It took a while to figure out our vacation plans, but man, I’m psyched with what we came up with.



To recap, our options were pretty well wide open, but affordability and simplicity were (as always) important. CCB narrowed it down pretty early on by suggesting we not fly anywhere. And as far as driving goes, I consider more than four hours at a time in a car to counteract relaxation (man do I get stir-crazy in a car).


When it came down to it, we discovered a string of appealing destinations up the east coast. We’ve got enough of a plan to get us places, while keeping the schedule wide open to pursue whatever fun we find at our destinations (and along the way). It goes something like this:



We’ve got a good couple of days around here to get into vacation mode, which I think is going to be a cool alternative to rushing out of town the second I punch the clock. After my parents’ retirement party on Monday night, Tuesday morning(-ish) CCB and I will head eastward in a rental car. Should hit DeLand early afternoon, swing CCB through the Stetson campus, maybe grab a sandwich at the Blind Pig. Shouldn’t take too long (it’s a pretty teeny town), and then…



Northward to Jacksonville. I can’t say I know enough about Jacksonville to really anticipate our visit; for our purposes, it’s a convenient stop-off with—bonus!—Dave and Buster’s! Our hotel is within walking distance of the grownup arcade. (Not to be confused with an “adult video arcade,” which I think is a different thing entirely.) One night there, and on Wednesday it’s…


Savannah! I’ve been to Savannah for all of 18 hours a few years ago on my way to a summer in Boone.

People rave about the city—its riverfront and historic restoration, especially—so we’re going to stay a night in the historic district to check it out. And then, for the sake of comparison, we’ll next visit another city people rave about…


Me and CCB do the Charleston.

Charleston! I don’t know much about Charleston, actually, beyond the fact that people love it. (I almost get the sense that there’s some kind of Charleston/Savannah rivalry, like you have to pick one or the other to be your favorite.) I also remember Charleston being mentioned at one point as a great model for Sarasota’s development. We shall see. Our last day’s drive takes us to…



Wilmington! Like Savannah, my brief stopover in Wilmington nearly a decade ago left a great impression: relaxed and beachy. Our added bonus for this destination is CCB’s uncle, who’s playing in a rock cover band in a Wilmington bar on Friday night. It’ll be like our end-of-tour party.


Saturday we hop a remarkably affordable flight back—Wilmington to Sarasota, direct. (No, we weren’t going to fly, but this works out pretty well.)


Something about that lineup clicked with me. We’re crossing several must-visit destinations off our list, so there’s a sense of accomplishment. But beyond getting to the cities themselves, we really don’t have any pressing obligations. So we can just arrive, kick back and enjoy the setting. Which I think is kind of the point—especially when it comes to the cities on our list.


A week ago, I bought a new book for my kindle: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I’d just finished soaking in the brilliant, odd Newfoundland characters in The Shipping News, and I’ve been told Midnight is similarly a great description of the little oddities of Savannah (plus, I’m thinking Sarasota might lend itself well to that type of story). I hadn’t even considered how well it set me up for our vacation. It’s always fun to have a good book to help set the mood, make you feel like you’re part of a story worth telling.


Then, early on, the narrator remembers a rhyme: “Hard-hearted Hannah, the vamp of Savannah,” and bam, the story’s mine. Yeah, I’m feeling more than a bit of magic gathering around this trip. Wish us luck!