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Mission Mondays: Solo Savannah – Part II

September 27, 2010

I’ve received a lot of support over the past week since announcing that I’ve chosen Savannah over Charleston for my next vacation. Why Savannah?

  • I’ve always had a soft spot for Georgia since learning that during the Civil War, General William Sherman carved a wide swath of destruction through the state, burning and pillaging her great cities and small towns in his “March to the Sea.” As the story goes, when he finally reached Savannah, he was so entranced by its beauty he decided to spare it. If that’s not as romantic a tale as you’ve ever heard about a city, I don’t know what is.
  • Savannah is eversoslightly further south than Charleston and since I’m traveling in November, any extra warmth will be appreciated. Trust me—I’ll be grateful for the three degree differential in average daytime high temps. 71 just sounds so much warmer than 68. Anyway, that’s what I keep telling myself.
  • Spanish moss. The New York Times Frugal Traveler Seth Kugel recently wrote a tribute to the hanging vegetation. I have to see it for myself, but I promise not to touch–I’ve heard rumors about the chiggers.

Now that’s settled, it’s time to get down to the business of planning. I’ve already ordered a Savannah Visitor’s Guide from the Savannah Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and will be following @VisitSavannah on my Twitter feed.  Since I’ll be traveling during the Thanksgiving season, when airfares are typically stratospheric, I’ve decided to take Amtrak’s Palmetto Service down to the Peach State. Round-trip fare with my AAA discount? $231 vs. the $450+ I would have paid to fly. Yes, I’ll be spending close to 15 hours on the train and some might argue it’s worth the extra $200 to fly. However, on this trip, money is much more of an issue than time so I think I’ll curl up with a copy of John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil to thoroughly steep myself in Savannah lore before I arrive.

New York Penn Station turns into a bit of a mob scene during the holiday travel season.

New York Penn Station turns into a bit of a mob scene during the holiday travel season.

And when I arrive, where will I stay? I don’t know yet. I was chatting with a friend last week and we pretty much had the same vision of what my accommodations should be: a sumptuous, antiques-filled Victorian bed and breakfast in the Historic District. Each morning, I’ll open a pair of French doors awash in sunlight and step out onto the verandah, my long silk dressing gown billowing in the breeze. Breakfast will be waiting at a cast iron bistro table, where I’ll sip a dainty cup of hot chamomile tea and nibble on biscuits and honey while deciding how to spend my day. And the lighting will be soft and fuzzy, just like the dream sequence in a movie.

Reality check, please!

There are a couple of flaws in this fantasy. One: I don’t own any silk dressing gowns. And two: I couldn’t possibly afford accommodations in the Historic District. As much as I’d love an authentic Savannah experience, staying in a local bed and breakfast or inn may be out of the question. Almost all of the room rates I’ve found so far are well in excess of $100 per night, so I’m going to have to pursue other options. If I’d been traveling with someone, splitting the cost of the room would have put my fantasy within reach but as a solo traveler, finding affordable accommodations is often my biggest challenge. But, as Tim Gunn would say, I have to make it work so I’m going to keep an open mind and continue looking.

For Thursday Friday: Travelers are often in search of “authentic” experiences but what does that mean, exactly?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2010 9:06 am

    I’ve heard really great things about Savannah and I’ve seen it on various real estate tv shows and the like and it looks beautiful! It sucks that the train takes so much longer but it would certainly be scenic! I think it’s a great way to travel depending on where you’re going. Have fun!

    • October 1, 2010 4:49 am

      Train travel may not be as fast, but you get to see a lot! I took an Amtrak train to Montreal last Thanksgiving and the train ride ended up being one of the highlights of the entire trip. Who knew?

  2. September 30, 2010 12:46 pm

    Well, I am heading to Charleston soon. It’s for a wedding so I am not sure how much I’ll get to see, but I’ll let you know how it is 😉

    • October 1, 2010 4:41 am

      I’ve heard so many lovely things about Charleston–I can’t wait to get your perspective. Have a fun time!

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