We had a pleasant drive from Homosassa, arriving by 3:30 in the afternoon. A quick set-up, and we were on the way to visit Al's cousins Bill and Denise. Al's sister, Ginny, and Patti were joining us on this first week of our trip, and we all gathered for a nice dinner of spaghetti and meatballs prepared by Denise. It was a welcome feast, and we had a great time catching up with each other.
I have discovered "groupons"! It is so wonderful to find discounts for activities when you are in an area :-). I found a walking tour of Savannah's squares by Savannah Belle Walking Tours on Groupon, with a discount of $11.00 off the ticket price of $20.00. Our tour guide Michelle was excellent, and we thoroughly enjoyed strolling through the fabulous squares of Savannah.
We arrived very early in town for our 10:30 a.m. tour, so we had time after parking to explore a little bit of the waterfront. This is the original Old Savannah Cotton Exchange building.
The old buildings now house shops both on the upper, street level, with elevated crosswalks to reach them, and shops and restaurants on the lower level.
There's a nice walkway all along the riverfront for strolling, and plenty of shops and restaurants to spend your money in.
This is the lower level, non-waterside of the buildings. The brickwork is beautiful.
The Savannah squares are so pretty. They all have some kind of monument, fountain, or marker of some kind, along with the beautiful old trees and shrubbery.
This is Johnson Square, with a view of the gilded dome of the Capitol Building behind.
One of many churches in the historic district.
I loved all the architectural details that we noticed as we strolled the streets.
There are plenty of historic homes, such as this one of the Andrew Low house, home of Juliette Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America.
The Old Pink House is a very popular restaurant on Reynold's Square, which we passed up when we looked at the menu and the corresponding prices....yikes!
Savannah was very beautiful, we enjoyed the walking tour very much and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a little more than just wandering the streets on your own. Even without the discounted tickets, I feel it would be a good value. We will surely be stopping in this beautiful city again.
Gathering at Bill and Denise's home once again, we had dinner together and planned the next day's excursions, to Palmetto Bluffs near Bluffton, and then a drive to Beaufort, SC.
Palmetto Bluffs is a small community, rather toney, along the May River. It was very pretty, and we had a nice time strolling the quiet sidewalks.
I liked these fish on the side of the Ship's Store.
The church was pretty, designed to look old but in reality it is a quite recent addition to the town.
The congregation faces the water, isn't that so pretty? The old-fashioned lighting is fascinating. We then drove about a half hour to visit Bill and Denise's son at his beautiful home on Callawassie Island. Sorry, no pictures, but trust me, it was beautiful :-).
From Michael's home we took a short drive over to historic Beaufort, SC. It's a beautiful old town with a boardwalk all along the riverfront, along with the obligatory restaurants and shops.
We ended the day with dinner once again at Bill and Denise's home, and a couple rounds of our favorite game, Marbles, Cards, and Jokers.
Through Groupon, I had found another walking tour, this time of historic downtown Bluffton. The Heyward House is the welcome center for Bluffton, and offers guided tours. We chose the guided walking tour of the historic buildings, then a docent guided tour of the house itself.
The scenery along the walk was beautiful.
We saw several examples of the summer "cottages" of the rich plantation owners. The plantations were generally inland, and the owners would set up residences here along the coast to keep cool. Many of these buildings have been bought and restored by their current owners.
Some buildings haven't :-(. i actually don't remember Sealtest ice cream, but the rest of my group did. I must be too young!
Once again, the church is spectacular. Unfortunately, we have to take the guide's word for the beauty of the interior. As we walked up to the entrance, we noticed there is no door handle! We can't get in! We found out that there is some construction work going on inside, so they were not allowing visitors that day. Bummer.
The church does sit on a wonderful piece of riverfront property, high on the bluffs of the river that the town was named after.
The end of the tour had us stroll through part of the downtown business district. I loved seeing the old buildings being converted into eclectic little shops. We decided we needed to return here one day for some browsing, just for fun :-).
I did not take any pictures of the inside of the Heyward House, but the docent there was quite interesting and told us a lot about life in the town back then. Even for the rich folks, it wasn't easy and I don't think I would care to go back and live in that time at all. Just the amount of clothing the women wore would have me swooning in the summer heat!
For our last dinner in the Bluffton area, we joined Bill and Denise at the Okatie Ale House. We arrived early, as they said it fills up fast once 5:00 p.m. arrives, and they were right! It's a popular place, and the food was pretty good, so I can see why so many people head over there for dinner. We had dessert back at the house, ( homemade waffles with fresh strawberries and nutella, yum!), and then it was time for our last farewells. We would be leaving for Charleston the next morning. It was wonderful visiting with Bill and Denise, and we want to thank them for showing us the beautiful area they live in. We had a great time, and we will see you again next January!