We left from Titusville, FL after dropping off our dog, Lady, with her her grandparents and drove to Tallahassee. We were just there one evening, so we really only had time to drive around the campus of FSU and have dinner at Andrew's Capital Grill and Bar. We have been there before to see all of the important stuff, so we really had no agenda. I would recommend every Floridian visit our state's capital though, and our nation's capital as well. It is important to know a little history, and I say that as someone who never really did well in history. I never wanted to take the time to memorize all of those names and dates... I wish I had a teacher who had made it interesting (sorry to any former history teacher of mine who might by chance be reading this). :)
We woke up pretty early and spent the day driving through south Georgia to see where my husband's mom is from and where he spent many summers visiting. We also visited some grave yards and spent some time at the tombs of where many of his family was buried. I would recommend taking a trip like this. You learn quite a bit more about your spouse when you can hear stories about their childhood and their family and see where those events took place. I might have Brian do a "guest blog" about this part of the trip.
After driving around Iron City and Donalsonville, GA, we landed in Columbus, GA. Here, we walked around the downtown area, which was quite nice, and had dinner at a place called Cannons. The downtown area was right on the Chatahoochee River, which made it all the more beautiful. If staying in Columbus, I would recommend staying at the Marriott right on the river. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn down the road aways, because it was cheaper, but the experience was not nearly as nice.
We again woke up pretty early and headed off to Callaway Gardens. In order to fully understand how beautiful this place was, you really have to at least see pictures, and really even the pictures do not do it justice. We just went for a few hours to see the gardens, but realized once we were there, we could really spend a week there. I have not checked the prices, but the hotels on the property were incredible, and there was so much to do there if you were there on vacation (including golfing, water skiing/tubing, vegetable gardens, flower gardens, waterfalls, lots and lots of hiking, etc.). They had some restaurants with some good food too. We had breakfast at the Piedmont Dining Hall (and actually got it for free, because I burned my finger on the steam rising off the sausage gravy...), and lunch at the Country Kitchen which was attached to the Country Store (a Callaway Gardens gift shop). The food and view at the Country Kitchen was awesome!
After visiting the gardens we drove up to Stone Mountain, GA, just outside of Atlanta. We stayed at the Stone Mountain Inn (very nice) which was inside Stone Mountain Park. We had time to ride the train around the mountain, have dinner at a place called Ms. Katie's (another restaurant that served some excellent southern food), and catch the Laser Light Show off the side of the mountain.
We fit everything in that Stone Mountain had to offer this day! We took the Skyway Lift up to the top of Stone Mountain, and hiked down and around the side of it (about 3 miles). We then bought our tickets for a "Duck Ride" (I'll explain more in a minute). While waiting for our departure time, we watched a 4-D movie called, "Journey to the Center of the Earth," and played a round of put-put golf. Brian won (45-48)... 45 was par by the way, so I didn't do too bad. ;) We then headed off for our "Duck Ride," which was really kind of cheesy, but cool at the same time. It was a truck that also doubles as a boat. I guess they were used in the military in one of the World Wars. We had a hilarious driver, which really made it fun. After the duck ride, we went and did three levels of rope courses and met a girl named Zoe (a five year old who was more brave than half of the grown men there). I might type a separate blog about Zoe, but she was pretty brave girl. :) By this time, we were pooped, so we had some pool time, and then went off to find dinner off the property. We landed at a place called Maddy's Ribs and Blues. The food was okay, but the atmoshpere was pretty cool. If you are ever in an unknown place and are looking for some food, just look for the packed parking lot! After dinner, we hit the gift shops back at Stone Mountain Park and caught the laser light show again.
We traveled from Stone Mountain, GA to Greenville, SC to visit the family I have up there for a few days. We had a good time with them. We visited with my parents, two brothers, sister-in-law, and nephew a little. We ate good food, visited a Russell Stover's Candy Store, golfed, shopped, watched a couple of movies, had a water gun fight or two, and relaxed. One of the movies we watched was Shutter Island. I had thought it was going to be scary, so I never saw it, but it was actually pretty good. It was one of those movies that has a nice little twist that leaves you speechless at the end. Some of the restaurants where we ate were, Mama Penn's (another southern food restaurant), McAllister's (a place similar to a Too Jays or Panera), and Five Guys (which we have here in Florida).
Lessons learned for future road trips:
1. Pack a bag for each location where you will be staying. I should have packed 5 smaller bags inside the suitcase instead of having to lug the giant suitcase everywhere. Then I could grab the one we would need, pull out the clean clothes for the day, and put in the dirty clothes. You would still need a smaller suitcase for all of your bathroom supplies that you would need at every location, but it would have made it much easier for me.
2. Ladies, carry a bookbag style purse (which I did). This way you do not have to worry about where to hang it in the public bathrooms, or have it get in the way because there is no place to hang it... It is also convenient when hiking or walking around a theme park etc., it frees you up a little.
3. Pack a cooler! We packed a cooler of Diet Coke's (for Brian), and water (for me) so we did not have to stop as much when we were on the road, and did not have to pay an arm and a leg each time we wanted a drink at Callaway Gardens or Stone Mountain.
4. Don't have an agenda. Make sure you stop everytime you see something that might look cool... it might be one of the most amazing experiences you have ever had!
I will be posting pictures on facebook for those of you who know me... those of you who do not, I might post some in a separate blog post (since this one is already an eternity long)!