Staycation in Savannah

For the past 40 years we have lived less than 30 minutes from Savannah’s beautiful historic district and until this week, we had never spent any time really touring the city. Last year our Christmas present to each other was tickets to see Willie Nelson in concert and a two night stay in a hotel where we could walk to the concert and be tourists for a couple of days.

The concert was the highlight of our getaway. Once Willie started playing his guitar you would have never known he is 86 years old. Opening the show with “Whiskey River” he played and sang for over an hour and a half. We loved every minute of it and so did everyone else in the audience.

Willie Nelson in Savannah, Georgia

Savannah has been featured in many movies, books, and television shows and is frequently listed as one of the most popular cities to visit in the United States. A popular way to see the city and learn a little of its history is to take a Trolley Tour

The day after the concert was our day to be tourists and do some things we’ve never done before. We started by enjoying a fantastic southern lunch at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room.  We were seated family style at a table for 8 and enjoyed talking to the other guests while we enjoyed the wonderful food.

Next up was a tour with Old Town Trolley, one of several tour companies in the city.  Our guide Lillie Belle was entertaining and we learned things about Savannah’s history we had never heard before. Here’s a little show with a few of the highlights from the tour.

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Having a little get away in the middle of the week was a fun way to start off Valentine’s week. Tonight we’ll celebrate at home with grilled steaks and all the trimmings.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lens-Artists #70: Monochrome

This week, Patti  has challenged us to explore the world of monochrome using black and white, sepia, or different shades of the same color.

For this challenge I went through my archives and chose photos of scenes in Savannah, Georgia. Converting the photos to black and white added a bit of mystery to them. The photo above is of stone steps leading from Bay Street to River Street along the Savannah River.

The Forsyth Park Fountain is one of Savannah’s most well know sights.

Forsyth Park Fountain in Savannah, Georgia

Bonaventure Cemetery is always an interesting place to visit. Seeing it in black and white adds a little more drama.

Military graves at Bonaventure Cemetery
Bonaventure Cemetery
Bonaventure Cemetery

Perhaps one of the most famous homes in Savannah is the Mercer House made famous by the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good of Evil.”

Mercer House, Savannah, Georgia

Many thanks to Patti for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Monochrome


McQueen’s – Tybee Island Trail

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy nonprofit organization has created a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines. The McQueen’s – Tybee Island Trail near Savannah, Georgia is one of the those trails. The gravel trail is a popular place for walking, biking and jogging.

The trail suffered extensive damage in 2016 when Hurricane Matthew came through the area in October. Less that a year later, Hurricane Irma caused more damage. The work to repair the damage is still not complete and parts of trail are closed.

As of now, the only access to the trail is a parking area at the trailhead near the entrance to Fort Pulaski National Monument.  Starting at the trailhead, we walked until we came to a damaged bridge that still can be crossed safely. In all we went about about a mile and a half round trip.

The bridge to Fort Pulaski National Monument as seen from McQueens – Tybee Island Rails To Trails, Savannah, GA
McQueens – Tybee Island Rails To Trails, Savannah, GA
McQueens – Tybee Island Rails To Trails, Savannah, GA
McQueens – Tybee Island Rails To Trails, Savannah, GA
This bridge was damaged during one of the storms that went through the area
A great place to sit and enjoy the view
Driftwood in the salt marsh beside the trail

We spied some wildlife along the trail.

This little diamond back terrapin was crossing the trail in front of us
Great blue heron in the salt marsh beside the trail

It was a gorgeous March day to get out and explore close to home.



Adventure in Bonaventure

When a friend of mine asked me if I’d like to join the Tybee Island Garden Club on an outing to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia to learn about camellias I didn’t have to think twice about saying yes. They couldn’t have picked a more perfect day to go. It was cool but not too  cold on the sunny Saturday morning in January we spent going through the cemetery.

Bonaventure Cemetery is located on a beautiful bluff above the Wilmington River. Once a plantation, the land became a private cemetery in 1846. In 1907 the cemetery was made public. The cemetery covers about 100 acres of land with many interesting gravestones, monuments and tombs in a gorgeous setting with stately live oak trees, dogwoods, azaleas, camellias and other beautifully maintained vegetation. Today many visitors to Savannah make Bonaventure a must see stop during their stay.

Our guide was Doug Webb of the Bonaventure Historical Society. We learned that many of the camellias in the cemetery are historic, older varieties that are not easily found in nurseries these days. Doug is very knowledgeable about the camellias and spends one day a week at the cemetery with other volunteers planting, fertilizing, watering, and propagating the camellias.

As we went through the cemetery he pointed out the different varieties of camellias, talked about how they air layer the plants, and kept us entertained us with stories about the history of the property. We are very grateful to Doug for sharing his expertise with us.

One of the most visited graves in Bonaventure Cemetery is that of little Gracie Watson. Gracie was born in New England in 1883. Her family moved to Savannah when her father became manager of  the Pulaski Hotel in downtown Savannah. Sadly, in 1889, when she was six years old, Gracie developed pneumonia and died. Her parents hired sculptor John Walz to carve a monument of their daughter. Her parents moved back to New England and are both buried there. Little Gracie is all alone in Bonaventure.

There are stories that Gracie’s spirit is still around. There have even been sightings of Gracie’s ghost.

Gracie Watson in Bonaventure Cemetery
Gracie Watson at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA
Little Gracie Watson Grave at Bonaventure Cemetery
Little Gracie Watson

There is so much to see in Bonaventure it’s hard to capture it all. We went there to learn about camellias but we saw so much more.

One of the many ancient live oaks in Bonaventure Cemetery
An angel in Bonaventure Cemetery

More information about the cemetery can be found at Bonaventure Cemetery. There are tour companies that offer guided tours or you can pick up a map at the visitor’s center and explore on your own. A good time of year to visit is in the spring when the azaleas and dogwoods are blooming.

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Georgia

State 8:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically and the next state is my home state!


Georgia was one of the original 13 colonies and became the 4th  state on January 2, 1788. The capital is Atlanta where the capital dome is covered in gold leaf from the Georgia Gold Rush in Dahlonega during the 1830’s.

I was born in Georgia but did not grow up here. When I was a child, our summer vacations were spent visiting relatives in middle Georgia where my mother grew up.  I first moved to Georgia as a freshman at the University of Georgia in Athens and I’ve lived in the state ever since. Even when we are wandering I always have Georgia on my mind.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to do our state justice. How I condense a lifetime of memories into one post?

With the city of Atlanta, the north Georgia mountains, National Wildlife Refuges and National Forests, The Okefenokee Swamp, peach and pecan groves, cotton fields, lakes and streams, the Grand Canyon of Georgia, Athens the Classic City, Stone Mountain, antebellum homes, historical lighthouses, salt marshes, barrier islands, beautiful beaches, friendly small towns, and many historic sites Georgia has much to offer. And did I mention the delicious sweet tea, barbeque, grits, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, low country boil, fresh wild Georgia shrimp and blue crabs, peach cobbler, banana pudding, and all the other amazing food around the state?

Unfortunately I am missing photos from many places around the state. No matter where you go there are interesting things to see and do in the Peach State.

Georgia is the Peach State and Peach County produces many of those peaches. There is nothing in the world that’s better than a fresh Georgia peach plucked right from the tree when it is perfectly ripe in the summer time. You know it’s perfect when you bite into it and the nectar drips down your chin and all over your hands. And fresh peach cobbler is a staple around our house when the peaches are in season.

Peach County, Georgia
Peach County, Georgia

In Georgia, you can watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean or watch the sunset over one of the Georgia’s many lakes.

Nothing says springtime in Georgia like azaleas, peach blossoms,  and flowering dogwoods.

With ancient live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss, squares, a beautiful historic district, museums, historic forts, and one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States, Savannah is a popular vacation destination.

Three lighthouses protecting the Georgia Coast are accessible to the public. The Tybee Island Light Station is the tallest lighthouse in Georgia.

Tybee Island Light Station 4th of July American Flag
Tybee Island Light Station 4th of July American Flag

A trail at Fort Pulaski National Monument winds through palmettos for a close up view of the Cockspur Island Lighthouse.

Cockspur Lighthouse at Fort Pulaski National Monument
Cockspur Lighthouse at Fort Pulaski National Monument

The St. Simons Island Lighthouse was rebuilt after it was destroyed by the Union Army during the War between the States.

St. Simons Lighthouse
St. Simons Lighthouse

Joel Chandler Harris, Alice Walker, and Flannery O’Connor are just a few of the writers from Georgia. The Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton celebrates the creator of Brer Rabbit, Joel Chandler Harris.

Brer Rabbit stands in front of the Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton, GA
Brer Rabbit stands in front of the Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton, GA

Georgia also has a close connection with the film industry. Many movies and tv shows have been filmed in Georgia. Oliver Hardy was one of the stars who was born in Georgia.

Laurel and Hardy Museum at Harlem, Georgia
Laurel and Hardy Museum at Harlem, Georgia

You know your shrimp is fresh when you see the shrimp boats that caught them.

Shrimp Boats in Darien
Shrimp Boats in Darien

Atlanta is the capital and the home to companies such as Coca Cola, UPS and Delta Airlines. Atlanta also hosted the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996.

Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta
Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta
Centennial Olympic Stadium 1996 - Reconstructed after Paralympics to become Turner Field
Centennial Olympic Stadium 1996 – Reconstructed after Paralympics to become Turner Field

The birds and other wildlife are abundant all over the state.

The Iron Horse was originally placed on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens and later moved to the middle of a field near Greensboro.

The Iron Horse stands tall in the middle of a cornfield
The Iron Horse stands tall in the middle of a cornfield

We Georgians love our sports teams! When we travel in our fifth wheel, there is no doubt which college team we support!  How bout them Dawgs!

Our fifth wheel has a new look
Our fifth wheel has a new look

As I put the finishing touches on this post the Atlanta Falcons are preparing to take on the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in Houston.  Go Falcons!

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida