My friends were vacationing in Charleston the same week we were on our road trip. We weren’t planning on stopping there, but because Brian and Rachel were there, and I hadn’t seen them in two years, we added it to our itinerary. All three of us are so happy we did; I can’t believe we almost missed this gem. The city is full of so much history.
We first grabbed brunch at Henrietta’s at the Dewberry. We sat and chatted for a couple hours. The company was amazing, and accompanied with delicious food. Everyone was pleased with their meal. I got the crepes, and they were to die for. Brian and Rachel told us everything that was on their agenda, and made us quite jealous. They were going to visit the tea plantation after brunch. I wish I knew about the tea plantation!
We were supposed to spend all day in Savannah, but seeing as Charleston was so charming, and the weather in Savannah was pretty crappy, we ended up spending more time in South Carolina. Our first stop, was the city market. There were tons of amazing local artists and vendors. Dina and I both bought gorgeous rings. Kristina bought a cool Chi Omega frame for her favorite college pictures. They had boiled peanuts – I did not know boiled peanuts was a thing. We ended up spending a couple hours at the market. I wish Albany had something like this; we only have street fairs a couple times in the summer.
After the market, we hopped in the car and headed out to the Angel Oak tree. My friends could not understand why I wanted to see a tree. What they didn’t know, was that this tree is the oldest tree in America; it’s estimated to be over 400 years old. That means it has survived various wars and fires, hurricanes, children and animals climbing its branches. It’s a beautiful site, and it continues to provide a gentle and cool embrace to thousands of visitors every year. To many it is just a tree. It has posts holding up its branches, and it has warts (burls). To many, it’s a waste of time to visit. To me, it was easily my favorite thing about Charleston. I was literally standing with history. It’s an absolutely beautiful site.
After the Angel Oak, we headed to Georgia, and ended up getting into Savannah around 4:45 pm. Our first stop was Bonaventure Cemetery, however, I was unaware that the cemetery closes at 5:00 pm. So we just drove through. It is beautiful; the Spanish moss everywhere makes it look extra eerie. A 15 minute drive around was not enough time, and I felt bad. Dina was unbelievably excited to see the Bonaventure Cemetery, and we just did not make it in time. So, as a consolation, I let her pick another cemetery in Savannah to visit. She’s weird like that; she likes old creepy things. She chose the Colonial Park Cemetery.
I actually think this cemetery is creepier than Bonaventure. The history of this place is incredible, and is thought to be haunted; of course, what cemetery is not haunted? It was erected by the Daughters of the Revolution, and thus houses many soldiers of the Revolution. This cemetery was already closed to burials before the Civil War, therefore, no Confederate soldiers are buried there. However, Federal troops took over the cemetery grounds during their occupation of Savannah and many of the graves were looted and desecrated. There is a wall of tombstones along the entire east side of the cemetery. Are they there because the city needed room for more buildings? Or are they there because the soldiers of the Civil War defiled the graves, and no one knew where the markers went? Furthermore, since most of the tombstones are so old, you cannot read them. On top of the illegible markers, it’s been said that Union soldiers changed the dates on many of the headstones. Therefore, if you can read the headstone, is it really accurate?
After the cemetery we headed out to Forsyth Park. I had read that it’s a must see, and it’s just extremely beautiful. It’s the #3 thing to do in Savannah. It is gorgeous, but we didn’t need to go out of our way to see it. Once you see the beautiful fountain, there is nothing else to do. It may have just been because it was a rainy day, but no one was there; the park was empty. It did provide a nice spot to just walk around, and stretch our legs until we had to hop in the car again.
After the park, we ventured over to the River Street area / Factor’s walk. I must admit, that is a cool place. The cobblestone maintains the old and historic feel, of where cotton used to be exchanged back in Savannah’s heyday. There are various shops we were able to explore. There are a couple of restaurants down there as well. We decided to eat at Spanky’s Pizza Galley and Saloon. While the name is less than intriguing, their peach sangria is what drew us in. I did not want to leave Georgia without experiencing some sort of peach product, and so when I saw the sign for peach sangria, I was sold. I am so happy we had dinner there. That sangria was hands down the best sangria I have ever had.
Our final stop before heading to Atlanta was Juliette Gordon Low’s birth home. Kristina and I were Girl Scouts since kindergarten. My mom was actually our troop leader for all 13 years. No self-respecting Girl Scout would go to Savannah and not visit where the founder grew up. Even though we were there too late, and the house was closed, it was still pretty nice to see the house. Girl Scouting was a huge part of my childhood. It was indescribable standing there in front of her house, and standing where Juliette stood. She made such a huge impact on women and the female place in society. In a world ruled by men, she provided an outlet for girls to learn how to be independent. She taught girls it was fun to explore and learn. Standing outside her home hit pretty close to home for me. Juliette established a place were girls from different financial classes, or cultural & ethnic backgrounds, could grow. To this day, there are over 2.7 million Girl Scouts. These girls will go on to do incredible things. A report from the Girl Scout Research Institute shows that the vast majority of girls are interested in STEM fields, but are intimidated by the men-dominated setting. The statistics they discovered can be found here. With that, one current goal of Girl Scouts is to give girls the confidence to enter STEM fields. Juliette Gordon Low had a huge impact on girls and their futures. It was pretty humbling standing in front of her house.