And we’re back with more road trip reporting! You can find part 1 of our epic adventure here.
After visiting Montgomery we went on up to Birmingham. We stayed with Luke and Jennifer, friends from seminary, who were excellent hosts. We went out to a BBQ place that had chicken in white sauce, which is a North Alabama specialty. It was delicious. The next morning we went to a coffee shop with excellent coffee and breakfast sandwiches. The South is a delicious place.
The deliciousness continued when we drove on to Savannah, Georgia. We stayed with the parents of our friend Matt. We got there in time for dinner, which included seafood and homemade cheesecake. Be still my heart. We had a great time hanging out that evening, and then the next day we went downtown Savannah.
Matt’s parents were exceedingly kind and bought us a trolley tour of the city. We LOVED it. The drivers were full of fun historical facts and stories. We learned that when James Oglethorpe founded Savannah he banned four things: slavery, hard liquor, lawyers, and Catholics. None of those prohibitions lasted very long.
The historic city is arranged around 24 squares, 22 of which still survive. They are filled with Spanish moss draped trees (I wanted to take some Spanish moss home--an air plant! For free!--but the trolley driver informed us they were full of mites. That didn’t sound so great.), fountains, paths, and surrounded by historic architecture, although not as historic as you might suspect, because Savannah had a lot of fires.
For the remaining buildings, one of the coolest things about Savannah is that the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is there, and they are committed to renovating historic buildings and using them. There are so many gorgeous buildings that have been preserved. Every city needs a SCAD, or something like it.
We toured the Owen-Thomas house, a historical home that had indoor plumbing before the White House. We were able to tour the slave quarters, the basement with the kitchen, all the bedrooms, and the other rooms. We learned that drawing rooms are called that because the ladies would withdraw there after dinner. It was also an interesting house because it was built at a time where people were really into faux finishes. Sometimes the faux finishes cost more than the thing they were imitating, but people would spend the money for the fake version. Lesson: there have always been fads and people are weird.
We also saw the Cathedral and we stopped by the childhood home of Flannery O’Connor, but it wasn’t open yet. I would love to go back and tour it sometime. And Savannah was so gorgeous that we would love to go back for the city itself.
From Savannah it was on to Charleston to visit Ross and Joanna, who are seminary friends, and meet their son Elias! It was so good to see them. They were extremely hospitable as well, and fed us wonderful food. The next day it was raining, but we ventured out, first to go see the Atlantic Ocean so we could complete the “Sea to Shining Sea” portion of our trip. Then we kept driving and stumbled upon Fort Moultrie, a fort with history going back to the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War, the Union troops stationed there went over to the stronger Fort Sumter, which they lost. This was a national park with a junior ranger program, so of course we did that (Lisa wrote about the beginnings of our junior ranger love here) and walked all over the fort in the rain. Shockingly we had it mostly to ourselves.
Later in the day we went to historic Charleston. That was a little dicey, because depending on the rain and the tides, certain parts of the city will flood. People talk about it in a matter of fact way--oh yeah, you better not go downtown right now, sections are probably flooded. But in the afternoon the rain let up a bit and we walked around. It was another wonderful old city. We went to Rainbow Row and walked all over looking at the historic houses.
The next day we drove to Atlanta to meet up with my family for my cousin’s wedding. We got a giant AirBnB house, we got delicious barbeque, and we walked to the Martin King Jr. National Historic Site. We saw the Ebenezer Baptist Church, and his grave, and they had a great museum with lots of information about Dr. King’s life. We learned a lot--things like that when King got married in the South, he and his wife stayed in a black funeral parlor for the first night of their honeymoon because no hotels would take them. When King tried organizing in the North, we encountered a racism in Chicago that he said was worse than anything he had seen in the South. When he first got arrested he really struggled with it because he was raised to be respectable. It helped me understand Martin Luther King, Jr., in a more personal way.
The wedding was lovely (congrats Candice and Peter!) and then we drove on up to our new lives in the North. We stopped in Chattanooga to visit our former pastor at his new church, and then went on to visit Andy’s uncle in Lafayette, IN. We had a wonderful time there, and got to see a significant portion of the Superbowl, and then the next day we motored on over to Wheaton to see our house, which we loved.
And that is where we are, even to this day!
***AirBnB continues to work out fantastically for us on all of our various trips (this trip we stayed in New Orleans and Atlanta. Prior to this we have stayed at AirBnBs in LA, Copenhagen, Oslo, and Bergen). We highly recommend it. If you want to try it out, use this link and get $20 off your first stay!