PEZ in the Sun 2011–Myrtle Beach, SC

The PEZ in the Sun Gathering, which is held each year in Myrtle Beach, SC, is one of our favorite stops each year. It is held late enough in the season that the beach isn’t crowded and early enough so that it is still warm enough to enjoy. The spectacular view from our room at the Springmaid Beach Resort forces us to get up every morning early enough to watch the sun rise.


We like to do different things each year while in Myrtle but there are a few things that are still a must for us. The first is a trip to Bubba’s Fish Shack for some seafood and hushpuppies.  Broadway at the Beach is also on our short list of must do things. Peg always hunts for quarters so she can feed the fish. All those slurping mouths are really gross! For this trip, she was feeling particularly silly and decided to make a monkey at the Build-a-Bear Workshop. She says his name is “Marvin the Love Monkey.” She actually squealed when she saw that the Ben and Jerry’s shop had “Schweddy Balls” ice cream since she has been looking for it for months. Movies, Shopping, Amusements, and great places to eat (try Amici’s Bistro) all can be found at BATB.



New at Myrtle Beach this year is the SkyWheel. Richie and Mary, the hosts of PEZ in the Sun, organized a trip to ride the huge Ferris wheel. Located at the start of the boardwalk, the SkyWheel is 200 feet high and has 42 climate controlled gondolas. Since we had well over 15 PEZheads making the trip we received a sizeable discount. Peg is extremely scared of heights (I hear Richie is as well) but she was a trooper and did it anyways. After the first couple times around she settled down and actually enjoyed the views. Well, as long as I didn’t move at all and rock the gondola. At night, bright color changing LEDs put on a great display that can be seen for miles. Hanging out at fun events like these is really what keeps us collecting PEZ.





We will probably keep going back to PEZ in the Sun every year that they have it because it is so much fun.


Road Trip – Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC

We are always looking for things to do while we are in Myrtle Beach and this time around we decided to head on over to Brookgreen Gardens. Located just a few miles south of Myrtle Beach off of Highway 17, the gardens are a great escape from the usual touristy vibe of Myrtle. Even though it was at the end of the season, we found enough flowers and plants to keep us happy.




The trails are well laid out (pick up a map at the welcome center) which makes all the displays inviting. A small boardwalk runs next to the rice fields and leads to the animals of the Lowcountry Zoo. I would recommend some mosquito repellant if you don’t want to feed the locals. You can also take a excursion boat ride on their 48-foot pontoon boat.


All of the native animals in the Lowcountry Zoo were either bred and raised in captivity or were obtained from a wildlife rehabilitation center after sustaining a major disability due to injury. The chickens are very inquisitive when you drop your lens cap into their pen. Don’t ask how I know. Also, the fox squirrels around here are HUGE! Be careful of the snakes; we saw two during our visit.



One great thing about going to these places in the off season is that you can relax and be your crazy self.



From the Brookgreen Gardens Website:

Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in America, has in its collection more than 1,400 works by over 350 sculptors. Exhibited within the gardens is the largest and most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the country, by sculptors who worked from the early nineteenth century to the present. Brookgreen Gardens is a National Historical Landmark, and is accredited by the American Association of Museums.


The combination of art, gardens, and wildlife is sure to put a smile on your face.


Renninger’s Market and PEZylvania 5

Peg and I piled into the Fiat and made our way to one of our favorite events of the year on Saturday. The PA Purple Cow hosts a free gathering of PEZ collectors each year which they call “PEZylvania”. You can find most of the current releases of PEZ and many vintage PEZ at the Purple Cow’s large shop inside Renninger’s Market in Kutztown, PA. But, the big draw during PEZylvania are all the PEZ vendors stuffed into the meeting room.




We always seem to spend more than we think we are going to at this event. If you run low on cash you can try the ATM but I wouldn’t count on it having enough for bills everyone. Almost all sales will be cash only but a few vendors will take a check; no one takes credit cards. Often you can find vendors here selling the hard to find European varieties of PEZ but their rarity state side raises the prices. Don’t be afraid to try and bargain to a better price especially with the vintage items. If you need some guidance on pricing we would recommend picking up John Laspina’s PEZ pricing guide. John also has a great selection of vintage PEZ at fair prices. He tends to be able to part us with our hard earned cash easier than most other dealers for some reason.


But the real reason we love making the 3 hour trip is visiting the farmers’ market side of the building. Oh sure, Renningers is a great place for collectibles but the farmers’ market is to die for! The farmers’ market has been running at this location since 1955 and it wasn’t until much later in 1975 that the antiques market was started. You can find several butchers, a good group of bakers, veggies, fruit, spices, etc., etc., here for you to purchase from and all of their good are top shelf. Peg’s poor little Fiat’s boot was stuffed when we left for home.

A Short Stop at the Strasburg Railroad

Sometimes your timing is just off. We arrived too late to do much at the Strasburg Railroad in Strasburg, PA. and we really didn’t want to spend a bunch of cash. But, that didn’t stop us from enjoying the free stuff! You can walk around the train station and look at all the old stuff that is waiting for restoration. If you wait around long enough you will probably see the steam train pull into the station. You can purchase tickets to ride the train but we were short on cash so we just enjoyed snap a few photos. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is across the street and requires a small admission fee but you can see some old locomotives from the street.


Road Trip – Lititz, PA and Wilbur Chocolate

When driving through Lancaster County looking for something to do, we often take a side trip to the little town of Lititz, PA. This charming town is located a few miles north of Rt. 30 on Rt. 501. Traffic can be a little heavy so take your time and smell the flowers.


There are a number of great shops and places to eat in Lititz but what we normally go for is a chance to visit Wilbur Chocolate. The company started back in 1884 under the name of “H. O. Wilbur & Sons” in Philadelphia, PA. The company’s current name, “Wilbur Chocolate Company”, was adopted back in 1958. While you can’t actually tour the chocolate factory, you can visit the candy store and see the Candy Americana Museum. The small museum houses over 1000 varieties of molds, tins, and boxes and admission is free. There is also a candy kitchen were you can watch handmade candies being crafted. The candy store is located directly below the candy factory so the smells are awesome!


Road Trip – Bloomery Plantation Distillery

Hidden between the Shenandoah River and Charles Town, WV on Rt. 9 is a quaint little establishment known as the Bloomery Plantation Distillery. The mini distillery, which makes a handful of wonderful cordials, is housed in the restored 1840 slave quarters of the former Willowdale Plantation. In 1870, the building was expanded to its current six room configuration. The board and baton siding was originally salvaged from C&O canal boats.


The distillery’s farm sits on 12 acres of land. You can find both lemons and raspberries growing here.


The hosts are quite friendly and willing to share the history of the land. Their “cellos” are very tasty (Lemon Ice is our favorite) and samples are available on Fridays and Saturdays.  While probably not a destination trip, we do recommend stopping if you are in the neighborhood.