Finally, a year after the trip of a lifetime I am sitting my butt down and sharing it all with you. Because it was too good not to share! Last summer I set off on an Amtrak adventure for 7 weeks with 2 of my best girls (read my top Amtrak tips here).
Quick back story; when I started at Portsmouth University a charity trip caught my eye – climbing Kilimanjaro in aid of Meningitis Research Foundation. In my second year I signed up and completed the challenge (I will eventually write a blog post about it, I promise). I was lucky enough to have the amazing Team Simba with me but especially lucky to meet these two wonderful girls. After quickly becoming friends we discussed travelling over to America to see Sam (her family lives over there) and explore some states together.
Fast forward 3 months after Kilimanjaro, the trip was booked and Laura and I flew out last July to start the trip of a lifetime.
We landed in Florida and started with some packing, organising and chill out days. After a huge brunch we left Winter Farm station to start our adventure and arrived at the first stop 5 and a half hours later: Savannah.
Down in the ‘sweet south’, Savannah is the oldest city in the Georgian state, with a strong Irish influence, as many immigrated over in the early 19th century searching for a better way of life. The population has a significant Irish ancestry and the city hosts the 4th biggest St Patricks day celebration in the USA. It is also true that the south is extremely friendly, we had been welcome over 5 times before we reached our hotel room, Southern Hospitality is alive and kickin’!
We arrived late but decided to waste no time. Staying at the lovely DoubleTree Hilton, the City Market (located between Franklin and Ellis square) was just around the corner. As a first impression of the city, it really gave us a feel of its history. An 18th century, open-air marketplace stands in great condition and transports you back to America’s past. But it was 9 o’clock in the evening so not much was open, however we did find ‘Tree House‘ and enjoyed some cocktails with live music.
The next morning we started the adventure, Sam (the queen organiser herself) had got us tickets to see the city by Old Town Trolley Tours which takes you all around the city, literally in an old trolley whilst the driver also gives a running commentary!
Spending the day travelling around the city, stopping at many historical sites including historic figures birthplaces, local attractions and museums. Disembarking at Stop 10 we explored River Street Market Place – full with independent sellers from jerky stall to hand carved frames. Along the coast road there are many places to eat and drink, whether its in the daily sunshine or the glittering skyline at night.
Walking along River Street, admiring the port views we stumbled into The Peanut Shop which had every possible flavour of peanut you could want. Free samples are always a win as well! Another interesting food place we found was Savannah Rae’s Gourmet Popcorn store, again full of every flavour. Strange like caramel and cheese (a Chicago classic) and wonderful (butterscotch, yum)!
However on top of the food list was Leopold’s Ice Cream. It’s ‘A Savannah Tradition’ and has been a family run business since 1919. Delicious ice cream but mind the long queue. Its very popular but very worth it!
Afterwards hopping on and off the Trolley, we randomly started walking around Savannah’s biggest park; Forsyth Park. As beautiful as it was, we were caught in the scorching heat, so this water feature was a life saver. Not caring about looking like children it was the perfect way to cool off in the sun.
We also returned to the Old Market (Stop 7) to wander through the picturesque town, explore the unique shops (including Wet Willies – a frozen cocktail bar) and take in the sight of ALL THOSE SWEETS! Honestly the sweet stores, blew. my. mind. Barrels of sweets and of course the Savannah tradition favourite: Praline. There was also an arrange of chocolate Gophers and Pecan Turtles, I wanted to eat everything.
Later on that night we also took part in Old Town Trolleys Ghost & Gravestone Tours (which is discounted if you also bought a day ticket), after a very manic dinner at Tubby’s Seafood River Street (which was yummy, had great river side views and live music) when we realise we left the tickets at the hotel…but it was a fantastic evening and a great way to find out more about the cities spooky history. Highly recommend this tour if you are visiting Savannah!
After a short and sweet visit we caught the train the next morning, without realising it was a 12+ hour journey…..luckily we survived and arrived at stop 2, tired but excited! Stay tuned for the next part of the Amtrak across America adventure!
What do you think the next stop is?
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