Monday, July 2, 2018

The First Official Stop on our Summer Road Trip: Savannah, Georgia!

We parked in front of this gorgeous building when we first arrived in Savannah.
We put money in the meter and got out and walked around.
Little did we know, we wouldn't leave the city until very late that night. It was too beautiful to 'just stop-and-go.'

There are two types of road trips. The first is the one you take with one destination in mind, which usually entails trying to get from point (a) to point (b) in the shortest amount of time. The second type, is where you stop along the way, whether it is to pre-determined places or destinations that tickle your fancy along the way. We opted for the tickle-your-fancy choice, and what a trip it's been! Part of the joy is being unplugged. No phone (unless using the GPS) and all that time in the car together is why the word amazing was created. There's just something cool about taking a summer road trip. Our first on-a-whim stop, Savannah, Georgia.

What a lovely day to take a walk, and look at those sidewalks!
I'd heard about Savannah before (who hasn't?), and two of my grown children have been there, one as recently as a year ago. I have also read about it on blogs, and in travel review/books/ I did have a general idea of what we were getting into (old southern charm, a slower pace, beautiful trees, etc.).

There were tour trolley cars running like crazy, and we considered booking one, but opted in the end to 'do it on our own.' Once we saw the scenery, we knew we wanted to see everything up close and personal, and not just passing it by on a streetcar (not to impugn the loveliness of trolley tours, which are informative and restful, for sure). The first thing we noticed is there were a lot of ways to get around Savannah, including horse drawn carriages, bicycle taxis (pedicabs), the aforementioned trolley tours, traditional driving and walking. We did a combination of the last two with the walking being far preferable to the driving, so we only drove when we were ready to explore another entire area of this great city. The weather (mid-June) was absolutely perfect. 

Turns out we'd stopped close to Jones Street, one of the most famous streets in the town (voted most beautiful street in the US by Southern Living), and very close to the Historic District (information we learned from a passing open-window trolley tour that passed us by).

The cobblestone streets were charming!! The building were huge, and very beautiful. The feel everywhere we went, was peaceful and calm. I loved our stop in Savannah so, so much!

We ran into quite a few squares and places with signs, which helped us better understand what it was we were looking at while we were there. Chatham Square, like everywhere else was a beautiful little 'square' or area filled with gorgeous moss-covered trees, perfected landscapes and surrounded by beautiful architecture (homes and businesses). 

This is a typical view while you're walking through the squares of Savannah. It's very laid back, and quiet, much like a Sunday morning should be, but you experience it no matter what day of the week it might be. Peaceful looking? You betcha...and the cars wait for people, horses, bikes, etc. to pass, which to me, is amazing. ;)

We stopped and took some pictures of things we thought were interesting, like this Armillary Sphere in Troup Square (also in the historic district).

We later found out that Savannah is home to some of the world's most beautiful churches. We stumbled across one purely by accident, but I knew from the twin spires we saw coming up from behind that it was special before we even made our way to the front.

Church Bells ring all throughout the day, adding to the allure of the city (comforting to me because I remember church bells ringing throughout my city when I was a small girl). Mass was in session when we arrived so we were unable to tour. I've since looked the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist up online, and it's a shame we didn't get to go inside because it looks like it would have been a church to remember.

A walk through the historic and Victorian districts of the city will leave you in awe. Those are some mighty big, and beautiful homes and businesses to clean (what?? it would take a small army!) but they are absolutely delightful to visit. Even the apartments were charming, with individual, very tall wrought iron gates in front of the entryways to their front ground level or basement entry doors, or (sometimes spiraling) concrete steps leading to their higher floor entries.

Don't miss Fosyth Park: 30 acres of well-shaded fun
When we decided to move on, we got in the car to see what else we might come across. It wasn't long until we arrived at Forsyth Park. We immediately parked and got out of the car. This is the largest park in the historic district of Savannah. There are 30-acres of land to roam.

Forsyth Park was the highlight of Savannah for my 10-year-old!
There were so many things to see here, including statues, monuments, a splash pad, space to play games like volleyball (and people were!) and history, history, history.

The trees Savannah is famous for were everywhere, and the moss-lined walkways were just lovely. I sat under the shade of them for a good portion of the time while my son went crazy in the kids' parks. Such a lovely stop to break up the long cross-country (albeit south to north) car ride.

There was a big park for the older kids with higher climbing structures, slides, swings, etc. I did take a break from my break and join my son on the swings. Had to see if I could still get higher than him, which I totally can. The best part of that is how hard he laughs when I'm swinging next to him. No idea why it makes him laugh so much, but whatevs., I like it. :)

Points of interest lined the walkways, including oversized instruments that you could play.

A park within the park was sectioned off for smaller kids. We took a stroll through, but most of the things, outside of this swing, my son had outgrown.

Just like everything in Savannah though, it was the things we passed while walking that made us feel so happy. The musician above was one of many in the park. There were also painters, artists, singers and more. The area was so big that they all had their own space, and no one was aggressive in their approach to get money. They simply had a container in front of them for you to donate, and if you wanted to you did, and if you didn't, no worries at all. Every artist we passed was very good at their craft, and we did donate to one in particular; an older man who was singing "Amazing Grace." It was beautiful, so beautiful in fact, that I sat down on the park bench to hear it in its entirety. I was glad we got there at the beginning of the song.

 We took the long way around the park to get back to our car...seeing these houses along the way, I was glad it was the choice we made.

I can totally see myself enjoying a game of checkers with one of my kids on this porch (or chess if we are talking about my grown boys). If these are the houses, I cannot help but wonder what the plantations must look like.

So this was the first time we thought we were leaving. It was getting late in the day, so we decided to get some lunch and then head back to the road. It had been a beautiful visit. We ate lunch and it was such good food (a theme we got used to in the city).

Anyway...we headed out, and I somehow took a wrong turn. I have no idea how we got looped around (well, yes I do, my navigtional skills when the GPS is off are minimal at best, lol). I headed out, following signs to the highway and ended up on the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. It did not take me out of town, but rather to a little island area. I knew I had to turn around, so I turned on the GPS. As I was driving back over the bridge, I decided we might as well go to the train museum that we had passed earlier in the day. I'm a sucker for a steam train, and so that's what we did.

It was worth the stop. The Georgia State Railroad Museum has several hands-on areas, and allows you to get up close and personal with the locomotives that are there, and from the past (via photos and historical recounts). 

You can catch a ride too, on a historic steam or diesel locomotive (be sure to check the schedule).

The Savannah Visitor's Center was right across the street and it looked interesting, so we stayed parked at the train museum and walked across the street. That was a good decision too!

There was all kinds of things to do while we were there, and we spent a good amount of time inside.

Some of the things were free, some had a very nominal fee. This is also the only place I stopped on this leg of our trip to get postcards, which I mailed by the way, from one of the gift shoppes (where they had a stamp machine sitting just outside of it).

By the time we left, it was getting close to dinner time and we were hungry again. I remembered my 2nd oldest telling me about the water, and realized we hadn't seen it yet. So... instead of heading back to the highway as was our original intent, we went to find the water district. Oh boy... it was lovely.

One of many great dinner options within walking distance of the water district in Savannah.
Parking here wasn't as easy to get as it had been earlier in the day, but it was fine because there were huge parking garages. This restaurant was right outside of where we parked, and we walked over. The menu was chock full of good food, and you can get the famous Savannah Fried Chicken here (the boy likes chicken). We didn't eat there, opting to go somewhere a little less formal. After we got to our destination though, I found out this restaurant is pretty famous in Savannah.

There was a lot of history in this area too. Again there was information to read to let you know what it was you were looking at while you were there. And I know this post is getting long, but there was a lot to see and do in this city. And this is only one day!!! Imagine what we could have seen and done if we were staying for a few days.

 It was like a whole different world here. Things were still beautiful, and safe, and peaceful and happy but they were a little more face-paced. There was a live DJ playing music. He was improvising the words to popular songs over the microphone and that was making my son laugh.

This sphere was interesting so we went down to check it out. It turned out to be a World War II Monument "made of bronze and copper, split in two to symbolize the division between the European and Pacific theaters of the War."

The names of the 527 Chatham County servicemen killed during the war are written on the walls. 

River Street had a lot of things to explore. There were shops, restaurants, inns, etc., and of course the view was beautiful because it was on the water.

If we had been there for more than just that day, I'd have booked a boat ride for sure. They had all kinds of ferries and different boats running.

This paddle boat in the background definitely looked like it served dinner! I'm not sure if it went out on the water or not, but I suspect that it did. The ice cream in his hand came from the shop below (one of many on the street).

See the tracks for the trolley running right through the cobblestone?

That ran through the streets by the water too. The cars shared the streets with it, like it was a common thing...which it was/is, of course. So cute, practical, and oh so Savannah.

There were several ways to get from the mainland to Savannah's River Street. One was iron steps. Of course we had to try those. Where do you see iron stairs outside of fire escapes attached to buildings?

The stone steps were my favorite way though. They had a great cool factor, I guess because they were unusual.

We went to Morrell Park which was down by the water too. This is the home of the Waving Girl Statue, which we were on the lookout to find. There were signs everywhere saying, "Waving Girl this Way," so we were naturally curious.

And there she was in all of her waving glory. The Waving Girl is based on the story of a girl who used to wave to the ships that were coming in, and she did so for many years. Her brother was the keeper of the lighthouse.

I always like to see the tugboats when I'm on the water. I don't know why, it just appeals to me. This one didn't have a load to carry but he did have an identical friend right behind him. 

The water was beautiful. It was a wonderful day and evening in Savannah, Georgia. I suspect we will return, only when we do it will be with a booked hotel and a few days to stay and explore.

Practical Things for Travelers to Know:
  • Parking is Abundant everywhere in the city
  • Meter parking is reasonably priced (and free at certain times)
  • Parking by the area with water isn't as easy as everywhere else, but there are huge parking garages that don't cost much at all to use and are close to everything.
  • Parking and ditching the car is preferable, so you can enjoy Savannah in all of its glory
  • There are panhandlers in the squares and parks but they are not aggressive and are usually performing a service, for which you can pay them if you'd like (such as singing, drawing, playing an instrument, etc.)
  • If you are going to take a hop-on/hop-off trolley tour, the trollies run all of the time and the stops are plentiful
  • Southern charm and true hospitality is everywhere!
  • The food is great!
  • There are events going on all over the city. Investigate and see what will be going on while you are visiting.
  • It is very family-friendly. Bring the kids!
  • There are so many areas to explore. Stay a few days!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm glad you finally got to go. The river street has some great restaurants. Never been to the train museum though.
Did you take any ghost tours? They are a lot of fun.

Sandee said...

A place I would love to visit.

Your son is handsome and he's sure growing up.

Have a fabulous day. ♥

mail4rosey said...

hmm...I can't reply individually anymore. Wonder why? In any case, thank you, Sandee, and yes he sure is growing like a weed! And no, Alex, we didn't, but we're definitely going back at some point to explore more. What a great place!

Melissa Chapman said...

This looks like such a picturesque travel experience! So many architectural treasures. Your post has inspired me to consider booking a trip there! also what a handsome son you have!

Stacie said...

Savannah is such an awesome city! We go there whenever we get the opportunity. It's a gorgeous place.

redheadmomblog said...

It looks like you and your family are having an amazing trip! I would love to go to Savannah, Georgia someday!

Danielle Smith said...

Option #2 seems to be us when we're on a road trip. What better place for you to stop than Savannah, Georgia! Such a beautiful and historical city!

Bill Sweeney said...

Lots of historical sites to visit in Savannah. You made a great choice on your first stop on your road trip.

Pat Hatt said...

haha I was thinking it would take a ton of people or weeks on end to clean some of those places when I read it. A stamp machine outside is a nice touch for the postcards. Sure looks like quite the spot to go enjoy, and relax in indeed. And no pushy panhandlers is a win. Having a roadtrip with no destination in mind is fun, unless you end up in the deep dark woods lol Swing away too!

-Joan Cajic said...

I love such road trips, we are waiting for my son to close school then have a nice road trip too for a weekend getaway.

AiringMyLaundry said...

Gorgeous! I've always wanted to go here. I enjoyed looking at all your photos. I'm all about history, so one day I hope to make it to Savannah.

Mom Knows Best said...

I remember visiting this place as a kid. My mom wanted to see all the old houses.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Savannah is one of my favorite places, too. Lots of favorites down that-a-way, matter of fact.

It cracked me up when you wrote something about having to clean those places. I'm the same way. Whenever we see these huge gorgeous houses, my hubby always asks if I'd like to live there, and I always say no. Geez, I don't want to have to wash all those windows and scrub all those bathrooms!

Reviewz & Newz said...

Do the trolley tour!! It runs until late evening and there are 20+ stops. You can get on and off at your leisure.i love Savannah.

Sarah-Louise Bailey said...

I can't imagine what it must be like to take a road trip in the US - so different to driving across England! It seems like you have had an amazing first stop your photos look fab so much history!

Elephant's Child said...

It looks amazing. Thank you for taking us along as well.

Kelly Reci said...

I think it's so cool that you got to go on Jones street. So cool that it got voted one of the most beautiful streets in the US. I had no idea that was a thing!

Tamara Camera said...

Ohh! It takes my breath away. I haven't been there in 15 years but it's so memorable to me. Such history and beauty.

Theresa Mahoney said...

I have always wanted to visit Savannah, and it's even on our short list of places we'd like to relocate to when the girls have fled the nest. This post just solidifies my decision to add it to our list. I do think Jason and I will make a solo weekend trip there in the next year or two to check things out for ourselves, but I had a fun time "exploring" Savannah with you here today!

Rose Ann Sales said...

Wow! Such a very stunning photos. It looks like a nice place to visit and exploring it is a great experience and looks like a lot of fun!

The Mommyhood Life said...

I have had Savannah on my bucket list for years, and I drive past it all the time to go to Charleston. This gave me the push, I'm going to start planning the trip!

Tara said...

I hope to take the family on a road trip across Canada soon and just stop where we want to stop. Most of our road trips, as much as I love them, are straight to the destination. Our kids don't love that part, so we'll make it more about stopping to check out the places. Loved your photos, it is like we were there with you.

Heather Jones said...

Wow, you guys really had fun! We just did a trip like this that I'll be blogging about soon. I have to say Savannah is beautiful in the summertime. Some of those houses remind me of the building architecture of parts of Lousiana and some of Seattle. What great memories you'll have, which is the best part!

Catvills said...

I love all the greenery around! The historical landmarks are a must visit too. We haven't traveled that far south, but I wish we could soon!

Kelly Reci said...

Wow!Very stunning photos and such a beautiful place. Your kid seems like having a great time during your trip.

Dogvills said...

What a beautiful place! I would love to take a ride in one of those locomotives! Oh and those beautiful parks! I could sit there all day and just enjoy life!

Emma Riley said...

I have never been in this place but it looks like a nice place to visit and seems that your kids love it so much.

Cristina Coroiu said...

Wow. This looks like a place I would love to visit. So calm and full of nature I love that fountain. It looks amazing.

Emma Riley said...

Wow! Amazing and stunning scenery. Loved the nature theme of the place. Hope to visit this awesome place someday. Thank you for sharing this to us.

Karamel KC said...

I love road trips. This looks like a great stop to make looks very peaceful.

Thanks for sharing!


Jessi Joachim said...

My sister in law just got back from Savannah and it looked like she had a blast! I have been wanting to take a trip up that way soon!

Jessica Taylor said...

Savannah is one of my favorite places to visit! I have family near there so I try to go as often as possible.

Echo A said...

Oh man, Savannah is way up there on my bucket list. Along with Tybee Island! So much beauty and history!

Nina said...

i am happy to hear that you got the chance to visit there. i hope to go there one day, lovely scenery

Angela Ricardo Bethea said...

That place looks beautiful and has plenty of amazing sceneries as well. I'm more of the unplanned road trips, to go where the road leads but at the end of the day when traveling to far away places preparing beforehand is a must.

Katrina Gehman said...

oh wow, looks like a blast. ive been to GA but never Savannah. Now i really want to go.

Becca Wilson said...

There are so many gorgeous and historic spots in Georgia. I have never been to Savannah but I would definitely love to go one day!

The Super Mom Life said...

I have always wanted to go to Savannah, GA! It's such a beautiful, historical town.

Chatty Crone said...

I have been in Ohio visiting my other family so I have not been able to comment, but I am back.
I have been to Savannah many times - and have stayed the night - but I didn't see what all you did.
How did you find all that and in just one day?
I bet the two of you are great walkers.
Do you know Paula Dean lives there and they have some restaurants there?
And I had no idea that John Wesley was buried there and I am a Methodist.
Learn something new everyday.
It was a wonderful tour.
Thanks, sandie

Joanna Davis said...

Savannah looks lovely, very quite, with a beautiful architecture. Lucky you took that wrong turn, you ended up seeing the museum, which wasn't on your itinerary before.

What Corinne Did said...

Savannah looks like a great city and amazing ti visit! those trees... so beautiful! and the houses are gorgeous! loving the architecture!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

It's been years since I've been down there but I remember it was a lovely city.

Lavanda Michelle said...

This looks like such a nice place to visit. Everything is so pretty. Thanks for sharing! :)

Holly Hood said...

You have great pics. This looks like a great place to visit.You make me want to see Savannah.

Terra Heck said...

That sphere sculpture is neat and the trees are beautiful. Looks like a lovely place to explore.

ANOSA said...

I like the second option of stopping along the way, it makes for a more fun road trip. Sounds like you guys are having a lovely time.

Binky said...

Looks like a very picturesque city.

Waren Jean Go said...

Wow! Looks like you had a wonderful time. I hope to visit Savannah next year too. Great to have some reference before I go.

Blue Grumpster said...

Georgia sure is pretty.

Happy 4th of July, Rosey!

Nina Kasper said...

Savannah is such a beautiful place with so much history! I would love to go for some of their haunted tours!

Hey Sharonoox said...

This looks like a lovely place to visit. We love historic town with lots of fun activities to do. I'd be adding this to my travel list. Thanks!

Kiwi said...

I am from Ga and Savannah is a perfect little get away. I been several times and it is a little history and authentic southern charm still lingering there.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosey - looks amazing and obviously you had one fun filled day - and it's going back on your list for another look around sometime. Loved all the photos - cheers Hilary

Ai Sakura said...

I love all the history and old buildings there!! Wish we could take more road trips and have places to explore like in the US over here haha

Ai @ Sakura Haruka

Hannah Marie said...

I will try to do the same unplugged tour, when we travel out of town. This will be great, so that all of us can get to enjoy our time together.

Princess Quinn said...

Looks like you all had great time together. I will include this on my travel list next time.

Vidya Sudarsan said...

So historic! We have never been to Georgia. From looking at your photographs, I can see us relaxing in such a peaceful looking town.

Olga Zak said...

Wow! Looks like you had a wonderful time.This looks like such a nice place to visit.Thanks for sharing.

alissa apel said...

No fair! I miss it. Well I don't miss the even worse allergies I had there. I think living there is some of the issues I have today. It's so full of history. Such a charming place! I love how the school recruits from all around the world. It's much more diverse than anywhere else I've lived. The Spanish Moss is pretty, the century plant bloomed while I lived there, the Mmagnolia's are way bigger and prettier there than here, I dig the cobble stone streets - except the fact that my mom had trouble walking on them, and more!

I think the rain, mold, and all things that bloomed there is what hurt my allergies. I do so bad with rain even here. It's worse than when I was growing up. :(

alissa apel said...

One more thing: I lived off Bull Street. Just as you head out of the historic area. My roommate and I lived in a basement of a renovated house. There were 3 levels. Each level had someone else living there.

I don't miss the spiders that were as big as the palm of my hand. I could do without the roaches too. I'm not a freak about bugs, but those were everywhere. I was worried about the spiders because I didn't have health insurance for a few months. Yikes! Most bugs I found interesting. Like the algae on the park bench that got up to move. Then there was the 2 headed bug that I found out were bugs that mated one whole season. Crazy!

HotMess Mom said...

I’ve actually been here, and I loved the colonial houses. These pictures are beautiful!

Tereka McCollum said...

Never been here, but it's refreshing to see such beautiful scenery right here in the US. Absolutely loved your pictures and he houses... wow.

jjmon2012 said...

I don't know how you saw all you did in one day. But you and your son are making memories that you will talk about for a life time. There is nothing like southern food and southern accents. Your pictures makes me want to be there.