Happiness Highlights: Savannah Part 2

Monday, June 20th, 2011
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We spent last week exploring the city of Savannah and adjusting to living in a 24 foot space. Despite its notoriety, we realized quickly that Savannah is actually a pretty small town (about 140,000 people) that has – from a tourism perspective – done an impressive job of making the most of what they’ve got. It was a good place for us to stretch our nomadic wings a little more without becoming too overwhelmed by an endless list of things we could be doing.

Happiness Highlights: Savannah (Part 2)

After an insanely delectable dining experience at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island’s Salt restaurant, Jared and I decided that we would only pay to go out to eat if the food or the experience itself was going to be extraordinary. No more wasting $35 for a craptastic meal at Denny’s, only to walk away bitter and bloated. This means we’ve been packing a lot of lunches and snacks and have eaten more than one meal in the back of the Trailblazer between attractions. It also means we could afford to go to Mrs. Wilke’s for lunch last week.

Oh. My. God.

The food was amazing and it left no doubt why President Obama himself dropped in for a meal when he was in town. Not only was the simple Southern fare delicious, but the experience itself was notable. We gathered around a table with strangers in the basement of what was once a traditional boarding house. We ate fried chicken and, when we were finished, picked up our plates and carried them to the kitchen. It was just like a family dinner back home with a few more strangers around the table.

Lesson learned: it’s totally worth saving up for extraordinary instead of slowly wasting our resources on mediocre.

I am fascinated by the architecture of old cities. Jared, come to find out, is not. He is much happier doing, while I can be content for hours just looking, listening, and learning about the history of beautiful places. I’m pretty sure our tour of the Downtown Historic District wouldn’t have made his list of Happiness Highlights, but this is still my blog. So there. I love pretty buildings.

Like I said, we’ve packed a lot of lunches. This has given us some really cool opportunities to stop and slow down in places like Forsyth Park. Forsyth Park is best known for it’s fancy fountain – and, yeah, pretty – but I thought what really made it cool was the public splash park, giant lawns, and the way people seemed to come just to hang out at the big giant park in the middle of town. Eating bologna sandwiches on the grass while the kids played made me feel like I wasn’t on the world’s longest vacation, but just enjoying an afternoon with my family.

Savannah, come to find out, has a thing for public fountains.

Ellis Square is in the heart of Downtown adjacent to City Market. We sat and watched kids and adults run through these fountains right in the middle of the shopping district in a primal attempt to find relief from the summer heat.

You know the only thing better than watching kids playing in a city fountain?

Watching your own kids join in.

Of course, our lives aren’t spent moving from one tourist attraction to another. I have to work, and right now we’re working on a schedule where I set aside a few days a week just for work and a few days a week just for doing fun stuff. Last week I did a lot of my working outside a ranger station where there was free internet. There was also free wildlife. A freaking deer ran by me at one point and then stopped to just hang out for a while in the trees like 20 feet from me. And then there was this guy:

Despite the heat, humidity and really slow internet, the outdoor office turned out to be a source of peace and happiness for me. (That being said, I’m really freaking excited to have wifi at our campsite this week.)

On our last morning at Skidaway Island State Park, I got up early and took my camera out to a nature trail that we’d taken our bikes on earlier in the week. Truth be told, the walk itself didn’t bring me much peace – I’m pretty sure there were alligators and bobcats stalking me along the trail. But getting that picture up there? Super happiness. One of my goals for this trip is to get better at landscape photography and that photo is definitely a step in that direction.

And, finally, the last thing that brought me loads of happiness this week: the purchase of a 35 gallon portable waste tank from Camping World. We’ve decided indoor showers are not something we’re willing to live without.

And, yes, in my world portable waste tanks rank right up there with quality family time and beautiful architecture.

What ranks as a happiness highlight in your world this week?

Weekly Happiness Highlights are a list of things that brought me joy, peace, or happiness in the last week. The point is to remember to be grateful, to focus on the good, and to be able to better answer the question “what makes me happy?” If you decide to post your own Happiness Highlights, please feel free to share the link in the comments. I’d love to see what’s making you happy right now!

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  1. I love Savannah!! This makes me want to go back.
    I love this quote
    “it’s totally worth saving up for extraordinary instead of slowly wasting our resources on mediocre.”
    This is what we speak about all the time on our travel blog. Life is all about the memories. For my whole life’s savings have been spent on my memories and making an extraordinary life. I own nothing as a result, but am so very rich!
    Great post

  2. pocket_queen says:

    I absolutely love the idea of that restaurant (Mrs. Wilkes), and I bet it was the tastiest fried chicken ever :) What a way to embrace southern hospitality! I really want to experience that someday!

    • Miss Britt says:

      It was SO good. And if I didn’t know someone who could invite me over for a Southern dinner, I have a feeling that experience was awfully close!

  3. I love that you are taking the time to just “be” in places without running around from site to site to “see” everything.

    My happiness is starting this week with a trip to New Smyrna Beach in about an hour!

    • Miss Britt says:

      Jared and I were talking yesterday about how we have to remember that our visits to these places aren’t vacations that we’ve saved a year for in order to spend tons of money in one week on trinkets and attractions.

      Well, *I* don’t have to remember, but it seems I need to remind the other people in my family. It’s amazing how expensive it is to “see” everything.

  4. muskrat says:

    I wish I’d been right there with y’all! I need to take the Mrs to Savannah…she’s never been.

    I’m happy that we’re moving in 4 days, whether our buyer backs out of our closing or not. It’s liberating to finally be certain.

    • Miss Britt says:

      I think Savannah would be a really romantic place to visit as a couple.

      I am SO glad you guys decided to go forward with your plans regardless. It’s hard when your future depends on strangers.

  5. Lisa says:

    I love your eating out philosophy. Too often we spend (a lot!) too much money on mediocre food that just fills a void.

    My happiness this week came from finishing my new website, and the satisfaction I got from doing it all myself, and from spending yesterday morning at the Animal Ark with my husband, a local wildlife rescue operation that exhibits rescued and rehabilitated animals that can’t live on their own in the wild.

    • Miss Britt says:

      Right? Of course, it’s very tempting to just say screw it and stop into a restaurant instead of packing.

      I LOVE your new website.

  6. Nanna says:

    Love. This. Love the kids in the fountain. Love the Mrs. Wilkes. Love that you put up a picture of the portable thingie so I could finally see what you were talking about. :)

  7. Loukia says:

    I love that last picture so much! Well done.
    Hmm… My happiness this week was my girls getaway weekend! My best friends came up from Toronto to spend a weekend with me and our other two best friends and we stayed in a nice hotel, hung out by the pool, went out for dinner, and just spent some quality time together. :)

  8. martymankins says:

    I was so close to Savannah, but got as close as Charleston. Awesome photos.

    Did you visit the Garden of Good and Evil? My step daughter’s dad went there on vacation a few years ago and talked about it.

    I look forward to your Myrtle Beach pics and reports.

  9. Happiness is BOTH kids napping at the SAME time! It’s like Christmas.

  10. fantastagirl says:

    Happiness is taking a few days off work, and NOT answering the phone.

    I like your idea of packing lunches, not only do you save a little money, but the experiences are going to be amazing.

    • Miss Britt says:

      One of the things that is kind of NOT awesome about this lifestyle is never feeling like I’m *really* off work. I’m almost always available by phone and email.

  11. Wow, I am so enjoying your life. ;)
    My happiness this week came from redfining myself, putting things “out there” and realising how much I can have with so little.
    I will definitely be having a Happiness Highlights on my blog – by next week? I think we need to spend more time focusing on the real sources of happiness. Thank you for this.

  12. Hi Britt
    Great post! I have never been to Savannah so it was good to read about your experience. I have to admit I did think it was a much larger city.
    Good call on the dining out when it is great food and a great experience. I am totally with you on admiring the architecture, I am into it as well, which is one of the reasons I simply adore Europe. All of those amazing buildings and fascinating history.
    I am looking forward to following your travels as you journey around the US.
    Cheers
    Thea

    • Miss Britt says:

      I’ve only really been to Italy and even as a teenager I was fascinated by the buildings. Can’t wait to go back as an adult with a really good camera. ;-)

  13. Penbleth says:

    Looks fabulous. How I wish I had the chance to do some of the travelling you and your family are enjoying.

  14. i’m kind of giggling that now you are getting more earthy crunchy so you might join your mother and i when we dance in the woods around the cauldron making soap in the rain.

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