Thursday, March 31, 2016

Savannah & Charleston - Spring Break 2015

Let's throw it back to Spring Break last year when I was a naughty blogger.  We are on the spring break countdown for this year . . . only two more days left of school!  

So I like to take my mom on an annual trip . . .  she's at the place in life where she'd rather have experiences than gifts.  Preach.  I thought Savannah and Charleston were just the right distance to fit the bill and both have plenty of things to keep us entertained.  Getzy happily stays home to man the fort, so to speak.  Plus he had to take care of the dogs!  Oh, and he'd be bored to tears so there's that.  

Bright and early we headed out Monday morning to Savannah, GA!  It's only about 4 hours from Atlanta so a pretty easy ride . . . especially with movies and Easter candy.  Our first stop was Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room . . . a famous lunch spot.  So famous, in fact, that we waited 2 hours and 15 minutes to get seated.  That sounds nuts, and it was.  It was estimated about an hour (by the hometown dude in line in front of us) which turned into two hours.  After an hour, you just can't quit.  Right?  Tell me I'm right.
I read the reviews . . . I was warned, but I can't resist a famous spot.  Was it worth the wait?  Well, is anything really worth a 2 hour wait with a grandma and 3 kids?  No.  The answer is no.  But I do love some southern food and there was plenty of it.  It was served family style, and I think we counted 21 dishes.  Like I said, plenty. 
I should note here that they only took cash . . . never noticed that in my research although it's right on the front page of the website.  Ain't nobody got time for credit cards apparently.  And clearly we were all thrilled . . . not sure why it looks like we have attitude in this picture . . . maybe we were just beginning a food coma or the two hour wait wore us down.
It seems our mood improved once we left.  We felt bad for the poor suckers still in line because it's only open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Seriously, 3 hours and no weekends. They got a good thing going!
We did find the Mercer Williams House on some laps around the block while we took turns waiting in line.  It was made famous with the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.  We snapped a picture and called it a day because all the reviews said to skip it.  I listened, finally.
Next we headed over to the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace.  Between Mom, Amanda and myself, we had three generations of Girl Scouts represented so the boys just had to go with it.  Turns out there's some pretty cool Boy Scout history mentioned as well!  And I got my first Christmas ornament of the trip at the gift shop and mom got me a great necklace!  Score.
Now photos were allowed inside the house, but the gardens out back were lovely.  I just adore this picture of Amanda. 
So we head down to River Street after that for a riverboat ride on the Savannah River Queen!  Like one with a real paddle.  I like to keep the activities lined up and the new experiences flowing.  I did let them stop for a bite of ice cream . . . see, I'm not always a tour guide! 
Then we checked into our hotel, The Inn at Ellis Square.  We scored as this was an awesome location and right near the river.  It was very nice and clean although the bathroom was rather small.  The lobby was also small but lovely, and they did have a bar so there's that.  I may have had a drink their one night.  By myself.
Then it was off to The Lady & Son's restaurant . . . you know the one that belongs to Paula Deen.  I'd been there years ago and didn't think it was anything special, but I wanted to have my mom experience it.  She agreed.  Nothing special.  I did get my favorite Christmas ornament of the trip . . . it's shaped like a half stick of butter.  How apropos.
So off for some sleep so we can hit it hard again the next day!  First up was a Trolley Tour though the city. 
It was one of those on and off types, but we just sat for the full 90 minutes and moved on with our day.  I don't like to wait at the stops for a ride.  I got my own wheels, you know?!?  And on that note, bring lots of quarters for the parking meters. 

I bribed the children with sugar to behave, so after the ride we hit up Savannah's Candy Kitchen.  The kids thought they had found paradise.  With the Great Wall of Candy, who can blame them?
Then it was off to lunch at Clary's Café . . . a restaurant featured in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  And I'm pretty sure I never saw that movie.  I did read the book eons ago though. 
The food was pretty good and the waitress was nice.  Nothing super special, but it was quaint.  I got the Hoppel Poppel, which was basically an omelet with salami, potatoes and peppers.  Clearly I'm into health food on vacation. 

After lunch we headed to the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist because the trolley driver kept singing it's praises.  It was free so I figured what the heck?  Holy (can I  even say that in reference to a cathedral?) Moly!  I was absolutely unprepared for the beauty when I walked inside.  It would rival any European cathedral.  Just stunning.  Pictures were allowed, and I had the kids make a donation so I didn't feel guilty.  Geez, and I'm not even Catholic!  My camera and the lighting don't do it any justice, but it's a must see. 
We crossed into one of the beautiful squares and let the kids stretch their legs!  It was all so green and lovely.  Savannah is a great town for strolling and shopping . . . we didn't do much of that, but I'd love to go back with Getzy or for a girls' weekend.  We were right by the Andrew Low house . . . I didn't think the kids would enjoy another house tour so we opted for a picture instead.  I love that stuff, but can only torture my kids so much. 
Speaking of torturing the kids, I drove them out of Savannah proper to the Bonaventure Cemetery.  Seemed like an interesting thing to do so why not . . . we were running out of things to do that didn't involve shopping or house tours. 
We got a map and brochure from the Administrative Building and drove around to find the highlights.  We found "Little Gracie" . . . I think she's famous because she's a child.  This monument was sculpted from a picture taken in her Easter finery right before her passing.  So sad. 
And we also found Johnny Mercer . . . a famous song writer.  Why?  Because we darn well could.  And I do love the song Moon River, like a lot.  Didn't realize how many famous songs he penned.  Pretty cool.
Ok, enough searching for dead people, let's go find some cookies.  Trip Advisor, which is a lifesaver, btdubs, told me to check out the Byrd Cookie Company.  We went to the original on Waters St.  It was a beast to find and not worth you time.  Just fyi.  But we did get some cookies because they suck you in with a cookie tasting bar.  Honestly, they seem to have tasted better there than when we got home.
I let everyone relax a minute before dinner (why does no one thank me for these things) . . . and then we head out to The Pirate House.  That place is old and huge.  And fun!
I've heard mixed reviews about this place for sure, but we had a blast.  I don't go to "touristy" type restaurants for the award winning food . . . I go for the experience!  I mean come on, who wouldn't want some of this in their life?
They also have fun "mocktails" for kids and mine were all to happy imbibe.  They get that from their father.  Obvs.  Cheers!
My food was tasty, but you just can't go wrong with a sausage Alfredo dish, so no complaints from me on the food.  And two thumbs up to any place that has a gift shop attached . . . I got my Christmas ornament and my boys got inappropriate shirts.  
We still wanted to check out the fountain in Forsythe Park so we headed their after dark.  Safety in numbers . . . 3 kids, a grandma and one sometimes ragey middle age mama . . . nobody wants to mess with that.  It was lovely and my craptastic pictures do not do it justice.  
The next morning it was up and at them so we could head about 90 minutes up the road to Charleston, South Carolina.  I had never been so was excited to see some place new.

The first stop was Boone Hall Plantation.  My mom and I love to do these kinds of tours, and I can get away with them for the kids because there is so much room to run and goof off.  This was our view on the way in . . . 
Those trees.  And the Spanish moss.  I love it.  Speaking of trees, we found some awesome ones for climbing and picture taking.  
It's so special to get to take these trips with my mama . . . she's such an amazing grandma.
The Plantation house itself was lovely, but the wait for the house tour got a bit hot.  I'd say the house was the least exciting part of this whole experience.  
We walked the property and listened to an interesting talk on Gullah culture.  I sort of knew what it was about so it was cool to hear more.  
I love to see all three of my children getting along and taking care of each other . . . melts my heart.  
The live oak trees lining the drive were simply spectacular.  It would take 200 years for a tree planted today to grow to this beauty.  Amazing.  
Boone Hall is located on Highway 17, which is a famous area to buy the Sweetgrass baskets that are typical in Charleston.  These are handmade and unique.  You pay for the skill and beauty. My mom has one from her father that is an antique so I wanted one of my own!  I did some hard negotations, which is expected, and am the proud owner of a beautiful piece of art.  
The next morning I had hired a small van to give us an air conditioned tour of Charleston.  I knew mom couldn't stand the heat and the walking so this seemed like the best option.  It was way longer than expected because our tour guide was awesome and loved history . . . fine by me. 

We had lunch at Another Broken Egg . . . and down the block Amanda and Kyle had fun doing the (rubber) duck races!
The absolute highlight of Charleston was our carriage ride.  We had a lovely gentleman for our guide, it was a gorgeous day and I laughed until I cried.  Why you ask?  
We had to pull over at certain times to allow cars to pass on the more narrow streets.  When that would happen, our guide would take the opportunity to share little facts about the area. We were all quietly listening to his historical tales when all of a sudden, one of the mules starts to pee . . . which is quite impressive just by itself because it sounds like a waterfall.  But before the mule is done, he lets out the fart to end all farts . . . like even the tour guide had to stop because it was so ridiculously loud and long.  Then he said it was the largest mule fart in history. And like the immature teenage boy that I am, I laughed.  Then I laughed some more.  Then I cried because I was laughing so hard.  I would then think of it later and laugh.  It was truly one of those things that will live on in family lore forever.  
Mom was done with the hustle and bustle of Charleston so I decided to venture out to Folly Beach for the evening.  We stopped to grab a bite to eat at Loggerhead's.  And then I about fell out of my chair when my mother ordered a beer.  Get it Granny!
I then decided to let the kids run amock at the beach . . . they needed to get some energy out.  And can I just tell you how much I love this photo . . . so much of their personalities are shown here!
Truth be told, my mother hates the beach.  But I knew the kids would love it, and I love nothing more than the beach at sundown.  

We headed back to Atlanta the next day.  It's about a six hour drive so we didn't make any stops except to eat and potty.  We wanted to make it home before heavy afternoon traffic in Atlanta, which translates to 'you have about a four hour window mid day' before rush hour starts again.  

I'm truly blessed to have a mom willing to take adventures with me and kids who are so much fun and great travel companions.  Here's to making more memories together!



  1. I love a good cathedral (and yes, i'm Catholic! :) :) :) )!!! So much history down there, I'd love to see it someday. Heat, what's that?!? I'm so over the chill here in Iowa, Spring is taking it's sweet time getting here. Glad you had such a great trip!

  2. You run a tight trip ship, just like me! LOL

    Charleston & Savannah are both on my list.

  3. wow, what a crazy trip. i can't believe that wilkes place, 2 hours?! but it really does look like a lot of food. i love when random things like that make you laugh super hard though, and i would love to go on a carriage ride one day. actually, i'd love to go to any of these places lol

  4. two of my fave cities--i grew up 2 hrs from savannah, so i went there often. charleston is my fave. i'll be there in august!

  5. Just found this post and your blog! We are headed to the south later this summer and Charleston and Savannah are back on our list for second your charming southern towns! We will be going to Palmetto Bluff for the first time.....can't wait to visit that super cute town! And then we are off to Sea Island for a week. I picked up some great ideas from your post as I have teens as well. I need to scroll through more of your travel posts!

    1. I'm so glad you stopped by . . . I hope you have a fabulous vacation!! The south is full of great little towns to explore!!

  6. Only downsides here was that I’m not sure if they were expecting such a crowd as they did not have nearly enough servers and sometimes it would take a really long time for service guy to come. But at venue Houston TX they tried to keep a smiles on their face.