Friday, March 21, 2008

Vacation Day 5

Today was a magnificent day! For starters, we slept in which was a good thing! Our first outing took us to the Wormsloe State Historic Site. Wormsloe was the colonial estate of Noble Jones, one of Georgia's first settlers. More than 400 live oaks were planted in the early 1890s along the mile-and-a-half driveway providing for a breathtaking entrance. We learned a lot about the history of the beginnings of Savannah and were able to walk around the grounds-lots of park-like trails throughout.After a bite to eat, we headed to Tybee Island. Tybee is known as "Savannah's Beach" though it is 20 minutes from Savannah. We absolutely loved our afternoon here. It was a great way to end the week-relaxed in the sun and enjoying the sounds of the ocean!Upon returning from the beach, we got cleaned up and headed to dinner. We ate at a great Italian restaurant near the market area of Savannah and ended up at a coffee shop before heading back to the hotel. We both agreed that today was a great way to end our vacation. We'll be heading home tomorrow! We wish all of our family and friends a wonderful Easter weekend. We are so thankful for the gift of the cross!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vacation Day 4

Today we took a day trip to Charlston, SC. It was a beautiful sunny day for a drive and we enjoyed seeing the countryside (well, Justin enjoyed it more than D as she caught some shut eye on the drive!). Our first stop was Drayton Hall, a plantation. This is the oldest preserved plantation open to the public in the nation. The home has managed to stay intact over the wars and numerous hurricanes and an earthquake. During the civil war, the owner placed yellow flags outside near the river's edge so the northern soldiers would pass by in fear of the small pox. All the other plantations nearby were burned by soldiers. Before the home was donated to the historical society in the late 1960's, it had housed seven generations of the Drayton family. The last inhabitant, a woman who never married, would only return to the home for 4-6 weeks in the spring and referred to it as "camp" as the home was never wired for electricity and has never had running water. Quite the place to "camp"!
Mr. Drayton was wealthy due to his cash crop of rice. The estate today is now 600 acres.
After touring the plantation, we drove into downtown Charlston. What an amazing city! We are happy to report that we have no sprained ankles which was Deedra's fear, simply because we were gauking around at all the amazing homes and churches and the sidewalks were anything but flat! Here's a few favorite pics:
And to end with a little humor...we were hungry for pizza tonight so we took a look at the pizzerias listed in our info on Savannah. We arrived to our selected location: Fat Pat's. We quickly noticed that there was no one eating inside when we stepped in to look at the menu. There was also some pizza already prepared that didn't look so appetizing to us, so we split. I kept feeling bad about Fat Pat being disappointed that we didn't place an order, but I quickly got over that when we arrived to Vinnie Van Go Go's. Not only did they have great pizza, but we got to sit by a couple with a golden retriever named George. Two of Deedra's favorites: golden retrievers and pizza!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vacation Day 3

Welcome back to the sights of Savannah and its surrounding towns as seen through our eyes. Today we left Savannah and traveled over this bridge we've been marveling at the last two days. The thing is a monster, rising above the river and it will be really hard for us to describe but show it in pictures.Our first stop this morning was in Beaufort, South Carolina. Beaufort is one town in Beaufort County connected to other islands by bridges such as the one below. Beaufort was overtaken by the Northern troops in 1861 causing all the locals to flee. What was left behind was taken over by the left behind slaves and Northern troops trying to establish it as a town. It was important because it was a port community where the Northern troops were able to cut off the Southern troops port supplies. As you can imagine, Beaufort is a very historic town. Numerous old homes that survived the war still stand side by side throughout the quaint town. We were able to take a self-guided walking tour and learn more about some of the homes that are pictured below.In addition to the historic homes in the area, there are also historic churches. One, St. Helena's Church, was a marvel to see. During the war, the church was used as a hospital and the large flat gravestones found outside the church were used as operating tables. And a few of the homes we saw on our walking tour: One of the marinas in Beaufort:And our afternoon was spent in Hilton Head, about 30 minutes from Beaufort. We had hoped for a relaxing, warm day on the beach. Unfortunately, it was cloudy with 35 mile per hour winds. Let's just say we had sand in a lot of nooks and crannies (!) Yes, we did lay on the beach for awhile. Deedra was determined and she figured if there were others that could handle it, so could we! We lasted maybe, 40 minutes! Instead, we opted for a walk on the great trail system of Hilton Head and spent a little time at an outlet mall!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Savannah, GA Day 2

Hi friends-it's Deedra checking in again. For those of you wondering how the weather has been here, it's not as warm as we'd hoped. The high today was 70 with a breeze. It was comfortable wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt-but no shorts for us. Tomorrow is supposed to be the warmest day at 78 and we plan to enjoy it the beach! Here are a few highlights of today: We started the morning walking through the largest square in Savannah and caught a lot of beautiful pics of the park and surrounding homes. Here's just a few of my favorites.
We also took time to tour the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. This was quite a beauty.
Sitting right in town is the Colonial Park Cemetery. An interesting fact is that when the Yankee army camped here, they changed several of the numbers on the headstones.
For lunch we ate at the Pirate House. This now restaurant used to be the stopping ground for pirates. Legend is that many got so drunk, they'd be carried down to the banks of the river and put on a ship. They'd wake up the next day not knowing where they were and it would take a year or two to get back to Savannah.
Our hotel: The Inn at Ellis Square.
Midwest kids that we are, we wanted to try some southern seafood. You can imagine the laughs we had cracking crab legs and trying to figure out how to get the meat out and what to eat and what to leave behind on the plate. Let's just say Justin didn't get full so we had to make a second stop at the ice cream shop soon after! We ended our evening in the market area listening to a live band and finished preparing our details for the day tomorrow-a trip to Beaufort, SC and Hilton Head.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Savannah, GA Day 1

We arrived in Savannah this morning around 10:45. We had two fine flights and were happy to officially begin our vacation. First stop: Walmart after we remembered we forgot to grab our sunglasses out of the car back home! So, we ran into Walmart, took a photo, and were on our way to lunch at Sonic where we were then told we have "an accent!" Yes, only day 1! It took us some time to get to our hotel. We quickly found that the traffic in the historic district of Savannah can get congested (there is a little construction going on around our hotel) and there are 24 "squares" throughout the historic district that you have to "drive around". Oh, and lots of one ways-it reminds me of high school driver's ed!
This is a shot (below) of some of that wonderful construction to improve the Ellis Square section of historic Savannah. You'll notice the pool in the lower left-hand corner of the photo-that's our hotel pool. So, during the day, we could take a dip, but we'd be accompanied by some construction workers with their jackhammers nearby!
We took a trolley tour of the historic district this afternoon. One of my favorites was seeing the location that Forrest Gump sat while he was waiting for the bus to go and see Jenny (yes, it's the little things). Justin and I took a walk later tonight and I think this was the spot the tour guide pointed out earlier today. To my disappointment, there isn't a bench there...
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, who early on in his career was a leader of the Georgian religious structure. Because of my Methodist roots, it was a neat aspect for me.

Already today we saw numerous ships and barges heading up and down the riverfront.
It was interesting to see sights such as the one below. This is where the cotton was viewed for its quality to determine the market value of the load before loading the ship.
Back in the day, if people wanted to show their wealth, one of the things they would have displayed on their home was a seal/dolphin (we don't remember which!) on the rain gutters. I'm glad times have changed-I'm not a big fan!
With it being Easter week, some of the churches have wonderful signs of rememberance such as this Baptist Church below.
And finally, a few pictures of the beauty of Savannah that we've seen today.