It felt like it had been years since my husband and I wandered the streets of a new-to-us destination, holding hands, popping in and out of shops, and enjoying meals and drinks at our leisure. It felt like years because it
had been years. Four years to be exact...a lifetime compared to how we used to travel.
Before my parents moved back to their native country, Colombia, to enjoy a well-deserved retirement, my husband and I got away for three nights. Our built-in babysitting (never mind overnight care) was coming to an end, so we knew that we had to take this moment.
Savannah, Georgia, was our chosen destination. It had been on our list since moving to the South nearly seven years ago. It was due time to experience the wonder of the mossy laden oak trees for ourselves.
Here are the sights that were seen, energies felt, and experiences enjoyed...
(I had every intention to link all of the places mentioned, but text editing inside the caption boxes stopped working) We love boutique hotels and The Drayton Hotel in Historic Savannah was the perfect spot to get our feet wet once again. The photo on the left is of their private dining/meeting room. When not booked, the room was open to guests to use. I took full advantage of the beautiful space for an hour of work one morning. On the right is a photo of their in-house cafe and bar, a convenient and well-thought-out corner to get your favorite beverage from morning to afternoon. We often don't get out for breakfasts (our kids will barely eat the eggs we scramble for them), so a GREAT breakfast experience was high on my list. When I found Collins Quarter and learned it was an Aussie spot, I knew we'd be in good hands; some of my most memorable breakfast meals were in Australia. It. Was. Perfect. The service and overall ambiance, too. A walk down Bull St and through Forsyth Park led us to a spot where we immediately said "the girls would love this". In fact, WE loved it. A partially shaded playground (thank you trees), a pavilion for gathering and staying cool while kiddos splash in the fountains, adjacent bathroom facilities, and a second location for Collins Quarter. We'd spend a lot of time here if we lived in Savannah. Had we been traveling with our kids, we would have stayed at the park all morning and then headed back to the hotel to rest and (fingers crossed) napped. But we did not have little ones in tow(!!!). We actually got to do and see things that we wanted to do and see. Aahhh...it was a beautiful feeling of freedom of time. So we wandered. We quickly came across PW Short. This store is gooooood. The objects on offer are what my Port of Raleigh customers would love and more. Customer service could use some work but I'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt since he seemed overwhelmed with unpacking new inventory while simultaneously working the cash wrap. I've been there, buddy. Steps away from PW Short were a handful of other independent shops. What didn't come up on google when searching for small boutique stores came up naturally on our walk. We were in the "Downtown Design District," and it was right where I wanted to be. I loved seeing old auto shops converted into retail spaces—great ones, at that. Asher & Rye would also be loved by POR customers (bottom right photo)! Cards/guides like this are so useful and appreciated. I recognize the amount of work and resources that come with organizing something like this. I co-created DTR Independent Shops so that visitors and locals alike could discover all of the independent shops in downtown Raleigh; unfortunately, it is now outdated and unmanaged. Independent local guides take a village, and I was happy to see that the Downtown Design District in Savannah is nurturing that village. It was a hot hot day, so any breeze off of the water was welcome, as was a long-range view. Despite this photo, the rooftop bar at Perry Lane Hotel was busy and short-staffed like many places. We stayed long enough to enjoy our cold drinks before retreating to our hotel. I think that having kids has made us less tolerant of staying out in the heat! SCAD was high on my list of places to check out. Before going into the museum we explored the adjacent "SCAD Beach" installation. Though not technically open to the public, it's the perfect place to bring kiddos to hang and play. Had we been with our kids, you'd bet we'd be enjoying a picnic here. SCAD students have it pretty good. Can every city please have a SCAD Beach? We did not eat here, but we did delight in the space—another example of something that our girls would have loved. We obviously can't escape thinking of them. Installation by Carlos Garaicoa at SCAD Museum of Art. He created various cityscapes using a wide range of objects and materials. I loved this one with glass reflecting the color spectrum as I moved around the table and changed my perspective. I really wanted to take this little "beast" home. By The Haas Brothers. A brief visit to Tybee Island. It was too windy for our comfort. And I had forgotten sunscreen. This is why we could have used a Bare Necessities Beach Hut. Before we headed to Tybee Island, we stopped at Parker's Market (or Fancy Parker's) in Historic Savannah for gas and snacks. It was indeed the fanciest gas station/convenience store I've been in. I looked the company up and Parker's is a regional brand with convenient stores and fueling stations across Georgia and South Carolina. I'd love to see more of them; they seem to care deeply about the customer experience. Since our beach picnic didn't happen, we found the next best thing: a tranquil park with Spanish Moss and Oak trees as our background. But more important, was finally seeing a properly shaded playground(!!). Joe and I talk about this A LOT. There simply isn't enough shade in most public spaces, in places that are HOT, and especially playgrounds where kids are running hot, parents are running hot, and the playground equipment runs hot. The Jaycee Park in Tybee Island gave us hope that we'll see more of this everywhere. I even love that the playground's rubber surface is a lighter color to better reflect the sun's light and heat. The path that loops around the park is made of rubber too. Much better for physical joint impact AND heat reflection (concrete and asphalt can feel so brutal in the summer). I kinda fell in love with this park. And then I fell in love again at Wormsloe where the driveway showcases over three hundred feet of live oak trees. I've always been a tree hugger, I got it from my mama. She literally hugs trees. I've come to see how their energy is something we easily, and often, take for granted. Since moving to the South, I've enjoyed Magnolia trees so much. Not just because of their beauty and prominence but because Magnolia was my maternal grandmother's first name. I think of her and sense her presence every time I am near a Magnolia tree. A few steps after reading this signpost I looked up to see a tall Magnolia tree covered in Spanish Moss. And a bright red bird singing its song. I said, "hola Abuelita!". Back in Historic Savannah, we set out to explore the new River District. And WOW, what an impressive display of offerings. A place that invites kids to play is always a good idea. As is offering small retail spaces for businesses that don't require much space but could benefit from high visibility. Micro dining options were scattered throughout, all with views of the river. And multiple easily accessible bathroom facilities. I can't tell you how many places miss this simple appointment of facilities. I didn't check to see if they had diaper changing tables; that's an AM Notes for another day... This beauty welcomed us at the end of our walk, not so casually indicating what we'd see inside the crazy mesmerizing interior of the new JW Marriot Savannah. I. Was. In. Awe. Holy. Cow. This. Is. Incredible. Nature. Is. BEAUTIFUL. I don't want to share any more photos from this place because it really is worth experiencing it as we did, which is by total surprise.
This trip was just the energetic break that we needed. The time and space to be together, explore together and actually
talk with each other . Yet, for all of the times that I thought and said Savannah would be great for just my husband and me, I left thinking that it would be great for the whole family. I missed seeing new things through our kids' eyes (Savannah has a lot to offer them) but I'm thankful to have relished the moments of discovery and inspiration for myself and as a couple. Hopefully, it won't take another four years to do it again.