A Brit's-Eye View of Georgia
Last month, instead of spending my Christmas holidays lounging at home, eating too much turkey and Christmas pud, I headed off on a mini-road trip to the southern American state of Georgia. While not one of the better known US holiday spots, Georgia is definitely not a state to be discounted, boasting an impressive catalogue of sights and attractions and some seriously delicious food.
After touching down in Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, we picked up our hire car and hit the right hand side of the road. Over 14 days, we visited nine cities, and drove in excess of 1500 miles. Here are some of my highlights:
Savannah -- Centred around 22 public gardens and streets lined with quaint, pastel-shaded dolls houses, Savannah is undoubtedly one of the prettiest cities I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. We found our bearings by jumping on a trolley tour -- a fun, fairly cheap way to see the main sights and get the lowdown on the best restaurants from the tour guide. We opted for a traditional and incredibly tasty southern lunch at The Lady and Sons, a super-busy (booking is essential) 3-floored affair owned by Paula Deen -- the Georgian equivalent of Delia Smith.
Okefenokee Swamp -- Tucked away in the southeast corner of the state, Okefenokee is one of Georgia’s most popular attractions, and it’s easy to see why. Entrance to the National Park gets you a 45-minute boat tour of the alligator infested swamp -- not something you do every day -- and a chance to explore the surrounding marshland via wooden walkways.
St Simons Island -- St Simons was a much welcomed pit stop for us after hours on the road. The sprawling sand beach is set against a backdrop of dunes and trees dripping with Spanish moss. At its centre sits a melting pot of busy seafood restaurants and bars. During the day the beach is perfect for strolling, sun bathing, fishing and dolphin spotting, and after dark a blackened shrimp dinner and some live country music is a must.
Atlanta -- We spent our last few days in Atlanta, the state’s capital. Driving is a great way to get a feel for this vast metropolis. Heading north on Peachtree Street we passed a mix of skyscrapers, big-name hotels and tourist hotspots in Downtown, lively bars and trendy restaurants in Midtown and then large houses and even trendier bars in suburban Buckhead. Some of my favourite attractions included Stone Mountain (a big hunk of engraved granite just outside the city centre), the Martin Luther King, Jr, National Historic Site, and the Atlanta History Centre (a little pricey but jam packed with displays and information on the state’s past).
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