February 26

We left Ann's friends Ree and Gary heading out for More Food of course since we can't go two hours without a meal, and finding a delicious treat at a perfectly down home bbq joint, just like we wanted.

This was a display at the cashier's stand, I took its picture (for you young folk this was the mascot of the ESSO gas company - put a Tiger In Your Tank), and then...
...we broke down! A tire just pssssst out and went flat. We got to the side of the road no problem, and went looking for the spare tire. We called the triple-A guy...
...and we were soooo glad to see him. Look happy and pathetic, ladies. The whole thing from pssssst to on-the-road-again took less than one hour. Wow.
We made it into Savannah just fine but it was after dark so we just dumped our stuff and hit the streets.
GaGaGA. Savannah. Even on that first night in the dark we couldn't believe it. The layout of the historic district around these monumentally gorgeous public squares is too too gorgeous.

Here's Temple Mickve Israel, the third oldest Jewish congregation in America and a block from our B&B.
We met this dog clipped to look like a lamb, and named Lambchop, whose owner seemed clipped from the pages of Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, as did about everything else we saw.

I wanted so much to run into him again so I could get a better picture!
SUCH good food.
Here's our Welcoming Committee. This guy had a pal and these two babies made themselves entirely at home.
February 27

This is the view from the open front door of our B&B.
We started a stroll and came upon a small sign in front of a classic old house that said 'open' so we went in, and just then a tour was starting, so we joined up.

We were visiting the Green-Meldrim House built in the Greek Revival style and you can see it in this model of the area in the 1800s to the right of the church. The church owns it now. They use it for all kinds of church events and Church Ladies run the tours.

This home served as the headquarters for General Sherman from December 1864 and according to the ladies, Sherman's relationship with the hospitality of the citizens of Savannah was why the city was spared destruction in the war. Another version is that they just gave up instantly to save their city.
The big Catholic church with the double spires and the massive front steps. You know, for me, this is the first time the Lonely Planet guide has not been perfect. I can't even find the name of this place or anything about it.
The circle of life... We were in the Colonial Park Cemetery used from 1750 until 1853 and then closed for new business, hence no Civil War markers.

I started to look around the cemetery for something interesting but was totally distracted when a sweet young guy with a camera came up to me to point out this scene far overhead. When I took the pictures, dozens of them actually, I couldn't even see the squirrel. Wow, thanks!
Built in 1859 this is the First African Baptist Church, the oldest African American Church in America. Note the images in the stained glass. I don't know when these were installed.
As of 2004 (according to Lonely Planet) in Historic Savannah there were 32 (32!) separate locations of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

We didn't know that at first and were getting the feeling that there was some kind of joke going on since around every corner in all sorts of buildings we would find the Savannah College of Art and Design. All the venues were very elegant, but then most everywhere is.
The Mercer House. We got a great tour of the downstairs and the outside and the Gift Shop.

The whole everything surrounding Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil is still omnipresent. The Bird Girl statue is everywhere on everything as are copies of the book. Neither Marsha nor Ann had actually read it so they both bought copies and Marsha is into it already.

It is a Wonderful book. If you've never read it lucky you because you have something to look forward to in life. If you've seen the movie - it's just not the same. You too can read the book and you won't be sorry.
We're back at the B&B for afternoon tea and cookies.
Then we had yet again another fabulous meal. We totally enjoyed this piano player too. He told us a long and personal story about the woman pictured - I can't remember any of it - but we all got such a kick out of the whole evening.
Then walking back, the tree-dog and his dog-boy man! Remember Lambchop from yesterday? Odd dogs and curious men seem the order of the day.
And tourists of course. We're just lovin' Savannah.
February 28

This is the railing leading up the long wide steep steps to our B&B which is followed by a staircase of long narrow steep steps to get us to our room on the third floor.
Here's an interesting story...for later...
And one more of the oh-so many churches.
Most, but not every home in Savannah has been perfectly maintained or lovingly restored.
On the way out of town we did a little detour to the Bonaventure Cemetery, another of the iconic stops in the Midnight pilgrimage.
These pictures do not do it the least justice.
We stopped at a visitor's center to inquire of directions to the twice burned down 'Sherman Church'. 'Ah', the woman replied, 'Sheldon Church. It's Sheldon Church. Sherman burnt it down.'

Here we have "Prince Williams Parish Church built between 1745 and 1755. The name Sheldon Church was used to honor the Bull Family who had a plantation nearby and their ancestral home in Warwickshire, England were called Sheldon Hall.
"Sheldon Church was burned by General Augustine Prevost's British troops in May 1779. The church was rebuilt in 1826 and was given the name of Sheldon Church of Prince William's Parish.

Sherman’s 15th corps under General John Logan burned Sheldon Church on Jan. 14, 1865. This was considered part of Sherman's "march from the sea" as he crossed South Carolina from Savannah."

The church was never rebuilt after Sherman burned it, but the columns of the church still remain erect today to remind us of what our treasured historical places had to endure during this crossing of the state by Union troops at the close of the war.
Yet again another perfect meal. Fortunately we are all flying separately since with the three of us together we are pretty sure the plane would not get itself up off the ground.
March 1

We decided to go on some guided excursions for our first day in Charleston to include the Magnolia Plantation. Here are our Belles on a Bridge.

The story was particularly interesting since it was a rice plantation, not cotton, and pulling fresh water from the brackish lowlands required some ingenuity.
They call it the Low Country for a very good reason/
Graves and monuments to dead people.
Our guide. The tour was held up for 15-20 minutes due to technical difficulties and this guy just kept talkin' the whole time. He did an excellent job keeping us entertained and distracted.
We travelled by tram through the Audubon Swamp Garden.
Gators! The guide told us how these turtles live in harmony with the gators until spring when the gators get hungry and the turtles become gator-chips.
All the brochures, posted signs, and guide talks, like it was a rule, are now referring to enslaved people, or for example 'an entire enslaved family lived here' and the word slave is gone.

It's interesting and I'm sure the point was to humanize the experience by saying enslaved person instead of slave.

So these are the cabins of enslaved families and are being restored for inclusion in the tour.
An ibis and egret migration.
The first plantation house burned down after the Revolution. It was rebuilt and then burned during the Civil War. After The War (or the War Of Yankee Aggression, also known as simply The War) instead of rebuilding again the owners barged in a pre-Revolutionary home from upriver.
After visiting Magnolia Plantation it started to rain and I lost enthusiasm for photos. Here is one shot though, of The Citadel, the inspiration for Pat Conroy's Lords of Discipline.

I've been all over Pat Conroy territory this trip and it's making me want to read another one.
March 2

Our b&b, the Andrew Pinckney, is one block from this charming street and sits on the very beating heart, the exact center of an eating district that we just could not believe.

We were often (often!) reminded by local folk that Charleston was the third best city in America if you want to eat in restaurants. It might be true too. We didn't ask about 1 and 2.
The rain of yesterday was gone and the day was gorgeous. We decided to do a self-guided walking tour and Marsha was our leader.

It was great! I just followed along and all the better Marsha read us all the info from the AAA guide.
Southern graveyards. In a month this whole area we've been traveling through is going to be a riot of color.
The first theater in America, first built on this site in 1735 and rebuilt in 1809. The theater is still active almost daily.
Ladies at the Old Exchange Building encouraging passers-by to join a tour.
Rainbow Row, merchant homes, with businesses on the first floor. The book doesn't give the date of construction but it does say these used to front the water.
Here come a series of Mansions.

The palmetto palm is the symbol of South Carolina - it's on their flag and everything. The story of the flag:

'Asked by the Revolutionary Council of Safety in the fall of 1775 to design a flag for the use of South Carolina troops, Col. William Moultrie chose a blue which matched the color of their uniforms and a crescent which reproduced the silver emblem worn on the front of their caps. The palmetto tree was added later to represent Moultrie's heroic defense of the palmetto-log fort on Sullivan's Island against the attack of the British fleet on June 28, 1776.'
At the battery. 'Charleston Harbor is where the Ashley River and the Cooper River meet to form the Atlantic Ocean.'

Also turn around and you can barely see the touristified rebuilt Fort Sumter off in the distance.
And More.

The weather in Charleston? 'Almost summer; summer; still summer; Christmas.' We were blessed with cool beautiful weather and the one afternoon and evening of rain. The night it rained buckets, and we were warned not to go out since the city floods so easily.
And another church!
For our last dinner we ate at Hank's, at the communal table, with this lovely couple who topped off our stay in Charleston with interesting stories and good company.
I will now list the restaurants we ate in and I don't need to review them individually because all three of us loved every bite we ate in every place we went. Breakfast at the Pinckney was 'light continental', not so much, but fortunate since lunchs and dinners were waaay tooo delicious and waaay tooo much.

Magnolia Plantation, Hyman's, Cru Cafe, Jestine's Kitchen, Hank's, and Peninsula Grill for dessert.
HomeUSA the East • Georgia • '07 Feb: Savannah and Charleston

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