Day 6. Technically going backwards.

We started the morning by checking out of the Wyndham Garden Inn in Summerville, S.C., at 7:30 a.m.

It took us 20 minutes to get to the IHOP across the street. The shopping centers here are huge and have so many trees you can’t see the stores.

We drove past it and had to backtrack, then we turned into the plaza and drove a mile behind the stores in the prettiest Walmart parking lot ever.

Approaching the IHOP from behind, we recognized it by color.

And, like Waffle House, my meal did not disappoint.

It’s the older teen girl’s 16th birthday today. My girl turns 14 tomorrow. We asked them what they thought about the “fancy” hotel. They didn’t seem to think it was worth all the extra money.

We had to run back to the other shopping plaza across the street to visit Target. I dropped my deodorant in the toilet and my daughter needs some bathroom items.

I made everyone stay in the car. I told them I’d be in and out in five minutes. My teen timed me. 4:50.

Honestly the unfamiliar layout slowed me down, and my cartwheel deals had expired and their store network slowed down my phone… and then I had to choose between rose vanilla and lavender sage deodorant. So it was close.

We are now headed backwards. We’re going to the Bigelow Tea Plantation, the only working tea plantation in the United States. Then we are headed to the Angel Oak on John’s Island (recommended by Alyssa at my place of employment) and hopefully a volkssport walk at Magnolia Plantation back near Charleston.

It is completely possible we won’t gain any mileage today since we are going backwards.

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Day… I don’t even know… Savannah to Charleston

I think it’s Thursday. I’m not sure. I’m drinking another bad cup of coffee, but decaf, as it is almost 9:30 p.m. Today was a fun day, we didn’t get that much exercise but the heat is still near 100 degrees. And I have yet to get a sunburn.

It took me about twenty minutes to figure out how to use the single serve Keurig. Hey, it’s been a long day… Because of all the crazy food we ate today, the teens opted for snacks instead of a meal so we stopped at Target (beer and wine. Sigh. Can you imagine beer and wine at Target in Pennsylvania. Gayle wouldn’t split a six pack.) The teens decided on cereal and milk. One got Cocoa pebbles, the other got Honeycomb. That got me craving Life so I got Market Pantry Cinnamon Oat Bites.

In my confusion, I forgot to get myself dinner. (We have a microwave we could have gotten frozen dinners.) But the milk is in the kids’ room. Yes, the kids have their own room. That’s a story for later in this post. So, right now I’m eating a half a box of cereal dry with an alligator slim jim.

But let me start with the beginning of the day…

If I can remember.

After our excursion to Waffle House, we headed to the University of Georgia’s aquarium. I will post more about that later, because even though it was small, it was very well put together and I got lots of photos and video.

Then we went to the Tybee Island lighthouse and climbed 178 stairs. The grounds of the lighthouse were amazing. It had three tenders at one point. And there were some fortifications to explore, but I will break those into another post too.

I want this to be about the journey.

After lunch at Chicken Lickin’, we took the scenic route up to Charleston and stopped at the Carolina Cider Company. Soda, pastry, CIDER in apple, peach, cherry and blueberry. Various fruit butters, I bought sweet potato butter and a bottle of pecan syrup. And the alligator stick. And a butterscotch root beer.

I booked the room via Hotel Tonight again. The deals near Charleston were no where near as cheap as all of our other destinations. So I splurged and picked the “solid” hotel instead of the “basic” one. So we are in a Wyndham Garden hotel tonight. Except I couldn’t request 2 beds, so we ended up with two rooms with king beds. But so far, we have been way under budget with hotel rooms so… you win some, you lose some.

At first I planned on dividing us by family. My daughter didn’t like that idea. So we let the kids have the second room.

We went to Azalea Park and learned driving through town that Summerville is the home of the first tea plantation and where Southern style sweet tea was born.

And the evening was spent at the hotel swimming and eating breakfast cereal.

Finally! A Waffle Ho(u)se and Southern fried chicken

I have never been to a Waffle House. I’ve been curious for years and a road trip down South seemed the perfect time.

Imagine my delight to see a Waffle House across the street from the motel.

That night we noticed the U in the sign was out so we drive around the truck stop to get a photo.

It amused me.

This morning I finally had my first Waffle House experience. Everyone was very concerned I would be disappointed.

I loved it.

The woman running the grill was amazing. The coffee good. And my waffle was thin and crispy.

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And then we had lunch at a hickory house chicken place in Hardeeville, South Carolina.

Chicken Lickin’s.

They made it fresh for us and the sides were out of this world. Best coleslaw ever.

Birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts

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As a journalist, one of the first tricks I learned was to listen closely when people start to whisper.

This served me well at the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low yesterday.

Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low died childless and unmarried of breast cancer.

But what they don’t tell you is WHY she died alone and childless. That she was practically divorced.

I overheard the tour guide telling another couple… Well let me tell you the official story first. The family friendly version.

Juliette was a talented artist… she made sculptures and paintings and ceramics. Her parents didn’t approve of her suitor. Took them three years to believe he could take proper care of her.

She married, moved to England to be with her husband, and several years later her husband started having an affair. Eventually he filed for divorce.

But while the divorce was being arranged, he died. He had written Juliette out of his will in favor of his mistress.

She returned to the States with nothing. Lived in her parents’ house as her brothers helped her fight for her share of her husband’s estate. She ended up with her father-in-law’s house in Savannah, the Andrew Low house.

She died there. And founded Girl Scouts there.

The Little Motel That Could

The Inn at Mulberry Grove turned out to be my little slice of heaven. Perhaps because they had good coffee. Perhaps because it tries so hard to be a fancy little motel.

Pros: Air conditioning was like a refrigerator. Bed and pillows were comfortable. Much better pillows than all our other accommodations. Best coffee ever.

So-so: had to ask for extra towels every day. The hot breakfast was a hot continental breakfast, so the non-carbohydrate breakfast options were minimal.

But my teen got to try sausage gravy and biscuits. That was a hit.

Con: the hotel has a very good location 15 minutes from historic downtown Savannah right off I-95. The motel sits on Rt 21 which is a thin major roadway and the main vein into Savannah. Rush hour traffic is heinous and the clerk says there are accidents every night. It took us 15 minutes to get onto Savannah but more than an hour to get back.

We had two main adventures at this motel. My teen found a feral kitten. And wanted to save it.

And my teen found an old pay washer and dryer. We were trapped at the motel because of the traffic so we went to the Pilot truck stop across the highway to forage for dinner and look for laundry soap.

We paid $10 for small bottles of laundry soap and fabric softener only to insert our money and find out we couldn’t get the washer to work.

This seems fitting for our adventures, not mine obviously: Devil Went Down to Georgia, washing machine cover

Swan Lake Irish Gardens

Our afternoon diversion in South Carolina was Swan Lake Irish Gardens. Amazing gardens, lots of swans and lots of turtles.

The Braille Garden really impressed me, though the boardwalk through the cypress forest was spooky and fun too.

But, of course, the Braille garden made me think of my friend, Nancy.

The signs were in writing and Braille, and the Braille was raised to what seemed an exaggerated height so even non-visually impaired people could try to read it. And you could touch the plants!

Here is a small gallery of some more swan and garden photos:

And some more silly videos I took:

Momma with baby ducks: https://youtu.be/kz7O_a2Pdbg

Swan: https://youtu.be/0ZGLE_6VGaY

Turtles swimming in slow motion: https://youtu.be/sJglRm4_yMM

Ducks honking: https://youtu.be/TTvxJj7dPIc

*All materials shot and recorded on an iPhone X

Savannah, we are here!

Day 4

We arrived in Savannah about 4 pm last night and checked into The Inn at Mulberry Grove. The prettiest motel I’ve ever seen.

For less than $50/night, I finally got a decent cup of coffee.

But I digress…

Last night we went downtown and ended up getting New York pizza got dinner at Vinnie Van GoGos. Wonderful artsy pun. I had a local blonde beer: Tybee Isle Blonde.

And then we visited the River Street area and bought sundresses and met a man who made palm roses.