Savannah Stories and Tips

My journal notes - Part III -

Nightime azaleas Photo, Savannah, Georgia

MARCH 15, 2002 11:25 p.m.
DESOTO HILTON
SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

Note: This is a continuation of my entry in my written journal. It picks up with my wife and I walking down Abercorn Street toward Oglethorpe Square and The Olde Pink House.

We carried on down Abercorn, walking by neat Gergian houses with wrought iron porches with beaded people drinking on them. Abercorn 23 was our final destination and it took us about fifteen minutes to get there. The Olde Pink House stood in all its pinkness at one of the corners of the beautiful Oglethorpe Square. We walked down the middle of the green square which was already full of tulips, daffodils, and blooming azaleas. A big statue of John Wesley, the founder of the Wesleyan sect and a Savannah resident, was smack in the middle of the square. All along the square were benches, like the one in "Forrest Gump". Was this where they filmed the movie? I need to research for tommorrow. (Note: The scene with Forrest Gump sitting with a box of chocolates and waiting for a bus was filmed in Chippewa Square. After they filmed the scene, they took away the bench).

We made a beeline to The Olde Pink House. It was illuminated by floodlights, so Toni took some photos of the building and the restaurant sign. We entered the restaurant at exactly 8:30 p.m. (perfectly on time!)

Upon entering, we were immediately impressed. The foyer had authentic thick plank wood for a floor and a huge door with a window pane arch over it. It was painted a pale yellow and had a painting of the home owner, James Habersham, next to the reception desk. We headed to a dining room with a roaring fireplace, beautiful chandelier, and paintings of unknown people on the wall. The walls were painted a pale green.

We sat in the half-empty room and pondered the wine list and menu. Our waiter, a college kid from Boulder, CO, suggested a relatively expensive wine from the list. I politely ordered something more reasonable (a sweet and buttery Chardonay, Chateau Ste. Michelle (Columbia Valley) for $30.

After significant negotiation and troubled forethought, Toni and I decided to have soup and salad and then share four different appetizers. Toni chose to order a Caesar Salad with Crisp Corn Bread Oysters. I ordered the She-crab Soup laced with Sherry.

For our four appetizers, we ordered Artichoke Fritters Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Sauteed Local Shrimp with Country Ham and Grits Cake, Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Wild Greens, and Fried Bried with Green Apple and Red Peeper Sauce. Everything was very good, especially the She-crab Soup (which our waiter added sherry to at the table), the Caesar Salad with Oysters, and the Scallops.

We lingered over dinner and took pictures of the interesting-looking dishes. I also took a photo of some cornbread and biscuit that was brought out before our food. I took some photos of the room we were in; the paintings, the fireplace, and the chandelier added to the romantic setting.

We ordered some "no-flour" chocolate cake with raspberry puree. It was pretty good (tasted like fudge), but really filled us up. I then took off and snapped photos in the adjacent rooms of the restaurant. Most had fireplaces and paintings. They were painted ina lipstick red, prussian blue, eggplant (or "Savannah black",as they call it here) and yellow. One room had walls of exposed brick.

Another room had a dumb-waiter modeled after the one Jefferson had in Monticello, according to a waitress. Some of these rooms were upstairs where there was a beautiful view of Oglethorpe Square. Through the open window upstairs one could see the American flag and a Union Jack that the restaurant hung from poles on the building's facade.

I took a copy of the menu and whatever else I could get my hands on. The best surprise of the evening, however, was the old style tavern room downstairs. It was all wood and brick with cosy chairs. Smoke and bourbon filled the air as a piano player sang some jazzy tunes. We wanted to stay, but could not find a chair. We'll have to try to come back.

We walked out of the restaurant and into Oglethorpe Square. Toni took a good shot of some azaleas that were lit up by the square. Instead of going straight back to the Desoto Hilton, we headed down to the Savannah River, walking north on Abercorn Street.

Revellers increased in quanity and drunkeness as we headed toward where the Budweiser was flowing unfettered. The River Street walk was under us (we were on Bay Street, the commercial area connected by some interesting footbridges and byways). The drinkers were all in an "ID-controlled" area full of cobblestones (making for some interesting walking when really drunk). Toni snapped a photo of the fiesta with a large U.S. Coast Guard ship as a backdrop.

We headed down Bay Street toward the City Hall, which was illuminated in green for the occasion. We made fun of some of the drunk partiers (some were real pieces of work with big green Dr. Seuss hats and "deely-bobbers"). We turned south onto Whitaker Street to go back to the Hilton.

I wanted a Guinness before going to bed, so we headed into an Irish pub named O'Connel's. The bouncer didn't card us, so we knew that the place was full of young people. I struggled through some masses to get a Guinness. It was, of course, worth the effort. Tullamore Dew (an Irish whiskey) was giving away shots of whiskey, so I had one of those too. The pub was fun with lots of Irish stuff, but no available seats. I finished the beer and we headed home by way of Perry Street, then Bull Street.

I am now in the hotel watching a promotional tourist program on what Savannah has to offer. I plan on getting up with the sun tommorrow to take as many photos as I can before the parade starts. I'm looking to go to Monterrey Square, Mercer House, Armstrong House, the Savannah Bridge (Talmadge Bridge), the Bonaventure Cemetery, Clary's, and Forrest Gump's bench.

I also want to find out the best place to watch the parade. We may visit the tourist center some time tomorrow as well. For lunch (or whenever the parade ends), we may go to Mrs. Wilkes, Huey's, or Clary's to eat.

As for now, I'm going to read more of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I hope to get to page 200 before I fall asleep. Until tomorrow. . .

Oh, before I sign out for the night, I need to speak about the beads. I forced Toni to get some green beads to wear tommorrow. We got them from a hard-faced, chain-smoking, truck-driver of a woman who had a rolling cart full of "official" beads. The beads she had were in the shape of hemp leaves, shamrocks, and Confederate flags. We just got some regular green beads.

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