Getting out of town for my birthday seemed like the thing to do, so I got in the car before dawn on Friday and headed for the Georgia coast. My first stop was the beach on Tybee Island, for one last view of the ocean in my forties.
After I got to my sister and brother-in-law's place in Savannah, we went out for lunch - I got the salmon on greens with green beans, fritters and pickled onions.
Then we walked around a bizarre antique store housed in a three-story mansion. You can see in the mirror that some furniture is just stacked on top of other pieces.
Dinner that night on the porch overlooking the park - a Mediterranean shrimp dish, salads and wine. My niece joined us for both lunch and dinner that day, and showed me how to set up an emoticon app on my iPhone.
The Savannah jazz festival was going on so we walked over to the park after dinner to listen for a bit.
My sister and I went the next morning to see an exhibit at the art gallery - "Dan Winters' America: Icons and Ingenuity." His photos range from interesting takes on celebrities to grittier scenes, as well as photos of aircraft and some mixed media work.
Afterwards, we walked downtown and ate crispy trout salad with mango at a Thai restaurant. I was caught off-guard by the presence of cilantro and spent some time pulling every bit I could find out of my salad. Who invented that noxious stuff, anyway?
The good food was unending. My birthday dinner that night was at a cool restaurant that uses all local and organic ingredients. I had seared Carolina scallops with ravioli stuffed with ricotta, truffles and porcini mushrooms in a masala sauce.
We sat up late drinking champagne and talking. And laughing a lot. My older son called to wish me a happy birthday and said, "So how much champagne have you had?"
Breakfast on the porch again and another morning walk around the park under Spanish moss-draped live oaks. Late September may be the perfect time to visit that city - it's still warm enough for summer clothes, but not sweltering.
And too soon it was time to cross back over the Savannah River and head home to the mountains. It was a lovely weekend all the way around. And now that I have the actual day of turning 50 behind me, I'm feeling okay about it.