Although I preferred to do tours on the West Coast I also was called to work on the East Coast and the South. I will admit right now my biggest fear of this side of the country is the history. There is so much history here compared to the West Coast! There was a chance that my travelers would know more than me on these tours so I always had to prepare carefully.
I was assigned groups for this tour of Georgia and South Carolina four times total I believe. Had I ran the tour more times I would have become more of an expert on these states, but with my knowledge and personality I ran an enjoyable tour I must say.
Here was my itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive to Atlanta. What a fun airport to pick up a large group from. Trying to keep everyone together on the monorail to the baggage claim area was a nice challenge.
I always felt “peachy” in Atlanta since it is “the Peach State” and there are many streets with peach in the title. My favorite place to visit: Café du Monde for some beignets!! Yummy. I also liked the Buckhead Mall which was a few subway stops from our hotel in the suburbs. Lastly I always enjoyed visiting The World of Coke.
Day 2: Atlanta. Our day started off with a sightseeing tour of Atlanta with local guide. This was perfect- I could just relax and enjoy the city for the day with my group. Sights included: CNN Studios, the World of Coke, Stone Mountain Park and Underground Atlanta.
Day 3: Atlanta to Charleston, South Carolina. We visited Middleton Place (America’s oldest landscaped gardens) and ate on the waterfront at my favorite restaurant on the tour- The Boathouse. This place had one of my favorite dishes shrimp & grits. Being that my mom is from the south I have eaten grits (a ground corn dish) since being a kid, but never with shrimp. The dish is superb and I recommend trying it if you ever have chance.
Day 4: Charleston. This day included a sightseeing tour of Charleston with a local guide. How wonderful another day with someone on my bus telling my passengers about their town. There were many historic homes here and we visited the battery overlooking Fort Sumter where the Civil War began. My other favorite spot in Charleston was the City Market where there were artsy items available to purchase.
Day 5: Charleston – Beaufort – Savannah, Georgia. Beaufort is a small town in South Carolina and we offered the option tour of taking a horse drawn carriage here. (For the record optional tours are bonuses that you can purchase in addition to what you have already paid for your tour. They are offered to enhance your trip and the tour guide receives a percentage of the sale as commission). Who wouldn’t want to take a horse drawn carriage in the south? So stereotypical, but so nice.
In Savannah we visited the main tourist area: River Street which had shops and restaurants. We took a walking tour with another local guide (yeah). After visiting this area for the first time I fell in love with the squares of this town. There are currently 22 here and strolling around town is the thing to do relaxing in a square along the way.
Day 6: Savannah – Jekyll Island, Georgia. I had never heard of Jekyll Island until I visited this place. It is a small island in the Sea Islands chain full of history, sport and beaches. We stayed at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and this place was fancy. There are “cottages” and the hotel on the property. Famous visitors included J.P. Morgan and the Rockefellers. On my first trip while in training I ended up in a suite….talk about nice!
Day 7: Jekyll Island – St. Simon’s Island – Jekyll Island. Visiting St. Simon’s Island we saw Fort Frederica National Monument, the St. Simon’s Lighthouse and a coastal history museum. This place is a golfing haven, too bad I do not golf! We also were dropped off in town to explore and shop. The night ended with a farewell dinner.
Day 8: Jekyll Island – Jacksonsville, Florida. After breakfast we were on the road for Jasksonville and on to an airplane to arrive home… or in my case on an airplane back to Atlanta to do the tour over.
This had to be the most relaxing tour that I lead as a tour guide. I never became used to people addressing me as a “ma’am”, but I did enjoy how slow everything was on this tour. I never quite learned the complete history of the Civil War, but I did enjoy watching “Gone with the Wind” and “Driving Miss Daisy” for a little information and culture about the south. I never returned here after my tour guiding days and am not sure if it will happen again, but I can cross these states of my list of where I have been to in the United States.