In honor of our May issue celebrating women, we are featuring fun destination trips recently enjoyed by women from Charlotte. Rising COVID cases caused many travelers to avoid locations requiring air travel in favor of destinations within driving distance. The Queen City is in the central part of North Carolina, which means it is ideally located for taking trips to the mountains or the coast. In this article, we explore trips to Savannah, Georgia, and North Carolina’s own Grandfather Mountain.
Looking to get away to celebrate a birthday, friends Carol Long and Kathy Taylor decided to plan an extended weekend girls’ trip. Just under four hours from Charlotte by car, Savannah is a coastal city with something of interest for everyone.
Thanks to the pleasant climate the South enjoys, even in the winter months, an excursion to Savannah in January of this year proved to be the perfect, drivable getaway for reinvigoration, relaxation and a taste of Southern charm in an inviting atmosphere. Temperatures were in the seventies, making outdoor excursions especially inviting.
The Perry Lane Hotel is a destination hotel located in the heart of Savannah’s thriving historic district. Guests are treated to a luxurious atmosphere complete with local artwork on display. Bicycles are available, as well as complimentary luxury car service within 2 miles of the historic district. Your stay includes amenities such as unlimited sparkling wine in the hotel lobby and a rooftop pool and bar, featuring fire pits, with breathtaking nighttime views of the city.
Fine Dining – Southern Style
If you are a foodie, restaurants throughout the city will tempt your taste buds with dining that features a distinctive Southern flair. Dining options in Savannah include fresh seafood and flavorful French-style cafés that allude to the Huguenots and Acadians who migrated to the region in colonial times and have left a lasting impression on the city’s culture and cuisine.
The Perry Lane Hotel is home to The Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market, a dining and gourmet food and beverage spot favored by locals and visitors to Savannah alike. After experiencing dinner service at this establishment, the two friends were so impressed they extended their departure time the following day in order to enjoy lunch before the drive home.
If you are looking to get your daily steps in, Savannah is the place to be, with numerous opportunities to stroll through lush gardens filled with native flowers and plants. The historic district offers ample spaces to walk or get a run in while you enjoy the charming architecture and ornamental fountains on display. Interested in history? There are many historic homes you can tour to get a glimpse of the city’s past.
A Shopper’s Delight
For ladies who love to shop, Savannah offers several indie boutiques where you can find and purchase one-of-a-kind items. For instance, at Satchel, you can watch luxury leather goods being made and even collaborate with a designer to create a custom bag or other leather goods of your choice!
A visit to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) allows you to view and buy original artworks. There are also plenty of opportunities to shop for local products, so you can bring a bit of Savannah’s distinct culture home with you.
Savannah and the surrounding area offer several unique experiences visitors can enjoy. The Savannah Bee Company’s flagship store is located a short drive from the city’s historic district. The company specializes in the production of artisanal honey-based gourmet foods and beauty items as well as apparel, garden and home decor.
Tours of the facility educate visitors about bees, how honey is made, the need to preserve bee populations, and the commitment to making sustainable products. Guests are also invited to partake in honey tastings and treated to samples of mead created from fermented honey.
Savannah has so much to offer that a long weekend trip can easily be extended to a week-long vacation. Other popular destinations, including Hilton Head and Tybee Island, are within easy driving distance. If you’re up for venturing farther, consider a day trip to Jekyll and St. Simons islands.
Grandfather Mountain State Park
While the trip to Savannah was planned and booked in advance, friends Melissa Latin and Tiffany Carpenter decided to take a spontaneous day trip to Grandfather Mountain State Park. A short two-hour drive (each way), admission to the park is just $22 per person.
Once there, the duo hiked the Bridge Trail 0.4 miles to Grandfather Mountain’s famous mile-high swinging bridge. The climb is a moderate one with plenty of rock formations, flora and fauna along the way. As you exit the trail, you pass underneath the mile-high swinging bridge. Their efforts were rewarded by panoramic mountain views.
After hiking back down, they drove the short distance to the historic town of Boone to experience authentic Southern homecooked food at the renowned Daniel Boone Inn. This restaurant regularly makes the list of top eateries, not only in the South but in the United States. Food is served in a family-style setting at all tables. The menu is prefixed at a cost of $21.95 per person. Extra servings of everything but the Inn’s specialty, ham biscuits, are included in the set price.
A walk through historic downtown Boone with its streets filled with antique stores, arts and crafts galleries, restaurants and shops completed this adventure-packed day trip. For under $100 total, the two enjoyed a great day!
Melissa offers the following tips for others considering taking this day trip:
- Bring plenty of water and energy bars.
- Be sure to bring your camera as you will want to take lots of photos and videos of the awe-inspiring Blue Ridge Mountains.