Sunday, August 1, 2010
Our family spent nearly three weeks driving through the southeast U.S. We hit seven states: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. We had a few destinations in mind, but also stopped at some bonus places. Savannah, Georgia was one of those. Our goal was Asheville, North Carolina, but we didn't want to do the 12-hour drive in one day. We looked on a map, and decided Savannah would be a great place to stop.
We had never been to Savannah before. I knew it had a downtown area, and I knew it was very old. I knew it dripped with southern-ness. Savannah's downtown has buildings that are over 150 years old. The downtown has a series of "squares," which are parks, every couple of blocks. They are filled with old, live oaks, statues and monuments.
Have you seen the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil?" Not only was this movie all about Savannah and its people, but it was filmed there as well. I highly recommend it, not only for the scenery, but to find out just how strange the folk of Savannah are. The central story in the movie is the murder case against Jim Williams, who lived in the Mercer House. Here's a drive-by photo of the house.
At night we did a ghost tour of the downtown area. Do you want a ghost tour in which you ride around in a converted hearse? Savannah has that. Do you want one where the tourguide howls at you? Savannah has that too. Luckily, ours was hosted by a man who's been giving tours for 20 years, and has lived much of what he's describing. He even rented an apartment from Jim Williams at one point, and could give insight into the goings-on at the Mercer House. (I thought it was interesting that now the home is called the Mercer-Williams house.) Did you know that every owner of the house has been charged with murder, and then later acquitted? I don't remember if that's in the movie or not. Anyway, our ghost tour was great. We walked around, looking at houses, from 9:30 -11:30 at night. Our tour guide, Shannon Scott, didn't stop talking once. He even told us about one of his apartments that was haunted by a ghost, which entered through a portal in the fireplace. You can see the shadow of the ghost in this photo.
Our time in Savannah was too short, especially since it rained most of one day. We did manage to find a good little restaurant, The Gryphon Tea Room. The soup and quiche were delicious, and so was the chocolate layer cake we split for dessert. We hunkered down in there a bit during the storm, and the staff was obliging to our over-long stay. Across the street is the Savannah College of Art and Design store. Shop here to support the local students; you'll see paintings, dolls, pottery, and fiber arts. Around the corner from that is a great local bookstore, but I don't remember the name of it. We're always pleased to find and support independent bookstores.
Here's one last shot from our walk around town. I highly recommend Savannah, and you can find an inexpensive hotel right downtown.
Do you have any ghostly Savannah memories? Or a good story about their famous Southern hospitality?