Thursday, September 25, 2008

Savannah Trip Days 5 & 6- September 22 and 23 Savannah and travel home

We spent our last day in Savannah again. All of the time we had spent in the historic district, we were just admiring the outsides of the buildings. Today we did a little touring of the inside of a few. Our first stop was at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

We had quite a bit of time to wander around since the Owens-Thomas house didn't open for tours on Mondays until 12, so since Mark had been by the cemetery but actually hadn't gone in we went there for a while. Mark looked at the graves and read the signs while I wandered around collecting more texture photos. We peeked in at another couple of churches on our way by too.
Finally it was time to go to the house tour. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, so my photos from outside the house will have to suffice. The house's main claim to fame is the fact that the Marquis de Lafayette and his son stayed there for a few days several years after the revolutionary war on a speaking tour of the newly formed United States of America.

and pictures of the beautiful garden in back that I was peeking through the gate to see a few days earlier (see post from days 1 and 2).
There were lots of these orange butterflies sipping from the garden flowers, and a few brown and white ones too.
The back porch entry to the house.

We were worn out by that point and opted to spend the rest of the afternoon hours back at our hotel enjoying a nap after we made dinner reservations at Lady & Sons, the restaurant owned by Paula Deen, for dinner at 5.
We went for their dinner buffet- it was a wonderful non-fish meal with buttermilk fried chicken (YUM!!), BBQ ribs, black eyed peas and butter beans, grits, collard greens (can't say I was too fond of this, I prefer cooked spinach after having tried it LOL), cheese biscuits and hoe cakes (pan-fried corn cakes), salad, and peach cobbler and banana-nut butter gooey cake. I'm sure I forgot a couple of things that were on my plate too. Oh my, we just slowly rolled out of there we ate so much good food! We went back to the hotel again to relax for a few hours and then at about 7:45 we ventured out to find the evening's entertainment at the Savannah Jazz festival which had started the night before.
We enjoyed 2 hours of music by David Lugo & Latin Jazz Motion. There weren't too many people there when we first arrived, but people kept drifting in as the evening wore on and the room was nearly full when we left with the music supposed to continue for another hour. I always find it amazing that people can take one sheet of music that isn't even filled completely and turn it into a song that can last 10 or 15 minutes. I just do not play that way- it all has to be spelled out exactly for me or I am completely lost. I guess that is why I am an orchestra player and not a jazz instrumentalist!

Day 6 was a travel day to get back to the Springs. We had to get up and catch an early bus out to the airport, since it is geared towards people who actually work out near the airport and not tourists, so it only runs until about 8:30. That meant a long wait at the airport since our flights didn't leave until 12 and 2- Mark was on a different airline since he was flying on a ticket from work to the conference. I had another long wait once I got to Chicago, so I decided to try and get on the earlier flight to the Springs. I grabbed the last stand-by seat and sat down on the plane only to sit there and sit there.... they had found an electrical problem and were trying to fix it. Finally after about about 45 minutes they had everyone get off the plane. Some people rescheduled for the 8:40P flight the Springs because the 5:30 flight I was originally supposed to be on was full. United finally decided to do some rescheduling and moving planes around to be able to get us a new plane- it was like a comedy routine for a while with them telling us to go to one gate and then changing their minds and sending us to another one. Most people handled it pretty well, I'm sure the beers they got at a bar down the way helped their moods LOL Finally at 6:15 they started loading us on a new plane and we took off about 6:40. I got to the Springs only an hour and 15 minutes later than I would have if I had stayed on my originally scheduled flight ;)

It was a wonderful, relaxing trip. It is nice to know that Mark and I can still have a non-child related conversation, and spend a few days alone together and still like each other when it is all over. Thanks Momma, we appreciate you watching the kids for us while we were gone!

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Savannah Trip Day 4- September 21 Charleston, SC

We spent Sunday morning touring downtown historic Charleston. We opted to take a carriage tour to save my aching feet a bit (I had a rather large blister on my left foot from all of the walking in Savannah and the cobblestone and tabby sidewalks weren't helping) and we would get to hear local history and stories that we wouldn't otherwise hear.
One of the roosters that was wandering around the carriage barn- he was looking for handouts from waiting guests, but he would let you pet him briefly too.
a couple of the prettier doorways that we came across during our one hour carriage tour.

and it seems like every time you turn a corner in Charleston there is another church just ahead of you- one of Charleston's nicknames is the "holy city" because of it's high proportion of churches to it's population. Of course it is also known as the "city of decadence" for all of the other business types that abound in the city as well ;) Here are a few of the large churches we spotted on our tour.

The Charleston Custom House.
The start of the local market on Market street- buildings run down the middle of the street from here to the where the waterfront used to be and small vendors set up their tables with everything from local foods, to sweetgrass baskets to various types of art. We stopped and bought a small slate tile piece with a painting of the Bay St. rainbow row houses on it for a souvenir.
Rainbow Row on Bay St.- all of the painting and drawings you see are interpretations of it as it used to look, as there are so many trees along the sidewalk and it no longer runs along the edge of the bay as the city has been following land reclamation for many years. The slate roof tile we bought actually came from the roof of one of the rainbow row houses and was torn off during a hurricane.

After a quick lunch at a Market St. deli, we drove out to the northwest part of town to see the Magnolia Plantation. The gardens were beautiful, even without many flowers blooming. I guess coming from fall in Colorado where things are mostly brown, it is just amazing to see so much green everywhere.

We took their black water swamp boat tour (it is called black water because the Cyprus trees secrete tannins into the water that make it look black, and heard about the rice plantation farming techniques and saw some of the local wildlife. Blue herons, great egrets, and snowy egrets, along with a couple of other birds I can't remember the names to, abounded along with small alligators. Our guide said they have an alligator named Willy that is over 15 ft long, but he did not grace us with an appearance. A blue heron:
Great Egret:
I can't remember the name of this bird, but he is drying his wings off after diving for fish, as he doesn't have oil glands like ducks and other water fowl do. You can see the alligator on the board in the background.

After we were done with the plantation garden walk and buying a souvenir in the gift shop to turn into a Christmas ornament, we drove back into Charleston for dinner at a local fish restaurant off of market street- AW Shucks- and then we drove back to Savannah for the last day of our vacation.

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Savannah Trip Day 3- September 20 The Mighty 8th AF Museum & Charleston, SC

Saturday morning, Mark got up early and took a bus out to the airport to pick up our rental car for the weekend, while I got to sleep a little longer. I pried myself out of bed when he got back and after breakfast in the lobby we checked out and headed to our first stop of the day, The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler which is out next to the Savannah airport. This is an impressive museum that follows the time line of WWII from the beginnings of Hitler's rise to power to the end of the war, and it does a good job of integrating the 8th Air Force's role in the war into the overall history.

Once the US has declared war and entered into the fray, the first exhibit you come to is an interactive mission with a recreated Nissan Hut where you get your early morning mission briefing. You then move to a small theater where you see a film that transports you out to your plane. Finally, you go to a second theater where you fly your mission. The films use actual combat footage and combine lights and sounds to try and give you as realistic an experience as possible. There is a museum volunteer with you during this who also gives you further details and insights into some of the things that happened in the film. In the main display hall of the museum, there are plenty of models and real airplanes on display as well as many exhibits on each of the bomber crew positions. There is an interactive B-17 gunner training exhibit where you can try shooting a 50mm gun at enemy fighters, and exhibits on POW camps and evasion houses and techniques, the Tuskegee airmen and the women's WASP pilots.

After we were done in the main museum hall, we went out to the memorial garden area and found a wedding was just getting started at the chapel. It had a Scottish theme, this area of the south has a strong Scottish and Irish heritage, so the men were all wearing kilts and there was a bag-piper to provide music.

We spent about 4 hours at the museum, and could have easily spent all day there. To really see everything you would probably need 2 or 3 days.

After a quick fast food lunch across the street from the museum, we headed north to Charleston. We didn't have a good map, so we were probably took a bit longer than it should have to get there but we eventually found our way there and got a hotel room for the night before heading into historic Charleston to look around some. We drove out to Sullivan's Island and looked around Fort Moultrie. It was closed by the time we got there, so we could only walk around the outside path and read the signs, but that was enough. We learned the history behind the South Carolina state flag from one of the signs- the palmetto tree and moon represent the defeat of the British navy here during the first conflict of the Revolutionary war with the palmetto walled fort successfully defending the town.
and then we went back to downtown Charleston and ate dinner at Bubba Gump's. More yummy seafood in a very colorful setting!

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