We got up early on Saturday, April 2nd, and prepared for our 277-mile drive to Savannah, GA, where we would spend a week at CreekFire RV Resort. Since we had not moved in four months, we were somewhat concerned that we might forget some of our moving-day procedures but we did pretty well. We did have a bit of an issue when we couldn’t get the hitch’s arm to close completely, although the jaws were properly secured around the kingpin. To make matters worse, we couldn’t get the jaws to open back up so we could try again. We tried raising and lowering the legs, as well as moving the truck back and forth slightly, and we eventually got the hitch arm into position so we could lock it in place.
Once we got on the road, the drive was quite slow. We faced many miles of stop-and-go traffic on the interstates, due to accidents, road construction, and tons of snowbirds returning north. In addition, we dealt with rain much of the day, including some periods of torrential downpour. So, despite preparing to leave Webster, FL at 9:30 am, we didn’t reach our new campground until 4:30 pm. Fortunately, our new pull-through site was easy to access and the hitch disconnected without any further issue.
The resort has many amenities, including four pools (swimming pool, kiddie pool, splash pool, and a lazy river), a game room, tennis/pickleball court, a lake with catch-and-release fishing, and a hiking trail around the lake. Unfortunately, the weather forecast for the week calls for three days of inclement weather, including some severe storms.
On Sunday, we caught a shuttle bus at 9:30 am and were driven to the garage for the Old Town Trolley Tours in Savannah. We then transferred to a trolley and took a 90-minute ride around the entire loop. This took us past most of the 22 squares in the historic district. The trolley driver provided an overwhelming amount of details about what we were passing. After completing the full loop, we got off at the City Market stop and headed to Sorry Charlie’s Oyster Bar for a snack. We went up to the rooftop bar and shared a dozen raw oysters. We then strolled through City Market, before hopping back on the trolley. We got off at Madison Square and strolled through many of the neighborhoods and visited several of the squares. We spent a lot of time at Chippewa Square looking for the bench from the movie Forest Gump but later learned that it had been moved to a museum. We then returned to City Market and decided to have lunch at the Café at City Market. Phil’s pepperoni pizza was barely passable, but Jan’s got the real surprise. When her summer salad was placed down in front of her, a roach popped up from under the lettuce and landed on its back. When she sent the plate back, the waiter returned with a different(?) salad but, obviously, Jan refused it, having lost any appetite for another bunch of lettuce from the same kitchen. After lunch, we hopped back on the trolley and rode to Forsyth Park. Since we needed to be back at the trolley garage by 4 pm for our shuttle back to the campground, our tour around the park was a quick one.
On Monday, two of our friends from our 2018 caravan to Alaska, John and Linda Baird, came to visit us. Since the Alaska trip, they have purchased a condo on Hilton Head Island, SC, about an hour from Savannah. We had a good time catching up and enjoyed lunch at the nearby Ruby Tuesday.
On Tuesday, we headed to Tybee Island. Although we discovered that the lighthouse and museum were closed on Tuesday, we did spend over an hour walking along the beach. We had last visited Tybee Island in November 2016. At that time, debris from the cleanup following Hurricane Matthew was piled in huge mounds near the beach. We were glad to see the same area now, without the mess.
Our next stop was at the Fort Pulaski National Monument. Fort Pulaski was built in the second quarter of the 19th century to guard river approaches to Savannah. The brick fortress was surrounded by a moat and access required crossing a drawbridge. Early in 1861, the Georgia militia seized the fort and, when Georgia seceded a few days later, it was transferred to the Confederate army. On April 10, 1862, the Union army fired on the fort from Tybee Island. The Confederates’ artillery consisted of smoothbore guns, with a range of only one mile. The Union had rifled artillery pieces, with a much longer range. For the next 30 hours, the fort was bombarded and huge breaches were opened up in the 7.5-foot-thick walls. When the shelling began to threaten the powder magazines in one corner of the fort, the Confederates surrendered, rather than be blown up by their own gunpowder.
Fort Pulaski was restored by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930s and contains lots of artifacts and displays. We enjoyed walking through the many rooms in the fort and learning about the events that occurred there.
The weather forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday called for severe thunderstorms, large hail and possible tornados, but the timing of the storms kept changing. At 5:30 pm on Tuesday, we got a tornado warning on our phones and considered taking shelter. However, since our dinner was on the stove, we decided to take our chances. We didn’t even get many strong winds, although we did have some periods of heavy rain during the night. On Wednesday, the storms were supposed to start at 2 pm so we stayed at home. When the storms hadn’t arrived by 5 pm, we decided to visit The Lake House at Creek Fire for an afternoon snack. The timing of the supposed extreme weather continued to be pushed back and we ended up not getting anything. Although we were grateful we had not had to deal with storms, we were frustrated that we had wasted time that we could have spent exploring the area.
On Thursday, Phil decided that if he was going to float on the lazy river, it was now or never. After playing pickleball for months, he needed to work on evening out his farmer’s tan.
Later that afternoon, we returned to the Savannah historic district. We had spotted a souvenir we wanted to buy on Sunday but had decided to buy it when we returned. Unfortunately, when we returned, the store was not where we had remembered it, so we walked around many of the squares looking in vain for the store. We ended up buying something similar at another store. Then, it was time for our nighttime Ghosts and Gravestones tour. Savannah is reputed to have the most paranormal activity of any city in the U. S. The 80-minute trolley tour combined lots of ghost stories with humorous twists. We made stops at two of the city’s most haunted venues. First was a stop at the Andrew Low House. Andrew Low was the husband of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts, but two of his previous wives had died in this mansion. There have long been reports of spirits that inhabit the mansion, tales of staff seeing apparitions dressed in old-fashioned clothes and furniture moving with no one occupying it.
Our second stop was at the Perkins and Sons Chandlery. After we had taken our seats in a warehouse filled with shipping supplies, the lights went out. When the lights returned, we discovered that we had been joined by a ghost who proceeded to tell us stories from the haunted history of River Street. The stories were campy, but fun.
On Friday, we drove to Jekyll Island and visited the historic district. Over the next few hours, we learned a lot about the history of the Jekyll Island Club. This club was founded in 1886 as a hunting and recreational club. Its membership included many of the richest and most famous families, including the Morgans, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts. The club had only 53 members initially and membership never rose much above 100. The season lasted each year for the months of January through March. The families gathered for dinner at the clubhouse. At one point, the collected wealth of all the members at dinner represented one-sixth of the world’s wealth. It was considered unacceptable for a woman to ever wear the same dress to dinner twice in the same season. Membership in the club declined during the Great Depression. World War II was the final blow to the club, as it become difficult to find staff, and 1942 was the final season for the club. The property was purchased by the State of Georgia in 1947.
When we arrived at the museum in the historic district, we discovered that we had just missed the trolley tour so we signed up for the next one. While we waited, we decided to do visit the Faith Chapel. This small wooden church, completed in 1904, was built for interdenominational worship by the members of the Jekyll Island Club. It contains two fabulous stained windows. One was created and autographed by Louis C. Tiffany in memory of Frederick Bourne, President of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. This window was entitled “David Set Singers Before the Lord,” which the chapel’s docent suggested may have been a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reference to Mr. Bourne’s company. The other window, designed by Tiffany apprentices and father-daughter team Maitland and Helen Armstrong, was entitled “Adoration of the Christ Child.”
We returned for the 1:30 trolley tour. This hour-long tour took us past many of the cottages of the rich and famous. The driver provided lots of anecdotes about the owners of the various homes and the activities of the members while on the island. We passed the wharf where the club members arrived in magnificent yachts. The tour took us through the cottage owned by Mr. and Mrs. William Rockefeller. Although quite large and elaborately decorated, it was the smallest of the Rockefellers’ many homes.