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. ¬†Learning 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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(Less than) 24 hours in Washington D.C.

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If you’ve ever stumbled upon my blog, you’ll find one of my most favourite things to talk about is travel. I could talk for days – especially if I find someone who’s been to some of the same places as I have. ¬†Because of this, I thought I’d take some time to explore a little more in-depth some of my favourite places that I’ve been. Many have been visited while on long road trips, meaning that I’ve seen a little of a lot, but I try to make that ‘little’ as meaningful as possible.

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Shane and I being a little too overtired (also, check out the Washington Monument photobombing us).

First on my list is Washington, D.C. which is a fantastic city which I’ve spent less than 24 hours, but I managed to see quite a bit in that short span.

We arrived in Baltimore only to immediately grab our rental car and proceed on the roughly one hour drive to Washington.

After travelling on an early am flight from St. John’s (through Toronto and then through Baltimore) it was an insanely exhausting day, but we also knew it would probably be our only chance in a long time to see the city (since we would only be there for one night before heading on to Virginia). So as soon as we were checked into our hotel, we laced up our sneakers and caught the subway to the Capitol District.

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Checking out the (outside of) the Smithsonian.

Tip #1 – Everything is further away than you think it is. When you’re in front of the Washington Monument, gazing toward the Capitol Building you may think “wow, this really isn’t too far!” Do not be fooled, it is. You’ll walk for probably 40 minutes or more to get there. But the walk is very nice and you’ll pass the Smithsonian and a bunch of other interesting buildings along the way.

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The Capitol Building at dusk.

 

Tip #2 – Don’t be afraid after dark. No really, Washington is surprisingly quiet after dark. As dusk hit, really the only people that we saw around were joggers, which actually comforted us, because we figured if they felt safe enough there, so should we.

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The subway station seemed pretty fancy to us!

Tip #3 – Use the Subway. While we had a rental car, we didn’t want to be worried about driving in downtown DC, so we decided to take on the subway system and you know what? It was super easy. When we first arrived, we had to ask for help (which people were very okay with providing) but after a quick lesson we were on our way. It was very quick and timely.

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Arlington National Cemetery – white stone grave markers for as far as the eye can see.

Finally, although the majority of our ‘visit’ was spent outside of buildings, on our way to our next destination we did make time to stop at Arlington National Cemetery. I’d basically consider myself to be a pacifist, but there’s something about seeing the graves of thousands and thousands of people that have died in protection of their country that can bring a tear to your eye. It’s a huge place, we only saw a part of it, but still it was most definitely worth the stop.

So there you have it! Are there many, many more awesome things to see and do in Washington? Most definitely, and I recommend you check them out. But if you only have a few hours to spare, you can see some great things. Should I find myself in the city again, I would probably arrange to take a few tours and eat some local food, as all we had time to ‘indulge’ in was McDonalds!¬†

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Shane checking out Obama’s pad (from a distance, of course!)