Snowbird profile : Bill and Donna Scott

Winter 2008 CSANews Issue 69  |  Posted date : Dec 23, 2008.Back to list

About a dozen or so years ago, Bill and Donna Scott started looking for a spot to spend a little time away from Ontario's normally unpleasant weather in November. They wanted to go south, yes, but not as far south as the popular beaches and attractions of Florida. Too long a drive, said Bill. He added that he didn't mind driving, in fact, he enjoys it. The Scotts looked on the computer and came up with the idea of going 'just a little bit south of North Carolina'. The song that Johnny Mercer wrote with that title didn't occur to the couple, but the area seemed about right. Bill could drive there from their home in Guelph without an overnight stop.

By going online, they arranged a stay at Kingston Plantation and signed on for their first Myrtle Beach experience. They had actually been on a visit to friends for a short stay at Surfside Beach, just south of Myrtle. Then the Scotts set about finding a place to which they could return, which they did for most years following. Bill and Donna decided to rent a condo through Sea Watch, a development that is share-owned and managed by Wyndham Resorts. This time, they chose a three-bedroom unit.

"The prices are very reasonable" he said. "Units, depending upon the size – two or three bedrooms – run from $1,100 to $1,300 for a month in November. It meets all our requirements at this stage of our lives." To this point, the Scotts have only committed to one month a year at Sea Watch, although they have considered staying through November to the end of February. "We have not done that as yet, but may in the future. I still enjoy winter."

In his working career, Bill was an educator, rising through the academic system from teacher, to high school principal, retiring 14 years ago as superintendent of schools for the Upper Grand school board. He still has many community ties in Guelph. He is an active member of the Rotary Club and is involved with four or five other activities, including volunteer work with the hospice. "Being away from the city for long periods of time tends to get in the way of those other interesting things that I do...things that are beneficial for us and for others." Bill also curls, and claims that he actually enjoys Canadian winters. But he does not enjoy Novembers, which is why we found him in South Carolina in order to have our conversation.

Not that they don't go away when the frost starts to bite. They have a daughter who lives in Texas, so they have visited her for two or three weeks in the Lone Star State. And she, in turn, has shown up in Myrtle Beach for a short stay at the Scott condo.

Myrtle Beach is known as the golf capital of the world so, naturally, I presumed that Bill and Donna are golfers. Bill says that he likes to call himself a golfer because of his expertise at the game. Then he confesses that he would be less than honest to give himself that name. He carries a handicap of around 18 or 19. "I like to golf often, every second or third day we are here. We have it set out to be amicable within the family. I have a day that I golf, next day is Donna's and she calls the agenda for that day. Then we have what we call a down day; whatever is going to happen, happens. Sometimes I golf on that day too. Oftentimes we just sit around the pool and read."

I asked Bill if he thought that maybe the Scotts would have a place of their own. The answer was quick and definite. "No. Never. I am not interested in owning. While we thought about it, I didn't want to be tied to one spot." Aside from golf, the Scotts enjoy going out to dine quite a lot. Bill: "There are four excellent live theatres. We go to movies. It's a shopping mecca. Donna does all of our Christmas shopping here. It's an appreciable saving. A huge saving. We have other friends here, so we play cards quite often. We do a lot of beaching and pooling and relaxing as you might expect. It's almost a lazy lifestyle."

There are four other couples from Guelph at the resort, so that makes 10 people with whom Bill and Donna socialize. "One year, there were seven couples from Owen Sound here, so we have lots of companionship."

I wondered who looked after their home in Ontario while they were down south. I was told that a neighbour comes in to do a walk-through to make sure that all is well. He monitors and records the visit for insurance purposes. He doesn't charge. It's just goodwill within the complex. As for keeping up on Canadian news, the Sun Times – a local paper – has a small section devoted to Canada and once a week, a larger summary of Canadian news.

There is no doubt about it. Bill and Donna Scott are very pleased with their November visits to South Carolina's Myrtle Beach.