July 13-16, 2014 – Bluffton, SC and Savannah, GA
We left Hollywood Sunday morning and drove south to Bluffton, SC which is about 10 miles north of Savannah, GA. We are staying at Hardeeville RV a few miles outside Bluffton. We are visiting Mike and Brenda, friends Rex knew in Ohio. This location gives us a good base to both visit Mike and Brenda and also see Savannah. This is a nice park with large spaces, grass and trees.
Best of all it has a very nice fenced dog park and the dog are certainly enjoying it.
After we got set up Mike and Brenda picked us up for a great lunch and gave us a tour of the Bluffton area. Rex has not seen Mike and Brenda since he moved away from Ohio in the mid 70’s so he is enjoying catching up with their lives.
Monday morning we drove to the Georgia Welcome Center and picked up information about what to see in Savannah. After lunch we went to Hilton Head Island and drove around looking at all the pricey resorts and golf courses. This is not our kind of place to spend much time in as it is crowded and you can’t see much except buildings so we didn’t spend much time here.
Today is Nancy’s birthday but we are going to celebrate tomorrow with a trolley tour and riverboat cruise in Savannah.
Tuesday morning we drove into Savannah and took a three hour bus tour of the historical district of Savannah. At the end of the tour we had lunch at Johnny Harris Restaurant – the oldest restaurant in Savannah. We enjoyed our tour and lunch and learned a lot from our guide but were not able to take pictures through the windows. We will come back another day and walk around so we can get pictures of the great old mansions and the beautiful squares. We also enjoyed meeting a couple from Florida and a couple from Oklahoma during lunch.
After the bus tour we went to River Street and took a riverboat cruise on the Savannah River Queen.
Our cruise started by going up river past the shipping docks and then turning around and going back towards Savannah. We had a great view of downtown Savannah and the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. We cross this bridge when we drive into Savannah.
The building in the middle is made from river rocks from England that were used as ballast in ships that came into port. River Street in front of these buildings is also paved with these rocks.
This memorial to World War II depicts how the world was split in two during the war.
Another great view of River Street - a lot of these buildings were cotton warehouses and now are shops and restaurants.
We enjoyed our visit to Savannah and are excited to come back to walk around the Historic District. A big thunderstorm hit when we got back to the RV Park and it rained most of the evening.
Wednesday morning we drove to Cockspur Island and stopped at Fort Pulaski National Monument. Construction on Fort Pulaski began in 1829 and required $1 million, 25 million bricks, and 18 years to finish. Before construction could begin, the marshy ground on Cockspur Island had to be prepared for the heavy fort. In 1829, Robert E. Lee, fresh out of West Point, took on his first assignment as assistant engineer at Fort Pulaski. Lee conducted surveys, selected the exact site for the fort, and began building the drainage and dike systems on the island. Upon completion, Fort Pulaski was considered state-of-the-art and invincible.
This is the first fort we have visited that was surrounded by a moat - they even had drawbridges.
During the Civil War the Georgia Militia seized Fort Pulaski and held it until April 11, 1862. On April 10th the Union Army started bombarding the fort and among the 36 guns and mortars were 10 new experimental rifled cannons, whose projectiles began to bore through Pulaski’s walls. It was great that in the reconstruction of the fort they left this wall with the projectile holes in the wall.
The small hole in the middle of this picture still has a rifled shell embedded in it.
Federal troops garrisoned Fort Pulaski until the war’s end, when it was used to house several political prisoners. After 1880 a caretaker and lighthouse keeper was the fort’s only occupants. They too were soon removed and the fort was abandoned. The island was made a national monument in 1924 and restoration began in 1933. Much of the work was done by the CCC.
After touring the fort we took a short hike to Cockspur Island Lighthouse. The trail went through marshes and was totally surrounded by vegetation in many places – it was also full of mosquitoes and other biting insects so we hiked very fast.
Just as we got to the end of the trail for a great view of the lighthouse it started raining. We hurried back to the Jeep but still got soaked. The view of the lighthouse was worth fighting the mosquitoes and rain.
We really enjoyed visiting Fort Pulaski and think it is one of the best forts we have ever visited.
By the time we got back to the Jeep it had stopped raining so we headed on to Tybee Island and toured the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum. The Tybee Island Light Station was built in 1773 and is 145 feet tall and 154 feet above sea level. It was the third lighthouse to be built on Tybee. The Lighthouse was burned in 1861 by the confederates and rebuilt in 1867 after the Civil War. The bottom 60 feet are the original 1773 Lighthouse and the top 85 feet were reconstructed in 1867.
We climbed to the top of the lighthouse – 178 steps – and got a great view of the Fort Screven’s batteries. These batteries were part of America’s Coastal Defense System until 1945.
We enjoyed touring Tybee Island Light Station and climbing to the top. This is the first lighthouse we have climbed this summer.