Everyday adventures

Sweating in Savannah, Part Two

August 19, 2011

When we last left our heroine, she was raving about The Olde Pink House. Let’s see what happened next....

Day 2
We started the day by joining a one-and-a-half hour trolley tour of the historic district. We figured it would give us a good overview and we could choose areas we’d like to go back to. The tour itself was forgettable, but we did spot several places we wanted to visit, such as:

When Oglethorpe and his fellow colonists arrived in Georgia in 1733, they set up an experimental garden in this area, called the Trustees Garden. In 1734, the Herb House was erected to house the gardener for the Trustees Garden. The Pirates’ House was built around the Herb House and is now a restaurant, but it began as an inn for seafarers when it opened in 1753. The Pirates’ House is said to be haunted by several ghosts. We chose to sample the buffet of southern food specialties—thumbs up to the macaroni and cheese and barbecued pork, thumbs down to fried okra (I just had to try it—you can’t live in the south and not have tried okra). Savannah is Paula Deen country, but her restaurant, The Lady and Sons, is always packed, so we chose another place to sample southern cooking.

After lunch, we took our time walking down Bull Street, the main street of the historic district. We took pictures, popped into shops (bless you, air conditioning) and checked out the shady squares, each of which is slightly different in character. There’s even a Johnson Square!

After dinner, we met our tour guide for our ghost tour…at the gate to Colonial Cemetery! There are several tour companies offering ghost tours, which are really walking history tours with an emphasis on unusual, scary or tragic tales. Sadly, the Haunted Irish Pub and Ghost Tour was completely booked, so we had to have our boos without booze. The American Institute of Parapsychology has named Savannah “America’s Most Haunted City,” and our tour guide told us that Savannah is a “city of the dead” because so many people have been buried outside of cemeteries, beneath the streets, on the grounds of the older homes, and so on. As our group walked through the darkened, nearly empty streets, it was easy to imagine Savannah’s historical denizens walking with us.

Gravestones the Yankees displaced during the Civil War

Haunted hotel
After our spooky—and let us not forget, sweaty—tour, we stopped for ice cream at Leopold’s,

another Savannah tradition. Leopold’s makes all its flavors of ice cream one batch at a time on the premises, from secret recipes handed down by the original Leopold brothers. The original ice cream parlor closed in 1969, but was reopened in 2004 by Stratton Leopold and his wife, Mary, at a new location, using many of the fixtures from his father’s and uncles’ original shop.

Day 3
On our last half-day in Savannah, we chose to visit Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace. Ms. Low founded the Girl Scouts of America. Having never been a Girl Scout, I did not know anything about her, but she was quite an interesting lady, and I’d like to learn more. She was an artist and animal lover, so I felt a kinship with her. The home itself contains many pieces of original family furniture and Ms. Low’s art work. (We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, or I’d show you examples.)

Exterior of house

We also strolled through Forsythe Park,

Fountain in Forsythe Park
saw the exterior of the house where there events recounted in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil took place,

grabbed a quick lunch at Zunzi’s and, finally, returned to City Market to purchase freshly-made pralines.

Why, yes, I'll try a sample...
I spent just enough time in Savannah to intrigue me. I hope to go back one day and sample more of the history, charm and delicious food.

But not in August.

Where have you been this summer? Would you like to go back?

Everyday adventures

Welcome to Sweat-vannah!

August 16, 2011

Or Savannah, as it is more commonly known. In early August, my friend Kerri and I spent two nights in this lovely Georgia town. Kerri had been in Georgia visiting high school and college friends, so I flew to Atlanta where she picked me up, and we drove together to Savannah.

Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia, and was founded by British General James Oglethorpe in 1733. Oglethorpe is the one who came up with Savannah’s city plan, a system of squares, surrounded by homes, churches and businesses. Twenty-two of the original 24 squares still remain. Many buildings in Savannah are pre-Civil War, because General Sherman did not destroy Savannah on his “march to the sea” from Atlanta. In fact, in December of 1864 Sherman presented Savannah to President Abraham Lincoln as a Christmas gift!

On the surface at least, Savannah is more of a southern lady than New Orleans. Even the name sounds genteel. I didn’t stay long enough to really get a feel for the town, however, as this trip was much shorter than my NOLA trip—only one full day and two half-days. With no agenda except vacationing, my friend and I chose the “fly by the seat of our pants” travel plan. My inner control freak gnashed her teeth, but managed to keep quiet most of the time. Here are some of the highlights of the trip:

Day 1

We arrived in Savannah to find the temperatures would likely be more than 100 degrees all three of the days we are in town, with heat indexes of 110-112. Goody. (Kerri lives in Seattle, WA, where the temperatures were averaging the upper 70s this week. Tell me again why we weren’t meeting each other in Seattle?)

Our first stop was the Savannah Visitor’s Center, where we picked up brochures for hotels and various tours and attractions. We wanted to go on a ghost tour, and see a house museum as well as walk the streets admiring the architecture and looking for good photo ops. Several trolley tour companies begin their Savannah tours from the Visitor’s Center and we decided to return the next day for an organized tour before we hit the cobblestones on foot.

After checking out several hotels, we opted for the Inn at Ellis Square. After a brief rest, we wandered down to River Street where it promptly began to rain. The late-afternoon thunderstorm is a staple in Florida, and evidently in Savannah, too, as it rained every afternoon, adding a certain extra soupiness to the already steamy air.

City Market

We walked to The Olde Pink House for dinner. Built in 1771 for the Habersham family, it originally got its distinctive pink color when the native red brick bled through the plastered walls. Besides being a private residence, The Olde Pink House has been a bank, attorney’s office, tea room and bookstore. The food was some of the best I’ve ever eaten, and the service was just as good. If you’re ever in Savannah, I highly recommend this restaurant.

Some of the delicious food:

No one ever told us not to play with our food...
 Stay tuned for more Savannah adventures!