Author Archives: Mitch

Creme de la Creme of Car Shows

Even if you know only two things about cars, where to put the gas and where to put the air in the tires, car shows are great fun to go and look at old gems. If you come across a car that jogs your memory back to a time long ago, then you can count that time as well spent. Those memories may be of that ‘56 Chevy Bel Air that Dad bought home from the dealer or that ‘69 GTO that you and friends double dated in way-back-when.
Car shows are a staple of almost every festival that comes down the pike, and all of them have more than their share of muscle cars of the 1960’s and ‘70’s. However, there is one car show that is the gold standard of car shows, the Concours D’ Elegance.  The Concours has its share of muscle cars of bygone days of course, but the real treat of attending one of these events is the likelihood that you will see automobiles that you may have only seen in movies or television. Bentleys, Ferraris, Aston Martins and Rolls Royces are almost always on display. Besides the varied cars shown, one other concept of the Concours D’ Elegance that sets it apart from other car shows is that each car is there by special invitation of the organizers. If someone has a car they would like to enter in the  Concours, they must apply for an invitation and with the application they must also provide pictures and interesting or historical facts about the car. Concours D’ Elegance is French for "competition of elegance."  The cars on display more than live up to the name. They are more than just cars in mint condition. Many are in better condition than when they came off the assembly line. The upholstery, paint, and the engine restoration are just a few of the components that make some of these cars better than mint. Judging is much more strict than in a normal car show. To secure a top award, the car must be perfect or very close to perfect. There are many categories in which the cars can compete including pre-war and post war, vintage and antique. Some popular models may have their own categories such as the Porsche or the Mercedes Benz. The categories may even extend to hardtops, coupes and convertibles. The first Concours D’ Elegance was in Pebble Beach, California in 1950, as an add on to the Pebble Beach Road Race. Since that first Concours many organizations have instituted their own Coucours D’ Elegance. Among the most notable is the annual event on Amelia Island. This is a grand affair where the cars are displayed in a wonderful setting, along the cart path of  the Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach. Other locales that have competitions are Denver, New York in midtown Manhattan and Hilton Head, SC. The Hilton Head event is hosted each year at Honey Horn Plantation on the north end of the island. More specifically, it is at Mile Marker 1 on US 278.  As with most of the Concours, the admission proceeds go to local charities, and in this case proceeds go to the Hilton Head Symphony and the Boys and Girls Club of Hilton Head. This year’s event in Hilton Head will be October 29 through November 7. Each day something special will be going on, from wine dinners on Thursday to the obligatory golf tourney on Friday. Saturday is a great time to view the Club Car Jamboree. The culmination event  is the actual Concours and judging on Sunday November 7. If you have never been to a Concours this event in Hilton Head is a perfect chance to see some really beautiful cars, talk to their owners and have a good time.

Sandpiper Named Golf Course of the Year

Sandpiper Bay Golf and Country Club is a fun 27-hole facility located in Sunset Beach, NC. It  recently was named the Golf Course of the Year by the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association. The Don Maples-designed course has gone through a three- year-long upgrade that includes the installation of Miniverde Bermuda grass on all three of the 9 hole layouts: The Bay, The Piper and The Sand. Also included in the renewal of the facility are the repaving of the cart paths, some tree removal, and the refurbishing of the clubhouse. Sandpiper was not mentioned in the golf section of our book Myrtle Beach: A Guide to South Carolina’s Grand Strand published by Channel Lake in the 2010 Tourist Town® series. Limited space and the broad subject matter of the guidebook led us to review fewer than the total number of courses in the Myrtle Beach area. Sandpiper is certainly a fine choice for a golfer on the north end of the beach area. Your comments are welcome here. We'll be happy to see what you think about the course.

Tee Tee Celebrated Her 90th

Helen Burton

There is something about the generation that made it through the Depression that makes them special. Many of those people who made it through those tough times can remember the hardships their family endured. They are now approaching their ninth decade of life and some near the century mark. One of these special people reaching 90 years old is Helen Burton.  Several dozen of her family and friends gathered at her daughter’s home in Richmond July 17 to celebrate this important milestone.  Most of those who attended were from the immediate area; however, one had traveled from the Philippines.  Also there to help with the celebration were her two remaining siblings as well as her four grandchildren, with one of them and his wife traveling from their home in the Caribbean.

The Burton Family

Although in somewhat fragile health, her memory is super sharp and her bridge game formidable. She commented, “I might be around for the 95th.” Helen has had a very exciting life in her 90 years. From being a member of a championship high school basketball team, to sitting on a jury in a death penalty rape trial,  to surviving a bank robbery by a gun-wielding thug – she has seen a lot. Helen is known by the nickname “Tee Tee” to almost all family and friends of long ago. However, I have my own nicknames for her. She has always been such a fun loving character that I have called her “Hellion.” “Sweets” is another name that I have often used for her also. She has been so sweet to me during my whole life. Sweets, I love you always!

Introducing the Cosmic Dog

We had driven past this place about 500 times.  However, without the misfortune of several dozen careless people driving north and south on US 17 we would have probably passed it one more time. As we headed north out of Charleston and into Mt. Pleasant toward Myrtle Beach the traffic began to look as if it were 5:15 pm on a Friday. People getting off work and trying with all their driving skills to weave in and out of traffic and get through those amber lights before they turn red is a horrible problem on this stretch of 17. (Charleston may be the most polite city, as judged by some questionable authority, but they have some the worst drivers south of the Mason Dixon Line.) But this was not a Friday afternoon. This was a normal Wednesday afternoon around 1:20. What was going on? Cars were switching lanes as the left lane started to move slightly slower than the right. Then the right lane came to a complete stop, and the same drivers decided to switch back to the “fast lane.” As we approached, the pink-trimmed yellow building seemed like a Welcome Center for people who were traveling at a snail’s pace. So an executive decision was made, and I pulled into Jack’s Cosmic Dogs. After all my wife and I had not had lunch yet and this seemed to be written in the cosmos. The front parking lot was nearly empty so I saw no need to heed the sign on the building that alleged “more parking in rear.”  Upon our entrance I first looked for a table. Then I noticed a sign above the counter that told customers to “order here.”  So I started a line at the cash register.  As soon as the line was formed I was asked by a young female attendant with a pad and pencil what I wanted.  It was then that I noticed the menu above me. I was taken aback a little because I had never really heard of an Astro Dog , a Blue Galactic  or an Atomic Dog. Luckily there were explanations beside each item. I felt that I was on the clock to place my order since the young girl never left my side and the pencil never left the writing position.  My eye quickly scanned down to the Orbit City Dog. This was my kind of dog: chili, cheese and spicy mustard! The only thing it lacked I thought was slaw, but what the hell -- I had been on a time limit, it seemed. My wife had the advantage of my ordering first to have time to find the dog that she loves, although she had never called it a Krypto Kraut dog.  We added a bag of chips and unsweetened iced tea to our order, gave them our name, paid and found a seat. It was not hard because the place had only about 10 customers who occupied five or six of the 15 or so tables and counter stools.

Here's Jack mingling and keeping things in order.

After taking our seats we began to check out the place more carefully. There on the wall were articles from various magazines that had written about Jack’s.  Among the most notable was an article that had been in Southern Living. I didn’t catch the date, but we all know that if it was in SL it has to be right, right? We continued reading the menu. If dogs are not your thing, you can always order a tofu dog with any of those same trimmings, or a fried carrot or Mercury Meat Loaf. So Jack’s is just not for dog lovers.  It was then that we noticed that we had arrived at Jack’s at the right time. The line that I had started no more than five minutes ago had grown to six other parties of various sizes. Someone yelled out “Mitch” and I stepped up to pick up our order. Neither of us was disappointed. In fact, we were downright impressed. Maybe the best dog I have had since high school, when I really was a dog lover! Our time had been well spent in Jack’s Cosmic Dogs. We got a great meal, and the traffic was now back to its normal Talladega Speedway pace.  Slightly half a mile up US 17 we saw the reason for our full stomachs and new experience. A van with a crunched front end had tried to climb up a telephone pole and only made it about ten feet up. Two other cars must have been looking at the van’s attempt to get to the top because they each had bashed-in doors, trunks and hoods.  We kept our eyes on the road and continued north -- better for our experience at Jack’s. Now we’re planning when we might be passing that way again.

New South Carolina Guidebooks Published

Authors and publishers of International Show and Tell Liz and Charlie Mitchell have written two travel guidebooks:  Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach.
Part of the Tourist Town Guides® series, published by Channel Lake, Inc.,  both guides offer honest, independent travel advice for visitors to South Carolina’s most popular tourist hotspots.
Myrtle Beach: A Guide to South Carolina’s Grand Strand (Channel Lake, Inc., $14.95) takes vacationers on a tour of the Grand Strand. Recommendations are offered for families, golfers, anglers and a wide range of vacationers. The book provides seasonal event information and tips for restaurant specialties, plus helpful advice for planning before and during the trip.
Hilton Head: A Guide to the South Carolina Lowcountry (Channel Lake, Inc., $14.95) explores Hilton Head Island and the Sea Islands of Beaufort County. The guide covers restaurants, hotels, golf, events and historic touring to help visitors decide what to see and do.
Both titles hit bookstores in May 2010. For more information about the books or to order visit Tourist Town or call  the publisher Dirk Vanderwilt at Channel Lake at 800.592.1566.
The authors are available for media appearances, book signing and for speaking about the coastal destinations and their writing process. Contact the authors directly via their website: The Mitchell Group International.