Monday, May 14, 2007

The Good Old South--Part 2

This is the second and final travel-a-long from down south in the US of A. When you last heard from our heroines JB and kj, they had left Greenville South Carolina and had driven across the state to the coastal island of Hilton Head. There they had checked into a Marriott Hotel and were greeted by a weather forecast of total complete rain for all of their remaining vacation days. They acted quickly in attitude and preparation: if it rains it's time to gallivant on the back roads and in the cities yet again.
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First they walked the beach anyway. Afterall, who in her/his right mind would ever pass up an Ocean? And then they walked the pool, which by the way, defied the weather gods and welcomed one full day of sun for jb and kj to lounge poolside, including three chilly dips in water that was colder than a pool should be. Sometimes JB and I are the only adults in the pool, along with 5-6 kids. We don't care.

Next stop: Savannah Georgia. Along the way, I continued to read Eat Pray Love outloud while JB drove.
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I kj totally fell in love with Savannah the moment we hit the city limits. I can't say why. A friend one told me cities have astrological signs, not just people. He said that's why certain people are happy in a city and other people aren't. If this is true, Savannah and I are compatible souls. Let it be said I did not see the outer city limits and I don't know about the quality of living for people without means. But what I saw, I really liked.
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We ended our time in Savannah with a New York Pizza from Vinny Van Go Go's. Since pizza is my favorite food, right up there with Enchilada Verde, I'd say the day was pretty close to perfect.






Next, Charleston. In my mind this was a larger Savannah, with the added attraction that it borders on the ocean. The one fact I can tell you is that Charleston is ranked as the most polite city in America. I can also tell you about porches.
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The south loves porches. Even the simpliest homes have them. In Charleston, what looks like the front door of the house is actually a door leading to the porch. My apologies that you will again have to twist to see what I mean, but really it's kind of worth the twist to see how the concept of southern doors and porches works.



People are always giving jb and I advice where to eat and what to see. So we arrived in Charleston with the name of the Haley Mills restaurant. It took us a couple of tries, but we figured out we were looking for the Mills Hotel, which turned out to be a stunning historic building and the best $ 8 lunch I've ever had (Shrimp and grits--I try to follow the 'when in Rome' rule....) . Aftwards I asked JB if she thought someone had told her about the Haley Mills as a joke. Straightfaced she said, "I don't think so.."

We drove back to Hilton Head, still reading outloud, and found this in our hotel room:


The accompanying note said "Your housekeeper".
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Last stop: Back to Greenville. We stayed downtown, which confirmed that Greenville is a clean, charming, growing, delightful, and well planned city. Main Street runs a couple of miles with all kinds of statues scattered about to sit beside, cuddle up with, even talk to if you must.

The Reddy River runs through downtown and through an urban park on Main Street that is just fantastic. Please remember I am there in the rain, but I can tell you this park is award winning. And I can tell you if you have a hankering to move to a very affordable city with a good mix of art and activity and good Southern manners, and where housing prices are bound to appreciate in the next few years, Greenville's your town. You have to be comfortable with the role of religion in the South--it seems there are more churches than department stores, but all in all JB and I liked everything we saw.
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On Saturday morning, JB and I returned the gold Chevy Impala with the shaky steering to Budget Rental and caught our flight heading home, where my garden awaits, the sky is finally blue, the air is finally warm and I still love deeply. No complaints. No wait, I have to complain because I enjoy it so much. I mean to say no major complaints. And for that I am very grateful.........

16 comments:

  1. It all looks so beautiful. Do you know I love the name Savannah? I almost named my daughter that.

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  2. Thanks for all the pictures. :)

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  3. Oh...this is another wonderful installment that leaves me feeling as if I've been away from my desk.... I really loved reading about Savannah, and the Vinny Van Go Go's pizza... which I've had many times on visits to my sister. Savannah is a magical city, so charmming and pretty. Thanks again for the virtual trip!

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  4. Wow ... these photos are amazing, KJ!! I wanna go now!

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  5. Who travels can tell a lot of stories (rough translation of an old Dutch saying). Did you two had some applepie in the south? I consider this quite important, KJ. You know why ;-) I really enjoyed your photo's and this time I have no craned neck.

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  6. Well I do declare that was a charming tour to be sure.
    In my imagination the South will always have that special je ne sais quoi from a graceful, genteel, bygone era.

    That poofed up Parisienne veneer that thinly disguised all of the horrors of slavery and gargantuan avarice cloaked in a veil of polite manners and Sunday Best wardrobes.

    Well hush my mouth I am almost certain that the New South ain't at all like that anymore. No Sir.

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  7. mench, i love that name also. no more kids for me but i could see a dog named savannah!

    liz, you're welcome :)

    carla, i love your comments. and i love that you know vinny van go go's. ha!

    melissa, thank you friend.

    wieneke, no apple pie in the south, but i understand quite well the basis of your question. i am thinking, wieneke, that i would like real apple pie at a real table, not virtual. so how do four interesting woman from two continents pull that off? :)

    oh he, you had to bring in history and reality. my friend mike would have said exactly what you did. i admit i didn't think of that during my vacation. i was into the moment. and in the moment i did observe two races that did not socialize with one another very much. i did not like that.

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  8. Thanks for the wonderful trip! It was so lovely and the buildings are divine! Really enjoyed this and I shall return to catch up on your previous posts. Safe and happy homecoming to you and your dear dog that awaits you!

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  9. My KJ, you take beautiful photographs. You can start a travel photoblog :-)

    Reedy River cuts right through the heart of downtown Greenville and offers a grand waterfalls park.

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  10. Wow, those porches look good indeed. I think I could fall in love with Savannah as well!

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  11. Whose statue is that with the dog and her waving a flag like a semaphore?

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  12. ces:

    On the eastern end of River Street, there is the statue of a woman in a simple dress. The sculptor has portrayed her in the act of waving a piece of cloth. The cloth, flows diagonally over her, and on clear days it catches and reflects the sun's rays which, logically, might attract the notice of passing sailors as they cruise to and from Savannah's port. Beside the woman stands the figure of a dog. Both gaze across the water as if watching for something or someone. The woman's face is enigmatic. One cannot tell whether she is happy or if her heart aches with loss. This lady is the Waving Girl, and her story is one of Savannah's favorite legends.

    The Waving Girl, known to her friends as Florence Martus, was born and raised on Elba, a nearby coastal island on which her father was the lighthouse keeper. Her brother assumed charge of the lighthouse, and Florence stayed on the island for much of her life. Her life was simple and quiet, and she began to communicate with passing sailors by waving a white handkerchief as they passed to and from Savannah. When the ships came in the night, Florence hoisted a lantern, and sailors from around the world took notice and returned her greetings with their own. She also was a lifesaver: When a nearby river-dredge caught fire, Florence and her brother struck out into the river in their skiff, rescuing 30 men imperiled by flames. Over the years, Florence became a beacon of Savannah, a joyful welcome or a fond farewell, and many seamen gratefully returned her salutations.

    A part of her legend has arisen from speculation that Florence fell in love with a sailor who came to port in Savannah, a man who promised to return for her but who vanished into the ocean's vast horizon. The veracity of the legend is in doubt, but it casts a romantic light over Florence and gives new meaning to her vigil (as well as to the sculptor's interpretation of her). However, every ship that passed, though it did not carry her beloved, did bring dozens of sailors thrilled by her attention, and scores put pen to paper and wrote letters to Florence, though they did not know her name. By that time, though, her legend had spread, and the postman knew where to bring the messages addressed to "The Waving Girl."

    Florence's vigil ended more than four decades after it had begun when she moved with her brother to nearby Bona Bella. Yet she was not soon forgotten. Savannah threw her a grand party for her 70th birthday.

    Citizens and sailors flocked to her party to shake her hand, kiss her cheek and tell her how much she meant to the city and to the seamen of the world.

    :)

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  13. You mean to say, you waited for me to ask this question before telling us the story? How could you have kept it to yourself?

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  14. ces, i looked up this info in order to answer your question. then i realized i totally left out info on all the squares in savannah, each of which has its own story.

    my travel-along was short on research and long on jovality.

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  15. I love both these towns. But when I think of Charleston, I'll never be able to not also think of changing my 2-year-old son's diaper in the crowded visitor's center restroom and him suddenly belting out this song: "Penis, penis, penis, penis, penis, penis, bumbum!" Yeah, those were the days.

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  16. A trip to Paris is always a special moment, once you have reserved your flight ticket and yourvacation rental, you can focus on planning your visit. Paris has a reputation for high prices, but wise travellers will discover Paris’ museums for free.Le Petit Palais Built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, this museum presents works since Antiquity until end of the XIXth century

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