Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Georgia Trip Day 1: Savannah

Travel to Georgia! Yesterday Will and I spent a long time on the plane -- several hours to Cincinnati and them one to Jacksonville, Florida -- and I got to see the acrobatics of poor 6' 7" Will fold into an airplane seat for several hours.  We look pretty happy here:

But don't be fooled; Will at this point is pretty tired.  I on the other hand slept just fine for nearly the whole ride.
We rode to Sea Island in the dark, and I was struck by the golden wheat-colored marsh grass and the Spanish moss hanging from all the trees.

In the morning we travelled to Savannah, Georgia, which was very exciting because I had just finished Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, a journalist from New York who lived in Savannah and wrote character sketches of the people living there in order to give a sense of the place.
Our first stop was Mrs. Wilkes' House, a former boarding house that served such delicious food around the family-style table that visitors began just showing up for the meals.  We all sat at a huge table of about ten, with two other families, and passed around perhaps twenty dishes filled with Southern food, such as beige-colored black-eyed peas, lima beans, sweet potato mash with a little bit of spicyness, sweet sweet tea, corn biscuits, hot greens with vinegar and peppers, rice with gravy, barbeque, carrot salad, potato salad, stuffing, and of course the famous fried chicken (Mrs. Wilkes' motto: "If the colonel made chicken this good, he'd be a general.")

We had a fantastic time and left the restaurant stuffed.

Then for a walk around the town to Mercer House, which was in a book I just finished.  The author John Berendt was a journalist from New York who lived in Savannah, Georgia and wrote character sketches of the people living there in order to give a sense of the place.  The main plot of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil revolves around Mercer House, whose owner, Jim Williams, was an antique restorer who was wealthy, fashionable, and probably gay.  Williams shot and killed his young male lover in the study of Mercer House, was acquitted after trials spanning several years, and then a year later also died of a sudden heart attack in the same room.

We took a tour of the house, looking at all of Williams' beautiful antiques and glamorous party pictures, and even got to see the infamous study.  This is Will and I in front of Mercer House.

 We closed the day with a visit to a cute shop called the Paris Market that Ellen found online.  In the back of the shop next to a sunny window was a cafe, where Will and I enjoyed some (needed) caffinated drinks and I ate a gigantic lemon marshmallow.

Then back to Sea Island.  We arrived just in time to meet Will's grandmother, as well as Aunt Betsy, Uncle Lee, and cousins Elizabeth, John, and Caroline.  Ellen had a beautiful table prepared, with foliage from around the house and nearby landscapes, and we enjoyed another delicious meal of vegetables, pork, and rolls.  It was an amazing day.