Not being a golfer (even mini—and there’s plenty of that here, too), I hadn't ever had reason to visit Myrtle Beach despite my many trips to Charleston in South Carolina. Luckily, a conference late last year enabled me to take in the city and its offerings—yarny and otherwise. There’s little doubt this is a recreation-centered place. It’s got all the beachy, touristy diversions you could ever want, no matter what your age. Cross LasVegas with a bit of Branson and stick its feet in the Atlantic Ocean, and you’ve got Myrtle Beach.
I’m not going to point you towards the standard tourism attractions—there are plenty of ways to get that info and www.visitmyrtlebeach.com will set you up nicely. My job is to lure you off the beaten path to some places that magazine in your hotel room might not list.
Start your day at:
Croissants Bistro and Bakery
3751 Robert Grissom Parkway
Myrtle Beach SC 29577
I did not have the luxury of doing breakfast here, but I’d recommend the shrimp and grits at any meal. Lunch (my visit) is also terrific, and my sources say the chocolate fondue is dynamite. I had an outstanding fish taco, and even if I’d visited for breakfast I would have insisted on a slice of cake (coconut and awesome, in my case). I love the tagline: “Bonjour, y’all.” Grab some goodies to go if you can’t quench all your sugar fix in one meal.
Next, walk off all that caloric intake by wandering Myrtle Beach’s famous boardwalk. Start at the 14th Avenue Pier just south of where you had breakfast and walk the whole way down to the Second Avenue Pier and back again. There are several shops and attractions along the way, so you can get your souvenir shopping and carnival ride fix at the more energetic stretches, and chill out on the comfortable benches along the quieter parts.
Ready for yarn adventures? Hop in your car and make the 15 minute drive to:
Knit N Purl
4999 Carolina Forest Blvd, Suite 13
Myrtle Beach SC 29579
You’d be hard pressed to find a more welcoming shop. The chemistry between the diverse team that runs this establishment—Owner Phyllis McGowan, Instructor Molly Bruton, and staff stars Michael, Ross, Arlene and Anne—gives the place a contagious energy and community feel. There are big inviting tables always full of conversation and—my favorite—the “Husband Couch” placed thoughtfully near the coffee and treats. If you don’t want to be cooped up inside, there are the standard-southern-issue rocking chairs out front.
Encouragement is the overriding vibe in here. There are model projects out to touch and crave for every yarn in the shop. Need a charity project? They’ve got scads of ‘em, including collecting one hundred hats for Knots of Love. “If you come empty handed,” warns Phyllis, “you won’t stay that way for long!” The store boasts a full load of classes and offers private lessons as well. They’ve even got “an app for that”—this is a store that embraces knitting’s digital side with an extensive website, a YouTube channel, and a robust social media presence.
The store’s wide selection shifts with the seasons and whims of the talented staff. “We respond to what our knitters want.” Fiber is stocked by weights around the store, and there’s plenty for the crochet crowd, too. Here are a few projects I found particularly appealing:
These pretty mitts knit up in an endless array of variations using Blue Sky Alpaca worsted in your choice of colors. If you’re looking for a one-skein project (one skein of each color, that is), you can’t go wrong with these. They are fine-lined enough to feel elegant, yet still comfy and casual.
Candy Cane Scarf
My visit was right before the holidays, so this project was a customer favorite. If you need a quick, inventive gift under $20, grab yourself some Plymouth Encore and have at it. Encore comes in over 150 colors—including a few holiday-perfect tweeds like the one shown here—so you can’t go wrong. Just make sure you watch the video tutorial from Knit N Purl’s YouTube channel for the bind-off.
Our Knit Along from this store is a lovely one:
Rose Garden Shawl
|Photo from CascadeYarns.com
Just the right weight for summer, this shawl combines lacework with sturdier garter stitch up by your neck. Vera Sanon’s design for Cascade utilizes two skeins of Ultra Pima Quatro, a cotton perfect for summer wearing. Just right to keep the air conditioning off your shoulders.
Anja’s Newsboy Hat
Every once in a while I want a knitted hat that still has a brim. This inventive free pattern takes a skein of Lamb’s Pride to knit up a stylish topper that won’t squash my bangs. Why opt for a boring baseball cap when you could keep warm in this?
Once you’ve filled your trunk with fiber finds, it’s time to fish for something a little closer to nature. Make your way down Route 17 (the city’s main north-south route) to:
This area offers several chances to see the region’s fishing and boating side. You can take in this fishing village with a hands-on approach with kayaking tours and chartered fishing excursions. You can try coastal cooking by heading off to the local fishing markets. You can take things up a notch by taking a pirate-themed boat tours. If you save your visit for after dark, the village takes on a whole different vibe with lots of bars and live music. Me? I just sat, walked, and stared the water. Bliss.
When you’re ready for dinner, one place you don’t want to miss is:
Sea Captain’s House
3002 N. Ocean Blvd
Mytrle Beach, SC
Show up early! This place fills up fast, and there’s a good reason. I arrived at 5pm and spent a splendid dinner on the enclosed porch watching the sun set and the boats come in. She-crab soup in season is one of life’s great pleasures, so don’t miss it. My sources said the seafood casserole is splendid, but they were sadly out for my visit.
As the sun sets on a great costal day, toast your good fortune and get ready for another!