Thursday, December 12, 2019

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Christmas Season Celebration, Part 3

Day 4
After breakfast, we walked through Colonial Cemetery on the way to the Isaiah Davenport House.

The house was beautifully preserved--the first preservation effort of the Historic Savannah Foundation. I was particularly intrigued by the wallpaper.

After the tour of this home, we were free for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We passed these on the way back to the hotel for a light lunch before heading off to a tour of the Bonaventure Cemetery.

Our Bonaventure tour guide packed so much information into our two-hour tour. He spoke quickly and hardly seemed to stop for a breath. This is probably a good time to mention a bit about the title of the book that captivated me. One of the characters in the book, Minerva, practices voodoo. The title alludes to the time for "good magic," 11 p.m. to midnight, and "bad magic, midnight to 1 a.m.
John Walz was a German-born sculptor who is responsible for a lot of the statues at Bonaventure. He died in 1922 and interestingly did not have a gravestone until about five years ago when the historical society commissioned one for him.
One of the well-known statues he sculpted is Gracie Watson. She died at a Savannah hotel run by her father at about age 7, from pneumonia. Her father took a picture and commissioned John Walz to carve her likeness.
Eventually a gate was constructed to keep visitors from touching the statue and wearing it down.

Hugh Weedon Mercer, great grandfather to music legend Johnny Mercer.

Conrad Aiken was an American writer and poet who had a tragic life after witnessing the murder-suicide of his parents. He eventually moved next door to his childhood home. Apparently a lot of people like to have cocktails on the bench at his grave site.
Johnny Mercer's plot has several family members, each with lyrics from his songs engraved on the markers. In case you are not familiar with Johnny Mercer, he was a prolific song writer in the 1930s to mid 1960s, including such famous songs as Moon River. He earned four academy awards for Best Original Song.
The cemetery is very large, and we only saw a small portion of it, but were able to see some of the most well-known statues.
In the evening, we went to a nearby restaurant and had southern fried chicken.

Day 5
After breakfast we walked to St. John's Cathedral. While the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, will probably always be my favorite, this was a beautiful cathedral.

We also visited Congregation Mickve Israel, the third oldest Jewish Congregation in America.
After lunch, I opted to spend some more time walking around some of the squares. I first headed to Telfair Square to the Telfair Museum to finally get a glimpse of the Bird Girl, who achieved fame after being on the cover of the book, a statue I had waited so long to see in person. (My special souvenir was a 15" replica purchased from the Telfair Museum.)

Then I headed to the Mercer-Williams home. I wish I had had a chance to see it a couple of days earlier, because on this day, Monday, they had decided to start with some exterior work. So there was a ladder, and a worker, by the front door, as well as scaffolding on one side. Sigh...

I ended up not taking a tour. Apparently, only the main floor is open and no mention is made about the book or the murder. And while it is called the Mercer-Williams home, Johnny Mercer never lived there.

I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the squares and soaking up all the beautiful architecture.

Here is an interesting quirk. All the squares have a fountain or a statue. However, the statues are not in the square named after them. For example, Casimir Pulaski is in Monterey Square, although there is a Pulaski Square. General Oglethorpe, who founded the city of Savannah, is in Chippewa Square, although there is an Oglethorpe Square. And President Andrew Jackson's statue is in Lafayette Square.
I asked my good friend, Mary, who lives on Lake Pulaski in Minnesota, if this was the same Pulaski her lake is named for, and indeed it is.
We have a magnolia tree in front of our house and we pretty much despise it--it sheds something all.year.long. But then I saw the garland and wreath on this house and maybe I just need to get creative.

Just a few more...with all the blow-up Santas and reindeer that decorate the lawns in Fresno, I loved that the decorations here were so understated and elegant.

And before I knew it, it was time to head home.

The tree in the Savannah airport.
This was in the Dallas airport, where I spent a long 7 1/2 hour layover on my way home, so I wasn't feeling very joyful about that.
However, this was a dream trip. Trudy and I shared a most amazing adventure together that I will remember forever. Thanks, friend. Where shall we go next?


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Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said... #

It looks like a great trip. Thanks for taking us along!

Charlotte M. said... #

Thank you so much for all the beautiful pictures. When we moved my daughter there for school at SCAD, we walked around a lot. The history and the houses are wonderful. My daughter got to attend classes in some great buildings that SCAD had bought and refurbished. She worked at SCAD for a time after graduation, was married in Savannah, and my first grandson was born there. So my family has a lovely connection to the city, as well as some wonderful friends who still live there. Your pictures are exquisite. So glad you and Trudy had such a wonderful time.

Debbie said... #

Well that was fun! Thanks for sharing!

DianeY said... #

What great photos! I have never been there but really enjoyed the book as well as the movie!

Anne / Springleaf Studios said... #

Looks like you had a lovely little trip. Thanks for the nice tour. I've seen little of the south so all the architecture and style is very different from what I'm used to. A formal, elegance about it that has it's own charm.

French 75 said... #

Thanks for posting your fabulous architectural photos. I love the doors, wrought iron railings and homes with their holiday decorations. And, yes, the understated wreaths and decorations are a welcome sight.

Farm Quilter said... #

My daughter lives outside Savannah right now (Army)...I'll have to ask her what cool things she has seen there! As soon as I can, I want to visit her and check out all that Savannah has to offer!

Nancy said... #

Oh, such an adventure! What a lovely travelogue you have here. I enjoyed what you shared. I now have a few more books to add to my reading list and a few more cities for my bucketlist. My in-laws used to travel through "Elder Hostel" which was later renamed "Road Scholar" and always had adventures I wished I could take. I will have to look into it now.

OPQuilt said... #

Your tour of this city made me stop and look up Conrad Aiken's bio, and to enjoy all the decorations. All your photos remind me of Alexandria, just outside DC, but definitely a Southern city, if your photos are a gauge. Thanks for taking us on this trip--what a fun memory!!