What is a better way to celebrate birthday, than with a surprise birthday trip. My husband planned this trip by himself, so I cannot take any credit for it. Hope you find some tips useful.
The night before the trip I received only a basic info – to pack my luggage for two nights and hot weather. We had an early flight from the Newark Airport, NJ to Savannah, GA. I have to point out one detail – they have beautiful local airport with live piano music playing. The first impression from our trip was amazing!
The second surprise (which I have to say, it was more a present for my husband than for myself) was renting a Yellow Ford Mustang Convertible. I preferred the convertible over a coupe, because of the freedom to put the top down whenever we wanted.
The first stop in our trip was Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. The Plantation was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family. It has survived the American Revolution and the Civil War – and exists till today. The gardens in the property are stunning! Since the weather was hot, we decided to take a Nature Train Tour around the plantation. You never know what you might see. For example an alligator chilling on the sun… I think it would be difficult to see everything on foot, so the train was a great option.
Afterwards, we had a tour of the Plantation House, which still belongs to the Drayton family. Our guide (a former teacher) was great, explaining the history of the family and life in the 19th century. Just a little side note – property is accessible for the public since 1870.
We hurried to the Hotel (Hyatt House Charleston, in the Historic District), so we could refresh because we headed for a last tour of the Calhoun Mansion, which started at 5 pm. The residence is privately owned, and the owners actually live there, on the very top floor. The tour guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the house. The Calhoun Mansion was called the “handsomest and most complete private residence in the South” when it was built (Charleston News and Courier.) That pretty much explains everything. The owners turned it into a museum – with a collection of their own antiques. The house appeared in famous American movies – The Notebook and North and South. The collection of the antiques felt a bit overwhelming, but everyone has a different personal taste.
After the house tour it was time for some good food and drinks. We were deciding between two local restaurants Hyman’s Seafood and 167 Raw. The Hyman’s Seafood won, because it had short waiting time and I was getting hungry and grumpy. Both restaurants have top ratings on Trip Advisor and I can not agree more.
We started the second day with big breakfast, before visiting the Old Slave Mart Museum. It completes the whole picture of the history of the South. Charleston was not only a famous port back in the days, but also a major slave collecting and reselling center in the United States.
At 10:30am there was another surprise prepared for me – walking tour around Charleston. The city is beautiful with rich history. Our tour guide, Mr. Michael Trouche (a 7th generation Charlestonian), was the best! I highly recommend him. Very knowledgeable and funny guy 🙂
From beautiful Charleston we drove back to Georgia, but made 3 stops on the way.
- To see the Angel Oak tree (400 years old!)
- to quickly eat some seafood and fries at the Flowers Seafood Company. (…It’s good to balance things out…)
- to visit the Botany Bay Plantation, with stunning nature all around us.
In Savannah, Georgia at the day of my birthday, my husband booked the most amazing hotel. I always wished to stay in historic, romantic hotel – which the Kehoe House truly is. The hotel is located in the old city center, the staff was very helpful and friendly…and food? Delicious. I was definitely spoiled there. The room was spacious and beautifully decorated. In the morning we enjoyed breakfast on the balcony. Great option to do.
The next day we walked around Savannah and took a trolley city tour. The concept of hop-in and hop-off on 15 planned stops around the city was very nice. Savannah attracts many tourists, because of its beautiful streets, parks, 22 squares and historic buildings.
Unfortunately, our trip came to an end and we had to fly back to New York. Hope you will find some inspirations in my travel diary and good advice in my recommendations 🙂