Watch Your Step, Mind Your Head, Bless Your Heart!

And now a post from our very first guest blogger, our daughter Emily:

After a delayed and bumpy flight across the country I finally arrived in Savannah, GA on Monday afternoon and I am honored to be the first guest blogger of the trip!

The first thing I was made aware of in Savannah was to watch your step! Especially entering my bedroom – there is an elevated piece of floorboard that, despite the warning, I have tripped over, and over and over again. The same warning applies to pretty much everywhere you walk in the historic district of Savannah as the sidewalks are mostly brick and cobblestone and the giant oak trees cause very uneven paths.  Mind your head signs can also be found in abundance, including in our apartment, however Mom and I don’t really have to “mind” those signs so much.

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After getting lunch at a local diner (where southern hospitality was immediately noticed), we hopped on a tour bus with our great tour guide Chris. As we sat waiting while Chris enthusiastically welcomed passengers on board, a woman sitting in front of us, turned to us, and said in a very thick southern accent, “Don’t you just love his accent?!” Of course our response was, “His accent? What about yours??” She claimed she didn’t know she had one (being from Kentucky).  It took a couple of minutes for our ears to adjust, but we were eventually able to understand the majority of what Chris was saying and enjoyed an amazing tour. There is so much I’d love to share so here are a few highlights:

1) There is a common southern phrase that goes: “Well bless your heart!” Sounds nice, but don’t let this fool you, it has a dual meaning.  If coming from a southern woman, it is likely her nice way of telling you to “put on your grown-up pants and deal with it.”

1a) “How nice!” (pronounced naaahce) has a similar meaning.

2) You will notice in the historic district that many houses have beautiful balconies as seen in the picture. However, you’ll also notice there is no door to get to the balcony. This is because there used to be a tax on the number of doors on the outside of the house. To avoid this tax they built windows that slid up high enough that you could step right through to the balcony. And there you have one of the first tax shelters! There was also a tax on the number of rooms in a house, which included closets. This led to the use of bureaus and dressers instead. And that’s all I have to say about taxes.

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3) Savannah is the home of the original Girl Scouts of America!

On Tuesday we actually went inside one of the historic houses called the Owens-Thomas house. This house was one of the first in Georgia to have indoor plumbing  (designed by their 24 year old architect William Jay). In 1858 the Marquis de Lafayette stayed here and gave a speech from this very balcony! Being one of the last surviving principles of the Revolutionary War, he was making a living giving lectures on his wartime experiences.

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Wednesday we drove East to Tybee Island and had breakfast at The Breakfast Club. Dad and I got a meal called Helen’s Solidarity, which as our “Glen from the Walking Dead meets Mark Shearer from the Raiders” look alike waiter said “hits the table with a thud!” Suffice it to say I got a half order while dad got the full. The food was delicious but unfortunately it turns out I don’t love grits, despite really wanting to due to their important role in my favorite movie My Cousin Vinny.

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I quickly stuck my feet in the Atlantic and then we headed to the Tybee Island Lighthouse and climbed 178 steps to the top in an attempt to work off our breakfast.  Can you spot the Range Rover? (It looks great by the way, not a scratch to be seen.)

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We then headed to Fort Pulaski where we lucked into a great tour. The history of the Fort is fascinating so I’ll give a quick summary.  The fort was built after the War of 1812 as part of a new coastal defense system put in place by President James Madison (all 5’4″, 100 pounds of him – he probably didn’t have to “mind” his head much either). The fort was believed to be indestructible with brick walls 7-11 feet thick. It was famously said if you attack the fort “You might as well bombard the Rocky Mountains.”  Well during the Civil War the Union did just that (bomb the fort, not the Rockies) and using brand new never before tested “rifled” cannons, they blasted a hole right through the wall of the fort. In just under 30 hours the Confederates had to surrender.

On the right side of the picture where the bricks are red is where the wall was knocked down by the Union and later rebuilt.

On the right side of the picture where the bricks are red is where the wall was knocked down by the Union and later rebuilt.

You can see the unexploded artillery shells still stuck in the bricks.

You can still see the unexploded artillery shells still stuck in the bricks.

Today we drove to Bluffton, SC to tour the Rose-Hill Mansion.  The tour was given by Cynthia who is a 6th generation direct descendant of one of the original owners James Kirk, and met the current home owner Robin White.  We then drove over to Hilton Head Island, SC and quickly touched the Atlantic in SC (which felt about the same as it did in GA).

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A few other items worth mentioning:

1) There are giant oak trees with spanish moss hanging from them that dominate the historic district. They are very beautiful and eerie at the same time.

2) Most of the scenery when you get out of the city looks like it is straight out of The Walking Dead:

3) South Carolina became the 10th state visited on the trip!

We are now going to attempt to stay awake to watch Arizona take on SDSU in the sweet sixteen! Tip off is around 11pm so we’ll see…

Thanks mom and dad for showing me a great time in Savannah!

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3 Responses to Watch Your Step, Mind Your Head, Bless Your Heart!

  1. Great blog Emily! You and your parents set a high bar! (BTW – I don’t like grits either… they look so good, but…). Bob and Robin, looking forward to meeting up with you in Charleston next week!

  2. Adam Feldman says:

    Well done Emily. Never thought I’d see a Mark Shearer reference on this thing.

  3. Nancy Cilenti says:

    Emily…you have a real gift for writing, as do your parents! SO enjoyed your blog!!

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