue. We weren't disappointed.
I couldn't NOT order the whole rack of Carolina barbecue ribs, which were delicious. Robin thought the "Sweet and Sassy" barbecue sauce was a mite too sassy, but no one else said nay (their sauces are all made in-house or in nearby Conway, SC). We were all too busy eating. Great sweet potato fries (dusted with brown sugar), really good cole slaw, and excellent sweet tea. And leftovers to munch on tomorrow.

Vacation Mornings

Pretty great way to start the day.
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Dough Boys Pizzeria

The lovely Robin and I, with Aubrey, Kevin, Calleigh, and Ryder, arrived in Myrtle Beach this evening around 7:30, quickly toured our luxurious vacation digs, and unloaded the cars, after which I set out to find a couple pizzas.
It took a couple tries (stopped at two places indicated on my iPhone map that are shuttered), but I located Dough Boys New York Style Pizzeria just a couple miles away at 2696 Beaver Run Blvd in Myrtle Beach.
I was greeted immediately and my order was taken with great friendliness. Dough Boys offers 20" pies, but I opted for two 16" (a pepperoni and a sausage), and we were pleased with both. The pizzas were still more than we could eat, delicious, and worth serving up again...soon.

I recommend it, for everyone in the Myrtle Beach area--for dine-in or delivery.

Hurricane Holiday Inn

They call it the Winfield Holiday Inn Express, but our hotel's mailing address is Hurricane, West Virginia. Maybe customers feel better about staying in Winfield. I guess I do, too, since the lovely Robin and I are on our way to Myrtle Beach with half of our family.
It's far from the nicest place to stay--though it has an indoor pool for the grandkids and a fitness center for, well, other people--but the pool smelled funny, there was a noticeable gap between the top of our room's door and the doorjamb, and we found a dead bug and a dirty sock in the room. We're pretty sure neither belonged to us. But the staff were friendly and helpful, and the breakfast was very well stocked, so there's that.

It is located at the junction of Rt. 34 and I-64, not far from Charleston, WV.

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A Beautiful Night for Ugly Baseball

The lovely Robin and I got to attend a Reds game last night with a half dozen friends.
I got to see the Reds score eight runs in an inning for the first time this year. Got to see Billy Hamilton steal a base. Got to see Devin Mesoraco scorch a ball out of the park. Got to see Jay Bruce homer too. Got to see Aroldis Chapman throw a 102 mph fastball. Got to see thirteen-year minor leaguer Jumbo Diaz make his major league debut. Got to eat a frozen chocolate malt.
Unfortunately, I also got to see seven Reds pitchers, none of whom were on their game, and a losing Reds effort.

But otherwise a beautiful night for baseball. And no play review. So it could've been worse.

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Pinch Me Places: Joseph Hochstetler Grave

In July 2013, the lovely Robin and I attended the Jacob Hochstetler Family Association's Sixth Quinquennial North American Gathering in Lewistown, PA. We attended (and I spoke) in the company of my brother Don and sister-in-law Arvilla, and took advantage of the occasion to drive to the nearby Mifflintown area to tour the homestead and burial site of my great-great-great-great-great grandfather Joseph Hochstetler (and the burial site also of his son John). 

It was definitely a "pinch me place" to see the site where one of the three captives taken by Delaware warriors in the famous 1757 "Hochstetler massacre" (which I've heard about since I was a wee lad, and recently written about in the novel Northkill) is buried.

Winton Woods

The lovely Robin, Aubrey, Kevin, Lynn (Kevin's mom), Calleigh, Ryder, and I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon yesterday (after church) at Winton Woods, one of the "Great Parks" of the Hamilton County Parks system. When our children were small, we lived just a few miles from this park, and would often picnic or boat or feed the ducks here, where there is a fine lake for boating or fishing, a snack bar, playgrounds, golf course, horseback riding, petting farm, and more. 
After a fantastic picnic in the shade, the children changed into swimsuits (and ample sunscreen) so they could play in the "Parky's Ark" area, a large water park (directly across from a similarly large but dry playground). 
The fun never stopped. It's amazing what the simple equation of water+kid produces. Calleigh and Ryder loved every minute, and they played cooperatively with many other kids as the play area became more and more crowded as the afternoon progressed. 
As they played, I even got a Father's Day FaceTime call from my California grandchildren, Miles and Mia, who (with their father's help) gave me a video tour of their new home, including the orange and lemon trees in their backyard. It capped off a wonderful Father's Day for me.

When Do I Get My Commission?

I saw this license plate frame in the Fountain Square parking garage as we got in line to get out after the Reds' game Tuesday night. So I looked online to see where a Hoss car dealership might be, and it looks like this car (or at least the license plate frame) was purchased at Hoss Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles in Centerville, Ohio (near Dayton).

I wonder if they'd give me a discount?

A Winning Night at Great American Ballpark

Last evening I got to see my Cincinnati Reds play at Great American Ballpark for the first time in the 2014 season (back in the Marge Schott era, I would often attend fifteen or twenty home games a year...but that was when the Reds offered "clergy pass" walk-up seats for $1. Ah, those were the days). It was a perfect night for baseball.
The Reds were going up against the team with the best record in baseball, the San Francisco Giants. The tickets were a birthday gift from my kids, Aubrey and Kevin, and their kids, Calleigh and Ryder. A previous attempt to use the tickets was rained out (but resulted in a Reds Hall of Fame visit, which was wonderful; see here).
Kevin and I brought along the youngest Reds fan in the family, Ryder, who helped us cheer the Reds to an 8-3 victory over the Giants. We got to see Billy Hamilton embarrass the Giants with his running game. We got to see Devin Mesoraco smash a two-run homer in the first. We got to see Jay Bruce beat a throw home. We got to see Homer Bailey recover from giving up a run in each of the first three innings to last a respectable six innings, and J. J. Hoover and Logan Ondrusek finish the game with scoreless frames. And more.
Ryder loved the flames from the smokestacks every time a Reds pitcher struck out a Giants hitter. We could feel the heat from the flames in our left-field seats.
But the fireworks at the end of the game scared the little guy and he clung to his dad until they ended. Still, it was a beautiful evening and an exciting game. And anytime the Reds win is a good day.

Red Onion Cafe, Monroe, OH

We've passed it many times, especially since our daughter bought a home in Monroe seven or eight years ago, but we had never dined at the Red Onion Cafe on Main Street in Monroe, Ohio...until last Friday.
The lovely Robin and I were on our way to an old haunt of ours east of there, and so we met at the Red Onion after we both finished our work day.
We ordered the Gorgonzola Crusted Kettle Chips appetizer, which was delicious and delightful, a unique blend of flavors and textures.  
Robin's main course was the crab cakes (above), a specialty of the house, which were nicely presented and satisfying. I went for one of the specials of the day, the crab-stuffed trout on a bed of rice, which was disappointingly bland.
If we return, it will definitely be for the Gorgonzola Crusted Kettle Chips--and the friendly and efficient service--but we would probably both try a different entree.

The Red Onion Cafe is located at 214 S. Main Street in Monroe, just a couple blocks south of Rt. 63.