Posted in: Exploring Georgia, Museums & Tours, Sightseeing

Savannah Ghost Tour

Attitude is everything. We thought we were booking one of the trolley ghost tours. When we looked closer we had booked a walking tour. Initially I thought, man this is going to be rough and 3/4 of the group were whining. However, once the sun went down, it was a nice night for a walk and we got to see some things that I think we would have missed if we were riding. The pace was pretty slow as well. Masks were required for groups of 6 or more, as well per Savannah’s COVID restrictions.

Savannah has a ton of history. The city is the USA’s first planned city. In fact, the original city was layed out in England before they even came over to build. Our tour guide said there were Native American burial sites and settler burial sites under the city’s streets and buildings. At one time there had been two cemeteries in the downtown area, but there is now only one, Colonial Park. Some of the tombs look like stone/brick tents, but they also extend underground. There are shelves inside to house the deceased, and just like in New Orleans, bodies got moved down to make room for new family members. Per our tour guide, Colonial park cemetery has 600 gravestones, but 1100 dead. The cemetery has lost both ground and tombstones, due to city growth and graffiti. Some were moved, but there are 4000 unmarked graves now outside the gates. Supposedly, some of the lost tombstones happened when the Union army was stationed there for a couple of months. When it got too cold for their fabric tents, some took shelter in the tombs. The sidewalk around the cemetery has special decorative bricks. We learned that the bricks actually mark the lost and unknown graves. Each circle represents an unmarked, lost grave. (Our guide pointed out that sitting in a cemetery for months in the cold had to be boring. Then add in that some states allowed as young as 14 to enlist, there wasn’t a lot of supervision, they were away from home, and whiskey was part of the daily rations. “You had a bunch of bored drunk children with no parental supervision away from home…”)

Ben’s favorite story was the Marshall House. It was a boarding house and a hotel, but during the Civil War, there were a lot of injured soldiers coming from Atlanta. It was turned into a hospital. There were a lot of surgeries and amputations. It reverted back to a hotel, and then to a hospital again during two yellow fever outbreaks. Afterwards, it would become a hotel again. During renovations in the 1990’s, they pulled up the floor to find saws and other surgical equipment, as well as bones. It was a medical dump site.

I didn’t find a lot of evidence to support the story of the bricks (although I did not see a similar design around the city), or the bones at Marshall House (although even AAA wrote about it). I was a little disappointed, as I like the ghost tours we go on to the have some facts to them, not just ghost stories.

Have you gone on a Savannah Ghost Tour? What was your favorite story?

Posted in: Animal Sightings, Exploring Georgia, Food, Hiking, Sightseeing

Sunshine, Water, Sand Dollars, and Crabs…Tybee Island, Georgia

Two words: Go early!

We had stopped at Fort Pulaski on our way to Tybee Island. We got to Tybee, parked, and was on the beach by 11:00 am. We really lucked out on finding a parking spot, as the small lot we were in filled up within minutes. Traffic is a mix of cars, bikes, and golf carts. All parking at Tybee is paid parking, with most spots being $3.50/hour. There was an app you can download to your phone (Park TYB). I was hesitant to download yet another app, but it did make it pretty convenient, as it sent you a reminder when your time close to being up and you could add additional time right on the app instead of running back to the meter. That turned out very helpful in our case, as we had been walking down the beach and were pretty far away.

We didn’t go swimming, just walked along the beach and waded for a little bit. The sun was nice and warm, but the water was very cold. We found part of a conch shell and a sand dollar. Nick was so excited to have found a larger whole one, but this one turned out to still be alive! It had little hair like pieces on it that we could see move, so he placed it back in the ocean.

Tybee was full of touristy shops, souvenir shops, bars and restaurants.

We ate lunch based on a recommendation (Thanks Pete!) at The Original Crab Shack. It was a little bit out of the main town, but on Tybee. It had a great atmosphere with an indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating was a large covered patio. Each table had a hole cut out in the center with a garbage can underneath. We ordered a few different things to share: Low Country Boil, BBQ park sandwich, and half a chicken. It had a really fun atmosphere with live alligators (small ones, born in captivity), alligator statues, baskets for light shades. The only downside was that based on location of the patio and the garbage cans at each table, we did get bit quite frequently by bugs. I would recommend wearing bug spray.

When we left Tybee, there were cars lined up for miles. I’m pretty sure there were not enough parking spots to fit everyone. I would definitely recommend going early and downloading the parking app.

Posted in: Exploring Georgia, Hiking, National Park, National Parks, Sightseeing

Fort Pulaski National Monument, Georgia

Fort Pulaski is outside of Savannah, Georgia (on the way to Tybee Island), and about an hour from our campground. It is part of the National Park Service, so we were able to use our annual America The Beautiful pass.

It was similar to Fort Zachary in Key West, but had a few unique features to it including a moat and a drawbridge!

The Visitor Center was closed, although the bathrooms across from the Visitor Center were open. The Visitor Center had maps outside and there was someone there to hand out Junior Ranger program booklets and badges. There are also few hiking trails; however, only two were open when we were there. The ranger did not think the Lighthouse trail would be opening anytime soon. It seemed like nature was reclaiming the trail.

Visitor Center, informational signs, looking towards Fort Pulaski from Visitor Center

There was a moat around the fort, which was pretty cool. During the Civil War, the Fort was originally Confederate, but Union soldiers gained control. There was a small cemetery out front from when the Fort also acted as a prison for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Parts of the outside paths and trails were closed for construction. We entered the Fort on a boardwalk over the water and through the drawbridge.

One of my favorite features was the drawbridge and the amazing doors of the Fort.

The Drawbridge

The fort had lots of rooms and cannon exhibits open on the main floor. It also had stone spiral staircases leading up to the top floor. Most of this area was closed for repairs/construction and there was also no guardrail along the edge. It definitely gave you a different perspective of the fort and the surrounding area.

Views from the top of the Fort

Fort Pulaski still had some of the metal rails in the floor that guided the cannons. It was neat to see those, as Fort Zachary in Key West had similar markings on the floor of where (I assume) these metal pieces used to be. It was nice to see the “whole picture” of the cannon set up at Fort Pulaski. Pulaski also allowed us to see a couple new cannon accessories that we had not seen before; the casement gin and sling carts that were used to move the heavy equipment.

There was another really neat feature that we got to see at Fort Pulaski, the foundation and built in cisterns. The Fort is surrounded by salt water, so there were 10 built-in cisterns to collect rainwater.

During the Civil War the Fort also acted as a Prison for Confederate soldiers.

Some information when it was acting as a Civil War prison

DETAILS:*

  • TICKETS: Included in America the Beautiful (Interagency) Pass. If you don’t the America The Beautiful Pass, it is $10/person for a week pass (ages 15 and under free), or $35 for a Fort Pulaski annual pass. Cash was not being accepted at the gate, credit/debit cards only. COVID Restrictions: masks required, Visitor Center closed.
  • HOURS: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • PARKING: Parking lot at Visitor Center/Fort.
  • BATHROOM: Yes, by the Visitor Center
  • TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-3 hours
  • *Details correct at the time of posting, but please double check before you go.
Posted in: Exploring Georgia, Museums & Tours, Sightseeing

Savannah River Street & Old Savannah Tours

After walking River Street, and eating a hearty breakfast, we decided to check out one of the sightseeing/history tours. There were three bus/trolley tours available as we walked around. We went with the Old Savannah Tours and the “hop on and hop off option”. Although we chose the on/off option, we didn’t end up using it as we just stayed on for the whole 90 minute tour instead. We found a $5 off adult tickets coupon at breakfast, which was nice.

We walked a few blocks and picked up the tour at their Visitor Center. It was already pretty full, but we did manage to catch the next bus. It was all open air/open window as well, but we still kept our masks on. (Georgia just recommends masks, although they are required indoors at many places, so we kept ours on the entire time we were out.)

We saw lots of neat architecture, learned about local attractions and soaked in some great Savannah history.

We drove by the Mercer House (Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil), Forsyth Park, Lucas Theater (first public building to have air conditioning in Savannah), the Owens-Thomas house (first indoor plumbing in the US, even before the White House!), the Sorrel Weed house (where the feather drifts from the roof in Forrest Gump), the Mickve Israel (only gothic synagogue in North America), the Scottish Rite building (corner building with really neat detail near the roof), and the first Girl Scout headquarters. We also learned that the stone streets were made from using ships’ ballasts, thus the bumpy ride.

We learned about Haint paint (aint blue, aint green, per our tour guide) and how it was used to ward off evil spirits. I looked it up later, and it was believed that evil spirits (haints/haunts) could not cross water. People painted their porch roofs (interior) a blue shade to make the spirits think that it was water and therefore were unable to come into the house.

Old Savannah Tours also had a couple of stops where a historic figure (actor) would come on board to say a few things. This could have been cool, but it was my least favorite part as they were not wearing masks. Luckily, we were not in the front row. We have also found that the tour guide makes a huge difference in your experience. It was a nice way to see the city and learn some its history.

After we got off of the tour, we walked around the River Street area some more. We stopped by the Plant Riverside District, based on the tour guide’s recommendation. This is part of the JW Marriott, and contains the skeleton of an ice bear, several huge geodes, mammoth tusks, and a chrome replica of the largest dinosaur ever found. It is an amazing space.

We traveled down the river walk, grabbed some cookies at Byrd’s, a coffee at Starbucks, and watched some ships coming in. We found where X marks the spot to hear your echo at Rousakis Plaza. We had walked by it earlier and didn’t even notice, but our tour guide pointed it out. We had to stop back and try it. You can hear your echo if you are in the right spot, although it is faint due to all the background noise of the city. You can also find some great views of the River, the Talmadge Memorial Bridge, and the cargo ships here.

It was a great day exploring and learning about Savannah. If you have been to the Savannah area, what were your favorite activities? Send us a comment and we will be sure to check it out.

Posted in: Exploring Georgia, Food

Goose Feathers Cafe, Savannah, Georgia

We headed back down to River Street in Savannah. There were so many restaurants to try, that we decided to grab breakfast in the downtown area while exploring the city. We found a great parking spot right on the river and walked around for about an hour. We were pretty hungry and stopped at Goose Feathers Cafe for breakfast.

We got a coffee, a frozen mocha, a Baileys Mint Chocolate Whoopie Pie, a breakfast burrito (eggs, cheese, potatoes, turkey sausage), an “Eggetarian” (poached eggs and hollandaise sauce on a croissant), and a blueberry bagel with cream cheese. ($31.43, plus tip)

It was the boys’ first time trying a whoopie pie, so they thought it was a nice treat. The cake part was a little dry, but the flavor was nice. The Bailey’s and mint were a nice nod to Saint Patrick’s Day.

Everything was good, but Savannah has so many amazing restaurants, I wouldn’t go back instead of trying another new place. The Cafe did have a few tables outside and the tables inside were pretty well spaced out. It seemed they were doing the best they could with the pandemic, although I’m sure the ambiance was not quite the same as it used to be. The inside decorations were really cute with a glass display case and a tin ceiling.

If you have been to Savannah, what were your favorite restaurants?

Posted in: Exploring Georgia, Exploring South Carolina, Sightseeing, YouTube Video Link

Moving On To Savannah, Georgia!

After Florida, we continued moving up the coast. Ben and I had been to Savannah many years ago for our honeymoon and loved it; the gorgeous architecture, the Spanish Moss, watching the ships go by. We wanted the boys to experience this awesome city.

Moving day was pretty uneventful. It was a rainy, grey type of day. We got to our campsite and it was pretty muddy along the hook-up side of the RV. I am glad we had our rain boots!

We got set up and decided to drive through Savannah. The River Street area has certainly grown in seventeen years!

Parking looked pretty full, plus we still had to pick up groceries, so we just drove through the River Street area to get a new mental layout of the city. We also drove down Jones Street, which was labeled the prettiest street in Savannah. The houses were very pretty with iron railings and fences, with really neat staircases, and Spanish Moss draping over the street.

We drove over the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. It is a very pretty bridge that spans the Savannah River. It has quite the incline to get to the peak, as cargo ships travel underneath.

VIDEO: Traveling from Savannah, Georgia to South Carolina on Talmadge Memorial Bridge