Monday, November 22, 2010

Savannah, GA: Vacation Thursday

Last week I was on such a roll with the vacation report (by the way, I wasn't blogging on vacation - to me, that would be impossible!) but I got up to Thursday and then things were too busy to blog for a few days. And Vacation Thursday was fun times with fun wasn't all downhill after Paula Deen, y'all! ;)

Back when I was researching things to do and places to see in Savannah, I heard of a place called The Gryphon Tea Room. Anything with "tea room" in the title grabs my attention - my love for tea parties has been well documented on this blog. (Click here to catch up.) I might not usually visit a tea room on vacation, though, because I can't just drag Jeremy to some frou-frou girly place and expect him to be happy about it. ;) BUT. I noticed that this tea room didn't look girly and it seemed more like a cafe' that men would also frequent, so I happily put it on my vacation wish list.

We found out that this tea room is owned by the Savannah College of Art and Design, which increased my curiosity about it. We walked there that day, passing lots of fun shops and historical buildings and houses. The tea room is right across the street from another SCAD building - I think it was their Admissions office - and the ShopSCAD, which is a gift shop filled with items that their students and faculty had created. We decided to check all of that out after lunch...

The tea room was very cool-looking and I loved the name of it. By looking at the stained glass windows and noticing the rows of curious drawers, I surmised (a la Psych) that the place had started out as a pharmacy years ago. The waitress confirmed my suspicions. More points for coolness there.

The seating was not the greatest in that groups of tables and chairs were very close together. Quite frankly, you would not want to bring someone there to tell them your deepest, darkest secrets. This also somewhat hinders regular conversation, too, though we were entertained by four artsy professor-types at the next table over.

The waitress was very pleasant and made my day when she said that the menu was wrong - that afternoon tea was, indeed, served all day. Yes, I will have that then - with chai tea, please. Jeremy got a sandwich and apple slaw and it's a good thing he did. I don't think our table would have had room for two three-tiered plate stands!

I enjoyed the afternoon tea, which was about $15 or so. It's not a plethora of food, but since I've made my share of tiny sandwiches and scones and miniature desserts, I can tell you first hand that it's never done cheaply or quickly. I didn't blame them at all for charging such.

The sandwiches (two of cucumber, two of something-else-that-was good) were nice - there was only once scone but it was apricot (I think) and was served with Devonshire cream and jam. There was fruit and they were a variety of small desserts on the top tier of the stand to finish up with.

This one had metallic sprinkles!

The visit to the Gryphon Tea Room was entirely enjoyable - even if I'm biased about tea foods and always come away thinking that our FHU Associates' tea party foods are superior to them all. It's true. I always have to compare. =)

After lunch, we headed next door to check out the SCAD building. I loved the shot of this tree framing the name. So very Savannah.

We perused the ShopSCAD um, shop. It was a lot of crazy stuff, man. We didn't find anything we needed to buy and put up on our wall at home, but it was fun to look.

The rest of the afternoon, we were just waiting for the rain to start, so we walked around the city, trying to decide where to hide out so we wouldn't get soaked. We ended up scoring a private tour of the Independent Presbyterian church building whose spire was in the opening scene of Forrest Gump - you know, where the feather is floating?

We randomly met a guy outside who worked in the church building and offered to show us around. As we were admiring the beautiful ceiling, he told us that nine American presidents had spoken from the pulpit. And what a pulpit it was! It was probably 10-15 feet high, which was reminiscent of several European cathedrals I had been in. Sure enough, our tour guide told us that the idea of such a tall pulpit came from Scotland.

Jeremy had the interesting insight that maybe these extremely tall pulpits was where the saying, "Preaching down to you" came from. What about that?? Huh. Interesting.

One of the pastors had a granddaughter who lived with him in the manse, which was connected to the church building. She ended up marrying Woodrow Wilson and we got to see the very room they were married in. It looks exactly like it did when they were married.

We ended up back at the Visitor's Center, where we watched a movie about the history of the city and then meandered around the museum. I tell you what, Savannah has such an interesting beginning - both Jeremy and I wished we could peek into the past and see what the city looked like in its first few years. But we wouldn't have wanted to stay long because almost all of the settlers didn't make it. Yikes!

In one section of the museum, they had some interactive exhibits, mainly to keep the kiddos happy. But they ended up entertaining us, too. We spent at least an hour each sketching a statue just for fun. We thought about enrolling in the Savannah College of Art and Design and not coming home because our drawings showed promise but still definitely needed help. ;)

As we're often the last ones to leave the church building after services, we were the last ones to leave the museum that evening. They locked the door after us, which is quite a familiar feeling. Ha!

That night, we ate at a restaurant called Sweet Potatoes - it had been recommended to us by Christie, the minister's wife who I had gone to school with. The one we randomly ran into at church service the night before. The food was good - and of course, we both had to order a sweet potato dish. It was interesting "Southern fusion" food, which means it was traditional Southern dishes with a twist. The restaurant decor didn't exactly help in guiding one towards that conclusion - it was a ton of bright colors and handpainted cartoonish butterflies and flowers, which confused me. Oh, well, the food was good!

Up next: Vacation Friday - Firefly Cafe', Wormsloe Plantation, and dinner at The Olde Pink House.

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