Brace yourself, this is one of those meeeeellion images posts cause I just gotta share.
Okay. We haven’t taken a real hop-on-an-airplane family vacation in five years, so ever since we started planning the Haven Conference last year and ever since my brother and his family also moved to Savannah a year ago it made perfect sense to book a flight to Georgia with the whole family and spend the week.
The trip was personally meaningful to me because my older brother who serves in the military is headed to the Middle East for six months in September so this was a real opportunity to spend time with him and his family before he departs for his tour of duty (so proud of him and our troops!). Having spent the week, I shall have Georgia on my mind and in my heart forever and ever amen.
We arrived at my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Savannah, and I haven’t seen them in over a year so it was instant hug/melt/hi y’all have a drink relaxation from the moment we walked in the door. My sister-in-law who I adore is one of those gals who decorates her home with what she loves and doesn’t give a hoot about what’s in the latest shelter magazines and still her home has so much comfort and style because it’s all about the needs of her family and the things she loves.
I love that kind of decorating philosophy – it makes one feel instantly welcome.
Our first night was spent on her screened porch which I totally failed to photograph, but imagine pretty white siding and stylish comfortable seating and plants in containers galore with a ceiling fan blowing you as you sip sweet tea and your cares melt away, and quite frankly it’s a little piece of heaven on earth.
She made us fried green tomatoes and baked garlic cheese grits on our arrival, wow, such southern hospitality!
At daylight we headed to Fort Pulaski to give the kids an education!
We adults also wanted to get a dose of Civil War history so we toured the Fort and learned a few things from this guide like how “invincible” Fort Pulaski fell in under two days due to a more advanced weaponry.
We arrived in time to see the cannons fired – I made a little slide show for all of you who love history – I find Civil War history so fascinating and this was a definite highlight (which required covering your ears for the “boom”.)
The beautiful brick interior.
The kids loved this place, and posed for a pic atop a cannon – those are my sweet nephews and my niece together with my own offspring. My son loved wearing his 49ers hat near Falcons territory, he’s a diehard like his dad.
After our tour, we headed to The Crab Shack on Tybee Island for a seafood feast, complete with alligator sightings followed up by crab and company and adult beverages that make you very very happy.
My nephews do what boys do best and also make me literally laugh out loud.
A few more scenes of Tybee which I can’t wait to explore more next time we visit!
We spent the next full day in downtown Savannah, seeing all the historic buildings, homes, and churches. We started our day in line at the famous Mrs. Wilkes, which we understood to be the place for great southern food. It did not disappoint!
There is no menu, oh no, they just bring you what’s in the kitchen and many bowls and plates and all authentic recipes from the best fried chicken to black-eyed peas to barbeque with sweet tea and your eyes roll back in your head with delight as you feast on the best from the South, it’s worth the wait.
While we waited in line, I snuck away to visit the neighboring design shops, the first was One Fish, Two Fish, I wanted to take home everything in this store, helloooo gorgeousness! That incredible painting is by Bellamy Murphy, and there were several different paintings of hers hanging throughout the shop.
Next door is Circa Lighting, oh my, can I have one of each please?
After lunch we headed out for a walking tour of downtown Savannah, I could not could NOT get enough of the architecture. I was reminded how among the southern cities Savannah was spared by General Sherman’s march in the war 150 years ago, and you can see the history in the buildings there.
The last day was all about fun so we packed a picnic and headed to Hilton Head to spend time swimming in the warm waters of the Atlantic (oh hello cute lifeguard!).
Matt was attacked (I kid you not) by a tiny crab floating in the waves that pinched him a dozen times before it was thrown back into the sea, so Matt swore “revenge!” on his family and we decided crab was again on the menu for dinner. We spent it at The Salty Dog (thanks for all the recommendations!) where we had Rum Runners and crab cakes and more crab legs too.
This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. Perhaps it was the Rum Runner (okay two) I consumed, perhaps it was the colors on the buildings and the boats along the dock, perhaps it was a three days spent with family, perhaps it was the perfect evening light reflecting on the water, but there was this magical moment in Hilton Head where I felt at last like I was really finally after all these years on vacation – so relaxed, so happy, so blessed, so in love with this place that I absolutely know I will return to it again someday!
And do some boating like these dudes!
The next day we drove four hours up to Atlanta for the THE HAVEN CONFERENCE! There is so so so so much to say, where oh where to begin?
Rhoda pretty much summed up the whole story in her post which is a must read. What happened was a year ago we DIY/home blogger gals came up with this idea to fill a need – there was no conference that was focused on what we do and since there are so so many of us online now we just had to have a conference of “our own” so we formed a team and started at square one (a venue) which led to choosing a name (Haven) which led to asking our sponsors to take a chance on us ladies (thank you!) as we Skyped every Sunday night to pull this event together. The team worked diligently over the course of a year to pull it off and we were biting our nails up until the moment it all began hoping all the time invested would pay off. It did !!!!!
Now I’m a bad bad bad blogger in that not once not once did I bring my camera down from my hotel room to take pics since I was running around conversing with so many of the attendees, but if you want to read the recaps then visit Rhoda’s link party.
I must bow before the team who worked their tails off on Wednesday to make sure it was a success and all of us are so happy that those who were there had such a great time and walked away with so much information and inspiration. Thank you to each and every person who attended Haven and thanks so much to all who came up to all of us and said hello, shared your name, your smile, and your excitement! Your stack of business cards sits on my desk with very fond memories of your faces and links to so many new blogs to read!
Here’s a pic of many blog buddies at the event (thanks Brittany for sharing this photo!)
Special thanks to John & Sherry who gave a fantastic keynote and all the speakers in all the sessions who totally rocked it. We ended on Friday on a very high note and *fingers crossed* the conference could come back next year, stay tuned for that announcement by following on Facebook!
Whew. What a week, what a high!
I’m in need of some rest, and more sweet tea. I miss you Georgia, thanks for showing this California gal such a great time.