If you have plans to travel to the beach this summer (or any summer), allow me to make a plea for the coastal areas between Virginia Beach and Savannah.
Often, families from New England, Delaware and Maryland will simply head to their own shore forgetting the jewels which reside just to the south. What follows is a stellar lineup of sites, tastes and sea for those who want to experience something new.
You will want to begin this journey at Virginia Beach. But, your goal here is to simply get started. If you are flying in from out of town, here is where you rent your vehicle (preferably something that is 4 Wheel Drive and a convertible or soft-top Jeep). From there, you will begin the trek south towards Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Spend 2 days here, one for enjoying the pure white sand and cool Atlantic waters, and the other exploring Jockey’s Ridge, The Wright Brothers Memorial and the Nags Head Historic District.
As you leave, if you’re up for a drive, be sure to venture a few hours south to see the glorious Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
The spiraled beauty can be climbed, and is well-worth the extra time.
From the Outer Banks, you will want to venture inland and make the day’s drive to Wilmington, in the far south of the state. Here, be sure to check out the Battleship North Carolina memorial. This ship saw live combat in the Pacific during World War II, and a tour through it gives one the strong appreciation for the difficult living conditions and the devotion of our extraordinary battlemen. Also be sure to visit the Burgwin-Wright Museum House and Gardens. This old Georgian style home contains perfectly preserved furnishings from the 18th & 19th centuries.
Your next stop is Charleston.
This is the city where culture and the old-south perfectly blend. First, you must take a boat ride around the tip of the city and view Fort Sumter in the distance. From here, a stroll through the old city, and visits to the varieties of smaller museums is a must. For food, Hank’s or Hyman’s Seafood are the finest in the city. Both are casual, lively and tasteful – to say the least. Finally, if you are here during the early part of summer, be sure to check out the Spoleto Festival and its various contemporary performance arts.
Your final stop is Savannah where southern hospitality reigns supreme.
You will want to take a cable car tour of the city, this is certain. There are so many homes and sites to see, literally on every block, that a comprehensive tour is the answer. The old Cotton Exchange building evokes antebellum mysteries like none other. Finally, Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room and The Pirates House are two of the finer restaurants in the Historic District, and neither will disappoint.