Day 17 – Atlanta to Heathrow and Home

Well, we have arrived back at our abode and are now enjoying a good old cup of tea for Si and a cappuccino for moi. I only had one the whole time we were away!

Atlanta Airport is very nice but it’s huge and was extremely busy. Our flight was, once again, completely full. We arrived back at Heathrow an hour ahead of schedule but they wouldn’t let us land and so had to circle for about 45 minutes, eventually arriving on the stand one minute before our original scheduled time!

At least we were very quickly through Immigration, because we have the bio-metric passports so we can use the e-passport gates. You just put the passport on the glass and hey presto you’re through. Even our cases arrived quickly. We met our driver and where home within about an hour.

I am pleased to report that for the first time in like ages, our suitcases had not been opened and checked by U.S. Security! Hooray!

The one bad thing about holidays is having to unpack the suitcases and get all the washing on the go. A good lesson there not to take too much in the first place!

We’ve had another great time in the good ol’ U.S. of A, met some wonderful new people and connected again with some old friends, namely Denise and Desiree. We saw some memorable things, suffered in extreme heat and humidity but it was all worthwhile. We  drove 1416 miles this year, so not many compared with previous holidays.

It’s time to say ‘farewell’ once again, to sign off the blog for another year and to thank you all for travelling with us and for the comments you posted. It’s always good to know that it’s not just us reading it!

So, until we all meet again, we would just like to say, as always, ………………..

arrivederci, adeus, hejdå, 再见, zoi geen, zai jian, tot ziens, au revoir, tschüss, shalom, ciao, じゃね, anyeonghi gasyeo, poka/Пока, adios, hejdå, tạm biệt, vΘleft, farvel, ya sas, tókša akhé

and see you all next time. Bye!

Si and Sand in Cades Cove meadow

 

(I do not own the video or its contents)

 

Day 16 – Savannah to Atlanta

Surprise, surprise, I didn’t think I’d get to write the blog today but as we arrived at the airport in plenty of time and there’s free wifi I thought I would make use of the time and get it done.

We checked out of our hotel this morning at the latest time we could 12.00, because our flight tonight isn’t until 10.10 p.m.

It was another glorious day and the drive was very pleasant. We decided that we would stop for lunch once we found a Cracker Barrel (CB). We had to drive a couple of hours before we found one but I saw the CB sign from way, way down the road and shouted at the top of my voice ‘Cracker Barrel’. I shouted so loud that Margaret (sat nav) asked me to speak my instructions. It was so funny!

Cracker Barrel Blog

Cracker Barrel!!

Sadly, this one was not ‘up to scratch’. The service was awful! With CB you can be in eat and out in a jiffy but today it took well over an hour.

The food was good though. Si had his shrimp and I decided that as it was the final day of our holiday that I could ‘let myself go’ a little and I had a burger with cheese and fries! It was just fabulous. We ordered an apple dessert but the poor young waitress who was under great stress got all flustered and delivered us a cobbler with cream and ice-cream. It was huge and we didn’t manage to eat it all.

Si with his shrimp

Si with his shrimp

Sand with her naughty burger!

Sand with her naughty burger!

On the table they have a little game that customers can play while they wait for their food. It’s a form of solitaire!! We both had a go but of course after a few tries Si managed to win the game. Well he would, wouldn’t he!! Bless!!

Si's success

Si’s success

It was more or less a straight drive here to Atlanta Airport but at the last moment dear Margaret (sat nav), rather let herself down and started giving us instructions in all the wrong direction. Luckily, the signage was very good so we were able to follow that instead.

Road to Atlanta

Road to Atlanta

Saw this interesting water tower along the way!

Town of Effingham!

Town of Effingham!

When we arrived at the Avis Car Rental Returns we were met by a very pleasant young man who found great delight in telling us that his first foster Mum was English and how he loved our trifle, roast beef and yorkshire pudding and what fantastic cooks the British are! Crumbs, that’s a first, most Americans think our food is just awful.

It was a quick trip on the bus to the airport terminal and we waited anxiously whilst they weighed the cases!! I’m very proud to say that both cases weighed in just under our allowance!! Hooray!

For the regular blog followers you’ll know that whenever we come on holiday we usually end up purchasing an extra suitcase to accommodate all the purchases we’ve made during our travels. Well, we didn’t buy a suitcase this time but we did buy a back pack instead to take the extra load. I’ve made a note that the next time we come on holiday to remember to pack a back pack for all those ‘little extras.’ We must have six at home already!!

Thing is, the backpack is quite heavy and poor Si’s ended up carrying two, the new one and his camera bag! Hey ho!

After the bag weighing we made our way to Homeland Security and there was the biggest queue we’ve ever seen at an airport. It must have taken us 30 minutes just to get through. They use the full body scanner here. I made sure to hold my stomach in so as not to give the poor person watching the scanner a shock!

So, we’ve purchased all the nibbles to take on board. Although they give you things to eat and drink there are times when one just needs a few of their favourite things.

The flight coming out from Heathrow was an hour shorter than expected so we are hoping that the 8 hours 10 minutes back will just be 7 hours 10 minutes instead.

The weather forecast for tomorrow looks good so fingers crossed we won’t need the wet gear!

I suddenly remembered a couple of things I forgot to write in the blog yesterday!

First, do you know what they call peanuts in South Carolina? Answer: Goobers!

Secondly, there’s a house in Savannah called the Juliette Gordon Low (JGL) house that is open to the public. The owner was a very interesting lady and I wanted to tell you about her.

JGL was born in Savannah in 1860 and died in 1927.  She was the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. After her husband died she travelled to Scotland and met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement. They shared a love of travel and support of the Girl Guides. In August 1911, JGL became involved with the Girl Guides, an offshoot of the Boy Scouts for girls that was headed by Agnes Baden-Powell, Sir Robert Baden Powell’s sister. JGL joined the Girl Guide movement, forming a group of Girl Guides in Scotland in 1911.

In 1912, JGL and Baden-Powell took a trip to the United States to spread the scouting movement. She hoped to spread the movement to her hometown, Savannah, as a way to help girls learn practical skills and build character.  She formed the first American Girl Guide troop in Savannah, Georgia that year. In 1915 the United States’ Girl Guides became known as the Girl Scouts and JGL was the first president. She stayed active until the time of her death.

Thought that was all rather interesting.

Must close now as we are due to board shortly.

Speak to you again from ‘across the pond.’

Day 15 – Savannah

First of all let me just say that some of you may have noticed the blog is missing its sidebar! Why, goodness only knows. I’ll work on that when I get home. I think the humidity has affected it somehow!!

Well, goodness, gracious, I’ve just published this post and the sidebar’s back!! Who knows how long it will stay!?

So, today was our final full day here in Savannah. As the day was forecast to be hot and humid again we decided to spend the day visiting the  Savannah History Museum and then the Georgia State Railroad Museum Historic Site rounding off with a walk back to our hotel to make sure Si had as many photos as possible and then finishing off for dinner again at The Olde Pink House.

We walked to the Museums and along the way we came across this brass statue of Johnny Mercer. In 1961, he wrote the lyrics to “Moon River” for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Sand and Johnny Mercer

Sand and Johnny Mercer

The Savannah History Museum allows you to walk through the city’s history from 1733, spanning the American Revolution and Civil War, all the way to today! It was very interesting with one item in particular being of great interest, that was ………………. the bus bench from Forrest Gump.

Bench Blog

The Georgia State Railroad was constructed in 1853 by the Central of Georgia Railway before the outbreak of the American Civil War and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

The complex is considered the most complete antebellum railroad complex in the United States. The historic railroad structures at the site include a partial roundhouse with operating turntable, partial machine shop, Tender Frame Shop, Blacksmith Shop, Boiler House, Storehouse and Print Shop, Lumber and Planning Sheds, Coach and Paint Shops, and a partial Carpentry Shop.

Train Depot

Train Depot

Turntable at the museum. We rode on the train!

Turntable at the museum. We rode on the train!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand on the train at the museum

Sand on the train at the museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si on the train too - looking thoughtful!

Si on the train too – looking thoughtful!

After that we stopped for lunch at The Six Pence Pub again and this time I tried their Cottage Pie. It was very good, just needed a little more gravy. Si had crab cakes.

Si and his crab cakes copy

On the way back and as it was rather hot, we jumped on the tour bus again to take us to Forsyth Park so that Si could photograph the famous fountain. The fountain was added to the park in 1858 and is reminiscent of fountains in the Place de la Concorde in Paris and in Cuzco, Peru.

Sand in Forsyth Park

Sand in Forsyth Park

We arrived at our stop to get off and who was getting on the bus but Forrest himself!! Well, obviously not the real one but a guy just like him. He was so funny.

Forrest Gump on our tour bus!

Forrest Gump on our tour bus!

Sand with Forrest

Sand with Forrest

For those who have seen the film, right at the start it shows a feather falling from a steeple. This is the steeple it is supposed to have fallen from.

Steeple from Forrest Gump

Steeple from Forrest Gump

One of the carriages showing people around Savannah

One of the carriages showing people around Savannah

Around Savannah we’ve seen a lot of these fish downpipes on many mansions, they are supposed to be considered good luck!

A fish downpipe

Fish downpipes

So, we had dinner at The Old Pink House again! They sat us in the ballroom but it was packed and so noisy we couldn’t hear each other so they moved us to a much smaller, quieter room. The meal was lovely. Si had fillet mignon and I had pecan-crusted chicken breast followed by blueberry pie and ice-cream.

Si with his fillet mignon

Si with his fillet mignon

 

Sand with her pecan-crusted chicken

Sand with her pecan-crusted chicken

Si with his blueberry pie

Si with his blueberry pie

And Sand with her's!

And Sand with her’s!

Tomorrow we drive back to Atlanta and then fly home to Heathrow so there will be no post tomorrow. The next time you’ll hear from us will be ‘across the pond.’ See you on Friday!

Day 14 – Savannah

Well, we thought it would never stop raining but it did! The day started grey and overcast but in no time at all the sun came out and it was hot and humid again.

Brief history of Savannah coming up!

The city of Savannah, Georgia, was established in 1733. It is known as America’s first planned city and attracts millions of visitors, who enjoy the city’s architecture and historic structures. Savannah’s downtown area is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States (designated in 1966).

The Yamacraws, a Native American tribe, were the first known people to settle in and around Savannah. In the 18th century, under their leader Tomochichi, they met the newly arriving European settlers.

In November 1732 the ship, Anne, sailed from Britain carrying 114 colonists, including General James Oglethorpe. On February 12, 1733, after a brief stay at Charles Town, South Carolina, Oglethorpe and his settlers landed at Yamacraw Bluff and, in an example of some of the earliest “Southern hospitality”, were greeted by Tomochici, the Yamacraws, and John and Mary Musgrave, Indian traders. The city of Savannah was founded on that date, along with the Province of Georgia. Because of the friendship between Oglethorpe and Tomochici, Savannah was able to flourish unhindered by the warfare that marked the beginnings of many early American colonies.

The city was laid out in 1733 around four open squares, each surrounded by four residential  blocks and four civic blocks. The layout of a square and eight surrounding blocks was known as a “ward.” The original plan (now known as the Oglethorpe Plan) allowed for growth of the city and thus expansion of the grid; additional squares were added during the 18th and 19th centuries, and by 1851 there were 24 squares in the city. In the 20th century, three of the squares were demolished or altered beyond recognition, leaving 21. In 2010, one of the three “lost” squares, Ellis, was reclaimed. Most of Savannah’s squares are named in honor or in memory of a person, persons or historical event, and many contain monuments, markers, memorials, statues, plaques, and other tributes.

Here ends the history lesson!

So, this morning after a quick visit to the Post Office we visited some of the squares and one of which was Chippewa square. The square was named for the Battle of Chippewa and is famous for Forrest Gump’s bus bench. The bench was actually a Hollywood prop and has since been moved to the Savannah Visitor Centre. Also, this diner is where Jenny was working when she heard about Forrest’s run across America.

Forrest Gump at Chip Square

Forrest Gump at Chippewa Square

Jenny's restaurant

Jenny’s restaurant

Live Oak

Live Oak

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Walk

River Walk

Savannah Blog

Brown Trasher (thanks to Desiree)

Brown Thrasher (thanks to Desiree and Denise)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denise and Desiree, can you name the bird?

The Owens-Thomas House is a historic home and museum is on the northeast corner of Oglethorpe Square and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, as one of the nation’s finest examples of English Regency architecture.

Owens-Thomas House

Owens-Thomas House

We also walked down to the water front and saw this huge container ship. At one point we feared for the bridge of the ship as we felt there was no way he was going to make it under the bridge, but of course he did!

Container Ship

Container Ship

Sand on the river walk

Sand on the river walk

On our travels this morning we came across two lovely children with their Mum selling homemade lemonade in aid of a cat charity. We purchased two glasses and told them we would include them in today’s blog. The lemonade was just what we needed, cold and very refreshing. So, Rafi, Lila and Mum Michelle, here you are!

Michelle, Lila and Rafi selling their homemade lemonade!

Michelle, Lila and Rafi selling their homemade lemonade!

Today, I think for the first time on our trip we had lunch!! We happened across The Six Pence pub, together with the red British phone box outside, so decided that was the place to eat. The food was delicious. Listed on the menu was ‘Shepherd’s Pie (Cottage Pie) made from beef! We felt it our duty to point out that actually ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ is made from lamb and Cottage Pie from beef. I think they had probably been told that a few hundred times from visiting Brits! To make up for a lack of food photos recently Si took this pic.

Sand at The Six Pence Pub

Sand at The Six Pence Pub (do you like my crown?)

After lunch we decided to do a bus tour and spent a couple of hours being driven around the historic squares by our tour guide, Anna. She’s only been doing the job for a couple of weeks but she was very good and had us all in stitches.

Anna our tour guide

Anna our tour guide

This evening for dinner we went to The Olde Pink House, Savannah’s only 18th Century Mansion which just happens to be situated next door to our hotel. It’s one of Savannah’s most popular restaurants, offering new southern cuisine in a sophisticated, yet casual setting. The food was excellent and we enjoyed it so much we are going back again tomorrow night for dinner!

The Olde Pink House restaurant

The Olde Pink House restaurant

Si with his soft shell crabs

Si with his soft shell crabs

Sand and her flounder!

Sand and her flounder!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si and Sand with their puds!

Si and Sand with their puds!

Tomorrow is our last day in Savannah before we head back to Atlanta on Thursday for our flight home. The weather is set fair so please join us again for our last day’s adventures.

Day 13 – Charleston to Savannah

Today was a driving day and it’s been pretty miserable! The area is under threat from Tropical Storm Colin and flash flood warnings are in place.

We decided this morning to pack our wet gear in the suitcases because we hadn’t used it and we didn’t think it would be needed now! Wrong!!

Just as we were leaving our hotel in Charleston it started to rain and then it rained and rained and rained. It was a horrible drive down to Savannah and it’s still raining now. Better weather is forecast for tomorrow so fingers crossed they’re right.

Rainstorm Blog

Rainstorm on the way from Charleston to Savannah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way down we saw a sign for a Cracker Barrel so of course we had to stop and have lunch. The special of the day was roast chicken in a lemon sauce, it was fabulous. It came with a handmade stuffing and mashed potatoes. For dessert we had peach cobbler and ice-cream, again wonderful.  Alas, again I forgot to take a photo!!

CBLogoRGB_300dpi_196_2539_low

 

 

 

 

 

Regular followers of the blog will remember that during our past couple of holidays we have played the ‘licence plate’ game.

The Licence Plate Game

The Licence Plate Game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This trip we decided to do something a little different and so every time we see a Cracker Barrel sign or restaurant we raise our arms up in the air and shout ‘Cracker Barrel’ …………. well it helps to pass the time when we are driving!!

We were quite close to an outlet mall so it seemed rude not to go and do a little shopping!! They had a Talbots too so I knew that I was meant to shop there. I managed to find a few things to purchase and the savings were incredible. We also purchased a backpack to carry all those little extras we’ve managed to purchase during our trip.

We arrived at our Savannah hotel, the Planter’s Inn. It’s a 18th Century boutique hotel in the historic district of Savannah. It’s very nice and the staff are all very friendly and helpful.

The Planter's Inn

The Planter’s Inn

Our room at the Planter's Inn

Our room at the Planter’s Inn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between 5.30 and 7.30 p.m. they hold a wine and cheese event for the guests of the hotel and a lady entertains by playing the piano. It’s all terribly civilised and just our kind of ‘thing.’

 

The Piano copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand at the cheese and wine 'gathering'

Sand at the cheese and wine ‘gathering’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si and the cheese and wine 'gathering'

Si and the cheese and wine ‘gathering’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weather forecast for tomorrow is better so we are crossing our fingers that it stops raining, at least for a while. We’ve been to Savannah a couple of times before but it would be nice to get out in the sunshine and revisit the history that is Savannah.

One of the things I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog was the fact that Charleston is ‘dry’ on a Sunday! Came as quite a shock to Si I can tell you!! No alcohol with his lunch!

Join us tomorrow for more from Savannah and to see if we’ve survived Tropical Storm Colin!!

Day 12 – Charleston

Another hot, humid day ……………….. this morning it was about 95º with humidity supposed to be at 99%. I can certainly confirm about the humidity, we were all drenched during our walk around Charleston.

We met Denise and Desiree for breakfast and then headed into Charleston. It’s such a beautiful city and the historic houses/buildings are magnificent.

Charleston, the South Carolina city founded in 1670, is defined by its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel pre-Civil-War-era houses, particularly in the bustling French Quarter and Battery areas. The Battery promenade and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston Harbor, while Fort Sumter, a Federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water.

We’ve had another lovely day full of laughter, fun and lots of photo-taking. We were so pleased to be able to soak our feet in this lovely fountain, it was very cooling.

Charleston Fountain

Charleston Fountain

Sand and Desiree cooling their feet!

Sand and Desiree cooling their feet!

Here are some of today’s photos:

Si and the Gals

Si and the Gals

Charleston Garden Blog

Charleston Market

Charleston Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weavers at the Market

Weavers at the Market

Charleston Door Blog

Fountain 2 Blog

 

 

 

 

 

House Lamp Blog

Historic homes in Charleston

Historic homes in Charleston

King Street, Charleston

King Street, Charleston

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids cooling off

Kids cooling off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we first visited Charleston some 20-odd years ago we stayed at a hotel called The Omni, it was lovely. The hotel is still there but under a different name now but we re-visited it just to take another look at its magnificent staircase and chandelier.

Staircase Blog

The gals are on their way home now to North Carolina. Safe trip ladies and we hope to see you in good ‘ol blighty very soon.

At last some food pics! We decided to eat early today so had Sunday brunch at the hotel.

Si with his roast beef! Makes a change from shrimp and port belly!

Si with his roast beef! Makes a change from shrimp and pork belly!

Nothing quite like a good Sunday roast!

Nothing quite like a good Sunday roast!

Tomorrow we move on to Savannah, another very historic city. See you there!

Day 11 – Charleston

Well, we were told today was going to be hotter than yesterday and boy, were they right!! It’s been a scorcher  and very humid. It felt as though we’d done a three-hour spin class, the humidity was so bad. But hey, we are British, we can cope with just about anything!

Si had us up and out early to visit Charleston for him to take photos and me to ‘do a little shopping.’

Charleston

Charleston

Charleston

Charleston

Sand at the U.S. Custom House

Sand at the U.S. Custom House

Si managed a few photos, including accidentally wondering into a fashion photo-shoot for a magazine that was taking place at the U.S. Custom House. The lady in charge wasn’t happy about Si taking pics and actually put her hand over his camera! What! I don’t think so. Si pointed out to her that we were in a public place and he could take whatever photos he liked and he did. This is one of them ……….. very nice too!

Charleston Blog 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our photo and spending expedition we headed back to the hotel to meet up with Denise and Desiree. We’ve had a fantastic day together.

First of all we visited Middleton Place, which is a plantation built in several phases during  the 18th and 19th centuries. The plantation was the primary residence of several generations of the Middleton family, many of whom played prominent roles in the colonial and antebellum history of South Carolina. The plantation is home to the oldest landscaped gardens in the United States.

Middleton Place

Middleton Place

In 1865, toward the end of the U.S. Civil War, Union soldiers burned most of the house, leaving only the south wing and gutted walls of the north wing and main house. An earthquake in 1886 toppled the walls of the main house and north wing. The restoration of Middleton Place began in 1916 when Middleton descendant John Julius Pringle Smith (1887–1969) and his wife Heningham began several decades of meticulously rebuilding the plantation’s gardens.

Middleton 3 Blog

Middleton Place

Middleton Place

Denise at Middleton Place

Denise at Middleton Place

Desiree at Middleton Place taking that perfect shot!

Desiree at Middleton Place taking that perfect shot!

Middleton Place 4 Blog

The plantation is home to various animals including horses, goats, pigs, sheep and lambs, water buffalo (newly discovered records show that Middleton Place imported water buffalo  from Constantinople in the late 18th century, the first in the United States), beautiful peacocks and a guinea fowl. We also saw a small alligator in a pond and a gecko. Animals in abundance today!

Alligator at Middleton Place

Alligator at Middleton Place

Gecko at Middleton Place

Gecko at Middleton Place

Lizard 2 Blog

Goat at Middleton Place

Goat at Middleton Place

Water Buffalo

Water Buffalo

Peacock at Middleton Place

Peacock at Middleton Place

Peacock 1 Blog

Peacock's rear!

Peacock’s rear!

The peacock display was amazing. It occurs to me that I have never seen a peacock, feathers extended, from behind! Well that was a wrong put right today and I have to say what a magnificent view it is too. Also, when feeling threatened he did a magnificent job of vibrating his feathers!

This evening on the recommendation of one of Desiree’s friends we went for dinner at The Glass Onion just down the road from our hotel. The restaurant describes itself as ‘Upbeat spot serving refined, locally sourced soul-food favorites in charming environs.’ Well, it was lovely and the food was great. For some reason and for the third day running, I forgot to take photos of our food! What on earth is going on? I think I’ve become a little too laid back. I send my apologies to some of our blog readers who consider this an important part of the blog.

Desiree, Denise and us two at The Glass Onion

Desiree, Denise and us two at The Glass Onion

Luckily, Desiree was ‘on the ball’ and brought this oversight to my attention. She saved the day by taking a photo of Si and I eating our bread  pudding dessert. Thank you Desiree. I will endeavour to get ‘back on track’ tomorrow.

Me and Si with our bread pudding .... delicious!

Me and Si with our bread pudding …. delicious!

For the record, this evening Si and I had fried green tomatoes to start, whilst Denise and Desiree had the water melon salad (we tried that too and it was delicious), Si then partook of ribeye steak and I had Spanish mackerel, followed by us sharing the bread pudding. Denise had shrimp and grits, well she’s a southern gal, whilst Desiree had a ribeye too and both then shared key lime pie.

Some of you will remember that earlier in the blog I was asking what all the fuss was about grits! Well, Denise was telling us that we should be ordering shrimp and grits as they are a totally different ‘kettle of fish.’ We are still not convinced but she’s going to send me the recipe so that we can give them a try.

It’s a miracle that this blog is being written today because after wine with dinner and then Disaronno with my coffee I’m feeling a trifle fatigued!

It’s been a lovely day and tomorrow after breakfast we are all heading into Charleston for some site-seeing and photography. Fingers crossed it will be a little cooler than today! See you all tomorrow!