A Southern Vacation

In Beaufort, South Carolina, a tiny cottage provided the perfect base of operation for a week of solo relaxation. I walked by the bay most mornings as the sun was coming up. The private gardens and public spaces are breathtaking.

The backyard of a private home was visible from the sidewalk.

From splendid antebellum mansions to exquisite cottages, I was enchanted by the architecture. Many of the mansions are more than two hundred years old. The Cuthbert House Inn (below) is approximately 230 years old.

Magnolia and jasmine were among the divine flower fragrances I enjoyed along my walks.
Bay Street provided a delightful walking route each day.

I took a day trip to Savannah, Georgia, to walk around Forsyth Park and the surrounding neighborhoods.

I enjoyed the most delicious brunch topped off with epic bread pudding and cappuccino at the 700 Drayton Restaurant. Sierra was my delightful server who told me about art exhibits and some other interesting points in the neighborhood.

The restaurant is located within the Mansion on Forsyth Park, one of the luxury resorts created by Richard Kessler. It is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Guests wander through captivating hotels, enjoy inspired dining, art galleries, signature spas, cooking schools, and wine blending. Each resort is unique and delivered with its own Bohemian twist. Mr. Mickey and I have enjoyed visiting the Grand Bohemian in Asheville, which is part of the same group, so I knew this would also be a special delight.

I tried to have a different experience each day, along with as much beach time as possible. On Friday, I took a guided boat excursion with Coastal Expeditions to St. Phillips Island. My small group of explorers spent part of the day on the “boneyard beach,” looking for shells.

Along the way, I saw dolphins, great blue herons, bald eagles, egrets, and ospreys. While walking in the pristine forest on the island, I was thrilled to see my first painted bunting and rose-breasted grosbeak.

We also saw wood storks, huge fox squirrels, and a young alligator about six feet long in the woods near a small freshwater pond. The guide had to point out the alligator since it blended in so well with its surroundings. I took the photo from the safety of the tram.

For nearly 40 years, St. Phillips Island was a beach retreat for conservationist Ted Turner and his family. The beach house (pictured above) and a caretaker’s cottage are the only homes on the island. During that time, a few trails were thoughtfully carved through the maritime forest. Habitats for species such as fox squirrels, loggerhead sea turtles, and indigo snakes were restored. With ancient dunes and a mature forest dominated by Spanish moss-draped live oaks, Southern magnolia, and saw palmetto, St. Phillips Island is a nature lover’s paradise. It provides critical habitat for alligators, sea turtles, bobcats, and many seasonal and resident bird species. In 2017, Hunting Island State Park acquired St. Phillips Island.

I took hundreds of photos during my stay. I’ll share a few more and some travel tips along with some hot weather styling tips soon.

115 Comments
  1. Oh, how beautiful and peaceful! I can feel my stress level dropping just looking at the photos.

  2. It sounds like you really enjoyed your break Susan, lovely photos, thank you for sharing. Although you were only ‘off line’ for about a week, I really missed your posts. Looking forward to more from your trip.

  3. I love to visit Hunting Island. We live just a two hour drive away and we can go just for the day. Susan, next time you vacation you should visit Aiken, SC It’s a beautiful southern town home to many people in the horse racing industry. We have a lovely downtown with great shops and restaurants to explore.

  4. Thank you for sharing your travel experiences with us. This looks like a wonderful get-away location!

  5. Lovely place to visit and unwind. Being around water and hearing the sound on the shore is very relaxing.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing your vacation. Lovely pictures. I’ve been to Savannah & love all the town squares. Tybee is a great beach vacation too! Always enjoy your posts.

  7. Absolutely beautiful!
    I’m looking forward to the hot-weather dressing tips because here in Raleigh it’s already miserably hot.

  8. Dear Susan! I‘m
    writing from Germany and I love the wonderful pictures you share!
    I‘ve never visited America, but it has wonderful landscapes and I want to do so soon.
    Best wishes from Germany,
    Marita

  9. Thanks for the memories. My husband and I stayed at the Mansion @ Forsythe Park to celebrate our 40th anniversary. Wish we could return. Looks like you had a lovely vacation.

  10. Thank you Susan. What a joy to see your excellent photos, and that spectacular places you have visited. You have a great eye for photo composition.

  11. What an awesome trip! Thanks so much for sharing the beautiful photos! I especially love the exquisite gardens, plants and moss draped trees!

  12. Aren’t painted buntings just the funniest? Like if you gave a toddler one of those little watercolor sets & a bird coloring page & they went wild. We have painted buntings in our central Florida yard until they return north in the spring & it’s always a thrill to see them. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.

  13. Oh what beautiful sites! I missed posts from you while you were away, but it was worth the wait. Thanks for continuing to inspire.

  14. I live near Beaufort but have never had lunch at 700 Drayton.
    Would love to try it! Must you be staying at the Mansion to eat there?
    We do love the south.so happy you enjoyed your visit!

  15. Thank you Susan for sharing your vacation photos with us. I would love to visit there someday soon. Beautiful!! Travel tips are very helpful for me as I don’t get to travel much but would love to start. And be brave enough to go.

  16. Your photos are beautiful. Thank you for sharing. We hope to visit St. Simmons Island and St. Phillips Island.

  17. What lush descriptions! Thank you for providing an interesting travel log of your stay. I’ll be looking forward to your subsequent postings. I’m so glad you enjoyed your relaxing vacation.

  18. Sounds like too much fun. Did you go with a group or just the 2 of you, do you mind telling me the name of the group. We are in our 70s and need help to take a trip like that and it sounds like it was very relaxing. Thanks for any info you can give me.

    1. I almost always travel alone. I was solo on this trip as well.

      I plan a list of activities and places I would like to see or have a meal. Sometimes things aren’t what I expected, so I skip on to the next item on the list. You can use sites such as TripAdvisor to help you decide where to eat, stay and visit. I highly recommend a YouTube content creator (TampaAerialMedia). He gives lots of great advice in videos and tells what each area he visits has to offer.

  19. Your vacation put a smile on my face and touched my heart having been in Beaufort, Savannah,
    Charleston and the Sea Islands in 2012. I think I left part of my heart there and also in the Outer Banks
    in 2016. Thank you for sharing and please do post more photos of your time spent there. Welcome back!

  20. Beaufort, SC is one of my all time favorite stops when I visit Hilton Head Island. A rich historical town divided by new and old. Thanks for sharing.

  21. What wonderful pictures. Thank you for sharing your vacation and also thank you for sharing the idea of going single.
    Carolyn Sakamoto
    Las Vegas, NV

  22. I so enjoyed all the detail in your post. Thank you for taking us along on your gorgeous trip and showing us all the sights that you took in. I do hope to get back to travelling in your beautiful area, maybe next year, and you provide many tidbits for me to make notes of what to explore. You make me believe that travelling alone is possible for myself as well.

  23. SUSAN, what a wonderful vacation. I was waiting to see where you ended up. Thanks for sharing the country with us. We probably will never go out of our country again. You are giving new eyes to places we’ve visited for years. Thank you for the photos and the memories. We’d love to see more.

  24. I live in Indiana and had the pleasure of visiting Beaufort, SC because my friend was stationed at the Marine base during the 70’s. He still has Marine friends that stayed in the area & we visited them as well. I absolutely fell in love with Beaufort! Did you get to walk along the lovely downtown and park along the bay with the swings? Many good restaurants with fresh seafood. I also enjoyed going out to Hunting Island and seeing the lighthouse. We then also visited Charleston and Savanah. Oh….what a wonderful trip!

  25. Your solo vacation sounds divine, Susan! You were close to my neck of the woods. We love making day trips to Beaufort or Savannah, and always appreciate their unique grace and charm. I’m quite jealous of your beautiful, shady walks! We’re under a bit of a heatwave in Charleston at the moment so we have to walk really, really early here if we want to stay ahead of it.

    I’m thrilled to know about Marriott’s Autograph Collection. I’m putting it on my lodging list for future travel. I’m also putting St. Phillips’s Island on our list. I love being in nature. It’s difficult to find unspoiled spaces without pervasive car noise, but I’ve been constantly craving it lately. I recently spent a day at a monastery in the middle of nowhere along the Cooper River. Except for the songs of the birds, jumping fish, or the breeze through the oaks, it’s always quiet and free of worldly distractions. It’s where I go when I need to refuel my sense of inner peace. I feel like we all need that from time to time. And speaking of cravings—that bread pudding!! All I can say is just WOW. We’re going there, and soon!

    You’re so right about alligators blending in with their surroundings! It sounds like you were very protected in the tram though, so you hopefully felt safe. I’m having to accustom myself to the daily presence of alligators. We recently purchased a waterfront home. We’ve not closed yet (we’re in the stage of getting inspections) but we’ve been there 3 times and each time there were 2-3 gators lounging on the bank. It’s an acre lot with the house closer to the front section, so the gators are way out back, but I’m still slightly intimidated. I’m glad we don’t have small children or pets to worry about. The thing that convinced us to make the move is the lot. The mature live oaks full of Spanish moss, the peacefulness of looking out over the water, and the absolute quiet in our new backyard called to us. I’m looking forward to sitting out on the deck in the mornings with a cup of tea and watching the songbirds and waterfowl, and even the alligators (from a distance).

    We’re heading to your neck of the woods tomorrow! Well, a bit further up the road to Gatlinburg, but close. My security cameras caught a visit from a large male black bear this morning. He’s been a regular visitor for about 6 years now (I know him from the bald spot on his hind end!) so we’ve learned to live companionably with each other. I haven’t seen our regular female with cubs yet this year, but maybe soon. Do you see many bears at your place? Also, have you heard of Appalachian Bear Rescue? It’s an organization we belong to that rescues cubs who’ve lost their mothers. You can check them out on their website or Facebook. It’s super interesting and the cubs are the sweetest thing ever. They’re kept away from humans to the greatest extent possible, protected, and encouraged in the development of wild bear ‘skills’, and when ready and grown are released to the wild. They have hidden cameras and show regular videos of their antics. I always look forward to them. And I promise I’m not trying to solicit your money, just sharing the fun… you don’t have to become a member or make a donation to enjoy watching the extreme cuteness!

    One last question… I know you said you made a solo getaway, but is there any chance we’ll be seeing some photos of your outfits for your trip? Just hoping… Also, I finally picked up the quarterfoil pearl station necklace from David Yurman I’ve been holding out for. The DY SA told me it was by special production only with a wait time of 4 months, but I kept checking online and found one at Bloomingdales! It’s 72 inches long so I’m having fun styling it in different ways (that are of course inspired by YOU!). My Talbots ‘girlfriend’ cardigans have all arrived as of yesterday so I hope you’ve received some credit for them. They are a little large, but I did size up, plus I’ve lost some more weight and am back to working with my personal trainer again, so maybe it’s just that my size has slightly changed. I’m wondering if I put them briefly in the dryer if they’ll shrink a little? I haven’t done it because I’m afraid of ruining them, and sometimes is nice to have an oversized cozy cardigan.

    Wishing you a wonderful week filled with joy!

    Nancy

    1. Your new place sounds wonderful!

      We have had bears in my neighborhood a few times. Not everyone is as happy to see them as I am. I love ABR! I have been a fan and supporter for years.

      I’m glad you got that necklace. I know you will enjoy it for years to come.

      Try the girlfriend cardigans with skinny jeans or leggings. They are perfect if you push up the sleeves and wear a cute cami underneath. I remembered to take a few photos during my visit, but I will recreate some of the others and share them next week.

      Thank you!

      1. I’m so happy to meet another ABR supporter, Susan! The orphaned cubs could never survive without their hard work and dedication. Hops, Barley, and Bourbon are growing quickly and are so much fun to watch. I love happy endings for the cubbies, and always cry like a baby whenever one comes in that doesn’t make it.

        The resort our Gatlinburg home is in is called Black Bear Falls, and it’s aptly named! We have many Black Bears we are privileged to share space with. We all are delighted when we see them around, but we observe from a very safe distance and never, ever feed them, and have the required bear proof trash receptacles. The only incident I know of is when my friend who lives in the resort was walking her greyhounds and they caught the scent of a bear on the porch of a neighboring cabin. They bolted towards it, my friend broke her wrist from the force and getting tangled in the leashes, and the frightened bear ran into hiding without any confrontation. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, just the reality of day to day life with bears.

        We even have one bear who was an ABR rescue that they tagged making regular rounds in the resort!!

        I tried the cardigans with leggings as you suggested and it made all the difference in the look. I’ve put a couple in my bag to go to Gatlinburg with me.

        Thanks for the great styling advice! I’m thrilled we both care about Black Bears and support ABR.

  26. We discovered this enchanting place when our daughter graduated from Marine Corp boot camp and have returned several times! Love the architecture and the people! Love your pictures!!

  27. Love these places and will investigate the resort you mentioned. That garden spinx or nymph flower planter is spectacular!

  28. Oh I love Savannah and was blessed enough to stay a few nights at the Mansion at Forsyth Park a few years ago. What a wonderful trip.

  29. I so glad you had such a great visit in my hometown and where I currently live in one of the cottages. I would have loved to entertain you with a glass of cold white wine and pickled shrimp. I am extremely fortunate to be able to live in such a beautiful town and to have the opportunity to walk my corgi in the waterfront park every morning.

  30. So happy you were able to go away and refresh to a beautiful southern vacation. I love everything about the south – the homes are magnificent. Thanks for sharing.

  31. What a lovely holiday you had Susan. Lovely to see the photos of Savannah. It’s one of my favorite spots in the States so far. We had friends that lived in Atlanta and on one of our trips to the States they took us to Savannah. It was enchanting. I loved the houses and the way they were built around the parks.

    St Phillips island is a precious treasure and great that it has been kept as a nature reserve.

    Looking forward to seeing more snaps of your advernture.

  32. Love this! I’m excited to travel to New England this fall. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and travel stories.

  33. Do you drive yourself on this vacation? I have been to all this area and driving in Savannah can be daunting. Sounds like a good vacation.

    1. I drove more than 1,200 miles during my vacation. You are correct; driving in Savannah can be challenging when you don’t know where you are going, but other drivers and all of the folks I chatted with were very kind.

  34. How lovely of you to post your gorgeous vacation photos! Much enjoyed up here in Canada, where the grass is finally getting green and some early spring blooms are open, but the temperature still drops close to near freezing many nights, so it’s lovely to see how warmer climes are faring. Delightful to see the elegant architecture and those gardens with their classy wrought iron fences! I do love that photogenic Spanish moss, which adds so much atmosphere. Beautiful seaside photos too.
    Thank you for giving us this treat, Susan. I’m sure you enjoyed your vacation and I hope you feel rested. Take care and stay safe.
    Anna in Canada

  35. Susan,

    As always, thank you for sharing. What a beautiful trip. I so enjoy every one of your posts.

    Sincerely,

    Melissa

  36. Twelve thousand miles??!! That’s a lot of driving. Did you misplace the comma maybe and mean twelve hundred (1,200)?Beautiful pictures.

  37. Omg. What a beautiful place! Thank you for sharing! Waiting for more of the pictures.

  38. What a wonderful trip you took. Loved all the architecture. Thank you for taking the pictures and sending them our way.

  39. Thank you for sharing! Beautiful ! Could you share more of your itinerary and where you stayed?

    1. I will share more photos of the places I visited, but I didn’t have firm plans. I knew I wanted to walk a lot, enjoy the sunshine and be outdoors as much as possible. I stayed in a VRBO cottage, which I booked a few months ago.

  40. Oh my gosh! Thank you so much. My daughter lives in Charleston and these destinations would be perfect for our family! Thank you for sharing

  41. I was surprised to see you were in Beaufort! I live here, and would have loved to meet up with you, or accompany you on some of your adventures. Did you take a carriage ride tour? Did you visit our history museum in the Arsenal? Your photos are fantastic! I haven’t taken the ferry to St. Phillips yet, but love Hunting Island State Park. I actually want to visit your area sometime as I have never visited Tennessee. We went to Black Mountain, NC a few weeks ago to check it out and loved it. Looking for a cooler town in the summer!

    1. I don’t publish where or when I am traveling since I am usually alone. I did take a look around the museum and visited your Antiques Show that was going on last weekend but didn’t take a carriage ride. I overheard the guides sharing the history during my many walks in town, but I mostly enjoy wandering around independently.

  42. I was married in Beaufort and still have property there. Beautiful city when I was there in the 70s. You do have lovely travels.

  43. Thank you for sharing your trip. It sounds so relaxing and peaceful. You have inspired me to possibly venture out on my own.

  44. I really enjoy your posts on traveling single and the quiet joy of exploring such beautiful places as an individual. Your modeling of this independence is such a quiet encouragement for me during this phase in my life.

  45. Thank you for sharing pictures of your trip. I love that area of the low country but have never thought of traveling alone there. So peaceful and beautiful with a chance to re-charge I’m sure! You’re fortunate to live fairly close!

  46. Sounds like a wonderful getaway! I loved the architecture and food of Charleston and these locations sound equally charming.

  47. Hi Susan…I subscribed to your blog and I get notification of posts, but when I open the post I only see the title. There is no content, just the option to leave a comment. I subscribed on YouTube and have no problem there. Help?

    1. Please refresh your browser or use a different one. Visit the website by going to SusanAfter60.com, and that should clear up the problem. I have had a couple of ladies report the same issue, and it was Chrome that caused a problem.

  48. Thanks for sharing your lovely vacation pictures. Looking forward to your hot weather styling tips.

  49. Good Morning Ms. Susan,

    Wow, what a wonderful Southern vacation you experienced. It sounds like and from viewing the photographs you
    had a wonderful adventure. A feast for the eyes and so good for the soul.

    Have a nice Memorial Day weekend.

  50. Thank you Susan for sharing these beautiful pictures. I love seeing the old homes that are still standing. I will be traveling to Savannah, Georgia in the near future and you gave me a great ideas for seeing these places.

    Sincerely,
    Sandy B.

  51. Thank you for sharing about your vacation, such a lovely snap shot of your time there. I appreciate all that you share and the classy but down home style of communicating you have. In the coarse times we are living in your manner is refreshing!

  52. That was a lovely tour you gave us I haven’t been to this part of the USA but now I really want to go.
    Thank you for taking us on vacation vicariously.

  53. Thank you so much for sharing this information and a few details about your wonderful trip – I’ll definitely be checking this out as a travel destination!!

  54. Absolutely beautiful photos, Susan, of such a lovely area of the USA. It’s been a few years since I was in this area. We vacationed in Charleston SC for many years. Another favourite of ours is Jekyll Island GA.
    You must come to Canada. You would love the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake which is about a 2 hour drive from Toronto or a quick drive over the border from Buffalo NY.

  55. Thank you for sharing your “reentry” into the world. I have many happy memories of the area. Your post is a pleasant way to begin the Memorial Day week-end. Thank you for your service.

  56. Thank you, Susan for this beautiful tour. I loved the beautiful homes and especially the historical marker at Forsyth Park. Thanks for sharing!

  57. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures , I love the old houses, the. nature ,the port!
    I admire so much you are traveling solo.

  58. We stayed at the Mansion on Forsyth Park for several nights, and loved everything about it. We visited some historic homes and the Jepson art museums. We had drinks on a riverfront rooftop bar. We love the city and plan to go back.

  59. So beautiful!

    We cannot travel, nor eat in restaurants. We have no second vaccines or official proof of vaccination. Stores have lineups due to restricted capacity. Everything closes down early.

    This is just what I needed.

  60. Thank you for a beautiful description of your weekend break. What gorgeous houses and breathtaking scenery. I live in Devon, South West England in a 600 year old cotttage. I adore old buildings.

  61. Thank you Susan for sharing your travels. It has been years since we visited the Savannah srea.
    Warmest,
    Peggy ann

  62. What a perfectly lovely get away. I can’t imagine a more beautiful setting.
    I hope you enjoyed yourself to the fullest. Thank you so much for sharing.

  63. You have an incredible talent and flair for doing everything with elegance and style! Thanks for sharing such beautiful pictures.

  64. My favorite vacation memories are of Savannah, Hilton Head and Charleston. Your amazing photographs bring those wonderful times back to me. Thank you!!!
    Kathleen

  65. Susan, So glad you enjoyed your trip to the Low Country! Beaufort area is absolutely beautiful! However, close to my heart is Savannah since that is my home. Savannah is quite a beauty especially the downtown area which you captured in some of your photographs. The scenery, the art and the food in Savannah is fabulous!! Please come again!

  66. Thank you for this lovely photo journal of your visit to the beautiful town of Beaufort.

    Before you visit Savannah again, please read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, if you haven’t already. You will love it! I was visiting there when the book was published so bought my copy in a local bookstore. A great story about my favorite American city and where we spent our honeymoon at the Foley House Inn 24 years ago.

  67. Thank you, Susan! My husband and I have talked about visiting Savannah many times, but haven’t made it yet. My mother worked in Beaufort while my dad was stationed at Parris Island in the 50’s, so I’ve heard about the area all my life. I’ll be sure to save these posts for when we finally make our trip – maybe next spring when the gardens will be blooming again.

  68. Good morning, my name is Jodi and I am recently widowed. My husband was beginning to retire a farmer in Indiana, myself a retired nurse. A dear friend is wanting The two of us to take a quiet retreat and get away. We have been researching places to go and my husband and I were going to visit Savannah which was on my bucket list. Is there anyway possible you could share with me the little cottage that you stayed in? We would like to go in August I have written notes on your tips of historical tours, we want to be by the water, and this looks perfect for a week. I know that’s very personal information but could you guide me into acquiring this cottage. Matter of fact I’m going to print off your sightseeing tips thank you so much I think this may be a God thing. Gratefully Jodi

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jodi. I hope that you and your friend do get away in August and that you enjoy your time near the beach as much as I did. I only visited Savannah for a few hours, but in Beaufort, SC, my cottage was almost twenty miles away from the nearest beach, Hunting Island.

      I searched VRBO.com, and I found a similar cottage on Tybee Island, which is about eighteen miles from Savannah. Click here for the cottage information.

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I blogged for five years as Fifty, not Frumpy. Now that I am in my sixties, I am sharing ideas and inspiration for using and loving what you already have.

Thank you!
Susan

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