Posts Tagged With: Savannah

charm and grace

Savannah is beautiful.
I don’t think there’s anyone that’ll disagree with me on that one. As a matter of fact, there are many sources placing it on any number of “most beautiful cities in America” lists. Too many to link here…

It’s clean. It’s quiet. It’s secluded.
It has charm and grace.
It isn’t like anyplace else in Georgia.
It really isn’t like anyplace else in the US. Not from the beauty standpoint, because there are indeed some seriously beautiful cities in my country. It really isn’t like anyplace else in the US because Savannah pretty much doesn’t give AF. The city itself and it residents are happily cocooned in their small enclave, all happy to let the world move along. Sure, they know the city thrives on tourism, but tourists come and go…and Savannah remains the same.

This post about our anniversary vacay to Savannah will mostly be photos of places and structures I loved.

Jones Street was voted one of the prettiest street in America by Food and Wine and USA Today.
We walked up and down every inch of Jones street all the way down to Crystal Beer Parlor and I’m here to tell you that it is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful streets I’ve ever walked. And that includes some seriously gorgeous places in Europe, y’all.
This isn’t the best photo because it was important to me to really be present as we walked down Jones Street, but I loved the way the flags looked along this block. If you look closely you’ll see the Union Jack down the street after all those American flags. I do love me a Union Jack.
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Walking down Gordon Street, we came across Beth Eden Baptist Church. I loved the look of it’s dark red brick juxtaposed against gray sidewalk and deep green of the magnolia leaves.
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This beauty was on Oglethorpe Avenue. I actually stopped traffic to take this photo. I loved this house! Something about the brick gets me every time. I especially loved the way it looked through the foliage.
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This one is on Gaston Street facing into Forsyth Park. It’s too big for us…and YBW says it’s WAY to spendy. (He ain’t lying.) Plus there’s too much lawn to mow…but my God is it beautiful!
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So much brick.
There is a pattern. I adore the brick. There were some seriously gorgeous stucco houses I just blew right past because they weren’t brick. That’s probably silly of me, but they didn’t move me, however lovely they were.

Further along Gaston Street I found this gem.
It had a sale sign in front of it. It was spendy-ish but almost doable…I want very much to call this house my home.
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For now I live here in Virginia. The place I was born and raised.
There is a saying that goes something like this:

“To Be A Virginian either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one’s Mother’s side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from Above.” ~ Anonymous

Golly, that sounds kind of ominous…
But it’s also kind of true.
I left here once, but found myself returning “home”.
Makes me wonder what would take me from Virginia and keep me away for good.

I’m telling you, that house on Gaston Street just might be the the thing.
Let’s try it and see!
Whatcha think?

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take me to the river

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These steps drop down one hundred fifty feet from Bay Street to River Street in Savannah. Going down them is easy enough…going back up? Well, not so much. They’re steep, and uneven as all get out. (Especially after enjoying daytime drinking with Savannah’s open container law.)
There are warning signs posted at the bottom of the stairs.
Note the amusing graffiti.
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Standing along the river are some seriously beautiful buildings. Once factories, mills, or warehouses, they now hold bars, and shops, and restaurants.
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One of the buildings was the most interesting minty green color. The ferns were growing right out of the bricks. Years of plant life eating away at the mortar in between the bricks.
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Back up the stairs at 100 East Bay Street proudly stands the Old Savannah Cotton Exchange building. Of course it’s nothing cool, and you can’t go in…but the cotton geek in me was having a little squee when I saw it!
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Further up East Bay Street, the glistening gold dome of Savannah’s City Hall is truly a sight to behold. I wonder how often they have to touch up the gold leaf up there?
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You know, I’m ready to go back to Savannah already again. The city is calling to me…
The squares.
The live oaks.
The Spanish moss.
The gorgeous Autumn weather.
The beautiful buildings and houses.
The open container law…

When I began writing, I heard this song in my brain.
Take me to the river. (But don’t drop me in that water…the Savannah River was kinda grody looking.)
Please listen responsibly.

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Tybee Island

Tybee Island suffered greatly from Hurricane Matthew.
We visited two weeks later and while the residents finally had power, most local businesses were up and running, the clean up was on going.
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Access to North Beach was closed completely as this became the place where they brought all the island debris. I watched from atop the lighthouse as the giant trucks were unloaded with their own cranes. It was fascinating. YBW and I discussed how we thought they would deal with the debris once it was all gathered in this spot.
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I suggested fire. I knew I was probably wrong, but I loved the idea of it.
YBW suggested they’d bring in huge shredder and make an enormous load of mulch.

Anyway, the lighthouse was cool.
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The steps were constructed differently than any other lighthouse I’ve been in. Made it easier to walk up and down without getting dizzy.
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Not to mention how beautiful they were.
I’m a sucker for bricks.
The brick with the iron stairs…just look how beautiful!

At the top I was able to see up into the actual fresnel lens.
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From the lighthouse, I could see out into the Atlantic…
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All the way to the bridge over the Savannah River into South Carolina…
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It was a gorgeously warm and breezy day and after the lighthouse, we drove all over the island. Even with the hurricane damage, the beauty and charm was evident. What a precious little place Tybee Island is!

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Houses of the Holy

Even though Charleston is known as the Holy City, there are more than a few beautiful houses of worship in Savannah.

Congregation Mickve Israel on Gordon Street is the only Gothic synagogue in the US. (Of course I never actually took a photo of it even though we passed it about five hundred times but you need to see it. Y’all thank Google for the image.) This is at the top of my list for the next time I’m in Savannah. Must pay homage to my ancestors. (And seriously? A Gothic synagogue!?! How freaking cool is that!)

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We toured the First African Baptist Church on Montgomery Street.
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The church was built by local slaves.
It was also a stop on the Underground Railroad. The lower level floor had about four and a half feet underneath it. And there are holes drilled in the floor in specific symbols that were used as air flow for those hidden below. But because they were religious symbols, no one was the wiser.
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You can see that some of the floor boards have been replaced because the diamond and cross are incomplete.

Every one of the pews in the church is curved. They are absolutely beautiful! They’re curved so each congregant is equally close to the pulpit. (Or something more eloquent than that…) I told YBW I wanted one of their pews to have at home. He sometimes just looks and me with a look of gentle amusement with a dash of ‘are you for real?’
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The stained glass was as beautiful. This teeny piece was my absolute favorite.
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I do love me some daisies.
What moved me about this church is that it currently has a very active congregation. When we were there it was there food bank day. The lower level was filled with groceries, bags of food, and probably fifty people working. I kind of wanted to stay and help them…I loved seeing how hard they were working their ministry. There was laughter and singing and just general good fun in their hard work.

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The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is open every day. You can wander in any time except during their daily service between 11:30 and 12:30.
It had gorgeous Gothic architecture. The ceiling was the most beautiful color blue. The alters were stunning. The pews were straight (how boring)

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We were in the the cathedral with a couple of school groups. I could hear the guides giving information and asking questions. It was all done in stage whispers. It was so deliciously quiet in that enormous room of worship.
I lit a candle and said a prayer while I was there.

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Candle at the far right is my prayer.

Of course there are many more churches in Savannah. And they have many stories to tell…I’m going to go back and learn more!

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carriage house

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We stayed on East Gaston Street about two blocks from Forsyth Park at a lovely historic inn called The Gastonian.

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We actually stayed in the carriage house.
It was perfect for us!
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A teeny downstairs room with a sofa and television.
You know, we never actually utilized this space. I thought for sure we’d watch a bit of the World Series on that couch. But we never turned on the TV at all. We didn’t have time. We went at a full tilt boogie from the moment we woke until we crashed back into bed each night.
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The bedroom was upstairs.
I especially loved the brick. And the bathtub. And the gorgeous floors.
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We enjoyed beautiful weather by spending a lot of time on our little porch. We even ate breakfast out there Monday morning.
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Dorothy Gale said, “There’s no place like home.” and she wasn’t lying.
I was so happy to sleep in my own bed when I got home. But I absolutely adored spending time in the carriage house and would happily go back and stay again.

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What would you like to drink?

In Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt recounted what Miss Mary Harty shared with him about Savannahians.

“We have a saying: If you go to Atlanta, the first question people ask you is, ‘What’s your business?’ In Macon they ask, ‘Where do you go to church?’ In Augusta they ask your grandmother’s maiden name. But in Savannah the first question people ask you is ‘What would you like to drink?”

Now, I’m a fan of cocktails…and (mostly red) wine…(some) beers…so YBW and I decided to embrace this particular Savannahism as we rolled in last Sunday afternoon.

We spent Saturday afternoon and evening in Charleston with my friend and mentor. The first thing we did was go for drinks at The Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island.
I had what’s called ‘The Yellow Jessamine’
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And let me tell you it was absolutely delicious!
My friend and mentor was quick to share with the staff we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, and it was only a moment before the bar manager came over with a little treat for us.
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How precious was that?

Monday we celebrated our anniversary with dinner at a.lure. Were the food was to die for!
YBW had what he called the “Warner Brothers Dinner” starting with the braised rabbit “open ravioli” then duck a la rootbeer float. (Yes, we actually sat at the table and said, “Duck season. Rabbit season.”) I started with deviled eggs and house made pickled vegitables. The rosemary pickled purple carrots were some of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. I had the pork shank for dinner, served with some of the best grits of all time.
Cocktails before dinner looked a bit like this.
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YBW had “Apples & Oranges” and I had “The Black Cat” martini.

We went to Crystal Beer Parlor where I had a blackened salmon BLT with house cut onion rings and Abita Amber. YBW had a cup of chicken and sausage gumbo and half a BLT with Treehorn Dry Cider.

The city of Savannah has an open container law. This means you can waltz around the streets of Savannah with (only plastic) cups of alcohol. We took full advantage of this when we were visiting the city. In the afternoon we carried boozy slurpees as we walked and shopped down on River Street. In the evening we poured left over margarita from the Cuban joint into styrofoam ‘to go’ cups and went down to the Savannah Film Festival hosted by SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design)

I don’t remember what else we drank…but I can assure you that I was all about taking the advice Joe Odom gave John Berendt:

“Rule number one: Always stick around for one more drink. That’s when things happen. That’s when you find out everything you want to know.”

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road trip

Headed to Savannah.
Gotta love a place where there are that many squares, late night ghost tours, and you can legally walk down the street with a ‘toter’ in your hand.

These adorably fluffy Betsy Johnson socks are keeping my feet warm in the car.

I ate a Waffle House breakfast for the first time since I moved away from SC.
(Yeah, my white trash was showing but I don’t give a damn. I freaking love Waffle House!)

Talking Heads on the radio as we drive through the cotton fields of North Carolina. (teeny little ‘squee’)

Imma have a little nappy now. Don’t wake me till we’re in South Cackalacky. That way I’ll miss all the annoying South of the Border billboards.

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