From: Savannah walking tour & guidebook, Heather Docalavich-Bruemmer
From: Savannah walking tour & guidebook, Heather Docalavich-Bruemmer
I left about 9:30 after stopping by my Wallgreen's to pick up some prescriptions.
I took the Florida turnpike North as far as possible before cutting over to I95 N.
The weather was moderately good with the occasional short thunderstorm or rain.
I got to Ormond Beach about 1:30. I had seen my motelthe Scottish Inn from the freeway before exiting but couldn't find it. I pulled over for a couple of minutes in a very heavy rainstorm then called the motel from a gas station/convenience store that turned out to be just down the road. I was checked in and unpacked by 2.
The motel was niceespecially considering the low rate I was able to get. It is in an area that has all the benefits and drawbacks of being near a major freeway interchangelots of motels, gas stations, restaurants & fast food places, some chain stores, but not much else.
I hadn't eaten yet, so I headed S on US 1 to check out the area. US 1 in that area is a bit odd and mixed. There were several nice churches and lots of places whose signs said they were saloons, and many of them looked rather like dives.
I had lunch at a Krystal, a fast food chain I'd heard of but never been to. I'd say they're the closest competitor to White Castle.
It was raining again, so I headed back to the motel to stretch out for a bit. I stopped by a Wallgreen's I'd passed to pick up a couple of things I'd forgotten to pack. I'd left a couple of them on my bathroom counter.
The rain had stopped by 4 PM so I headed on over to the beach to take my walk. I drove all the way down US 1, which the motel was on, into Daytona Beach, then took International Speedway Blvd over to the coast, then turned North on A1A. I recognized many places I'd seen or been to when I went to Daytona for a Florida Library Association meeting many years ago.
I drove up A1A to a very nice beach park in Ormond Beach, where I left my car. Even though it was quite a bit cloudier and a bit drizzly on the coast than it had been at the motel, I walked North along the beach for about half an hour, then turned around and walked back to the park. I cut over to the street and walked down the sidewalk for the last 15 minutes, though.
Since I had walked up the beach, I wasn't sure of my landmarks or how far I had to go when I was walking along the sidewalk. I was really glad to recognize the sign for a place I had passed on the beach side, and finally saw a couple of places I knew were across the street from the park. I asked a couple of cops who were there if there was a quicker way back to my motel than reversing how I got there. I followed their directions but at first missed my turn because it turned out they had both given me different names for the same streetone had said US 40 and the other called it Grenada, a street near the motel I'd passed on the way in, and the street sign only said US 40.
When I got back to the motel, I went back down the street to the Wallgreen's again. When I had unpacked I noticed that I wouldn't be able to plug my alarm clock in where I could see it from the bed, so I picked up an extension cord and some snacks.
There was a BBQ place just up the road from the motel, so I walked over and had some of the best BBQ I have had in yearsI had a wonderful beef brisket, some good pork, and a side order of Brunswick stew. Lots of very good food, for moderate prices.
The weather in the morning was the best all day.
I woke up about 8 AM, and was packed, checked out and on the road by 9. I was through Jacksonville by 10:30. Once again I noticed that as soon as you cross the border into Georgia you know you're quite a bit more North of where I live in S Floridayou immediately start seeing signs that say "Bridge ices before road" or something similar.
Somewhere not far North of the border I stopped at the country store in Eulania for some peaches, peach bread, peach cider and some jam, since I knew my room at the motel would have a fridge and a microwave. One of the kids who helped me at the fruit stand was going to college in Arizona, and was a bit worried about the heat there. I told him if he could handle summer in Georgia, with the heat and humidity, he'd be fine.
I was at the exit for my motela Travelodgein Richmond Hill, exit 87, about noon. The motel is in the same kind of area, with the same benefits and disadvantages, as where I'd spent the night before in Ormond Beach.
I checked in but my room wasn't ready yet. I had seen a restaurant called Southern Image just down the road from the motel advertising a Southern family-style buffet, so I went there for lunch and had the very nice buffet.
I kept going the same directionSouthon US 17 and found somewhere to pick up some drinks and snacks. I went back to my motel and unpacked.
I headed in towards Savannah about 2 PM along US 17. I stopped at a very nice park along the Ogeechee River in Richmond Hill, not far from the motel, along the way. US 17 isn't a bad roadit's a very interesting mix of occasional strip malls and businesses along a rural highway, very similar to places I've driven through back in Oregon and Washington.
I got a bit lost downtown but soon fond the Visitors' Center. By then it was raining again, with a couple of severe thunderstorms. I decided not to go on any of the bus tours, which Mom and I had done when we were there two years ago. I did buy a collapsible umbrella to put in my pack, though.
I also decided not to do my first walking tour that day, due to the weather. Since I was going to be in town until Friday, I hoped that I'd have better weather to do the three tours later that week. I drove around town for a bit, then headed back to my motel about 4. I would try to find a place in the area to do my walk when it stopped raining.
I took a different route back to the motel, US 16 towards I95. There was an accident on 16 just outside of town, which took over 45 minutes to get past. When I finally got to I95 I accidentally turned North instead of South, and had to double back at the next exit.
Before going back to the motel, I stopped off to pick up some paper plates and plastic utensils to use with my peaches and peach bread.
It had stopped raining about 6 PM, so I went out for my walk. There are no sidewalks in the area immediately around the motel, so I walked through the parking lots of the motels, restaurants, and mini malls until I got to a side street. I went up that for a while, walking along the sidewalk when there was one, came back, then walked through the parking lots on the other side of the street until I got across from my motel. 50 minutes or so.
I had noticed a place called Molly MacPherson's right down the road, which turned out to be a very nice Scottish pub. I had a very lovely shepherd's pie for dinner there.
I slept very poorly. I woke up about 4:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, I think due to the traffic noises outside, until I discovered that if I turned on the bathroom light/fan it covered up most of the background noises and due to the way the room is set up the light didn't bother me too much. The fan on the AC only came on when it was heating or cooling.
I got up about 9. It was grey and cloudy and drizzly. I wasn't in a hurry to do much of anything so I just hung out in my room and read while waiting to see if the weather would improve.
I headed into Savannah about 12:30. I thought I'd see if I could have lunch at Paula Deen's Lady & Sons but when I got there, the next lunch reservation they had was after 3:00 and the earliest dinner reservation was for 8:30.
I needed to have some lunch first before I did my walking tour. I had noticed another Molly MacPherson's up the streetperhaps their original location?and really liked the way the place looked when I went in, so I ate there. I had a cup of Scotch broth and the combo plate of three appetizersa Scotch egg, 1 small meat pie, and 3 Guinness-batter onion rings. It was a very nice lunch.
I looked at the menu again while I was there and got the correct details on the nameMolly MacPherson was the great-grandmother of the 2 sisters who are the owners.
Today's walking tour, the first, took me down to and along the river front, well past where Mom and I had gone when we were there two years ago. I couldn't remember where we had dinner then, but I went into the same candy store and picked up an assortment of their made on premises salt water taffy.
The tour then took me back uphill and through several of Savannah's squares, before ending at the City Market, which I still think is a bit underwhelming. It's kind of small, only a couple of blocks long, and although there are some small shops and restaurants I think Charleston's market is much better.
I had remembered on which street the parking lot where I'd left my car was, but not at which intersection. Of course I went the wrong way at first before turning around. I'd parked in a smaller, not-city owned lot where there was a standard daily rate not an hourly one.
While I was looking for the parking lot I stopped in at a place called World of Beer, which has a huge selectionmostly bottledof beers and 23 hard ciders. I had a pint of Strongbow.
I managed to keep my panic level manageable while looking for the parking lot. I began methodically going up one street after another that intersected with the street I knew the lot was on. I soon found a one way street I recognized and knew I must have driven up it to the parking lot because I hadn't walked along it before.
It was now about 4:30, so I headed back to the motel. I planned on taking US 16 to I95 S but there was heavy traffic along 16. I saw an exit sign for US 17, which I knew my motel was on, so I turned off on to that and traffic was much lighter. The weather got much worse, however, with a thunderstorm with heavy rain.
I read a bit and hung out in my room until 7 PM, when I called Mom because I'd been hoping someone would have called to say "Happy birthday!" by then. Mom was home but Michael & Renee had gone out.
I used the wifi and my laptop to check email and Facebook, then walked up the parking lot to Steamers, a good seafood restaurant where I had a very nice dinner of broiled shrimp & scallops, Casear salad, and steamed broccoli.
Mom, Michael and Renee called about 9 to say "Happy birthday!".
I slept poorly again, waking up for a while about 4:00 AM.
It was grey & drizzly early in the morning again, and I wasn't in a hurry to get moving. I was on vacation, after all, and had all day. I could wait for the weather to improve.
It stopped raining around 10 AM, and turned out to be the best weather so far that week.
While I was looking at the website for the Lady & Sons to get their exact address & location in relation to where I was going to be doing my walking tour that day, I saw that they do indeed take reservations. I called and was able to make a lunch reservation for 2:15.
I headed in about 11:00, and took the freeways into town again. I found a city parking garage ($1.00/hour) right at the intersection where that day's tour began. As I usually do when I can, I parked on the top (5th) floor for the view.
I was able to do most of that day's tour before I had to head back to the Lady & Sons for my lunch reservation, which turned out to be on the top (3rd) floor. You can order from the menu but I chose to have the buffet, which had a moderately large selection of very good Southern food with 2 types of breada skillet cornbread and a cheese biscuitand a choice from 3 different desserts included.
I walked back up to where I had left the walking tour, when to the last few places, and was back at my car at the parking lot by 4:00. I took the freeways back to the motel, and this time there were no accidents or heavy traffic.
About 8:00 I was getting hungry again, and headed out to find somewhere to eat dinner. At first I went in the other direction up US 17 to see if I had missed anything on that side of I95, and I hadn't. There's not much past the freeway interchange, and it very quickly becomes quite rural with scattered homes, businesses, churches, and a couple of cemeteries that didn't seem to be near any churches or anything in particular.
I turned around and went back down US 17 past the motel to a Hardee's, another fast food chain I'd heard of but never been to. When I went back to my car after eating I noticed that at the end of the parking lot next to a side road there were two historical markers for places 8 and 10 miles up the road. I thought that was a bit strange of a place to have put them.
I slept very poorly again, waking up around 4:30 AM and not being able to get much sleep after that. I thought maybe the noise from the traffic on the highway was keeping me awake, so I decided I'd ask if I could switch to a room on the other side of the motel away from the traffic.
My plan was to head on over to Beaufort SC, which Mom and I had also visited when we took our trip North two years ago to see her friends in Palm Coast FL and my Aunt Peg and Uncle Carium in Charleston. Beaufort is where my Mom took a very scary fall at the Visitors Center.
I left the motel for Beaufort about 9:30. I drove North on I95 across the state border and then 8 miles into S Carolina, before heading East through the tidal flatlands and then down another road into Beaufort.
Even though I had their very nice booklet, I stopped first at the Visitors Center at the old Armory to see if I could get a smaller, folding map I could stick in my pocket while wandering around town.
I then got back on the main road into town and continued across the bridge and all the way down to Hunting Island State Park, where I went to the boat ramp and the fishing pier before stopping at the light house. I actually climbed all the way up the 167 steps and 9 landings to the viewing platform 132 feet up. That wasn't anywhere near as scary as the stairs in Blarney Castle or the Scott Memorial in Edinburgh. It wasn't as busy, there was no one trying to pass me on the stairs, and even if there had been there were railings and all those lovely landings where there was plenty of room to pass.
I was back in Beaufort by 12:30 or 1:00. I parked in the lot over by the marina. My first priority was to find somewhere to have lunch. I walked up Bay Street to the bridge, and then back down the river front to the marina. I wound up having a very nice French dip at Luther's, which started business as a pharmacy. I ate inside, because I like air conditioning, but sat at a table near the windows looking out at the river.
I wandered all over the historic area on the map for well over an hour and a half, up one street and down another. I didn't venture further afield and know I didn't see some of the places on the map, but I did see quite a bit of the town.
When I got back to my motel, I checked into a room on the other side of the building as I had asked. They only had a smoking room available, but I had bought a thing of air freshener and hoped it would be OK. It was fineI just sprayed the room with air freshener when I got in the room at first and when I came back that night.
The fireworks cruise didn't board until 9:30 but I knew that there was what would probably be a huge special event going on along the river front, so I headed back into Savannah about 5ish. I paid the citywide special event fee of $10 to park in a city lot. On street parking was free but who knows how long I would have had to look for an empty spot, or where I would have wound up? It was well worth the $10 to park in a lot that would be easy to find again, and which was only a few blocks along a main street from the river.
There was indeed a huge July 4th event going on down by the river, with probably thousands of people already there. I picked up my ticket for the fireworks cruise by 6:30, and since I had my cell phone with me to use as a clock (I had accidentally left my watch back in my motel room) I called Mom to say "Hi!".
The river front was packed. Lots of people had already claimed their spaces to watch the fireworks which were hours away. There was a stage with live entertainment at one end, and a setup with bungee-cord assisted trampolines. The kids I saw using it were doing all kinds of back and front flips.
I walked up and down the river front checking out the different restaurants before I decided to eat at Kevin Barry's, a pretty nice Irish pub. I had the Irish combo of a very good Irish stew and shepherd's pie. I didn't have much of an appetite for some reason, thoughmaybe I was a lot more tired than hungry.
After that it was a lot of just standing around waitingwaiting at first to be able to board the cruise ship (there were two of them, both fake paddlewheel steamers), then waiting for the boat to leave. There must have been several hundred people on each boat, and very little seating. I found a place along the railing that was a bit out of the main path, and just stayed there.
There was live music on the boat, a trio that played covers of mostly rock music. They were pretty good.
After the boat cast off, we went up the river towards the bridge for a bit, turned around and went the other way, turned around again and headed back and then stopped.
It turned out that we had the best location from which to watch the fireworks. We were just offshore from the grassy area (a park?) where the fireworks were being launched. I think there were at least 3 different launch sites. The display lasted well over half an hour, and had lots of different kinds and types. It was one of the best displays I've seen.
The trio kept playing during the fireworks. As I said, they were pretty good, but I do prefer it when the fireworks and the music are synchronized.
Not surprisingly the traffic was heavy getting out of town. I took US 16 out of town and was heading for I95 but decided to cut on over to US 17 again, and traffic was much lighter along there.
When I got back to my motel room, I again sprayed it with air freshener which helped a lot and made it OK. I decided I'd see how I slept after turning on the fan in the bathroom and the one on the AC (this one stayed on) for background noise and taking a Unisom.
I actually slept okay that night. The weather was pretty nice, so I checked out of my motel and headed into Savannah for my last walking tour before heading home.
The tour started at the Savannah Visitors Center/History museum/Railroad museum, so I paid to park in the lot there. One of the highlights was Forsyth Park, which is a quite large, very nice park in downtown Savannah.
I had finished the tour and was back at the Visitors Center which I wandered through before going back to my car. I was on the road South by 12:30 and home around 8:30 PM, having stopped a few times to get some gas, use a restroom, or just to stretch my legs a bit.