Talk about a pair of accidental tourists. Colette Nichelle Erck and her boyfriend Cory had no plans to visit the Grand Strand when they're plane touched down in Charlotte in mid-September. Yet they wound up spending much of their vacation at the Paradise Resort in Myrtle Beach.
“We were trying to decide where to go for vacation. I love beaches and he loves barbecue, so we figured Texas or the Carolinas,” said Erck, who hails from Moorhead, Minnesota. “We had been to Texas before so we decided to try North Carolina.”
But the more they traveled from Charlotte to Asheville, NC, visiting several popular BBQ restaurants along the way, the more they heard about Myrtle Beach, SC. The Midwesterners didn't realize at the time just how close Myrtle Beach is to the Carolina border.
“Everyone was talking about how nice Myrtle Beach is and how there's so much to do so we didn't even go to any beaches in North Carolina,” Erck said. “We stayed at a different hotel the first night, but the next day we checked into Paradise Resort and it was really nice.”
The two enjoy the simpler things in life, so little bonuses like the sound of the ocean waves crashing beneath their private balcony and a hot cup of grits were among their favorite things about Paradise Resort. In fact, they nicknamed their room “our apartment” for its comfort and convenience.
“We got a suite so it was nice having a separate bedroom and a fully equipped kitchen, and especially a balcony to enjoy the ocean,” she said. “We're from the Midwest so we don't get to see the ocean, or just relax in the hot tub and lazy river or on the beach.
“I had my first real cup of grits for breakfast at Paradise and they were delicious. All the food was hot and fresh, and the service was so friendly. Even the other guests we met were really nice. It was a real laid-back and family-friendly atmosphere.”
The couple did venture off property long enough to enjoy a dinner cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway aboard the Barefoot Princess and to catch the award-winning “Good Vibrations” show at the Carolina Opry. Throw in some BBQ and grits and it was a great time, albeit almost by accident.
“We didn't really know much about Myrtle Beach before but we do now and we will come back,” Erck said. “Most of the people from the Midwest go to Disney or Las Vegas, but they really should check out Myrtle Beach. It's really fun and not that far away, and there are great places to stay.”
And you might even stumble into Paradise.