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.
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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!
Recently, we traveled to Knoxville for the weekend. While we went for work, we found a little time to play also. Most of the travelers who stop by Knoxville are there for the University of Tennessee, or to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our weekend visit was quick and required us to stay primarily in the downtown area, but just the little we saw of Knoxville was enough for us to make the decision that we would definitely be back!
I always like to start out in every new city just trying to get my bearings and orientate myself. The best way to do this is by simply walking. Head downtown or uptown and simply walk around town, getting a feel for what the city has to offer and what the vibe is like. We arrived in Knoxville late at night on a Friday, and after checking into our hotel at 11pm, we hit the streets, walking a couple blocks, just to see what was going on. This is a great way to locate some key places you may want to hit up later in your stay, especially if you didn't do any research ahead of time. If you already have an idea of some of the places you may want to visit, this still allows you to locate them in conjunction to where you're staying, that way you don't have to spend precious time seeking them out later.
Knoxville has an adorable downtown, anchored by a large square called Market Square, and is surrounded by shops and restaurants. This is where we spent most of our free time when we weren't working. One of my favorite shops that I love visiting every time I go to Asheville is the Mast General Store. It has an old-timey feel with modern-day products, from hiking and camping gear to pet accessories to jewelry and leather wallets. Imagine my surprise when I found out there is a Mast General Store in Knoxville, and it's actually one of nine locations! Of course I grabbed a postcard or two on my way out.
Strong Alley, more commonality referred to as Graffiti Alley to Knoxville residents, is located just behind Market Square near Gay Street. It was the first part of the Artist Alley Revamp Project, a movement that worked to rid the city of tagging and illegal graffiti and instead replace it with commissioned artwork. With work spaces ranging from 3x3 to 10x10, the project has seen huge success between the various artists, as well as the business owners providing the space. In fact, the project has been met with such positive feedback, that it has been expanded to other parts of the city.
I'm always in search of a good beer, and the best place to find these is usually at the source. Knoxville has a solid list of breweries to offer, and even better are the ones that have a food menu. Since we were staying and working downtown, we kept our visits to places that were walk-able. This brought us to the Downtown Grill & Brewery, a micro brewery located a block behind the main square. With lots of seating and almost as many TVs, this was the perfect place to grab a drink and watch the Hokies game that was on. Splitting some chips and queso and a pizza, we were satisfied. The only thing that made it better was, as we were about to pay, we realized that a pint of beer in Knoxville is considerably cheaper than in Charlotte, and made it a point to grab another couple of drinks before heading out.
For breakfast Sunday morning, we walked a couple blocks to a small French creperie on the fringes of the main square downtown. The French Market Creperie has an adorable French style with a huge menu that includes more than just crepes. From standard breakfast sandwiches to beignets, crepes sweet or savory, and pastries of every kind, the French Market is sure to please. If you enjoy sitting at a small patio table and watching the town wake up, whilst perhaps sipping on a very strong espresso, this might just be the place for you.
While Knoxville has lots of permanent attractions and natural resources that are worth checking out, sometimes the best things are those that cannot be (or were not) planned. In this case, it was the Great Llama Race of 2018. Now, a lot of people seemed to know about this event ahead of time, as there was a very large crowd gathered. I, however, did not know about this event, making it all the much more enjoyable as what could possibly be better than stumbling across an unexpected llama festival? The idea behind the event was to pair up a local celebrity with a school in Knoxville, as well as one llama from the Southeast Llama Rescue. The llamas would race in heats and the whole event was designed to raise money for the schools, the llamas, and at-risk children and families in the area. The event also featured lots of food, artisan vendors, and llama-related activities. For more information, check out http://thegreatllamarace.com/
I travel and then I write about it. I hope you enjoy my experiences, and can learn from my trial and errors!