Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Savannah - Part Two

Savannah is close to the Georgia coast and we discovered that we could catch a little local bus to Tybee Island so on Wednesday that's what we did. It was an interesting ride as all the other passengers were locals and obviously knew both each other and the bus driver. They were very friendly and we were soon chatting away. The friendliness of the people in the South was one of the most memorable aspects of our stay, everyone was so pleasant and helpful. The photo shows the beach at Tybee Island, the sky looks grey here but it was warm and gradually became sunny as well. The beach stretches for miles and we were able to walk and paddle in the sea for a couple of hours and then we had a lovely picnic lunch. We did very little but it was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable days of our holiday.

The beach was full of birds who were quite tame and allowed us to get quite close to them. Not sure what these are - knot maybe?

We booked ourselves onto a bus tour to Bon Aventure cemetery on Thursday and it proved to be very interesting. It's a beautiful place covering about 100 acres and filled with tree lined avenues. Many of the trees are live oaks positively dripping with Spanish Moss - this does not mean live oaks as opposed to dead oaks! It's a term for a group of related evergreen oaks:) The cemetery was originally the Bonaventure Plantation which was owned by John Mullryne and his descendents. The plantation was sold in 1846 and became a private cemetery. The City of Savannah purchased it in 1907 and it then became a public cemetery which is still in use today.

I found taking photos here very difficult as the trees cast so much shadow.We had an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide but there wasn't much time for lingering and taking several shots as I usually do:) It's one of the disadvantages of being in a tour group. I've included this photo because of the iron cross that stands at the foot of the grave. These stand in front of many of the graves and signify that one of the occupants was a Confederate soldier who served during the American Civil War. The letters C S A stand for Confederate States of America.

This is probably the most well known grave in Bon Aventure, it is that of a little girl called Gracie Watson.

This is her story - you will need to click on the photo to read it.

A close up of the statue - such a sad story.

I mentioned in the previous post that the famous songwriter Johnny Mercer was a native of Savannah and he and several members of his family are buried in this grave plot in Bon Aventure - the two graves at the back right are those of Johnny and his wife.

This memorial bench in the front corner of the plot has a caricature of Johhny Mercer's head in the centre and the titles of some of his most famous songs engraved around the edges.

Bon Aventure is built on a bluff of the Wilmington River which eventually flows into the Savannah River. I'm sure we were told about this impressive arched memorial but I can't remember anything about it - I should have taken notes!
 There is one statue that used to be in Bon Aventure which, like the Mercer-Williams House, became famous through the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

The bronze Bird Girl was removed to the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah in 1997 because of the amount of attention it was attracting. We saw it earlier in the week when we spent a couple of hours exploring the Museum.

We had to move back to the Embassy Suites at the airport for the weekend as the Rock'n'Roll Marathon was on in the city and Marshall House was already fully booked when we made our reservations. As a result we needed our own transport so over the weekend we rented a car - a brand new Chrysler 300C. Juliette had never driven an automatic before nor had she ever driven anywhere but the UK, not to mention that it was dark when we left Savannah and her own car is a little VW Polo! How she managed the 45 minute drive to the airport I shall never know and I don't think she does either:) We would still be driving round Georgia and possibly several other states as well without the satnav - we certainly would never have found the hotel. However it was a good thing in a way because the next day driving in daylight was a breeze. I gather that the car was lovely to drive and it was certainly very comfortable.

On Saturday we drove out to the ruined plantation at Wormsloe. It was a fortified house built in 1736 by Noble Jones, one of the founders of the colonial state of Georgia. The fortifications were there because of possible attacks by the Spanish who had colonized what is now the state of Florida and also claimed the coastal areas of Georgia.

The house was built of wood and tabby which is a sort of cement made from oyster shells and lime. You can see the oyster shells quite clearly in the photo. In 1828 a new plantation house was built and the original gradually fell into ruin.

There are walking trails around the estate so we decided to do the long one which took us a couple of hours. Wormsloe is built on the tip of the Isle of Hope - actually it's sometimes an island and sometimes a peninsular depending on the marsh water levels. It's a lovely and tranquil place to walk in and we had it entirely to ourselves although there were plenty of people at the site - apparently nobody else was prepared to walk very far:)

This for you Diane:) I spotted this heart-shaped hole in the old tree trunk and couldn't resist taking a photo.

There is a very small colonial life demonstration area which included this blacksmith's forge

There were only two reenactors on the site - I suppose it was late in the season and there's probably more going on in the summertime.

I think this was a replica of the area where the slaves lived but I could be wrong about this. There was really very little information about the site as a whole, just a little leaflet with a map - no guide book because I asked.

This is Jones Marsh formerly called the Skiddaway Narrows. The thing I found really strange about this walk is that there were no birds of any description on the marsh or in the trees and the only animal we saw was a single deer. I wouldn't have been surprised to see snakes or alligators but not a sign of either - probably just as well really:)

Wormsloe is famous for the mile and a half long avenue of oaks draped with the ever present Spanish Moss. This was taken late in the afternoon when the light was beginning to fade.

On Sunday we ventured further afield and crossed the Savannah River into South Carolina and drove up to Hilton Head for a relaxing day on the beach. It's a really pleasant place though I imagine that it gets very busy indeed in the summer. It's quite a historic place I think and it would have been interesting to spend more time there.

Here I am paddling in the ocean and looking as though I have the beach to myself.

There were plenty of other people there enjoying the sunshine as well though. It was a lovely relaxing day and set us up nicely for the next part of our trip - New Orleans!


George said...

Great stories and photos, Rowan, and I must say that you are beginning to look like a native southerner, a species that usually happiest when walking barefoot in the water.

simplyvintage said...

I'm loving these blog posts and wonderful photos. xxx

WOL said...

I believe the birds are sanderlings. You were wise to go to Savannah at the time of year that you went. It's dreadfully hot and humid in summer.

Mac n' Janet said...

It's so much fun seeing Savannah through your eyes. Glad you made it to Bonaventure, I love cemeteries (yes I know that's weird) and we really like Bonaventure. We prefer Tybee Beach to Hilton Head, Hilton Head is a bit more "up market" and Tybee a bit more laid back. Love to walk from the pier at Tybee out to the lighthouse. Can't wait to see your New Orleans pictures.

Jan said...

Wonderful pictures! I've never been to that part of the south, but we're planning a trip in May. Your "adventure" in the Chrysler reminded me of the time we visited England in 1990. We rented a Ford Escort and of course everything was on the opposite side of the car and the road for us! We felt that people watching us much have been thinking "crazy American drivers" as we got very turned around more than once!

Roy Norris said...

Amazing set of images in these two accounts so far reveal that you had an interesting trip D.
I think the Waders are Knot, which are really spectacular migrators travelling thousands of miles on their journeys.
The other Wader is pretty special as well.{:))
Look forward to the rest of the report.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Another lovely tour - and lots of history. It is amazing how much of our country most of us know nothing about. And such wonderful photos - thank you.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Some great photos there. Looking forward very much to New Orleans.

Rosie said...

I've just caught up with reading your last three posts about your adventures and I've been fascinated by your words and photos. You look so happy paddling in the sea and how lovely to meet Janet and Mac! I'm looking forward to New Orleans too:)

weekend et coup de brosse said...

Très belles photos, joli post, très bon week-end - Cath.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

What an adventure you are having! It all looks very atmospheric. Did you see Scooby Doo by any chance?!

Sheila da Silva said...

From experience I would say you chose the best time to visit, quiet and a lot cooler and less humid than in the Summer. I liked the pictures of the cemetery tour, something I like to visit when I travel. Very interesting.

Mary said...

Looks like you were really getting your feet wet in our southern waters Rowan, and you looked lovely doing it! Enjoying following your travels. Glad Juliette was a brave woman and did so well driving over here! I've never driven in the UK and never will now at this age!

Hugs - Mary

Hearthwife said...

Fab post, looking forward to part 3! :)

Diane said...

Thank you for my heart - I love it. And I am loving your trip. She was very very very brave to drive that car! xxxx

gracie1961 said...

It looks like a really interesting place to visit, thank you for showinf me this part of US

Patricia said...

I'm so enjoying reading about your fantastic trip Rowan. This must be an adventure of a lifetime and so interesting. Stunning photos. x

Bovey Belle said...

What a fabulous holiday and great photos. I love looking round old graveyards and some very touching stones there - that poor little girl.

I think your daughter was very brave to drive a strange car in a strange country and after dark as her first experience with it!

Granny Sue said...

Love Savannah! Especially the Riverwalk area. Great photos of a quirky and fascinating city!