Hilton Head Island Vacation (Savannah Day Trip) – July 17, 2008

Tybee Lighthouse behind the Palms by Rodger Mangold

Savannah, Georgia – Just 80 or so miles from the villa is Savannah, Georgia.  My in-laws went there earlier in the week and were very pleased withtheir trip. Shannon and I opted not to go with them, but today, unknowns to me, the Tybee Island Lighthouse is located just outside of Savannah, and we decided to go see it. My in-laws wanted to come along for the ride. On the way we had a lengthy discussion about our GPSwhich helped us navigate to our destination without incident. My in-laws have a Magellan that they are not happy with and I was touting all the features of my Delphi Nav200. Their son, David, has one as well and they were going to look into getting one. I say “were” for a reason…read on!

The Tybee Island Lighthouse – A very picturesque setting plays home to this stripped behemoth of a light. Black and white and almost 200′ tall and Ordered by General James Oglethorpe, Governor of the 13th colony, in 1732, the Tybee Island Light Station has been guiding mariners safe entrance into the Savannah River for over 270 years. The Tybee Island Light Station is one of America’s most intact having all of its historic support buildings on its five-acre site. Rebuilt several times the current light station displays its 1916 day-mark with 178 stairs, and a First Order Fresnel lens (nine feet tall).

Believe it or not, I was able to make it up all 178 steps to the top and what a spectacular view of the ocean, and the surrounding fort. The cost was $6.00 for adults and $5.00 for seniors. Certainly worth it considering how beautifully the grounds and the light are kept up and cared for. I didn’t make it to the houses surrounding the lighthouse (I was taking too many pictures), but Shannon said I should have, she was very intrigued with the history.


Downtown Savannah, River Street –
With being so close to downtown Savannah, we had to stop by the River Street Shops. We originally were looking for the Peanut Shop. My in-laws had purchased a huge can of some of the best peanuts I have ever had, WAY better than Planter’s ever dared to be, and we wanted to by some for ourselves. In addition to the large can of peanuts, we bought cashews, mixed nuts, and some New Orleans flavored peanuts. On our way to the Peanut Shop however, we were detoured by the smell of the Savannah Candy Kitchen where they make pecan praline and give out free samples. This was so mouth watering we had to buy some. We also bought several of their other treats including their Divinity, roasted pecans, and salt water taffy. Everything tasted so wonderful! If you are ever in Savannah, this entire strip is an absolute MUST!

Savannah Yarn Store – Wild Fibre
Of course no trip would ever be complete unless we plugged in a yarn store. We did just that and using our VZ Navigator located a store called Wild Fibre. If length of visit is any indicator here, Shannon really liked this store. She walked out with a bag chocked full of yarn, and a pattern. She is a woman on a mission now for sure. She spent about $75, and was thrilled with the store. I was content to sit in the car like I almost always do and keep the chariot ready for the Queen of Knitting! Shannon would highly recommend this store for knitters if you are in the area. There website is http://www.wildfibreyarns.com/1.html. It is located at 409 E. Liberty Street in Savannah between Habersham and Price Streets (Map HERE).

GPS in FlamesGPS Crash – Nicknamed “Betty” my GPScrashed on the way out of Savannah. After all the bragging and promoting I did for this fantastic product, the Delphi Nav200 locked up and would not provide us with directions back to Hilton Head. At one point, I was getting so frustrated (yes me), we were driving over some railroad tracks and I threatened that if she didn’t start working, I was going to toss her onto the tracks! I even went as far as to re-name what GPS stood for…GETTING PRETTY STUPID! Fortunately, I had my VZNavigator for a back-up. I am amazed and ashamed at the same time how dependent we have become on technology. I know I could have broke down and bought a map, but witha $200 unit, and a $200 phone, both with GPS, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The VZ worked just fine and we made it home, only to have Betty kick back on. The error message I was getting was, “non-sufficient memory to perform this operation.” I think she may have gotten over-heated. We used her for the rest of the our entire vacation without incident.

Hilton Head Island Vacation – Sunday 7/13/08

Getting Around Town – Our first order of business, once food was taken care of, as with anywhere we go for the first time, is to familiarize ourselves with the area. Thanks to our Delphi NAV200 GPS we were able to quickly get to where we wanted to go. In addition to the GPS my phone, the Blackberry Curve 8830 from Verizon Wireless, is equipped with GPS, call VZ Navigator. The VZ Navigator was especially helpful in finding area restaurants, stores, and attractions.

Bike Rides – Our bikes were indeed delivered as promised by Patriot Bike Rentals of Hilton Head Island. They were excellent bikes for getting around the resort and getting to the beach. That was just about our first order of business, trying out the new bikes and seeing the beach. I was a little worried that with my injured ankle that riding a bike would prove too much. My doctor gave me the approval so I made the attempt and I am glad I did. I was able to get around fantastic on the bike. There was a short distance that I had to walk the bike to the actual beach, which proved challenging on the softer sand, but once I was on the packed sand, it was exhilarating riding the bike along the beach with the waves crashing to the shore.

Mangold Vacation 2008

This is one of our most exciting times of the year; VACATION! Each year, with the Lord’s help, we have been able to enjoy a modest vacation away from the hectic pace of life. This year, thankfully, will be no different. Our destinations include the following:

Pigeon Forge, TN: July 3 – 4
Hilton Head Island, SC: July 5 – 11
Charleston, SC: July 12 – 13
Frederick, MD: July 14 – 20


Pigeon Forge
We will be in Pigeon Forge, TN for just a couple of days to celebrate the 4th and to take in some mountain music and air! We booked a reasonable hotel at the Econo Lodge Riverside at 2440 N. Parkway Pigeon Forge TN 37868. It promises to be a great time, in a great location. I was told by the clerk that fireworks are viewable right from the hotel. I will be posting my review of the hotel during our stay. It’s been billed from a 2 to 3 star hotel but several sites. Incidentally, I located this hotel at Kayak.com for a rate of $79.99 (Thu.) and $99.99 (Fri.). This rate includes a non-smoking room with 2-queens with a AAA discount.

Hilton Head Island
We are super excited about this new venture for us. We have never stayed in Hilton Head and have heard many great things about it. Our friends, Pam and Ray Slone, recommended this destination to us. We booked a villa on the island at Resort Rentals of Hilton Head. This was a superb find and very affordable, especially when you can split the price with another family. In our case, my inlaws are going in “halvers” with us. The rate for the week came to $1386.45. Here is a link to the actual unit we will be staying in (LINK). As is the case with the accommodations at our other destinations, I will be posting a review of the unit here.

Charleston
Yet another recommendation from several people, Charleston is an historic destination by the sea. Some have even said, this would be even a better place to stay than Hilton Head. Of course, that remains to be seen. Our accommodations are at Sleep Inn Charleston 1524 Savannah Hwy (US 17 S) , Charleston, SC, 29407 Phone: (843) 556-6959. The rate was a bit more than I really wanted to pay, but not having been to the area, I had to rely heavily on the reviews of former guests at the hotel to determine a clean and safe hotel to stay at. According to Hotels.com this hotel would be recommended by 77% of its guests and is a 2 star hotel. Our rate was $115/night for 2-queens, non-smoking with the AAA Discount. With taxes, the room comes to $132. We typically like to keep it under $100/night, but again, not having stayed there before, we chose to hedge our stay by spending a bit more to ensure we are in a good area and at a good hotel.

Frederick
Of course, if you’re a visitor to this blog, you may have stumbled upon the fact that we have many relatives that live in the Frederick, MD area. Our accommodations here will be with family. Uncle Mike and Aunt Sharon Mangold will be our hosts and we so look forward to seeing them. But no visit to Maryland would be complete unless we frequented my Aunt Yolanda and Uncle Donny Johnson’s home where my Mamaw Dovie lives as well. This leg of our journey will be pure relaxation and lots of quality family time catching up with them. We have not seen them since last July. Way too long for my liking. Here I will visit with Mamaw and show her some of the new pics that my newly discovered cousins were kind enough to share with me.

Gas Prices
A huge crimp in our style this vacation is of course the gas prices. I created a spread sheet that I will be using to track gas prices as I go through the trip. I project our fuel cost for the entire round trip will be between $400 – $500. An actual figure, bar any other long distance trips, is $420. The total miles at 2168, with an average gas price of $4.00/gal. I know this may seem conservative considering gas is now over $4.00/gal in some areas. But, doing a search of gas prices in each area, the average still is around $4.00 with prices ranging from Michigan at $4.17 on down to South Carolina at $3.79/gal. So taking into account mountain driving and flat terrain driving, I estimate our price per mile will be approximately $.19/mile for fuel. I will track it throughout the trip to see how close my estimates are. Gas prices were taken from the AAA website Fuel Price Finder. Mileage and time estimates were made using Google Maps.

GPS
The GPS we will be using is the Delphi Nav200. I purchased this unit last November (2007) for $129 at Sears. It has been a terrific unit that has seldom steered us wrong. I tested this unit in 2007 for our trip to up east in Maine. We used to travel from Bar Harbor, ME through New York, NY to Maryland with excellence results. Just getting through New York sold me on this unit. Granted, there are slimmer and trimmer models on the market, but this unit has proved itself worthy of my demanding qualifications and will accompany us on yet another Mangold Family Vacation.