My goodness, I've wanted to go to Savannah forever (since reading Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil at school, anyway) and it didn't disappoint. Well, to be honest, at first it did. The GPS was pretty confused and we drove right through town and popped out the other end with no sign of the beautiful squares or architecture I'd read about. We landed in a bad part on the outskirts of town and had to stop to reset our directions, which was a pretty tense moment.
The sign on this building says:
"NO PROFANITY. IF YOU RESPECT YOURSELF OTHERS WILL RESPECT YOU! Management"
We decided to try some 'local' cuisine as we always do, and were recommended by the concierge to dine at Paula Deen's all-you-can-eat buffet. I'm not sure my weak Australian constitution was quite ready for Paula's Southern Cooking style! One plate each of all-you-can-eat is apparently shameful (the waitress gave us 'that' look) and I was left with a decidedly wicked indigestion! (I did eat both desserts, peach cobbler and banana pie - C's not big on dessert, more for me!) We wandered about town and found all of the lovely squares, what a breathtaking city! Just beautiful, I adore the old houses and streets oozing with history :)
We were heading to New Orleans shortly, but thought it might be more fun (and hopefully less cheesy) to do a ghost tour of Savannah. We found one that was not thrill-a-minute people (extras) jumping out from behind gravestones, but more focused on the real history and stories behind the city. (If you go to Savannah, I highly recommend the Uncensored Zombies Tour with Tobias - it has to be Tobias as the guide! It sounds cheesy but was actually interesting and informative, and not really about Zombies) Tour booked, I headed down to the hotel bar to soak up some of the atmosphere of our historic building. The bartender was from Kentucky and he was an absolute riot! He was bantering with the customers and other bar staff in such a dry, hilarious fashion, it was highly entertaining! I'd never tried a Mint Julep before, but it was essential to have one made by a Kentuckian. I was not disappointed, and I needed some Dutch Courage for our tour ;)
Tobias himself gave me the impression of a slightly weird southern preacher. I'm not sure why, but he was very clean cut but seemed a little.... strange. I'm sure this is an intentional twist on his character, and it made me kind of uneasy from the start. He took us around various sites in Savannah and explained the history and the supernatural events that had been recorded at each place. The real history is sometimes scary enough, without the ghosts! The photo of the cemetery above was in an 'orb' (read: ghosties read: reflections on your lens) hot spot. Unfortunately, no orbs on our shots. Ho hum. The shot below is of an old hospital with Civil War history as well as being home to a women's mental facility. We visited "The Amityville" horror house of Savannah, which was fascinating (and chilling). I won't spoil all of the stories, but Tobias showed us newspaper articles to back up his stories, some of which were fascinating. My favourite story was at the Mercer House, which is featured in Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil (I highly recommend this book, and if you're not a reader (!!) the movie is also great, with Kevin Spacey playing the home owner Jim Williams, and John Cusack as the author, John Berendt) Tobias shared some background stories about the house and Jim's occult leanings, plus some scary stories not covered in the book or movie, which were fascinating.
As we completed the tour (we lost a few scaredy cats along the way), Tobias offered a drink in one of the nearby bars, but we politely declined, it was almost 2am and we had to be in Miami the next day. I settled into bed but didn't sleep at all, I'm still trying to decide if the agonizing pains in my abdomen/chest that night were from the ghost stories Tobias told us about hags possessing young girls, the Civil War ghosts 'in' our room or the Southern buffet. You decide.
Happy Halloween, a little early, but it gives you time to book tickets for the midnight zombie tour with Tobias if you're anywhere near Savannah!