Hello everyone and Happy Holidays to you all. I know I’ve had quite a few people subscribe this week, so if you’re new to this newsletter, welcome! My Week on the Road posts are basically my digital journal entries for the week just past. I do try my best to do one every week, but sometimes life has other plans. You can click on any of my photos to see a full-screen view, and most places I mention have links attached if you click on the name.
This week has been spent on beaches, near lighthouses and under Spanish moss as I made my way down the Georgia coast from Savannah to Brunswick. The scenery has been magnificent, and the people have been great as well and it has been wonderful to get some good seafood again. Brunswick has been my base of operations these last few days as I explored the coastal barrier islands of South Georgia. It’s been a busy week, as usual, but a good one. The days have been short, but the weather has been good. I’ve been in shorts and a T-shirt while North Carolina has been blasted with snow. I did get my Canon camera off to the repair shop for a new shutter, and it will be waiting for me at home in D.C. when I get there for Christmas. I have been using my old Olympus E510 this week which is pretty outdated at this point in time, but it’s been chugging along and I’m very grateful to have it. I apologize that my photos aren’t quite up to par this week, but they’ll be back on track in the new year. It’s been a fast month here in Georgia, as I have had to keep the pace up to make my flight home from Orlando next week, and I’ll admit I’m pretty tired. I’ve been going seven days a week all month, and I am definitely looking forward to a break. This last week was my last full week in the Peach State, and it has been a really good and fascinating week and month.
When I left you last time, I did actually head into Savannah that night. I had a great night going to some of my favorite little spots downtown. I started with some live blues music at The Warehouse down on the river. This great little dive bar is usually my first stop in Savannah. Then I headed down to the beautiful basement bar at The Pink House. I really enjoyed sitting by the fire and sipping a bourbon while the piano player played some tunes. Piano bars are definitely underrated, and this is a great one. From there I headed to the opposite end of the spectrum at Abe’s on Lincoln, a classic downtown dive. Savannah is one of my favorite cities, and it was great to have a night out to relax just a little bit and enjoy a few drinks.
Thursday I woke up late and went for a nice long walk around Savannah’s Historic District. It was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed taking a stroll. I had a nice breakfast biscuit at Rise and then took a seat by the river to work on my podcast for a while. When I finished the story I was working on, I went for a nice lunch at Pie Society. My friend Bethany came to meet me there and we chatted for a bit. We went for a quick drink and then headed back to her place for a while. Bethany is an old friend of mine from my tour leading days and her and her boyfriend Josh have become a great part of my travel family. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the last few years, and it was really great to stay with them for a few days and catch up.
That night we went out to have a few drinks at the American Legion before heading into a comedy show at the White Whale. It was an improv show and the first group was visiting from New York. I hate to say it because I know how hard improv and performing are, but they were really not good and it was uncomfortable just to watch them. Thankfully the second group that came on was much better and redeemed the evening. While we were there, we also enjoyed some great (if somewhat overpriced) pizza from Big Bon Pizza Truck. After the show, we headed over to Wormhole, another divey bar on Bull Street. There I met a fascinating Burt Reynolds impersonator, who apparently just lives life in-character down to the Firebird he drives. He was an interesting person to meet, and a really nice guy.
Friday I went out in the morning to visit Bonaventure Cemetery. With all the time I’ve spent in Savannah, I’ve never made it to Bonaventure. It is a really pretty cemetery full of Spanish moss and old graves. I enjoyed a nice long walk, looking at the beautiful statues and taking some great photos. You can see the pictures I took at Bonaventure in a post HERE.
From there I headed out to Tybee Island, a cute little beach town which is about a half hour from downtown Savannah. When I got onto the island I went out to see the beautiful Tybee Island Lighthouse and take some photos. This is Georgia’s oldest and tallest light and I had a great visit. It was a very good day to take photos and I would have loved to have seen what my regular camera could have done there. After that, I headed out on the pier for a while. It’s been three months since I’ve seen the ocean, so I wanted to sit and enjoy it for a while. I love smelling the salt air and feeling the ocean breeze on my face. My lungs full of salty ocean air, I headed into the downtown area to wander and take some photos for a while. I stopped in for a quick beer at Doc’s before heading back to the beach for sunset. I took a few more photos of the pier and beach and then raced back to the lighthouse to take some dusk photos of the light. You can see all my photos from Tybee Island HERE.
After dusk settled in, I headed back to Savannah to rendezvous with Bethany and Josh and we went downtown for an amazing Asian fusion dinner at CO. This place was great and the food was excellent. After dinner we went to a different American Legion for their weekly Turkey Shoot. We didn’t shoot at turkeys, but rather at targets with the winner of each round getting a turkey or some other frozen meat prize. It was fun even though I was barely in the hunt. It’s been a while since I shot anything, and I was definitely out of practice. Not having my glasses on probably didn’t help. Either way, it was a fun event. Afterwards, Bethany and I and her friend Mo went on a little bar crawl around where she lives. We had a great time catching up and sharing stories. I really enjoyed the evening, and we were out until closing time, which I haven’t done in a while.
Sunday we went downtown to go on the amazing Savannah For Morons tour. This tour was hilarious from start to finish and gets my highest recommendation. The guys doing it were on point the whole tour and I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard for that long. They really made my day and you can read my whole post about the tour HERE. After the tour we stopped for a few drinks and then went back to their apartment. Josh made an amazing pot of pho for dinner for us and we enjoyed a great meal and a wonderful conversation. Josh and I ended up staying up until 6 a.m. chatting and solving all the world’s problems. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was up all night.
After a good long sleep, I got up and watched the first half of Sunday football before getting on the road. I made my way down to Brunswick on Route 17 with a scenic detour down scenic route 99. I stopped in for a quick beer at the Fish Dock at Pelican Point on the way. It was a really cool spot on Blackbeard Creek in Townsend. When I got into Brunswick, I had to catch up on some work, so I headed out to Starbucks for the evening. It wasn’t as productive as I wanted it to be, but I did get some things done.
Monday was a pretty grey day, but at least it wasn’t raining. The morning was spent running errands and trying to catch up on some things. I was very happy to meet a nice man at Staples who helped me solve my last issue with the camera I’m using while my Canon is in the shop. That done, I headed out to Fort Frederica National Monument on St. Simons Island. This 18th Century fort and town was the southernmost settlement of the United States at the time it was built, and the first line of defense against Spanish invaders from Florida. The film on the Battle of Bloody Marsh at the Visitors Center was really good, and I enjoyed wandering the grounds as well. There wasn’t much left but a few ruins and some foundations, but it was pretty out there under the big oak trees draped in Spanish moss. It was pretty wild to imagine these early settlers trying to build a life there; it must have been remarkably difficult, but also fascinating.
Afterwards, I took a spin around some other parts of the island, just to get a feel for it. The nearby Christ Church Episcopal was really beautiful. That evening I was supposed to go out on a shrimping expedition on the Lady Jane, but unfortunately, they need a minimum of 12 people to go out, and I was the only one signed up. I was pretty disappointed as it sounded like a lot of fun, but I understand. Next time. I did stop at the Marshside Grill for a bowl of Brunswick Stew, as you should in Brunswick. It was really good. The public library in town is under renovation, so I tucked back into Starbucks in the evening to try and get some photos edited and some work done. When I was finished, I headed over to the Wee Pub for a beer and to finish writing my last story for this next, now long overdue, podcast (which will be done this week).
Tuesday I spent most of the day out on St. Simons Island (the lack of an apostrophe in the name makes my head spin!). It was a beautiful, cool, sunny day and I wanted to be sure I spent as much of the daylight hours outside as I could. I had an early lunch in Brunswick at a place called Mr. Shucks Seafood and Market. I love places like this where their primary business is selling fresh seafood, but they also sell cooked seafood on the side. The seafood is usually far fresher and better than most restaurants, and significantly cheaper. I had the Shrimp Feast in a medium heat garlic butter sauce. It was a half-pound of delightful and nice-sized peal-and-eat shrimp, with potatoes, corn, sausage and a boiled egg. It was messy but delicious.
After lunch, I headed over to St. Simons. I took some wonderful photos of the lighthouse and wandered around the main downtown area (called “The Village”). I took a drive out to the Avenue of Oaks, a beautiful double row of old oak trees draped in Spanish Moss, and also saw some old slave cabins built out of tabby, a concrete-like mixture of oyster shells, water, sand, ash and lime. I always love seeing tabby buildings - it’s such an ingenious mixture clearly born from necessity. I drove around and saw a few other parts of the island and then headed back to The Village for sunset. It was wonderful to watch the sun set into the water, one of my favorite things in the world. With the sun down, I headed back over to Brunswick and had an amazing and super cheap dinner at Island Jerk, a Caribbean style restaurant in downtown Brunswick. I got a jerk chicken express box which came with coconut rice, cooked cabbage and carrots and a plantain. It was really good.
Wednesday I was up super early to get to my tour of Sapelo Island. These tours only run a couple of times a week, so I was excited to be able to go on this one. Sapelo Island is a neat little barrier island with no bridge connection and a population of only about 70 people. While there were, at one time, Indians on the island, the first white settler there was Thomas Spalding who built a plantation on the island in the early 19th Century. When he died, his former slaves established communities on the island, one of which, Hog Hammock, is still there today and is inhabited by their descendants. The tour took us through some of the historic areas of the island, into the Reynolds Mansion, out to the beach and down to the lighthouse. In all it was about 4 hours long, and well worth the $15 it cost to take. I am always fascinated to find these unique isolated communities out there, and I feel privileged to be able to visit them.
After the tour I headed into the nearby town of Darien for lunch. I went to the highly recommended Skipper’s Fish Camp. I unfortunately made a poor decision in my ordering choice, though. Since the area is full of wonderful shrimp, and I wasn’t in the mood for anything fried, I went with a shrimp salad sandwich. In a shrimping town, I have come to expect good shrimp, and shrimp salad to me is made mostly of shrimp with a little binder, some chopped veggies and little else. What came out was an egg salad sadwich (yes, sad-wich), with tiny bits of shrimp in it. It looked and tasted like egg salad. When I pointed this out to the waitress, she brought me more egg salad. Enough hot sauce made it bearable, but I would not recommend the “shrimp salad”.
I got my podcast recorded at the library in Darien and then spent the rest of the afternoon photographing the shrimp fleet in dock. It was really awesome to see all these beautiful shrimpers lined up and to be able to see them from the water side. After the sun set, I headed back to Brunswick to finish this post and get to work editing my podcast.
Tomorrow I am headed down to Jekyll Island south of here for the day. I will probably come back for one last night in Brunswick, but we’ll see. The weather is supposed to turn nasty on Friday, but I do hope to get out to Cumberland Island and spend some time in the Okefenokee Swamp before heading on into Florida. Depending on how the weather treats me this weekend I could be in Florida as early as Sunday or as late as Tuesday. Either way, when we meet again this time next week, I will be in Orlando and ready to fly home the next day. I am really looking forward to seeing my family and friends and spending some nice time at home. I’m coming back to Florida on the 30th, though, so I can catch my Penn State Nittany Lions in the Citrus Bowl on New Years Day! After that I’m off into Florida for a month or so. I’m definitely looking forward to it and to catching up with so many friends down there along the way. Hopefully even get a little scuba diving in.
For today though, it’s time for me to sign off and get to work on my podcast. Have a wonderful week out there wherever you are, and I’ll see you right here next week, but from Florida. Thanks for reading and have a great week!