When trips and destinations seem so far away, there’s nothing like a road trip to remind us that it’s a small world, after all. I learned this in the summer of 2015 on my epic road trip. I reached the Grand Canyon in just 5 days or so, in a vehicle I drove. Every turn was a decision made by me every day.
This time, Mike and I took a long weekend up to Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. Charleston is about a 6 hours drive from Orlando when you factor in one stop for gas and biological needs. Warning: this post contains a lot of food talk. Because we freaking love like food.
When I close my eyes and imagine a road trip, I see beautiful, jagged mountains with snow sprinkled on top. I see dusty, brown and red rock and canyons for miles. I forget about the terrible gas station bathrooms (may I recommend Cracker Barrel), the cheesy road stop advertisements (feed baby alligators!) and all the less charming and less glamorous attributes of getting from one place to another by car. I know that driving in the Southeastern US isn’t as grand and majestic as out west, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Things picked up from there.
CHARLESTON: We got into Charleston on Saturday afternoon. The sidewalks were flooded with pedestrians crossing the roads at every which way. We stayed at the Indigo Inn, which was a small, older inn but had a really cute courtyard.
We hit the streets and found our way to Lagunitas Brewing Company which is out of CA, but has a great 3-story location in Charleston. We each had a beer to officially kick off the vacation. This may have been our favorite beer of the trip.
We walked around downtown Charleston, visited the market, sweet shop, went down by the water, and ate a cannoli cake all before going on a fun ghost and dungeon tour that evening. There’s a lot of history and a lot of ghosts! My favorite stories were about a whistling doctor who haunts an alleyway and a woman whose soul was released from a mass grave due to an earthquake. I loved the old churches and graveyards as well, not to mention the dungeon.
The next morning we went to Alton Brown’s coffee recommendation, The Rise, which is part of The Restoration Hotel on Wentworth Street. We had the most delicious Cortados! Granted it was our first Cortado each, but they were so tasty. To up my credibility, we did have one the next day that wasn’t quite as perfect. Mike and I sat and journaled and had a nice, slow morning.
After that was brunch at Poogans barbecue, where we had beer, brunch (hot fish and grits, 2-egg breakfast) and pork rinds. It was too much, but in my opinion the best thing I ate on the trip. Overstuffed.
More coffee after that at Welkin Coffee (Market Street) on our way to the Charleston Museum. It was nice to slow down and take SnapChats of creepy old dolls to send to our friend who hates clowns and dolls. That evening we Ubered to the Tattooed Moose to try the famed duck fat fries with blue cheese fondue sauce and slow roasted garlic squished over top. The fries were nice and crispy, which was a great combination of the gooey fondue sauce. Top that with roasted garlic cloves and it was heaven. We split the Duck Confit Club and OMG. I regret not getting a photo but I found a great one of the fries from Emily Nellermoe (foodspotting.com):
We planned to hit up one of the famous rooftop bars that Charleston is known for, but the dinner defeated us and we headed back to the hotel to relax. It was going to be an early morning anyway.
We headed out of Charleston early Monday morning, but not after grabbing another Cordato at The Rise. We had a 10:00 am architectural tour to make in Savannah, a two-hour drive away.
SAVANNAH: When I was a Central Floridian high schooler, my two closest friends and I fantasized about driving 4 hours up to Savannah on St. Patrick’s Day to see the green-dyed river. Having been to so many amazing places since then, that little fantasy seems so minuscule and naive. That being said, I still had never explored the place. Savannah is wonderful! It has history, charm, and, most notably, green areas! These squares are small and precise, but there are tons of them and they add unique magic to the city.
We hit the ground running in Savannah and met our architectural tour guide, Jonathan, a couple minutes after 10:00 in Oglethorpe Square. We learned a lot of Savannah history and that of its diverse architecture.
After the tour, we headed right to Zunzi’s before the line started getting long. We split the Conquistador sandwich and wanted to have something on the healthier side. We decided to share a spinach salad, which we could add meat to. We really wanted to try the South African sausage, so they topped our salad with that and smoked sausage. That was our healthy kick! And by that I mean we kicked healthiness to the curb. Check out our sammy:
The rest of the day consisted of amazing macarons and beer (the excellent Moon River Brewing Company), walking down to the riverfront, calling to see how our dogs were doing at doggie daycare, checking into our hotel, seeing the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, cute shops and tons of walking. Dinner that night was at The Olde Pink House, which had, you guessed it, amazing food. Fried chicken, flounder, biscuits, mac & cheese, grits, collards.
Our last morning in Savannah started early. Mike found a photography tour that started as the sun was coming up. This was more of an up-close tour that consisted of some history, but mostly it was a 2.5-hour photography class. I was able to get more comfortable with our new camera and we both learned a lot about composition. My brain was exhausted by the end but we took home knowledge and some good photos. Check out these works of art:
A trip can mean so many things to a person, but the most important takeaway is that they mean different things to different people. A trip can be a sense of freedom, a break from the daily grind; it could mean discovering and learning new things and even appreciating the things you have. There is no right or wrong message that is trying to reach us. Embrace what you are feeling and respect the feelings of others, as we all get something out of the trip. Next stop, San Francisco in May!