My husband, daughter and I just got back from an epic road trip through the Southeast. Not only did we visit/drive through a whopping FIVE states that I've never been to before (Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida), we saw lots of amazing things and places in the process. Truly memories we will have for a lifetime.
Our trip started with a drive to Birmingham, Alabama, where we visited the Barber Motorsports Museum (for my husband!). I'm not really too into motorcycles, but the museum itself was amazing with ramps, a glass elevator and hundreds of beautifully displayed motorcycles. Like an art museum for motorcycles, actually.
Next we drove on to Asheville, North Carolina for a few days. We spent the first morning at the Wheels Through Time Museum (also a motorcycle museum... see a pattern here??) in Maggie Valley, NC. This was a completely different experience as the bikes were mainly left in their original state and displayed in a much more casual way.
The next day was our anniversary and we spent it touring the Biltmore Estate, built by George Vanderbilt starting in 1889. The estate is massive, spanning over 8,000 acres, and the house itself is like a castle. I especially loved touring the servants' kitchens and quarters in the basement of the house. My daughter loved seeing the chickens and goats in the farmyard at Antler Hill Village on the estate. We tasted Biltmore Vanilla ice cream and walked through the expansive gardens. If you ever visit, plan to spend most of the day, because this place is huge!
That night we had an amazing southern-inspired anniversary meal at the Tupelo Honey Cafe. Delish. I had the special Rosemary Peach Lemonade - strange at first but interesting and tasty!
Then we drove on to Jekyll Island, Georgia to spend some time on the beach. I must say, I was looking forward to this part of the trip the most, and it didn't disappoint. The beaches were gorgeous and the island is rather remote and isolated so there are very few other people around - this was my favorite part and I really wanted to experience a beach in as natural and untouched a state as possible, but my husband thought it was maybe a little too isolated because there were very few food/shopping/attraction options on the island (and this from the man who hates crowds with a passion!).
Anyway, we walked the beaches many times looking for seashells. This might be my most favorite thing to do ever. In my next life I will live on a beach. Or maybe sometime in this life, if I'm lucky. Baby girl loved the beach too (except for one afternoon we went out when it was too hot - she wasn't ok with that) and loved feeling the sand and the water. Twice in the evenings she even fell asleep in the baby carrier on my back to the sound of the waves. It was so sweet to feel her nuzzle her face into my back.
We walked through the historic district, saw the ruins of a house from the 1700s, saw the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, visited the Jekyll Island Museum and learned the history of the island (site of the first transcontinental phone call and the first meeting of the Federal Reserve!). We visited the Georgia Sea Turtle Center and were lucky enough to see a rehabilitated loggerhead turtle released back into the ocean.
On our final day, we took a short drive over to St. Simon's Island and climbed the 129 steps to the top of the lighthouse. It's definitely more work with a 28-pound child strapped to your back but the views were gorgeous!!
Finally, we had to say goodbye to the sand and head home. After a grueling 2-day drive, we arrived to a 103 F day, and a hot house. The air conditioner wasn't running and it wouldn't turn on either. How's that for a warm welcome? Luckily, the AC has been fixed and we are settling back into our home routine. As always, it feels good to be home and sleep in our own beds, but it's a bit sad to think that the vacation we have planned for and looked forward to for so long is over. It's always a little bittersweet.
Have you planned or taken any trips this summer? Where to? Or where do you wish you could go?