There are few things I enjoy more than putting together a trip. I geek out and prepare Excel spreadsheets for everything, from schedules, transportation minutiae, to outfits. On my first road trip with E back in 2006, I compiled a whole binder filled with Google Maps printouts, winery maps, reservation confirmations, and had to stop myself from bringing a hole puncher to add every brochure we grabbed (I got to that after returning home). Thankfully we live in the age of smartphones and applications like TripIt, Yelp, and Waze that allow for a little more spontaneity and a much lighter carry-on bag.
Two dear friends decided to get married in Mexico (Cancún!) on September 8th. Both my E and I had topped the maximum vacation hours we get to accumulate at work, so we knew we had to plan a trip at least two weeks long. We wanted to head back to the States after the wedding and find good music. Aiming to please my husband, I searched for Pearl Jam shows without much hope – we knew they were not actively touring this year. Not much hope gave way to “OMG, is this for real?” I found Music Midtown, a festival in Atlanta two weeks after the wedding featuring an awesome lineup that included not only Pearl Jam but Foo Fighters, Florence and the Machine, and Garbage. I practically ordered the tickets on the spot, figuring I’d come up with what to do in between destinations at some point.
The rest of the trip fleshed out organically after deciding we would be flying to Miami from Cancún. We did not want to repeat destinations in this trip, so New Orleans was discarded as an option. We also wanted some flexibility as to what to do and when to do it, so we also crossed out places we would need to fly out to. After spending a couple of days in Miami, we visited Saint Augustine (Florida), Savannah (Georgia), and Charleston (South Carolina) before heading to Atlanta.
If you know your Lowcountry food, you probably read “visited fried chicken, shrimp and grits, sweet tea, and fried green tomatoes”. It is exactly right and believe me, we’ll get to those.
Before heading out to our wedding beach bash + US Southeast road trip, there were several “preparations” to take care of. I lost five pounds “to make room” for the onslaught of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks (and who am I kidding, feeling more at ease while wearing a swimsuit). I read Gone with the Wind (we’d be wrapping up our trip in Atlanta after all) and scoffed/chuckled/raised eyebrows at Scarlett O’Hara’s shennanigans. Finally, I worked like a madwoman to make those twelve days I wouldn’t be at the office hurt less on my return.
In the end, I did not gain any weight thanks to the miles we walked every day and I returned to a workload just as intense as when I left. But I felt more at ease, smiling at the thought of the live oaks covered in Spanish moss, Eggs Market Street from Toast of Charleston, and Dave Grohl headbanging to “Everlong” and blowing kisses to the audience.
Stay tuned for all the great eats and food finds of our 2012 US Southeast road trip!