My rule of thumb for this cross country trip is to not drive more than 8 hours per day. I leave really early so I am at my destination by noonish and then I leave at least a full day between the big jumps. There is no planned itinerary. I am making it up as I go. After Disney, I visited three outstanding cities on the east coast, 2 of which I’d never visited before. So let’s call this post the “East Coast Triple Threat”.
I realize that in order to get to California, I’ll need to turn left eventually but “not yet. Not yet.” (Does anyone recognize that? It’s Juba from Gladiator. I just love that line!)
My first stop was the home town of a dear friend of mine. I’d like to give a shout out to Hiral who reviewed the Old Town Trolley itinerary for my stop in Savannah, Georgia and highlighted the stuff that was “must see”. Also, hello to her mom, my newest subscriber, Hemlata. Hi ladies!!
Savannah is a super charming east coast port town.
It was an absolutely spectacular spring day. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming everywhere. After a light lunch at local vegan hot spot Fox & Fig Cafe I jumped on a trolley and did the entire Savannah tour.
The narrators for trolley tours are hysterical. Think about if folks. If you had to drive tourists around all day and tell the same historical facts over and over, you’d have to have a sense of humor.
You know you are in the south when part of the history of each building history is tied to it being “the first one that had air conditioning”.
When I’m traveling, I never miss an opportunity to check out old churches. They are usually open, they are usually free , and they usually have really good air conditioning which makes for an ideal break when you are sightseeing.
I started my tour at this Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Absolutely stunning. The organ in this church is believed to have been in the royal church of England at one time. I took a minute to pray for safe travel and to be grateful for this journey.
On My Honor
Another cool stop on this tour was the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low. Anyone know who that is? Here’s a clue:
Juliette Gordon Low was a wealthy girl who couldn’t relate to her life of privilege. She learned about scouting from family friend Robert Baden-Powell who was the founder of the boy scouts and also met leaders from Girl Guides in Europe. She founded the Girl Scouts in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia so that every girl could unlock their full potential and embrace their unique passions.
Especially if unlocking full potential includes selling a shit ton of cookies.
Did You Want Whip Cream On That?
Final stop on my afternoon in Savannah was Leopold’s Ice Cream. This establishment describes itself as “unchanged since opening in 1919”. Got a proper cone. One scoop chocolate, one scoop homemade banana, rainbow sprinkles, homemade whip cream.
I took a beautiful and relaxing 2 hour scenic route drive north of Savannah to land in Charleston, South Carolina, another fabulous east coast port town.
I stopped to get my car washed on the way into town. It took 3 trips through plus some serious elbow grease to get the Everglades mud and bird poop off my car.
I was blessed with another picture perfect day to explore Charleston. I did a little retail therapy on King Street and menu shopped all day.
Off The Beaten Path
Charleston had more than it’s share of gorgeous churches.
I came across one particularly special church by accident. I was just strolling down King Street and saw a wrought iron gate that was open. A long, shady, winding flag stone path beckoned beyond it. So I followed it. And what I found was just magical.
I had wandered into the cemetery at the Unitarian Church of Charleston. What struck me at first was how overgrown it was. Usually a cemetery is so perfectly manicured. This was reminiscent of some of the old cemeteries in New Orleans with the moss and the crumbling tombstones. It was just beautiful.
If I end up underground, this is the type of place I’d want to lay for my eternal rest. I found an inscribed stone on the pathway that says this cemetery has been overseen by the local garden club for decades. I love that they are intentionally letting it be so wild.
The Art of War
After a long day of walking, I tucked in for an early dinner at Church & Union. The restaurant is inside an old church. I realized after a few minutes that there was writing all over the ceiling. I could only read snippets but it read like a military manual. So I asked my waiter.
She told me that a local artist spent 3 months on scaffolding painting out the entire book, “The Art of War” on the ceiling. It was quite extraordinary.
Dinner was as extraordinary as the art. Red pepper arancini, parpadelle with lamb ragu, side of broccolini.
I stayed at a cool boutique hotel called The Vendue that was ideally located. They had the most amazing art in the lobby.
Jenny Takes On Our Nation’s Capital
Since I could not find anything within an 8 hour drive west of Charleston that sounded fun, I decided to make one more hop north. What better place to end my 4.5 decades on the east coast than our nation’s capitol!
One of my favorite movies of all time is Forrest Gump.
My favorite scene is when Forrest accidentally gets unplugged at the anti-war rally and then, when they ask him his name, Jenny starts yelling, “Forrest!” and comes prancing along through the Washington Monument reflecting pool to reunite with him. I cry every time I watch it.
My plan was to go to D.C., get a bottle of rose and some good cheese and a baguette and go sit at the reflecting pool like Jenny and wait to see if Forrest showed up.
I lucked out that the only place that I had points available for was a hotel that was literally right next to the ballpark where the National’s play. And there was a game that night!
Does anyone else think the Nationals’ logo looks an awful lot like the Walgreen’s logo?
Anyhoo…great game. I enjoyed a balmy 71 degree night of high-scoring baseball and a Ben’s Chili Half-Smoke. And a cold beer.
Here’s To 90 Years!
You know how during a baseball game they go around the crowd and pick people for random prizes? Well, they put this cute family, all decked out in their team gear, on the jumbotron and announced that if the Nationals hit an out-of-park home run by the end of that inning, they’d get $300.
“What would you do with an extra $300?” they asked the dad. “I’ll use it to buy tickets to come back to another game with my mom. She’s celebrating her 90th birthday today.” And sure enough, an adorable lady who looked nowhere near 90 waves at the camera.
No joke, next pitch is an out of park home run. They circled back to the birthday girl and she was so excited.
It’s A Zoo Out There
My day off in D.C. was a bit overcast and chilly. I had to scrap the original reflecting pool picnic plan. Since the weather didn’t cooperate for that, I decided to go to the zoo.
The Smithsonian Zoo currently has a special attraction. They are the only zoo left in the U.S. that has pandas. Pandas are on the endangered species list and China controls all breeding and sharing of what is left and apparently they want the pandas all to themselves.
Pandas were first introduced to zoos in the U.S. by Ruth Harkness, a lady that ended up with a baby panda that she donated to a zoo in Chicago. It was a hit, and other U.S. zoos eventually got their own. But they could not successfully reproduce in captivity, and then China began closer enforcement since the animal is a national treasure.
Very Cool Vegetarians
Smithsonian Zoo is now the only zoo left in the U.S. to have pandas. Both of their bears are about 25 years old and have successfully bred a couple baby pandas, but China gets to keep those.
Pandas are vegetarian. The eat 99% bamboo. They are also freaking adorable.
Here is a little sampling of my favorite vegetarians friends from my day at the zoo. Since the weather was iffy, I didn’t carry my good animal camera so forgive the iphone pics.
Be Slow Like the Sloth
I have lots of pics and videos of the 3-toed sloth from Costa Rica. Definitely one of the coolest vegetarians. They don’t move much so it is always a treat to catch one in motion. This is the 2-toed sloth from South America (count the toes on the front arms, not the back).
The asian elephant also counts as a vegetarian. Listen to this guy bite through bamboo like it’s a potato chip (wait for it).
There were lots of very cool meat eaters at the zoo. LSU fans will appreciate this one. I got him roaring at the end.
Where Are The Birds?
You are probably wondering where the pictures of birds are. Surely a zoo has birds?
No worries folks…our next stop on Frittata Cross Country will make up for the birds I did not see at the zoo 🙂
Nod To Mom
My mom always had a thing for the Willard, the fancy hotel across from the White House. I made a stop there in honor of her, and also because the absolute best place to get a cold beer and raw clams in D.C. is right next door.
I spent about an hour in the portrait gallery, normally one of my favorite museums but they seem to be in a reshuffle because there were a lot of rooms that were closed. Sharing a few that moved me, including a bust of Dr. Michael DeBakey, father of all things heart surgery.
Last stop was dinner at one of the classics in D. C. It is SO hard to pick a restaurant because there are dozens of great places. Check out my D. C. travel page for ideas. I decided on Bombay Club for an elegant Indian supper. That’s a masala Manhattan!
I’ll be on the road tomorrow and YES it is FINALLY TIME TO HEAD WEST! Where is the next stop? If any of you know what BWIAB stands for, I’ll be very impressed. For those who don’t, you’ll just have to wait…