Friday, November 30, 2007

Another Car Trip to Florida

November 20-25. As if it wasn’t bad enough to leave sunny, warm Hawaii, we arrived at Bradley Airport in Hartford, CT to their first snowfall of the season! It was only a few inches of wet snow but still . . .

Wednesday we visited Fort River School at lunch time. It was fun to say hi and let people know that yes, we really were having a great time on our retirement travels! Sandy really enjoyed saying hi to a few of his former students. We also went up to Pelham School and got to talk to Meg Gallagher during her kid's recess.

We had a fabulous time visiting friends and family: Doug and Denise, David and Betsy, Don and Melissa and David, and Ron and Karen.

We usually spend Thanksgiving at Sandy’s brother, John’s house near Albany, NY. This year we actually spent 2 nights as well. Besides John, Diane, Trevor and Gavin, we also got to visit with Sandy’s other brothers, Scott (and Amy, Megan, and Kerri) and Rob (and Nancy, Jenny, and Stephen). Julie and Michael drove up from Brooklyn for the day so we were 16 for dinner. (Scott and Libby were with friends and then visited Ann Hallisey and her kids whom Scott hadn't seen in many years.) It was relaxing and fun to visit and play cards and not have to drive home after dinner. (Pictures coming from Diane of the Thanksgiving crowd.)

Friday we drove Sandy’s mother’s car from John’s to Amherst as well as our car. We took off the license plates of the Nissan Altima (with a little elbow grease-actually Sandy had to rip them off), left it in our garage and returned the plates to the DMV. (We thought we’d save a few dollars since we won’t need the car until the beginning of June.) While in the DMV we had the pleasure of running into former neighbors, Ned and Laura Woodbridge. She was taking her learner’s permit test.

That night we celebrated Kate’s and Owen’s engagement at the Gagnon’s with Owen’s parents, Willy and Lynn, the Mullins, Chris and Chelsea (and Ryleigh and Carter), Bob and Pat Hursh, and Owen’s brother, Ally. Kate has a gorgeous antique white gold ring!

Saturday morning it was 16 degrees when we left on our 9 ½ hour drive to Stanardsville, VA (north of Charlottesville) to Sandy’s sister’s house. We’ll really miss our friends here but we’re really looking forward to warmer weather.

The drive was easy. We enjoyed the fading colors of fall and the rolling hills of Pennsylvania and Virginia. It was sunny and we didn’t hit any traffic at all.

It was great to see Gail and Dale and 2 of their grandchildren, Quillan (13) and Zeya (10). We usually only see them once a year in the summer. It’s also nice to visit people on their own turf. They live in beautiful country! We’ll be back!

Monday, Nov. 26. Columbia, SC. We left Monday morning with rain and temps expected in the 50’s. Our next stop was to visit some friends from Amherst, Harris and Patricia Pastides, who moved to Columbia in 1998. We had such a great time visiting and catching up on the latest about their children, Andrew and Katherine. Andrew recently moved to NYC as an actor and Katherine works at the Getty Villa in Santa Monica. They both have acting ties to Julie. Andrew and Julie were first in “Sound of Music” together years ago and in 1998 they were in “Runaways”. And Andrew and Katherine were both in “Anne of Green Gables” with Julie.)

We hope to visit again and spend more time in South Carolina.

Nov. 27-29. Savannah, GA. The sun came out shortly after we left. It was a beautiful drive with lots of trees on either side of the road. We thought it was going to be warmer than mid 60’s but that was better than the 40’s in Amherst!

We really had no idea that Savannah had so much history and firsts and that it was a planned city. We learned so much at the Visitor Center. The movie was a great overview of the history. There are hundreds of different kinds of tours: architectural, history, ghost, trees, etc. We decided to buy the booklet and do a self-guided walking tour and then go back and do specific tours.

In 1733, General James Oglethorpe was sent to Georgia to start a British colony (and became its governor). He laid it out in a grid about 1 mile square. In the early 1800’s it was the center for cotton export. There were lots of squares with live oaks with Spanish Moss and magnolia trees. Many had a monument, a statue, or a fountain. The little parks are gorgeous. The Forsyth square was much bigger than the rest and had this really beautiful fountain.

The streets were gorgeous with overhanging oaks. Many of the house foundations and some sidewalks and parts of streets were made out of tabby, a mixture of oyster shells, lime, sand, and water.

In the movie, "Forrest Gump" he sat on a bench in Chippewa Square waiting for the bus with his box of chocolates.

After doing the walking tour we decided to pay for 2 individual tours: the Owen-Thomas House and the Temple Mickve Israel. Both were very interesting. The house, built in 1919, had some unusual features such as indoor plumbing and a dining room with one round end. The Temple is the only Gothic Style one in the US. They have a museum showing a torah brought over in 1733 written on deerskin that was probably written in the 1400’s! (We also wanted to tour the Black History museum but missed the last tour.)

They have a very nice River Walk on River Street, renovated from the old cotton warehouses. It’s a pretty area with lots of shops and restaurants. There’s a cute fountain depicting the Savannah, the first steamship.

The Savannah School of Art and Design had a part in redesigning a number of buildings. What great experience they’re getting!

Since Savannah is noted by the Travel Channel as the most haunted city we decided we had to go on a ghost tour. There were just 4 of us and a (Hauntings Tour) who walked us around the historical section and stopped every now and then to point out a place where there had been strange occurances. It was fun to hear the stories. She said the reason that area has a lot of ghosts is that it was built on a cemetery. She told us to take pictures of certain buildings where some people’s pictures had shown orbs (balls of light), i.e. energy. Mine didn’t. One example of a ghost-inhabited building was a building that was being renovated and contractor after contractor quit because of things happening! We know it wasn’t for real but we saw this sign on a storefront.

We learned the original of some words. 1-Indentured, as in indentured servant. It refers to how they identified those people. They took impressions of their teeth. 2-A pub is short for publik tavern. 3-A mad hatter refers to the condition that afflicted many hatters (hat makers for males). They used beaver fur to make felted hats. The beaver pelt had to be soaked in a solution with mercury and then the fur was pulled off. The mercury got in the hatter’s body through his hands and eventually affected his brains and other organs. 4-Daisy Scouts, girl scouts for Kindergarten and First Graders, got their name from the nickname of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts. (She was born in Savannah.) 5-Graveyard shift is a reference to the 19th century problem of accidentally burying people who were still alive. (People who died of yellow fever were taken to be buried immediately.) To prevent this from happening, the caskets had a bell-ringing device attached to fingers of the corpse so a waking "corpse" to notify the world that they were no longer dead. The graveyard attendants worked the graveyard shift.

We really liked the architecture of these. (There were actually a lot that we really liked.)

We took a beautiful drive out to Tybee Island just east of Savannah. We saw homes built near the marshes with long docks out to the inlets to either the Savannah River or the ocean. But it was very windy and cold by the beach so we didn’t walk around there. Instead, we visited the Tybee Island Lighthouse and Museum and learned about its history. While there we saw this hawk eating.

Nearby the lighthouse were some beautiful houses.

Last stop was Fort Pulaski near the mouth of the Savannah River. It was a really cool fort made out of tabby and then brick with a moat around it. It was supposed to be invincible. However, a significant battle, the “Siege of Savannah” took place in 1862 where cannonballs breached the walls. After 30 hours the confederates surrendered.

What a cool city! We're very glad we visited.

Next stop is June McNiven’s in New Port Richey and Club Med in the Turks & Caicos from 12/3-10. We look forward to spending parts of the rest of December with Scott and Libby and Julie and Michael.

1 comment:

Libby said...

I went to Savannah with my frisbee team three times during college - there's always a fantastic tournament during spring break. Our fields we set up right next to that fountain in Forsyth! Great to see it again - thanks for posting!