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Trip Report Spring Break in Savannah with 2 teens

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Over the years, I have gotten lots of good advice from other Fodorites, so thought I would send this trip report. Hopefully it will help someone who is planning their own!

Trip to Savannah 4/4/10 to 4/10/10

We took the red eye from Seattle,picked up the car at the Charlotte NC airport and drove to Savannah, a trip of 5 hours. It was warm and sunny ,a real treat after our cool drizzle.
We stayed at the Marriot Courtyard, on the edge of the historic District and it suited our needs perfectly. It had a small pool, was located in easy walking distance of all of the Historic District . We were able to stay 4 to a room and they even kindly supplied us with a mini frig and microwave so we could keep food handy for the teens. That first evening ,since it was the Saturday before Easter and the last day of the Art festival, it was difficult to get reservations. We went to Noble Fare, a fancy, very expensive restaurant, which had interesting combinations of food which were quite tasty. It was our one splurge.
We attended Vigil mass at St. John the Baptist Catholic church , a beautiful French Gothic church from the mid 1880’s, a slog at 3 hours!

4/5We had been concerned about what might be open on Easter morning, but a number of restaurants were. We ate at J.Christopher and saw several Savannah natives who we had seen the previous evening at the church. The food was southern style and delicious.
We then walked along the River Front, to watch the river traffic. There was an Easter egg hunt on one of the steamers and as we walked by, they were thanking active duty military. It was moving. There were a number of people and it was very hot and sunny.We chose to walk on the shady side of the street. It was interesting to see the old cotton warehouses with their tabby (shell, lime, sand) and old brick walls.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped in at Leopold’s Ice cream parlor, since we are all ice cream fans. They were advertising flower flavored ice creams that particular week. Apparently this parlor is quite well known and the man who started it was instrumental in making many movies as well. His memorabilia line the walls.That evening ,we had more difficulty finding a place to eat , nothing open but chain stores, so ate at Outback Steak house.

4/6We got a bit of a slow start driving to Beaufort. We ate at the buffet in the hotel, OK but wafflemaker was dysfunctional- and were finally out the door about 11:00. We drove to Beaufort and were there by noon. Beaufort is beautiful but it is difficult to find out more about the history without taking a tour.
We took an open carriage ride(1 hour, definitely worth it) and were matched up with 12 other people, Tom the driver and Pecos, the white Percheron. It was so relaxing and entertaining! Beaufort is quite old, the oldest community in the Continental US, started by the French in the late 1500’s. Lots of movies were made there, including much of Forrest Gump.
After the Carriage ride, we got a chocolate sand dollar from the Chocolate Tree, the place where the “box of chocolates” from Forrest Gump were apparently purchased; really good chocolate! Then it was off to find a lunch place, since the teens were hungry. We stopped at Luther’s, a mistake, since it took about 40min to be served and they were expensive and nothing special for the lunch. My shrimp cocktail was 8$ for 7 shrimp!
From there we drove on to Hunting Island State Park. The drive there was beautiful, through very verdant, primitive looking foliage. It looked as though one could expect a Velociraptor to pop out any minute.
The beach was full of cavorting swimmers. The wind was strong and cooled off the 85-degree temperatures but once we were in the water, it felt quite moderate. We were only able to stay about 40 min. before leaving since we had made plans for a private tour in Savannah. It took about 2 hours to return to Savannah and the way was not always well marked.
We hopped out of the car and raced to meet Michelle Freenor, (Magnoliabelles) our private guide for the evening at 6pm. The tour was great! I had asked for history, some architecture and some historical ghost stories, spare me the paranormal stuff, please ! She was so informative and told us the information we asked for as well as some tidbits about the main character in the “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” and vignettes about some of the movies made there.
The Savannhans are apparently a superstitious lot. After she discussed the beliefs that ghosts can’t cross blood or water, we saw many doors painted red or blue, or bottles of water placed in the windows. She talked about the revolutionary and Civil War, Typhoid and Yellow Fever epidemics, all the 21 squares of the historic district. We found it interesting that that remains of Green , Oglethorpe and Pulaski were not in the squares named for them.

4/7 Over the years of traveling with teens, we have learned to spend days of learning, alternating with days of outdoor activities or movies. Today we spent the day at the mall buying a swim suit, and watched the movie “ How to train your dragon “ in 3D. That evening, the kids stayed in and relaxed. My husband I went to the Mellow Mushroom and ate outside. Not too expensive, basic pizza and hoagie house.

4/8 This morning, Mrs. Wilke’s was on the agenda. We got in line about 10:00, but still were not in the first seating. A woman who had been living in Savannah, mentioned that ever since President Obama had eaten there and praised the place 3 weeks earlier, it was an even longer wait to get in than usual. They start seating at 11 am and only take cash. It was worth the wait. The food was really good, served family style, and they served a tremendous variety. On the menu was Brunswick stew, fried chicken, meatloaf, collards, cord bread, biscuits, yellow crookneck squash stewed, chunks of yam, cucumbers in vinegar, Mac and cheese, rice, stuffing, some sort of cold mixed veggies with peppers and okra, creamed corn, twice baked potatoes, baked beans, pinto beans, green beans, lima beans, carrot salad and mashed sweet potatoes.
After lunch we drove to Tybee Island. We dropped by Fort Pulaski first and took in a guided tour. Unfortunately, a tour bus had just pulled up so there were 60+ people joining us for the tour. Nevertheless, it was quite interesting. The Fort itself is a well-restored red brick, which fell to the North after only 30 hours of fighting. I heard that the video was very interesting but we didn't stay to watch.
Even though it was in the low 80’s, there was a gale blowing on Tybee which made it a bit cooler. Apparently it had been this way the whole day so we didn’t feel too badly about not arriving until 3 pm. The kids hopped in the water immediately and began to play and body surf in the strong surf. Luckily, the surf drove them farther down the beach, not out to sea. There were some jelly fish with stinging tentacles. At 6 pm., we left the beach and made our way to the Crab Shack, which had come well recommended. We had envisioned a quaint smallish restaurant, but it was quite the production, hosting several hundred people at a time, both indoors and out, with options to feed small alligators while you wait. There was a 1 hour wait so we spent the time in our car listening to our audio book.( We borrow them from the library and they are great entertainment for all of us on road trips!) They actually seated us in about 30 min and we quickly got our food. My son had snow crab and shrimp, which he thoroughly enjoyed, while husband and I shared a pound of peel and eat shrimp .He also had Appalachicola oysters, which were OK in flavor, as one would expect from big oysters. My daughter, not the fish fan, had chili. Later the other three had a key lime pie they pronounced delicious.

4/9Got up and went on the Freedom Trail tour, about Black History, saw how slaves were only identified by first names in their cemetery, We also saw the First African Baptist Church, most of which had been built at night on the one free evening the slaves had, Sunday night. Beautiful stained glass windows! Other tidbits of facts, NAACP started in Savannah, and the school there was integrated in 1965. We were shown a quilt that gave directions to the Underground Railway, with quilt squares laid out a certain way. There were vent holes in the floors of Ist African Baptist, shaped in the design of a Diamond, designating this location as part of the Underground Railroad, which went from Florida to Canada.
For lunch, we went to Angel’s BBQ. It was really delicious and there were many sauces to choose from, all of which we sampled. They also served with coleslaw and a collard green that had been cooked in a spicy peanut sauce.
The kids and hubby went back to relax at the hotel and swim, while I went shopping. Things were very expensive and I couldn’t even find a Savannah Christmas ornament that appealed to me!
I came back hankering for Red Velvet Cake so walked down MLK Street to a soul food place called “Taste of Eden". The gal at the counter asked if I would like some key lime pie as well and I enthusiastically got some for Tim. When I returned to the hotel and we looked at the carry out, we had to laugh; the key lime was a cake in the most fluorescent shade of green. The Red velvet was excellent though,just I had remembered it, and we enjoyed it while listening to the last of the audio book.
The next day we left on a very early flight. There was no difficulty getting out of the airport, which was about 30 min. drive from the historic District.

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