Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

This doesn't seem like Florida anymore...

Drove through Ocala this am - waved at the horse park and had flashbacks to when the horse world was my real life. I know some of you are down here now - I’m appropriately jealous. The Ocala forrest was also lovely to drive through and I imagine could have some gorgeous hacking :) 

This part of the drive was gorgeous.

We decided to skip the Let’s Roam in Jacksonville and headed straight for Savannah. We had tickets to tour a plantation home there and also a Let’s Roam. 

This was the house we were going to tour

Savannah was stunning AND it had a great Let's Roam, so that was an amazing combination. We were a little surprised as we got there that the home we had tickets for was right in the city centre; turns out it was the plantation owner's home, not actually the plantation. But definitely still interesting. The last of the family owners bequeathed it to the museum in the 1950s, and they've done a combination of keeping it in its original state and restoring other areas back to what they would've been.

Tours were every 15 minutes, and the only way you could see the house, so when we checked in, it was about 45 mins to the next available tour.   We decided we'd start our Let's Roam and come back when it was closer to starting time.   This Let's Roam was a Ghost Tour, the first I've done of those, and fairly entertaining.  Was a bit of a walk to the Pirate's House that started it out, but a gorgeous walk.   

This is the first city I've been in where I've noticed
No Parking so they can sweep!

We did the first couple stops which conveniently led us right back to where we needed to be; our museum wasn't on the tour, but we had a stop across the street, so at that point we hung out a did a few challenges while waiting for our tour.

We were able to wait in this fairly stunning garden;
Apparently this would've been a far more practical work space
(including housing a cow that escaped) once upon a time.

Our tour started in the stables / housing for enslaved people.  The stables had been renovated at one point beyond the point of historical restoration, so they are now the orientation centre.   However, the housing for enslaved people still exists much as it would've.

The tour guide was excellent in his word choice and in conveying
both sides of the life experience throughout the tour

The orientation centre has this wall with the names of the enslaved people
who kept the estate functioning (when they were known).
There are lots of extant letters between the husband and wife that reveal many of the details both about people and life that otherwise would've been unknown.

This would've originally been 3 rooms, and housed 6-12 people, including children

From here we moved through the garden to the house, using the back entrance.  The rooms at the back would've been more family-focused, as we moved forward through the house they became grander and more ostentatious.  Symmetry was a huge thing in the design, as were faux finishes (it cost more to paint wood to look like marble than to use actual marble, so they did that instead to demonstrate wealth; similarly with painting one type of wood to look like another).   

The grand staircase was certainly impressive, 
but more interestingly, it led to...

...this fairly stunning bridge connecting
one side of the upstairs (kids bedrooms) to the other (Dad's office)

The master bedroom was downstairs; partially this was for heat control (14' ceilings and lower) but partially it was because this was the first house in Georgia with indoor plumbing (12 years before the white house) and being downstairs allowed the owners a private bathroom.

The girls' bedroom.  Note the bedroll under the one bed;
it belonged to the enslaved nanny who would've had to stay with them,
rather than returning to stay with and raise her own daughter.

We finished the tour going down to the basement which housed the kitchen and bathing areas -- these are as they once were and show a dramatic contrast to the "above stairs".  Down here they also display, museum style, some of the artefacts of the time, and stories of some of the people who lived and worked there.  In one room are reprints of letters sent between the husband (who at this point was a politician in DC) and the wife (running the plantations) that both give some details as to the enslaved people living there, but also show how very clearly they were not seen as people but as possessions or investments.  Really horrifying to read, yet effective in demonstrating the mindset of the time.

After the tour, we resumed our Let's Roam and got to explore a lot more of the city.  

For the curious - this is an example of a Let's Roam challenge;
Challenges are all optional, but imo they make it more entertaining.
This one would've come after some sort of actual clue about the square or the statue.

I loved all the gorgeous parks scattered around.   Also a number of tree-covered streets.

Just a pretty walk

We finished our hunt and debated dinner.  C was after southern BBQ, but there was an intense storm rolling in, so we weren't sure how willing we were to get soaked again (memories of the Everglades were still clear), but we were hungry and both enjoying the town, so with the aid of Google we located some BBQ and off we went.

BBQ was excellent, but the heavens opened while we were there.  lol we retreated just down the street and Chris grabbed a drink at the mojito bar we'd passed earlier in hopes the rain would settle before we left.

Yet another store made for Chris

Suffice to say we got slightly wet, but we stopped in a nearby tourist store and bought a ridiculously low quality but reasonably effective umbrella.  lol that got us to the pharmacy for our required COVID tests and back to the car without being soaked.  By the time we were ready to drive, the rain was done.  Win.

Happy and fed, we decided we'd drive till we got tired -- made it just past Charlotte and then crashed for the night.

Home tomorrow :)


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