Monday, September 27, 2010

Savannah, Georgia

I grew up on Long Island, NY and have lived both in Manhattan and on the Queens side of the East River. I've travelled to about 20% of the world. Not nearly enough!! I made the big move to Charlotte, NC this summer.

I've seen so many interesting images over the years, but I've missed the opportunity to capture them, mostly because I'd leave my camera home during my day-to-day, work-a-day existence. I always meant to go back to Rt 25A in Flushing, NY to snap a photo of a Live Bait shop that was next to a sushi restaurant. I love graphics, words and landscapes moreso than photographing people.

With the daily grind of work in NYC behind me, and while I've not yet found "what's next" work-wise in Charlotte...I'm taking the time to look and to really 'see.' And I keep my camera nearby.

This past weekend my friend Jane, a recent empty-nester and I, drove to Savannah, Georgia. 4 hours, a straight shot down I-95.  We stayed at the Hamilton Turner Inn, an historic B&B on Lafayette Square. Savannah is a city of Squares, gas lamps, live oak and magnolia trees and "tabby' sidewalks made from crushed oyster shells.

We golfed, walked, talked, saw fireworks over the River, did a bit of shopping, took an overview trolley tour  and the "Paula Deen" tour, which took us to the outskirts. A great girl's getaway!

Here's how I saw it...

First impression. We arrived at 9pm, under a tunnel of massive Live Oaks with hanging Spanish Moss. We were told the next day that tourists sometimes pull the moss down and wear it around their necks. That is, until they realize that there are red bugs and chiggers living in it. Gack!! In days of yore, the moss was used to stuff furniture, once the bugs were smoked out.

The Hamilton Turner Inn. We had a room in the Carriage House.

Carriage House living room. It was nice to have an alternative space as our room was tiny!

Nightly turn down, fluffy robes.

Chocolates on the telephone table, with a handwritten welcome note from innkeepers Gay and Jim Dunlop.
The Parlor, Main House. Coffee table books, hot bevvies, lemonade, sweet tea, wine, hor's d, port and the daily paper. Very relaxing! All that plus breakfast for $199/nite.

Breakfast each morning. Day 1 Stuffed French Toast. Day 2 Veggie Fritatta over Cheese Grits. Whoa. Ate half and had little or no room for yogurt, fruit, biscuit or muffin. Walked it off all day!

Lovely yard at the B&B

Parker's Garage and Market--gas station and gourmet food!

Topiaries flanking the gas pumps. Tres chic.

Wines and food to go at Parker's

We followed the sound of fireworks for ten minutes til we saw them lighting up the sky, down on River Street. A pyrotechnic convention was in town--this was a nice gesture for the city.
The Waving Girl, waiting for her lover to return from the sea. His ship disappeared and she waved and waited for 40 years, until she died. 
60's architecture at the edge of the Historic District. Lax rules!

The Club at Savannah Harbor. What a gorgeous course. It was raining just north in SC, but we had perfect weather.

There was a gator on the 7th green. The ranger drove up and told us he couldn't get it to budge, so we should take a par, and keep going! On the 17th hole, I inadvertently hit my ball a few yards from a huge gator that was yawning and either angry or hungry, next to a swamp, short of the green. Jane and I went to scoop the ball up and our golf cart got stuck. We forgot that the starter told us that the carts' power cuts off on Par 3's. Weird and very inconvenient at that precise moment. You never saw people move faster to push a cart! We found out later that "Yeah, he's a big one. He'll run after you alright, but only so far because he's got 3 legs." Well, 9 feet trumps 3 legs in my calculations!!! We were OUTTA there!  And that's no fish story!

Aptly named hole!

The skies were so painterly.

We took the Paula Deen Tour, which took us out of the city, to Whitemarsh and Wilmington Islands. I'm a fan of Deen, a Food Network star, and was glad that Jane wanted to take the tour. Paula lost her parents when she was 19 and 23. She was an agoraphobic single mother who worked hard to build her catering business. It grew in less than 20 years from simple bag lunches delivered to offices by her sons, followed by running the kitchen at a Best Western hotel. She's now at the helm of a multimillion dollar empire---books, appearances, cooking shows, a food and cookware line. She is a true daughter of Savannah, and gives back to her city. Her sons manage The Lady and Sons.

The tour company's proposal offered her a cut of the revenue and she refused, preferring that they make donations to her local charities. I like her story. 
The Old Buggy Road, at the Bethesda School for Boys. In operation since 1740! Paula Deen married river pilot Michael Groover in the school's chapel, below. The chapel interior is very simple, with well worn pews.

Artwork on the school farm's fence. The school is the oldest in the U.S. for 'boys in transition' and the mission is hard work, love of God and school.

We stopped at this produce stand on the way.

Muscadines and Scupperdongs---big ole grapes.

I can cross "boiled green peanuts" off my bucket list. They need salt, but they're not bad. Kinda mushy.

Paula designed the tour NOT to stop at The Lady & Sons in town because she has more business than she can handle. Instead, the tour includes lunch at her brother's place, on Whitemarsh Island. It's called Uncle Bubba's Oyster House. I guess it's to be expected that for tourists, there is a back room reserved. We were herded in along with another group and sat cafeteria style, for a "Country Boil." Regular diners can order from the menu. Bubba and Paula are victims of their own success...and they are churning out buffet food for 1000's to keep up with the demand.

Pulled pork, lima beans, fried shrimp, cole slaw, fried fish and a little corn muffin. I would never order this from a was 'ok' but lunch was a cattle call.

Bubba's is on a marsh and off in the distance, you can see the back of Paula's roof. Nice setting. Local boy done good.

The weekend was great and we got a nice overview of a charming city. I'd head back that way to wander and explore Edisto and Hilton Head, and surrounding towns. Maybe drive to Jacksonville, FL. I can tick Savannah off my list of places I've visited. I wonder if I'm up to 21% of the world?

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