Our first morning in Savannah continued to showcase her Southern hospitality with a fresh breakfast in the breakfast room of the historical Marshall House. We soon greeted a shuttle that brought us to the trolley tours. Our day would be filled with history and stories of Georgia’s oldest city. We boarded the Oglethorpe Trolley for a 90 minute tour of the city. This traveling tour brought us by all 22 squares or wards along with the many famous homes including those of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, the home that General Sherman used as his headquarters during his holiday stay in Savannah before moving on to burn Columbia on the other side of the river, the Mercer-Williams home that was made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, different churches as well as the only synagogue laid out in the Latin cross plan, the “SCAD” buildings owned by the Savannah College of Art and Design and even the park benches that Tom Hanks sat on in Forrest Gump. It was quite the whirlwind tour, but it was a great way to see the whole city, learn a lot about the city and see the places we had studied and pick out the spots we wanted to go back and check out later. The tour ended in City Market where we did some quick shopping before making our way down to River Street where we had lunch at Huey’s, an authentic Louisiana restaurant. We started out by sharing beignets with praline sauce and some good old sweet tea. There were so many delicious sounding options, we didn’t know what to pick. After hearing the special of the day I decided to be really adventurous and try the Eggs Benedict with a crab cake, friend green tomato and a side of Parmesan garlic grits. I have to say that this being my first time having Eggs Benedict, I’m not sure I could go back to the traditional kind. The brunch was really delicious. Afterwards we got to try pecan cheesecake, which was to die for and bread pudding. Whenever I travel, I always find it so interesting how even though a food may be called by the same name, each place has a different way of preparing it, but so far, every-way has been scrumptious. Following a pleasant lunch, we headed to the bus to tour the Bonaventure Cemetery. Two of us lead the group through the Spanish moss covered trees to the first site of Little Gracie. We soon found the Mercer family plot, also made famous by the movie and the lyrics inscribed on the bench for John Mercer. Just walking through the cemetery was remarkably peaceful and serene. I always find cemeteries to be rather intriguing places because there is always so much history, whether you know the family or not. In some of these cases, the family dates back two centuries and the plots are still active. I was surprised by some of the above ground constructions, including those that create the outline of a small garden wall. After our walk through, we drove back into the city to do some shopping. My friend and I stopped in quite a few eclectic shops along River Street including one that is operated by 18 artists and craftsmen. We headed up to the trolley stop to be dropped off near the Mercer House for some shopping and to catch a close glimpse of the house. We ended up walking through Forsyth Park. It was a really nice way to spend some time and people watching. It was a great glimpse into the way of life down here. The park was bustling with soccer games, Ultimate Frisbee, dogs being walked of all shape and size, joggers and children. We hopped back on the bus to go to the Pirate’s House Restaurant for dinner. The Pirate’s House is known as the location which inspired Robert Louise Stevenson’s Treasure Island After dinner we took a quick tour of three houses that were made into the restaurant. Then we headed to the spot to begin our ghost tour. Following the two hour walking tour we all got some much needed ice cream and took a rest before turning in. Hopefully we’ll find some neat shops before we leave for Charleston in the afternoon.
One America Trip
Well, I can actually say that now with an authentic Paula Deen accent, after eating at her Lady and Sons’ restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. I apologize for not posting in a while, but we have had some temperamental internet access and have been busy every minute. We have had a fabulous time in Atlanta and it just seems that every day seems to be better than the one before. This morning we rolled out of the hotel early and arrived at a Waffle House for breakfast. This was certainly the best breakfast so far. We were amazed by the speedy service and how the waitresses would rush back and forth between tables and the call out their orders. It was like breakfast and a show. We enjoyed our flavored waffles, grits and hot coffee. With our bellies full, we headed to Stonewall Mountain, known for its reference in Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech and for the three carved figures at the base: Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy. This mountain carving was the first the artist did before Mount Rushmore. After we walked through the museum about the history of the mountain and viewing artifacts, we made our way through the Stonewall plantation. The plantation consisted of several houses that had been moved from other parts of Georgia. We even got to see animals that would have been around during the antebellum time including goats, sheep and hogs. We finally made our way to the base of the mountain and began the one and a quarter mile climb to the summit. The climb to the top was certainly an experience. At some points we would be walking and then turn around and be amazed how far up we had come and were awed by the view. And at other times we’d look up at the steep terrain we had left to climb and not know how our knees would be able to carry us anymore. We did it though! We all made it to the top! We were so proud of ourselves and each other that even though there were times when we didn’t think we could make it, we tried and kept going. We took a risk and succeeded. It as so rewarding to reach the top and see the view, the accomplishment we had achieved, it felt so much better and just running a mile at the gym. After a brief break and photo opt we headed back down. The decent was a little more tricky as the steep ledges were a little slippery and we all skidded a bit. At the bottom we stretched out with VP before boarding the bus for our four hour bus ride to Savannah.
We settled in and watched Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil to get us re-familiarized with the next city we would be touring. Even though it was dark, we knew we had arrived when we saw the palmetto trees lining the sidewalk twinkling with white lights. We arrived at the Marshall House to freshen up before we walked over the Paula Deen’s restaurant. We had a bountiful buffet of southern cuisine including fried chicken, ribs, baked beans, Brunswick stew, black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, yams, corn, rice and salad. Cheddar biscuits and hot cakes were brought out fresh from the oven along with homemade lemonade and then we got to try Paula Deen’s peach cobbler, banana pudding and Blondie’s. Everything was incredible and made for the perfect Savannah welcome! Then we headed down to River Street to check out some sights and the ships on the water. I can’t wait to see the city during the day and take in the other sights and cuisine. “Y’all come back again soon, you hear!”
After an early bedtime, or somewhat early, most of us were up by 4am to greet our day. Our two buses hit the ground running cruising up the Bay Path driveway at 5am headed for Bradley Airport. We were surprised by the springtime feeling air as we left our bus and the Connecticut air behind us and headed for check in. Followed by the typical wait for security, we ate a hearty breakfast to fuel our minds and bodies as we waited to board our first plane to Philadelphia. A beautiful sunrise ushered us onto the U.S. Airways flight, it couldn’t have been more inspiring, especially for our first time flyers. A window seat provided to be quite intoxicating as I watched the sun come up and we rose into the marshmallow like clouds. We landed in almost no time at all and now wait to board our last plane for this stretch of the journey. We are looking forward to taking in some of Atlanta’s sights and starting to experience our One America before we get to work later on.