A Final Splash of Summer – North Carolina

Looking for a Myrtle Beach Alternative? Check out this North Carolina Coastal Beach
Serenity @ Sunset Beach, NC

If you haven’t noticed, I travel a lot. Not just for work, in my personal life too.  I love it, so that’s good, but in 2016 we had 6 weddings to attend, two are out of state.  This year, I got to attend my first ever beach wedding in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Now, you might be able to guess this, but I’m not a huge fan of the big touristy destinations.  I don’t know, something about the flash of Myrtle Beach doesn’t scream relaxing weekend away to me.  But! Never fear, I was determined to find something unique on our trip and I found it.  My family has made the trek to the North Carolina border for 29 years.  We stay in an ocean front house every year, so we are never looking for lodging accommodations – we know where we’re headed. When we heard this wedding was going to be in Myrtle Beach, just 50 minutes from our annual summer vacay spot, we thought we’d take that opportunity to see what was around.  I quick Google search of inns brought me to a love I didn’t know existed… The Sunset Inn. The Sunset Inn is located on Sunset Beach, NC an island nestled between Ocean Isle Beach and the border of North & South Carolina.  It’s an island I’ve gone to a number of times, but I never knew this little gem existed.  How fortunate we were for this opportunity.

The book process alone made my heart flutter.  There were individual rooms, all with a story.  We (I mean, I) sifted through endless photos and descriptions until I settled on the one I wanted – the Live Oak Room.

Looking for a Myrtle Beach Alternative? Check out this North Carolina Coastal Beach
Sand, Sun and Southern Hospitality @ The Sunset Inn

When we crossed the massive new bridge to Sunset Beach (the old swing bridge was in operation until 2010!) we immediately spotted The Sunset Inn, situated right on the Intracoastal Waterway.  We pulled up and I was already excited.  It was exactly what I had pictured from a Southern Inn – a massive wooden

staircase approaching a broad porch and light, airy colored siding.  The porches amassed in flowers.

The reception area was a light, breezy space where Andrea, the innkeeper, greeted us.  She walked us to our room which was located just off of reception.  Our room was (tastefully!) decked out in sailing themed decor.  My favorite part of the room was the peaceful, private porch

Looking for a Myrtle Beach Alternative? Check out this North Carolina Coastal Beach
Beach Chic @ The Sunset Inn

that sat overlooking the waterway. It was screened in, so no fear of mosquitoes! There were two rocking chairs where I was able to enjoy a tea first thing in the morning.

Andrea told us that we could easily walk to the beach from the inn, so we set out soon after arrival to discover the beach. Much different than what I have experienced during peak season. I imagine most of the people there were locals or retirees, enjoying the setting sun on the beach.  We took a long walk admiring the beautiful beachfront home, noting how much cooler the water is than in July!

Another problem we often run into while visiting this area is a good place to eat (bet you saw that one coming!).  After 29 years, I cannot believe we have never found the place TJ and I stumbled upon – the Brentwood Restaurant & Wine Bistro. They are on OpenTable (woo – points!) and we were able to make reservations for two last minute.  I didn’t know what to expect. Sadly, many places in this area seem great on paper, but they’re overpriced and the quality just isn’t that good. So we were shocked to discover something just the opposite.

The building itself was awesome – so there is no other way to describe it. Built in 1910, it was originally a

Great Food Near Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand and the North Carolina Beaches
“Corky” Decor @ The Brentwood Restaurant & Wine Bistro

B&B for fisherman and located across the street. Travelers could pay $1 per night ($.50 extra for breakfast!)! Now, the Brentwood chef, Eric Masson, is serving up phenomenal low country French food that you must try. The inside is quirky and classic at the same time. The walls are lined with wine corks and odd pieces of history. Our waiter was from the UK and so fun to interact with.  I chose the 4-course Prix Fixe Menu which was a crazy deal ($39)!  It included French Onion Soup (one of my all-time favorite things), a House Salad, 6oz Filet Au Poivre and Creme Brulee. I cannot explain to you how ideal this menu was and for $39! you know I’ll be back.  TJ chose similar items, but started with the Escargot – a new favorite of his. We were able to enjoy a wonderful bottle of wine and the hum of conversation from a packed restaurant.  We cannot wait to bring our entire beach house there next summer!

Great Food Near Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand and the North Carolina Beaches
A Toast to History @ The Brentwood Restaurant & Wine Bistro

OK, so back to the Inn! Sometimes, you end up calling it an early night – French food will do that to you! The Sunset Inn is perfect for just that.  With access to movies, a microwave and popcorn, it was a perfect end to a busy day of travel.  The following morning, I was up early, ready to get my workout in.  The mornings in September are surprisingly cool (unlike July!) and I was able to sneak in a run.  I set off down the main road, in search of the end of the island.  I came upon a small path tucked away that had a number of piers running to nowhere.  (Top picture!) It was a perfect halfway point to reflect and enjoy nature.

It’s sad that I won’t have very many opportunities to enjoy The Sunset Inn with a pre-set, annual vacation just up the road, but I certainly hope I’ve convinced you! My guess is that most of their visitors are there for multiple nights, if not an entire week. Sunset Beach is a great vacation spot for couples or small families looking for a quiet, family beach.  So with that, my friends… plan a trip to North Carolina’s coast – you won’t be disappointed!

Looking for a Myrtle Beach Alternative? Check out this North Carolina Coastal Beach
Point of Paradise @ Sunset Beach, NC

“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

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