Savannah Day 9, May 1, 2008

That morning, we sat in the dining room to a breakfast of toast, cereal, and eggs then headed down to enjoy one final day on River Street. There, we slowly walked up and down the walk, sampling pralines, and just soaking in the atmosphere ~ knowing it was our final day. Promptly at 11am, we went to The Cotton Exchange Tavern. Mom had grouper fingers (very good!), I had a shrimp salad sandwich (okay). But first ~ oysters. Of course! This was our final day. And they were good, if not a little small.

After lunch, we walked to the Dolphin Magic stand in order to pay for the 3pm Dolphin Tour. Having a few hours to kill, we again walked up and down River Street, eating samples at Savannah Kitchen Candy and River Street Sweets, and browsing at the different shops. Eventually, we went and sat on a bench right by the river and just soaked in the sun for about an hour before our tour was to depart.

At 3pm sharp, the Dolphin Magic docked alongside the river and soon Tom, the First Mate, was allowing everybody onboard. Mom and I got seats in the back, right by the water, and right in the sun. Our captain, Cindy, then drove us along Savannah River past the Waving Girl Statue, past the Olympic Torch, past Old Fort Jackson, until soon we were on our way to the Atlantic Ocean. And then. A fin. And another one. And another one. Three dolphins all playing out by the buoys! Which makes me wonder. How is it that you’re guaranteed to see a dolphin on every trip? Do they come out and feed the dolphins to ensure that they’ll always be around? Just a question. I just don’t know how else you can guarantee a dolphin sighting. Anyway, the thing about dolphins. They are quick little buggers. When you see one jump, you better just pray your camera is in the ready, because that is the only way you’re going to catch one. I mean it. The minute you see one and then whip your camera up to snap the picture, it’s gone. Just like that. But……I got lucky. I got a few good shots.

The tour was 90-minutes and was a great way to spend our final afternoon. Not only did we see dolphins, but we also got to see a final glimpse at the buildings and statues that we’d seen previously during our vacation. A great way to say goodbye to Savannah; and for Savannah to say goodbye to us.

Side mention. There were a lot of cars parked on the street that day in order to set up for some craft fair that was going on for the next few days. It really ruined any pictures I was trying to take because the cars blocked the sight of the buildings. So, can I just say how much enjoyment I got when we left to see car after car after car with parking tickets on them? Quick. Guess what Savannah’s #1 money maker is? Really. Guess. It’s not that hard. I just gave some excellent clues.

After our cruise, we decided to have another meal so we headed to One-Eyed Lizzy’s. Maybe not the best choice. I’m sure there are lots of better places to go. But it was okay. Mom had the grouper fingers (again! But not as good as the ones at The Cotton Exchange) and I had snow crab (good ). But first. Oysters. Of course. And they were good.

After dinner, we got halfway down River Street to Bernie’s, when Mom got the hankerin’ for some more oysters. I guess it’s fitting really. Bernie’s was our very first meal on River Street; now it would be our last. So we sat, at the same table we sat at on that first day and we ordered oysters. And they were excellent.

After Bernie’s, we walked around for another hour on River Street, eating praline samples, and I can’t speak for Mom, but just putting off the inevitable. It would have nice to be able to freeze time somehow, or at least make it go by slower. I wasn’t ready for vacation to be over yet. I wasn’t done with Savannah! There was more I wanted to do there. Finally, it was time. The sun was starting to set and we needed to go to bed early that night. So, we climbed up the hill to Bay Street and then headed over to City Market. At City Market, we made one final stop at Savannah Kitchen Candy so I could buy two pounds of Pralines to bring home as souvenirs. And then, I smelled the pizza from Vinnie Van GoGo’s. But, the smell wasn’t enough to lure in my Mom. So walked by, but not before I could get in a few parting shots before we left. My final souvenir of Savannah.

When we got back the hotel, our concierge called us a taxi for early morning pick-up. We then went upstairs to finish packing and to get some sleep before we had to leave for home the next morning.

You can read about Day 1 here.
You can read about Day 2 here.
You can read about Day 3 here.
You can read about Day 4 here.
You can read about Day 5 here.
You can read about Day 6 here.
You can read about Day 7 here.
You can read about Day 8 here.

Savannah Day 8, April 30, 2008

That morning, we had eggs, cereal, and coffee (sludge) before leaving the hotel. Once in the car, we headed back out on Island Expressway to Old Fort Jackson.

Old Fort Jackson was built prior to the war of 1812 and, like Fort Pulaski, was used during the Civil War. After parking our car, Mom and I went into the visitor’s center, each paid our $4.00 entrance fee, and then walked onto the grounds of the Fort. Compared to Fort Pulaski, Old Fort Jackson is small. I was surprised at how tiny it really was. Also, Fort Jackson is pretty much all self-guided. There were no rangers there to give speeches, or to educate us more on the fort. There was, however, a 15-minute instructional video in what used to be the Artillery Magazine, so we went in there to watch it. After the video we just walked, viewed the cannons, and just soaked in the history of the place. I got some great shots of the brick riddled with bullets, bullets that had been in place since the Civil War. How amazing is that???? I also got some shots of the cannons, the parade area, and the privies (what can I say ~ it cracked me up). After we were done walking around, Mom and I went back to the gift shop to pick up a few more souvenirs and then were off to our next destination.

After Fort Jackson, we headed out on the interstate to the Isle of Hope to view the ruins of Wormsloe Plantation. Admission into this park was only a few dollars and after paying it, we were soon driving up the lane that was lined with over 400 live oak trees. Just driving up the lane, it’s so easy to be transported back into time and just imagine yourself in a carriage going up the tree-lined avenue to the home. At the end of the lane sat the museum and visitor’s center. In the visitor’s center we watched a short 15-minute film about the history of Wormsloe and then browsed around the visitor’s center to view some artifacts left over from the home before going outside to walk to the ruins.

A few things about the ruins and the house. Wormsloe was built by a man named Noble Jones who was a good friend of James Oglethorpe, the founder of Savannah. Noble actually came to Savannah with Oglethorpe and settled on Wormsloe. His plantation house was made entirely of tabby, and the ruins there today are the oldest ones in the state of Georgia ~ circa 1736. The ruins were incredible. How I wished, though, that the house was still there. The fireplace was still there. A few walls were still intact. There was some tabby ruins on the outside of the home leftover from what was once either carriage housing or slave housing or some other outer building. From the ruins, we also walked the trail that led to the family plot that was out by the swamp behind the former home. Noble wasn’t buried there, but his descendents were.

From Wormsloe, we headed back to Waters Avenue and to Byrd Cookie Company to stock up on gifts, souvenirs, and to take the time to browse since we hadn’t gotten a lot of time there during our Paula Deen Tour. Again, I hit the samples (are you seeing a pattern here? No wonder I gained as much as I did on vacation. But the food was good!). Mom bought several cookie tins, knick knacks, and spice mixes and had them shipped home; I bought small samplers to bring home as gifts.

After Byrd’s, it was time to eat. We headed back over to Abercorn Drive and went to Sonic. I know, not the best place. But we’re from Montana and we don’t have one here. Plus, my sister really wants to eat at one. So, I had to send pictures 🙂 Mom and I each had the chili-cheese dog coney combo. I had fries; she had tots, and we both had iced tea to drink. The food was just awful. Not good at all. We left there completely unsatisfied.

After our abysmal late lunch it was time to return the rental car and then get a shuttle back to the hotel. Mom and I were still a bit hungry since lunch was so awful, so we headed down to Bay Street to eat dinner. We walked up and down Bay Street a few times, neither one of us quite knowing what we wanted to eat. We finally decided on Moon River Brewing Company. There, we decided to just split a few things so we ordered the fried green tomatoes (not good), hot wings (okay), and a full rack of baby back ribs (yummy). From a historical perspective, even though I wasn’t crazy about the food, I’m glad we ate there. See, the building was the first hotel in Savannah back in 1821 and like so many other buildings, is rumored to be haunted.

After dinner, we headed back up to Broughton Street to browse for a bit before returning to our room. Of course, we browsed right up to Kilwin’s and each had a dish of the pecan praline ice cream. The ice cream here was definitely a favorite. It was delicious!

From Kilwin’s, we headed back down to City Market for awhile and to get a few more praline samples. And I, being as gluttonous as I had been on this trip, bought myself a pound of pralines because the ones I had purchased a few days ago were already gone. Mom, not to be outdone, also bought some pralines. I’ll give you one guess who’s pralines were gone first. It should be easy to figure out.

From City Market, we headed back up Congress to MLK and to the hotel to get some rest before we headed out for our last day in Savannah.

You can read about Day 1 here.
You can read about Day 2 here.
You can read about Day 3 here.
You can read about Day 4 here.
You can read about Day 5 here.
You can read about Day 6 here.
You can read about Day 7 here.

Savannah Day 7, April 29, 2008

The next morning we were up early so that we could get downstairs and enjoy some breakfast before the shuttle from Enterprise came to pick us up to take us to the rental location. We ate cereal, and waited. We ate a banana, and waited. We ate toast, and waited. Finally, I called Enterprise to see what the hang up was. I was told that they didn’t have any cars. I got a little heated and told them that they’d better find one because I had a reservation and because I was on vacation, I had limited time to use the vehicle. They then informed me that all they had was a truck. I told them I’d never driven a truck before and wasn’t comfortable with it. I wanted the car I’d reserved. They said that they would send the shuttle to pick us up, but if another car wasn’t returned while the shuttle was getting us, we’d have to be prepared to drive the truck. I said if I needed to prepare to drive the truck, they needed to prepare to pay for the comp/collision insurance, because I couldn’t guarantee I wasn’t going to be running into things. The shuttle driver picked us up in a Ford F150 extended cab ~ yeah, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t be able to drive that thing. Miraculously, there was a car ready and available at Enterprise when we got there. A brand new white 4-door Nissan Ultima ~ they keyless kind that turned on/off with the press of a button. I swear the whole two days we had that thing, Mom giggled every time I turned on the car.

Once we got the car situation handled, we took a left from the parking lot and headed to Victory Dr., where we preceded to turn right and head towards Island Expressway. Our plan that day was hit Fort Pulaski and Tybee Island. We were soon at the turn for Fort Pulaski. We paid the $6.00 entrance fee, parked in the lot, and headed to the visitor’s center, where we met up with the young couple from Minnesota that we’d eaten lunch with on the day before. After a quick conversation, Mom and I headed into the Visitor’s Center to tour the museum, and then we headed to the fort. At the entrance, we had to cross a drawbridge before we could actually get into the fort. From there, we headed into the center to watch a musket demonstration. Ranger Calhoun, the presenter, was a fascinating speaker and very knowledgeable about the history of Fort Pulaski. He told us about Robert E. Lee’s involvement in the actual planning and building of the fort. He told of how when SC seceded to the US during the Civil War, how 385 Confederate troops marched into the fort and took possession of it for use during the war. He told us of how those same troops were surrounded by thousands of Union soldiers shooting at the fort from Hilton Head and Tybee Island. He told us that a cannon almost hit the ammunition magazine of the fort, which was probably the very reason why the general in charge decided to surrender to the Union because he did not want to be responsible for the deaths of his soldiers. Finally, we also learned that once the Union had control of the fort that thousands of newly-freed slaves were brought to Fort Pulaski and thus it is considered part of the Underground Railroad.

After Fort Pulaski, we then got back onto Island Expressway and headed out to Tybee Island for lunch at The Crab Shack, not to be confused with the chain Joe’s Crab Shack. No affiliation. We followed the signs on the road until we eventually got to the parking lot of the restaurant. Immediately, I was taken with place. It was just so much fun! Mom and I sat out on the deck by the water and were soon greeted by our waiter. I wish I could remember his name ~ he was just such a fun kid! While we were looking at our menus, the family seated at the table next to us warned us that if we wanted to do sampler plate, to be sure and only order it for one, because they ordered the platter for two and it was still too much food for their whole family! So, when our waiter returned, we followed their advice and got the sampler platter for one with a side of coleslaw. But first, we wanted raw oysters. And let me just say, these oysters were so fresh they still had sand in them. They were so fresh, I smelt like fish for the rest of the day. But they were delicious! Our sampler platter consisted of corn on the cob, sausage, potatoes, crawfish, snow crab, and shrimp. It was yummy ~ all except the crawfish. I guess they were yummy. But I wouldn’t know. I couldn’t eat them. I have this thing about eating something that still has its head attached. I just can’t do it. This restaurant is definitely another one I would recommend to anyone. After lunch, we dumped our paper plates into the garbage holes inserted into the middle of our table and then headed out to walk around the area a little bit. First, we went to the gift shop. Second, we went to see the live alligators.

We then headed back into the car, followed the signs back to the main road, and then headed out towards Tybee Lighthouse. I wanted to walk up the 300 stairs to the top. Mom wanted to go to the gift shop. We were both in for some disappointment that day. The one and only day the lighthouse is closed is on Tuesday. So, neither one of us got to see what we wanted to there. Regardless, I still parked the car and walked around to get some shots of the area. Then we drove on and went to the beach.

At Tybee Beach, I parked right by the pier and after paying for parking, we headed down the clapboard stairs to the sandy beach along the Atlantic Ocean. It was a good day to be outside that day. There was a slight breeze, but it wasn’t cold. Thankfully, it wasn’t hot either. Mom and I walked along the beach for awhile. I looked for shells and sand dollars. I found shells, but no sand dollars. Bummer, but I knew they were hard to find. We then walked down the pier and just enjoyed the view and visited with some local fisherman who were out that day.

After the beach, we crossed the street and headed to the Marine Science Center to look around. I thought it would be different than it was ~ I thought maybe it would have had the underwater tunnels where you could view some of the oceanic animals. Nope. Not so much. There were a few water tanks and some interesting enough displays, but I probably could have done without seeing it. I did get some great shots of an anomaly though! Oh, and I was able to buy baby girl a stuffed seahorse, and I got kiddo a dolphin pen and a shark tooth necklace (this was a gag ~ she’s terrified of sharks).

After the Marine Science Center, we were kind of in the mood for ice cream, so we headed up the road and around the corner to Tybrisa Street to go to Tradewinds Ice Cream. Unfortunately, this was another disappointment because Tradewinds was closed as well that day. So, we went back to the car and headed out towards Butler Avenue to Seaweeds Ice Cream where we each had the Pecan Praline ice cream. The ice cream here was delicious ~ cold, creamy, and definitely hit the spot.

After our break, we got back into the car and headed out on the Island Expressway back towards Savannah. After we crossed the bridge to Wilmington Island, we decided to give Uncle Bubba’s another try as well. We were seated immediately in the main dining room. After a brief glimpse at the menu, we decided to split an order of the charbroiled oysters and crab cake dinner. I’m sure by now my sister was getting very tired of all the pictures of crab cakes I sent her! Dinner was very good, and of course, during the meal who should show up but Uncle Bubba himself! He went from table to table to table to talk to people, take pictures, visit, and just make people feel welcome. How cool is that? He, of course, didn’t remember us but I really didn’t expect him to. After dinner, my sweet tooth kicked in again and we ordered the Strawberry Shortcake with Captain Michael’s coffee. Again, we ate some delicious food and soon it was time to leave. Before we did so, though, we stopped by the small counter that doubled as a gift shop and bought t-shirts to take home as souvenirs. As we were leaving, Uncle Bubba was right behind us. He kept us in the parking lot visiting and was gracious enough to answer questions my Mom had about Paula. He also told us all about Bobby’s birthday party that they’d had at Paula’s house the night before. After having two great dining experiences, I’d say Uncle Bubba’s ranks right up there on the list of restaurants I would recommend when traveling to Savannah.

After dinner, we headed back into town and were lucky enough to snag the very last parking spot in our hotel lot! We then proceeded to go to our room, lounge, watch TV, and get some rest before we headed out the next day.

You can read about Day 1 here.
You can read about Day 2 here.
You can read about Day 3 here.
You can read about Day 4 here.
You can read about Day 5 here.
You can read about Day 6 here.

Savannah, Day 6; April 28, 2008

Mom and I slept in this morning, waking up about 8:30 and just lounged for awhile. We decided to try Lady & Sons one more time, so Mom called in her preferred seating coupon and got us reservations for 5pm. Once we were ready, we went downstairs to sit and eat a banana before starting our day. This morning, we were headed to Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room for lunch. Lunch is served at Mrs. Wilkes from 11am-2pm Monday-Friday only. So we (okay I), wanted to get there early because rumor has it there’s a long line to get in for lunch at Mrs. Wilkes. We then headed out to Liberty Street again, crossing over to Whitaker, and then headed straight down to Jones Street. We got there at 10:30am and there was already a line. Not a bad line, but a line. And the smell! Oh my, it smelled so good outside. That banana was doing nothing compared to the smells of the food coming from that place. Mom and I visited with the two ladies in front of us. One of the ladies’ husband grew up in Savannah and ate and Mrs. Wilkes’ a lot growing up. It was fun visiting with them and listening to their stories. Shortly before 11am, the staff starting letting people in. Mom and I got in on the first seating! The thing about Mrs. Wilkes’ is it is family style. You sit at a large table full of strangers and by the end of the meal, you’ve left with friends. Literally. It is truly an experience. We were guided to a large table in the corner and were seated. We were the last ones at that table. There were 3 ladies from Indiana, a couple with a small baby from Minnesota, one woman who was native to Savannah, and Mom and I.

The meal at Mrs. Wilkes’ was the best meal by far during our whole trip. The table was laid out with tons, and tons, and tons of food. There had to have been at least 15 kinds of food there at any given time. It was just like a large holiday meal. The staff led us through a prayer and then it was time to dig in. We feasted on fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, squash, greens, biscuits, rice, marinated cucumbers, black-eyed peas, beans, and several other things that I just can’t remember anymore. For dessert, we had our choice of banana pudding or peach cobbler. The inner brat in me wanted to take the cobbler just so I could send a picture to my sister, but my love for banana pudding (and hatred for cooked peaches!) won out. After dinner, as was tradition we took our plates to the kitchen and said thank you to the staff for such a wonderful meal. I took a lot of pictures at Mrs. Wilkes after the meal. It was just so good. While checking out, Mom and I each bought the two cookbooks put out by the Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room. A great souvenir, to be sure! One final thing about Mrs. Wilkes? It’s cash only. So if you visit, be sure to plan ahead.

After our meal, Mom and I were both in such a food coma neither one of us had much energy for anything. We started to head towards City Market again, but our dragging energy levels led us back to the hotel. We lounged, read our cookbooks, and got some much needed sleep. Also, I called Enterprise in order to rent a car for the next few days because the next things we wanted to see weren’t within walking distance, and a cab would have been $60 in each direction. Yeah. Much cheaper to get a car.

After lounging and sleeping it was time to eat again. We headed left on MLK to Congress Street and went to the Lady & Sons. About the time we got there, it began pouring rain ~ I mean one of those really hard rain storms that comes on in an instant. Only this one didn’t stop. We were all huddled under the canopies just waiting to get in for dinner. Finally, the dinner bell rang and we were guided to our table, this time on the first floor. Again, we ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes, and then Mom had the buffet (fried chicken, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, greens, etc), and I had the crab stuffed shrimp (shrimp w/ crab, wrapped in bacon drizzled with a lemon basil cream sauce. Served with jasmine rice and sautéed asparagus.) We also had the complimentary hoe cake and garlic-cheese biscuit. This time, the meal was very good. I’m so glad we went back, because our first experience was so dreadful, I’d hate to have that as my only impression of the restaurant. After dinner, we each had a cup of Captain Michael’s coffee (named after Paula’s husband) and then a complimentary dessert of sweet potato gooey butter cake. Technically, this only goes with the buffet, but since the waiter gave Mom a piece, he gave me one too. After dinner, we headed to the connecting gift shop to browse and to pick up some souvenirs. One thing I forgot to mention, Paula signs each and every one of the cookbooks that is sold in her gift shop. So, I bought my sister Paula’s first cookbook and brought that home to her as a souvenir. I also got Kiddo an engraved bookmark.

After dinner, it was off to City Market again and to the Savannah Candy Kitchen for our free samples. This time, I actually did buy some pralines to take with me. I bought 4 ~ and it was $13.00!!! I would have been better off buying a pound for $16.99. At least that way, I would have gotten a free pound of taffy to go along with it. Ah, well. Live and learn.

We then headed back to the hotel for some rest. We actually got back to our room early and watched some TV before we went to sleep. This was essentially the only lazy day we really had on our vacation.

You can read about Day 1 here.
You can read about Day 2 here.
You can read about Day 3 here.
You can read about Day 4 here.
You can read about Day 5 here.

Savannah Day 5, April 27, 2008

Mom and I literally hobbled out of bed (you would too if you’d been walking 12 hours straight the day before!!!) to get started on our day. Again, we headed downstairs to grab a banana and headed straight up Oglethorpe Avenue to Colonial Park Cemetery. The cemetery was established around 1750 is said to be the oldest one in use in the city of Savannah. They say in use because older cemeteries had been in place, but they were destroyed and built over. When I say destroyed, I mean the headstones were removed, but the bodies were left behind. This is probably what lends to Savannah being known as one of the most haunted cities in America.

Maybe it’s my interest in genealogy, but I find cemeteries fascinating. To just walk around and read the dates on some of the headstones is mind boggling to me. It’s all part of history. The Colonial Park Cemetery was interesting to me for several reason. First ~ General Sherman’s men took it over when they invaded Savannah. They emptied the crypts (ewww) and slept there. Their horses rubbed words off of the tombstone when they scratched themselves on the granite surfaces. They changed the dates on a lot of the tombstones in order to amuse themselves (although I never did find any with altered dates). Also, Button Gwinnett is buried there. I didn’t have a clue who Button Gwinnett was. I do now. He signed the Declaration of Independence. I took a picture of his tomb. A lot of people who took part in the history of Savannah are buried there. Young men who died in duels are buried there. It’s just amazing to me. I enjoyed wandering, reading the tombstones (well, the ones that could still be read, anyway), and just soaking it all in.

From the cemetery, we headed east to start on the next five squares. Our first square that day was Greene Square. The thing I found interesting about Greene Square is it didn’t have an iron marker like the rest of the squares ~ it was marked by a simple wooden sign. At Greene Square, we visited the Second African Baptist Church. A few points of interest about this church: it is where General Sherman and his men met with the newly freed slaves after the Civil War to read the Emancipation Proclamation. It is also where Martin Luther King Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, prior to ever giving it in Washington DC.

Next was Columbia Square. There, we wanted to visit the Davenport House (which was the first house that was restored in Historic Savannah in 1955). Unfortunately, the tours there didn’t start until 1pm, so we decided to keep walking and then would come back closer to the time when the tours started. Across from the Davenport House is the Kehoe House, which is now used as a Bed and Breakfast. Points about the Kehoe House ~ it was once owned by Joe Namath. Prior to that, it was a funeral home. Also, the man who built the home used a different window setting on every angle of the house ~ no two settings were the same. He used it as a display for people to order what they wanted on their houses (this was according to our tour guide, Diane, on the ghost tour from the previous night).

Oglethorpe Square was next. There, we wanted to visit the Owens-Thomas House. Again, tours didn’t start until 1pm, so decided to walk on and then go back after we visited the other two squares, which would put us back pretty close to the time the tours started. Then, we could also go back to Davenport and tour that home.

Wright Square was the next square on that street. Since we’d already been there a few times, we kept right on walking until we got to Telfair Square. At Telfair stands the Telfair Museum of Fine Art. I would have gone in to see the home itself and in hindsight, wish we’d gone there, but neither one of us are really what you would call art enthusiasts.

We then backtracked to the Owens-Thomas House to do the 1pm tour. After paying the admission fee in the gift shop ($8.00 per person), we were directed to the old slave quarters where the tour was to start. In the slave quarters, the tour guide pointed out the blue on the ceilings. This was known as Haint Blue. The word Haint means ghost or haunt, and the paint was believed to warn off spirits and is still used by many in some variation today. The original Haint Blue was made out of a base of milk and lime. Our tour guide told us that the Haint Blue located at the Owens-Thomas House is the largest piece of authentic paint left in the United States. I should also mention that the Owens-Thomas house has a reputation of being the finest example of English Regency style in America. Essentially, what this means is that if you were to cut the Owens-Thomas House in half directly from the middle, each side of the house would look the same. If there’s a window on the left side, there needs to be a window on the right side to make it symmetrical. Needless to say, there were a lot of fake doors and windows inside the house. Our tour guide took us through the garden and into the main floor of the home. Again, pictures (even without the flash!) were forbidden, so I don’t have anything to share of this tour either. A few highpoints to this tour was the top floor, which had a bridge that went from one side of the home to other. Essentially, because of the Regency style of the home, there were two stairwells leading to the top floor so the designer had to do something. But instead of a regular old hallway, he installed a bridge. Also, on the main floor was the bedroom that the Marquis De Lafayette stayed in, and the balcony right outside of this room where he made a famous speech to the citizens of Savannah in 1825. The basement was also interesting to me. This was where the meals were cooked, where the laundry was done, and where the private baths were. The baths are relevant because the Owens-Thomas home was the only one in that time period that had indoor plumbing. Mom and I both loved, loved, loved this tour. If you go to Savannah and want to tour a home, this is definitely the one to see. Afterwards, we got our picture taken in the garden and then browsed in the gift shop for awhile before heading back to the Davenport House.

As mentioned previously, the Davenport House was the first house to be preserved in Historic Savannah. Seven women who had grown tired of seeing the old buildings of Savannah being torn down, or just left to rot, founded the Historic Savannah Foundation in 1955. At the time that the foundation was founded, the Davenport House was abandoned, in ruins, and was being used as tenement housing. These women raised a little over $22,000 to buy this house and to restore it to preserve their history. This is why I wanted to see this house. It was the first one. We entered through the carriage house, paid our $8.00 per person fee and then waited for about 10 minutes for our tour to begin. Unfortunately, our tour guide was not good on this tour. He mumbled and spoke in such a monotone voice that even I, the history lover, was bored. Not to mention there was another tour going on at the same time and this girl was loud. I mean, her voice was booming. And her group was having fun. They were laughing and asking questions and really enjoying themselves. Our group? Not so much. I didn’t really get anything out of the tour. Perhaps a different tour guide would have made a difference. I don’t know. But we left Davenport House disappointed.

We headed North to visit the last five squares. Well, technically four because we’d seen and been in Franklin Square, so we didn’t feel the need to revisit it. At Johnson Square, we visited the Nathanial Greene monument and also the Johnny Mercer bench. Which brings to mind a question, I noticed that the monuments of the historic figures aren’t in the squares that are named after them. For example, there’s nothing in Greene Square, which was named for Nathanial Greene ~ but his monument is in Johnson Square. I’m not complaining. I’m just commenting. Also, I should mention that Johnson Square was the first square erected in Savannah back in 1733.

We then headed west two blocks and visited Reynolds Square next. At Reynolds Square sits the Olde Pink House restaurant, which is the former residence of James Habersham back in the 1700’s. This is one of the places I wanted to eat at, but we never got the chance. The house is actually brick and back in Habersham’s day, it was white-washed. FYI ~ Red brick plus white-wash, equals a pink house. Evidently, they would try repeatedly to white wash the house, but it always inevitably turned pink. So, they eventually gave up and just painted the whole house pink. The Olde Pink House is rumored to be haunted by Habersham himself. The food is good (so I’ve heard). Guess I’ll need to go back in order to find out for myself 🙂 Also at Reynolds Square is a monument in honor of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

The last two squares were Warren Square and Washington Square. Washington Square borders what was the original Trustees Gardens which was where early Savannah citizens planted and tested the growth potential of different plants, vegetables, trees, etc. Also at Washington Square is the Hampton-Lillibridge House. This house is actually a private residence, so tours aren’t available, but it is rumored to be the most haunted building in the entire city of Savannah. The home was originally owned by Jim Williams (the same man who owned the Mercer-Williams House). He bought the house and had it relocated to an empty he owned by Washington Square (where it currently sits). Evidently, during the move, one of the workers was killed. Also, it is said that the lot that the house was placed on was an old burial lot. Evidently there were enough strange occurrences at that house that Jim had the Bishop perform an exorcism of the house in 1963. Mr. Williams moved from the house shortly thereafter.

After we finished with the squares, it was definitely time for a bite to eat. It was after 3pm, and we hadn’t eaten since that morning! So, we crossed the street and headed to The Pirates’ House. The restaurant has been rumored to have been around since 1753. This was one of the restaurants I’d researched before we’d gone to Savannah and was really looking forward to it for several reasons. First, there are 15 different dining rooms, all with a different theme. Second, it’s supposedly haunted by Captain Flint, who died in one of the upstairs rooms and reportedly is known to wander the hallways and a few of the dining rooms. Third, the book Treasure Island is based on the author’s visit to the Pirate House and in fact, Savannah is referred to often in this tale. Lastly, the stories of men who were “recruited” in to piracy back in the day. The story goes that the pirates would get these men so drunk that they passed out and then would transport them by way of the tunnels underneath the restaurant that lead to the Savannah River. When these poor men awoke, they would already be miles and miles out to see and were forced into lives of piracy. The tunnels are still there, supposedly but there wasn’t enough staff on that day (probably because of the time we got there) to show us. Also, the 15 rooms? No longer there. The Pirates’ House has a new owner and he’s been renovating. Sad, but true. I saw only a small number of rooms there, so it definitely did not live up to my imagination of what it should have been. We were seated at a table in the Captains’ Room. What was most fun here was that we were seated next to a young family from Florida with three young boys. One of the waiters was regaling the kids with all sorts of pirate and ghost stories and it was just so humorous to see their reactions. Definitely was fun to watch. We ordered our meal ~ I had the soup, salad, and sandwich combo and Mom had the Rainbow Shrimp pasta. Both were delicious. Part of my meal was a cup of she-crab soup, and let me tell you it was to die for. So creamy and good. Very rich though, so a cup is probably all I would have been able to eat without getting an upset stomach. Also, my meal was only supposed to come with ½ of a sandwich, but they gave me a whole one. Plus a salad. Plus soup. Definitely a large meal. Again, I don’t know where my head was. I didn’t take any pictures here, but I did find a nice one on the internet I’ll share.

After dinner, we walked to City Market and browsed for awhile. We also had to hit Savannah Candy Kitchen for free praline samples, plus I had a craving for some ice cream so I bought me and Mom each a dish of the Pecan Praline ice cream from Tubby’s inside the candy store. It was delicious! So rich and creamy ~ definitely much better than the ice cream we’d had at Leopold’s a few days before.

We went back to the hotel to rest up a little bit, and then around 7:30pm we headed down Liberty to Barnard and then to Jones Street, and went to the Crystal Beer Parlor. The Crystal Beer Parlor was another restaurant I’d researched before we went on vacation. As we got closer and closer to the restaurant, I started to have reservations about this place. It just didn’t look good. The neighborhood looked bad, and the place itself looked empty. Despite this, we went inside anyway. The end result? The food was good. We started off with an order of Fried Okra. Of course, Mom told our waiter we’d never had it and he responded with an enthusiastic question of “Well how far north of the Mason-Dixon Line are you from????” We told him Montana, and he wondered what grew in Montana. Mom said corn; I said cows. I thought that was amusing. The funny thing was, the two men at the table behind us were originally from Wyoming. How funny is that??? We got served our okra and then ordered dinner. Mom had the Chili Dog Platter and I had the Crab Burger (and yes, I took a picture and sent it to my sister). All in all, the food was good and I’m glad we ate there. And the cute waiter didn’t hurt.

You can read about Day 1 here.
You can read about Day 2 here.
You can read about Day 3 here.
You can read about Day 4 here.

Savannah Day 4, April 26, 2008

(AKA the day my Mom still hasn’t forgiven me for)

We were up bright and early again to start our walking tour of historic Savannah. Mom was anxious to get back to Polk’s Market so we each grabbed a banana from the hotel and then headed out to start our adventure for the day. As we walked along Liberty Street, we stumbled across a little old woman standing on her porch watching the commotion at the end of the block caused by some sort of special walk or run, or something community-driven. Anyway, traffic was at a standstill while all of these people walked towards town from the park area. Going back to the little old woman. She was just so darned cute! She was 90 years old and just loved to talk. According to her, she’s “the only black on the block” (her words, not mine) but everybody loves her, and she loves everybody and we’re all God’s children and ain’t none of us asked to be put on this Earth.” I really wished we’d gotten her name. I remember her mom’s name was Lucille because she told us a few stories about her Mama, Lucille, and how she loved Coca-Cola from the bottle. She invited us back to visit sometime, but we just never did. I sure wish we would have. I bet she had some great stories to tell. Just the history that she’s lived through would be so awesome to listen to.

Seven blocks later, we were at Polk’s Market. There, we indulged in samples (again) and Mom bought two of everything that had the Polk Market label on them. (I’m not kidding).

After Polk’s, it was time for lunch, so we walked the six blocks to Clary’s Café. We did have to put our names on a waiting list, but it was only for a short time ~ not even 15 minutes. The food, in a word, delicious! We really enjoyed this one. The prices were reasonable, and the atmosphere was just like any other Mom & Pop Café which was a plus in my book. Mom had the Hoppel Poppel (scrambled eggs with salami, potatoes, onions and green peppers served with grits and a bagel) and Coffee. My inner brat took over as soon as I saw a certain item on the menu ~ so I ordered it: Crab Cake Eggs Benedict and yes, I did take a picture and send it to my sister! However, what I forgot to take a picture of was the building itself. I was so disappointed when I got home to discover I’d done this. So, I downloaded a few pics off the internet. It’s not the same, but it is what it is.

Forsyth Park was only 4 blocks away, so we decided to go there to see the fountain before we started going to all the squares. Forsyth Park is beautiful. It is just green and lush and really is a must-see for anyone going to Savannah. The day we were there, the SCAD students were coloring the sidewalks. We didn’t spend a lot of time looking at the drawings because we pretty much just hung out in the fountain area and then were on our way. A note about the fountain: I’m not sure which story is accurate, but there are either 2 other fountains out there just like it (one in New York, one in Spain); or there are 4 other fountains out there just like it. I heard 2 different stories. In any case, the fountain was beautiful .

From Forsyth Park, we headed four blocks east on Gaston Street so that we could start our tour of the historic squares at Chatham Square. Like I said before, there are 21 squares in Savannah and we were (okay, so I was) intent on hitting all of them. My poor mother was just along for the exercise 🙂 Chatham Square was small and was, in fact, the last square erected in Savannah in 1847. From there, we headed west to Monterey Square. Across the street from this square is the Mercer-Williams House. Mom wanted to tour this house because of Johnny Mercer, although I don’t believe Johnny had ever even stepped foot in this house. It actually belonged to his great-grandfather, Hugh Mercer. Anyone who is familiar with the book (and movie) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will know this house ~ this is house where the story took place. I’ve never seen either ~ it’s just not my cuppa. The tour started in the carriage house, which is also where Jim Williams had his antique store. Of course, it did start raining right before it was time to go to the main house, but it was more like a light drizzle. Mom and I are tough Montana gals so we declined their gracious use of an umbrella. We walked through the garden to the stairs of the home, where our small group huddled together at the porch. The tour guide started by pointing to the columns of house, where climbing vines seemed to be everywhere. These turned out to be grape vines, which I believe she said were the only ones in the area. We then went inside the home to start our tour. Sadly, no pictures are allowed (even without the flash!) so I have no mementoes of the interior of the house. We toured through Jim Williams’ eclectic art collection at the entrance of the home, and then the rooms that were on the main floor. Evidently fire codes prevented us from going any further because there was only one stairway leading to the other floors. In any case, the library was part of the tour which was the room where the big event from the book took place. Again, still not a big fan of the whole Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil thing ~ but I did leave the tour with a tremendous amount of respect for Jim Williams. That man was responsible for saving over 50 homes in the historic district of Savannah and for that I am grateful. I fully believe in preserving our history for future generations, not destroying it in the name of “progress”.

After the tour, we crossed the street into Monterey Square and then headed east into Calhoun and Whitefield Squares. At Monterey Square we (okay I, again) enjoyed the Pulaski Monument and the Congregation Mickve Israel temple, which is the 3rd oldest temple in the United States. Calhoun Square was laid out in 1851 and named for Vice President John Calhoun. There, we saw the Massie School, but were not able to tour it because of a fundraiser that was being held that day. Calhoun Square is also known as being the only square with all of its original buildings intact ~~ not a small feat considering Savannah has tried to burn herself down on 4 occasions 1796, 1820, 1865, and 1889. Not to mention pirates, plagues, and yellow fever. Whitefield Square was the last square on that block and is best known for being the first burial ground for African-Americans in Savannah.

We then headed four blocks north to visit Troup Square, Lafayette Square, Madison Square, and Pulaski Square. At Madison Square lies the Green-Meldrim House which is where General Sherman lived during the Civil War. We had tried to tour the home, but it was being used for a wedding that day. It now serves of the rector for St. John’s Episcopal Church. While at Lafayette Square, we crossed the street to visit the 124-year-old Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. This has got to be one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen, or been in. A few other points of interest at that square that we didn’t partake were the Andrew Low House, where the Girl Scouts were founded (I wasn’t a girl scout); and the Flannery O’Connor childhood home.

The last three squares we visited that day were Crawford Square, Orleans Square, and Chippewa Square. To all you Forrest Gump fans, Chippewa Square is where a lot of that movie was filmed.

After the squares, we started heading back to City Market to sit and relax before meeting up with my friend for dinner. But, we were sidetracked by Wright Square Café where our thirst and our sweet tooth got the better of us. We each had large glasses of iced tea and I had a Decadenct Chocolate Truffle Bar and Mom had a Gooey Butter Bar. We sat for awhile at the café before heading back out to begin our walk again.

Soon it was time to go to Loco’s for dinner. The food was okay. We weren’t really planning on eating at any chain restaurants, but they don’t have this one at home so it doesn’t count 🙂 There ended up being a group of six of us and the company definitely made the meal. I had the Cuban Sandwich (roasted pork, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, banana peppers and mayo on a grill-pressed roll. Served with a side of Mojo sauce) and a Caesar salad, Mom had chicken wings. We had a wonderful time visiting and the time just seemed to fly by. Soon, it was time to head to Colonial Cemetery for the ghost tour. Mom was an unwilling participant ~ but she was a good sport. I suppose it helped that I bought her ticket. My friend made reservations with us at Cobblestone Tours for the 9pm Ghost Walk, so we headed to Colonial Cemetery to begin our adventure. At $10.00 person, this tour was definitely a bargain. Our tour guide, Diane, was very knowledgeable and was open to any suggestions, questions, or requests that the group had. We then walked through haunted Savannah viewing the cemetery, the 1790 Restaurant, Kehoe House, Davenport House, Olde Pink House, Wright Square, Juliette Gordon Low House, as well as several other locations. Examples of some of the stories we heard are available at the Cobblestone Tours website, but two of the stories really stuck in my head. While we were at Wright Square, Diane told us the story about a servant who, with the help of her husband, murdered her master. She was to be hung at Wright Square, but was pregnant, so the city of Savannah ruled to prolong her hanging until the baby was born. After the child’s birth, she and her husband were both hung in opposite sides of the square. Before her death, she cursed the city for her death. I should backtrack a bit to say that Spanish Moss is everywhere ~ almost everywhere you turn you can see the hanging from the trees. But, if you look to the side of Wright Square where this lady was hung, you’ll see no Spanish Moss anywhere; but where her husband was hung, it is there in abundance. They say it is because he rests in peace; but because she cursed the town, there is no rest for her and that is why the Spanish Moss doesn’t land on any of the trees on that side of the square.

90-minutes later the tour ended at the Juliette Gordon Low home with one of the sweetest stories I ever heard. Willie and Nellie Gordon (Juliette’s parents) were indeed soul mates and truly did fall in love at first site. Nellie was a friend of Willie’s sister, and they met by accident when Nellie slid down a banister and crashed into Willie, crushing his hat. They were married a short-time later and were together 54 years before Willie died in 1912. In 1917, Nellie was on her deathbed and her daughter-in-law was staying in what used to be Willie’s room. It is said that she saw the image of Willie walk from that room to Nellie’s room, gather her in his arms, and they walked arm in arm out of the house where he preceded to guide her to the hereafter. The butler was also said to have witnessed this and told the story with tears in his eyes.

After the tour, we went back to the hotel to get some much needed rest. We’d been on our feet for 12 ½ hours! Time for some rest before we headed out on the next day’s adventure.

You can read about Day 1 here.
You can read about Day 2 here.
You can read about Day 3 here.

Savannah Day 3, April 25, 2008

At 9am on the nose I called the Lady & Sons to cash in my preferred seating coupon we’d gotten the day before on our tour. I easily got us 1pm reservations, and then we headed downstairs to eat some breakfast and to attempt to drink the sludge they called coffee. The biscuits and sausage gravy was pretty yummy, but the coffee was still bad. We then headed down to City Market to join a horse-drawn carriage tour through historic Savannah. We decided to go with Plantation Carriage Tours, although I don’t think that there’s one that’s better than the other. Our guide was Jackie, and our horses were named Sonny and Cher. According to Jackie, they are just like the real couple. The carriage tour was nice because we hadn’t had a chance to see the squares yet, and this was a little preview for when we went out walking later in our vacation. I took a lot of halfway bad pictures on our tour, but unbelievably enough, I didn’t take any of the carriage we were on!

Once our tour was over, we wandered around Broughton street and window shopped and then went back to City Market to browse before our lunch reservations at Lady & Sons. We ended up going to the restaurant early, but the hostess took my little coupon and directed us inside where we were to take the elevator to the 3rd floor. After being seated, we studied the menu a little bit but I already knew what I was going to have because I’d researched everything to death before we’d even gotten close to leaving for vacation. I ended up with the Tilapia Sandwich, blackened tilapia w/ peach chutney and veggies served with coleslaw; Mom had the Poet’s lunch which was ½ chicken salad sandwich, side salad, and a cup of soup. Lunch, in a word, was abysmal. It was so disappointing to have looked forward to something for so long and have it be less than what you expected. My sandwich was soggy and really had not much as far as flavor goes. I could taste the spices on the fish, but couldn’t taste the chutney and even if it had tasted good, I couldn’t get over the sogginess. Mom’s sandwich reminded me of what we used to get at the grocery store she worked at when I was a little girl ~ actually, the sandwiches she made were much better. The soup wasn’t awful, but it sure wasn’t what we were expecting. Never mind the fact that our waiter who was almost too solicitous when we were first sat, now made himself scarce ~~ although not so scarce that he didn’t have ample time to flirt with the table directly behind us. Anyway, he brought the check, but we still wanted to try the key lime tart for dessert since it was raved about so much on our tour the day before. Even that was disappointing. Not enough tart for my tastes. It needed lots more key lime!

After lunch, I called a friend of mine from the south beach diet forum I frequent and we made arrangements to meet up for coffee later in the afternoon. With those plans set, we headed down to River Street to shop and have some more praline samples. It was soon time to head up Bull Street for coffee at Starbucks and to meet my online friend in person. She and Mom hit it off tremendously as well and then Mom went and blurted out that it was my birthday. Thanks, Mom. We then made plans to get together on Saturday for dinner and then to do a walking ghost tour!

After coffee, Mom and I headed back down to River Street so that we would be close by for when our riverboat cruise boarded at 6pm. Yes, that’s right. Mom and I went on a dinner cruise. It was actually for my birthday. It’s a bit of a tradition, really. On my 29th birthday, we did a dinner cruise on the Branson Belle in Missouri; so on my 39th we did a dinner cruise on the Georgia Queen. I told her for my 49th, we needed to go for a paddleboat cruise in New Orleans 🙂 We’ll see what happens. Back to the Georgia Queen. Mom and I boarded and got our picture taken before we were seated. Luckily for us, we were seated next to the cutest couple ~ the Smiths from a small town right outside of Atlanta. I swear, I laughed so hard I seriously thought my abs were going to burst. The singer on the main floor A.K.A. The Music Man really wasn’t that great. But he gave the place atmosphere, I’ll say that. Soon, it was time to load up. The food was done buffet style and we were told from the get-go that you could make as many trips to the buffet as you could handle. The salad was good. The prime rib was okay, even if they didn’t have au jus to serve with it. The crab cakes looked and tasted like they’d come from the freezer department of the grocery story. Didn’t matter. I still took a picture of them and sent it to my sister 🙂 After dinner, we all went upstairs to the 3rd deck where a DJ was playing some great music and there was lots of dancing going on. The cutest thing I saw was this old woman who had to have been late-80’s dancing the Electric Slide with one of the waiters on the cruise. Despite the food, the cruise was fun and we met some great people that night.

After the cruise, Mom and I wandered around River Street for about 30 minutes (just enough time to get a sample from both of the candy stores!) before we headed back up to our hotel.

You can read about Day 1 here.
You can read about Day 2 here.