Sisters in Savannah, GA.

Each year, Tom’s sisters and I try to get together; last year we went to Naperville, IL. and this year we decided to visit Savannah, GA., a place neither Lynda or I have visited.  I left home on Sunday, November 16th, and returned on Friday evening, the 21st.

November 16:  Iit snowed during the night so I got up before 5:00 worrying about the roads and driving to the airport. Got things shutdown, said good bye to Beauty/Cutie, and headed out. Blacktop roads had been cleared and sand put down but I still drove slowly. Once I got to the state highway, the roads were fine. No problem checking in at the airport, had breakfast, and got through security. Flight left on time and, when we landed in Detroit, I went from Terminal C to A…got to my gate and spotted Lynda and Sarah. The flight to Savannah was uneventful; got our luggage, grabbed a cab, and headed to the Embassy Suites in the historic district. Once we settled in the room, we went for a walk to get the lay of the land. Found a good shopping district on Broughton St. and we decided we will go back there for a day of shopping sometime during the week. Returned to the hotel where we participated in the manager’s reception….free drinks and appetizers from 5:30 to 7:30. This served as our evening meal and went back to our room where we looked at Savannah activities and discussed what we wanted to do; we decided to do the Hop On/Hop Off trolley tour.

Relaxing evening

Relaxing evening

November 17:  We got up around 7:30 and, after dressing,  went down to the Make-to-Order breakfast. An excellent omelet, fruit, bagel, and good coffee made up my meal. We then got picked up at the front of the hotel for our trolley tour which started at the Savannah visitor center and stops at: Savannah Theatre/Chippewa Square, Sorrel-Weed House, Forsyth Park, Cathedral of St. John, and we got off at Pirates House. However, it was too early for it to be open so we waited for another trolley which  stopped at Washington Square, Owens Thomas House, Juliette Gordon Low House (girls scouts founder) before we got off at City Market for some shopping.   After purchasing a couple gift items, we got back on the next trolley which took us to Reynolds Square. We got off at the next stop on River Street and River Street Marketplace. Had lunch at the Shrimp Factory;  I had a great shrimp salad sandwich and purchased chocolate pecan pie to go. It started to rain so we decided to shop River Street tomorrow so back on the trolley we went. Returned back to the visitor center which we explored before taking another shuttle back to our hotel. After spending time in our room, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood.   Upon return to the hotel, we reserved a tour for Wednesday night of two of the most haunted buildings in Savannah; Sorrel-Weed House and Pirates House.  Then we went to the Manager’s Reception. Spent the rest of evening in our room where Lynda and I had decaf coffee with our pie, watched Monday night football, and read. Tomorrow we are going to have a light breakfast because we want to have lunch at the Pirates House along with  exploring other trolley stops.

Savannah's tallest point

Savannah’s tallest point

Spanish moss hanging from tree

Stately mansion

Stately mansion

Another mansion

Another mansion

November 18: Got up and took a walk to the area we had toured yesterday;  I have discovered that Savannah is comprised of beautiful squares, cobblestone streets, stately mansions, and Spanish moss on trees so walking gives an in-depth perspective of these elements.   Temperature dropped significantly over night so it was in the low 30’s and breezy. At the end of my walk, I went into the mass transit station to inquire about transportation to the airport. It certainly costs less than a taxi but eliminates being able to control what time you arrive at the airport.  Returned to the room where everyone showered, dressed,and went downstairs for breakfast. After we ate, we prepared for  day’s outing. We got on the trolley, rode it to a stop where there were a gift shops of Irish and Christmas items so we naturally had to explore them. Got back on the trolley and rode to our next stop of Forsyth Park which is a large city park known as Savannah’s Central Park and occupies 30 acres in the historic district; it is best known for its fountain.

The three of us

The three of us

Tree lined walks

Tree lined walks

The fountain

The fountain

After wandering around, we got back on the trolley which we rode to our lunch stop at the Pirates House. After lunch, we rode the trolley to River Street where we did some shopping.  While making our last purchases of the day, the trolley came and the driver kindly waited for us to complete our purchases. Returned to the hotel where Sarah took a nap while Lynda and I drank some wine, talked, and took a walk through the hotel. After answering some emails, we went down to the evening reception. Talked to a couple who lived in Florida but originally from Georgia. Nice time but came up to the room to watch Michigan State vs. Duke men’s basketball with Duke winning. Tomorrow we are going to the shopping district on Broughton Street and the haunted houses tour tomorrow night.

Lunch companions

Lunch companions

Oldest part of Pirates House

Oldest part of Pirates House

River with bridge that connects Georgia and South Carolina

River with bridge that connects Georgia and South Carolina

November 19: After taking a walk, I returned to the hotel and we prepared for the day. Had breakfast and headed out to the shops on Broughton Street; all of us found items to purchase. We then walked to St. John’s Cathedral where we briefly looked inside at the furnishings which included stain glass windows. Upon a recommendation from one of Sarah’s friend, we had a late pizza lunch at Mellow Mushroom.  We then headed back to the shopping area for a couple more purchases.

Beautiful mansion

Beautiful mansion

Stained glass windows

Stained glass windows

St. John's Cathedral

St. John’s Cathedral

Went back to the hotel to rest up for our evening adventure of the haunted houses. After the Manager’s Reception, we were picked up by the trolley and headed to our first stop of The Pirates House where we were taken to the cellar which has sealed tunnels that leads to the Savannah River. According to a tour guide, hard liquor had been prohibited by law in Savannah and the cellar of the Pirates House was originally used to smuggle barrels of rum into the city. City officials were, supposedly, aware of the presence of the contraband, but were given free access to the libation in exchange for their silence on the matter. It was also explained, by the same tour guide with Old Savannah Tours, that many tortures and murders occurred in the cellar of the Pirate’s House. The story goes that trap doors were installed in the floor of the tavern and that drunk sailors who had passed out were chained and dropped into the cellar below. Should they sustain an injury in a fall and were unable to work on a ship, then they were murdered in the cellar and their bodies later disposed of.

Chest of candy

Chest of candy

Down to the cellar

Down to the cellar

"Sealed" tunnel

“Sealed” tunnel

Chained and dropped to cellar

The next stop was Sorrel-Weed House The house was designed by Charles Cluskey in 1835, the home was completed in 1838. The house was built for Francis Sorrel (1793–1870), a wealthy shipping merchant and esteemed citizen. The Sorrel-Weed House has a reputation for being one of the most haunted buildings in Savannah. People claim to see figures in the windows and hear disembodied voices inside the house. The connecting carriage house behind the main house was said to have housed a female African-American slave who was murdered by a member of the family after she was found in bed with the owner by his wife who took her life by jumping off the balcony after the discovery.

The garden; see any floating figures?

The garden; see any floating figures?

Stairway to upstairs

Stairway to upstairs

Beautiful chandelier and molding

Beautiful chandelier and molding

Pictures of owner and wife

Pictures of owner and wife

Door of carriage house where slave lived

Door of carriage house where slave lived

Drawing room

Drawing room

Balcony where wife jumped

Balcony where wife jumped

I was disappointed in the evening because I thought we were going to see more of the house than two rooms on the first level and the cellar. Got back to the hotel where we relaxed and, one by one, went to bed.

November 20:  Because it was late when I woke up,  I did not take a morning walk.   After breakfast, we went to the room and talked about what to see for the day.  We decided on Owens-Thomas House and Old Fort Jackson.  We walked to the Owens-Thomas House and had a delightful tour.  Some history about the house: The Richardson House, as it was originally known after its first owner and builder, is North America’s preeminent example of period English Regency architecture. The mansion was purchased in 1830 by local attorney and politician George Welshman Owens for $10,000. The family maintained it for several decades, until Owens’ granddaughter, Margaret Thomas, bequeathed the house to the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, est. 1885 as the South’s oldest art museum, in 1951. The house is notable, for its early cast iron side veranda on which the Marquis de Lafayette addressed the citizens of Savannah on his visit in 1825.

Front of Owens-Thomas House

Front of Owens-Thomas House

Back of the house

Back of the house

Gardens and slave quarters taken from back balcony

Gardens and slave quarters taken from back balcony

All of us enjoyed the tour and were glad we selected it; we were able to see both levels of the house and all the rooms where some original furnishings were displayed.  There was no picture taking allowed inside the house so I only got pictures from the outside.  We then walked to Leopold’s for ice cream.  Leopold’s Ice Cream was founded in 1919 by three immigrant brothers from Greece: George, Peter, and Basil Leopold. They learned the art of candy and dessert from an uncle who had already settled in America. The brothers perfected the secret formulas and created the world famous Leopold’s VeriBest ice cream. And it was delicious!

Counter and employee at Leopold's

Counter and employee at Leopold’s

We called a taxi to take us to Old Fort Jackson.  Old Fort Jackson is unrelated to Andrew Jackson; it is a restored 19th century fort located two miles east of Savannah on the Savannah River. It is a National Historic Landmark and the oldest standing brick fort in Georgia.   President Thomas Jefferson authorized the construction of a national defense system of fortifications to defend his new nation. Jefferson’s system included Fort Jackson, constructed between 1808 and 1812 over an old earthen battery from the American Revolution.  The displays were excellent and guides quite knowledgeable; we were really glad we came for a visit.  And very happy that we were ready to leave just as 250+ 8th grade students from Atlanta descended on the place.

Inside the fort

Getting cannon ready to fire

Getting cannon ready to fire

It fired with a LOUD boom

It fired with a LOUD boom

Medical tools and instruments

Medical tools and instruments

Another taxi picked us up and, on the recommendation of a volunteer at Fort Jackson, we had the taxi take us to the Olde Pink House for lunch.  Savannah’s Olde Pink House was so named for the beautiful shade of “pink” stucco which covers its old brick. This Georgian mansion was built in 1789 for James Habersham Jr., one of Savannah’s most important early cotton factors and founding-family members. For the first time in my life, I had Fried Green Tomatoes…delicious!

Outside of Olde Pink House

Outside of Olde Pink House

Stairway to upper level

Stairway to upper level

Group picture

Group picture

After the late lunch, we walked back to the hotel where we had a glass of wine, printed out our boarding passes, talked to hotel staff about late check out, and went to the Manager’s Reception.  Went upstairs, changed into pajamas, and watched Iowa men’s basketball team get defeated by Texas.  Tomorrow we plan on sleeping in, taking a walk, have late breakfast, pack, and checking out late.

November 21: Took a walk and came back to the hotel where we got ready and headed for breakfast. After breakfast, we got our bags packed and ready for transport to the airport. All of us liked the taxi driver who picked us up at Fort Jackson the day before so I called him and arranged for pick up at 12:30. Then a decision was made to walk to the City Market for additional shopping. It was a beautiful, warm morning so perfect walking weather. After an hour or so, we returned to the hotel where we checked out and waited for the taxi to pick us up.  Upon arrival at the airport, we checked our bags and found a food court where we had a late lunch. My flight started to board passengers so I said my “good byes” to Lynda and Sarah; I was heading to Atlanta and then Cedar Rapids where Lynda and Sarah had a direct flight later in the day to Detroit. There was a delay in Atlanta because of Delta overselling 2 seats so it took sometime to get volunteers who were willing to spend the night and take a flight out the next day.  Arrival into Cedar Rapids was at 9:00 and, by the time my checked bag appeared, it was 9:30 before I got underway for home. There was no freezing rain as forecast said which made me very happy! Got home to be greeted at the door by Beauty and Cutie…what a great way to end the trip.

Beauty and Cutie welcoming me to their house

Beauty and Cutie welcoming me to their house

 

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