We’ve been cut off from travel for two years now by this pandemic. That’s long enough! We come up with trip ideas, and even make reservations. Then we hear the latest bad news and cancel everything yet again. Some of us have waited our entire working lives to reach the “someday” when we would have the latitude (and the money) to travel. And we thought that “someday” would have come by now. One way or another, we are beyond ready to get going. But where, if anywhere, can we go?
Even if we still need to wait a while before we make our bucket list trips to France or Italy… And even if traveling in the US still makes us hesitate when we think about hopping aboard a jam-packed plane… The USA, and even the world, can be completely open and available to us even now if we just find a comfy chair and take our trip in our minds! So, buckle your seat belt…
We fly (virtually) to Charleston, rent a car and drive two hours to Savannah. We’ll be back to visit Charleston in a few days. And we have good times ahead in lovely, hospitable Savannah. Even in March, the air will be blissfully warm, and Spring will be popping out.
We’ll be staying in Savannah for 3 nights at the Olde Harbour Inn, down near the river, just steps from one of the landings for the River Taxi. Our hotel location will put us within a short walk to all sorts of shops and restaurants and parks. As an added benefit, the Inn will provide us with a complimentary breakfast and wine and cheese from 5:30 to 7 pm.
On the day we arrive, we will focus on getting oriented and beginning to enjoy riverfront living. Our first stop will be Joe’s Crab Shack for a seafood feast. After lunch, we’ll wander through the nearby River Street Market and maybe explore a shop or two before catching the river taxi to the City Hall Landing. Here we will stroll along River Walk and find a perfect perch from which to enjoy sunset.
We again will catch the ferry to City Hall Landing, then walk up to see City Hall, with its golden dome created from gold mined in nearby Dahlonega. We’ll catch the free DOT trolley at Johnson Square, following the Purple Line up to Forsyth Park and back. We’ll be passing by the Mercer Williams House on the left, scene of a murder made famous by the movie and book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
After the trolley rounds Forsyth Park, we’ll hop off on Gaston Street and walk through the park to the lovely fountain. Then on to an elegant brunch at 700 Drayton Restaurant in “The Mansion,” an impressive 1919 former Italian Renaissance home, later donated to become Armstrong College and now restored to its former glory as a hotel and restaurant.
After lunch, we’ll be back on the trolley, then hop off on Broughton Street for some “retail therapy.” Back on the trolley again, we’ll end up in the familiar territory of River Street, where the “shoppers” will meet up with the “non-shoppers” at the Rooftop Bar of the Cotton Sail Hotel to relax and discuss the day. This evening, we’ll watch the sunset from here.
Dinner will be at The Pirates’ House near where we’re staying. The Pirate’s House opened in 1753 as an inn for seafarers, and fast became a rendezvous for blood-thirsty pirates and sailors. Depending on how carried away we got at lunch, we may just order a few appetizers to share. Then we’ll check out the Desserts of the Day and finish up with Irish Coffee (with Jameson Irish Whiskey) or Millionaire’s Coffee (with Bailey’s & Frangelico) or Italian Coffee (with Amaretto & Brandy).
We’ll hop the Water Taxi to the City Hall dock and catch the Blue Line. Our destination today is the Ships of the Sea Museum, housed in the former mansion of William Scarborough, a wealthy early 19th century merchant and one of the principal owners of The Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. Here we’ll walk through displays of model ships and exhibits that detail maritime history. And we’ll be sure to visit the walled garden in the courtyard.
From the museum it will be a short walk to the Old City Market, a 4-block open-air market in restored warehouses, with shopping, dining, and art. Here we’ll stop in for a late lunch at an outdoor table at Belford’s Restaurant. Then we’ll shop the market. Since there are lots of places to sit and people watch, the non-shoppers will be happy too. Later we’ll meet up at Treehouse Savannah, with views of City Market from its outdoor balcony…and music.
We’ll make our way back to Charleston, where we’ll stay for the next 3 nights at Meeting Street Inn, immediately across the street from City Market. The Inn has a lovely courtyard where we will enjoy our complimentary full breakfast each morning and wine and cheese each afternoon. And in the evening, at the end of a long day, we’ll happily ease our tired feet into the large, romantically lit hot tub in the courtyard.
Today, after we check in, we’ll cross over to City Market, and shop our way along the artful booths, maybe purchasing a few treasures along the way. If we didn’t stop for lunch on the drive here from Savannah, we’ll pick up an ice cream cone to tide us over until Happy Hour. Then we’ll take a carriage ride around the city.
For Happy Hour, we’ll head to Pearlz Oyster Bar on East Bay Steet for oysters on the half shell and order a dozen oysters. Why order a half dozen that cost $10 when a dozen cost $15? This evening we’ll seek out tranquility and tasty food at the Blind Tiger Pub on Broad Street, where we will have made reservations in the charming courtyard. We’ll start with the delectable grilled oysters and see where we want to go from there.
We’ll shop the classic antique treasure trove of King Street, and lunch on Poogan’s Porch. Then we’ll take a slow stroll through the rarefied neighborhood “South of Broad,” peeking behind the wrought iron gates into pristine gardens of the historic mansions. When the street runs out at the park along the Battery, we’ll cross the street and look back at the mega-mansions built in pre-Civil-War times, with their graceful porches and balconies, some with top floor ballrooms.
Walking along the sea wall, where “the Cooper and the Ashley Rivers come together to form the sea,” we’ll look out across the water to Fort Sumpter, the federally controlled target that Citadel Academy Cadets aimed at when they fired “the shots that started the Civil War.” Then we’ll head back in the other direction, along East Bay Street, stopping at 6 Chalmers Street to visit the Old Slave Mart Museum. This museum thoughtfully and compellingly tells the story of Charleston’s role in the domestic inter-state slave trade from 1856 to 1863.
From the museum, we’ll walk back towards the river to the stunning Waterfront Park and claim a swing partway out the pier. Then stroll through the park to the pineapple fountain for a few photos. Before dinner, we’ll seek great river views from the Vendue Inn Rooftop Bar. Dinner with a view will be nearby at Fleet’s Landing.
We’ll take to the water, catching the Water Taxi from the Waterfront Park dock, passing the impressive “new” bridge, and heading to brunch across the river at Charleston Harbor Fish House at Patriot’s Point, where we have booked a window-side table with a view of the USS Yorktown. We will have purchased a $12 All-Day Water Taxi Pass, so we’ll have use of the taxi all day.
After a quick browse through the wonderful gift shop next to the restaurant, our table will be ready, and we’ll have some tough choices to make… Pecan Crusted Stuffed French Toast? She Crab Soup? Charleston Shrimp and Grits? After brunch, we’ll be back to the Water Taxi to cross the river to the fascinating SC Aquarium. Then another Water Taxi ride to return to Waterfront Park. Dinner tonight will be at the Low Country Bistro in City Market.
We’ll be flying home from Charleston. But rest assured… We’ll already be making plans to return to these two coastal beauties, next time for real.
Now retired from a 40-year career in education, Dr. Duckworth co-authors, with son Brian Lane, the “Great Trip Guide” Series—detailed guidebooks to taking memorable, immersive, fully independent trips in Europe, Canada and the USA (GreatTripGuide.com). Contact Carolee Duckworth at email@example.com.