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We just got back from a week on Hilton Head, and I want to share our experience with you in case you are considering a trip there yourself!

We flew into Savannah, wishing to spend a little time there first, as we had never been there before. The Savannah airport is charming and very manageable. They have lots of Savannah Bananas merch too. 🙂

Have you seen the Savannah Bananas? They are a very entertaining baseball team, kind of like the Harlem Globetrotters of Baseball. My daughter is a big fan of the team.

I couldn’t resist this little banana from the gift shop. 🙂

Savannah is a beautiful and historic old town located right on the water, and our hotel was a waterfront property, which was great because we were able to watch all the ships passing by. Not just little boats and paddleboats, but huge container ships.

 

 

Savannah is also home to the Savannah College of Art and Design, or SCAD, a private art school. I didn’t remember that two of my daughter’s high school friends had attended college at SCAD until she reminded me.

The cool thing about SCAD is that they work with the city of Savannah to restore historic buildings for use by the school. As such, they have over 60 buildings throughout the city for use by the students.

River Street is a very popular destination, and home to many shops and restaurants. (They gave me a free sample of pralines at that candy store in the picture. Good stuff!) 🙂

As you can perhaps tell from this picture, many of the streets of Savannah are cobblestone, so sensible shoes are definitely a must. No stilettos unless you enjoy turning an ankle. 🙂

Even the floor in the restaurant where we had dinner looked like it had once been the street.

The city is also multileveled, for lack of a better word. There is the area right down on the waterfront, but then there are lots of really steep stairs everywhere to access the streets above.

My daughter said these stairs are giving Exorcist vibes. 🙂 We’ve been to that Exorcist staircase. It’s in Georgetown in D.C. These stairs were not quite as steep as those, but still a challenge.

There is a lot of lush vegetation, charming squares with lots of shade, and statues and plaques commemorating the history of the city.

This is a statue of Savannah’s Waving Girl, a young girl who used to wave at all the ships as they entered or left the Port of Savannah in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Full disclosure, I will have to visit Savannah another time before giving a full report on it, because we had the misfortune of being there for something called Orange Crush Weekend, which a police officer described to us as “an invasion by drunk college students.” 🙂

Because of this, everything was very loud, sticky, and pretty much full-on bacchanalia. I don’t think we were able to experience Savannah as it normally operates, so we will need to go back to explore more when things are calmer.

But we did manage to have dinner in a really delicious Greek restaurant called Olympia Cafe and visit some of the shops around town.

And they have a Black Dog shop there, one of my favorite places on Martha’s Vineyard, so of course I had to get some stuff! 🙂

One thing you can’t do in Savannah in case you’re hoping to is sit on the “Forest Gump Bench” from the movie. You can visit the square where those scenes were filmed, but the bench is no longer there. It’s been removed and placed in a museum to prevent vandalism.

Come on, vandals! This is why we can’t have nice things. 🙂 I was really looking forward to sitting there talking about how life is like a box of chocolates. But alas, it was not to be.

From Savannah, we went on to Hilton Head in South Carolina. It is only about 45 minutes away, and we took an Uber onto the island.

I’ll start by saying I loved Hilton Head. I had not been before and I really enjoyed it. We stayed at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa and it was a very nice facility.

Hilton Head

Our room faced the ocean and was very nice. And this hotel is SUPER dog-friendly. We met so many dogs while we were there, everyone from a Frenchie named Chase to a tiny 4-month-old Dachshund puppy named Cammie. 🙂

There is a really expansive dog park at one end of the hotel with plenty of green space for dogs. Any place that is dog-forward is okay by me. 🙂

The beach is very wide and very clean.

Hilton Head

 

We did see a lot of jellyfish on the beach, so we really had to watch where we stepped.

 

 

It was pretty chilly the first few days we were there but warmed up later in the week. I didn’t take enough warm clothes, which I should have known to do because we spent our honeymoon years ago on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia and it was also April, and very chilly.

So I just got an overpriced sweatshirt from the gift shop and I was good to go. 🙂

There were a few restaurants on the property, which was nice for when we didn’t feel like going into town to eat. And there is a coffee shop in the hotel that serves Starbucks drinks and I’m happy to report that they are priced just as they are at Starbucks and not at elevated hotel prices.

We’ve stayed at places that serve Starbucks and you’ll pay $8 for a cup of coffee. Not the case here, which I loved. I could just go downstairs and get coffee each morning. They also sell food and snacks.

We did eat dinner one night off-property at a place called Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks which is right on the water. This may have been my favorite dinner we had because they brought endless bowls of hush puppies to the table! Like chips and salsa here in Texas. 🙂

Eating seafood is wonderful but we live in a coastal area so it is not unfamiliar to us, but those bowls of hush puppies were just the BEST.

Hilton Head

And the sunset was lovely from the restaurant.

Hilton Head

 

One of the side trips we took was to Daufuskie Island. It is the southernmost inhabited island in South Carolina, with a population of about 500 people. It is only accessible by ferry, which we took to the island.

Now, my expectations for this day trip were WAY off, and that’s on me because I honestly just didn’t have time to do homework on the places we were going prior to our trip.

One of my favorite retailers, Spartina 449, got its start on Daufuskie, So I think in my mind I thought we were pulling up to a charming little island town with cool shops and restaurants. No. 🙂

This island is very feral, in the best possible way. It is very rugged and full of natural beauty and history. It is rich in Gullah culture, and I love that there are places like it left that have not been overrun by commercialism.

Don’t go on a Monday, as what little there is to do is all closed on Mondays. (We went on a Monday…) 🙂

We hopped on golf carts and took off.

The whole island is pretty much THIS. 🙂 Ancient trees dripping with Spanish moss, and very lush.

The maps they gave us with the golf carts were TERRIBLE, and they should have let some non-locals do a test run with them because they were so not helpful.

But the locals were very friendly. More than once, when we were stopped looking at our maps, locals pulled over to see if they could help us.

There are a lot of things to see, like this 500-year-old tree, next to the original Gullah undertaker’s house.

And an old graveyard with enormous gnarled trees.

 

As I said, nothing was open the day we were there, but we did happen upon an equestrian property that had a clubhouse and they graciously fed all of us, so that was wonderful.

After exploring the island all day, we took the ferry back to Hilton Head. One cool thing we learned is that there is no high school on Daufuskie, so the kids take the ferry every day to Hilton Head to attend school. I hope they know how cool that is. 🙂

Hilton Head

So while I didn’t get to shop at Spartina 449 (or any other shops on Daufuskie), they do have their merchandise in the shops at the Westin. 🙂

There may be more amenities in the gated communities we saw while exploring the island, but most of the island is just a nature feast for the senses. I know Jimmy Buffett wrote a song lamenting the development of Daufuskie, but it seemed pretty undeveloped to me. I’m glad it’s so unspoiled.

So back on Hilton Head, there are lots of things to do. There is a shuttle at the Westin that picks you up and drops you off at various places in town and picks you up two hours later.

We went to the harbor one day to explore.

Hilton Head

 

While there, I had a delicious fried green tomato with pimento cheese for lunch. My husband is very amused by my liking pimento cheese, but I don’t care, because my DAR ladies make it for our gatherings, and if they’re serving it at a harbor, that’s good enough for me. 🙂

Hilton Head

There’s plenty of golf to be played, and dolphin kayak nature tours. And there is always my favorite, walking on the beach collecting shells. You know I have to have my shells from everywhere I go. 🙂

This beach did not give up much by way of shells, so I didn’t get as big of a haul as I usually do. What I really wanted to find was a megaladon tooth, as they once roamed the seas there, but no luck. I did find a shark tooth, but no meg. 🙁

A reason to have to go back. 🙂

So if you have ever thought about visiting Hilton Head, I say go! I think you’ll love it. We were given this book upon our arrival at the hotel. It’s a great way to learn the history of the area before you go.

Hilton Head

Have you been to Hilton Head, or are you planning a trip? Let me know!

And I’d love for you to follow me on Pinterest!

Hilton Head

 

 

 

 

 

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