Savannah Weekend Miscellany

Here are just a few more photos from our quick trip to Savannah (which was now two weeks ago!). Just to shake things up a bit, I decided to turn them into polaroids.

I loved the streets so much that we made a special stop to get a few photos of the Spanish moss. It was worth the fire ant bites.

We drove out to Tybee Island to enjoy the beach (briefly and overly dressed) and the lighthouse.

On our long drive home, we stopped in Montgomery, Alabama to view the historic state capitol.

I’d really love to return to Savannah for a longer visit when the weather is cooler. Maybe for the pirate festival in October. (Or maybe not.)

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Pirates and the Riverwalk

After the car fiasco, we were so ready for dinner. We had passed the Pirate House on our tour (see, it wasn’t all bad) and Jaime had read about it in a book. The Pirate House is storied to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. We couldn’t pass up that opportunity. It was a pretty busy, so we had some time to take a few pictures outdoors.

Then we waited inside and saw the resident pirate tell people pirate jokes (Where do pirates get their coffee? StARRRbucks.) and take customers on a tour. Later, we also heard her sing a fairly impressive operatic version of Happy Birthday to another diner. Dinner was pretty great, too. Ribs, a baked potato, and some onion rings.

Then we went for a walk along the river just as the sun was setting and the light was getting tricky. Jaime saw our lunch waiter and he waved hello. For some reason, I really liked that. Savannah is the type of town where you run into your waiter and he remembers you. Savannah had seemed kind of lonely until we got to the riverwalk. Apparently that’s where all the people are. Including this dancing man.

Awesome. And there were a few other familiar characters peeking out of windows, too.

I really liked the riverwalk, if you can’t tell. I loved the old warehouses and the cobblestone streets and the people and the water and the just hanging out.

The Kindness of Strangers

After our disappointing trolley ride, we cooled off at the Savannah Visitor Center where the car was parked. When we got in the car and turned the key, nothing happened. My car was dead and I felt a panicky knot in my stomach. I hoped it was just a dead battery. Jaime, bless her, wasn’t shy about asking folks around us for jumper cables. A girl on her way to Pensacola to join the Navy had some in the back of her car, so she pulled up next to us, attached the cables and …. nada. The car wouldn’t turn over. I was worried it might be something more major, like the alternator. We went back to the visitor center and asked after a good mechanic. Since it was 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon, though, the best I could hope for was to find a place to tow my car to. I was grateful that I had signed up for AT&T’s roadside assistance after my car accident last year, so I called them for a tow truck. Then I called my sister to tell her the bad news and let her know we would probably be staying in Savannah longer than expected. She optimistically told me that she had a friend once whose battery wouldn’t charge from a car, but when the tow truck driver helped her out, it started up. “That’s nice,” I said, “But I’m pretty sure it’s my alternator.”

The tow truck showed up and the driver said with a thick Southern drawl, “Well, let’s see what’s going on here.” I popped my hood and he took one look at the battery and said, “Well, here’s your problem. Your batteries corroded.” Then he used the half a can of Diet Coke I had in my car to wash away all that acid. I tried not to think about what that stuff does to my stomach because I’m not planning on giving it up any time soon. He pulled out the big battery and sure enough, the car started right up. I was so happy that I didn’t care that Amanda was right and I was wrong. Just so happy.

We jumped in the car and since it was hot, I turned on the A/C and there was a noticeable difference in the strength of the battery. Bad idea. I turned off the A/C and rolled down the windows. We waved good-bye to the tow truck driver and headed toward the Firestone up the street to get a battery. About two blocks up, we were waiting at a red light, and I decided that the battery was probably strong enough for the A/C (because, if I haven’t mentioned it enough yet, Savannah was hot!). Nope. The car died. In the middle of the intersection. Two blocks from the Firestone.

Luckily there was a family at the corner with some strapping young boys who helped me push the car around the corner so it was out of the way of traffic. And another nice gentleman pulled his truck over to ask if we needed some help. He had some jumper cables and was willing to give the car a jump (even while wearing his nice white suit on his way to church). By this time, it was 5:45 and the Firestone closes at 6. I called them up to tell them we were two blocks away and to please, please, please stay open just a little longer. They did. We got the new battery, and the car has started every time since then, much to my relief. I do have to say that while I am overjoyed at not having to get a new alternator, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have an excuse to stay longer in Savannah.

A Trolley Ride

Something you will probably notice right away if you ever visit Savannah is that there at least half-a-dozen trolley tours that circle the city. After lunch, Jaime and I decided that it might be a good idea to take one since we’d cover more ground than walking and probably learn some interesting historical facts about the city. So we drove to the visitor center and took the cheapest trolley that was about to leave. We hoped that in addition to saving our feet, it would also be cooler with a breeze. It was not cooler. In fact, it just made me really, really thirsty. This was the only disappointing thing about our trip. I think if we had taken the trolley early in the morning (you can hop on and off again through the rest of the day), it would have been much more successful. As it was, we really just wanted the tour to end so we could get some water! And it wasn’t great for taking photos either. They all turned out kind of crooked. And now I don’t remember the stories behind most of them, but here are some that I do recall.

The gates at this building, once a residence but now a legal firm, were built to resemble the gates at Buckingham Palace. And the house may look like it’s built from common bricks, but they are actually bricks of marble.

This is (a composite of) the tallest steeple. I believe it belongs to the Presbyterian church.

I don’t know if this inn has any historical significance, but I really liked the sign and only wish I had seen it all lit up.

There was something more to this building, but all I remember is that Henry Ford bought it and used it to show off his Model Ts.

I don’t remember why this building was important at all, but I think I might have just liked the brick design.

That is pretty much all of the most decent pictures from the trolley. I gave up taking pictures pretty quickly because all I could think about was the thirst. And all the trees and people in the way and the car moving just when I was about to take a shot. You know, stuff like that.

Walking Around Savannah

So a trip to Savannah in June may not have been the best idea. It was hot. Really, really hot. Although Savannah has plenty of shade due to the massive live oaks lining all of the streets, it still wasn’t the ideal weather for wandering around town admiring the architecture, which is basically what we had planned. But we still did a little exploring.

Savannah is the home to the Savannah College of Art and Design, and you see its influence everywhere. A lot of the buildings there had been restored and used by the college.

We received several recommendations to eat at Mrs. Wilkes for lunch, but it was closed. Instead, we ate at the Gryphon Tea Room, which I believe is another building renovated by SCAD. It was a pharmacy a hundred years ago and still has some of the old fixtures, but with a contemporary twist. I loved the orange chairs.

And the matching orange sweet potato fries.

Plus, my sandwich was delicious and they served ginger ale, so all-in-all, it was an excellent lunch spot.

Confession: I have been following a blog by someone who lives in Savannah called Turn-of-the-Centuries ever since one of my readers here recommended it to me. (Thanks Grettir!) Kirsten, the writer of the blog, has been drawing individual blocks of Savannah, and I love to see them. I was excited to walk along Jones Street and see if I could spot the houses. It’s a lot harder with trees and cars parked in front of them, but it gave me a new appreciation for the task of drawing them. I didn’t get any really great pictures of Jones Street, but here are two.

I was so taken with the way the townhouses were built up high and the twisting staircases on each. They delighted me every time I saw one.

More stories and photos from Savannah to come.

Bonaventure Cemetery

I think it says a lot about my friendship with Jaime that we both wanted to visit the Bonaventure Cemetery first on pretty much our only day in Savannah. Not only because it was at the top of our list of things to see, but also because we both knew that’s when the light would be best for taking pictures. Friendship made in heaven. So on our first morning in Savannah, we skirted the city and found our way to the Bonaventure Cemetery.

The first thing we noticed were all of the live oaks with Spanish moss. New Orleans has a fair amount of these lovely trees, but it doesn’t compare with Savannah. Savannah’s streets are all lined with them, as was the cemetery.

I love them, and they are perfectly at home in a cemetery. However, I’m afraid that all cemeteries kind of lack in comparison to the ones in New Orleans. If only I could combine the live oaks of Bonaventure with the tombs and mausoleums of Metairie, I’d have the perfect cemetery. That’s not to say there weren’t lovely monuments and sculptures. Here are a few:

And don’t forget a monument to the fastest woman in the South.

There were some different types of markers that I haven’t seen in many other cemeteries. First, there were these bathtub type graves.

I think they might be for people to plant flowers in them. That would look really nice if people actually did it. Then there were several of these door/arches.

Jaime and I decided they symbolized the door into the next world. I really like that idea for a grave monument. Speaking of doors, these look like something from The Lord of the Rings.

And I kind of wish that I had a friend with the last name Kracken. Because then I could always say, “Release the Kracken!” (That wouldn’t get old or anything.)

While we’re on the subject of sci-fi/fantasy… at first I thought these hands engraved on a stone were the Vulcan salute.

But I did a little research and found out that it’s a Jewish symbol for descendants of Aaron and the hands symbolize a blessing. I also really love this inclusion.

I already posted about Johnny Mercer, who is buried in the Bonaventure Cemetery, but here is one last locally famous grave. The statue is of Gracie, a little girl who died when she was six.

And just in case you are wondering, the Bird Girl statue from the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil isn’t at this cemetery. It used to be, but now it’s at the art museum. I felt really cool when another tourist asked me where to find it, and I knew.