Highlights from a Week in the Old South

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Stately old homes. Sprawling plantations. Oaks dripping in Spanish Moss. And more American history than you can shake a stick at.

This is the Old South.

Bonaventure Cemetery

For those not familiar with the various regions of the U.S. (and, let's face it, even those of us who are could use a refresher every now and then), the “Old South” refers to the Southern states that were a part of the original 13 colonies. These generally include Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

And, for a week, I was road tripping through this region of America.

I'll be writing about my adventures and the beautiful cities and cool attractions I visited in upcoming posts, but for now I wanted to share some of the highlights of this weeklong southern road trip in photos.

Williamsburg

My sister and I began our journey in Virginia's “Historic Triangle,” kicking off with a day in Williamsburg, where we were transported back to the colonies in the year 1779.

Horse and carriage in Williamsburg
Horse and carriage in Williamsburg
Williamsburg Governor's Palace
The Governor's Palace
Williamsburg
A typical street scene in Williamsburg

Historic Jamestowne

The next day we headed to the site of the very first permanent English settlement in America, only a few short miles from Williamsburg. We spent a good amount of time in the archaeological museum there, and also wandered around the remnants of the original fort.

Historic Jamestowne
John Smith statue, along with a nearly 400-year-old church tower

Jamestown Settlement

We also popped into Jamestown Settlement, which recreates the fort as it might have looked during the 1600s, has replicas of the ships the settlers came over on, and even has a recreated Powhatan Village like the one Pocahontas may have lived in.

Jamestown Settlement ship replica
Replica of the Susan Constant
Powhatan village
Powhatan village hut

Outer Banks

We delved into some more recent history in the Outer Banks, where we visited Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina — site of the very first powered flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903. There's a national memorial there that's actually pretty cool to visit.

Wright Brothers National Memorial
Wright Brothers National Memorial
Wright Brothers National Memorial
Remembering the first flight

Charleston

Our next stop was the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. There we took a horse-drawn carriage tour around the historic downtown, saw “Rainbow Row,” explored the market, and then made our way to the gorgeous Boone Hall Plantation, which is located just outside the city.

Rainbow Row in Charleston
A horse-drawn carriage in front of Rainbow Row
Broad Street Charleston
A trolley coming down Broad Street
Boone Hall Plantation
The house at Boone Hall Plantation

Savannah

The tail end of our trip was spent in historic Savannah — America's oldest planned city. I could go on and on about Savannah; about how beautiful it is, about how peaceful its 22 green squares make it feel, and about how fascinating its spooky history can be. We took our time there, taking a trolley tour around the city, wandering around River Street and City Market, touring historic homes, and even going on a few ghost tours in the evenings. One of the highlights was definitely visiting some of Savannah's cemeteries, including Bonaventure Cemetery, which may be the most beautiful cemetery I've ever seen.

Savannah Chippewa Square
Chippewa Square
Savannah
A beautiful house in Savannah
Bonaventure Cemetery Savannah
A statue at Bonaventure Cemetery

 

A week in the Old South was not nearly enough, of course. We could have spent double that time and still not seen everything we wanted to.

If you've never been to this part of America, though, I highly, highly recommend it — there's so much history and beauty here!

——

Which part(s) of this trip do you want to read more about?

 

 

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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56 Comments on “Highlights from a Week in the Old South

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  1. What was your favorite place out of all of those to visit? I have been to many of them, but mostly when I was young, so I would love to do a visit again!

      I think Savannah would probably have to be my favorite. The city is so beautiful, is easy to get around, feels safe, and doesn’t feel overly touristy most of the time. I love it!

        That is actually one of the places that I didn’t visit! I most definitely have it on my list now – thanks!

    I grew up in Virginia and my parents now live in South Carolina – this has made me very home sick! Looking forward to the upcoming posts!!

      Sorry, Heather! Which posts are you most looking forward to? There are a couple that I’m really looking forward to writing!

    I love traveling through photo essays. Each one is so unique as everyone chooses to highlight different views. I’ve never been to any of these states but You’ve inspired me to consider a visit. Those Spanish Oaks are stunning!

      The moss-draped oaks are my favorite thing about the South, I think. They’re just so dramatic!

    Definitely Savannah and please tell us about the ghost tours and did you see any ghosts or did you just spook yourself?

    And also some more about Charleston? Please πŸ™‚

      Stay tuned! I will definitely be writing about both Savannah and Charleston!

      (And whether we saw any ghosts or not is debatable!)

    Nice series, Amanda. Love the variation of sights!
    Can’t wait to take a few pics of the moss-draped oaks in Savannah myself πŸ™‚

      The mossy oaks in Savannah (and Charleston, too) are soooo gorgeous!

    Sounds like it’ll be a rad roadtrip. I haven’t been to Jamestown since I was a youngin’ and I’ve never been to Savannah. Will definitely need to check some of these out when I head down to Louisiana this fall!

      If you can fit in a visit to Charleston and/or Savannah (they are only about 2 hours apart), DO IT. Both are such cool cities.

    oooh… I’m excited to read more about your trip. I visited Savannah once on a very hot weekend in June and loved it, too. My favorite was the Bonaventure Cemetery (what can I say? I love cemeteries!) I’m looking forward to hearing about your Jamestown experience. I’ve been to Williamsburg, but never Jamestown, so I’m wondering how the two compare.

      Bonaventure is an AMAZING cemetery. I have a feeling I’ll be dedicating an entire post to photos from it!

    I love Spanish Moss – it always reminds me of New Orleans. Somehow it makes any building look historic and elegant.

    (Though, as a loyal resident of Connecticut, I am required to say that North Carolina’s claim to the first flight is not uncontested. No, we have absolutely no proof, but that doesn’t stop us from saying we got there first.)

      Hahaha, I know there’s always a bit of contention over who was actually “first.” North Carolina does have the national monument, though. πŸ˜‰

      Also, totally agree on the Spanish moss making everything look really historic and elegant!

    So nice! I’ve never thought of the Old South as a potential destination for me and my camera. Now I’m adding it to my bucket list!

      Oh my goodness, there are TONS of great photo opportunities down South! You’ve got the old historic homes, the mossy trees, the ancient cemeteries, and even coastline!

    LOVE this. So glad you had a good trip. Looks like I need to get to Virginia as there’s lots I haven’t seen there!

      We had a great trip – and I’m looking forward to writing more about it!

      I’m really glad we hit up all the historic sites in Virginia, as they were actually pretty interesting. Definitely get yourself up that way sometime!

    I love the history of the Old South – of everywhere in the US I have always wanted to go to the south. Looks amazing πŸ™‚

      The history in this part of the US is definitely interesting, since it was the first area settled by the colonists. Plus, it’s so darn pretty!

    Oddly enough, I’ve never explored the Old South before. But dang, it really does ooze charm. I would love to read more about Charleston and Savannah πŸ™‚

      “Oozing charm” is indeed a great way to describe it!

    It’s all so charming until the humidity kicks in. πŸ™‚ Kidding, of course. I would love to visit each one of these historic locations.

      Haha yeah the humidity is killer! Though we get pretty bad humidity in Ohio sometimes, so I’m somewhat used to it.

    Wow looks fantastic. I would love to see Savannah

      Savannah is one of my favorite cities in the US, to be honest. I love the history and how pretty the city is!

    Just found your blog and I’m so happy I did! Amazing pictures here!

    The Old South is high on our list! Would love to roadtrip in the US for a year or so, really seeing ALL of it. πŸ™‚ Thanks for these amazing pics! πŸ˜€

    I’ll look forward to follow your blog!

      Thanks, Celie! Glad you liked the photos. Roadtripping in the US for a year would be an amazing adventure!

    Looking forward to your stories about Savannah!

      I’m tempted to skip ahead to them, because I have such gorgeous photos from Savannah!

    Yay, NC. The outer banks are awesome. I used to go out for a week every few years. There are a bunch of lighthouses to visit top to bottom in NC. Kill Devil Hills is pretty neat too.

      I somehow had never been to the Outer Banks before! I agree that that area is pretty awesome. And Kill Devil Hills… how could you NOT love it with a name like that??

    Lovely review of some of the Old South’s most beautiful spots. Your images are striking and you did a wonderful job presenting each location. I have visited most of these destinations and I would agree with you that Savannah would be my favorite. Thanks for a very interesting post!

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Barbara! Stay tuned for even more posts and photos!

    Very cool! I like the village hut.

      I’ll have to be sure to include more photos in my next post!

    A road trip and the old south… I can’t wait to read more! I had a brief visit to Williamsburg a few years ago and have always wanted to go back and spend more time. Your photos make me want to visit the Carolinas for sure!

      The Carolinas are great! And re-visiting Williamsburg was fun.

    A “refresher” course is right… These are all places I used to go as a kid. Gorgeous photos!

      Thanks, Abby! My family never did vacations in the South (which is odd, considering we have tons of family down there), so this was really an introduction for me!

    I’ve never thought of Delaware as part of the south, or even the old south. So glad you liked Savannah, it is such a beautiful city. I don’t think I’ve been to any of the other places here though, maybe something I should try to fix next time I’m in the States!

      Haha, yeah, Maryland and Delaware don’t feel very “Southern” to me, but I suppose they ARE more southerly than the rest of the original colonies, so if you’re diving them more or less in half…

      I LOVE Savannah. But the other places we visited were cool, too. You should definitely hit up Charleston next time!

    These pics look like a movie set, definitely that sense of being transported back in time.

    […] is almost exactly what I picture when I think of the “Old South.” Colorful old homes, tall church steeples, wide tree-lined streets, Spanish moss fluttering […]

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