First rally week is done, now on to the second.
Guess what we started out with this morning? Coffee and doughnuts? WRONG. Coffee and Fritters! All flavors!
First stop today was our Midnight Book and Movie Tour.
Starting out at Franklin Square, designed in 1790 in honor of Benjamin Franklin, who was an agent for Georgia in London. Franklin Square was once known as “Water Tower Square,” because it was home to the city’s water supply in the mid to late 19th century. The Square now anchors the western end of the City Market, where we found a statue of Johnny Mercer.
He was the co-founder Capitol Records. Yes, back in the day, we used “records” to listen to our music. He also wrote the lyrics to the song “Moon River.” Most people write about their memories, but in this case, the river near where Mercer grew up was renamed Moon River in his honor.
We drove by Lady Chablis’ home nightclub, “Club One,” where she was known as the Grand Empress.
Lady Chablis was played by herself in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
Below is a photo of an old “Sears” house. Back in the day, houses could be ordered through the Sears and Roebuck catalog. Does anything look peculiar to you?
Yep, those windows were installed upside down….
The First Afro-American Church
This church was used as a stop along the Underground Railroad. No records were kept on how many slaves used the Church on their way to the North for their safety. A unique feature in the Church, which relates to the Underground Railroad, are the holes in the floor in certain areas of the Church. These holes are arranged in a pattern known as a Congolese Cosmogram. This pattern represented life so it fit with the church. The real reason for these holes were breathing holes for slaves who were hidden beneath the floorboards!
The Mercer House,
where the alleged killing of Billy Hansen took place in Williams’ study.
Remember the bug man in the movie? Below is “Clarys” his breakfast place.
The Unitarian Universalist Church, built in 1851, now sits on the west side of Troup Square. Legend says that James Pierpont wrote the song we know as “Jingle Bells” during the time that he served at this church. The Unitarian Church was forced to close prior to the Civil War because of their abolitionist beliefs.
Beneath the large oaks that now dominate Wright Square, blood has been spilled. The first white burial ground was located at Wright Square. At the southwest corner of the square, extending underneath some of the buildings, is where the bodies of those first buried in Savannah rest—but not all of them are at peace. A common theme that you will find throughout Savannah hauntings is that buildings and roadways were often built on top of burial grounds. Thus, the most haunted city in America.
The ghost of Chief Tomo-Chi-Chi allegedly still resides in Wright Square. If you visit his monument on the southeast corner of the Square, and run around it three times while saying “Tomo-Chi-Chi," his ghost might actually appear.
Savannah was celebrating May Day at Calhoun Square. The children weren’t shy about posing either.
Identical homes were built for twin sisters, who incidentally did not get along.
Do you think maybe daddy built their identical homes attached to force them to get along?
Bonaventure Cemetery is one of the most visited locations in and around historic Savannah. The grounds are widely considered to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries in all of our country.
There are a number of well-known individuals laid to rest inside the walls of Bonaventure Cemetery. Perhaps the most well know is Johnny Mercer. The famous American song-writer is laid to rest in a part of the cemetery close to the Bull River. His grave is one of the most visited graves in Bonaventure Cemetery.
Another well-known person to be buried in Bonaventure is Conrad Aiken. Aiken grew up in Savannah where he wrote some of his novels and poems.
Little Gracie Watkins is probably the MOST visited grave site in Bonaventure. Gracie died in 1889 when she was only six years old. Her father had a sculpture carve a true-to-life statue of Gracie for her grave. The wrought iron fence surrounding her grave is almost always adorned with flowers, stuffed animals, and other trinkets that would make a child happy.
Nothing like being buried on waterfront property.
Before leaving the cemetery, we decided to do a group photo.
Unfortunately, we did not have everyone in our group.
Lunch was at the Blue Moon Brewery followed by a tour.
The afternoon was spent at Telfair Museum and Jepsen Center.
One of the photos below is acrylic aerosol on spraycans, who would have thought… The real time camera depicting blur and mosaic pictures was lots of fun.
Everyone’s favorite was Savannah’s “Bird Girl,” ESPECIALLY KAY’S favorite. It was featured on the cover of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
We enjoyed a FABULOUS dinner at the Pirate’s House, established in 1753. Southern Fried Chicken, pork, fish, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, collard greens, and banana bread pudding for dessert. We even had a pirate visit us to tell us about the restaurant in the “pirate” days (probably like today’s biker bars) and how they have underground tunnels, which are now closed, down to the water to sneak in the rum.
The Pirates' House is home to some rare early edition pages of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. The pages can be seen hanging on the walls of the Captain's room and the Treasure room in the Pirates' House.
Within the restaurant is the Herb House built in 1734, the oldest house in the state of Georgia. It was originally used by the gardener of Trustees' Garden which was an early Colonial experimental garden which later failed.
The Herb House was later turned into an inn for seamen since it was only a block from the Savannah River. Seamen and pirates gathered there to drink, party, and tell outlandish tales.
Another crazy day back at camp. This morning, we had all kinds of cream filled doughnuts! I think the doughnuts were used as ammunition to make the eggtravagant games more challenging.
Starting out with the egg toss, we armed our guests with rain ponchos.
Eggs between Legs Race
Spoon egg race
Check out Jane, above right. I bet she didn’t realize she could move that fast!
Eggs in a Basket
Eggs in a Cup
What a Krazy Krew!
Lunch was tasty Italian lasagna, creamed corn, salad, and the best cheese spread ever for our bread. FOLLOWED by a banana split bar. All the fixins!
Skymed gave an informative talk about their emergency transport product. If you don’t have it, you should certainly think about it. They will cover at 100% ambulance/helicopter service. Just make that call to 911 and Skymed will do the rest!
Social hour wine and cheese bar
Light dinner tonight with pizza and beer. LOTS OF PIZZA
Plain, sausage, pepperoni, supreme, meat lovers, vegetarian, white. You name it, we had it!
Finishing off our night with popcorn and a movie, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
WAIT! Is Bill trying to steal some popcorn?
Coffee & doughnuts, yum, yum.
Kay started off our Sunday morning with Gospel Service complete with communion. The only way to start off your day!
We boarded our bus for the Keller Flea Market! WOOOHOOOO. We were all challenged to find a treasure. The “Rivoli Rally Challenge” find something to sell at the auction and the person who makes the most profit on their “treasure” wins a prize. Everyone was on a quest to beat Kay at this chore. It wasn’t hard to find a treasure as the flea market - tables kept going, and going, and going, and going.
Those who were quick shoppers, found time to make it back to the front of the market to get a photo op with the largest cow ever.
Lunch at Betty Bombers, home of the American Legion Building and the birthplace of the Eighth Air Force. This building was a National Guard Armory at the time the Eighth Air Force was activated in 1942. You can’t get more “All American” than that. It was very touching to see a personal place setting for Prisoners of War/Missing in Action.
The chefs prepare the kind of food that they like to eat, day in and day out. Their mission is to combine fresh ingredients with their craftsmanship to create delectable, wholesome foods for Savannahians. The servers were something else!
Arriving at Chippewa Square too early for the Theatre, we decided to explore. Linda and Kay found where Forest Gump sat on his bench eating his chocolate covered cherries
as well as the famous phone booth and restaurant found in the 1995 “Something To Talk About” with Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid.
So WHAT are Kay and Linda talking about??? You’ll just have to come to one of our rallies to find out!
“Savannah Live” at the historic Savannah Theatre was a delight. The Savannah Theatre first opened in 1818. Located in the heart of downtown Savannah on Chippewa Square. It is one of the United States' oldest continually-operating theatres. Ernie sat down next to Bill and GREW right before our eyes! IT WAS DOUG STEGALL’S FAULT!
We saw Savannah Live, a high-energy 2 hour variety show that features everything from “Pop” to “Broadway” and “Motown" to “Rock & Roll!” All we can say is WOW! Our guests enjoyed the entire show, singing right along with the entertainers.
We had much audience participation, including Don being invited up on stage with the pretty ladies. What a hoot! Who knew he had such rhythm!
After the show, Don STILL thought he was the ladies’ man.
NOOOO, DON, that’s the wrong bus!
Finishing our night at Loves Seafood Restaurant. Yesssss Sirrrrrrr Yeeeeee! MORE FOOD! We had waterfront dining, located on the banks of the Ogeechee River. In October 1993 Love’s Seafood was selected by Paramount Pictures for one of the many filming locations of the academy award winning movie “Forrest Gump” starring Tom Hanks. Love that movie! Loves was picked as one of Coastal Living Magazine’s Top 25 Seafood Dives in the Coastal United States.
What a treat!
What no doughnuts???!!! Nope, TODAY is HUGE BAGEL day. Bagels and cream cheese, now that’s the way to start the day.
Then off to the Georgia Railroad Museum. The museum is a beautiful National Historic Landmark located at the old Central of Georgia Railway Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities. It has a fully operational turntable where you can explore historic railcars
AND experience the handcar!
The boiler room was the heart of the complex, pumping steam power and heat. The workers had to continually feed the boiler with wood or coal. Until the early 1900s when electricity took over and the boiler only provided heat for the other buildings.
The steam powered the steam engine by turning a flywheel, which turned a line shaft. The rotating line shaft ran into the Blacksmith Shop, the Machine Shop and other buildings. The shaft was connected by belts and its rotation powered saws, drills, etc.
The smokestack served several purposes. It is connected to the Boiler Room and Blacksmith Shop by underground flues. The system operates under the Bernoulli Principle. The height of the stack enables wind and pressure to create a vacuum and draw smoke through the tunnels and out of the buildings. The hot air crated by the boiler expanded and rose, contributing to this effect. This also brought fresh air into the boiler, creating a hotter fire. The stack contained a large water reservoir that held water needed by the shops.
The base of the stack housed 16 privies and changing rooms for the workers. Below, Linda is checking out the privy.
The highlight of this visit was the REAL LIVE steam train ride.
You certainly DO NOT have a chance to get hungry with Rivoli Rallies! Paula Deen is so awesome that we went to their newest addition, Creek House Restaurant Seafood & Grill, for lunch.
What good food and great service. And a wonderful gift shop, imagine that.
Pinpoint Heritage Museum is located in the old A.S. Varn & Son Oyster and Crab Factory. How cool is that!? We experienced the Gullah/Geechee way of life from religion to foodways, spending the better part of the afternoon in a MOST interesting little place off the beaten path.
Our tour guide was very special, Herman Haynes “Hanif,” the great great (maybe another great) grandson of one of the founders of Pinpoint, a very unique community.
It all started in the 1890s after a series of hurricanes devastated the Georgia coast causing an exodus to the mainland. At the same time, the former Beaulieu Plantation was being divided into lots and sold to the wealthy who desired weekend retreats near the water. The less desirable lots were made available to freedmen. The Bond and Dilward families purchased the initial lots, thus the beginning of Pin Point.
“Old Man Varn” kept his enterprise for nearly 60 years because of the people of Pin Point. This white seafood entrepreneur in a rural black community thrived for most of the 20th century. The residents of Pin Point led a secluded life, at the end of an unpaved road, where there was work and food. What mattered to them was faith, the tides, the weather and one another.
Learning about the “Gullah/Geechee” heritage was moving. Gullah/Geechee became the common language of the African slaves mixed from different tribes. Words like “chirrin” for children. Their culture flourished, blending their African heritage with their American experience. They became skilled fishermen, shrimpers and crabbers, as well as harvesting oysters. They fused their African religious practices with the Baptist missionaries who started “praise houses,” leading to the Hinder Me Not Church established by David Bond and his son, Benjamin.
The people of Pin Point have nicknames. If you ask for someone by their birthname, you will likely get a blank stare. This is likely from their African practices where people often kept their real names secret for fear that someone could work magic against them. One nickname is “Bacon” because he “brought home the bacon” or “Watchie” because he watched over the neighborhood children from his front porch. Other nicknames include Snapper, Moose, Quarter Horse, Chicken, Duck, Pee Wee, Popsicle. The list goes on.
Pin Point is the hometown of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
where his single mother worked in the crab/oyster factory to take care of her family the best she could. The factory closed in 1985 due to tougher fishing and inspections. The crab population decreased with the airdropping of a chemical to control the ants, but it also killed an entire generation of adult crabs. Overfishing and minimum wage (widely used in the 1970s) didn’t help the situation. Residents began to take jobs outside the community, not as a choice, but as a necessity.
Somehow we had time to make a quick bus stop at our local distributer of Nine Line Apparel. They are all about giving back to our veterans and WE ARE TOO!
Because we were able to get home a bit early, we had time for a social hour and a WONDERFUL catered dinner at CreekFire Motor Ranch. Special Sausage Cheese Dip and spinach dip with bread and low country boil (a Savannah thing). As a special treat, we had an oyster bar! Look at the size! The oysters were especially good because the caterer owns the oyster bed and they were freshly picked for us.
The evening would not be complete without the entertainment of Kay and Ron,
Door Prizes, and Shout Outs! RiVoli Rallies has done it again, “ONLY THE BEST FOR ITS GUESTS.”