Savannah, GA

We finally made it to Savannah!  It’s one of the cities I have been most looking forward to on this trip.  We have so many fabulous places that we have been and so many more to go.  I do not mean to discount any of those, but Savannah is a place I’ve wanted to visit for years and never have.  We had a long run outside on the ocean to get from St. Simons up to Savannah because the ICW had too many shallow spots for us.  We set out in waves larger than forecast so we stopped school and went up to the flybridge.  It settled down pretty quickly and the girls went to play.  Then the water completely calmed and looked like glass….bad news for the girls, back to school!  We finished up school work and after an 85 mile day arrived at our marina in Thunderbolt, GA late in the day Monday.  The marina is attached to a working yacht yard. When we arrived there were no inside slips and we were so tired of being knocked around in St. Simons that Ben asked if they had anything else. We pulled into the yacht yard instead and docked for a week in amongst HUGE mega yachts.  Boats close to 200 feet long.  The girls were in awe….when walking to our boat you couldn’t see it at all until rounding the corner.  We felt quite small!  We walked into town and grabbed dinner and rested up for Savannah the next morning!

Our marina provided a box of Krispy Kreme donuts every morning for each boat!  After starting the day Tuesday with donuts and a little school we got dressed and headed into much awaited Savannah.  It was about 95 every day we were there.  After a full week in St. Augustine of history and learning we took it easy here.  We had an Uber drop us at the water front and we enjoyed the beautiful cobblestone streets, Factors walk, the river walk, the cute shops and restaurants and just relaxing.

We walked over to the City Market area and grabbed some lunch.  We walked back to the riverfront and found the lady we had heard about from friends who makes elaborate designs out of palms.  She gave each of the girls roses which they love!

We went into quite a few of the Savannah Candy Kitchen stores and got to sample fresh pralines and taffy.  We watched the candy makers making both as well.

The taffy was a lot of fun to watch.  We watched it be stretched out and then cut and wrapped by a machine that then dumped it into a little car that carried it to a conveyor belt.  The belt carried it up and around the store and dropped it into the taffy bins where customers could scoop it up to buy.  While we were watching the guys making the taffy tossed as many samples as we wanted out to us to catch.  It was a hot but fun day.

Wednesday we had a lovely visit with Sandy and Bob from Karine.  We met way back in Clarksville, TN and always seem to be running somewhat close to each other but never quite overlapping.   We finally connected and it was fun to swap stories and catch up.  After our visit we jumped in an Uber to Mrs. Wilke’s Boarding House for lunch.  So many people have told us we have to go.  It’s a truly southern meal.   You wait in line to get in and they seat you at tables of 10, family style.

There is no menu or ordering.  All the food is just put out on the tables.  We all passed it around and ate so fast I didn’t get too many pictures but it was amazing!  My favorite meal in Savannah.  Fried chicken, candied yams, creamed corn, green beans, lima beans, pinto beans, cabbage, greens, cucumber salad, the list goes on.  Our table counted 21 dishes in all.  Madelyn, adventure eater that she is, sampled the amazing mac and cheese and the biscuits.  She commented “look Mommy, when you squeeze the biscuit, the butter drips out of it”.  Yep, no extra butter….that was post baking.  They were incredible.  Everything was so good.  Blueberry cobbler a la mode and banana pudding for dessert.

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After lunch we headed out into the 95 degree heat and tried to walk a bit of our lunch off!  We went to see one of the big cathedrals and a few of the famous squares in Savannah.  I hope to return to Savannah again and spend more time doing this.  With kids in tow (really just with Madelyn in tow, Molly is all good with walking) and the incredible heat, we just couldn’t walk super far.  In moderate temperatures Ben and I would walk miles here from square to square just wandering the day away.  But back to this trip!  On our walk we found a monument to Casmir Pulaski.  The girls go to Pulaski International school back in Chicago so we stopped and looked at this one.

We admired the beautiful houses and then headed to Forsyth Square.  Madelyn was looking for a fountain to throw a coin into and make a wish.  What a beautiful park!  It was prettiest one we saw.  The Spanish Moss and trees are just incredible to look at.  And they block a lot of the sun.

After some time in the park we walked over to the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace.  On our walk there we passed the First Girl Scouts Headquarters building.  Juliette Gordon Low started the Girl Scouts.

The house we toured was the house she grew up in and is now preserved for tours and as sort of a Girl Scout Museum.  The tour guide catered 100% to the girls and directed the entire tour towards them, telling them all about Juliette’s life and how she started the Girl Scouts.  We loved looking at the old house and the beautiful rooms, windows, woodwork, etc.

The tour ended in the library which is now an interactive room where kids can look at old pictures, write poems and leave a list of his/her favorite books.  A quick stop on the terrace to overlook the gardens and a gift shop stop for the girls to get pins saying they completed the tour.

Our Uber driver Wednesday morning mentioned a trampoline park.  The entire day visiting beautiful, historic Savannah the girls asked nonstop about the trampoline park. So, when you are in this amazing town filled with so much history you definitely go to an indoor trampoline park right?  Of course you do.  Off we went….their treat for the day.  They LOVED it.  They are still asking us almost daily if we can find another one somewhere else.  Hey, it was inside and air conditioned and was only an hour.  They could have stayed all day.

Thursday we headed to the Georgia State Railroad Museum.  It was 97 and the entire park is outdoors!  Just another hot Georgia spring day.  Ben can probably offer a lot more detail as to what we saw.  The yard still has an old diesel engine and an old steam engine.

They do tours on whichever they have out that day.  We got to take a ride on the diesel engine from 1947.  The car starts on the turntable and turned us around to the first track we took out.

The conductor on the train talked all about the train industry and the cotton industry in Savannah.  It was a GREAT homeschool tie in from last fall.  We studied a lot about the Civil War last fall and learned about how the Union cut off the supplies to the confederate troops by tearing up miles and miles of railroad track.  We got to see a “Sherman’s Necktie” piece of track on display here.  And we also learned about how the railroads were not only essential for supplies and food but also for transporting people to safer places.

The Central of Georgia Railway was bought out years ago and then railroad bridge connecting the park to the rest of the track was taken down by the city.  So now it’s a big museum.  All the original buildings still stand where the train cars were maintained.

After our ride we also got to take a tour of two of the Executive cars.  These were the cars that the railroad executives traveled in.  One of them was a Pullman car built in Chicago!  They were beautiful.

The original woodwork, beautiful dishes, and original furniture were cool to look at.  The girls liked seeing the bathrooms and sleeping rooms.  We also got to see the crew quarters and the stainless hose down kitchens.

Lastly we toured a car where railroad workers rode while working.  Bunk beds, a big galley style kitchen and a few chairs.  Not the same accommodations!  Before we left the park the woman who ran the tours asked if the girls wanted to drive the hand car.  Yes of course they did!  They had the hand car set up on a track and with the help of the museum employee they made it down and back quite a ways in the heat.  This was a great stop!

 

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Driving the hand car

 

We took one last walk around town.  I still wanted to see the Cotton Exchange building and the Exchange Bell so we went in search of those.  We learned at the railroad museum about how critical the cotton industry was to Savannah.

This wrapped up our time in Savannah.  I definitely want to come back!  Around 3 PM Thursday afternoon, while taking our Executive Train Car tour Ben made the decision that he really wanted to drive to Michigan for a Stein family reunion taking place over the weekend.  Our boat was in a great marina that kept a watchful eye on things so we felt comfortable leaving it.  By 4:30 PM we were at Enterprise picking up a car.  And by 7 PM we were packed, car loaded to the brim, girls in jammies and pulling out for the long 14 hour drive straight through to Union Pier, MI.  We’ve determined that we are no longer 21 and driving through the night takes a toll.  I stayed up the entire night. Ben all but about two hours.  The girls slept in chunks. But all four of us were exhausted.  But we made it and had lots of friends checking in on us through the night.  Good friend Wendy, from La Cigale, is up til about midnight and then up again at 3:30 AM for medications for their youngest daughter so she chatted with us and checked in on our status (and secretly she was concerned we were still awake!).  Then she’d head to bed and in a couple of hours check in again.  Thanks Wendy!  I was able to chat online with Kathy, a good friend from home, who is in Italy.  She was up for the day as we were still driving so she kept us company for a bit as well.  Thanks Kathy!  And Alli, Ben’s cousin’s wife checked in around 4:30 AM from Michigan when her baby woke her up. We appreciate all the help and concern about our safety!

We had a great weekend visiting with so much family.  There were so many wonderful pictures.  I’ll post a few here.

Sunday, after a goodbye with lots of hugs and tears with so much family, we left and drove to my mom’s house to spend a few hours with my mom, Jim, Libby, Brian and the kids.  What a treat for our girls to get to see ALL of their cousins in one quick trip!  They were sooooo upset when we left Michigan.  We didn’t tell them we’d be seeing my sister’s kids.  It was a fun surprise and eased the pain of saying goodbye to the MI crew!  It was a special time.  And a treat for me to get to see my mom and one of my sisters on Mother’s Day as well.  But then we had to say the goodbyes all over again.  What a day!

We left my mom’s house around 8 PM Sunday night and drove to Nashville.  We decided we couldn’t pull two all nighters inside of  a week, but also couldn’t do 14 hours straight in the car with the girls.  Yesterday we only needed to drive from Nashville to Savannah, but like any road trip the end of the trip always drags on forever.  We had a number of various stops and didn’t make it back to the marina until 10 PM last night.  As we drove through Chattanooga we drove along the Tennessee river and with fond memories of last fall we were thrilled to see the water again!

 

 

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