Good Day Atlanta: Discovering The Coast

Labor Day Weekend is coming up soon, which many consider the unofficial end of summer.  But we're not ready to let go just yet -- so we decided to spend this week exploring the incredible scenery and beaches of Georgia's coast.  Good Day Atlanta's Paul Milliken and photojournalist Blaze Meier went on a road trip from Atlanta to the Golden Isles to Savannah, and brought back a collection of stories showcasing some of the region's treasures.

It's day one of the road trip, and Paul and Blaze start the week off at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.  Opened in 2007 by Dr. Terry Norton and the Jekyll Island Authority, the Center is a hospital for sick and injured sea turtles, where the animals are rehabilitated with the hope of releasing them back into the ocean.  It's also open to tourists, educating visitors about these unique animals.  A large exhibit gallery features interactive stations, and the rehabilitation pavilion offers a look at the animals currently in-treatment at the Center.  Right now, the Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. -- for more information, click here.
It's day two, and Paul and Blaze aren't ready to leave Jekyll Island just yet.  The Island, by the way, was once a private hunting club for some of the country's wealthiest and most powerful families.  Later, it was purchased by the state and opened to the public, revealing hidden treasures like the amazing Driftwood Beach.  Driftwood Beach is what's known as a "boneyard beach" -- it's covered with driftwood and fallen trees which bake under the hot Georgia sun.  Because of the saltwater of the ocean, the trees aren't attacked by bugs, and thus they don't decompose.  Meanwhile -- just a few steps away from the beach is Driftwood Bistro, a restaurant featuring "southern comfort food" including Wild Georgia Shrimp.
Day three of the road trip, and it's time to head north.  Paul and Blaze drive to Savannah, and go straight for something sweet!  Leopold's Ice Cream has been a Savannah tradition since 1919, when it was opened by three immigrant brothers.  The current location on Broughton Street is owned by Stratton Leopold -- the son of one of those brothers.  Stratton Leopold still uses his dad's ice cream recipes -- but he's also put his own personal stamp on the place, filling it with memorabilia from his career in film.  You see, Stratton Leopold also happens to be a film producer, and has produced hits including "Mission: Impossible III" with Tom Cruise and "The Sum Of All Fears" starring Ben Affleck.  Oh, and in case you were wondering -- Paul gives a big "two thumbs up" to the ice cream!  For more information on Leopold's Ice Cream, click here.  
This is it -- the final day of the trip with Paul and Blaze.  The newest hotspot in the Savannah food scene is The Grey, a restaurant that's taken over an old Greyhound bus terminal.  Owner Johno Morisano says when he saw the vacant building, he was inspired not only to restore it -- but also to turn it into a restaurant.  With the help of Executive Chef Mashama Bailey, The Grey now serves Modern Southern cuisine with European influences.  The experience of working in The Grey is especially meaningful for Bailey, since the bus terminal was once a place where African-Americans were forced to sit in a segregated waiting room.  Check out pictures and the menu here.
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