Our trip is nearing the end and I finally have time to post.
First, our day in Savannah: We journeyed to this historical city on Wednesday (about an hour from Hilton Head) and immediately looked for Oglethorpe Trolleys near the Highway 17 bridge. This tour company charges $15 per person for a ninety-minute tour, followed by the opportunity to use their shuttles for the rest of the day (a real bargain). The tour was very interesting and we quickly got a feel for the unique layout of this city, with 22 squares filled with huge trees and monuments and surrounded by restored homes and churches.
Savannah was apparently a decaying city in the 1950’s with many historical buildings disappearing with “urban renewal”, including the venerable City Market and other treasures. A group that came to be known as the “seven brave ladies” formed the Historic Savannah Foundation to save the Isaiah Davenport house, a beautiful home built in the 1820’s. The foundation then helped save and restore more than 350 other properties in the city, all through private funds.
On our tour we saw the Mercer house (“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” epicenter and also the home of lyricist Johnny Mercer), restored homes from the 1700s and later eras, the Riverwalk area, the Green-Meldrim house (temporary home to General William Tecumseh Sherman after his march through the south) and many other sites.
Our great tour guide dropped us back at the welcome center and we grabbed the car to head back to the restored City Market (easier with the wheelchair than using their shuttles). We surveyed the restaurant options and settled on Belford’s. I had a fantastic wild shrimp, grits and greens entree and Steve had the equally awesome crab cakes. With the temperature nearing ninety, the lunch and beverages made us very sleepy. Steve grabbed a caffeinated coke and we did a quick driving tour through town, revisiting some of the same sites as our tour. We really enjoyed Savannah and have vowed to return.
We made our way back to Hilton Head and went straight to the DVC beach house. It was almost empty (this is a great time of year to be there). We had fun watching the beautiful cardinals and viewing the beach, then decided to head over to Robert Irvine’s restaurant “Eat”. We sat in the bar and shared some incredible tapas, especially the smoked quail pizzetta (absolutely killer bee).
All too soon we had to leave the wonderful Hilton Head Disney Vacation Club and begin the marathon drive to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. We were on the road at 9 am on Thursday; we decided to take the lesser roads rather than the dreaded I-95, fully aware that this might add hours to the expedition. We switched off driving every two hours and stopped for lunch at Sticky Fingers BBQ near the commercial, crowded nightmare known as Myrtle Beach.
Towards the end of our journey, we enjoyed nearly empty roads through beautiful farmland and wildlife refuges as we neared the outer banks (“beware of bears and red wolves crossing the roads”). We finally stumbled into Kitty Hawk at 9 pm and found our hotel (Hilton Garden Inn). We checked in and got a recommendation for a restaurant that was open late just down the road. The “Black Pelican” was allegedly famous for their wood-fired pizza. We found the place, ordered drinks and two small pizzas from their menu and settled back to enjoy the atmosphere of a place that was built up from the original lifeboat station that had the telegraph station used by the Wright brothers to announce their success on December 17, 1903.
Our pizzas arrived: I took one bite of the Greek pizza and looked at Steve with alarm. The chef had obviously dumped a pound of salt into the pizza, beyond what could be expected with feta and olives. The pepperoni pizza was slightly better, but we rapidly realized that our string of good-to-awesome dinners was over on this trip – these were the worst pizzas we have ever had in our lives (no joke). We gamely ate a few pieces due to near-starvation, but finally threw in the towel. We settled up and headed back to the hotel, resigned to drinking gallons of water all night.
This morning we ate breakfast at the hotel, then headed over to the Wright Brothers Memorial. Steve climbed the hill with the granite memorial (home of the glider tests) and we really enjoyed the small visitor’s center and other preserved areas, including the area where the actual four flights took place on December 17, 2003. At noon we headed towards Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, and the Williamsburg Inn.
The Inn is a fabulous hotel – our room is probably the nicest one we have ever had, the size of a small apartment. After settling in, we headed out to the historic district, just in time for the the first rain of the trip.
Our impressions of Williamsburg will be recorded in detail in a future post.
More to come….