Hang out, Low Key, Getaway Area?

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Dec 28th, 2014, 09:40 AM
  #1
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Hang out, Low Key, Getaway Area?

I had a rough year and am looking for a casual, but nice ambiance place to rent a vacation home/condo for a few weeks/month in January/February. I am looking for any ideas on areas to consider. I don't know exactly what I have in mind, but have some ideas. No place too ritzy, fancy. Nearby a beach would be nice, but doesn't have to be super warm. Comfortable enough to take a walk or run on the beach, but I don't need a pool, a place to lay out, or go swimming. I don't want a scene or need a ton to do, but I don't want everything in town to be entirely shut down for the winter. A cute little shopping center/landing kind of place would be nice.

I am thinking along the lines of somewhere like Hilton Head.

A few other thoughts, just for vibes that I have liked in other travels -
- A friend has a house in Seagrove, Florida that is a possibility.
- I really like Sag Harbor a lot, so that is a good vibe, but I don't want to do Hamptons.
- I don't want to go all the way back to Washington, but I loved the little town of Snoqualmie Falls.
- I also loved Bainbridge Island outside of Seattle - for a summer hideaway, but that had the right kind of scenic views, ambiance, casual, but vacation feel, etc.
- Rincon, Puerto Rico is among my favorite casual beach towns with the right vibe. (the non-surfer side.)
- I like Block Island in Rhode Island, but it's really offseason and I'm afraid it's just too shut down for the winter, not enough open. So nothing like Cape Cod, Nantucket for this time of year.
- I really like Lake Tahoe but too hard to get to on my own I think.

Is there any place you like or know of, that kind of fits what I'm looking for? I don't golf or play tennis. I'm probably just going to do more walking, running, reading. I'm a 36 year old female comfortable on my own and going to a restaurant or bar by myself.
alysenyc is offline  
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Dec 28th, 2014, 11:04 AM
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Charleston, SC and nearby towns actually on the beach meet everything you want.

I usually recommend going farther south in Florida than Sarasota because people want to go in the water, but for what you want, it has a lot to offer. St Armand's Key, just off Sarasota, Venice, some miles south, are relatively laid back.

St Petersburg, FL, also has possibilities.

There has been lots of discussion of these places on here. Use the search function.

Now if you wanted a place that was really laid back . . . .
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Dec 28th, 2014, 12:38 PM
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Thank you! I was going to look at Kiawah Island in South Carolina! Great suggestions, appreciate.
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Dec 28th, 2014, 12:54 PM
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Key West or any of the Florida Keys.
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Dec 28th, 2014, 12:57 PM
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>>- I really like Lake Tahoe but too hard to get to on my own I think.<<

Not quite sure what that means. Southshore and Incline Village are each 55 miles from Reno Airport (avoiding the high altitude Mt Rose hwy).
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Dec 28th, 2014, 01:00 PM
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Your friend's place in Seagrove would be perfect.
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Dec 28th, 2014, 03:37 PM
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@janisj - I live in nyc and don't drive all that much, so I didn't want to make too far of a drive on my own. Lame, I know. I'm fine renting a car and just running a few errands but I didn't want to deal too much with driving if I could help it.

@starrs - we'll see what happens! My friend's house is in Eastern Lake in Seagrove Beach. It's a super nice house that they rent out. If no one has booked it, he said I can hang out there as long as I want, but if he gets a request from a paying tenant, I'm sure he would rather rent it out. So far it's open for January, so I may try to do that. I really am willing to pay to stay there, so we'll see if I can work something out. I don't know anything about the area, but the house is nice and I know it's walking distance to the beach. I have Southwest points and believe I can fly into Panama City.

Been browsing rentals in Kiawah Island and Hilton Head.
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Dec 28th, 2014, 04:51 PM
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alyse, that would be perfect - especially re the driving. We were down there last January in a big rental house. We went down for the Songwriter's Festival -
http://www.30asongwritersfestival.com/
I wondered if the festival would make things crowded but no. The venues were scattered along 30a. It's a quiet beach road that connects the small towns/villages/developments between Rosemary Beach and Blue Mountain. The road is straight, with virtually no traffic in January. You could rent a bike if you wanted and bike also. I just created a map and it's 10 miles from Rosemary Beach to Grayton Beach with Eastern Lake in the middle. You could bike anywhere or drive. Lots of places to eat and shop, although several places are closed during the winter. It sounds exactly as you described.

When you are on the beach you can see the highrises of Panama City Beach on the left (as you stare out to the water) or Destin to the right - but in between are the lovely villages along 30a. www.30a.com
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Dec 28th, 2014, 06:07 PM
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@starrs, you are awesome, thank you! I do like to bike too! He said you don't have to cross 30a to get from his house to the beach. I have never been there, but have seen a lot of pictures. It's not on the water, but about a 6 minute walk to the beach. The area is in a bit secluded, in more of a residential neighborhood than hotels and restaurants, but it would be a good spot for me and what I am looking to do right now.

I actually found the property listed online and it's in my budget. I may just offer to rent it from him and just stay there, instead of getting booted out if he gets a tenant. I have lots of Southwest points and can fly into Panama City.

Thank you so much for the info, it encourages me to follow up on the offer to stay there.
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Dec 28th, 2014, 06:36 PM
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If you change your mind about Seagrove, I would recommend Kiawah Island. You can rent a bike to jaunt to on-island places/beach or even to Freshfields village (low key shopping, dining, grocery). There are several very good restaurants near Kiawah (on John's Island) and, of course, Charleston a little further away. The beach and natural environment can't be beat! Good bird watching if you like that sort of thing.
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Dec 28th, 2014, 06:44 PM
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Sounds perfect.

Here's a video that shows you the different communities/ villages. At 4:40 till 4:50 you'll see the traffic on 30a and the bike path. There is VERY little traffic at that time of year. We stayed in a community and crossed 30a to go to the beach and rarely had to wait for a car to pass.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ecb1BeutNWs

Here's a flyover video -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NvqlVPExG8

I watched most of the communities go up. Back in the day, there was nothing between PCB and Destin, except for Seagrove. Friends had places there and an acquaintance bought one of the first houses in Seaside when there were only 2 paved streets in the middle of nowhere. Smart woman.

Depending on how long you stay, I can suggest some day trips an hour or so away. But you can spend wonderful days not going far from "home". Be sure to go to the Red Bar in Grayton Beach. Have fun! It's perfect for what you are looking for.
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Dec 28th, 2014, 08:40 PM
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starrs, Thank you SO much for posting that video, what an adorable area. I can't believe you found the exact spot where I could see traffic and the bike path! I can definitely handle that! I drove for years, but have lived in nyc the past 14 years and just don't drive very often. I can drive when I need to, but would prefer walking or biking as much as possible.

I will let you know what works out with the house and if I need some good ideas for what to do in the area, or some day trips. Ideally I would love to stay and set up base for a month. That's why I am more than willing to just offer to rent his house like a regular tenant and not have to worry about it. I know he's fine with me staying there if it's not being used, but I don't want to feel weird if I'm keeping it from being rented, or have to share if anyone in his family wants to be using it.

dsgmi, thank you! I was browsing around all day at places and found a rental in Kiawah that I really like, with good reviews, that seemed like a good fit for me. I don't know anything about the area, but is a 5 minute walk to the Sanctuary hotel and to East Beach Village. It sounded like what I was looking for - laidback, quiet, relaxing spot, near beach, bike rentals and cycling trails, walking distance to a nice hotel with a great spa. My Southwest points would let me fly into Charleston so my flight is covered - actually the flights are so inexpensive it hardly would use any points. Beach and natural environment sounds wonderful.

Thank you both - so, so helpful!! I just need to set up camp and take a total break from nyc, especially in dreary january/february. Normally I might look for some place a little more active, or warmer, or where I can lay out at the beach and go in the water, but for this one, I just want a really low key, quiet place to hang out, take some nice jogs on the beach, bike, etc. Also, the offseason rates are so good this time of year for those type of locations, that I can stay in a really nice place for a few weeks or month or so, instead of just a week at some place a bit warmer or more happening.

I'm sure I'll be back on the boards when I find out about the house or decide for sure on the area. I always find the best intel here. Thanks again!
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