Savannah, Charleston & The Golden Isles of Georgia – May 1st – 8th, 2017

Refined, polite, historic and beautiful… These are just a few of the words that come to mind when we think of the South. Everything you’ve heard is true, time to start packing!

Day 1 – Home to Savannah
Welcome to Georgia… We’ll make our way to dinner at Skipper’s Fish Camp, overlooking the Darien River and the Altamaha Bio Reserve, decorated with nautical trinkets including an 11-foot stuffed alligator – but with none of the haphazard chaos typical of a working fish camp. Later, we’ll check into our hotel for the first three nights. Hilton Garden Inn, Savannah Historic District (D)

Day 2 – Savannah Local Touring
Meet Tara, our guide for the next two days. We’ll start with an open air trolley tour of the historic district. Tara will epitomize the very meaning of what being a Savannah lady is all about. The history of “Our Fair Lady”, Savannah, will come to life as she weaves her magic telling the history of James Edward Oglethorpe including the gossip that is only whispered about behind closed doors! Lunch is provided in a private home. You will have plenty of time to move about or sit and enjoy the historic homes and lovely gardens. Your afternoon and evening are free to explore this wonderful city, where southern hospitality was born. Take a Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil tour (ghost tour), or enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride… we will help you plan your afternoon and evening. Hilton Garden Inn, Savannah Historic District (B, L)

Day 3 – Savannah Local Touring
Low Country Tour with Tara… Savannah’s playground! From the islands, to the beaches of Tybee, Tara will show us how the elite eat in their bare feet, and entertain at the beach! Discover the truly unique and exquisite allure of the low country, which so many tourists miss when visiting Savannah. We will ride the bluff of the Isle of Hope, adorned with some of the most charming homes and breathtaking views of Georgia. We will then make our way to see Georgia’s first plantation – on which the eleventh generation still resides! The stunning live-oak lined entrance is a photo opportunity not to be missed. Next, we will see the life-long work of Reverend George Whitfield, whose dream of a home and haven for orphaned boys became a reality in 1734, and is still in operation today. Enjoy lunch on your own at the City Market… Since the early 1700’s, City Market has been the commercial and social center of historic Savannah. Located on the original site of the market used by farmers and traders of all kinds to sell their goods and wares, City Market offers the best of what is old and what is new in Savannah. Early evening, we’ll depart for Tybee Island. Tybee is Savannah’s inner child, where a cultured southern lady raised with the best manners can let her hair down, take her shoes off, and wiggle her feet freely in the sugary sands without a care in the world! Enjoy a Cruise at sunset on Bull River to the Back River of Tybee Island. The dolphins will often join us to marvel in the beauty of Savannah’s Low Country at dusk. Tonight, we’ll dine in a historic raised Tybee cottage – circa 1918 – where we’ll indulge in a traditional Low Country Boil. This will be an evening to recall for years as new friends connect, share stories, and learn how Southerners entertain at the beach! Hilton Garden Inn, Savannah Historic District (B, L)

Day 4 – Savannah to Charleston
Depart for Charleston. Our first stop: a tram-tour of Magnolia Gardens. Experience history and wildlife on this action-packed tram tour of the plantation’s wetlands, lakes, forests, and marshes. Naturalist guides help you spot alligators, turtles, egrets, and herons in native habitats. Welcome to Charleston. Founded in 1670, the port city has survived through great fires, earthquakes, pirates, a civil war, and a hurricane. The historic downtown is considered a “living museum”.  We’ll stop at the Charleston Visitors Center, where you’ll find information for your free evening. The staff will tell you about local dining, shopping, and entertainment. The Gift Shop offers a wide variety of Charleston souvenirs, postcards, & cold drinks. Enjoy our great downtown location. Your evening is free to explore. Meeting St Inn, Charleston (B, L)

Day 5 – Charleston – Local Touring
Meet Rhetta, our wonderful guide for the next 2 days… she’ll enlighten us on the city once known as “Little London”, where democracy was nurtured and secession proclaimed! Charleston was often the home of Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox and Thomas Sumter, the Gamecock. John Rutledge was chairman of eleven committees that helped formulate America and finalized the American Constitution. A few things we see and do: see the famous Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina; visit Battery Park – one of the best spots to get to know Charleston – this lovely spot on the waterfront features southern mansions, cannons, cannon balls, oak trees, palmettos, statues, a gazebo and incredible views of Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse. We will also have a private house museum tour along the way! Enjoy some free time for lunch before we board the New Spirit of Carolina for a Harbor Cruise. This tour offers passengers an opportunity to see the beauty of Charleston from the water. Sail by Charleston attractions like the famous Battery, the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, Patriots Point, and Waterfront Park, and learn some interesting facts about the city along the way. We will also learn all about Ft. Sumter as we circle it – this is where the first shots from the Civil War were fired. Your evening is free to explore Charleston. Meeting St Inn, Charleston (B)

Day 6 – Charleston to Jekyll Island
Depart for “Out-the-Ashley-River-Road-Plantation-Day”, as our guide calls it. First stop, Drayton Hall… It’s the real thing, and they are bound by their mission to preserve the property—that is, to keep it in near-original condition just as the National Trust received it from the Drayton family in 1974. Instead of being restored to the vision of those who lived centuries after it was built, Drayton Hall is an artifact that has survived the American Revolution, the Civil War, the earthquake of 1886, hurricanes such as Hugo, and the urban expansion. Enjoy the beautiful scenery as we make our way to Jekyll Island. You’ll have time to get cozy in your room before we head to the Jekyll Island Club for a wonderful dinner. It was founded in 1886 when members of an incorporated hunting and recreational club purchased the island for $125,000 from John Eugene du Bignon. The original design of the Jekyll Island Clubhouse, with its signature turret, was completed in January 1888. The club thrived through the early 20th century; its members came from many of the world’s wealthiest families, most notably the Morgans, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts. Hampton Inn, Jekyll Island (B, D)

Day 7 – Jekyll Island – Local Touring
We’ll start today with a tour of Jekyll Island. We’ll take a tram ride to tour some of the cottages. We’ll also enter into two of them, full with rich tales and elegant furnishings. Next, we’ll tour the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, where they rescue injured and orphaned sea turtles. Afterward, enjoy some free time to browse and grab some lunch in quaint St. Simons… you’ll love this village on the beach! Next, we’ll enjoy a coach tour of St Simons Island. Stops include: Ft. Frederica.  In the early 18th century, the land lying between British South Carolina and Spanish Florida was known as the debatable land. This land (today’s Georgia) was the epicenter of a centuries-old imperial conflict between Spain and Britain; Christ Church – with its long history and magnificent stained glass windows. Tonight, enjoy some real southern hospitality as we indulge in dinner at our guide’s home. Hampton Inn, Jekyll Island (B, D)

Day 8 – Jekyll Island – Home
We will depart with great memories of the South and the charming folks we meet… Join us on one of our best loved tours! (B)

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