Days 69-71 – The Joys of Savannah

Monday October 13 (Muriel)

We drove north, intending to stop at a former plantation, now nature preserve.  A drenching rain and the place being closed on Mondays meant we drove straight to Savannah.  By the time we got there the skies were blue and clear.  We checked into our hotel, had lunch, and took a trolley tour of Historic Savannah.  The driver-guide was dramatically entertaining – and informative.  We learned that the weather had been dreadful here for the past week, but it was now lovely:  warm, clear, and humid.

After tidying up at our hotel, we walked down the 40 foot elevation change to the nearby riverfront and wandered past shops selling tourist stuff.  It was pretty boring, so we took an elevator up to a restaurant a bit before our reservation time.

Tuesday October 14 (Muriel)

We set off on foot to explore Historic Savannah.  As we learned on yesterday’s tour, the old city was laid out with 24 squares/parks.  Twenty of them still exist and one is being rebuilt.  Most have been resurrected beautifully from run-down condition since 1955 and the historical restoration movement.  There are beautiful old trees, most trailing long beards of Spanish moss.  The restored squares also feature monumental statues, along with an occasional fountain or the grave of the Native American Chief Toma-Chi-Chi.  A few squares have not been fully restored but are still pleasant.

SQUARES OF SAVANNAH

We toured the Mercer-Williams House, the setting of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”  It was fascinating, both for its architecture and its history.  I am enjoying the copy of book that I bought in the gift shop after the tour.  The book is not only a good read, but it’s full of good historical stuff about Savannah.

Afterwards we walked to Mrs. Wilke’s Boardinghouse Restaurant, a Savannah “must.”  We stood in line for about 45 minutes with many other tourists and a few locals until we and the rest of a table-full of hungry folk were allowed in.  Once we were settled at a table with about a dozen others, about 20 dishes of various foods were placed on the table.  We were instructed to pass the dishes clockwise.  The platters and bowls were passed around, we filled our plates, and we emptied our plates.  We briefly met fellow tourists from Ohio and wherever, a local and almost local.  A tray of banana pudding was passed around with instructions that when we finished desert, we were to take our plate in one hand, our iced tea glass in the other, and then deliver them to the sink on our way out.  It was a very different, social and tasty dining experience, with some of the tastiest cooked vegetables I have ever eaten.

We walked to the city market but found only a few restaurants (in which we had zero interest at this time) and fewer stores.  We walked back to our hotel and rested our tired feet before walking to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

Wednesday October 15 (Muriel)

We took a tour of the Owens-Thomas house, a lovely home built in 1818.  It was a beautiful home in the regency style, which Allan and I now know something about.  Very unusual for its time, this home was built with two water closets (indoor toilets and sinks), as well as a bathroom (with two tubs and a shower) in the basement.  Even before planning to visit this house, we had taken pictures of the outside of it during our wanderings yesterday.

Being gluttons for historical home tours, we then took a tour of the Davenport house, a substantial but more modest home that the Mercer-Williams and Owens-Thomas houses.  The Davenport house was the first house to be saved by then budding historic preservation movement in 1955 from the wrecking ball.  We enjoyed the history more than we admired the building itself.  Perhaps the fact that it was built by a builder who designed it without the services of an architect was telling.

We headed to an attractive restaurant with Tiffany glass lighting for lunch.  We decided touring two historic houses in a day was all we could take.  We walked to the waterfront for a boat tour of the port of Savannah.

SAVANNAH WATERFRONT AND PADDLE WHEEL FROM ABOVE

It was pleasant but unexciting.  Afterwards we wandered the waterfront some more, returned to our hotel, and headed to dinner at a restaurant a few blocks away from our hotel.

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