Thursday, May 31, 2012

Road Trip 2012 - Day 17

Tuesday, May 1st - Montgomery, AL to Natchez, MS

We had breakfast at the hotel and departed at 10:11 am (precisely!)

Beginning odometer = 37,029

We drove through Selma, AL, but did not stop. We agreed this historic city will be on the agenda for our next Southern road trip.

We made it to Mississippi.

Upon arriving in Natchez, we drove around checking out the historic area. The Husband had found Natchez Manor on-line and when we saw it in person we both said, "Yes, let's stay here if they have a vacancy."

The staff was welcoming and helpful. We were assigned a ground floor room and were happily unpacking when The Husband determined the air conditioner was not working. Lynnette (Front Desk) and Judy (Housekeeping) transferred us to another room quick as a wink and helped relocate our bags.

After we settled in, we wandered into the hotel bar and met Calvin (Chef) and Rebecca (Bartender). Both were very friendly. Calvin was so friendly, when we decided not to eat at the hotel, he took a short break and walked us over to Breaud's Seafood & Steak. How's that for service? 

Beverly was our waitress at Breaud's and she took great care of us while we enjoyed a satisfying meal. 

We were in bed at 9:35 p.m. that evening and fell into a sound sleep!

End of day odometer = 37,382

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Road Trip 2012 - Day 16

Monday - April 30th - Thomasville, GA to Montgomery, AL

We had breakfast at the hotel and were on the road by 10:15 a.m.

Odometer reading = 36,785

We visited the Thomasville Rose Garden. Thomasville hosts a rose show every year and they consider themselves the City of Roses. We arrived in town the day this year's show ended. We need to work on our timing!

Thomasville is also the home to a beautiful 331 year old live oak, named The Big OakIt is magnificent.

There is a camera mounted on the light pole across the street from The Big Oak. On the back of the sign The Husband is standing behind is a phone number. You dial the number and hear a recorded message advising your photo will be taken in 8 seconds. All the photos are later uploaded onto a website for viewing.

If you want to see our photo, click here.

Or you can navigate to our photo by clicking here
Click on the 2012 link. 
Click on the April, 2012 link. 
Our photo is on the far right of the top row.
The tag on our photo: bigoak2012-04-30_08h_46m_03s.jpg

We drove past the historic Lapham-Patterson House, but they were closed. Again, with our timing!

Years ago, when I visited Thomasville, one of the men I was working with told me if I went downtown I should not go into the Billiards Academy. Why? Because it was not a place for "nice girls," since there were pool tables and card games and who knows what else going on. Of course, I immediately wanted to go there. He said "No, no. People at the office will hear you were there and will talk!" He told me if it was open and I wanted to get coneys, I could order at the walk-up window on the sidewalk. It was 1995, for goodness sakes!

The Billiards Academy was closed during my last visit to Thomasville, unfortunately. It was, however, open during this visit. The Husband and I had coneys for lunch and, yes, I did go inside the establishment. Evidently, "nice girls" can go there now without risking their reputations!

Billiards Academy coneys were good, but nothing like Tulsa's Coney I-Lander. If I had to choose between the two, Coney I-Lander would win everytime!

Me, on the sidewalk by Billiards Academy walk-up window.

We left Thomasville after lunch and headed toward Montgomery, AL. I managed to get this state welcome sign from the car window. There was too much traffic to park and pose for the usual photo.

We did take an hour to stop at a large thrift store. It was really more of a junky antique mall. We saw some interesting items and some interesting people. It was a good diversion from the road.

We rolled into Montgomery, AL in the early evening and found a hotel. We opted for dinner at an Outback. It was easy and quick. Our server was a nice kid named Patrick.

End of day odometer = 37,029

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Road Trip 2012 - Day 15

Sunday, April 29th - Thomasville, GA

Did you know that some hotels now install sensor lights in the bathroom and if no movement is detected within a specific time frame, the light automatically shuts off? This is bad news for people like me who like to leave the bathroom light on all night with the door barely open. Also, it's bad news for people like me who evidently stand too still in the shower, since the dadgum light went off while I was washing my hair. I started laughing hysterically and called out to The Husband. He thought something dire had happened and when he opened the door and the light flicked back on, he too started laughing. A shower in the dark and morning laughter is a good way to start the day.

Our beginning odometer = 36,678

We stopped into Waffle House for a quick breakfast and then headed 35 miles down the road to Tallahassee, FL for a flea market fix.

What a terrible mistake. The flea market was awful, awful, awful. :-(

We had a lovely drive back to Thomasville on highway 90. Between Tallahasse and Monticello the highway is lined on both sides with mature crepe myrtles. Miles and miles of mature crepe myrtles. The drive has to be stunning when they are in bloom!

We got to add a unique state welcome sign to our photos. I hope no one, other than the sign, was hurt in this incident.

We returned to Thomasville and because it was Sunday, it was virtually impossible to find a locally owned establishment that was open. We ended up at a chain restaurant with the hopes of having a cold cocktail and sharing an appetizer.

Guess what? It's against the law to serve alcohol in restaurants on Sundays in Thomas County, GA. No cocktails for us. Plus, when the appetizer was delivered it was HUGE. We ate barely a 1/4 of it. I really wish the restaurant industry would reduce portion sizes. They are ridiculous!

After returning to the room and reading and napping, we started discussing our dinner options. We finally agreed we were both happy to stay in and have Whataburger for dinner. The Husband ran out to pick up the food. When he returned to the room, he watched Major League Baseball and I watched 2 episodes of HBO's Game of Thrones on my laptop.

It was a heavenly, restful evening!

End of day odometer = 36,785

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Road Trip 2012 - Day 14

Saturday, April 28th - Savannah, GA to Thomasville, GA

We left lovely Savannah at 10:00 a.m. with the car odometer reading 36,457. Our car was parked for 2 days, 18 hours while we explored the city. As we drove out of town, we waved good-bye and promised to return!

Our first order of business for the day was laundry. We found the Suds Laundromat in Hinesville, GA. Laundromats are much nicer than when I used to frequent them 30 years ago! Suds had flat screen TV's with cable, free wireless internet, exercise equipment, video games and upscale vending offerings. A mere hour and 15 minutes later, we walked out with clean clothes for another week on the road.

We stopped for lunch at Dairy Ranch in Jesup, GA. The Husband loves good fried chicken.

After lunch we stopped at a couple of garage sales and one really bad flea market. I spent 75¢ and picked up a couple of items for my booths. We observed that folks in this area of the country tend to haul their stuff to parking lots along the highway and set up their garage sales. Very convenient for shoppers from out of state!

We arrived in Thomasville, GA at 5:30 p.m. and found a hotel room. A number of years ago, I visited Thomasville on business. I found it to be a charming little town and this trip was a perfect opportunity to show it to The Husband.

We went for a nice dinner at The Plaza Restaurant, which has been in business in Thomasville for over 90 years and then returned to the hotel.

End of day odometer: 36,678

Friday, May 18, 2012

Road Trip 2012 - Day 13

Friday, April 27 - Savannah, GA

We had an extremely lazy morning at the hotel, which included breakfast. We left the room at 11:00 a.m., ready for our walking adventure in Savannah. We were sure we had our maps, but guess what? We left them in the room! Thank goodness, we had smart phones we could use to guide us on our Savannah walking tours.

We started by venturing into some cute shops and expensive antique stores.

Afterwards we walked through several squares before arriving at The Mercer Williams House Museum.

Our tour of the Mercer House was very interesting. The beautiful front hallway is 1,000 square feet and the three formal front parlors are 1,400 square feet. Those spaces together (just 2/3rds of the downstairs) are as big as our ENTIRE house! The Husband and I cracked up during the tour after hearing these statistics. :-)

We walked by the house that William Tecumseh Sherman occupied after Savannah fell to the Union. It is the Green-Meldrim House. Unfortunately, we did not take time to tour it. Next Savannah trip!

We walked by the location of the bus bench where Forrest Gump opened his box of chocolates.  The bench was not there. It was only in place for the filming of the movie. That did not stop many tourists from pretending they were sitting on a bench, while a friend took their photo. The Husband refused to do that. Spoil sport!

Imagine Forrest here.

There were monuments or statues in all the historic squares.

We had a very nice, very late lunch at the Six Pence Pub. A scene from the Julia Robert's movie Something To Talk About was shot there.

Somehow, we ended up back at Retro on Congress, during happy hour. What? Afterwards, we walked to our room. Good grief, we walked everywhere that day! Fun, but tiring.

After resting, we ended up at Circa 1875 - Gastro Pub for a delicious and decadent dinner. We shared:
  • Escargots - traditional garlic shallot herb butter
  • Foies de Poulet Saute - Seasoned chicken livers on top of savory brioche, carmelized Vadalia Onions, Quince preserves, and finished with natural pan sauce (OMG! OMG! Delicious!)
  • Profiteroles - With vanilla ice cream, topped with toasted pecans and hot fudge
  • Cocktails (Did I mention those?)
The wait staff was lovely! Any server who walked behind the bar (of course, we sat at the bar) was happy to help us. But, more importantly, they chatted us up, which we love.

Based on the recommendation of one of the servers at Circa 1875 - Gastro Pub, we walked to The Bohemian and ascended to their rooftop bar. We were amongst the young, trendy, cool people. It reminded us of our youth. We were young, trendy and cool at one time. However, we had to leave well before midnight, because it was past our bedtime!

We thoroughly enjoyed our day exploring Savannah on foot.

Have you been to Savannah? What did you enjoy?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Road Trip 2012 - Day 12

Thursday, April 26 - Savannah, GA

We slept later than normal. It was 9:30 a.m. before we woke. Which was fine, because 1) obviously we needed the rest and 2) we had no place to be at a specific time. We had a hearty breakfast at Cobblestone Cafe and were then ready for anything the day would bring!

The previous day, we had purchased tickets from Old Savannah Tours for the Historic On/Off Tour. We hopped on the trolley at the last stop, planning to start the tour at the beginning. As we pulled into the Visitor Center parking lot, the tour guide advised us we would have to exit that trolley and board the next scheduled tour. As we exited, who oh who should be there to greet us but Mr. Jim Williams!

We were interviewed for a video being put together for the Savannah Visitor's Center. Hopefully, we won't end up on the cutting room floor!

We boarded the trolley and met our tour guide, Kathleen Green.

Kathleen loves her job and her adopted city, as she told us several times during the tour. Not only was Kathleen knowledgeable about the city sights, but she was engaging and funny and kept us all entertained. At the conclusion of the tour, we were equipped with a great overview of the city and a better idea what attractions we wanted to see the next day.

Most especially, we had a better understanding of how historic Savannah is laid out in squares. If you are not familiar with the city design, I encourage you to look at this information. We found the design to be charming!

We couldn't go to Savannah without at least going by Paula Deen's Restaurant and Shop. We didn't eat there, but we did spend a few dollars in her shop. Look, I even got a picture with her! Mmmm, I look hot and tired and in need of a cool beverage.

We wandered across the street, where we were drawn into Retro on Congress because of their bar stools. I mean, who can resist animal print bar stools?

It was happy hour, so the drinks were only $2 each. Ridiculously cheap. Savannah allows you to purchase "traveler" drinks. As a result, you see lots of tourists walking and cocktailing at the same time.

We visited Kitchens on the Square next. It was full of fun, quirky items. I especially liked the character salt & pepper shakers. We stopped in the City Market area at Wild Wing Cafe for a snack and a drink. The bartenders were personable and the crowd was fun.

We returned to the room to rest for a while. Afterwards, we went on a walk looking for a restaurant. We saw several, but ultimately ended up back at Wild Wing Cafe for a casual dinner and to enjoy the live music immediately outside the restaurant. There were lots of people enjoying the music, dancing and generally having a great time.

We returned to our room late and fell into bed right away!

NOTE: While I was writing this blog post, The Husband and I were watching the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." :-)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Road Trip 2012 - Day 11

Wednesday, April 25th - Charleston, SC to Savannah, GA

On our last morning in Charleston, we had breakfast at Eli's Table. We loaded our car and departed the garage at 10:35 a.m., with the odometer reading 36,347. The elapsed time on the parking ticket was 2 days, 18 hours and 32 minutes.

In a short 2 hours we were in Savannah, GA. We drove to the hotel we had booked, but decided it was too far away from the center of the historic district. We cancelled the reservation and found another hotel.

Once we settled into the room we walked down to the river front and had lunch at the Fiddler's Crab House. I had a very good shrimp salad sandwich and The Husband had a dozen oysters. After lunch, we walked down the river front and stopped in at Spanky's for a drink. Afterwards it was back to the hotel for a nap.

We returned to the river front for dinner at River House Seafood. The Husband ordered Oysters Rockefeller. He found a small pearl in one of the oysters and presented it to me. Paired with the small pearl he found a number of years ago in Florida, I now have the makings of a pair of earrings!

After dinner, we strolled down the sidewalk and walked into Kevin Barry's Irish PubBrendan Nolan was performing. We were fortunate enough to have him sit next to us during one of his breaks. We had a pleasant, educational conversation about his life and music.

We made our way back to the hotel and to bed.

The end of day odometer reading was 36,457. We are in another walkable city. I wonder if our car will move during our stay in Savannah?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Road Trip 2012 - Day 10

Tuesday, April 24th - Charleston, SC

We were awake at 8:00 a.m. and had the continental breakfast in our room as we prepared for the day.

We decided to walk to the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square. This was a much longer walk than the previous day's trek to the Charleston Visitor's Center.

We purchased our tickets for the 30 minute boat ride to Fort Sumter. You are allowed 1 hour at the Fort, before re-boarding the boat for the 30 minute ride back to the Education Center. While we waited for our designated departure time, we examined all the exhibits.

Finally, it was time to board the boat. The Husband, who is so mannerly, told me to let all the older folks board first. I told him, "Honey, these people are retirees. They are aggressive and brutal! We'll never get a seat. Let's go!" Reluctantly he followed me. Even so, we had to sit on the top level, exposed to the elements because all the protected seats were taken by "The Retirees!" It was cold and windy on the water. Very cold and windy!

The Husband with the Fort over his left shoulder.

On land, just before entering the Fort. 

The actual cannons used during the seige.

Over The Husband's right shoulder is Fort Johnson. The first shot on Fort Sumter was fired from there, beginning the Civil War.

The wind on Fort Sumter was brutal and cold. You felt like you were being beaten, it was so strong. We opted to return to the boat a few minutes early, but we could not beat the majority of "The Retirees." They were already on board, seated at tables in the enclosed areas of the boat. No cold, windy return for them! We climbed to the open deck of the boat and it was even colder and more windy on the return trip to the mainland. Did I mention it was cold? and windy?

After returning to the mainland, we took a pedicab ride from the Fort Sumter Vistor Center to the City Market area, thus avoiding the long walk back.
This guy was a lifesaver! 

We lunched at Magnolia's Restaurant. A couple of appetizers and a drink and we were good. We walked back to the B&B and took a nap in anticipation of a big evening with our friends.

The Friend and The Wife picked us up at our B&B and drove us the few blocks for a pre-dinner drink at the rooftop Pavilion Bar. My feet thanked them profusely! The Pavilion Bar was hip and trendy and full of glamorous people, just like us. We enjoyed the rooftop view of Charleston, a good cocktail and pleasant conversation.

After the drink, we repaired to the restaurant immediately adjacent to our B&B, Husk. On our first night in Charleston we had our first drink there with The Friend and then returned late at night for a sandwich. This night, however, was special because The Friend had made dinner reservations in the restaurant. Husk was named Bon App├ętit magazine's 2011 Best New Restaurant in America and we were looking forward to the experience, to say the least!

I started with the "Buffalo Pig Ear Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Vinegar, Marinated Cucumbers and Spring Onion." The combination of tastes was divine. Salty pig ear, sweet and spicy flavors combined with crunchy cucumbers and lettuce was an interesting taste sensation. For the main course, I had "Cornmeal Dusted NC Catfish with Smoky Tomato, Spring Courgette and Sweet Corn." It was melt in my mouth delicious! The Husband, The Friend and The Wife also thoroughly enjoyed their dinners.

If you are planning to travel to Charleston, SC, I encourage you to 1) visit Husk's website and read about the Chef and his food philosophy, as well as his approach to sourcing ingredients for his creations and 2) make a dinner reservation!

After dinner, we returned to the Husk bar for an after dinner drink.

We can't thank our friends enough for making our first visit to Charleston so enjoyable. Their knowledge of where to stay and the restaurant scene made our visit stress free and delightful!

Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Road Trip 2012 - Reports

Hello. It's Day 17 of our road trip. Yes, I realize I've only posted up to Day 9.

We are having a blast on this road trip. Most days, I am so weary I am having difficulty carving out quiet time to write.

I am outlining each day's activities, so I won't forget any details.

I hope to have Day 10 posted soon.

Thanks for following along on our adventure. If you have an opportunity to take a road trip, I encourage you to go for it. It's fun to see new places and meet new people!