After 16 long months, I finally got to hang with my mom in person! This was also her first trip to North Carolina so I was excited to introduce her to our new home. We decided to cram as much as possible into a 6 day period and “toured” three cities in three different states. It was awesome! I love a road trip 🙂
I didn’t haul my good camera around and – as you can see – iPhone pics are quite lacking so please forgive the poor quality! You can click on any picture to see it larger.
On the first day, we did some sightseeing in Charlotte. Lunch was – of course – Price’s Chicken!
After having the best fried chicken EVAH, we didn’t dare order it again all weekend!
We also stopped by the Billy Graham Library. It’s not someplace I ever cared to visit but I’m so glad mom wanted to go! The professionalism in it’s design was unbelievable. Mom turned to me at one point and said ‘man, I didn’t think we’d be getting Disney quality exhibits!’ and she was so right! We compare EVERYTHING to Disney and it definitely measured up.
When we arrived, we opted to first tour his childhood home. The house was originally located where Park Road Shopping Center is now. It was moved not once but twice and amazingly still had it’s original hardwoods, baseboards, brick, and most windows. You can only see the downstairs (and not really touch any of it) but there are lots of family photos and such to look at.
The library (which isn’t a library at all) is staffed by volunteers – mostly retirees who were sweethearts to chat with.
After walking the grounds some (a few people are buried onsite, including Ruth Bell Graham and George Beverly Shea) we stepped into the “library.”
This huge building is home to the Disney-quality exhibits that outline Billy Graham’s life and ministry. Films, interactive exhibits, lots of pictures and artifacts, and volunteers available for conversations. If you were to read every item, it would take you hours. We were back there about an hour and we skipped most of the readings.
And – in true Disney form – you finish up in a gift shop! They do also have a nice cafe as well as some prayer rooms.
The grounds are free to visit, and it’s free to park – a great way to spend a couple of hours. And take it from someone who didn’t want to go at all, it’s impressive!
The next morning, we packed up the car and made our way to Savannah, GA! None of us had been before so we were excited to spend around 24 hours there on our way to WDW. Jason had a tee time so when we got into town, we dropped him at the golf course and mom and I went downtown to shop.
Funny story: much of the parking downtown is parallel parking, which I’ve never learned to do. We finally spotted a meter near the shops we wanted to stop at but of course, I couldn’t get us into it. Mom knew how so I jumped out and stood on the sidewalk while she parked. Right then, an open air trolley tour stopped at the light – literally feet away from us – and watched her park it. The tour guide even said over her mic “and to your left you’ll see an attempt at parallel parking.” Mom gave them a thumb’s up after she got it in one shot and the whole tour group gave her a round of applause LOL.
The one store I knew I wanted to hit was The Paris Market.
This store is AMAZING for those of us who love unique home decor – I really wanted one of everything. Very shabby industrial Parisian (duh.) style. The two floors are simply eye candy and definitely worth a stop if ever in town. A bit pricey, yes, but unique.
I’m a sucker for foodie stores so we stopped in two: a spice store and an olive oil store. I still regret not buying a flavored olive oil but I thankfully did buy a couple things at the spice store. Mom and I just sniffed and tasted our way through both stores before picking Jason back up.
On our way back to the golf course, we stopped at Savannah Bee Company. Again, foodie heaven!
We tasted every type of honey there is before walking away with a sample kit of three of our favorites. I can’t wait to use them in upcoming recipes!
That night we tried a well rated off-the-beaten-path restaurant for some comfort food! It’s one of those restaurants that you can’t judge by its cover or you’d walk away! It’s called Sweet Potatoes ~
The interior is a bit run down in it’s decor but the service was good, the menu was varied, prices were cheap, and the food was DELISH.
I ordered the meatloaf with mac & cheese and Brussels sprouts:
The meat loaf was very good – it tasted like it had been grilled after it was sliced. Mac and cheese was delicious, sprouts were a bit ‘eh’. Jason ordered salmon and mom ordered a vegetable plate. We were all pleased with our choices! It was a great way to get good Southern cuisine without the touristy pricetag.
After dinner, we went back downtown to hit a chocolate bar that both mom and I had found in our Googling.
Lulu’s Chocolate Bar is half bar/half dessert restaurant. Open only in the evenings, all ages are welcome until 10pm when they become over 21 only. When we were there, we didn’t see any children but it was a random Thursday night.
You could order it to-go at the case but we opted to be seated and given menus to order from. Since we were pretty full, we went for the handmade truffles. I figure anything I can eat in 2 bites really doesn’t count as food…
Their dessert menu changes often so the waitress helped us decide which flavors we wanted to try out of the ones available that day. And for such piddly little bites of chocolate, they came out beautifully plated!
They were AMAZING. Truly. Truffles aren’t something I ever have the desire (or talent) to make at home so I rarely pass up the opportunity to nosh on a handmade one.
This was the perfect way to end the night!
The next morning, we got up early and went downtown to check out The City Market before leaving town.
The City Market is not like the market in Charleston; it’s a courtyard that is surrounded by buildings full of retail and restaurants. It sorta bleeds into other streets, too, and a few city parks. Even in October, it was HUMID and warm so we were glad to hit this first thing in the morning!
Of course there are a fair amount of tourist junk shops but there is also a good amount of art galleries and artist studios. These were more tucked away, or in the upstairs area of some of the shops.
Since we collect stretched canvas paintings for our entryway, we always keep our eye out for paintings while traveling. While wandering one of the galleries, we came across this artist who painted mainly Savannah art – Sue Gouse. Her paintings are gorgeous! She was actually there so we chatted about her work. We both fell in love with a painting of the bridge you come into Savannah on. Before leaving town, we decided we needed that painting for our collection – I LOVE it!
Most of the artists weren’t there working but we were able to peek into their studios and see their workspace. So cool!
And you can’t leave town without a sample of a hot off the press pecan praline. YUM YUM YUM
I can’t wait to go back – we only touched the tip of the iceberg in what there is to do there. But next time I’m going when it’s cooler!
(next post will be about WDW!)