Daytrip to St. Simon’s Island

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If you have an itch to escape the city for a quick daytrip, I would highly recommend heading south to St. Simon’s for fabulous food, shopping, and atmosphere.  I first discovered the beautiful island on a Georgia-Florida football game back in 2006 with my girlfriends from Atlanta who went to UGA. I quickly fell in love with the settlement of little hamlets (The Pier Village & Redfern Village) intermixed with amazing tree canopy (protected by the St. Simons Land Trust), all with quick access to the beach. Oh, and gorgeous historic homes AND fabulous shopping. Yes, I am in heaven here and can highly recommend a quick visit or longer stay as part of vacation to historic downtown Savannah.

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First stop has to be the Pier Village. Park your car and take a walk down to the pier, grab a cup of coffee and a wonderful scone at Palm Coast Coffee, and just take it all in. Lots of cute shops including Meo’s Suite, One Fish – Two Fish, & The Village Market.

No trip to the Village is complete without checking out the Village Inn & Pub. This is my girl group’s go-to spot for a quick drink and friendly convesation with R.B., bartender extraordinaire.  You can expect good local music and sometimes even dancing with some of the locals! The Spanish-styled architecture is absolutely charming and the buildings are right at home under the live oak trees dripping in moss.

The other little hamlet you must check out for fabulous shopping is Redfern Village, just north of the Pier Village. I have discovered so many great stores here that I must dish. My go-to FIRST stop is the Tibi Outlet. For those of you who do not know about Tibi, you are missing out. Amy Smilovic is a native of St. Simons and I like to imagine she takes lots of cues from her hometown – great colors and prints & fun new twists to classic cuts. Her studio is in SoHo, New York City and her collection is highly regarded here and abroad.  My other favorite store in Redfern is the GoGo Ferguson jewelry outpost. GoGo takes design cues from architectural shapes of  items like dolphin vertebrae, the spiral of a sea shell, and anything connected to nature. Gogo’s jewelry is amazing and you absolutely must check it out .  I was blown away the first time I saw her rattlesnake rib bangles & have coveted them ever since.

After all the shopping, quench your thirst with a tangy margarita at Bubba Garcias Mexican restaurant. Bubbas definitely has a very laid back, almost dive bar, kind of feel to it and I keep going back for the “liquid gold” (my affectionate name for their queso dip) as well as the Potato Burrito (my beau adds chorizo to his but the original is perfect to me). Not up for Mexican? Hop over to Gnat’s Landing for a classic Bloody Mary and a plateful of their friend pickes chips or Vidalia onion pie. Not the healthiest but absolutely worth it.

There is SO much more to do like rent a bike and explore the countless miles of trails on the island, check out Fort Frederica, or just kick back on the beach.  Whatever your MO, you will find what you are after in this gorgeous part of coastal Georgia — just a hop, skip, n’ jump to Savannah.

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Run or Walk Ardsley Park

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Downtown Savannah offers so much to see and do but there are other historic neighborhoods to check out as well. If you love to run or walk, I highly recommend spending an hour or so exploring Ardsley Park neighborhood which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ardsley is beautiful and features many large estates, cottages, and bungalow homes surrounded by lush landscaping, parks, churches, and schools.  The historic district runs between Victory Drive on the north, 53rd Street on the South, Bull Street on the West, & Waters Avenue on the East. The neighborhood boasts many Belgian-block walls that served as entry points to the neighborhood during the early 1900’s when it was first developed. Each street running east-west (the numbered streets plus Washington Ave.) also has a specific tree that is planted down the sidewalk buffer.

For instance, 54th Street has palm trees and 53rd has oaks. These trees were taken from the nursery which is now Augusta National golf course.  There are also great pocket parks that pop up along your walk like Adams Park on 53rd Street and Abercorn as well as the long “mall” that splits Atlantic Avenue right down the middle.

If you are running from downtown, you can take a lap around Forsyth Park then head down Bull or Abercorn Street to the neighborhood. Again, look for the Belgian-block landmark walls to mark your entry. Abercorn and Victory Drives are the busiest but definitely worth exploring as many of the more stately homes line these Avenues.  There is also a bike path along Washington Avenue (between 48th and 46th Streets) that leads East to Daffin Park if you are looking to do a long run as part of race training.

For more great Savannah runs and upcoming races, check out Fleet Feet Savannah’s website. Fleet Feet is at the corner of Waters Ave. and 50th Streets in Ardsley Park.

Charleston Daytrip – West of Ashley & Avondale

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….I JUST started this blog about what to do in and around Savannah and am ALREADY writing about a daytrip to Charleston! I’m never going to hear the end of it…

That being said, I love running up the old Savannah Highway to Charleston for a daytrip.  For some reason, walking along the Battery and exploring the alleys NEVER gets old to me and I think a lot of folks who are visiting Savannah share the same sentiment. Going to a friend’s wedding was the perfect excuse to get back up and reconnect with such a pretty town.

On the way to Charleston, I always drive past a cool area that is dotted with vintage clothing boutiques, funky old drive-in restaurants that have been refurbished, and lots of local character.  I could just FEEL that the area was going to have something in store for me.  For a couple years, I’d drive by and whisper to myself, “next time, next time….” Now that I know the area is called West of Ashley / Avondale, I wanted to spread the word about the great food, shops, and outdoor venues located there.

While my beau was out sailing with the guys, I followed back over the bridge to hit up a couple places I’d been eyeing over the years. First things first, I needed to get my fix of fresh and local food so I headed to The Glass Onion, a joint my foodie friend had been raving about for some time.  The restaurant was relaxed, affordably priced, and did  not disappoint. Always a fan of a blue plate, I grabbed the special mussels that were simmered in a hearty roasted tomato broth, garlic, a healthy dose of Cajun/Creole seasonings, and served with a well-sized (not too big, not too small) portion of pomme frites. It was exactly what I needed but not exactly enough to sop up all the tomato jus left in my bowl.  A hunk of the creamiest cornbread I’ve ever had remedied that! Check please!
I thanked myself for making such a wise lunch decision by walking around the block to explore. I had already checked out the Byrnes Down ranch style neighborhood to quell my mid century modern preservation fascination (YES – ranch homes are eligible for preservation!) & and found a cool West Ashley Green Space trail  where I can take a walk next time…..when my pants aren’t about to pop off.
I then stumbled into Bashful boutique which offered great style for gals who do not want to spend a fortune on trendy pieces.

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After such  an exhausting afternoon I met my beau back at our fabulous French Quarter pied a terre for the weekend.
 If you happen to be heading to Charleston after your visit in Savannah, I would highly recommend 4 Unity Alley Bed & Breakfast. AND I’m not just saying that because its next door to my new favorite place to eat of all time, McCrady’s.  The owners are super friendly, our room was immaculate, and dresed in period style furniture and simple linens. My favorite part was that we met up in the morning for breakfast with the other guests and had spirited conversation about what we’d seen and were going to do for the day. Oh, and my other favorite thing is the location is next door to McCrady’s!!!
Even though we only had time to belly up to the handsome, I can say without a doubt that we will be back for more. The bar is between the origianl tavern ( circa 1700’s) and the “Longroom,” (used for a banquet for George Washington on his tur of the South).  The attention to detail and availability of local food was unparalleled-the chef even has a farm, McCrady’s Farm, and lives his life part time chef and part time farmer which is very reminiscient of what we saw while travelling through Maine this past summer.  McCrady’s was truly one of my favorite places to have a cocktail.
So if you find yourself for a day to explore and eat, you should definitely take a drive up to Charleston…..

Busy Bee Vacations

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Its been a long time coming but I’m excited to finally be able to say that Busy Bee Vacations is off the ground! After spending some time over the summer soul-searching about how I could combine my love of historic properties and real estate know-how,  a friend recommended I speak with the fabulous Diane Kaufman of the famous Tybee’ Island Mermaid Cottages.

After spending time consulting with Diane, I quickly realized vacation property management was something that would be very natural for me! Busy Bee Vacations is allowing me to actively market my Historic Downtown properties to visitors and helping them to experience all of what the coastal area has to offer!

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

-Queen Bee