We had planned this vacation time perfectly when we got out our calendars months ago. We just didn’t know it back then. My Surgeon was happy to let me keep my plans and felt that it was a great idea to have some downtime with my boys before my lumpectomy on July 7th. When Nelson suddenly and tragically passed away 2 weeks ago, Kerry got caught up in a whirlwind of activity and hadn’t had a minute to even think since then. So, on Saturday night we both, in our respective houses, threw a bunch of clothes in a suitcase and along with JV, loaded up the car and hit I-95 early on Sunday morning. With Bart heading to Portland to be with his family, we were ready and able to keep our plans. While leaving town doesn’t change a diagnosis or relieve the burden of grief, it does somehow allow a small respite. As we headed south, we slowly but surely started to decompress. As my boys were just finishing up a week with Steve in South Carolina, we had agreed to meet just north of Charleston to pick them up. At about hour 3, I suggested to Kerry that we play a CD after we had talked non stop, rehashing the events of the last few weeks. I reached to press “play” and she said, “did you bring Adele?” It was exactly what I was about to play. I think it took two songs before Kerry started to sob. A much needed release of emotion that lasted for the entire CD. I think we actually listened to it twice.
After about 5 hours of driving, we met up with Steve, Rory and Ben and they regaled us with stories of their travels over the last few days….a night at South of the Border, Columbia, Congaree and Charleston. We ate lunch at McDonalds and then hit the road again, driving into torrential rain. Not exactly the way you want to approach the beautiful city of Savannah but oh well…. we had booked our hotel just an hour beforehand, something that is most unlike me! Kerry jokes about trying to make me a more spontaneous traveler, and she succeeds a lot of the time! We ended up getting a great rate at The Embassy Suites, a favorite chain of the boys and I as it’s ridiculously good value. The fact that all 5 of us could stay comfortably in a two-room suite with a free cocktail hour and full breakfast, is awesome! It’s a relatively new hotel and located right on the edge of the historic district but still walkable.
Naturally the boys would have been perfectly content to stay in the room the entire time, well at least JV and Ben anyway. However being the horrible Mothers that we are, we forced them out of their comfort zones and on to a trolley that would give us a 90 minute tour of Savannah. These two photos sum up perfectly how they felt about it:
As this was Kerry’s first trip to Savannah and we were here just overnight, it gave her a great, quick overview of this lovely city. I have to say, Rory did enjoy the tour too. Our two thirteen year olds? Not so much…..until half a dozen drunk girls in their twenties boarded our trolley and thanks to seating themselves right by the boys, provided them with quite the education which was in no way historical, and pure entertainment. Wow.
By the time the tour had ended, it was raining again and we were exhausted! While it seems criminal not to go out during our one night here, we were happy to let the boys scurry back to the room while we enjoyed the free Manager’s Reception where we sipped on a couple of Vodka and Tonics and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the hotel bar.
We were happy that the hotel restaurant which was a French-style bistro, provided the room service. We ordered up a Duck Confit Sandwich, a Chicken Caesar Salad and 3 cheeseburgers for the boys. We have brought a plentiful supply of wine with us. It seemed like the most lovely luxury to eat in our pajamas then finally crash for the night.
We slept soundly and slept in. But we did make it for the big breakfast buffet. After breakfast, as the rain had finally stopped and the sun was out, Kerry and I headed out to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Having been raised in the Catholic faith, I’m always drawn to Catholic Cathedrals and this one was no exception. Kerry also grew up in a Catholic family.
We gasped as we entered the Cathedral and wandered around soaking up all the beautiful details in the architecture, art and artifacts. It’s simply stunning.
Kerry was so moved by being here that the tears flowed again and she lit a candle for Nelson.
We took a leisurely stroll back to the hotel, wandering through some of the lovely Squares and enjoying the architecture and lush vegetation and gardens. It was sticky and humid which somehow felt appropriate for a truly Southern experience. One of my favorite things to do when visiting a city, is to wander around taking pictures and so I did.
We both regretted that we couldn’t stay longer in this gorgeous place but we are determined to return! We headed back to the hotel, loaded the car with luggage and teenagers and hit the road for Florida!