For my final day in Savannah I would be taking it relatively easy but that doesn’t mean I was just lying around waiting for my flight. No I had a few more things to conquer before I left town.
There were two stores we were all interested in and both were nearby. First up was “The Christmas Shop”. Here Christmas is kept alive all year round. They sell amounts of ornaments, Santas, nutcrackers, and holiday collectables. It was a small store but it had plenty for us to peer over. It was a nice little store with the feel of a small town shop.
I have learned from my travels that finding a Christmas store that is open year round can be a fairly common thing. My favorite has been the one I found in New Orleans, “Santa’s Quarters”. It is about four times the size of the store in Savannah and has literally every seasonal item you could be looking for. Either way I think that checking out what each city has to offer is a great way to bring home a souvenir that you will use that also will remind you of your trip. These are my favorite kinds of souvenirs especially when you have a guest comment on them. It brings another chance to tell the story of your vacation. After a while your home will be transported to a space that is uniquely made up of places you love.
Next door there was “Saints and Shamrocks”. This was a mash up of religious and Irish articles. It might sound odd off the bat but it too had trinkets I haven’t seen anywhere else. I was able to find souvenirs for myself as well as those at home. Both stores were well worth the visit.
I went from the high of shopping to the pain of hunger. This was also about the time the heat became unbearable again for me. I wanted to try someplace new but the thought of walking another few blocks in that humidity was bringing me to tears. With that my group spilt in half and I had a repeat breakfast at the hotel. We had planned different activities for the afternoon so it was all going to work out fine.
My plans for the afternoon were pretty typical for me. I wanted to go down to River Street and spend some time on a sightseeing cruise. I have said it before and I will see it again, I believe that taking such a trip is a great way to see a city especially if you are limited on time. I have had great experiences doing so both in Chicago (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2014/05/for-wonderful-weekend-in-windy-city_26.html) and more recently in Pittsburgh (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2015/02/for-city-of-bridges-pittsburgh-part-ii.html). I had read that seeing the city this way would be the same as the way Oglethorpe had in 1733. This was also a great way to see the “waving girl” statue. Plus the thought of the river breeze and air-conditioned boat sounded like a little piece of heaven to me.
We made it to the boat on time and even had a few minutes to kill. With that we went into a few stores and settled on getting some ice cream, peach of course, as a treat. This old, original section of River Street has remained untouched despite Savannah building up around it. For instance the inside of the ice cream store had bricks for flooring and you could see the curves going up and down. Even the old railroad tracks are still visible outside on the street that cars currently drive upon.
As we made our way to the boat I began to feel a little sad that I was embarking on my last adventure in Savannah. But that feeling didn’t last too long.
We boarded the ship and I immediately went for the inside seating because I was in desperate need of some cool air. I waited and waited trying to breathe deeply and stay calm as the sweat soaked through my clothes. But I was never to feel cool on this trip. Even the outside air produced no cooling winds but rather sticky air that made matters worse. This was the last straw. I had been hot and soaked since my first few minutes in Savannah and this was all too much. I was tired of wishing I could change my clothes every ten minutes and feeling like no matter where I went I could not walk into a place that was cold enough. I wanted off that boat and out of this state ASAP.
At this point I need to dive deeper into the real reasons Savannah was a challenge for me. While I have mentioned the extreme heat and humidity I also need to clarify why it affected me so. There is no way I can talk openly and honestly about my trip to Savannah without talking about my health too. It has been something that was a sore subject for me up until well, now I suppose. I need to address so that I can move past it and move forward.
Visiting Savannah in June it is obvious that it would be warm, very warm. For my companions while they were hot they never looked or felt like I did. I felt like I was in the depths of hell. Now I know why the devil went down to Georgia, he was comfortable.
My chronic migraine illness is not something I keep hidden or far from my daily thoughts. I knew when I went on this trip I would be the most miserable because my head wouldn’t want to be this hot for this long, but I really thought I could power through at least a little bit. I couldn’t even last five minutes. I was pouring sweat. I must have looked like a nut walking down the streets. It really stripped me of the ability to have joy for longer than a second. And the more my mind wondered back to this the more I wanted to lie down on the ground and just cry. I fought the urge but I am afraid my misery was on my face. I was lucky enough to be with people who love me and were plenty understanding but it always sucks to be the one breaking up the party. Most of all I was disappointed in myself, my health, and even though I couldn’t control it still bothered me.
The constant pain and state of uncomfortableness bore down to my soul. When I get like this there are very few things that comfort me. I always strive to do too much when I am traveling which is something I am working on. I have to accept that I have a medical condition that travels with me and might interrupt what I have planned. For the longest while after I came home from this trip I was berating myself internally for all the things I didn’t do. I never stopped to appreciate what I did manage to do. More importantly that I was there and that trip counts. It still is something I am crossing off my bucket list.
Out of all the things I had hoped to see in Savannah but missed were three or four restaurants and two or three historic homes. Now as far as the food went I really didn’t have too much more time to eat but I could have made a greater effort if I hadn’t felt so sick and affected by the heat. The same goes for the homes of Andrew Lowe and Juliette Gordon Lowe. She was the lady that started The Girl Scouts and this house is now the headquarters for the association. But at least I did get to see the outside and have a moment to reflect on their significance.
I don’t know that I will make it back to Savannah, especially any time soon, but I hope if I do I will get to something from my future itinerary list:
· Clary’s Café- this is where John Berendt (author of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) as well as Lady Chablis. The item to get is the Hoppel Poppel (scrambled eggs with kosher salami, potatoes, onions, & green peppers).
· Davenport House- it was built in 1815-1820 is a great example of a Federal style house. This was the first house to be restored in 1954 when the Savannah Historic Association decided to restore all of the great homes with the twenty-two thousand dollars they raised, which saved this house from becoming a parking lot.
· Sweet Potatoes- a restaurant known for their peach bbq chicken and supposed to have the best banana pudding on earth, as seen on Man vs. Food.
In addition I would like to also hit up Leopold’s ice cream, Six Pence Pub, and Mrs. Wilkes restaurant. She is the woman who catered every one of Jim Williams’ Christmas parties.
Savannah’s sister city is Charleston, South Carolina. Often when you hear one city mentioned the other is not far behind. They are close enough that you could make a longer trip and travel from one to the other. I wish I had, had the time to do that. I do hope to go to Charleston some day and you know it won’t be in the summer. I have a feeling that even though they are closely associated Charleston will feel more like a “typical” Southern town. I feel like when General Sherman left Savannah not much has changed in the people as well as their houses.
Besides my uncomfortableness I wasn’t overly won over by the city. It might be because of the bias I feel for other towns where there aren’t too many other Yankees. New Orleans is one of my top three favorite cities (blog coming in a few weeks) and I feel like Savannah might be a poor mans New Orleans. The comparison might not be fair as the cultures and history are very different. Just for the record I would NEVER go to New Orleans in June either.
So maybe the river cruise on my last day in Savannah was my destiny. Despite my physical misery it was a learning experience and I did get to see the city in a new light. It was a unique place with unique characters that you have to see to appreciate.
It has taken awhile, and learning from subsequent trips to really get this disappointment out of my system. I know going into a trip that whatever happens, happens. There are only so many things we can control in life. I am choosing to remember that day and the others that preceded it as a necessary part of my life journey.
The name of this blog reminds me of a favorite clip of mine from the best television series ever, “The Golden Girls” (http://thequeenoff-ckingeverything.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html).
For a refresher:
“They call her Hard Hearted Hannah, the vamp of Savannah, the meanest gal in town, leather is tough but Hannah’s heart is tougher, she’s a gal who loves to see men suffer”!
Savannah was tough but I am surely tougher. I know because I have been to the garden of good and evil and come out better for it.
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