Whew! I'm tired. Having family in to visit is WONDERFUL (you're all welcome, anytime) but the change in usual schedule can definitely be taxing. Although I am glad to get back to a more "normal" schedule, I would love for them to have stayed longer if they could. We got to do a lot of fun stuff and showing them around to our favorite spots and restaurants and knowing which streets to tell them to turn on (some of the time) and little things like that made Savannah feel much more like home. Here's a little rundown of our four days of fun...
When I left for work on Thursday afternoon, Mom & Dad were only 25 miles outside of Savannah, but I couldn't wait around any longer without being late, so I had to head in and know that when I returned home they would be here. Gearry had also arrived home by the time I did, and Bailey and Zoey were already being fully spoiled, chewing on new rawhide bones when I walked in the door. It was so great to see Mom & Dad! I couldn't believe it had been almost three months. They also brought with them a huge pan of persimmon pudding courtesy of my fabulous Aunt Cheryl :)
After a quick shower, we jumped in the car and headed to Tybee for a sunset beach walk and dinner at North Beach Grill. Dinner happened -- and was fabulous -- but the beach walk was short-lived thanks to the ridiculous number of sand gnats that had randomly decided to show up in the last day or two. The gnats down here are legendary, but they really hadn't been bad until the day before my parents arrived. They were so thick on the North Beach that our beach walk lasted maybe a whole 10 minutes before we gave up, in spite of the amazing show that a pod of dolphins was putting on for us not 20 yards off the shore.
Fortunately, the screened walls at North Beach Grill, along with a fan our server brought us to circulate the air by our table, kept 95% of the gnats at bay and we enjoyed a delicious dinner. Everyone enjoyed their meals, and Gearry and I enjoyed being able to toss back an extra cold one since Dad was driving.
On our way home, we decided to cruise down to the south side of the island and visit the pier. With the full moon, it provded some amazing views.
On Friday morning, Gearry headed into work and Dad spent some quality time with the dogs while Mom and I headed to the McQueen's Island trail to run. It was a gorgeous morning, sunny and perfect 70's running temps. We did some run-walk intervals and happened to run into my co-Sundowner's teacher at St. Andrew's, who was there getting in her morning run, so it was nice to be able to introduce my mom.
Gearry got held up a little later at work than expected (he is usually off around 11:00 a.m. on Fridays) and I had to go to work for a few hours, so Mom & Dad took off for some solo-exploring on Friday afternoon. That evening, I arrived home from work to some of the best smells you can ever imagine coming out of the kitchen. Gearry had been hard to work creating a masterpiece of a dinner. For me, there was eggplant parmesan (amazing) and for everyone else there was an organic roasted chicken with fresh thyme, olive oil, and honey. Mom and Dad raved about the chicken and Gearry said it was the best he ever made, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say it probably tasted pretty good. We also enjoyed a sauteed medley of squash, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and garlic, as well as some really good homemade sweet potato mash. Yum, yum, yum.
After cleaning up from dinner, we drove downtown for our much anticipated Blue Orb Ghost Tour. The 9:00 p.m. walking tour started in Calhoun Square and took us to five different locations within that 4-5 block apparently very haunted section of the city (although apparently all of Savannah qualifies as very haunted). We saw and got to hear some interesting stories about 432 Abercorn (a mansion on Calhoun Square that hasn't been lived in for over 30 years), the Espy House (on the other side of Calhoun Square, also not lived in for quite some time), Calhoun Square itself (the documented site of the buried bodies of nearly 1,000 slaves), the Mercer-Williams House (made especially famous by "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"), and the old Candler Hospital (where we learned there is a morgue tunnel that was used during the horrible yellow fever epidemic that stretches all the way underground to the other side of Forsyth Park). I didn't find anything on the tour particularly scary, but that kind of stuff generally doesn't scare me. It was more interesting than scary and a neat way to see a gorgeous part of the city, walking around under the full moon.
Saturday started with a delicious, traditional Gearry-and-Stacey Saturday morning breakfast, including pancakes and scrambled eggs with onions, mushroom, and garlic. We had to pack in enough calories for an action-packed day of playing tourists ;)
Our day started at Ft. Pulaski, which is a five minute drive from our house, about halfway between here and Tybee Island. The fort is a national monument, as well as a mini-national park, with lots of hiking trails, a museum, the fort itself, and tons of history. Since Ft. Pulaski prides itself on being dog-friendly (they are allowed everywhere except in the museum), we took Bailey and Zoey along for the excursion. We had a blast exploring the fort, which was extremely well-kept and impressive for a number of reasons, from the number of cannons to the ocean and river views from the top. When we had fully exhausted the inside of the fort, we hiked the Cockspur Lighthouse Trail, a 1.5 mile out-and-back trail around the north and east sides of the fort all the way to, of course, Cockspur Lighthouse.
The weather could not have been more perfect on Saturday and we sat on a bench for a long time by the lighthouse, just soaking up the breeze and the sun. Finally, though, we decided to get going so that we would have time to take a little break before continuing our day of exploration in town that evening.
After some light lunch at home and a little college football, it was nearly evening and time to head downtown. We made a quick jaunt to River Street to pick up a bag for Aunt Veneita, then climbed back up those infamous stairs and visited Moon River Brewing Company for dinner. I've heard lots of good things about Moon River and even though it's located right on the tourist stretch of Bay Street, it's pretty popular with locals, which always bodes well. It did not disappoint. I was OK with the 45 minute wait, as it meant 45 minutes of sitting outside, watching the day turn into night, drinking their delicious hand-crafted wheat. Dinner was really good, trumped only by the amazing brews. Gearry and I both agree that their sweet potato wheat, which had just finished brewing the day before, was by the far the best beer we've ever had, period. It kicked the butts of all other really good beer I've had before (sorry, Upland). It is, of course, seasonal, so we're probably going to be frequent fliers at Moon River for the next couple of months to take advantage!
After dinner, we took the ferry across the Savannah River to the Westin on Hutchinson Island, where we literally just sat on an outdoor sofa, feet propped up, and watched the lights of River Street and beyond on the other side of the river, before heading back to Talahi.
We had planned for Sunday to be a "beach day," so wouldn't you know it that it was the one day the whole weekend that was cloudy, with a storm front rolling through, and -- dare I say it -- a bit chilly (really it was still in the upper 70s, but that storm changed things a bit!). It ended up being a different kind of beach day, with sweatshirts rather than bikinis, but it was beautiful nonetheless. We spent a few hours holding down our chairs, walking way out into the inlet since it was low-tide, reading, amd just staring off into the distance.
On Sunday evening, we got to watch the Packers kick Favre and the Vikings' butt (yay!) and make homemade BBQ pizza. Gearry had to get up early Monday morning for work, so he had to say goodbye to Mom and Dad when he went to bed. I know he was sad, but for both of us saying goodbye was made a lot easier because we know that we'll see them again in less than a month for Thanksgiving and for almost two weeks in December.
On Monday, Mom, Dad, and I made one last quick trip into town to eat lunch by the river, take a couple of daytime pictures of some houses from the ghost tour, and just spend our last couple of hours together. They got on the road around 2:30.
Who's next for a visit? :)