Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Georgia On My Mind

Another day means another adventure. Today we head south to Savannah. We are planning another house tour, but the house I chose is closed today. Boo! So we drive a few blocks and toured the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace. She was called Daisy and she is the founder of the Girl Scouts. The exterior of the house is being renovated, but we toured the inside and saw how a wealthy family with six children lived in the city. The furnishings were nice, but no comparison to what we saw the day before in Charleston. They also had a double lot with gardens and a large piazza on the first floor overlooking the gardens.

Next stop was lunch at the Gryphon Tea Room. This lovely restaurant is run by SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design. The room and food were wonderful. Housed in an old pharmacy the room has stained glass on some walls and the ceiling. Wood paneled walls and the original apothecary drawers make this so interesting. They have a great menu and lots of interesting choices. I had quiche and Carol had a salad and both were delicious.

Last stop was a tour of Mickve Israel Synagogue. This reform congregation is the third oldest in the US and founded before the Revolutionary War. I have been on the tour before, but always learn something new. The building is beautiful and the stained glass windows are wonderful. Upstairs they have a small museum with interesting items from throughout their history.

Finally we head home, cook dinner and watch TV. We are enjoying the Olympics all week and also catching up on some of our taped shows.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tara's Theme

We are off to Charleston this morning and the weather is cool and partly sunny. We decided to visit a plantation and selected Drayton Hall. The drive was pleasant and thanks to the GPS we found it easily. We drove down a lane lined by old Live Oak Trees draped with Spanish Moss.

We immediately went on a guided tour and we were joined by only one other so it was private and full of information. Our guide was knowledgable and we learned so much about this house and the Drayton family who lived here for several generations starting before the Civil War.

The house is not furnished and is being lovingly preserved by the National Trust. We loved the grand staircases, fireplaces and high ceilings. Later generations of family marked their heights on a door jamb which is now covered in plastic to preserve this tradition. The last owner even had her three dogs recorded here. After our tour we walked on the grounds and, of course, visited the gift shop.

We drove into the historic area of Charleston and had a delicious seafood lunch at the Charleston Seafood House. We walked around the City Market and I purchased a tablecloth and a purse.

Finally we toured the stately Nathaniel Russell house on Meeting Street. This was one of the wealthiest homes in the city and it is beautiful. Situated on a double lot you enter through the lush gardens with footpaths. Carol was impressed by the blooming camelias.

The guided tour takes you in the front door and through the public rooms to the family quarters. Their staircase curves and floats up three stories. Exquisite! The house has magnificent curved doors some with the glass set into carved wooden panels. Wallpaper, marble fireplace surrounds and carved plaster accents make this a delight for the eyes.

Now it is time to drive home and Carol participated in a phone/webinar from one of her jobs. It took almost the entire trip and made the time pass quickly. We picked up some take out and had dinner with Jeff at home.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Marine Hymn

Carol is visiting and we are busy! She arrived on Friday afternoon and we immediately went out to dinner and a show with Jan and Harvey. We love the South Carolina Repertory Theatre which is a black box seating 72. Each show is a treat and tonight was no exception. The production was Shipwrecked with one actor telling his story and two others doing all the bit parts. One who played a dog was truly enjoyable and talented. We just loved the show and are sad that the theatre is closing this spring, it will be a great loss.

On Saturday we did some errands and walked around the artsy section of Bluffton. Then we were off to Savannah for dinner with Sue and Bob at the Crystal Palace which is an old tavern with great food and atmosphere. Then we all went to a Contra dance at a very old school building. What fun we had learning the steps and listening to the caller and executing the steps. Lots of laughs.

Sunday was busy too as we got up early and drove to Parris Island. Jeff and I have been volunteering at the Marine Recruit Depot for several years running religious services on Sunday mornings. We try to go once a month as our synagogue is responsible for the services each week. For us it means waking up at 6, dressing and leaving the house at 7. We arrive at 7:30 and set up the room. The service lasts from 8 to 10 and then we drive home and take a nap. This week we had 21 recruits and we had a wonderful experience as always. One recruit we had met before had just finished his training and become a Marine. He looked so handsome and proud in his crisp, new uniform. Happily we were able to have Carol join us and share this experience which has become so important to us.

After resting we headed off to another synagogue function. Our monthly film club started at 2 and we are the A/V team. The movie was subtitled and interesting. Poor Carol realized that she had already seen this film, but watched it again. We came home, made dinner and sat like lumps watching TV all night.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

There's No Business Like Show Business

Sometimes we are just lucky! Jeff and I have been anxious to see the show The Book of Mormon and it is now playing in Atlanta. Last June we signed up for a bus trip to see the show and have been waiting since then. Turns out they sold the trip for two consecutive Wednesdays and the week before us was cancelled due to an icy storm that shut down the states of Georgia and South Carolina. As our trip approached we had cold and clear weather.

We took Sirius to a kennel on Monday night and drove to Charleston on Tuesday where Jeff had a doctor's appointment. Got home, packed and rested for our adventure. Wednesday morning we boarded a beautiful new bus and started the five hour ride to Atlanta. Along the way we listened to the CD of the show and ate box lunches with turkey sandwiches. The day was gloomy, but we were going. Got to Atlanta and checked into the Doubletree in Buckhead. Spent a few hours in a nearby mall and then got dressed for the evening.

Our group had dinner at Maggiano's and then the bus took us downtown to the Fox Theatre. What a beautiful building with over 4000 comfortable seats. We were in the rear orchestra and just off center. The theatre was built as a Shriner's Mosque and it is exquisite. The ceiling is painted blue with lighting creating a field of stars. There are canopies over the balconies and lanterns hanging above the stage. Even the entryway and lobbies are interesting to see.

The lights went down and the show began  and we were intrigued from the first note. The opening number is the best in the show and we loved the whole thing. Music and dancing were excellent and the writing is so clever. I must warn you that the language is truly raunchy, but we found it funny. I highly recommend this show if you can get over the language and subject matter.

In the morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then I went with the group to Trader Joe's for a shopping spree. Jeff stayed at the hotel until noon and then met up with the bus for the ride home. I opted to go to the Atlanta History Center and spent a few pleasant hours there. The modern museum building sits on the grounds of a depression era mansion and an old farm. The Swan House is open for tours and I enjoyed seeing this spectacular home completed in 1928 and beautifully furnished.

The highlight is their floating staircase. Their gardens were beautiful and I would love to see them in bloom.

Inside I walked through the Civil War exhibit which was informative and chock full of items collected by a father/son team over their lifetime. Also viewed the Atlanta Olympic exhibition and a folk art collection. Again I would recommend this museum if you visit the Buckhead area.

We returned home on Thursday night and rescued Sirius the next morning. Looking back I realize how lucky we were to go since the next Wednesday as I write this, is another winter storm with icy roads.