— If you haven’t read it yet, you can click this link for part 1 of this post! —
Savannah Georgia turned out to be an incredibly beautiful city to just walk around for a few days (the old Historic District was at least!).. Savannah residents seem to take great pride in the many treed squares and beautiful architecture that fills the old district and they’re well worth an afternoon to wander through, or just to sit down and watch others do the same. Those interested in high-end antiques will delight in the plethora of shops catering to those with a penchant for ancient history and/or money to burn. Sadly, most of the books I found in the stores I visited were written in Swedish or German language, neither of which were particularly useful to me.
Scattered about the same district are numerous buildings belonging to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) an art school with a pretty great story. If you spend any amount of time in the area, you’ll undoubtedly come across the plethora of art students going about their daily lives. Owing to the sheer number of of artsy-types, I couldn’t help the continuous loop of Lydia the Tattooed Lady playing in my head as I wandered about town. :)
The night-life in Savannah is plentiful and full of choice. One of my favourites by far is the Bay Street Blues, a good, honest bar with freakin-fantastic music!
I’m told there was a lot of really great food to eat in town, and I did manage to have a few good meals but with the way my timing worked out a few snacks seemed to do me well for most of my two days here.. Paula Dean’s restaurant did come recommended, and indeed it’s popular (so popular in fact that it spans three floors and sports a waiting list). Ms. Dean is well known for her southern cooking, and indeed the buffet supper her establishment served was pretty tasty, the service and dining experience left a lot to be desired.
I try to be as positive as possible on this site, but my next stop at Hilton Head Island was, well, frightening (in a children of the corn sorta way). I will say, that on my way out to Hilton Head, I managed to find a farmer’s market and food-fair in the small town of Bluffton SC. Also found here was the poshest chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever eaten. I mean, seriously, who puts whipped cream on a cookie? Idunno, but everybody should!
So, yeah, Hilton Head Island. One of the oddest (and oddly uncomfortable) places I’ve visited in a long time. As I drove the long parkway out to the island, I passed perfectly manicured medians that led me to believe I’d headed into suburban hell. This was only the beginning. Hilton Head, it turns out, is FULL of time-share condos and plantation resorts.. I stopped in to a “tourist information” center looking for a bed and breakfast or hostel with no luck. Turns out that it was actually a timeshare sales office. Ergh.. I have to be fair though, the gal there was nice enough to send me to one place that did have hotel rooms too, and gave me some recommendations for food and drink that night. I was still pretty exhausted from an epic night out in Savannah, and called it quits after searching in vain for a place to eat something healthy. In the process, I learned that the plantations (there are many) on Hilton Head have all banned motorcycles from the property. All motorcycles. Huh? Must be that only bad people ride motorcycles.. Or something..
Looking for that meal, I only managed to find a bar that sold food. As I waited for my burger (the healthiest thing I could find), I came to the horrible realization that I was in some really awful ’80’s summer-party-movie.. Really. Awful. Though my hotel was peaceful, I was happy to get out of there in the morning..
Heading north again, toward North Carolina, I happened across Crybabies Tavern (as I was searching for food again) in Beaufort, SC. (not to be confused with Beaufort, NC… One is pronounced Be-U-fort, the other BO-fort to mitigate any chance of mistaken identity.. )
Crybabies is possibly the BEST little dive-bar I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking in. The bartender was awesome, and the patrons were just good, honest, unpretentious, and hospitable. This place is well worth stopping in if you ever happen to find yourself in Beaufort (SC). Highlight? The baseball bat behind the bar. Win!
I made my way up to Charleston North Carolina, the site of the first shot in the US Civil War and home to the highest density of beautiful and fit people I’ve seen in the United States of America. Yowza! Take your ten, add about twelve and you’ve got yourself a good average for Charleston. In all seriousness, I did see an incredibly high proportion of healthy-weight people here, in comparisoon to many of the other places I’ve down in the US. I’m not sure how the demographics play in to this but suffice it to say, if you’re looking to find an active and fit population, this’d be a good place to start looking!
In Charleston, I stayed in a dorm room at the Notso Hostel which turned out to be a refreshing change from the hotels I’d been staying in. I got a chance to mingle with proper travelers and even some relative locals during my two day stay.. The bagels and Nutella for breakfast were an unexpected bonus too! All in all, definitely a worthwhile place to stay.
With the onset of muggy, rainy weather a few days before, I’d been on the move to try and find nice weather. The prospects looked kinda dim for finding sun anywhere in North Carolina, so I made the best of it and headed down to Fort Sumpter, the site of the events that really kicked off the Civil War. It may not look like much now, but in its day, Sumpter’s walls were three stories tall, and it boasted an officer’s quarters that were fit for a gentleman, complete with marble fireplaces, canopy beds and parquet floors.. Unfortunately for the occupants, it was designed to withstand attack from the ocean with 50′ masonry walls and positions for some 130 guns most of which weren’t actually installed yet. Oh, and the Confederate attack just happened to come from the land-side. It fell, and the war was on..
Undaunted, but growing weary of the poor, drizzly weather enveloping the east coast, I made the decision to head inland and get away from the rain. I started the five hour drive in a downpour and ended up in Asheville NC in near freezing temperatures.. As I dragged my weary and weather-numb body into a restaurant for a cup of coffee and a minute to regroup, a local cop mentioned to me that it was supposed to snow that evening. Crrrap! I’m down here to avoid the snow, not find it!
Luckily, that prediction turned out to be false, and I’d found one of my favourite hostels of all time, Sweet Peas. If you’ve ever wondered how to run a hostel right, this is the place to see. Upon check-in, you’re provided with a towel, face cloth, and a Sweet Peas sticker.. Nothing like a little free advertising! The building is super-clean, beautifully designed, and well equipped. I opted for a private room because I had a whole pile of gear to sort out, but there are open four bed dorms and semi-private “pods” available as well. The beds were reasonably comfortable and linens were provided on all beds–Nice!
Asheville itself is an incredible town (city?) full of random art at every turn and this alone puts me in a happy place. Top that off with a dazzling selection of phenomenal food, and a laid-back but supercool nightlife, University of North Carolina and a concert hall that features the likes of (Calgary native) Leslie Feist and you’ve got a hellufva holiday destination, and I can imagine, a pretty great place to go to school!
And even a little leftover from our afraid-of-the-Russians days..
The trip back to Tennessee to meet Christianne is next on my update list, and was relatively uneventful except that one time I stood ThirstyGirl on her back tyre trying to merge back onto the interstate..
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