Today is my fourth full day here, and now we are well into the Slow Travel festivities. For all you non-Slow Travel peeps, there is a Slow Travel gathering this weekend here in Savannah with about 100 people. So even though I’m here by myself for two weeks, this weekend gives me a chance to hang out with fun people and do some activities with groups.
Let’s back up to my first day here. I walked. And walked. And walked. As Brenda once said, Savannah is the walkingest city. It’s fun just to stroll along the streets, because everywhere you look there are beautiful houses, gorgeous churches (and one synagogue), statues lurking in squares…and the squares. Oh my, the squares. They are wonderful, and there are 22 of them. I’ve been to almost all of them, and I love them all. Although Troup Square is particularly lovely. And Whitfield has a cute gazebo.
The houses are amazing, too. The first day I went inside Mercer House and the Owens-Thomas House, but it’s fun just to check out the outsides, too. This is one of my favorites:
There are also lots of gardens and interesting fences to peek through as you walk along.
And cemeteries. I ate lunch in Colonial Park Cemetery on that first day.
And let’s not forget the trees. Trees with flowers, and trees draped with Spanish moss. It’s all just so southern.
So that was my first day…walking and getting the lay of the land. And sweating, because did I mention the humidity??
The second day (that would have been Thursday) it was threatening to rain in the morning, so I drove out to Wormsloe to look around. Wormsloe is the site of the ruins of one of the original settlers of the colony, Noble Jones. It also has one the most spectacular driveways around:
After checking out the ruins and walking the nature trails, I drove back into town and cruised down Broughton St in the car. I hadn’t quite made it this far on my walk on Wednesday…most of the places I had walked were quiet and residential, with a few shops thrown in. Broughton is the shopping street, full of cars and people. And the Savannah Tea Room, which is where I wanted to have lunch. So I drove back to the cottage, parked the car, and set back out on foot. It only takes about 20 minutes to walk the length of the historical district, a fact I failed to realize on Wednesday, since I was zigzagging all over the place.
At the Tea Room I had a good lunch and the best pot of tea ever. Empress Bride. Mmmmmmmmm. And I ran into Brenda, the fearless leader of our Slow Travel book group. Brenda and I chatted for quite a while, then when we were leaving we ran into more Slow Travelers, so we stayed in the Tea Room for a mighty long time. And before we left, Brenda and I made reservations for the full afternoon tea on Saturday. There will be tea. And goodies. And champagne.
We walked along Broughton and slowly made our way back east to Washington Square. The planning committee for this weekend’s Slow Travel events was hosting a wine and cheese party. There are lots of people here from the Slow Bowl events I’ve been to, so lots of familiar faces. There’s Palma, and Jerry, and Kim, and Shannon. And also Marcia and David, and Sharon, and Joan and Fred. And lots of new faces, including many Californians. We are well represented here in Savannah! Anyways…I met lots of people, and as usual, everyone was so fun to talk to, and excited to be here in Savannah.
Afterwards, I went to dinner with some of the California group (and Kim…she’s from New Jersey, but we don’t hold that against her). We went to The Pirate’s House, where despite the cheesy pirate theme, and the cheesy Johnny Depp wannabe, we had some good food. Then everyone piled into Marcia and David’s rental car and they drove me home, which was very kind, because there’s no way in hell I’m walking these streets in the dark. And everyone came in and checked out my cute little cottage and proclaimed it a good find.
Yesterday, I walked to the river for the first time. I waved (okay not really) to the Waving Girl.
And I walked along River St, which is incredibly touristy. I also discovered they generously hand out free samples of warm pralines at the candy stores, and considering a little praline goes a long way, a free sample is all I need. Boy, they’re good. But I have a vicious sweet tooth, and they’re sweet even for me. Now if there was chocolate involved, that would be a whole ‘nother story.
I returned to The Pirates House for lunch. Brenda had arranged for a couple of locals to have lunch with us. So after a very southern buffet (fried chicken, mashed potatoes, squash casserole, green beans, macaroni and cheese, biscuits, sweet potatoes, and the butter beans and collard greens that I avoided), we were regaled with Savannah stories. Jean Soderlind is an admitted damn Yankee (that means she bought a house and stayed) and Jeff Hall was born and raised here. They both work in theater and as guides, and they told fun stories about Jim Williams and Lady Chablis (Jeff was her stage manager) and other people form “The Book,” as well as tales of haunted cottages and what Savannah was like 30 years ago when Jean arrived. It was so much fun to be able to have lunch with a couple of locals who were so very gracious about sharing their city with us.
After lunch I did more wandering, along River St and then back south to the cottage. I ran into Brenda again, then later I also saw Jerry and Paul. It’s fun to be thousands of miles from home and run into people you know, to stop and chat for a minute or two.
At 6:00 the Slow Travel gang met at the Gingerbread House for more food and talk. I walked there, thinking the breeze would be nice. Which it was, but after walking about a mile and a half, I needed more than the breeze. Luckily, there was air conditioning! I hung out around the vents for a good half hour. We ate delicious food (crab cakes, chicken, little potato thingies, grilled veggies), drank prosecco (and anything else you wanted from the bar), ate dessert (the lemon bars were sooooo good), and talked and talked and talked. And once again, some very kind people gave me a ride home so I didn’t have to call a taxi. Pat and Margaret are staying right around the corner from me, so they deposited me safely on my doorstep. Thanks guys!
And here are at Saturday morning. Wendy gave some of us a Pilate’s class this morning, which was really interesting, as I had never experienced Pilates before. Now you’re all caught up on what I’ve been up to and I’m off to get ready for our tea this afternoon. And tonight is the big event, a low country boil at Fort Jackson, followed by a trolley tour of the haunted sites in Savannah. I’ll let you know if I see any ghosts.