Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Savannah, Sugar

As I’m sure many of you have missed me for the past couple days, I figured I’d better get back on it, as I may lose the tiny smattering of a following I’ve got going for me.

Today we made a daytrip to Savannah, GA. This isn’t all a “fun and games” fall break for the PBA. We had to have SOME educational opportunities, otherwise their brains might just completely turn to mush. And they LOVE a good tour. I mean, who doesn’t? Or maybe that’s just me.
 So on the drive from HHI, we noticed a couple things on our jaunt through the Low Country. Why do all the churches have chain-link fences surrounding them? Seriously…can anyone help us with that?  These are not TALL fences, and there is no barbed-wire around the top. What is the point? Intimidation? We honestly do not know.

And why on earth would you go to a restaurant with the expectation of purchasing a live animal? I know why…no need for hate mail or messages to tell me. I just don’t understand because as Northerners, we typically just go to a restaurant and assume the food has already been killed. The thought of selecting it alive and ordering its execution seems kind of morbid. We like to keep our hands clean of such messiness. But I digress…
Yes we went to Savannah and no one doubted that we were from out of town. Immediately upon crossing the H.U.G.E. bridge into the city, we whipped into a parking lot for the Oglethorpe Trolley Tour. We had planned ahead of time to do the tour and it was fine. It was extremely convenient (as I said, as soon as we came into the city), and the parking there was free (true…hidden in the cost of the trolley fare but still…they made you feel like you were getting a bargain). The best thing(s) about the tour was/were not having to find a place (or places) to park…or paying to park…or navigating the narrow streets filled with trolleys and tourists…so many tourists! That was kind of annoying. I would like to live in a place with so much historical interest but frankly the tourists would drive me a little nutty.

So we got on the trolley and it was a little chilly at the beginning. This is an open-air “trolley”…yes a bus modified to look like a trolley. However, because the weather can be a little dicey, the bus/trolley had “isinglass curtains you can roll right down, in case there’s a change in the weather.” Sorry, just channeling a little Rodgers and Hammerstein there for a moment. A little more “Oklahoma” anyone? No? Ok, well I’ll continue with Savannah then.
So this trolley was a full tour (supposed to be 90 minutes, but was not quite that long), but the guide had a constantly-running narration. We were all impressed at his skillful driving and ability to continue without a break in his monologue. He’d apparently done this before.

After the tour, we started walking down River Street, where we went in very few shops. But we did visit two….not one but two…candy shops, just a few doors down from one another. We tried the pralines at each; chocolate at one and regular at the other. So there’s really no comparison. Chocolate won, hands down. Oh…and we tried some turtle-like thing that was super-tasty as well. Love me some free samples.
Next we visited The Peanut Shop. Yes, sounds like a total tourist trap, right? Yes, it is based in Williamsburg, it MIGHT be a little touristy, considering we went to it in Savannah. And it was filled with tourists…there were no native Savannahians in there, except maybe for the people working, which is in and of itself doubtful. And maybe it WAS a total tourist trap, but it was fabulous. I had a coupon for a bag of free peanuts (sure it was a 2 ounce bag but free is free, right?). However, the day would have been saved regardless because they also had tons of free SAMPLES…self-serve samples, no less. And yes, some of them had be tasted more than once…I won’t lie. Who knew peanuts could be so tasty draped in a variety of different flavors; sweet, savory…they had it all. I did try many of the offerings (not all…some did sound a little disgusting); I was getting a slightly full. And they were all F.R.E.E…did I mention that already? Free and tasty? You had me at free. Like I said…love me some samples.

And just so you know, I’m not a total cheap-skate. I did make a purchase. I, of course, am bringing home some of the double-dipped chocolate peanuts. I mean, I’m not bringing anything home, so don’t ask me about it.
To top off the samples, we went to Leopold’s; actually, there were samples there too. Any flavor of ice cream they had, you could try. Love that about ice cream shops.  You could have tried them all if you’d wanted. But they weren’t all chocolate, so I did refrain from that. 

While we were there, some of us had lunch and ice cream; some of us simply had ice cream as THE lunch (mostly because we were too full from the ice cream samples and the trip to The Peanut Shop…don’t judge).

Something you may have picked up on, despite the fact that it is pretty subtle, is that food can make or break a trip for us. A huge determining factor in the success of a trip hinges on the food consumed. We are that shallow. If the food’s bad, the trip was a waste. And if you ask us about a trip, be prepared for us to talk about the food. Sure, we’ll eventually get to other things (history, natural wonders, etc), but we’re probably going to begin with a discussion of the food. And by discussion, I mean we’ll talk and you will listen. You can ask questions, but it is usually just a running monologue. Turn on the spotlight and take a seat.
After we had gained sustenance…actually, not so much “sustenance” but once we had clearly over-indulged, and had devoured way more calories than anyone should (vacation or not), we knew we should walk some of it off. So we headed off to the Colonial Park Cemetery, The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the First African Baptist church (which we missed the last tour of the day so we didn’t even get to see inside…so disappointed), a walk through Forsyth Park, and then a visit to Mickve Israel (the third oldest Jewish congregation in the United States). Notice that though these things were interesting, I didn’t write much about them; most of this blog centers around the food (mostly sugar) of Savannah. That’s why I included links to some of these locations so you can feel free to check them out for yourself. Regardless of what I would write, I couldn’t do them justice. (Anyone buying that? Frankly my brain is a little fried and I probably should just go to bed.)

From the Temple, we headed back to a trolley stops so we could catch a ride back to our car. By this point, the boys (my husband and the PBA) were getting a little squirrely. Which actually I have to say that we are always amazed at how different the squirrels are down here in the Low Country than the ones we have at home. At home they are fat & sassy brown things…their bellies almost touch the ground when they run. Up here, they are skinny (on the verge of scrawny) things that are dark brown to black. I don’t know why. It’s funny to me. And we mention it every time we are here. (See what I did there? “Squirrel!...”)
Anyway…by late afternoon, the interest of the entire group had waned. Eyes were glazing over and we all just kind of wanted to sit down and rest. My husband and the PBA had lagged a little bit behind and then I heard yelling and giggling. I turned to see them firing grenades at one another: the dead remains from the fruit of some of the magnolia trees around Savannah. Really? Oh yes, they were. Going so far as to break off the little stems as though they were pulling out the pins and shouting, “Fire in the hole.” A prouder moment I have never had. And aside from the food, it was probably the highlight of their field trip.

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