A Word a Week Photograph Challenge – Arch

When I think of arches, I think of Spain: its architecture, with its strong Arabic influence, contains many arches, not to mention arched bridges and viaducts…

 

Archways at La Alhambra

Arched doorways at La Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Beautiful arched windows, La Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Beautiful arched windows, La Alhambra, Granada, Spain

School children on their way home, in El Escorial, Spain

School children on their way home pass under an arched bridge, in El Escorial, Spain

The arched viaduct of Segovia was a functioning method of transporting water into the town, until modern water systems began providing water to the town in the 20th century.

The arched viaduct of Segovia was a functioning method of transporting water into the town, until modern water systems began providing water to the town in the 20th century. These arches dominate the landscape of Segovia, and vehicles zoom under them every day.

  http://suellewellyn2011.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/a-word-a-week-photograph-challenge-arch/

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Charleston, SC: Palmetto Carriage Tour

Wed., March 26, 2014

We had ordered tickets for a Palmetto Carriage tour the night before, so we proceeded directly to the Old City Market, adjacent to the Red Barn, where the tour was to start. For booking in advance, once again we got free parking.

DSCN8546It was a beautifully clear, but chilly day, and in the barn it was even colder! A warmer room was adjacent to the barn, where people could buy tickets or snacks from a couple of vending machines; however, the barn was interesting – there were a lot of things to look at, such as old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages, horses and mules, and amusing signs.

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feed buckets

feed buckets

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Our tour wasn’t leaving until 11:15, so we had some time to look around the Market a little.

South Carolina is home to the palmetto tree, which is pictured on the state flag. Whole cottage industries arose with creations made from these trees. We saw beautifully-woven baskets made from palmetto fronds, a tradition of the African-American population here. I would have bought one but even the smallest were out of my price range! So I took pictures of them instead.

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Another mule-drawn tour

Another mule-drawn tour

When it was time for our tour, the carriage pulled up to the platform where tour-goers were waiting. Our guide helped us in, and then fetched some blankets, because it was going to be cold in an open carriage today. The carriage was drawn by two mules, When it was time for our tour, the carriage pulled up to the platform where tour-goers were waiting. Our guide helped us in, and then fetched some blankets, because it was going to be cold in an open carriage today. The carriage was drawn by two mules, each of whom had a name and distinct personality traits, as our

Our young guide

Our young guide

young guide explained. The mule on the left was lazier than the other, so the right-hand mule would bump the lazy one’s rump to get her going again! The mule on the right also tended to lean into the left mule.
The guide was very knowledgeable about Charleston’s history and the story behind the mansions we saw, and he told many anecdotal tales to keep us entertained. There are many “haunted” tales associated with certain buildings – in fact, there are ghost tours, but we weren’t going to stay in town late enough to go on one.

I took a lot of pictures, but even if we had just returned from this trip yesterday, I wouldn’t remember the names of most of the places we saw! Charleston’s historical district is characterized by small, windy streets as well as cobblestone streets -although only a few of these have been preserved -and large manor homes, built for the elite of the 19th century. These elites had made their fortunes through business or trade, and certainly many of them owned slaves. Charleston is still proud of its Confederate heritage.

I loved the ironwork and many of the decorative facades. The homes are beautiful architecturally, and several of them offered tours, although we didn’t take any of them.

DSCN8556DSCN8557?????????????????????????????????????????DSCN8561 DSCN8563 DSCN8565 ???????????????????????????????????????????????????DSCN8571 DSCN8572One can tour the Edmonston-Alston House, on High Battery, to experience early 19th century elegance (built 1825). Contains Alston family furnishings. I zoomed in on one of the balconies because of the decorative ironwork. (I don’t know what the black and purple sashes are for.)

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Headed toward the harbor

Headed toward the harbor

Look at the columns on this house, which are are slightly “crooked.” (Most noticeable if you look at the railing along the side of the balcony). This was done for a reason. Boats arriving into the port of Charleston could align themselves with the columns to guide them into the harbor.

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The same house from the front

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Calhoun mansion, one of the houses that holds tours

Calhoun mansion, one of the houses that holds tours

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????In this picture, people are waiting for a tour in front of the Calhoun mansion; note the chandelier in the front hall.

Below: Facades

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DSCN8593Below, Charleston Hat Man. This little “man” (all made out of hats – look closely!) is a symbol of the city, and you find him here and there on buildings or signs. Personally I found him to be a bit sinister.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Episcopalian church

Episcopalian church

Looking toward the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, one of Charleston's most important historical landmarks.

Looking toward the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, one of Charleston’s most important historical landmarks.

Back at the Market after the carriage tour, we once again encounter the Charleston Hat Man:

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Savannah: More St. John the Baptist and Monterey Square

St. John the Baptist cathedral – continued…

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I am adding the pictures my husband took inside this cathedral, which came out better than mine. These photos show the stained glass windows, organ and frescoes on the wall.

DSC_0260DSC_0259DSC_0261DSC_0262 DSC_0263 DSC_0266 DSC_0267A very beautiful cathedral!

After our trolley tour, we drove around in our own car to visit some places we saw on the tour that we wanted to explore. We were particularly interested in seeing the Mercer-Williams house, the scene for much of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, located on Monterey Square.

Plaque designating Monterey Square. Unfortunately it's named to commemorate the capture of Monterey, Mexico by Zachary Taylor's troops in 1846!

Plaque designating Monterey Square. Unfortunately it’s named to commemorate the capture of Monterey, Mexico by Zachary Taylor’s troops in 1846!

We had learned on the tour that the way the squares were designed, residences were to occupy the north and south sides of the square, while businesses, places of worship and other structures were located on the east and west sides of the square.

The Mercer-Williams house

The Mercer-Williams house

This house is named Mercer-Williams (sometimes just “Mercer House”) because the house was at one time owned by singer Johnny Mercer, one of Savannah’s most famous citizens, but in fact Johnny had never lived there. Later it was purchased by Jim Williams, a self-made man and antique dealer who is the central character in the book.  The house is currently occupied by Williams’ sister and her family, so tours are currently not being conducted of the house.

Also on Monterey Square is the Mickve Israel synagogue. This congregation was founded in 1733. The current synagogue was consecrated in 1878, according to a historical marker in front of the building. It is the oldest Reform Jewish congregation in the United States. By the time we got there, it was after 6 pm so it was closed and we had to be content with taking pictures of the outside.

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Savannah: Old Town Trolley Tour: Andrew Low House, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 (cont.)

Before I continue, here’s a little background on Savannah: The historical center of the city is notable for its 22 squares laid out in a grid. This was the idea of James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia. On two opposite sides of each square would be residences and on the other two opposite sides would be reserved for commercial use. Each square has a small park in the center and most have either a fountain or a statue. These squares serve the purpose of keeping traffic from flowing too fast, as it would on most major straight thoroughfares in urban areas.

HistSavmapThis map gives an idea of the layout of the historical district.

We continued on the trolley tour until Stop 8.

Monument to Savannah's Scottish forbears, dedicated on the city's 250th birthday, May 3, 1987

Monument to Savannah’s Scottish forbears, dedicated on the city’s 250th birthday, May 3, 1987

shops along Bay Street

shops along Bay Street

Madison Square

Madison Square

?????????????????????? DSCN8525 DSCN8527?????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????IMAG1663_1 ??????????????????????????????????These beautiful old houses are the reminders of the opulence enjoyed by Savannah’s upper class in the 19th century. No doubt many of the owners of these homes were plantation owners who depended on slave labor.

Lafayette Square

Lafayette Square

At Stop 8 we got off to tour the Andrew Low House. Across the street was a large church, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. I snapped a picture of it before we went into the house. We had to wait a little while for our tour, and meanwhile looked at the beautiful gardens and the patio in back.

Andrew Low House

Andrew Low House

Partial view of front gardens

Partial view of front gardens

Andrew Low house patio

Andrew Low house patio

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Gardens at Andrew Low House

Gardens at Andrew Low House

As in the Juliette Low birthplace, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the Andrew Low House.

I think we got on the last tour of the day because it was too late to try to get to the Davenport House and tour it, even though Tam had bought tickets for that house also. We had to wait for another trolley to pick us up, so meanwhile, we looked at the gardens around the Low House.

The large cathedral of St. John the Baptist also beckoned, so Tam hung around the Low House and trolley stop while Dale and I took a quick look in the cathedral.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

?????????????????????????????????It was definitely worth it! The stained glass windows were beautiful and the sanctuary was magnificent but not overdone. Green marble columns flanked the pews on each side of the aisle. There were frescoes on either side of the altar depicting Jesus’ ministry. I liked the general color scheme inside the cathedral – the green marble contrasting with the pink and white marble on the floor. The arched ceiling was also lovely, and in the balcony at the back of the church was a spectacular organ!

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I couldn’t capture the colors of the stained glass windows, it being late afternoon with the sunlight filtering in through the windows. The holy water font was tiled with a Celtic design set against a dark blue  background. Stunning!

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Old Savannah Trolley Tour & Juliette Low’s House

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 (cont.)

We’d been told that the Old Town Trolley Tour was the best and most popular of the Savannah trolley tours to get an overview of the city, although there are many others, as well as walking tours, ghost tours, etc.

Because we had advance purchased tickets, we were able to park free for four hours. It was a large lot on the site of an old train depot flanked by warehouses.

Tam went and bought house tour tickets, determining the stops where we would be getting off. It was already noon when we arrived, and the trolleys were on a rotating schedule, so we were scheduled for the tour that left at 1:05. We got a guide which listed all the stops and what places of interest were at each one. There would be a main attraction, with other places of interest clustered around it, shown on a map, which was color coded for each stop.

The tour was narrated and I took pictures as best I could as the trolley rolled along – I had mixed success! I figured that being on the right side next to the window, I’d get good pictures, but it turned out that most of interesting things to photograph were on the left side! Dale was on the left side and snapping pictures every few seconds, it seemed! ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

The Thunderbird Inn, a hotel with a funny sign: "At the intersection of 'Yes, ma'am' and 'Dude'."

The Thunderbird Inn, a hotel with a funny sign: “At the intersection of ‘Yes, ma’am’ and ‘Dude’.”

City Market near Ellis Square

City Market near Ellis Square

The first place we got off was Juliette Gordon Low’s house. Juliette Gordon Low was the founder of the Girl Scouts. We took the house tour, narrated by a docent who told us Juliette Low’s life story as we moved from room to room. She was known by her family as “Daisy” and used this nickname throughout her life.

????????????????????The patio and gardens behind the house was quite pretty. A troop of Girl Scout troop who had visited the house at the same time were taking group pictures.

Sculptures in patio behind Juliette Low's house: Cast bronze emperor cranes, in memory of Page Wilder Anderson (first US Girl Guide leader)

Sculptures in patio behind Juliette Low’s house: Cast bronze emperor cranes, in memory of Page Wilder Anderson (first US Girl Guide leader)

patio behind Juliette Low's house

patio behind Juliette Low’s house

???????????????????? ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The house is quite impressive from the outside – large by today’s standards, although Daisy Gordon’s family was considered “middle class” (upper middle class, for sure)! She was athletic and talented in the arts.

his antique doll house was on display in the gift shop (I'm sure it wasn't for sale) at Juliette Low's house.

his antique doll house was on display in the gift shop (I’m sure it wasn’t for sale) at Juliette Low’s house.

The man she married, William Low, was from a very wealthy English family and they moved to England after their marriage. I’m not sure if class had anything to do with it, but her marriage was unhappy. Her husband died in 1905 when the couple was separated. She spent a period of depression, feeling her life was without meaning, until she met Sir Robert Baden Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts in 1911. In 1912, she gathered 18 teenage girls to form the first troop of American Girl Guides. Her niece was one of the members of this first troop. The next year the name was changed to Girl Scouts.

Juliette Gordon Low died in 1927 of breast cancer.

(Some information that I had forgotten was retrieved by visiting the web site https://www.girlscouts.org/who_we_are/history/low_biography/.)

 

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Savannah: Clary’s and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I had just finished reading a fictionalized journalist’s history of Savannah, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, in preparation for this trip. Our first destination in Savannah today was Clary’s, a small restaurant where the Lady Chablis, the

Lady Chablis (famous because of the book & movie) is still going strong!

Lady Chablis (famous because of the book & movie) is still going strong! We found this notice outside a theatre.

transvestite character in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, often goes for breakfast. On TV the previous week, we had seen her meeting a chef that was reporting on Savannah cuisine, at Clary’s. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the privilege of meeting her – she didn’t show up at Clary’s the day we were there!

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The restaurant does play up its role in the book and movie, which I had never seen (I finally did watch it on TV a few weeks later). There are black & white framed pictures of scenes from the movie, and a stained glass window portrays the statue in Bonaventure Cemetery depicted on the cover of the book.

IMAG1644 IMAG1646It was after 11 am by the time we got there (we’d had to attend a showing of a new condo complex on Hilton Head Island in order to get free trolley tickets, which cost $28 each). For brunch I ordered fried eggs, corned beef hash, grits, and a biscuit. The grits were a lot like cream of wheat. In the South, grits are eaten with

My food

My food

salt, but my preference would be to eat them like I eat oatmeal at home: with milk and brown sugar! Dale had some kind of egg scramble with veggies and ham or sausage, with ranch-style potatoes and a biscuit. Anyway, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the grits – not these grits anyway. Still, it was fun to enjoy the ambiance and the connection with the book.

Dale's food

Dale’s food

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Savannah restaurants: The Pirate’s House

After looking around the Bonaventure cemetery, we started looking for restaurants to have dinner. Tam had a list that she had printed from the Internet.

One of the top restaurants in Savannah listed was The Olde Pink House. It was indeed pink! Finding a parking space would be difficult and as we could see that people were waiting to get in, I got out and went in to find out how long the wait was, while Dale and Tam sat in the idling car out front. This restaurant had several rooms, each of which were apparently served by different hosts. So the hostess took me into different rooms to ask, even downstairs in what looked like mostly a bar. Each section had a 45-minute wait minimum. We decided not to wait. Anyone planning to visit Savannah that wants to dine at The Olde Pink House should reserve in advance or get there really early! Check out their web site here: http://www.plantersinnsavannah.com/the-olde-pink-house/

We ended up at The Pirate’s House (their web site is: http://www.thepirateshouse.com/,) listed as 7th in Tam’s online recommendations. This restaurant was near the Savannah River, next to a large parking lot, so parking wasn’t difficult. There was also a wait there, but not as long, and in fact we were seated in less time than they had predicted. The difficulty was mainly for large parties while small tables went unfilled.

IMAG1641The Pirate’s House has its own historical significance. It is located on the site of Trustees Garden, the first experimental garden in America. (See http://www.thepirateshouse.com/history.html.)

Historical marker: The Trustees Garden

Historical marker: The Trustees Garden

The garden ultimately failed but on the site was built an inn for seamen, which became a rendezvous for pirates and sailors. Like the Olde Pink House, there are separate rooms (15 in all), each room with its own history and ambiance; we were in the Captain’s Room.

 

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There’s purportedly even a tunnel underneath the Captain’s Room (you can see the shaft from above), used to kidnap unaware sailors (they’d been drugged or were too drunk to know what was going on) to ships waiting in the harbor. The sailor could wake from unconsciousness halfway across the ocean en route to China!

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An employee (not the waiter) dressed as a pirate comes around to greet customers and gives a tour of The Pirate’s House’s history. He led a few people through the Captain’s Room and told stories surrounding the tunnel, at which time I got up and peered down into the shaft.

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My dinner was shrimp and crabmeat au gratin, which was delicious. Dale considered having Jambalaya but ended up ordering flounder. I don’t remember what Tam ate. (We like to order different things so we can try each other’s.) I do remember the food being excellent! We could check off one of our required cuisines for this trip: seafood. (The other two were barbecue and Southern cooking).

The placemats tell the history of the restaurant.

The placemats tell the history of the restaurant.

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