The Roadtrip Chronicles continues! The next stop on our Georgia tour was in the tiny little town of Americus, 3 1/2 hours and 210 miles west of Savannah. With a population of roughly 17,000, it's a small town with a big personality. Americus is home to many well-known organizations, including Habitat for Humanity's international headquarters, the Rosaylnn Carter Institute for Giving, and the Fuller Center for Housing international headquarters. As for the reason why this little community was a destination on our journey - you'll have to stay tuned! What I can say is that it met all our needs for a quiet and charming area to relax before beginning the next chapter of our journey.
1. Visit the Historic Windsor Hotel
Built in 1892, this Victorian-style hotel was designed to draw in visitors from the north during the winter months. Special architectural features included a tower and turret, 100 rooms, balconies, and an expansive atrium lobby. After joining the Best Western family and completing recent multi-million dollar renovations, the Windsor held its grand re-opening in 2010, featuring special guests former President and Mrs. Carter. Whether you choose to stay here or elsewhere, be sure to check out the gorgeous architectural details while walking downtown.
2. Work at Koinonia Farm
Founded in 1942 as an intentional Christian community, Koinonia Farm established itself on the principles of community, equality, and social consciousness. The families and visitors of the farm decided to focus their efforts on improving the poor-quality local housing, a movement that eventually formed Habitat for Humanity, and later, the Fuller Center for Housing. Today, visitors can stop by for a few hours, or a few nights, as they tour the farm, learn about the history, and even participate in daily farm operations. Retreats and conferences are also held at Koinonia, where visitors are invited to stay, work, and serve.
3. Volunteer with New Horizons
Americus is the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity, and home to the organization's international headquarters. New Horizons, an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, seeks to complete the same mission of eradicating housing and poverty issues, but works in a concentrated area, focusing on the town of Americus and surrounding communities. If you've ever wondered about Habitat for Humanity, their mission, goals, and the work that they do, visit New Horizons and experience putting the work on a local level.
4. Learn at the Global Village and Discovery Center
If you don't have time to put in a day's work volunteering with New Horizons, you can check out all that Habitat for Humanity is doing by visiting the Global Village and Discovery Center. Located at Habitat for Humanity's headquarters, this center features 15 life-size Habitat houses from around the world. Walk through the outdoor facilities and learn about the devastating effects poverty has had in communities world-wide, as well as what Habitat for Humanity is doing to provide relief.
5. Grab a drink at Thirteenth Colony Distilleries
Thirteenth Colony Distilleries is a 44,000 square foot facility in Americus and the only craft distillery in the state of Georgia. They have a range of products from whiskey to vodka to gin, and have won several gold medals for their work. Stop by for a drink (or two or three) and experience all there is to know about fine southern distilling.
Wormsloe Historic Site is a state historic site outside of Savannah, and was the next stop on our road trip through Georgia. Also known as Wormsloe Plantation, this site consists of over 800 acres, part of which was once a large estate owner by one of Georgia's colonial founders, Noble Jones. The state acquired the majority of the plantation in 1973 and opened it to the public in 1979 as a historic site. Today the area includes thousands of old live oaks, a museum, a colonial life demonstration area, and walking trails.
Having grown up in Virginia, I was quite familiar of the colonial life exhibits, such as Williamsburg and Jamestown, so I won't hesitate to say that is not the reason why I wanted to visit Wormsloe. While it was interesting to learn about colonial life in a different part of the country, the real reason I wanted to visit is actually the first thing you see before you even enter the site.
Not just a cluster or a city block, but a 1 1/2 mile long avenue that leads from the entrance gate to the heart of the historic plantation. It is one of the most well-known and picturesque areas nearby, and has an air of romance fit for a movie scene, making it one of my biggest must-sees for anyone visiting Savannah. It provided us the perfect stop about 30 minutes after leaving our B&B and we had a chance to walk the trails and learn about the history of the area before hitting the road.
If you are ever in the Savannah area, you do not want to leave without seeing this gorgeous piece of history.
In my last post I discussed the outline of a roadtrip my new husband and I took back in August. This roadtrip was a mini-moon, or as I like to say, the first of a 3-part honeymoon series (more details on that later). What we failed to realize before going into this trip was that our destination, planned activities, and time of year did not go together nicely. Georgia. In August. Hiking and camping. We were hot. Despite the heat, we had a blast and lived to tell about it.
First stop: Savannah
Where to Stay
Finding the right place to stay in Savannah was extremely time-consuming. There are endless amazing options, from Airbnbs to historic mansions to modern flats, we really struggled to find the perfect place to stay at the right price point. The struggle largely came from my never-ending desire to travel cheaply so as to do as much as possible, mixed in with the fact that this was our honeymoon and I wanted to be able to splurge at times. The heart wants what it wants and in the end I couldn't have been happier with the decision- the Historic Gastonian, part of the historic lodging series and voted the Best B & B of Savannah.
Located about two blocks from Forsyth Park, this boutique B&B is made up of two Italianate-style mansions that were built in 1868. Rated AAA Four-Diamond and recognized by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine as one of the finest places to stay in the world, I knew we picked a winner. It is also featured in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. If all the awards and recognitions are not enough to convince you, maybe the photos are.
Seeing as though we were on our honeymoon, I naturally selected the Honeymoon Suite and it's probably one of the best decisions I ever made. It is 850sq ft of luxury with an adjoining private balcony where we were able to eat our made-to-order hand-delivered breakfast, surrounded by live oaks.
What to See
The Central Park of Savannah, Forsyth Park, is comprised of 30 acres located right in the middle of the historic district. While the most notable feature is the large fountain at a crossroads of paths lined with live oaks, the park has a lot to offer. A child's play area, tennis and basketball courts, large fields for soccer, frisbee, and the Savannah Shamrocks Rugby Club, and a Fragrant Garden for blind visitors are all highlights of not only the park, but the diverse community that comes to enjoy the area.
Anyone who visits Savannah will inevitably fall in love with the architecture, but when you travel to the city with an actual architect, the love affairs goes to a whole new level. My new husband was absolutely enthralled with the endless rows of houses, dating back to colonial periods and featuring Italianate, Greek and Gothic Revival, Victorian, and more. Now I will be perfectly honest and say that most of those things mean nothing to me outside of the fact that the buildings are large, ornate, and beautiful. My favorite part was that the city embraced the natural elements, leaving walls covered in ivy and stoops blanketed with moss.
Probably the most identifying sign of a Savannah sidewalk is the drooping, swaying branches of the live oaks, covered with moss and providing shade to the heat-soaked streets. At first I thought these were going to be a sight that I had to seek out. I quickly came to realize that was not the case and that they are a dime a dozen. However, they are impossible to grow tired of and we enjoyed the view as we sat on our private balcony and admired their swinging vines.
Where to Eat
As I mentioned earlier, we had made-to-order breakfasts each morning of our stay. This meant that we were very full and didn't seek out a lot of food options. What we did seek out were periodic snacks to keep us going until the next large breakfast. My favorite place we stopped in for a bite was Jazz'd, a basement tapas bar that featured dim lighting, sultry live music, and a full menu of food and drink.
Pro Tip: If you're looking for a quick bite to eat or some shops to stroll through, check out City Market. Around since the 1700s, this open-air market features four blocks of shops, restaurants, and art. Grab some gelato, pick a bench, and watch this amazing city pass by.
Don't forget to subscribe so you can follow along on this journey and read about the next stop on the trip!
Savannah, Georgia will forever be one of the most classic, romantic, charming cities in the United States. Its proximity to the coast, as well as its colonial history, has provided it with a unique and gorgeous architectural style that has characterized the city over the last several centuries.
For us, Savannah means so much more...
Recently, we got married!
Because we like to think of ourselves as different, and we often take the road of “we’re going to do what we want to do even if it’s not the normal way of doing things,” we decided to embark on Phase 1 of a multi-series honeymoon. Phase 1 was relatively low-key and consisted of a road trip through Georgia, with the origin being the beautiful city of Savannah. Beyond Savannah, the road trip consisted of multiple strategically mapped points of interest that included a lot of hiking, camping, and overall ~adventure~
While I am a planner, and I enjoyed spending hours and hours planning this trip, I did not plan it down to every minute of every day, as we do enjoy the spontaneity that comes with visiting a new city, as well as the fact that we fully recognize that schedules do not always go as planned and it’s typically better to leave room for error than find ourselves in a bind.
Despite all my planning, research, and careful mapping, I somehow overlooked a very important fact. It was actually several facts that, when combined, create one quite uncomfortable situation. These facts were as follows:
Activities: Hiking, camping
Enough said. Savannah is hot, but even more than that, Savannah is HUMID. And when you try to do strenuous outdoor activities in August in an average Savannah climate, you find yourself a little bit uncomfortable.
Despite the heat, the sweat, the smokey campfires, and the general lack of access to a cool and comfortable climate (at least our campsite had showers!) we remained in positive spirits the entire trip, which was a good starting point for our marriage!
If you want to follow along as I unpack the details of a Georgian honeymoon road trip through August, subscribe to email updates from the blog! This little mini-series is going to feature some AMAZING, as well as little-known highlights that you would not even believe exist in Georgia, and you may even want to check them out for yourself!
I travel and then I write about it. I hope you enjoy my experiences, and can learn from my trial and errors!