Last week, I had the pleasure of spending spring break at my girlfriend’s family vacation rental in Darien, GA. I landed in Hilton Head International Airport late Tuesday night and we headed straight to Darien, a small coastal town with a booming commercial fishing industry. This was my first stay in a vacation rental, and after having such an amazing time, I may never look at commercial accommodations the same way again. Here are a few reasons why I fell in love with not only this home, but with vacation rentals in general.
1. The Beautiful Vintage Aesthetic of the Property
The vacation rental was perfectly tucked away at the bottom of a gravel road that is covered by a canopy of orange trees. The front porch faces the ocean and has four old white rocking chairs, making it an ideal place to relax and watch the sun set. The house is surrounded by pink azalea bushes and the back of the property has a dock leading down to Brighton Creek. At night, you can see the lighthouse glimmering in the distance on Sapelo Island.
2. A TON of Room and Privacy
The house sleeps upwards of 10 people and you are in the creek bed of coastal Georgia. How much more privacy can you get? Not to mention there was plenty of space around the house for my girlfriend's dog Annie to chase after the nearest squirrel.
3. The Unique Amenities: Shrimping Nets?!
The property not only had a dock that goes down to Brighton Creek but a barn that the owner stocked with various fishing supplies, kayaks, and canoes – perfect for a day out on the ocean. We thought it would be fun to catch and cook shrimp for dinner the first day we were there, so I got my first lesson in shrimping! After enjoying the fruits of our labor that night, we grabbed two books off the library shelves and drank wine by a crackling fire in the Oyster house. It was the perfect ending to a great day.
4. A FULLY Stocked Kitchen!
We succeeded in catching about 40 shrimp after a few arduous hours of shrimping and the kitchen had everything we needed to cook with from pots and pans to a shrimp claw that makes peeling shrimp a breeze. My girlfriend cooked Southern Fried Shrimp with Collards and Mac and Cheese as well as Shrimp and Grits for breakfast the next morning. Mmmmhmmmmmm… I want to go back!
5. The History of the Property
The house, which was part of the "Thicket" plantation, was built in approximately 1824, after a major hurricane destroyed the previous property. The owner’s father acquired the house in 1968 and moved it from the neighboring property to a lot he acquired from his uncle. While the house was in terrible condition when acquired, his family began a 15-year room-by-room restoration project. The owner’s family has vacationed at the house for the past 85 years. A guestbook rests on a table in the main hallway with entries from almost every friend or family member who has stayed at the property over the last 60 years. It was really amazing to be able to follow the history of the home through the eyes of those who have enjoyed it as much as we had.
My time at the rental was one of the most relaxing and unique vacations of my life. I previously thought "Vacation rentals seem like a good idea, but what is all the fuss about?" After my time in Georgia, I realized just how special, relaxing, and fun they can be! Vacation rentals are not just about having more space at a lower price, they're about experiencing an area like a local and having a truly unforgettable vacation with the people you love.