Family, Girls’ Trips, and Coastal Towns (Part 3)

Savannah, GA

Well, Savannah just happens to be on our way home from Jekyll Island, so it seemed like a perfect place to stop to eat…and take pictures, and visit churches, and see parks, and get chocolate! What can I say? We’re women. We need chocolate.

Now, after the adventures of the previous two days, you would think we would have no energy left for walking. Well, you would be right…but we mustered some up anyway. We thought we might indulge in a carriage ride, but apparently it was necessary to book those in advance if possible, so we had to pass. I did, however, get a couple of nice photos of some carriages and horses…

…and a dog poking his head out of a second story window where some construction was in progress.

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And of course, the squirrels couldn’t let the dogs and horses take all of the camera time, so a couple of those little guys posed for photos too.

The flowers were in bloom, so the parks were dotted with lots of beautiful colors.

And my beautiful daughter…well, we had to purchase a souvenir T-shirt to cover her sunburned shoulders.

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And a fountain seemed to be a great place for two girls to stop and rest their feet (and text I suppose).

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Now this was rather a rushed trip, as it is impossible to see all there is to see in Savannah in an afternoon. I, however, did my best to provide a speed tour. The Lutheran church, the Catholic church, and Forsyth Park made the list for the day to introduce my family to the beauty of Savannah.

We stopped in at the Lutheran Church first. I had visited this one in the past and wanted to show my mother the stained glass windows.

After visiting here for a few minutes, a nice gentleman who was a member of the church told us a little bit about the history of the building. Then he recommended that we take a short walk to the Catholic cathedral to see its beauty. The last time I was in the city, we didn’t make it to the Catholic church before the doors were closed to the public. This day, however, we were lucky enough to get to go inside. And what a sight it was!

It felt a bit irreverent walking around taking photos in the church like that, but there were others there admiring and taking photos as well. I hope we didn’t disturb those who had come there for more spiritual reasons.

Our next stop was Forsyth Park which is the largest of the parks in Savannah. We were greeted on entering by a young barefoot man playing his acoustic guitar and singing.

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I think perhaps he was one of the college students.

Finally, we headed to LuLu’s Chocolate Bar to indulge in a decadent chocolate confection. I, unfortunately, have no photos of that wondrous dessert as we ate it…all.  Now, though this is the end of this adventure, there is still one more to come. About a month later, my daughter and I traveled to the beautiful city of Charleston, so stay tuned for that adventure!


Savannah (Part Three: City Life)

Welcome to the final blog about my wonderful trip to Savannah. Today I will share with you my thoughts on the energy and life of this great city.

I must say, I believe this city never sleeps. There seems to be so much going on day and night. Perhaps it was just because it was summer and the height of the tourism season, or perhaps it is like this always. Either way, this is a city bursting with life. (Maybe that’s why the dead still hang out here for a while 😉 ).

The first night we were in the city, the concierge recommended a few places for us to visit. We were immediately drawn to one of her suggestions–Lulu’s Chocolate Bar! Well, if the name doesn’t say it all, perhaps this picture will.

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It’s called Rapture, and indeed it was…pure rapture. It was meant for two to share, though I would suggest perhaps sharing it with a couple more people. The bowl, if you can’t tell, is made of pure chocolate. It was absolutely amazing and a wonderful way to start off our stay in the city. If ever you visit Savannah, you simply must stop in here.

After this delightful dessert, we headed over to River Street to have dinner with my father-in-law. (Yes, you caught that. We had dessert before dinner. It was vacation.) Just before dinner, I took a few shots of some river boats taking people on sight-seeing tours and dinner cruises.

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The water is quite busy in the evenings, as is the street by the water. While Dawn and I took photos, we got the privilege of listening to a gentleman sing and play the guitar. He had a really nice voice.

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After dinner, I got a few more pictures of boats and some evening clouds.

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On the way back to our condo, we passed some older gentlemen sitting in front of one of the buildings playing chess. I kindly asked if I could take their picture, and they gave me the okay.

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Things like this seem like something from a movie to me. Later on, we passed them again, and a young man had joined them to play for a while. I just love scenes like this. It makes me feel like there’s community and fellowship.

The next day we breakfasted at Goose Feathers. There was quite a line, so it must have been a rather popular place to breakfast. Everyone was really nice, and we got the garden seats (actually, we sat next to the ficus which the waitress had to maneuver around).

Then we wandered around the city. The city is bustling in the day with locals working, tourists relaxing or playing, college students from SCAD trotting around from class to class (and helping two crazy out-of-towners who will not be named who couldn’t find what they were looking for), and lots of people out walking their puppies.

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While we were in one of the parks, a couple walking caught my attention. It appeared to be a young lady and her grandmother going for a stroll. They walked through the park hand-in-hand, a perfect picture of generations finding something common to unite them…a love for family and a love for walking.

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Absolutely precious!

That night we went back to River Street for dinner at an amazing Irish Pub called Kevin’s. Best Irish Beef Stew I’ve had in a long time, and the upstairs has an enclosed, climate-controlled porch to dine on and watch the boats go up and down the river. I recommend giving it a try if you head that way.

No matter where we went in this beautiful city, we felt comfortable and at home. It is a city full of life, beauty, and southern charm.

Savannah (Part 2: Architecture)

After leaving Bonaventure Cemetery, we dined at the Pirate House and then headed to our beautiful condo at The Studio Homes at Ellis Square. The unit was perfect, nestled right in the midst of the city. We could walk everywhere, and that is what we did. The valet parked the car, and we didn’t see it again until we left.

The view from the roof was beautiful…

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When we headed out the next day, the first place we visited was The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension. It was beautiful both inside and out. I took one nice shot before heading in…

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The first thing that catches your attention when entering the sanctuary is the beautiful stained glass window straight down the center aisle.

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More beautiful stained glass windows line the walls on both sides of the room and reflect in the beautiful baby grand piano sitting in the front left corner of the sanctuary.

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The altar at the front of the church is made of marble, as is the checker patterned floor.

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The pews are upholstered in a rich red fabric, and the intricately carved crown moulding looks as if it is laced in gold.

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And it is home to one of the most amazing pipe organs I have seen in person to date.

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And centered to the back of the sanctuary is yet another magnificent stained glass window.

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The Jewish temple was equally amazing, though I didn’t get a chance to visit the inside of this magnificent building.

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We walked along many of the streets and parks in Savannah, and each building and home seemed to me a precious piece of art. So much loving detail was placed into each one, it was awe-inspiring. I will simply show you a few that stood out to me.

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I simply loved the spindle like quality and the scroll patterns in the window pictured above. I took this photo for no other reason than it made me happy. 🙂

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And this building seemed to have a Grecian influence with the beautiful columns, intricate frieze, and blue and gold coloring.

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What struck me most about this particular carving was how far the head of the lady in the center leans out. It looks as if she can see right down to the sidewalk beneath her and watch all of the passersby.

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And all of the homes were simply beautiful. Even the row houses had a charming appeal.

I don’t know many architectural terms, but I do enjoy the beauty and hope that I have conveyed it well through my photographs. And tomorrow, I will give you my reflection on the life and energy of this great city.

Savannah (Part 1: Bonaventure Cemetery)

On July 10th, my girlfriend, Dawn, and I set out on an adventure for my 40th birthday. We headed to the lovely city of Savannah, Georgia. I absolutely love this city. It is so full of history and stories and lovely architecture. I took so many photos on this adventure that I decided to make this into three posts: Bonaventure Cemetery, Architecture, and City Life.

The first place we stopped when we got into town was Bonaventure Cemetery. We headed straight for the older section, but of course, I saw so many things along the way that we made several stops before reaching the historic section.

The first thing that caught my attention was a mausoleum in the Jewish section. It was a magnificent tomb. With the Spanish moss draping around it and the tropical plants surrounding it, it reminded me of an ancient tomb in the jungle somewhere (well, actually it made me think of the old tv show Land of the Lost for some reason).

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After taking a few shots of this tomb and a few others, we moved on. It was a beautiful drive with tree lined roads in places and Spanish moss everywhere.

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The next place that caught my attention was a small section of the cemetery with veterans graves in it. Each headstone had a US Flag displayed, and the graves were in nice neat little rows. I thought it would make a good picture to display on holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day.

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One thing I was curious about, however, were the little stones on all the headstones. I began to notice that they were everywhere. I asked Dawn about it, and she explained that some people believe that you are supposed to leave a gift for the dead when you visit their graves. Having grown up with an old cemetery on our property, which my mother to this day is caretaker of, this seemed very odd to me. I knew about putting flowers or other such memorabilia on graves in memory, but leaving gifts for complete strangers was interesting. So, I decided to research it.

Apparently, this practice stems from a Jewish tradition. Early in history, graves were not nearly as elaborate as the ones we see today. Many times only stones marked the grave-site. Visitors would leave a stone in remembrance and honor of the deceased and help “build” the tomb. Another belief was that the soul of the dead would haunt the grave-site for a considerable length of time, and the stones helped to keep the soul in its place of rest and protect the visitor from any negative emotion from the spirit. So the conclusion I have come to is that the stones represent the number of visitors who have come to honor the dead with a visit. It is a show of love, honor, and respect. And here in this portion of the cemetery, a show of respect for those who have fallen in battle defending our country.

However, apparently the leaving of such gifts has become a problem over the years, as well as the taking of things from grave-sites, so Bonaventure Cemetery kindly asks you to leave the grave as you see it.

After leaving this portion of the cemetery, we headed into some of the historic section. I was immediately struck by how elaborate some of the grave markers were. I determined that some very wealthy people must have been buried here. The first grave we came to was marked by an angel reaching out to put a feather or palm frond onto an elevated cross. (I really must admit that I didn’t necessarily pay attention to who the graves belonged to or know any history about any of those laid to rest here. I was mainly interested in photographing these elaborate monuments to these deceased. After all, I’m pretty sure I don’t know anyone buried here.)

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I was captivated by how beautiful this angel was and how detailed the carvings were, and the inscription written beneath was “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

Of course, at the risk of sounding disrespectful, the Whovian in me popped out with the next thought being, “There sure are a lot of weeping angels here. Don’t blink.” Way too much Doctor Who in my diet obviously.

The next grave I came to was that of a little girl named Gracie. Apparently, she died rather young, and her parents hired a local sculptor to sculpt her image from a photograph in memory of their beloved child. This is quite possibly one of the most amazing sculptures in the cemetery. It is as if this lovely child sits still to this day admiring the garden that surrounds her.

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As I began to wander around and photograph these amazing monuments, I was struck by another feeling. It was as if you could feel the presence of old lingering spirits in this section of the cemetery. Perhaps it was a combination of the spooky Spanish moss hanging from all of the ancient trees and the warm summer breeze rustling through the leaves and waving the moss, or perhaps there really were some lingering spirits. After all, when you build such lovely and elaborate homes for the dead, it seems that you are inviting them to stay a little longer on this earth. Not a wise invitation, I am sure, but an invitation nonetheless. Either way, I determined that this would be a very interesting and perhaps a little spooky place to visit in the evening or at night. Maybe on the next trip, I’ll visit a little later in the day.

The next group of grave-sites I visited looked like above-ground stone caskets. Having not really researched what they are, I assume they are indeed above-ground vaults or tombs. Many were adorned with crosses across the top of the “casket”. Being a fan of the old monsters, my first thought upon viewing these was, “There sure are a lot of vampires buried in this cemetery.” I am sure you can see what I mean…

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Perfect way to entomb that old monster, Nosferatu, don’t you think?

And then there were a few beautiful, though a bit spooky, enclosed family sites like these…

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These two tombs caught my attention as I walked by. Not because of any ornate embellishments, but from their stately simplicity…

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And for one last showcase of the spooky quality of this section of the cemetery, I present these photographs…

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I do realize they are angels, but they tended to be a little creepy to me.

The next section that we visited started out as a hunt for an angel. I saw her from the road and jumped out of the car in search of her. As I was on my quest, I felt as though I were walking through a Greek sculpture garden. The memorials here were quite stately and ornate. The first one I came across looked like a doorway, and through this “doorway” you could see the most beautiful landscape. It looked as though you could step through to another world. Perhaps Narnia was on the other side.

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The next memorial I came across was absolutely beautiful, though I didn’t appreciate the full beauty until I was going back through the pictures. From the photographs, you can see that the sculptor was adept at perfectly capturing the details of the hands. The intact hand looks like a living lady’s fingers were transformed into stone. It is quite remarkable in photograph.

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My favorite sculpture in this “garden of the dead” was a beautiful lady positioned atop a raised platform. From afar, she is framed by dangling Spanish moss and vines. Her image is so serene and brings a quality of peace to the area as she rests atop her stones in quiet contemplation.

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The rest of this lovely garden I will simply show you in picture…

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And in the end, I did locate my angel before we headed away to the lovely city of Savannah.

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