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Friday, April 12, 2013

Savannah, Charleston, & Beaufort

From Georgia we continued our tour of the South by moving down to Yamassee, South Carolina.  We actually stayed at The Oaks at South Point right off of Interstate 95 about half way between Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA and within 20 minutes of Beaufort, SC.  The park is a Mid-Atlantic Park (recently purchased by ELS and added to Thousand Trails) and close to the Interstate.  The proximity to the Interstate and distance to the beaches of South Carolina and Hilton Head make it a favorite overnight stop for travelers.  In addition, the park still honors Passport America and other clubs so traffic in and out of the park is constant.  The park staff work very hard and are very friendly and helpful.  There is free popcorn in the activity center and while we were there they provided a lovely ham and some fixins’ for a wonderful Easter dinner.  In addition, each Friday night a nice BBQ dinner is available for $7.00 a person in the Activity Center.  The Oaks has all pull through sites with trees and picnic tables and offers free 50 amp., free cable TV, and free wifi in the Activity Center.  We were able to get Direct TV satellite most of the time, but as the trees green in spring and summer the coverage will be sufficient to obscure reception.  The roads have a few potholes, but otherwise it is easy in and easy out.  The pool was not yet opened and the Yamassee Post Office is closed …  Yamassee customers must go to Early Branch, SC to pick up mail.  We would rate this park a 7+ or 8- on the Moore 10 point scale.  We used its central location to visit Savannah, Charleston, Beaufort, and Parris Island.

Bottle Tree at Visitors' Center Next to Park

Tree at Visitors' Center

Visitors' Center

Live Oak at Visitors' Center

Savannah is still a very small city with a nice southern personality built around many town squares, each with a personality of its own.  We went to the visitor’s center and took an “On & Off” Trolley Tour of the town.  Whenever we can, this is our tour of choice.  You get a driver that is knowledgeable about the town and can hop on and hop off whenever something catches your fancy or you need a snack.  The city boasts numerous historic homes, churches, and governmental offices as well as a very active river district (we got off and walked around here).  While there were lines at Paula Dean’s place: Lady and Sons, and Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House we opted for The Pirates House.  The Pirates was a nice little place.  We had a burger and ate in the bar (as an aside … why do parents these days think a bar is an appropriate place for children?).  The burger was ok, but overpriced …  Next time we will try Mrs. Wilkes.  At the Visitor’s Center is a very nice historic museum.  In addition to the regular historic exhibits, the museum had a nice display honoring Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Guides (later Girl Scouts) in America as well as some wonderful quilt displays.  Here are a few pictures.

Charleston is quite different than Savannah.  It is quite a bit larger, with more suburbs and it is much harder to get to the visitor’s center.  We finally arrived at the Visitor Center after parking in the garage (fee) and we made our way over to the center.  In almost every visitor’s center we have ever been in, the staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to share all of the wonderful things that their city has to offer…  not so in Charleston.  You wait in a line to get to a counter, to be met by a surly attendant who only wants to sell you something and is annoyed when you ask what “shouldn’t be missed” (apparently we were supposed to make our selections from the rack of brochures before getting to the princess at the counter!).  Charleston offers no “Hop on – Hop off” tours (the streets are too narrow and crowded … so they say), but we can take a horse-drawn carriage tour … if we are willing to walk a half-mile (or wait an hour for the free trolley that supposedly runs every 15 minutes).  We opted for the walk and took off for the market district (It seemed more like a mile and a ½ than a mile).  Lynda’s knees were done by the time we arrived and my back was screaming.  We pre-purchased our tickets at the Visitor’s Center, but that made no difference.  When we finally arrived at the stables, we were placed in a line behind others who had just purchased their tickets.  After 45 minutes we finally boarded the carriage … crammed in four adults to a bench that was clearly meant for two skinny people … we are not skinny!  The tour itself was very nice and the driver was very informative.  When we were done we ate at Bubba Gumps.  It took 30 minutes to take our order and another 45 to bring the food (after a complaint) we were given a nice complimentary piece of Key Lime Pie.  The food at Bubbas was lousy … the pie was delicious!  Luckily we were able to find a nice bicycle taxi to take us back to the Visitor’s Center (a bargain at $11.00).   We are sorry if you are from Charleston … but we would take Savannah any day!  It was much friendlier to visitors.

Finished with the two cities we had planned to see, we still had a few days left before we were off once again.  A number of people in the park had mentioned going over to the little town of Beaufort, SC, so we thought we would give it a try.   The Visitor’s Center is in the old Armory/Fort and the attendant was friendly and helpful.  We parked the car in the place she recommended and took off for the beach and a couple of restaurants she recommended.  We opted for lunch at Panini’s (no relation to the chain) … wonderful!  Lynda had a wonderful calzone and Kim had the crab and shrimp BLT.  We were so impressed with the nice sea breeze coming in off of the bay that we returned the next day and had lunch down the way at Q on the Bay.  Q is a great little place with terrific hamburgers and some of the best French fries we have had anywhere!  We were really disappointed that we didn’t have a bit more time to spend at this location.  

On one of the days down to Beaufort, we took a little detour to Parris Island Marine Base and took in the Marine Corps museum located here.  This is a great experience for every American.  It is a very comprehensive museum … allow at least two hours.  Here are a few pictures.

That’s all for this stop.

Until next time … Keep doing what you love!