Hilton Head & Savannah Anniversary Trip

Congratulations, Hipsters! This is the final post to catch you up on all of my travels in 2015. Thanks for being patient with me as I backtracked, & I hope you have enjoyed reading about each adventure as much as I enjoyed experiencing them.

For my and Tadd's honeymoon in 2013, we went to Myrtle Beach and had a fantastic time. In 2014, we bought our first home the day after our first anniversary, so we lacked both the funds and the time for a big trip. This year, for our second anniversary, we decided to go to the beach again, and we chose Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Airbnb is gaining notoriety, so Tadd and I decided to test the waters with it. The house we rented on Airbnb was just a short walk from the beach and was cozy, quiet, and clean. It also had a Smart TV, which meant that we could relax with some Netflix (a favorite Fortner past-time) after spending a full day on the beach. Tadd and I loved the house and will for sure use Airbnb on future vacations.

View of the sound from Harbour Town in Hilton Head
Day 1
The first day of vacation was mainly spent in our car, Bernadette, driving from Ohio to Hilton Head. Google Maps estimated that our trip would take 8.5 hours, but with gas/food/bathroom stops and what turned out to be an outrageous amount of traffic, it actually took us 10 hours to get there. We stopped for lunch at The Copper Pot in North Carolina on the way down; they had excellent pulled pork sandwiches and funnel cake sticks. Once we got to Hilton Head, hours later, we were exhausted - funny how driving does that to you, huh?

After unpacking, we went to dinner at Frosty Frog Cafe, which is situated in Coligny Plaza. I got the chicken parmesan sandwich, and Tadd got the prime rib sandwich - both were fantastic, of course. Service was fairly slow, but the tastiness of the food make that bearable. There are A LOT of shops in the plaza, so we perused through them after dinner and ended up signing up to hear a timeshare presentation the next day in order to receive a free dolphin cruise later in the week. Although we were hesitant, the allure of a free dolphin cruise sounded too good to pass up.

Day 2
First things first, a trip to the ocean was in order for day 2! Our house was near Folly Field Beach, so we spent our beach time there all week. June is peak beach season, but Folly was not, thankfully, overly crowded. The surf and the sand were great, and the week, for the most part, had great weather. There were not many seashells on the beach, but there did happen to be a ton of dead jellyfish (poor chaps) and one outstandingly large hermit crab. One day, we found a secluded section of the beach that was covered in huge rocks and pools of water. I immediately regretted not bringing my camera with me on our walk that day. Folly Field Beach was absolutely breathtaking, and I am really glad that we chose it for our vacation site.

Day 1 at Folly Field Beach
Day 2 was also the day of our timeshare tour. Long story short, no timeshares were bought, even though the folks there tried their hardest. We were just in it for free dolphin cruise tickets (which we got!), but thanks anyway.

Harbour Town Lighthouse

My American Man
The timeshare office was close to Harbour Town and the Harbour Town Lighthouse, which we visited after the presentation. Fun fact: the lighthouse is non-functional, so don't try to rely on it to come ashore on Hilton Head, folks. The lighthouse is approximately 70 feet high, and it's a hot trek up a lot of steps to get to the observation deck. However, the view is spectacular, and there was a cool breeze that was a welcome relief after the stuffy stairwell.

Much like Coligny Plaza, there are a number of shops near the lighthouse, so we shopped around and then had dinner at The Crazy Crab. Tadd, who's not a big seafood fan, stepped out of his comfort zone and ordered a platter with a variety of seafood. It came as a surprise to the both of us that he enjoyed the majority of the platter, but neither of us were surprised that I loved my crab legs. Crab legs for life. Crazy Crab was a bit pricey, but we had great food and a fabulous server...plus it's vacation, so why not live a little?

Day 3
Happy second anniversary to me and Tadd! Marriage is not easy; anyone who says it is apparently knows some secrets that Team Fortner has yet to learn. Nonetheless, the day I met Tadd Fortner at a birthday party is what I consider to be the best day of my life; I immediately knew that he would be a part of my life in some way (luckily for me, it turned out to be a big way). We make each other better, bringing strength where the other is weak. I could not possibly have more fun and be 100% myself with any other person. Life is certainly exciting with him, and I look forward to many, many more anniversaries and adventures with this guy.

Mellow Mushroom

I wore my "meow" hat to the beach that day, a great choice if you ask me, and we had dinner at The Mellow Mushroom. Yes, I know there were probably more romantic places to have dinner for our wedding anniversary, but we just really wanted some pizza that day. Mellow Mushroom did not disappoint. Tadd's Maui Wowie and my Gourmet White pizza were absolutely wonderful, and the Mellow Mushroom's atmosphere was super trippy and cool.

Day 4
Hilton Head is about an hour from Savannah, Georgia. Having never been to Georgia, I wanted to make the trek down to Savannah in order to mark The Peach State off of my list. Savannah is a town full of history, so we had a lot to fit into our day trip there. Our first stop was Forsyth Park. This park is most notable for its gorgeous fountain. The park is also surrounded by beautiful, historic homes. Each home is unique, yet they all perfectly coalesce.

The fountain at Forsyth Park
Savannah homes
Where Savannah shopping is concerned, River and Broughton Streets are must-sees. On River Street, the artist cooperatives, The Village Craftsmen of Savannah and Gallery 209, interested me the most, whereas Tadd was big on River Street Sweets, particularly the glazed pecans. River Street also features a World War II monument, called "A World Apart," which is a sculpture of the world split in half. Broughton Street has more restaurants than shops to check out, though. We had lunch at the District Cafe & Eatery, which was alright, but the main event on Broughton was Leopold's Ice Cream. All of their ice cream is made in-house and everything is set up like a 50s era ice cream shop. My coconut ice cream and Tadd's caramel swirl were some of the best ice creams we've ever had, and as we were walking out of Leopold's, the line was out into the street. Further down the street, a lady stopped me and asked if I was eating Leopold's Ice Cream. You could say it's a pretty popular place. Thus ended our quick trip into Georgia. It was really fun, but it would have been better if it had not been so incredibly hot and humid - a ridiculous request for a southern state in the middle of summer, I know.

A World Apart WWII monument
River Street
Broughton Street
Delicious coconut ice cream nose at Leopold's
Day 5
This was vacation, a time to relax, which we absolutely did on day 5. On this day, all we did was go to the beach and hang out at the house. It was grand. For dinner, we both got pasta dishes at Flatbread Grill and were underwhelmed by them. The food wasn't bad, but it wasn't at all impressive. Very unfortunate.

Day 6
Finally, the day of our free dolphin cruise, the fruit of our timeshare labor, had arrived! The tour, through Vagabond Cruise, takes place on the sound side of the island, starting and ending in Harbour Town. We were served a three-course meal, which was quite tasty, and the staff was a crew of friendly people around our age. During the cruise, we spotted 2-3 dolphins, which was a big deal for my dolphin-loving self. As the cruise docked back into Harbour Town, the lighthouse (even though it's non-functional) looked lovely, even if it didn't photograph well at night. All-in-all, the cruise was well worth sitting through a timeshare presentation.

Day 7
Our last full day at Hilton Head had a lot of expectations and plans placed upon it. After a final visit to the beach (it rained the next day right before we left), we played foot golf at Port Royal Golf Club. Foot Golf is a soccer/golf hybrid - you kick a soccer ball into a jumbo-sized golf hole, essentially, but it's a blast. The game is probably easier for those who understand golf, but for those who are completely uninformed on the sport (cough - the Fortners - cough), it may take some time to catch on, especially with scoring. It was unclear as to whether Tadd or I won this game of foot golf, due to our scoring struggles, but it was insanely fun and something that would be even more enjoyable with a larger group of players.

Best swimsuit day, by the way
Foot golf
Earlier in the week, a local had recommended that we eat at 843 while on the island, so we took that chance on day 7. This was the best dining decision we made all week. For an appetizer, we ordered a duck-stuffed pepper. I don't usually like peppers and had never had duck, but this dish turned out to be outstanding. It was spicy, crispy, and everything you could ever want a stuffed pepper to be. Picky eaters should give it a chance. I ordered the 1/2 Chicken, which included a hash made of sweet potatoes and peaches. The hash was incredible, and the chicken was juicy and delicious. Tadd chose the Char Sui Ribs and was blown away by them. I took a few bites of his dish - it was unbelievable - and I developed a new love of kimchi. There are no words to truly describe how exquisite 843 was. They make delectable traditional food and provided me with an opportunity to try new, distinctive foods that I now highly enjoy. 843 was a superb way to end our restaurant tour of Hilton Head.

843's beautiful decor
Food worthy of a photo
Day 8
The day that you have to leave the beach is always the saddest day. The beach is just so peaceful and free (where else can you walk around in a bathing suit all day and be considered normal?) that it's easy to fall into a pattern and become comfortable with living there. We just need a friend or family member to move to the beach so that we can visit more often!

Even though our traffic-riddled 11-hour trip home was a true test of patience,  I had an extraordinary vacation with an even more extraordinary person (I hope he feels the same way). Visiting Hilton Head and Savannah was a remarkable way to celebrate our two years of marriage, and I look forward to future adventures to celebrate future anniversaries.

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