To be honest, it took a while for us to warm to Georgia (due in no small part to how tickled we were with South Carolina). It’s tough to go from place to place so quickly; we only just get comfortable somewhere and it’s time to move on. This might be the greatest flaw in our master plan- that we only get to see snapshots of places and make brief impressions. Since we had such fun in South Carolina, it was going to be hard to live up to all of our discoveries there.
We only saw a tiny bit of Georgia- we kept to the coast to save on mileage, knowing that Florida was going to be a heavy driving state. This meant missing Atlanta, among other places that people might call essential for a true Georgia experience. That said, we were glad for the change of pace, even though it meant seeing less.
We started things off in Savannah, where the Spanish moss hangs heavy and the historic charm of the buildings echoes that of Charleston to the north. A cousin joked that her mother, when visiting her in Georgia, exclaimed that “they go all out decorating for Halloween here!” referring to the moss. The moss’s ethereal spookiness lends an air of dark mystery to the surroundings. As in Charleston, the neighborhoods offer a box-of-crayons approach to colored buildings. Hot pinks, pastel blues, butter yellows and mint greens sit comfortably amongst one another. We were also surprised to see how run-down much of the area surrounding Savannah is, in contrast to the lushness of the town center and city blocks surrounding park squares.
Bonaventure Cemetery is one of Savannah’s most-visited sights, and it’s clear to see why- the historic graves and ornate details are positively otherworldly. It was full of wrought-iron fences, marble statues hanging their heads and etched gravestones- things that seem to exist more often in Tim Burton movies and BBC specials than in real life.
After visiting Savannah, we headed south to the area commonly referred to as “The Golden Isles“- a group of four islands and one mainland city (Brunswick) on the southeastern border of Georgia. Carl has some family in the area, and his father’s cousin Jennifer was kind enough to put us up in her Brunswick home. It was the perfect place to venture out from, and we got some much-needed R&R by staying in a real house once again. We took in the sights while eating lots of local shrimp. They say the shrimp off the coast here is special, because they eat sugarcane plants (which, supposedly, makes them extra sweet!) If you can get the image of cute googly-eyed cartoon shrimp munching on sugar stalks out of your mind, you might be able to imagine how good they taste.
Nearby Jekyll Island is a state park, and if you can get past its sinister name, it can be an awfully charming place. We were surprised to learn that this island once held an exclusive club that only millionaires in the early 1900’s had access to. The clubhouse still stands but has been converted into a hotel, located in the center of the tiny historic downtown. The island has plenty of bike trails and beaches, and more driftwood than we’ve ever seen in one place. We climbed the trees at sunset and watched as the waves rolled in.
Georgia is full of surprises! It delivers on moody, southern charm but has low-key coastal down, too.
US Anywhere is a year-long, cross-country documentary project by newlyweds Carl and Anna. They are taking the 52 weeks of 2016 and are using them to travel the country and make short films about all 50 states (plus Washington, D.C.). The project will seek to illuminate the states and the hugely diverse urban and natural landscapes of the US. They hope to inspire others to dream, travel, explore, and connect with the United States.