Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 2016

Savannah!

Charleston and Savannah have a little brotherly rivalry.  When we told people who live and work in Charleston we were finishing our trip in Savannah they said their city is better.  When we got to Savannah they said the same thing.  Charleston is more sophisticated and "gentlemanly" than Savannah but there's more of a lightheartedness in Savannah.  I loved both cities and would love to visit them again.

Savannah has 22 parklike squares and it's one of the largest national historic landmark districts in the U.S.  


Each square has a uniqeness of it's own.  On most weekends in the warm weather these squares are hot wedding destinations.  Just picture a horse and carriage pulling up, the bride and groom taking their vows and then everyone has cocktails and dinner right here.  


Charleston has the beautiful plantations and Savannah has the beautiful homes and mansions.  This is the Mercer Williams House.  If you read "In the Garden of Good and Evil" you would recognize this house and think of the story as you toured it.


I was anxiously waiting to see the famous statue in the garden but it's not there!  It was in a nearby cemetery until it was deemed unsafe to remain there.  Now it's safe but unfortunately it's where the public can't destroy it.  This is part of the garden in the back of the house.


Here's Paula Deen's restaurant.  


The lines are around the building every night.  We didn't eat here because it's a big fried food restaurant and we were told the food in other restaurants in Savannah is much better.




   This is the Calhoun Mansion.  It's too bad no photos are allowed because it's gorgeous inside!


Down by the Savannah River there's a beautiful statue named "the waving girl".  It was named after Florence Martus who was the unofficial greeter of all of the ships that entered and left the Port of Savannah between 1887 and 1931.  The locals like to tell the story that her love, a sailor, sailed out of the port promising to return and never did.  She waited patiently for his return for 44 years!  
  

Down by the river there's an old town which reminded me of the Old City in Quebec.  

 

There are lots of shops and some good restaurants down by the river.  One we were told which was excellent was Bernie's.  


It was so much fun and the fish was so fresh we ate lunch there 2 days in a row.


Fresh oysters, shrimp in a basket and cole slaw.  I'm still dreaming about those lunches.


Top it off with their famous bloody Mary's with pickled okra garnish and it's just to die for!


 All of the restaurants we ate at were terrific but The Olde Pink House really stood out.  It's just beautiful inside and out.


Elegant with that magical southern charm each room was decorated differently.  It's huge and there's a fun bar in the basement that hops every night.




This is City Market in Savannah.  The first day we arrived we took a carriage tour around the city to get familiar with where everything is.  Once you do that you can easily do all of the mansions and everything else on your own.


It's really crowded here during the day and at night but in the morning you'll find a lot of southern belles out for their early constitutional.  These were a couple of "party poodles" I fell in love with.  When I retire I told my family I'm getting a standard poodle and these black and white beauties are at the top of my list.


Savannah was the home of Johnny Mercer.  


This is the Owens-Thomas House.  This house is one of the finest examples of English Regency architecture in America.  In 1830 this property was purchased by the mayor of Savannah, George Owens for $10,000.  It remained in the family until 1951.   


Like many of these beautiful homes, the stables are the gift shops now.


This is the Davenport House.  It's an 1820 Federal-style house built by Isaiah Davenport for his growing household of wife, children and slaves.  His family owned it until his death in 1827 when his wife converted it into a boarding house.


We were able to take photos.  The inside is gorgeous.


This little room was where the wife, Sarah Clark Davenport spent her precious little alone time.  She darned and looked through patterns like this deciding on her future dresses.


This is one of the daughter's rooms.  The netting on the bed was to keep out mosquitoes.  It's so warm in Savannah in the summer that the only way to cool off the house was to keep the windows open.  Since they didn't have screens they lived with bugs.  Isaiah Davenport died of "Yellow Fever" in this house as well as some of his family.


I think this wallpaper would be just as beautiful in a home today.


Many families kept generations of "Bibles" of hair.


This is the view of the garden from the upstairs porch.


On our last night we had a drink at Churchill's Pub down by the river.



It didn't disappoint!


This summer I'm making these "Bay Street Breezes".  They are the most refreshing and scream summer!


Savannah is full of fun and whimsy.  You can walk along the street and hear music.  There are jazz bands playing in many of the restaurants and bars.  As you walk along City Market you'll see signs popping up in front of shops like this.


And this!  


There's so much more to do in Savannah that I didn't have enough space to write about it all.  If you go these are a few must-sees.  I hope you enjoyed this little trip.  I love sharing my experiences because if you ever go I'd like you to love these destinations as much as I did!

Thanks for visiting and happy summer!  See you soon!!  And thanks as always for visiting!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 2016

April Showers Bring May Flowers!



This is a special blog for me.  One of the places that has been on my Bucket List for years is Charleston, S.C.  I've always wanted to see the South maybe because Gone With The Wind is my favorite movie.  Even if it wasn't it was a wonderful getaway.  It only took 1 1/2 hours to fly down from JFK.  

I love porches not decks!  Almost every house in Charleston has not just one porch but many.  


And they aren't just on the front of the house, they're on the side too!!  I pictured myself on a chase lounge on a summer night sitting outside on my porch!  Oh, with a glass of sweet tea with a nip of Firefly vodka like all the southern belles drink here!  


The shopping was fantastic.  This is the beginning of City Market.  King Street is the other great destination for all kinds of shopping.


We were told to stop in Amen Street Cafe for lunch.  It was sooo good!!  The oyster shooters were to die for!!!


Charleston is full of good food and good drinks.  We tried The Holy Basil.  See below!  Wonderful!!  I'm making them this summer!!

  
Here's the recipe!


Yes, don't worry, we did plenty of eating too!  In Charleston you can go the fish route OR you can go for the real down home southern cooking.  This restaurant specialized in fish so started with a platter of oysters, shrimp and clams.  Then we had shrimp and grits and cheviche.  I had grits years ago in Nassau and I didn't like them.  But not here, they were absolutely delicious!


It was incredibly difficult to pick just a few of the highlights of a trip and pictures that told such a beautiful story.  The following is a very brief overview of the plantations we loved and why!

This is Magnolia Plantation.  It's Charleston's most visited plantation and absolutely gorgeous.  It was founded by the Drayton family in 1676.  When you go inside you can picture the grandeur of how these people lived.


One of the things I wanted to see the most was the Spanish moss hanging off of the trees.  They are so beautiful and abundant everywhere not just on these beautiful plantations.


Magnolia Plantation is known for their beautiful gardens.  While I was taking this photo I pictured Scarlett and her beaus getting in and out of their carriages.


To go from such grandeur to the slave houses on this little street just yards away from the big house left us with a feeling I will never forget.   


  It was sad, quiet and somber here.  This is a piece of history no one wants to think about but here in the south they embrace it and talk about it and everyone accepts it.



This is Drayton Hall.  Built in the early 1750's it's the oldest preserved plantation house in America.  


No words can describe the beauty of this land when you're physically here.


This is the back of the house.


 The gardens lead to the Ashley River. 


As long as we were out this way doing the plantations we were told by everyone to go to Angel Oak Restaurant for lunch.  The young couple who own this restaurant moved from New York to open this little adorable little place.


And this is real southern home cookin!!!  Starters - Cheese biscuits with pimento cheese dip.  To die for!!!  Plus fried green tomatoes which had spicy red pepper gastrique that was just the right amount of heat to make them unbelievable!!


Next of course - fried chicken, collard greens and cole slaw.  Again, no words to describe this!  Chris didn't know if he ever had fried chicken before and if I did it I can't remember either.  But we'll never forget that chicken!!  Then we had to try the mac and cheese.  The bottom of this cast iron skillet had the most tender BBQ pulled pork.  The mac and cheese was creamy and perfect and there was homemade bacon chunks on top!  NO WORDS!!


So you can go away from home but there's always something that brings you back.  I have these dishes and I have these chips on several!!  Life is so funny sometimes. I just paused and thought wow, who would have thought I'd see these old plates that my mom passed down to me here!  We use them everyday just like they do!!


Here's a little glimpse of Angel Oak Restaurant.  I would fly down tomorrow just to go back there!!!


So in my little world no matter how stuffed you are there's always room for dessert!  And these were the best beignets.  Hot and light as a feather!!  The chocolate caramel dipping sauce made them even better if possible.  After this lunch you would think we needed a good long sleep but...


There were more plantations to see!  This is Boone Hall Plantation.  This plantation reminded me the most of Tara in Gone With The Wind.  I think mostly because of the long driveway.


Looking out from inside the gate I pictured all of the horse drawn carriages pulling up for a big party.  


As you go through the slave quarters you see these beautiful baskets that are still made today all over the South.  The slaves made them to collect and wash the rice they picked from the fields. 


When I came upon these quilts I was mesmerized.



This is one of the actual quilts that were made and used by the slaves on this plantation.


And this was someone's handmade doll.  


I don't know if anyone leaves those quarters without tears in their eyes.


Years ago I read all of Dorothea Benton Frank's novels about the South.  She writes beautiful novels about family life on Sullivan's Island and Folly Beach.  We were able to fit this visit into our trip and I loved every second of walking along the beach picking shells.


I'm going back and renting one of those cottages on the beach.  We were told that as long as you go before Easter and after Labor Day they are "pennies on the dollar to rent".  BTW- the locals said that is the best time to come because summers are horrible here between the heat and the bugs.

Here's looking one way down the beach...


And here's looking the other.


Yes, I came upon a quilt shop!!  I think it was the only one in the area.  And I bought some really fabulous things.  I only hope I have time to do something with them!


Here are a few of the treasures I brought home!  The doll in the forefront I bought at Boone Hall.  The doll in the background was bought first at Magnolia Plantation.  I was only able to buy a little basket because they are all handmade and very expensive.  That's a straw palmetto flower which are native to S.C.


Here are a few other treasures.  I have them out and they make me smile. 


Charleston is welcoming, friendly and there's so much to do.  We could go back again and do more and never be bored.  This is SNOB - Slightly North of Broad Restaurant.  It exudes southern warmth and hospitality.  There is really something for everyone here and if you haven't been here already it's a trip worth taking!


Thanks for visiting and see you soon!