Plantations and the Past in Myrtle Beach

Enjoy the wonders and fun while exploring our history.

Almost everybody who visits the Grand Strand, from North Myrtle Beach south to Pawley’s Island knows about our magnificent beaches, challenging championship golf courses, excellent restaurants, exciting entertainment, and fantastic family fun. I’ll let you in on a little secret. There’s more!

Our area has a rich history that is often overlooked. There are scores of plantations dating back to before the Revolutionary War. Agriculture was king! Rice, indigo, and tobacco were primary exports and were grown all through the area. Many plantations had abundant river frontage and the wetlands were cleared and converted to rice fields. As you cruise the Intracoastal Waterway today, you’ll still see remnants of the old rice fields. The plantation names evoke visions of centuries past – Annandale, Arcadia, Beneventum, Chicora Wood, Friendfield, Winyah and more.

Some have been transformed into upscale golf courses and resorts. You may even see foundations of old outbuildings and graveyards as you ride the fairways at Caledonia, True Blue, Litchfield, Willbrook, and Heritage Plantations. Some, like Hopsewee Plantation, offer tours to the public. Located on the Pee Dee River south of Georgetown, it is considered a preservation rather than a restoration since the condition of its house was never permitted to lapse. Hopsewee was established in 1740 and is definitely worthy of consideration for a day trip.

The most visited plantation is Brookgreen Gardens in Murrell’s Inlet. Made up of four former plantations – Brookgreen, Springfield, Laurel Hill, and The Oaks – Brookgreen Gardens is today a National Historic Landmark. The garden’s outdoor setting has the most extensive collection of figurative sculpture by American artists in the world. You'll also find an accredited zoo, a low-country trail, historic exhibits, and archeological sites open for visitors to explore.

Oops... time to close. It's Friday and getting close to five o'clock. See more about history treks at the beach on our website’s vacation themes section.

Best of Myrtle Beach (5/14 - 6/6)

Myrtle Beach Area Fun (May 14th - June 6th, '10)

Absolutely wonderful weather this May - forecast highs for the coming weekend in the mid-80s and lots of sunshine. I suggest taking a well-deserved break from the norm and plan to boogie on down to the beach. There's a ton of fun stuff going on and we'll even save you a bundle on some fantastic lodging. Why stay in a little hotel room when you can have a spacious home or luxury oceanfront condo instead? We have plenty of choices available for 30% OFF... and we're offering the first 100 Facebook Fan reservations an extra 10% OFF. Pack your shorts, tee shirts and sandals and call us today for a great deal on a beach vacation today!

Some of our suggestions for upcoming fun events include:
~ Harley-Davidson "Cruisin' the Coast" Rally, Now through May 16th... listen to the low rumble of the Harleys and check out the vendor booths & tents. No events in Myrtle but riders are welcome in North Myrtle Beach and on the south end.
~ 29th Annual Blue Crab Festival, May 15th & 16th... on the waterfront in historic Little River, SC is always a top choice for spring festival fun. Sample great local seafood and enjoy concerts, dancing, entertainment and festivities. Live music by the Craig Woolard Band, Too Much Sylvia, the Fantastic Shakers, and Jim Quick & Coastline.
~ Hot Concerts in the Music Hall at the House of Blues... the Marshall Tucker Band on May 14th and Travis Tritt on the 15th.
~ Myrtle Beach SUN-FUN Festival, June 4th & 5th... Come out to Grand Park at Market Common for the 59th Annual SUN-FUN Festival and enjoy live music concerts, a parade, pageant, food, arts & crafts vendors, and lots more. A FREE family-friendly event.
~ Sounds of Summer Festival, May 21st... Enjoy an evening with family and friends listening to live music, picnicking and playing in the safe and fun environment of beautiful McLean Park. Bring a beach chair, blanket, food and non-alcoholic beverages. The North Strand Optimist Club will provide food and drinks for sale. May 21st will feature the country sounds of Tim Hall & Buffalo Country. FREE Admission to this family-friendly North Myrtle Beach event.
~ Dixie Chicken Fishing Funament, May 29th... Compete for money and prizes in various categories in these annual fishing tournaments.
~ Baseball at the Beach, May 25th - 30th... The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Atlanta Braves' "A" Team, has a home stand against Lynchburg Hillcats and the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Myrtle Beach Rates High as a Traveler's Choice

It's Official. They Like Us!

According to TripAdvisor's Traveler's Choice 2010 Rankings... Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is:

#1 - Top Ten Beach & Sun Destinations in the U.S.A.

#5 - Top Ten Beach & Sun Destinations in the World.

#7 - Top Ten Family Destinations in the U.S.A.

The Myrtle Beach area's "Grand Strand" is a sixty mile wide stretch of coastal fun from Little River on the north to Georgetown on the south end. It includes the beachside communities & towns of North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Surfside, Garden City, Murrell's Inlet, Litchfield Beach, and Pawley's Island. You'll find gently sloping beaches, inlets and creeks, salt marshes and estuaries, rivers and waterways, and countless visually stunning views.

Our area boasts of nearly 100 championship golf courses by such famed designers as Pete Dye, Robert Trent Jones, Dan Maples, Rees Jones, Clyde Johnston, and Tim Cate. There are scores of signature courses by top PGA legends - Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Davis Love III, Greg Norman, John Daly, Raymond Floyd and more.

There are hundreds of fine restaurants where you can feast on local Carolina shrimp & seafood, steaks, chops and ribs, and just about every ethnic cuisine you can imagine - from Thai to Romulan. Buffets with "All you can eat" specials, sports grills, 4-Star restaurants, cafes and delicatessens... all within a few minutes drive.

World class entertainment will light up your nights! There are exciting shows nightly at Calvin Gilmore's Carolina Opry, Celebrity Concerts at the House of Blues and at Alabama Theatre, dinner shows at the Dixie Stampede and Medieval Times, and dancing fun at the clubs of Broadway at the Beach's Celebrity Square.

Come visit soon and see what you've been missing. Reserve soon for now - June 19th and get 30% OFF... 40% OFF for the next Facebook fan bookings!

Vacation Rental Managers Meet in Myrtle Beach

Vacation Rental Managers Association 2010 Seminar

... will bring hundreds of representatives from vacation rental management companies together to learn what's new and important in the industry. Hosted at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center, there will be vacation rental specialists attending from the Carolinas to California and most states in between. From the opening session today through the closing session Wednesday evening, a dozen in-depth presentations will cover a host of topics. Emphasis will be on various aspects of the Internet, reservation agent training, housekeeping, and customer service.

Scores of industry-related companies will participate in the Vendor Showcase with booths set up for attendees to visit in between sessions. Reservation software, advertising venues, payment processors, travel insurance providers, website designers, and more will be displaying their goods and promoting their services.

Always pro-active in keeping staff educated and up to date, Century 21 Thomas will be well-represented at the VRMA Eastern Seminar. Scheduled to attend are managers and members of our various departments - Guest Services, Homeowner Services, Property Services, Advertising/Marketing, and Administration. Each is expected to gain helpful knowledge to improve our company's performance and level of customer service.

Century 21 Thomas is pleased that the following members will be attending the conference.
From Guest Services: Gracie Crabtree and Cheryl Mercedes
From Homeowner Services: Debbie Childress
From Property Services: Debbie Floyd and Karen Huntington
Department Directors: Guest Services-Rosalind Stacy, Property Services-Steve Clemmons, Marketing/Support Services-Mike Harrell, Admin-Vaughn Stanaland and Teddy Smith.

Best of Myrtle Beach (4/16 - 5/1)

Myrtle Beach Area Fun (April 16th - May 1st)

Spring is here and it's even starting to feel a bit like summer. Baseball season has opened, outdoor festivals have begun, the golf courses are teeming with foursomes, and the fish are beginning to bite! There's plenty to do at the beach once you get here. Your first assignment, if you accept the mission, is to make your reservations ASAP for a weekend getaway or a summer beach vacation. Century 21 Thomas Beach Vacations has some of the nicest and cleanest lodging selections that you'll find in North Myrtle Beach... and our rates are very enticing. If you haven't reserved your home or condo yet, check out our Vacation Specials page and make your reservations today.

Some of our favorite things to do over the next couple of weeks include:

~ SOS Spring Safari, April 16th - 25th... the biggest 10-day long adult beach party on the East Coast. Lots of live music, dancing, street parties, and FUN. Right in the middle of North Myrtle Beach.
~ South by Southeast Music Feast, April 17th... featuring Charleston-based band, Sol Driven Train, delivering their own brand of southern Allmanesque rock & roll. At the historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot. Admission includes pot luck dinner and beverages, too!
~ The Long & Winding Road with Jim Witter, April 19th... Let Jim & the band be your tour guides as they take you on a sound & sights journey on the Magical Mystery Tour. Enjoy the music and the stories behind the songs. At Brunswick Community College's Williamson Auditorium.
~ Baseball at the Beach... The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Atlanta Braves' "A" Team, has a home stand against the Winston-Salem Dash the 19th - 22nd and against the Potomac Nationals the 27th - May 1st.
~ Southeast Regional Wheelchair Games, April 22nd - 24th... At the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic & Fitness Center. See details online.
~ The Music Hall at the House of Blues... Catch Trace Adkins on the 23rd, Delbert McClinton the 24th, and Ben Harper the 27th. A rockin' good time in a dynamite venue.
~ Broadway at the Palace Theatre, April 20th - May 9th... Performing on stage "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change." You'll roar at Off Broadway's longest running musical revue.
~ Rivertown Jazz & Arts Festival, May 1st... Come to historic downtown Conway for the 24th Annual music & art fest. Live music from jazz to gospel to steel drum ensembles. Enjoy a classic car show, wares by local arts and craftsfolk, local cuisine, and more.

North Myrtle Beach Dredging Project

Rental homes on the Saltwater Channels are Popular Beach Vacation Choices.

North Myrtle Beach stretches from Windy Hill on the south end up to the Cherry Grove Inlet with its scenic salt marsh and winding creeks. Just off the inlet and marsh are scores of man-made saltwater channels in between many of the avenues of Cherry Grove. Along each side of these channels, you’ll find a wide variety of waterfront residential and vacation homes. Century 21 Thomas Beach Vacations and a few other local vacation rental companies offer dozens of these comfortable cottages as vacation rental selections for families, golfers and friends. Over time, these channels accumulate silt and marsh grasses, requiring periodic cleaning or dredging.

Progress is ongoing to overcome the dredging challenges for the Cherry Grove channels. Some of the channels are no longer navigable and are in real need of dredging now. City Councilman Hank Thomas passed along some good news to us recently concerning problems and progress being made to overcome those difficulties. As the owner of Century 21 Thomas Beach Vacations and Real Estate Sales, Mr. Thomas is well aware of the necessity of keeping these channels clear and open.

North Myrtle Beach continues to pursue this badly needed dredging project for the channels. Before the project can begin, the city needs to obtain two critical and difficult permits: a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a permit from S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). A earlier permit was obtained from DHEC for the dredging project in June, 2009. That permit was the result an application submitted in 2004 and has very restrictive guidelines such as staying 10 feet from all marsh grass and shell fish in the dredge path. The issuance of the permit was delayed 5 years from date of application during which time the conditions in the channels changed substantially. An addition 8 to 16 inches of silt has accumulated and substantial encroachment of marsh grasses and oysters have negatively impacted the potential benefits of the issued permit. These encroachments are so severe that only an approximate 40% of the dredging would be in compliance with the DHEC permit restrictions.

A bright spot in the process is that DHEC and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have acknowledged that a permit to relocate shell fish out of the dredge path is possible. This is a major positive move in the dredge process. The next big challenge the city faces is dealing with the various agencies on the marsh grass issue. The city of North Myrtle Beach is determined to continue to move forward on this very complicated task.

There are two major issues delaying the dredging: (1) environmental and (2) ownership. East Cherry Grove Realty, LLC has claimed ownership of the channels that the city hopes to dredge. However, the State of South Carolina also claims ownership, based on a quit-claim deed it received in 1969 from Mr. C.D. Nixon, the former owner of East Cherry Grove Realty. The parties have been unable to resolve their conflicting claims leaving the issue of ownership in litigation.

On February 1, 2010, Judge Larry Hyman heard motions for summary judgment from both North Myrtle Beach and East Cherry Grove Realty. He denied both motions, basing the decision on the premise that the deeds were ambiguous in some respects and that the ambiguity presented a question of fact. Judge Hyman’s comments indicated a lesser regard of East Cherry Grove Realty’s position and even said that he knew how he would rule if he were sitting on the jury. Although he didn’t actually express exactly how he would vote, it seemed clear that Judge Hyman regarded the City’s argument as the better and that the canals were indeed owned by the State of South Carolina.

The impact of Judge Hyman’s decision that the deeds were ambiguous will allow the parties to introduce evidence of intent in the deeds. The City has contacted Ed Latimer who was with the SC Attorney General’s office in 1969 and who participated directly in the settlement negotiations with C.D. Nixon that year. Mr. Latimer was sent copies of the pertinent quit-claim deeds along with a copy of C.B. Berry’s plat that was referenced in the deeds. In a follow-up telephone conversation, Mr. Latimer indicated remembering the matter and recalling that the intent of both parties was that ownership of the canals in East Cherry Grove below the mean high water mark were vested with the State of South Carolina. Mr. Latimer’s deposition will be taken as soon as it is scheduled with the parties and their attorneys. The City’s position is based on the merits of its argument that South Carolina has title to the canals below the mean high water mark and has gained strength.

Judge Culbertson has ordered that the case be put on the trial roster for the first term of court in June, 2010. If North Myrtle Beach succeeds at trial, East Cherry Grove Realty may appeal. North Myrtle Beach has the option to petition for an expedited appeal; however, an appeal could add a year or more to the process. Century 21 Thomas joins with the City of North Myrtle Beach hoping for a speedy resolution and that the channels will all be cleared very soon.

Best of Myrtle Beach (3/27 - 4/18)

Myrtle Beach Area Fun (March 27th - April 18th)

It's a super fine day here in North Myrtle Beach, into the 70's and plenty of sunshine. Just back from lunch under a big blue sky at the park. Lots of excellent spring getaway deals for you with Century 21 Thomas Beach Vacations - 30% OFF Now through April and a 20% OFF Early Summer Special for the first two weeks in June. Call soon to reserve.

With spring in full bloom, there's plenty of fun events to take advantage of while you're here at the beach. Some of our suggestions include:

~ March 27th... Widespread Panic winding up a 3-day gig at the House of Blues.
~ Now - April 3rd... "Forever Plaid" starring members of the original off-Broadway cast, on stage at the Palace Theatre.
~ Now - April 10th... Easter Holiday & Spring Break with families, friends and students enjoying the beach.
~ April 4th... Styx in Concert at the House of Blues.
~ April 8th... Baseball Season kicks off with a home stand for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans - the Atlanta Braves "A" Team (home stand against the Wilmington Blue Rocks the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th).
~ April 10th... Darius Rucker in Concert at the House of Blues.
~ April 12th... Monday After the Masters Celebrity Golf Tournament at Barefoot Landing's Pete Dye Course.
~ April 16th - 25th... S.O.S. Spring Safari - the biggest adult beach party on the east coast. Don't miss it!
~ April 17th... Sol Driven Train in Concert at the MB Train Depot for a South by Southeast Music Feast

Pack your shorts and sandals and head for the beach. We're saving a chair for you.