Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Weekend Adventures: Savannah

Sorry this recap took so long, but I was waiting on photos from our underwater camera to be processed so I could share them. Anyhoo... about a week ago the Hubs and I took a little mini vacation and headed up to Savannah and Tybee Island. We left late in the morning Saturday and made the 5 hour drive to Georgia.

Our hotel was located in the Highland Park area. It was an older hotel - you could tell they had done some updating, but there were still some areas that were in need of some TLC. But, considering the price, it was about what you would expect. We checked in around 4 and got settled in before making the short drive to Downtown Savannah.

When we got downtown, we were surprised by the fact that it was truly a downtown. I guess when we pictured Savannah we pictured the old historic homes, pedestrian friendly streets, and lots of fun and interesting places to look at. In reality, it was similar to downtown Orlando in the fact that you had to park in a garage, navigate all the one-way streets, walk the crowded sidewalks, wait for traffic signals to tell you when to cross the street. The only difference was the beautiful squares that were located every couple of blocks. They were basically like huge, grassy roundabouts (which we are no strangers to living so close to The Villages).They were probably my favorite part of all of downtown.

The first thing we did was go to Spa Bleu for our scheduled couples massage. Every time Dan and I think back to our honeymoon, our favorite thing was the couples massage we had on our first night on the ship. So when we planned this vacation, we were so happy to find a decently priced massage package. Maybe this will turn into a vacation tradition? I sure hope so!

Side note: If you really want to freak out your masseuse, accidentally check off the "contagious disease" portion of your health inquiry form... oops!!

Originally we had planned on finding a "uniquely Savannah" place to eat dinner. But after our massage we were so hungry, and so relaxed that we didn't want to walk very far, that we settled on the Panera that was located directly below the spa. After eating we walked around the city. Checked out a few places along City Market, then headed down to River Street.

My favorite part was watching them make homemade salt water taffy...

Dan's favorite part was the bridge and the boats along the river....

Honestly though, River Street wasn't really for us. Sure, there was one Christmas shoppe that we peeked into to search for the obligatory souvenir, but other than that and the sweet shop, the place was nothing but hotels, bars, and seafood restaurants. Have I ever mentioned that Dan and I don't eat seafood? Yeah... and we don't drink much. Seriously, we had one drink all weekend (which we shared by the way) and that was enough for both of us. So you can see why River Street wasn't really our cup of tea. But, we did get to see a beautiful wedding along the boardwalk which was kind of cool.

We got back pretty late to the hotel Saturday night and knew we had to wake up early to make it out to our kayaking adventure on Sunday. Luckily, our hotel had a complimentary breakfast which was pretty decent compared to others we've had, so that was one less thing we had to worry about Sunday morning before heading out.

Our kayak trip was booked through Moon River Kayak Tours

I wrote our times down wrong and arrived 30 minutes early. Oh well. Gave me time to lather up with sunscreen. Our tour was done by a married couple (well, not technically married, but had been together so long that they might as well been.... you get the idea) who were hilarious and sarcastic. Our kind of people.

When we originally booked the trip, we were told we were going to be exploring Skidaway Island State Park. However, I guess the day before our trip, the group size went from two to three to five to nine. So, instead of going to the state park which had much narrower waterways, we went through the marsh grasses of Moon River (which we found out wasn't really a river at all) and circled around Pigeon Island, which is an island filled with birds and crabs that is only reachable by boat or kayak.

Please excuse the quality of the kayaking pictures - obviously our underwater camera was a victim of the crazy humidity that morning....

Moon River: no moon to be seen and it's not technically a river... I call that false advertising! :)

In the distance you can see the white birds hanging out on the tree branches. I think they called them Wood Storks?

One of our guides pulling up a crab pot to show us the crabs inside....

Our other guide leading us around Pigeon Island (which is in the background)... 

We made a short stop on the beaches of the island to stretch our legs and saw all these little fiddler crabs scurrying about on the beach. A couple of blue crabs were spotted in the shallow water, but they didn't stick around too long.

After the kayak trip, we headed back to the hotel and took a quick dip in the pool to get all of the salt water off of us. Then, we quickly got dressed and headed back out to downtown Savannah in search of lunch. I had been craving pizza. I found a place called Screaming Mimi's online that had great reviews, but when we got in front of the shopping plaza, Dan didn't like the look of the place. So, we headed back into downtown and went towards City Market where we had seen a couple of pizza places the night before. We ended up at Tapas by Anna (sorry no website available).

Let's just say, we were not impressed. The place seemed like it was being run by college students. Never saw anyone that even remotely looked like a manager. We were seated inside, which was tiny and cramped. Maybe fit 14 people? And you were right on top of each other. The "bar" was surrounded by stacks of boxes. The servers hung out by the bar and had conversations while they were waiting for food to be ready from the kitchen. There were no restrooms inside the restaurant; they had to share with the establishment next door. And the food? Well, Dan ordered Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and the sauce was runny, but he said it was overall okay. I, on the other hand, ordered a simple cheese pizza. Only, they took the simple to a whole other level... Let's just say that it reminded me of a freezer pizza with a bunch of basil sprinkled on top of it. I only ate half of it and my stomach seriously regretted it later. The waitress seemed baffled when we both refused to-go boxes to take the remainder of our dishes back to the hotel with us. I lied and said that our room didn't have a fridge. She asked what hotel we were staying in. I confessed and said that we did have a fridge, but it wasn't very cold. That wasn't a lie. She seemed to accept that and gave us our check. Needless to say, I got my pizza, but it certainly did not satisfy the craving.

After lunch, we decided to walk some of it off. We wandered around downtown and searched for a place to grab a frozen yogurt or ice cream. 

We came across Leopald's, which I had heard good things about. However, the line for ice cream was out the door. Besides not wanting to stand in the heat/sun waiting for ice cream, I didn't want to stand in the heat/sun and be surrounded by a large group of girl scouts. Don't get me wrong, I was a girl scout myself. But I was not in the mood to be surrounded by 8 and 9 year old little girls who were probably on their first adventure without mommy and daddy exploring the birthplace of their founder. To put it simply: I was getting crabby.

Dan suggested that we head back to the parking garage, turn on the car and soak up some a/c for a little while. Have I ever said how much I love that man? Rather than getting frustrated with my crabbiness, he stayed calm and offered a solution to our problems. Once we were in the car we both admitted that we were tired of downtown Savannah and decided to head back to our hotel.

We ended up taking a nap back at the hotel. When dinner time rolled around, I was not looking forward to heading back into downtown after our lunch experience. So, we decided to do what we dubbed a "Dinner Hop" and go to a few of our favorite places and eat different parts of our meal at each one. We started out a Zaxby's for dinner, then planned on Dairy Queen for a blizzard dessert, and end our night with a late night snack of appetizers as Applebee's. Let's just say that we couldn't make it pass our blizzards. And even then, it was only because we were able to walk off some of dinner at a local park.

Dairy Queen was literally on the corner next to our hotel, so we headed back and called it a night. The next morning we slept in a little bit before grabbing breakfast downstairs and heading out to Tybee Island. I'll be back tomorrow with another post of our adventures in Tybee. Luckily, we had a much better time there than we did in Savannah - it was a lot more like what we were expecting.

Anyone else visit Historic Savannah and it not meet your expectations? Maybe we just visited the wrong places? Now we pretty much regret not taking one of the historical tours. Any recommendations for the next time we're in that area? Would love to hear about your travel adventures!

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