Before I begin, allow me to go ahead and say that our opinion and views for travel destinations have a very high bar to reach for. If I had to name a best, I think I'd say that our Honeymoon at Sandals in Negril, Jamaica is #1, and everything about it was absolutely amazing. Maybe it was the loooooove in the air, or maybe it was just that they spoiled us and no other resort has been able to come close. Ok, lets go.
A few years back the wifey's (girlfriend at the time) company went on a company cruise to the Bahamas. For the staff, it was a few half-days of meetings. For the "plus ones", it was a free vacation.
This year, they decided to do another company trip to the Bahamas, but this time it was just a straight flight. Apparently "some" got sick the whole time and weren't able to be a part of the meetings on the cruise. We flew from GSP (Greenville-Spartanburg, SC) to Atlanta and from there, flew over to the Bahamas. Knowing we had a 2 hour layover in Atlanta, and nearly 3 hours in an airplane between the flights, we came prepared ...
Once we landed, I was able to let my hair down and enjoy a free long-weekend vacation in the Bahamas. Now, Dawn didn't really have to "work" the whole time, but given her job role, she did have to spend a lot of time setting up the meetings and coordinating plans with restaurants and other events for the visiting staff.
Although the trip was free for us, it was very disappointing to see how much they nickle and dime their guests. You can go to a $49 a night motel and get a free gym to work out in, but not at the Atlantis. That will cost you $15 a day. You can stay at a sleazy Inn and get free WiFi, but not at Atlantis. That's another $25 a day. You may expect to tip at any other non all-inclusive resort, but at Atlantis, your tip is added onto every bill you're given. Oh, you're at the convenience store and just want to buy a pack of gum? That's fine, you're going to tip for that too. Maybe it's just us, but we just weren't fans of how there was an extra charge for every amenity around every corner ... oh yeah, and you paid a tip on it.
We had a great room looking out over the resorts pools ... although from our room we mostly got tree tops, which I'm still ok with looking at Palm trees all over.
Of course, I was forced to take the selfie.
(Go Cocks, 2010 Baseball National Champs hat)
There was a little sea-side stand called "Brats and Balls" that we tried one day. I got the Spicy Jalapeno Brat with Mozzarella. I order and was told "We don't have any Mozzarella, what else do you want on top?" They had a few other cheeses on the menu, but from the look of their ingredients in the table at 11:45, I wasn't getting any.
Dawn ordered the 3 Meatball Sliders ... it ended up being a 3 meatball sub.
As you could clearly see from the photos, the brat and balls were dry as the beach sand.
We were checking out the restaurant listing and noticed a place called MESA that serves South Western food. Wait, what does that say? Hhhmmm, apparently MESA is a Bobby Flay restaurant ... yes please.
With our group room purchase, we were given a discount card for a couple of freebies at different places. At MESA, you get 2 free margaritas, and we did, and they were gooood.
It didn't take long for me to find what I was going to eat. A quick scan of the menu and my eyes fell upon the words "New York Strip" ... SOLD! We chose to do 1 side each, so I went with the roasted corn.
Dawn got the Pork Tenderloin and double-baked potato. For $9.50 a side, the corn was a nice portion, but the double-baked potato was a bit skimpy.
Don't mind the previous horrible picture (I'm not a fan of being "that guy" that takes pictures of his food in restaurants before he eats ... it kind of makes me feel like a weirdo). Here's a picture to do the steak a little more justice. Either way, nothing could show how delicious this really was. It doesn't beat the Omaha Steakhouse's New York Strip, but this would definitely rank in the top 5 greatest NY strips ever.
I went to the rest room and when I returned the waiter was bringing Dawn a wine glass. He then goes to the table beside us, picks up there bottle of wine, and brings it to our table to pour Dawn a glass. While I'm sitting there confused, the old (um, older??) ladies at that table lean over and say that they ordered the bottle before they realized how full they were and didn't want it to go to waste. Out of the entire bottle, they had only drank 1 restaurant poor glass. That means, Dawn had more than 75% of this bottle to herself to drink at dinner. If you can't keep up here, I'll spell it out. Nearly an entire bottle of wine on top of a margarita in about a 30-45 minute time span equals ... drunkie wifey. I've been informed that this is my limit on the story that I'm allowed to state before my life is in jeopardy.
I'm a firm believer of the old saying "When in Rome ...", so I always like to sample the local beers when we're on vacation. One of the other husbands told me about one of the local beers that he really liked called Bush Crack. We went shopping and had lunch at Senior Frogs, so I decided to give it a try. When they brought the can out, I fell in love. Not only was the name close to my nickname, Cack (I mean, it's only 1 letter away, right?), but most importantly, it had a Gamecock on it. Oh, the beer was delicious too. Definitely wouldn't mind getting some more of that.
Yes, we had food too. Surprise, I ordered the bacon cheeseburger.
Dawn, a day removed from the story above ... ordered some tacos, that she doesn't even remember what they were, and only ate one and part of another ... yeah.
One of the best parts about Atlantis is the bay with not very cheap yachts to make you feel a little smaller in life.
For dinner, we tried out the Marina Pizza. The pizza was really good, but 4 slices, a beer, and 2 waters put "us" back $44. Although it was good, it wasn't THAT good.
On one of our walks we saw this little guy, so he got a picture and a post.
For dinner on the last night, the whole group went to Virgil's Real Barbecue. The first night we all had dinner at Carmine's Italian Restaurant and one of the new employees that has Italian heritage picked the family style meals for everyone. Once we decided on dinner at the BBQ joint, it was stated that I would be the most educated to make those decisions.
We got there before everyone else to enjoy our free drinks (remember the discount cards). As we approached the bar I noticed the saddles and knew where I'd be sitting.
Once we sat down at the table, I saw their neat place mat. I looked at South Carolina to see who they were highlighting for our state, and low and behold it was none other than Scott's BBQ in Hemingway.
For apps we ordered the hush puppies and trash ribs.
They also brought out some delicious cheddar rolls.
For dinner yours truly selected the pulled pork, barbecue chicken,
Memphis Style Spare Ribs,
and Texas Beef Brisket.
To go with it, we got the Mac & Cheese,
and Mashed Potatoes & Gravy.
I have to admit, I was a bit skeptic about how "real" this barbecue would be, but other than the pulled pork (which was horrible), everything was really, REALLY good.
Brats and Balls/Every other food stand