(Writing from beautiful Summerville, SC)
It’s really hard to believe that our time in Savannah and Charleston has quickly come to an end, and that we’ll be checking out in the morning and wending our merry way (We hope!) up to snowy Waynesville, North Carolina, for the weekend. (Just heard that eleven inches fell there!)
The weather nightmare that is wreaking havoc in every part of this country, hasn’t missed a beat right here in South Carolina, either. In fact, Wednesday was spent right here at our hotel while the rain poured down outside, the temperatures flirted with the freezing mark, and the electricity in most of the surrounding area and our hotel went off for a good portion of the afternoon. But more on this in the next post. Time to back up to Savannah…
Yes, back to Sunday, a gloriously sunny and pleasant afternoon to arrive in Savannah, Georgia! Our hotel was easy to find as it is right on Montgomery Street and a short couple of blocks to the Visitor Center. Checking in went quickly, and our next order of business was arranging a trolley tour of the Historic District and River Front. This process was equally as simple since the hotel concierge handled our request and made the necessary arrangements for a “hop-on, hop-off” tour that we could take right away, and, because it was late in the afternoon, our tickets would be good for the next day as well. Pretty cool!
Within a matter of minutes, we were aboard an open-air trolley run by Old Savannah Tours. And with the comfortable temperature and late-afternoon sunshine, it was a wonderful way to sit back and enjoy the narration by the pleasant and knowledgeable driver/tour guide. She explained much of Savannah’s history and its many legends and other pieces of lore.
What I found most interesting was seeing the many locations for various movies that had been shot in various places in the Historic District with all of the beautiful squares. One such was the location in Forest Gump, where Tom Hanks is sitting on the park bench, waiting for a bus, and telling us all about how “life is like a box of chocolates…” And though there really is no bench there, and in the movie they had to re-route traffic in the other direction, I immediately recognized the square (Chippewa Square) as the background of the scene. And the Presbyterian Church from where the feather drifts and floats down in the opening scene of the movie is right there on the corner.
When our driver told us that the author, John Berendt, spent a lot of time in Savannah researching his bestselling book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I was all ears.
This book, published in 1994, is one that I’ve meant to read for a long time, knowing nothing really about what it was all about, other than I loved the title. After seeing the house (Mercer House) that serves as the setting for the murder that is a focal point of the story, as well as other spots that appear in the book, I knew this was my opportunity to buy the book–finally–and read it before the week was over.
The book is full of zany and wacky characters and how their quirkiness seems to fit perfectly into the social strata of Savannah, even with a murder mystery that needs to be solved. I understand that Clint Eastwood directed the movie version, which I’ve not seen either. I will probably get to that one of these days, too.
And so we capped off our first day in Savannah with a nice seafood dinner at Barracuda Bob’s down on River Street. Fortunately, we found a public elevator that made it easier to get up from River Street since the steep stairs are rather treacherous. Surviving that, our walk back several blocks to our hotel that evening took us through the City Market and other points of interest that we might be interested in looking into the next day.
Monday came quickly, and it was the nicest “weather” day of the week! I donned a short sleeve shirt and shorts, exposing my blindingly white, winter legs. The warmth of the sun and the fresh air were wonderful, and I even managed a forty-minute stint of “basking” in the Georgia sunshine, alongside the Savannah River, while the wife prowled and snooped into a few shops on the other side of River Street.
We then had an early lunch at the Shrimp Factory. Always one to try something different in the culinary department, I had something called Pine Bark Stew, a bouillabaisse chock full of tasty fish, potatoes, stewed tomatoes, onions, and various seasonings.
After lunch, it was time to jump back on the trolley to get back to the hotel, check out, and move along to Charleston. When we were dropped off back at the Visitor Welcome Center (an old railroad station), I purchased a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and looked forward to getting started reading it at our next hotel stop in Summerville, South Carolina.
On the road once more, crossing the Talmadge Memorial Bridge and bidding lovely Savannah farewell, we made the relatively short trip up to the Charleston vicinity and eagerly anticipated our first of three days and nights taking in all that we could manage about Charleston. And my next post will deal with all of that. Now, though, it’s time to finish Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil….CortlandWriter