We interrupt this Challenge to bring you a travel interlude. Warning: this entry and those that follow are image-intensive and long.
It has been three years since I’ve been to Savannah, GA. Coincidentally, it’s been three years since I had a real break of any sort from the day to day operations of the business. I don’t count the cancer diagnosis and treatment as a “real” break, as it was anything but relaxing and enjoyable. Unlike, for instance, my most recent trip to Savannah, in the company of my mom and one of my aunts.
Why Savannah? Well, there are several reasons, really. My aunt really, really wanted to go take “The Paula Deen Tour”. Yes, there really is such a thing. My mom agreed that it would be fun, and I just love Savannah. We decided awhile ago that we would take ourselves on up there, as we say here in the South.
And so we did.
We left Friday morning. Savannah is only just over two hours from us here, so it’s not an epic journey by any means, except inasmuch as it’s the first time I’ve been anywhere in a number of years and it’s the first trip since the cancer thing and it’s nice to be alive to do these sorts of things from time to time.
All smiles. Mom and Barb:
And, for the first time ever, I’ll actually post a photo of me. I hate pictures of myself. Especially now.
The day was sunny and the road was open. We had the radio blasting some oldies and the girls were snacking away on the drive. What more could one ask?
The Georgia state line is not that far north of here, so it wasn’t long before we were passing into the peach state.
Our hotel was at the edge of the historic district. This is a good thing, because Savannah really is a walking kind of town. You can buy passes from the different trolley companies, or ride the Cat shuttle. I prefer to walk, as sometimes it can take forever for the trolley to wind its way over its route to where you actually want to be relative to where you happen to be when you catch it. And walk we did, a lot. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The suite. Mom promptly turned the air conditioner on the “arctic blast” setting.
A large bathroom. The small sign by the sink assures us that they’re glad we’re here and if we’ve neglected to pack something, they’ll be delighted to help us out.
We didn’t stick around there long: it was time to head down to River Street – the street that runs along the Savannah River. It is the main drag for eating and shopping, and we were quite interested in the former. It’s also not a bad way to start the day in the city.
Shipping was vitally important to Savannah in the 1800s: the buildings along River Street were mostly warehouses in years past, with a lot of cotton warehousing especially. Shipping is still important to Savannah, although these days the giant container ships make their way under the Talmadge Bridge to the main port, and the cargo is no longer cotton. The shops and restaurants that now populate Factor’s Walk have certain requirements for their remodeling, as most buildings in historic districts do. You can find original beams, rafters, and even floors in many of the buildings as you stroll in and out. The street itself is still cobbled with grey bricks, and the passes up to and down from Bay Street, where there is a lot of vehicle traffic, has a mixture of cobbles, stone, and brick. It can be very hard on your feet. If you decide to go to Savannah – and you should – please wear comfortable (to you) shoes. There’s nothing sadder than a broken down tourist sitting forlornly on a bench because they didn’t pay adequate attention to their footwear choice.
We made our way to the very edge of River Street. This is a view from up top, on Bay.
The water sparkled in the bright sunshine, and a faint breeze blew in off the river. Not enough to cool things down, but enough to dry some of the sweat that rolls off you when you’re hiking around a Southern city in the heart of July.
We descended a very steep set of stairs – one of many – to River Street so we could really begin our adventure.
You can see the cobbles and bricks here. The lower portion of River Street is open to vehicle traffic; however, most people prefer to do as we did, and just walk everywhere. Parking is incredibly limited below.
We began our adventure at Chart House. Nice table settings.
We had seen someone chowing down on a basket of steamed shrimp and a beer on our way down the street, and decided that’s what mom wanted. But they didn’t serve steamed shrimp here, so we opted for something lighter than that. For the girls, that meant dessert. For me, soup.
Creme brulee for mom. The custard itself was very good, as was the raspberry puree. The other, orange one, she didn’t like, but she couldn’t identify it. I didn’t taste it to identify it, but I suppose I should have.
Apple crumb pie with cinnamon ice cream for Barb.
Lobster bisque with crab for me. This is a half kettle, and could have used a wipe of the side.
Still, it was very good, with big lumps of crab meat.
Sated for the moment, we continued our trek. This is another set of very steep stairs, near the Hyatt.
A view down a portion of River Street.
This is the dome atop the building. As you can see, it’s just before 3 PM Eastern time. The dome could use a touch up paint job, but the bells work and the clock chimes every quarter hour, with a toll on the hour.
There are a couple of candy shops on River Street, and a third in City Market, which is a few blocks in and has shops, artists, and restaurants.
We were told that the original shop was opened by a husband and wife team, who then divorced. One of them got the shop. The other, deciding that the candy business was where they wanted to be, opened a new candy shop, using the same recipes. Yet another insight into small town life.
I used to have quite a sweet tooth before I gave up eating by mouth for about nine months. These days, if something is too sweet, it hurts my teeth, but not enough sugar in something designed to be sweet, and I can’t really taste it at all. Bit of a double-edged sword there. But I have a soft spot for fudge.
The place was packed and very busy, but I managed to sneak around to get a shot behind the counter.
Everyone is still all smiles. There’s certainly nothing to frown about!
If you’re so inclined, you can take a cruise along the river on a paddleboat. We were not inclined to do so.
We walked on, with me playing the role of photobug.
It was plenty hot out, so we ducked into One Eyed Lizzy’s for a drink.
The River Street Inn. This is where I stayed the last time I was in Savannah. I’d have liked to stayed again, but they were booked on this particular weekend.
Another look down River Street.
We meandered along to One Eyed Lizzy’s again, this time for food.
Where we enjoyed a margarita.
Some crab dip, with a little spicy heat behind it.
My mom had her steamed shrimp.
My aunt and I both had fried grouper fingers. Who knew grouper had fingers? They were delicious: lightly battered, fried perfectly, and tender.
It was then time to walk off some of the things we’d eaten thus far. It was also almost sunset by then. Our walk took us to the pavilion, where we sat down for a few minutes to watch the sun drop below the horizon.
There was a man playing a mandolin on one of the benches nearby. It made for a nice musical background to the setting sun.
As the sun set, the largest container ship I’ve ever seen in my life steamed by on its way back out to the ocean. We caught sight of some of the crew as the ship passed, and got some waves from them.
They moved out of view fairly quickly for such a huge ship. The sun remained undeterred, and continued its descent regardless of what we were doing.
We watched the last of the light fade.
The port’s light are on, and the street is still bustling.
We joined the crowd, and finally decided to start back toward the hotel since it had been a long day. As we made our way back, we stopped into Vic’s Coffee Shop, which is downstairs from Vic’s Restaurant.
I chose a cappuccino, which nearly took my tongue off at the first sip. My mom had a mocha caramel frappa-something or other, with whipped cream.
Barb had a cone of banana split ice cream, with a dollop of whipped cream atop.
After we finished, we made our way back to the hotel, where the girls promptly went to sleep. I stayed up awhile to unload the photos to the laptop and recharge the batteries in my phone and camera, then dropped off to sleep myself. We had to get our rest. After all, tomorrow, we would be vicariously seeing a “This is Your Life” on Paula Deen.