I found out the week before leaving for a trip to Florida that the friend I was to visit had to cancel. This was disappointing but I was in the process of reading Eat, Pray, Love and would not let this detail upset or deter me. Next thought was “Can I find a place to stay near the Keys that I could afford?”. The thought of not getting to sit on one of the beaches was starting to become a reality. Hmmm then out of nowhere a thought hits me where can I drive to that I would want to explore and photograph? Well Savannah of course. I had been meaning to go for a while. This was technically not going to be my first visit since I had gone with people for a few hours while staying at Hilton Head. But I do not consider taking a tour trolley around, really visiting a place. This was my opportunity.
I found a great and affordable place to stay from a vacation rental listing on Craigslist (http://www.vrbo.com/318378). It is located within the downtown Savannah area which meant no driving necessary except to go to the Wormsloe Plantation and the Cockspur lighthouse. This little place is great. It is a 2 level home owned by a German lady. She lives on the first level and her apartment is separate from the rest of the house. There are two rooms upstairs with their own bathrooms and one common room. She has owned bed and breakfasts in the past in two other locations not in Georgia. I found out about this through journals she had around the house with entries from past guest. Now she has set up a very nicely decorated lodging with no need to tend to the guests. Though she is more separated from guests now she is still very kind and welcoming. She came upstairs with me to show me where I would be staying. When I arrived in my room there was a plate of lovely blueberries and strawberries all for me! I really believe that it is the little touches that really make people feel special. The place is decorated by her and you can tell she has taken attention to the little details. The main colors are a warm yellow and red and though I would not think that would be something I would like she executed it quite well. It gives the place a warm welcoming feel.
Now I have to say that if you are planning on visiting Savannah to not plan it any time during the summer. However these were the days I had planned and it had been almost as humid in North Carolina . The only difference was that I had not been walking around North Carolina exploring and taking photos. Taking a shower seemed almost pointless because 10 min of being outside and I was ….glistening shall we say. This humidity seems to hang on you like an unwanted coat. Due to this little fact I found myself taking refuge in shops around Savannah though I am not a big fan of air conditioning, at least not turbo charged air conditioning. Now this may seem counter productive to my quest to photograph Savannah but I found two shops in particular that were just begging to be photographed.
The first was recommended by the German lady on nice index cards that she had placed in the common room. It is called the Paris Market (www.theparismarket.com) and as its name hints it is filled with French and vintage items. This shop was serious eye candy to me and I spent about two hours there. The upstairs is light and airy due to the surrounding wall of windows and filled with trinkets and consumables. There is also a small cafe area with a variety of drinks and treats. Then there are stairs lined along the edges with old books that lead you downstairs. Now this area is dark in comparison but lit well to provide a welcoming feel. This level is filled with furniture and decorative items for the home. It almost feels like a museum because these items are made to look or are vintage. However there are items like boxes of old photographs to look through so in some ways if feels like someone’s home. In short I loved it there!
The next shop I visited is called the Savannah Bee Company. Now I almost did not walk into it. I was in search of a gift and honey did not really strike me as something I was wanting to get. But despite my mind saying no my body turned and went in any way. I wandered around not paying much attention to people around me. I finally decided on a honey that seemed fitting to me. I walked to the front to pay where there was a honey bar and honey for tasting. I had not had any lunch yet it and it was about 1pm and thought why not. I figured it would keep me going til I walked home to have some food back at the room since I found no place that I fancied to sit and eat. Now again a reiterate I was not really paying attention. While standing at the bar someone who worked there was sharing information about the honey to an older couple. I reach for a container with spoons and this individual behind the counter exclaims, “Don’t use those, they are the used spoons”. I decide to come out of my little fog and I am being stared at by this individual and the couple now. This was a little embarrasing but in my defense I could only see the word “spoons” on the used spoons sign that was wrapped around a large circular container. So I jokingly (though gratefully) thank him for saving me from the used spoons. So I began my honey tasting experience with a clean spoon. It ended with a trio of ingredients layered together that included a slice of apple, honeycomb and cheddar cheese. And yes it does taste great if you are wondering. For the duration of my tasting I receive a cornocopia of information about these honeys and some information about bees as well. So I had to share my bee sting stories which include the sting I received on the roof of my mouth. All I have to say in regards to that incident is watch your beer can when laying out at the pool.
With permission I begin to photograph around the store and get the opportunity to get to know a bit more about the three people working there that day. First we have Kellen, the violinist /bee guru/my dirty spoon savior (well from my point of view he is a guru). Then there is Michelle who is married to a Marine and was so helpful to point out the kind of neighborhoods I was looking to photograph. And finally Hannah, a SCAD student studying art who though quiet agreed to be my model for the next day since I had no people pictures. I learned that were having a wine/honey/ trivia night later and after spending a little over an hour there taking photos and visiting decided I would come back to experience this event. This is a really great place if you like honey and the staff is just so kind and very knowledgeable about bees. Like REALLY knowledgeable. I left there that night with some winter white honey and bee pollen. That’s right bee pollen, like the yellow balls you see hanging from a bee’s legs. It apparently contains trace amounts of minerals and vitamins and is very high in protein and carbohydrates. It tastes like sweet hay.
So my Savannah experience was really great but it just opened the door for another visit. Because though having three days there is much better than a few hours there is still much more to experience. Also I just feel calmer there. I walked anywhere I needed to go and this included lots of tree-lined and bench lined squares. In the evening I read because my room had no t.v. I had no computer to distract me. It was just me and my thoughts experiencing this great little city and I can’t wait to go back. I’ve been told October is like Spring so I have tentative plans to get back there then. I never did get a chance to take a boat ride to the Cockspur lighthouse and I have plans to photograph Kellen next. Here are the photos of Hannah from the Bee Company:
I will end this blog with some random images from my wanderings. I have to say what I love most is this Spanish moss. It hangs all around Savannah almost as a year round decoration and it does not discriminate. It will hang on a wire as readily as it hangs from the trees. These grand trees with their Spanish moss garland hang over the streets of Savannah seemingly protecting and encapsulating its history and beauty for years to come as they have in years now passed. ( a thought I had while walking around).