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First trip to "The South"

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First trip to "The South"

This is a general question I'm posting to several forums as a start to our research.

If you were someone who'd never been to "The South" before, would you visit Charleston, Charlottesville or Savannah? My husband and I will be needing a getaway in April after our last chick leaves the nest!

Thanks in advance.

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1. Re: First trip to "The South"

We are New Englanders and here is our opinion- I have no idea where Charlottesville is but we've been to both Charleston and Savannah and loved Savannah so much, we bought a house there! (well not that simple really, we went there looking for real estate). We are coastline people, like good beaches and easy access to them but also love small, funky cities. You will find that both Charleston and Savannah very similar in many respects BUT the beach at Savannah, part of Tybee Island, which is 14 miles from the Historic Savannah district was MUCH more accessible to the public than the Folly Beach area of Charleston. Savannah as a whole was more affordable, slightly less expensive restaurants for example. Also, Savannah is more walkable and removed from highway overpasses which were very evident in Charleston. YOu will find good restaurants, historic buildings, a chance to stroll down the streets, etc but overall, we loved the more relaxed ambience of Savannah, much better access to the beach, and what we felt was a more open, spacious sort of feel. Both places have tons of cultural opps too. Someone else will vote for Charleston but our hearts, (and now some of our mortgage obligations) are in Savannah.

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: First trip to "The South"

I think you would enjoy spending a couple of days in Charleston then head down the coast a couple of hours and stay several days in Savannah. We have been to both many many times. Enjoy your trip planning.

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3. Re: First trip to "The South"

>> I have no idea where Charlottesville is... <<

Charlottesville is the location of the University of Virginia. (Thomas Jefferson had three achievements included in his epitaph: writing the Declaration of Independence, the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father the University of Virginia. Made the list over his two terms as president!) It is also the location of Monticello, Jefferson's home, a premiere example of the early Southern aristocratic experience and a fascinating look into the mind of one of America's most interesting founding fathers. Haven't been there, but have read quite a good bit on it. ;) Charlottesville is also near the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the southern tip of Shenandoah National Park.

Another must see: Chattanooga, Tennessee. Four major reasons: its uber-scenic location at the southern fringe of the Cumberland Plateau and northern tip of Lookout Mountain (and thus a number of unbelievable nature preserves fifteen minutes from downtown); the new revitalized bridges and parks along the banks of the Tennessee River including additions to the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Tennessee Aquarium; Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the first and largest in the US, depicting the second largest Civil War engagement (be sure to check out Reflection Riding Arboretum for this purpose as well); and Chattanooga's unfortunate role as the major beginning point of the Trail of Tears (see Audubon Acres, Blythe Ferry, Ross's Landing, New Echota, Red Clay, etc). Bam.

Historically there have been two opposing ends of Southern culture (at least when speaking about the nineteenth century): the plantations/fieldlands vs the Scotch-Irish mountain dwellers. To get a taste of both be sure to spend some time in the Southern Appalachians, not only around Chattanooga but up around Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

And I can imagine no better prep for a Southern visit than some good readings of Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor, if you're into that sort of thing. Rick Bragg's "The Prince of Frogtown" is a good intro to old Scotch-Irish stuff, and Ron Rash's "The World Made Straight" for a more modern experience (though both books juxtapose the past and present).

Kennesaw, GA
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4. Re: First trip to "The South"

I would also highly recommend Savannah.

Charlottesville is pretty much a typical college town with some history thrown in. It's also a pretty area. If you have the time it's certainly worth a visit but I'd say no more than one night.

If you like college towns I'd highly recommend Athens, GA (University of Georgia).

Edited: 26 January 2010, 17:14
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5. Re: First trip to "The South"

I prefer Charleston over Savannah. To me there is more to do in Charleston, but BOTH are great cities. If you have time do both. If you have a week, then you have time for both. You can't make a bad choice.

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6. Re: First trip to "The South"

If you're interested in early American history, Charlottesville is a wonderful place to visit. You can spend half a day at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, and tour the house and the grounds. (Madison's home is nearby as well.)

Perth, Western...
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7. Re: First trip to "The South"

Charleston is absolutely beautiful. I am so thankful that I decided to visit. It is just the most wonderful city with lovely people, gorgeous architecture and interesting history and the food! My lord, the food!

Originally I was supposed to visit Savannah after my time in Atlanta, but headed to Charleston instead.

I am eagerly awaiting my return, and this time will definitely include Savannah.

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8. Re: First trip to "The South"

I've been to all three and they are all worthy of a visit. What are your interests? What are your expectations?

I do have to disagree with Charlottesville being just another college town but it is smaller that Charleston and Savannah. In Charleston and Savannah there is access to the ocean. In Charlottesville you have the river, mountains and Virginia wine country. All have historic areas.

Give us a little more info.

Asheville, North...
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9. Re: First trip to "The South"

Had I the time I would revisit all three places and enjoy them. Charlottesville is more than a typical college town.. that is rather like saying Thomas Jefferson was a typical guy.. Charleston and Savannah are treasures.. all three cities are rich in history and beauty.. I don't go to either place for a beach get away.. I prefer the Florida panhandle beaches...to any Atlantic beach.. good luck and welcome South.... enjoy your trip

10. Re: First trip to "The South"

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