I get the itch to travel a few times a year and I love planning trips and things to do. In fact I have trips planned to places we don’t plan to travel to anytime soon, like the Turks and Caicos and Aruba. Since 2016 is the year of Eli, I knew we wouldn’t be going anywhere exotic or without him, so I started thinking of places we could go with the boys, on a budget. I thought we could plan a road trip around visiting my friend in Charlotte, and then Robert coordinated some meetings with colleagues in the area so that he could work while the boys and I played (which also means hotels, gas and his food could be expensed – woot!).
We left on a Thursday after picking Luke up from preschool and headed to Savannah, a 5-hour drive. I figured since we were driving during nap time that Luke would sleep for a couple hours. I had a tray filled with a coloring book, crayons and stickers, along with the iPad to fill the rest of the time, but of course, Luke didn’t sleep a wink. Eli slept and fussed. We ended up making 3 stops, two of which were emergency pull overs on the side of the road, where we calmed crying babies, stretched our legs and changed diapers. We got to Savannah in time to take a short walk to dinner at Moe’s.
Once we got back to the hotel we set up Eli’s pack-n-play and Luke’s “special bed” (a blowup mattress with sides) and settled in for the night. No one slept much! Luke tends to wake up in the middle of the night upset when he’s in unfamiliar places, and Eli, the angel baby I always brag about, was up every hour or two, probably because I grabbed him and nursed him at his first wince so he wouldn’t wake up Luke, rather than letting him settle himself back down on his own.
We made it through the night and had breakfast at the hotel. We booked Springhill Suites for the whole trip, which all come with hot, free continental breakfast – an awesome perk! We took a short walk to Telfair Square, one of the many scenic green spaces in Savannah, to drink our coffee and let Luke run around. He surveyed the grounds let us know which bushes needed hedge trimming.
After spending half an hour or so in the park, we hopped in the car and drove a few miles to Oatland Island Wildlife Center. This had great reviews on Trip Advisor and was only $5 per adult. We were all pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed this little excursion. The park consists of a looped trail where animals are kept throughout. The animals are all native to the area and the park itself is in a natural habitat, so you feel like you’re hiking through the wilderness. Our favorite animal was the cougar, which was so much larger than we expected and was right next to the glass giving us an up-close and personal view. We also watched the wolves for a while as they played with each other, and we stopped by the farm area, which had a goose, turkey, cow and goats. I appreciated how simple this park was. There were no bright signs or flashing lights. It was just a pleasant walk to enjoy nature and see animals that can no longer survive on their own in the wild.
After a lunch consisting of snacks I’d packed in the car, we headed to Charlotte, where my college friend Dalissia and her husband Nick live. Again, I thought Luke would definitely sleep in he car since he’d been running around all morning, but once again he was just too full of energy to sleep. He was running on fumes by the time we arrived, but was a trooper while we enjoyed catching up with our friends over tacos.
Saturday we got pedicures (a special treat for me these days!) and watched our Gators fall to Tennessee while barbecuing with some of Nick and Dalissia’s friends. There were five little ones three and under at their house! There were a few battles over toys, and once again, no nap for Luke, but all in all, it was a fun day even though our team lost.
Sunday we had the best donuts I’ve ever had from a place called Duck Donuts. I wish I had taken a picture of them because they were so pretty! The most unique was a maple one with bacon on top. YUM! We played at the park and playground in the morning across the street from Nick and Dalissia’s house. Luke threw the ball to their dog Penny over and over, wearing both of them out. And then Luke finally caved and took a nap! He needed it!
We said our “goodbyes” late afternoon and headed to our next destination. A big thank you goes to Nick and Dalissia for their wonderful hospitality! We had a great time!