Savannah – Beautifully Weird

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Savannah, Georgia turned out to be a bit of a surprise for me. It had everything you’d imagine – weeping trees, old houses and churches, amazing hospitality but, what we soon found out is that the area can be quite dangerous as well.

The hotel that we stayed at was a very nice IMG_2586(the Springhill Suites) and it was located just on the edge of the historic district. We soon found out that you really need to confine yourself to this area, as the zone outside the historic district isn’t exactly pleasant.

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Serious notice, seriously bad grammar.

According to a tour driver, who took the guys on a haunted tour, crime is very high in Savannah but you are generally very safe within the historic district as it it heavily policed. ┬áLearning this made us a little more cautious than we might have otherwise been, but it didn’t damper the trip. And it shouldn’t stop you from going there – it’s a beautiful area, full of history and most definitely a place you should see.

What are my tips for visiting Savannah? They are as follows:

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About to sample some honey wine!

#1 – Park your car and leave it. The historic area is not terribly large, if you’ve got decent mobility you should be able to walk it all quite easily. Also, you’ll be able to experience the city much better by foot – finding fun places to shop, eat and just generally browse. I’d highly suggest stopping by the Savannah Bee Company and sampling some honey mead wines (and also buying some stuff – my grandmother was a big fan of their products, I wish I could get it in Canada!)

Tip #2 – You can drink in public. As long as you liquor is in a plastic container/cup it is perfectly legal to drink in public in Savannah. As soon as we learned this we cracked open some cans of Four Loko (more on that later) and went on our way.

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I sat this one out, but two of the group went for it.

Tip #3 – Stay inside the historic district. I already said this above, but this is my strongest recommendation. On our first night there, the two guys in our group went across the road to a local gas station. They proclaimed before leaving that “if we’re not back in 10 minutes, we’re dead!” Likely a slight exaggeration, but it wasn’t the best area.

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A friendly man took this photo – and asked us for change afterward. He was harmless.

Tip #4 – Watch out for scams. That friendly man who offers to take your photo? Yeah, he’s probably going to want cash afterward. Most of these people are totally harmless, but just be aware.

Tip #5 – Take a free tugboat ride. There are many riverboat cruises you can take, but if
DSCN0274you don’t want to commit to the time and price of these, you can just hop on a tugboat and head across the river and back. There’s not much on the other side, other than a fancy hotel, but it’s a fun way to spend an hour or so.

Although I didn’t present the best picture of Savannah I don’t want you to think it’s a horrible, unsafe place to visit. Just be aware of your surroundings and you’ll be just fine!

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On the Battlefields of Virginia

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After spending a bit of time in rural (ish) Virginia we all quickly developed an affinity for the state. So much so that Dion still talks about someday moving there! What did we enjoy about Virginia? Well, a lot of things.

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The grounds outside of the Historic Powhattan Resort.

We stayed at the Historic Powhattan Resort which is just outside of Williamsburg and that was a great plus point on its own. Although it’s a part of the Diamond International group (and you may get subjected to a sales pitch) it is a great place to stay if travelling with a few people. We had a moderately sized condo with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a small balcony. It seemed not a lot of people were staying there at the same time we were (it was mid-week and in September) which was all the more great for us. The resort has a pool, hot tub, tennis courts and a large number of wildlife. On top of it being cicada season we also saw a group of deer and two skunks (we made sure to keep our distance from those guys!)

We also spent some time learning some local history. We visited Historic Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg and did the driving tour of the Yorktown battlefields.

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Note: In case of war, do not replicate this pose. You will die.
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Met myself a new friend.

Coming from Canada, it was a pretty interesting way to spend the day. None of us are major history buffs or anything, but since our country has never had any major wars fought on it, it was cool to see the old trenches and cannons.

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Oh hi, local Newfoundland restaurant.

Another random/weird experience that we had in Virginia was coming across a local restaurant chain! In the information left in our room we’d seen a brochure for “Jungle Jims” restaurant. We instantly thought “nahh can’t be, must just be a same name coincidence”. But nope, in the middle of Virginia we found the only franchise of a restaurant based in Newfoundland to exist outside of Canada. It was surreal and of course we had to go eat there. However, don’t get too excited because we discovered not long after coming back home that the restaurant closed. So there goes the chance for Americans to experience such local gems as “monkey fingers and fries” and “Jim’s chicken taquitos”.

As for tips for visiting the Williamsburg area?

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All of this cost about $45. In Canada it would be closer to $75.

Tip #1 – Save money by visiting the local Walmart or chainstore. If you want to save some money, or simply don’t want take out for every meal, I suggest taking a stop at one of these places. You’ll be able to get breakfast food, snacks, weird souvenirs and even liquor – which is something that you definitely cannot do in Canada.

Tip #2 – You’re going to need a car. I mean, it’s probably a given, that if you visit somewhere outside of a large city that you’ll need your own transport. But this is definitely true of the Williamsburg area. If you want to visit the battlefields, explore the historic area, etc. just save yourself some hassle and pick up a cheap rental.

So that’s my thoughts on the Williamsburg area. Have you ever been there? Where are your favourite places in Virginia?

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