Travel America – a MINI East Coast Vacation

Looking east on River Street, Savannah

From its cobblestone streets to its 22 city squares, elegant homes, hundreds of hotels and restaurants, and a 600-acre cemetery there is nothing MINI about the city of Savannah, Georgia.

In 1733 a ship with 121 passengers landed on a bluff along the Savannah River. Captain General Oglethorpe named the spot Georgia for King George II of England. After negotiations with the Indians, Oglethorpe got permission to build the city of Savannah. The first ever planned city in America it was laid-out in squares, in the center of each was a park with fountains and statues, surrounded by grand houses and churches. If you remember the scene from Forrest Gump with Tom Hanks sitting on a park bench, you have seen one of those squares.

While many of the properties have been bought by the SCAD, the University of Art and Design, 95% of the homes are still occupied by residents of Savannah; a few are museums open to the public. Throughout the city you will find many fine restaurant, bars, and theaters.

Just south of the historic district you find the newer Victorian district, Forsythe Park, and the 600-acre Bonaventure Cemetery where General Oglethorp and many other prominent Savannah citizens are buried. It is featured in the book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” It it a popular site for visitors but was closed when we visited; so we did not get to spend any time there. We’ll save for our next visit.

fountain in Forsyth Park

Before we leave Savannah we must stroll down River Street (pictured above).

Savannah is one of the largest shipping ports in the US. Goods come into and go out of Savannah on giant cargo ships.

cargo ship leaving Savannah

FACT: One cargo ship can contain 24,000 containers. A container is the size of a 20-foot tractor-trailer.

When we visited Savannah, there were 40 ships sitting out at sea waiting to come into port and be unloaded and reloaded. We were told some had been out there as long as 2 months. I guess we don’t have to wonder why there are supply-chain problems. Savannah is roughly 18 miles inland; you can imagine what a slow process it is for ships to get in and out.

The buildings along River Street were once warehouses for cotton, salt, rice and other goods coming into and going out of Savannah. No longer needed, they have been converted to condos, lofts, apartments, hotels, stores and restaurants while still maintaining much of the history and charm of the buildings.

The restaurants serve some very fine food, from burgers and fries to steak, seafood, and delicious pastires and desserts., And they do not serve MINI portions as evidenced by my breakfast of yogurt and fruit! Blackberries were as big as my thumb!

Unable to eat it all we took it back to our room and put it in our MINI fridge. (It was, indeed a MINI fridge.)

Yogurt, Granola, Fruit and Honey

One final note before we leave Savannah, the cobblestone street that you can see in the first photo is part of Savannah’s charm. Back in the day when ships from Europe came into port, they carried cobblestones as balast. The stones began to pile up with no purpose. Since the streets were only dirt and mud, it was decided to use the balast stones to “pave” the roads. Over the years many have been replaced but the River Street area still maintains cobblestone streets.

On to Hilton Head Island

After a busy two days touring Savannah we turned back north up the coast to Hilton Head Island for a couple days of relaxation. There isn’t much to HHI. It is a retirement area for the wealthy and a vacation spot for the rest of us. The resorts are generally large, the communities gated, and the golf courses superb, the largest being Harbour Town Golf Links, a PGA stop the week after the Masters.

HHI has zoning laws governing the size of signs – they are small (perhaps MINI) and uniform. You won’t see the Golden Arches from miles away, you will be lucky to catch it as you drive past.

Since HHI is a popular area for vacationers and golfers there is, of course, a MINI golf course. We caught sight of one particularly ba `d golfer one day as we drove by. A creek ran along the roadway, a wood rail fence set off the course behind. A young man was trying to retrieve his errant putt (since that’s the only shot there is in MINI golf) from the creek out-of-bounds of the course. Hubby and I agreed to he was a very bad golfer!

After a couple of days eating seafood and chatting with the “locals” at a popular Irish Pub, we were ready to hit the road to head a bit further north up the coast to home. The weather had been beautiful and rain was on the way, so timing was perfect.

I hope you have enjoyed by little tour and will get a chance to visit these two favorite spots of ours. There is so much history in Savannah and I only scratched the surface. Wherever you travel, Happy Travels!

Posted to gc and Susan’s Weekly Word Prompt MINI.

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