During our weekend in Savannah, we decided to drive to Hilton Head, South Carolina for an afternoon. It's not exactly close, but it's only an hour drive from Savannah. Much shorter than the 5-hour drive it would be from our apartment in Atlanta. I'm the one who planned this particular trip, and I figured that since we were already going to be in the area I'd like to see Savannah AND Hilton Head. That way if we are only able to make it back once more before we move, we'd know which city we like better. I think Jared likes Savannah better, but for me it's too close to call. The historic feel of Savannah is fun, but I was really into all the bikes and dog-friendly beaches at Hilton Head. Our first stop at Hilton Head was a random beach. By happenstance, there was a dog park right by where we parked! Savvy had a blast playing with the fluffiest litle golden doodle we have ever seen. It was soooo cute. Dream dog for sure. I wish we would have spent more time on the beach, because it was quiet and dog-infested and perfect. Dozens of dogs were fetching sticks into the ocean and digging holes in the soft white sand. It was the cutest beach everrrr.
Blurry, but we had the bright idea to stop for ice cream before we stopped for lunch. Jared got cookies and cream (always cookies and cream), and I got banana pudding ice cream. I don't remember the name of the shop, but I would definitely seek it out again next time we go just to get the banana pudding ice cream.
After ice cream we went to a more crowded beach just for some lunch, and then our final stop was a place called Sea Pines. It's full of incredible nature walks, all of which we had to ourselves! It's kind of spooky to walk along the boardwalks and look down into the swamps, knowing that there could be alligators anywhere. We made sure to keep Savvy on a close leash. The end of our walk was a gorgeous little lake that felt like Jurassic Park. We actually did see a couple alligators lying in the sun and swimming around here. The sun was setting as we walked back to our car, which was perfect. We don't get to see many sunsets in Atlanta--the trees are just too tall so we have an extremely limited view of the sky. I remember some of my BYU friends who had come from back east complaining that the Utah mountains blocked the sky and made them feel claustrophobic. I wonder if they'd had much experience living in a forest of enormous trees? They are beautiful, no doubt, but after living in Atlanta I feel like Utah's skies go on forever, and I really miss my nightly sunset. Someday we absolutely hope to settle down somewhere in the West, but for now I'm glad we're able to explore the uniquely beautiful Southeast.
Hilton Head

Several weeks ago, Jared had a 4-day weekend. Knowing it might be our last long weekend for a while, we booked a pet-friendly Motel 6 and drove down to Savannah. Our first stop was a hole-in-the-wall restaurant serving classic southern dishes. Jared ordered a barbecue sandwich, and I got catfish. We took our lunch to Skidaway Island for a picnic and a nature walk. The terrain in that part of the country is unlike any we'd seen before! It's a cool combo of palm trees, Spanish moss, deciduous trees, prairie, and swamp. I think the nature walks were my favorite part of this trip. That's so me though--go to one of the most beautiful historic cities in the country, and come away most impressed with the quiet swampland on the outskirts of it. I like my wide-open spaces.
Savannah in the day is beautiful, but we really came to love the city at night-time. Our first drive through the city was crowded and filled with cross-dressing green men. We went the weekend before St. Patrick's Day, and Savannah definitely draws a crowd for that! When we went back in the evening for dinner at the Pink House and a Ghost Tour, it felt like a step back in time. The Pink House is the first picture in this post. It's one of the oldest homes in the city, dating back to...well I don't even know when. The early days of America for sure. Savannah is known to be the most haunted city in America, and the Pink House is one of the supposedly haunted buildings. It does have an eerie feel to it, but it's also this crazy beautiful experience. I ordered the BLT salad with sugared bacon and fried green tomatoes. It was definitely my favorite dish of the trip. 5/5 stars, would recommend. We had to eat super quickly and then sprint to make it to our ghost tour. The guide was really chipper and conversational as she walked us around the historic district, pointing out buildings and telling ghost stories. I appreciated this. A ghost tour was #1 on Jared's list. He's all about that. I on the other hand get easily spooked and often have a hard time sleeping after stuff like this. But the guide kept it upbeat enough that I was never creeped out, and Jared got his ghost fix in. The perfect balance.
We stayed at a Motel 6 a half-hour drive from downtown Savannah. Partly because everything else was booked up, but mostly because we're cheapskates and knew that they don't charge extra for pets. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to do an instagram post mocking hotel sponsorships. I did a series of posts in their "luxurious" hot tub, all-white bathroom, and in front of the Motel 6 sign. It was a joke, but Motel 6 contacted me after I posted and offered me a free night stay for posting about them! What a glamorous social influencer life I'm living.
Most of the activities we did on this trip were dog-friendly. We always had Savvy with us during the day, and then in the evening we'd drop her off at the hotel to watch TV/sleep while we went and did human things. There was one time when we got a scathing hate letter on our windshield because we left Savvy in the car for an hour while we went and explored a couple shops downtown. Disclaimer: we're extremely good dog owners. Savvy lives a higher quality of life than probably 95% of dogs. Jared basically treats her like his actual human child, and since I work from home, she gets constant human companionship and attention, and 2-3 long walks/swims/playtimes a day. We wouldn't have left her in the car unless we felt 100% ok about it, and we did. It was 70 degrees outside and breezy, we were parked in the shade, we left all the windows cracked, and we knew that (a) Savvy loves the car, and (b) it was her nap time so she'd be happy to sleep on the front seat. So anyway, we explored some art stores and then went right back to the car to find a note in girly handwriting telling us exactly what kind of f-ing people we are and where we should go for leaving our dog in the car. Even though we knew we had done nothing wrong, we still felt SO BAD for like the rest of the day. Who knew my first troll would be a car-note troll instead of an Internet troll? Nothing like a fat dose of dog-mom shaming to make you feel easy breezy beautiful.
The last thing we did in Savannah before driving home was visit Bonaventure Cemetery. If you ever visit Savannah, this is a MUST. It's a bit of a drive from downtown, but it is so beautiful. I think the pictures speak for themselves pretty well. Next I'll do a post about Hilton Head. Our trip lasted from Saturday morning until Monday evening. We were mostly in Savannah, but spent a good chunk of Sunday at Hilton Head. More on that next time!
Savanna goes to Savannah

Pediatrics rotation is over :'(  But the good part about finishing a rotation is that Jared gets a completely free 3-day weekend in which he doesn't have to worry about studying. We usually like to explore somewhere new during these weekends, and this time we headed to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Savvy and I appreciate that Jared loves the mountains as much as we do and likes to spend his free days hiking. Chattanooga is the cutest mountain city at the base of the Appalachians. 

We got there around noon, and our first stop was some good southern BBQ at the Purple Daisy. We've honestly had better BBQ in Atlanta, but this place was filled with thick southern drawls and oozing with quaint southern charm. Jared gave it 3.5 stars for its food, but 4.5 stars for the overall experience. He got a pulled pork sandwich with spicy slaw, and I got a pork-loaded baked potato with baked beans (yummm). Southern food for the win, always.
^^We didn't think this enormous boulder was climbable, but then Savvy took a huge leap and scrambled onto it! We were like, "If our tiny dog can get up there, we better be able to."
^^Happy pup, chasing squirrels and birds under the bridge.
After lunch, we drove a little ways up Lookout Mountain to hike and find a good valley view. It was nice to (a) get in a good hike on a real mountain (no offense Stone Mountain), and (b) only see two other people (and their dogs) the entire time. We're not what you would call city folk. Atlanta does have some beautiful scenery, but if you want to explore it, you'll likely be sharing the experience with hundreds of other people. We prefer solitude when possible.
Instead of ending at the top of the mountain, our hike took us to the Ruby Falls visitors center. Ruby Falls is a gorgeous waterfall that is apparently inside the mountain? We don't know because it costs $20 a person to go see it :O Last time we paid to see a waterfall in the south we were underwhelmed. This time around we opted to fill our day with all the free attractions Chattanooga has to offer. So we hiked back to our car and drove to the beautiful park at the top of the mountain. It gives the history of the Battle of Lookout Mountain fought during the Civil War. The view was incredible, and it was free because we were there on Presidents Day. Our favorite part of driving around the top of the mountain was seeing all the gorgeous, stately southern-style homes up there. We're like, THIS IS WHAT WE WANT. I don't really know when this happened or how we independently ended up on the same page about it, but Jared and I dream of owning a home and lots of beautiful land on a mountain someday. I think I originally loved the idea of living on a mountain, and Jared has always wanted to own lots of land, so our dreams kind of just merged. Stinkin' Chip and Joanna Gaines have got us dreaming the hugest dreams since we read their book. But hey, we'd rather dream too big than too small.
Our next stop was Clumpies Ice Cream Co at the base of the mt. Jared had set a course for Baskin Robbins because this was a vacation and he needed an oreo shake! But then we passed this place and knew that we had to stop here instead. When exploring a new town, it's always more fun to eat at local places. This one did not disappoint. It was right next to the train you can take to the top of the mountain and it was SO CUTE. Their shakes and malts were incredible too, so 5 out of 5 stars for Clumpies.
^^Face-timing my parents on the bridge
Next stop was Walnut Street Bridge. This is supposedly the longest pedestrian-only bridge in the United States. We left Savvy in the car while we walked the bridge because she was ready for a nap and would have been crazy excited around that many people. It was romantic walking over the river with Jared, watching rowers row under the bridge and stopping on the benches to talk. Not to mention the weather was perfect. Low 70s all day. After our bridge walking, we grabbed Savvy and took her to Walnut Street Park to fetch for a bit. This was the dialogue before that last picture: "Hey Jared, take a cute picture of me playing with Sav!" Every time I request this, Savvy makes the most terrifying faces. Don't let her fangs fool you--she's nothing but a scruffy, playful teddy bear.
I specifically requested that we watch the sunset from the top of a mountain. All my life I've taken sunsets for granted, until we moved to Georgia. As cool as it is to live beneath a canopy of enormous trees, we don't see much sky in our sector of Atlanta, and we don't get to see the sunset. So we nabbed the last parking spot at Sunset Rock on the top of Lookout Mountain and were able to catch the last 5 minutes of the sun dipping behind the Appalachians. Even though I love my Rocky Mountains the most, the Appalachians are exceptionally beautiful. They just feel...calm? If I'd grown up here I'd definitely be partial to them.

And then after the sunset we drove home! Jared hurt his foot at the park at the end of the day, so I ended up driving both ways. It was the perfect one-day vacation. I love our little family.

Chattanooga

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