Yesterday was an interesting day and the sky began to lighten, even some holes in the clouds appeared. I could see sunlight on the water offshore. It was time to get out and explore.
Flipping through the pages of the local hardbound “Magazine of the Carolina’s Grand Strand”—a collection of advertisements of everything local to see and do—we decided to visit Barefoot Bay. It was hard to tell exactly what it was, but was adjacent to the “Alligator Adventure” and the “Duplin Winery,” so it had to be interesting.
Barefoot landing is a large, sprawling collection of shops, small eateries and large restaurants, amusements, theaters with big-production dinner shows, and even quiet walks along an inland waterway where you can see birds, turtles, fish, and probably an occasional alligator.
We had lunch at “Smokin’ Hot BBQ.” I am a poor one to judge BBQ restaurants—I have never met one I did not like, but “Smokin’ Hot” ranks high in my experiences. It has the comfortable feel of a place people go for a relaxing meal and gather with friends. Their homemade mustard-based BBQ sauce was so good we asked if we could buy a bottle. They said sure and filled a canning jar from their dispenser and capped it off for us.
So what can you do there? Well there are at least two theater shows at the House of Blues and the Alabama Theater. One of the largest reptile parks is right next door, and behind the Duplin Winery. There is a beautiful carousel and other rides for young and older (no roller coasters!).
Restaurants include Greg Norman’s Australian Grille, the Flying Fish, the House of Blues, and Smokin’ Hot BBQ, and many more food specialties (olives!, fudge, candy, ice cream, etc.). There are many interesting shops such as the Mole Hole (I have not seen that one in more than 30 years and it was in Sacramento), a Christmas shop, souvenir shops, and wine shops.
Barefoot Landing is situated along a waterway and there are many nice boats (yachts!) moored nearby, and it wraps around a long lake. There are several floating walkways that cross the lake, providing shortcuts from one side to the other. These walkways also provide a glimpse into the local wildlife. There were many cormorants and anhinga swimming or roosting along the lake, and many turtles and huge carp in the water. At one fish feeding station, where you can get a handful of food for fifty cents, there were several huge carp, all well more than two feet long, swirling about in anticipation of a snack.
The only thing missing (thankfully) at Barefoot Landing is any “big box” store.
Just north, on an adjacent property is Duplin Winery. There are no local vineyards; Duplin contracts with vineyards across the southeast for their grapes. They claim to be the largest wine producer on the east coast and the fourth largest in the United States.
While we were there we observed a wine tasting. They have several tasting rooms and each scheduled tasting was fully booked. A typical tasting is led by a knowledgeable sommelier and usually offers samples of twelve wines. Each participant receives less than an ounce of each wine—just enough for a good tasting experience. We were told that during the tasting, participants consume no more than a single glass of wine.
Of course, I took the opportunity to take photos.
It was good to get out and experience local attractions and shopping.
This morning as I write this, the sun is threatening to break through, if only briefly. Will be headed back to the beach for a good walk.
Barefoot Landings Gallery