- Where We Started: Savannah, Ga.
- Where We Ended: Savannah, Ga.
- Miles Driven: 8 (1,141 total)
- New States: 0
- Total States: 4 (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia)
THE DAY'S HIGHLIGHT
It was a bit of a lazy day on the Fred & Hank Mark America tour. But despite sleeping in, and getting caught up on some non-trip-related business, we still had time for a long walking tour of Savannah. It's a beautiful city from an architectural standpoint, and a great dog city, featuring more than 20 grassy squares for canines to chill out in. We didn't find it to be a particularly friendly city, however, not at least compared to Charleston. At that's not just because one of the cleaning women at our palatial hotel told Joan to get away from her.
Our first stop of the day was Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, probably the city's most famous restaurant. Open only for lunch, it's a boarding-house style restaurant, which means you sit at big tables with strangers and they just pile food onto your table. There's no ordering. And, when you're done, you bring your own dirty dishes into the kitchen. When we got there, the line was about 20 people deep, and we were later told that was short.
When we did get in, our table of eight featured two couples on tours and one couple that were Savannah lifers. In one of those small-world stories, It turned out that one of the visiting couples just sold a house in Huntington, N.Y., where I grew up. The Savannah-ites were very friendly, especially the wife, who decided she was going to give us every piece of information about Savannah we could ever need. She gave us the history of the restaurant, recommendations on which dishes to focus on and places to go during our walking tour. I then asked her where she thought we should have dinner, and within 30 seconds, she was on the phone making reservations for us. All in all, it was great to be randomly dropped at a table with strangers in a strange town, and this really did heighten the lunch experience (more on the food later). Another small-world note: The New Yorkers at our table also just bought an RV so they can travel with their dogs. That's the second couple we've met in as many days who've done that. Very cool.
We then put our walking shoes on, and did about 2-3 miles of padding through the city. We started by heading down River Street, which features lots of shops and restaurants, and as the name would suggest, great river views. We then headed down Bull Street, which separates the east and west parts of the city, and which features a park square every few blocks. One of those, Chippewa Square, is where the park/bus stop scene in "Forrest Gump" was filmed. Go to Flickr and you'll see a ton of people with photos claiming to be sitting on the "Gump bench." It's BS. Truth is, that bench was removed from the park soon after the movie was releases and now sits in a museum.
Next, we headed up to Forsyth Park, a gorgeous city park with a striking fountain at its center. It also featured a ton of other dogs, which gave Fred and Hank plenty of butts to sniff.
Later, we stumbled across the home once owned by Jim Williams, the Savannah antiques dealer who was at the heart of the non-fiction crime book (and later film), "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
Movie trivia note: In addition to "Forrest Gump" and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," parts of some other pretty well-known films were shot here: the original "Cape Fear" and "Glory." Part of "Roots" was also shot here.
- Our friend Tammy Kennon, who we hung out with on the Outer Banks, wrote a nice blog post about our visit. She was also nice enough to post, as requested by some commenters, the recipe for the amazing stuffed chicken we had there, plus a photo.
- Those of you with dirty minds thought I posted a photo of soft-core doggie porn on Tuesday, but it wasn't so. Having said that, Hank was, shall we say, excited in a few of the photos Joan took. Unfortunately, those are only available as part of the "Beagles Gone Wild" subscription package, and only for $19.95 a month. But, don't worry, the name of the package won't show up on your credit card bills, so order away.
- Reader Cyndy Porter suggested that, while it was brave for us to list our weights, we also should have listed heights in order to provide proper context. That's a good point. Joan started the trip at 142 pounds and stands 5-foot-8 inches. I weighed 248 when we left, and unfortunately, do not stand 7 feet, 5 inches tall. I'm only 6 feet even, and thus, significantly overweight.
- As we were leaving Forsyth Park on Wednesday, we ran into a guy wearing some, shall we say, interesting looking shoes.
The guy was very nice, and said these shoes were incredibly comfortable. And that may well be true. But there's a fine line between being on the front end of a new fashion trend and looking insane. I'm not sure where these fall, but personally, I'd just as soon wear my boxers on the outside than walk around with these. If you feel differently, and would like to buy these, they're made by Vibram and on sale here (for no other reason, take a look at the second link just to experience the mangled English). And this guy did raise a good point about the name of the product -- Five Fingers. Unless you're planning on going all Michael Jackson and only wearing one, shouldn't it be "10 Fingers"? And that doesn't even get into the whole fingers vs. toes thing.
- You may not know this, but Savannah is the birthplace of the Girl Scouts. Eighteen girls assembled here in 1912 for the first official Girl Scout meeting, and the rest is history. We should take a moment to thank them for the unbelievable contribution they've made to this country. That would be Girl Scout cookies. Especially those Samoas.
- I mentioned on Tuesday that, after being bathed, Fred and Hank sprinted around the room insanely for about five minutes. They do this every time they're bathed. Ellen Zangla sent a link to an article that attempts to explain this odd behavior.
- Reader Lisa Swansey posted a great link in the comments area a few days ago, with a link to the theme song of a 1960's cartoon series called "The Beagles." I have to say, I have never heard of it, but here's a description, and most importantly, here's a place you can hear the theme song.
- There's no truth to the rumor that we came to Savannah only so we could be in the wedding party for Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams, who apparently got married here on Tuesday, the day we arrived. (Hat tip: Liz Kelly, who writes washingtonpost.com's awesome Celebritology blog).
- Random iPod shuffle song of the day: "It's a Miracle," by Roger Waters. Now it should be stated that all of Waters's solo work falls in the same category as much of Pink Floyd's catalog: Do not operate while using heavy machinery. And while this song isn't my favorite from the album "Amused to Death," I highly recommend the album, especially the title song and "What God Wants."
- Most-played albums: With almost no car time, we didn't have any albums we listened to today. But tomorrow, we'll be spinning some REM, Allman Brothers, Ray Charles, Otis Redding and other Georgia-born musicians.
- Lunch: Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, Savannah, Ga: We've already discussed the experience; now on to the food. Among the dozen or so items that were dropped on our table, there were some that were phenomenal (roast beef, the pork BBQ, sweet potatoes and the sweet tea), others that were very good (fried chicken, carrots, macaroni & cheese) and some that were pedestrian (mashed potatoes). And, prompted by the woman next to me, I tried collard greens for the first time. Make that the last time. But the restaurant's charm and the atmosphere were well worth an extra half star. Jim Nutrition Rating: 2 stars (out of 5). Restaurant Rating: 4 stars (out of 5).
- Dinner: The Olde Pink House, Savannah, Ga.: This was a nice, intimate place right downtown, and while the dress code is "come as you are," what we are are apparently slobs, at least in comparison to most Savannah residents. But no one seemed to care. The food was good, but not great. We started with some very good oysters -- these were shucked, so I wasn't required to make an idiot of myself again. I followed with an excellent filet mignon. Joan had shrimp and grits, and was not wowed. I did have a few beers, and sticking with my local theme, tried the Sweetwater 420 from Atlanta. I'd agree with rating on the Beer Advocate site; it was a good, solid beer, but I wouldn't kill myself to chase it down again. Jim Nutrition Rating: 3.5 (out of 5). Healthy appetizer, and steak is something I can have, as long as I don't overdo it. The beers bring me down a half-star. Restaurant Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5).
- Quality Inn Heart of Savannah, Savannah, Ga.: We've already discussed the magnificent mediocrity of this joint, so no point going there again. But, during our long river walk today, we were forced to stare at the gorgeous Westin Savannah Harbor Golf & Spa. As a result, we decided to pamper ourselves for the first time on the trip in Atlanta, and stay at the cool Westin Peachtree Plaza. Rating: 2 stars (out of 5).
- Hilton Garden Inn, Savannah, Ga.: OK, we didn't stay here, but wanted to give a nod to this hotel, since we've been using their free wireless network for two days because the wireless at the Quality Inn sucks. Rating: 5 stars (out of 5). Great wireless service, and the price was right!
- Chowhound.com: Great foodie site that, like Roadfood, tries to identify local favorites.
COMMENT OF THE DAY
From Dennis Tuttle, referring to Hank's dog park beatdown from Tuesday:
- Hank completely dominated by a Labradoodle. Pathetic, embarrassing, unacceptable. I blame ownership and coaching staff.
In defense of young Hank, he was stepping up in weight class here, so he chose to use Ali's rope-a-dope strategy. Unfortunately, Hank waited a full hour for Colette to get tired, and it never happened. Instead, he was soaked with Colette's drool and clearly the loser of this bout in a unanimous decision. We'll work with Hank before his next bout.
UPCOMING PLAN (subject to change)
- Today: Change of plans. Heading to Atlanta via Macon.
- Friday: Friends and family in Atlanta, and watching the AU basketball team play for the NCAAs.
- Saturday: Andersonville, Plains and Warm Springs, Ga., and dinner near Montgomery, Ala.
BONUS BEAGLE PHOTO