Sunday 23 Oct 2016

Savannah 2015
Matt Seinberg

Our summer vacation continues with a trip down to Savannah, GA, which is only a two-hour ride from Charleston. I had arranged for a rental car from Enterprise because of the pick service. That's what we needed, since we had four people and four pieces of luggage.

I called at 9 am Wednesday morning for a pick up at the hotel after 10 am. My phone rings at 10:15 and it's Garrett outside in a white Chevy Traverse. I had arranged for a standard car, with a free upgrade to a full size. This was more like a triple upgrade, probably because they didn't have anything else to give me.

Garrett drives us up the block to the Enterprise office and Jennifer the manager is there as well. We finish the paperwork, they give us some bottles of water for the road; off we go!

Route 17, in Georgia, is no highway.

We get on Route 17 South, which is The Savannah Highway. Believe me, this is no highway. Highways don't have stoplights and are only two lanes each way. The Mapquest directions and the GPS are both calling it a highway, so who am I to disagree?

At some point, we have to get on Interstate 95 South, and get back on 17. So imagine our excitement when we see the Tallmadge Memorial Bridge in front of us, along with the Savannah skyline!

We quickly stopped at a visitor center, which is a storefront for a tour company. All we wanted to do at this point was get to the hotel, clean up and have some lunch. So back in the truck, we find the hotel is right up the block.

The hotel had a very small parking lot; we were lucky to get a spot. They charged $15 a day for parking, which I knew. Inside, the computers were down. I asked Melinda, the General Manager, if there were any further room discounts for AAA or AARP. She said she would get back to me as soon as the computers came back up.

When we went back downstairs after unpacking and cleaning up, Melinda told me she lowered our room rate by $20 a night, which to me more than made up for the parking fee. That’s another win for us!

We found a map and headed toward City Square, which had shops, restaurants and some of the historical squares for which the city is widely known. We weren't fussy about lunch and stopped at the first place we saw that looked decent. Only a few people in the restaurant when we arrived, but it became busier quickly. We shared two meals and then we headed out to see some of the city.

I must stress how hot it was in Savannah.

It was sticky hot, sweat running down your back; hot sweat. We just walked aimlessly up and down the streets, accidently finding a Paula Deen restaurant and store; we stopped in there to shop and get cool.

We decided at some point that we would have dinner there, which we did a couple of nights later. The chicken potpie was awesome and was enough to feed all four of us. I never had a chicken potpie that was as good as this. I guess tons of butter they use to cook.

After walking around for a while, Michelle says she isn't feeling well and we go back to the hotel to relax for a while before we go out to dinner. She has the beginnings of a cold, which I got a few days later.

Marcy, Melissa and I venture out later for dinner, and walk down to the riverfront. Please note that Savannah doesn't have a free trolley system like Charleston, so we walked everywhere. I didn't want to take the truck out of the lot, since I probably wouldn't get a spot there again and would have to park across the street in the parking garage. More on the parking circumstances later.

Even at 7 pm is was HOT.

We're walking by the river, trying to find an interesting place to eat, so we stop at "Tubby's," which looks like it has reasonably priced menu. I had a shrimp basket, Melissa had a burger and Marcy had fish. We shared some authentic Southern grits with cheese and it was very good.

After dinner, we walked some more. Did I say how hot it was, hot that is? We were tired, and slowly walked back to the hotel. Michelle was sleeping; she was out for the count. She slept on the sofa bed and Melissa got the queen bed.

On Thursday, Michelle still didn't feel well, so the three of us ventured out for a narrated trolley tour of Savannah. We decided to stay on for the full ride the first time and get off after the second ride. The guide was very funny and informative, and we saw a lot of the city that we might not have seen on our own.

I'm sure someone is asking why didn't you take the truck and just drive around on your own. The first reason is that thing drank gas as if it were water. Second, I didn't feel like getting lost or missing anything of interest.

We got on the second bus, and got off about half way through the tour. We wanted to find Leopold's Ice Cream shop, and I looked it up on Google Maps. My mistake was not putting it in the walking mode, so I got us all turned around and we went the wrong way.

We got back on the trolley and got off on a stop much closer to Leap olds. We had sandwiches for lunch and then their famous ice cream for dessert. I was in home-made ice cream heaven. This place was fabulous!

We were in the downtown area and walked around and into the various shops. Walking can really kill time and burn off all those lunch calories. We got back to the hotel, showered and relaxed until it was time to go back out and have dinner.

That was the night for the Paula Deen restaurant. Michelle decided she was well enough to come with us.

Friday was our last full day in Savannah. Looking back, it's a huge blur. The only thing I remember is going to dinner at a place too far to walk, called "Blowin' Smoke." I saw this place on one of the cooking channels and wanted to try it.

We piled into the truck and were there in 10 minutes. Parking was tough, but I managed to fit into a spot I probably shouldn't have. Then a spot in their lot opens and I move the truck.

There is nothing as good as Southern BBQ.

I ordered a beef rib that was almost as big as my forearm. The girls all ordered BBQ wraps and they were equally huge. The restaurant was a converted auto repair garage, and was very funky, with a Grateful Dead sort of vibe.

Friday after breakfast, we headed back to Charleston for a tour of one of the many mansions, this one called Magnolia Mansion and Gardens. It was founded in 1676 by the Drayton Family; it was chock full of history and has been open to the public for tours since 1870.

The gardens wrap around the house, and they are magnificent. The Drayton slaves originally built them and many of them stayed on the plantation even after freed. In fact, the garden caretaker is a descendent of the original caretaker.

All told, we were on the grounds at least two hours and we were hot and tired. It was time for lunch, so we headed back in the direction of the airport. We saw a Chick-Fil-A and, since we don't have them on Long Island, yet, we decided to have lunch there. I must say that the food and service was very good.

On to the airport, and return the truck. This was the easiest return I ever did. The return area is right outside the terminal and I just had to finish the paperwork inside the air-conditioned terminal.

If you've never visited either Charleston or Savannah, please do so! You will enjoy the people, and the food!

Click here for first of three articles. Click here for second of three articles: Charleston.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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