Sunday, August 10, 2008

Return to Austin: Georgia (and Hilton Head) on my mind

Hi everybody.

R. and I just got back from Savannah/Hilton Head this afternoon, where we've been for the past four days. Savannah, as you know, is the setting for the southern gothic book (then movie) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and one of the reasons I have always wanted to visit Savannah is to see all those wild, real-life characters John Berendt talks about. The Lady Chablis, the dude who ties live fruit flies to his body, the other dude who "walks" Uga, the University of Georgia's dog mascot (which is actually dead). I mean we've got Leslie here in Austin, but this was like a whole town of Leslies. So rightly or not - Savannah has always been the place in my mind where you go to discover charming oddities.

Imagine my delight then, when we discovered this little guy!

That's a cat with thumbs, people. Opposable. Doesn't he look like he's drunk and giving the thumbs-up? Like, duuude...I'm so wasted.

Anyway, there is apparently a whole type of cat called "Hemingways" like this one. Jen, R's sister, introduced us. Here's a better picture, with R. kind of holding its hands up:

Heehee. Funny, right? Cat thumbs!

But that wasn't all, in terms of "wildlife." Our home base was Hilton Head, South Carolina, where some of R's family lives. We went kayaking in the ocean one day, and saw dolphins and s-h-a-r-k-s (I know, WHAT! Babies, but, still - sharks. Yes, I did hold my paddle up above my head. You move right along and don't let me impede you, shark babies.)

We also saw this guy in Hilton Head:

Ok so just to be clear, R. took that picture. This is the one I took:

Haha. Anyway, back to Savannah.

Jen took us to this gorgeous place called 700 Drayton, an 1888 mansion just outside of Forsythe Park that has been restored to chic fabulousness. Here's a little tour:

Upstairs bar:

Downstairs area called "The Mansion:"

A hat gallery (don't even tell me a gay man didn't have some key role here):

And a conference room in The Mansion, whose carpet bares an exact replica of the carpet on the Titanic. (The picture's a little boring - woohoo, conference room - so just focus on the carpet:)

Don't you love how dark and moody everything is?

At the time John Berendt was stealing away to Savannah, he was technically still an editor for Esquire. I can see why his office in New York had a hard time competing for his attention. She's a seductive old dame, Savannah.

That's the fountain in Forsythe Park, as we were walking back to the car. French-looking, non? Savannah is one of those cities that came to prominence during the South's economic boom in the 1850s, and Savannah borrows a lot of architectural elements from cosmopolitan Paris. (God I love Wikipedia). But you can really see it here, right? So showy. I loved it.


Anonymous said...

i am glad you liked savannah so much! (really, whats not to like?) i wish i had more time to show you around- the mercer house. :) i love those photos of darcie. what a sweetie. see ya'll in november!

Jenny Adams said...

Ha! I actually got in that fountain one night after a concert and was splashing around when the cops drove by, so we all had to duck way down in the water, then jump out and high tail it thru the bushes back to my friends apartment ... ahhh good times. I love Savannah - so happy you had fun!

did you go out to any good bars? I need more fodder for my column Austin Woman!

ta ta

Breyonce said...

Ohh, I meant to ask you about your trip! But now you're in you'll have to tell me about that AND Savannah when you get back.

A few other notes:
1) My book club is reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil for our next meeting. So excited to get started on that.
2) I've seen the "original" polydactyl cats at Hemingway's actual house in Key West, Florida! They're all descended from Hemingway's own cats. It was probably worth the plane ticket out there just to see that house.

Tolly M said...

Jenny Jenny!! Your comment is making me crack up - you hell-raiser you.

Ok, the bar at 700 Drayton in Savannah - although I can't comment specifically on cocktails, sadly, I CAN say that it is hands-down the most beautiful bar I have ever seen. I want to go back in my most fabulous heels, pearls and girlfriends. (or gay friends).

I hear JJ Cagneys is still cool and loungey, even though we didn't get to go. Boo.