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Posts Tagged ‘georgia’

Savannah, GA

Except that we don’t stay up until midnight.  At least while we’re in Savannah.  It’s like we have small children we need to get home to, can’t stay out late – but in this case it’s because we’re traveling in a motor home and need to get back to Skidaway State Park so we don’t bother our campground neighbors with lights and noise ‘after hours’. We push the limits a bit, but we’re always home before the hoodoo hour.

Savannah lives up to her reputation –  layers of fascinating history, beautifully laid out and blooming squares,  historic homes, fun restaurants – and with one additional bonus we never even considered until we we started this new way of traveling last year – it’s motor home friendly.

That means that the Visitor Center, in the historic railroad complex, has RV parking and you can park there all day, or all night for that matter.  It’s very inexpensive, either way.

For a lot of people, Savannah is all about John Berendt’s book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  So here’s an obligatory Mercer House shot.

Mercer House, Savannah, GA

I fell victim to curiosity and took the house tour while Dick made some work calls.  The tour guide said it was a triple A tour – art, architecutre and antiques.  But I’ll bet most of the members of my tour group, who dished out $12. for the privilege of seeing the inside of  Jim William’s house were mostly interested in the murder.  Yes, the house was full of antiques and art – he was an antique dealer and a major player in the restoration of Savannah, and his collections were impressive.  But, let’s face it.  The den was what people had come to see.  When we finally got there,  I could hear people whispering, see them pointing.  It was where the murder took place.  Oops.  It wasn’t a murder, our tour guide tells us – it was an act of self defense.  And she reminds us that Williams was ultimately acquitted.  This isn’t the version we hear from every other tour guide we meet during our stay – the story outside the house is that after being found guilty in several trials, Jim William’s ultimately got away with murder.  It’s not surprising that Jim William’s sister, who now lives in the home, and controls access to the house, would want her brother remembered differently.

Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure Cemetery is beyond atmospheric – and we were there on a grey and rainy day, which made it all the more spooky and amazing.  Dick kindly drove me around, and let me off in blocks of the cemetery where the guide said I’d find my favorite dead people.  Head bent down, raincoat hood up – I managed to stumble upon most of them.

Johnny Mercer's Grave, Bonaventure Cemetery

Johnny Mercer's Grave, Bonaventure Cemetery

Johnny Mercer.   Just a few of all the wonderful songs Johnny Mercer wrote are listed on the bench at his grave site :

Come Rain or Come Shine,  Days of Wine and Roses, Hooray for Hollywood, In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening, One for My Baby,  Skylark, Something’s Got to Give,  Old Black Magic,  You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby.

Conrad Aiken's grave

I wanted to see Aiken’s grave because he’s a writer and Pulitzer Prize winner.  I also learned that the martini scene from the movie version of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” was filmed here.  Pulitzer Prize and Hollywood – what a winning combination.

Little Gracie is one of the most visited grave sites in the cemetery.  She died of pneumonia at the tender age of 8 years, at Easter time.  She was a beloved child of the city at that time – and still has many followers.  Ghost stories too…

Gracie Watson grave site, Bonaventure Cemetery

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Jekyll Island Club Hotel

The last day before we left Jekyll Island, Dick was forced into doing some work – so while he dealt with clients from the dinette in the Navion, parked in the garden- like setting of the visitor lot in the historic district, I did some touring on my own. Took a 90 minute, concierge-guided tour of the Club Hotel – great history, along with tales of the rich and famous from its heyday to the present (Robert Redford gave away his tower room, gratis, to a newlywed couple during the filming of “The Legend of Bagger Vance” here) including some very interesting ghost stories (the concierge, herself, disrupted one TV show’s filming – having freaked out at what she saw…).  We got to go into quite a few hotel rooms, including the landmark tower suite, which wasn’t occupied that day, where we were able to climb the circular staircase to the top of the turret, with some breathtaking views.

I also toured the Georgia Sea Turtle Center which is right there in the historic district, next to Dick, slaving away in the Navion.   Jekyll Island is a major nesting ground for loggerhead turtles and they have a lot of friends here.  The Center has great exhibits, following the harrowing hatching process through the many dangers, trials and tribulations these creatures face on their journey to adulthood.  A female doesn’t start laying eggs until she’s about 30- how modern is that.  I, as a turtle, did all the educational “stations” in the Visitor’s Center and lived to be 60. Whew! Not many are that lucky.  I also visited their visited their infirmary, where each “patient” has a name and a chart, so you can read about their injury/disease, and what treatment they are undergoing. When rehabilitation is successful, the turtles are released back into the ocean, and what a joyous moment that must be for all involved.

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

While we were on Jekyll, we stayed at the Jekyll Island Campground, which was great for access to the historic district and beaches, although it left us feeling a bit like the Joads in “The Grapes of Wrath”. But, we had two delicious dinners at Latitude 31 on the pier in the historic district, so we weren’t exactly starving.

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Jekyll Island Club Hotel

I wonder how the guys (guys with names like Vanderbilt, Rockefeller and Morgan)  who founded their exclusive hunting club here in 1886,  feel about the rest of us roaming about their once private dominion.  They set it up as an exclusive hunting retreat, a members-only island, completely isolated and protected. No way would any of us be allowed on. Now, their clubhouse, with its rooms and apartments, has been restored and updated – and it’s a hotel where anyone, who can pay the bill, can stay. The Grand Dining Room, where members used to take their ten course meals,  is elegantly serving food once again, albeit with fewer courses. Many of their “cottages” have been saved and are entertaining again -but it’s tourists now, soaking up history,  instead of the hobnobbing of the social elite. Some of us might be elite, others not so much – but the lines are erased, and we’re all invited in.

Cottage at Jekyll Island

Cottage at Jekyll Island (now part of hotel)

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3366167701_6ab63d4fe0_mI think I’ll just say, stay here! If you’re lucky enough to be in the area. It’s a beautiful and well-kept park, with campsites by a river, hiking and a veterans museum with indoor and outdoor exhibits (tanks, aircraft, etc.).

Another reason. Cordelia’s Restaurant at the Lake Blackshear Resort, which is within the park. And within walking distance of the campground. Which means that we had two beautiful evening and morning walks each day we were here. 🙂
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