Savannah, Georgia is as graceful and mysterious a city as you can imagine. Flannery O’Connor was from there, as was the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliet Lowe. The city’s center, most of it a national landmark, is constructed on a grid system containing 22 squares. Everywhere, there are Spanish moss draped trees, beautiful wrought ironwork and proud Savannahians. The best part, for us, was being treated to an early dose of Spring. Because we only had one afternoon, we took a guided bus tour. Our driver, who rang her bell to emphasize more interesting historical points, was a fountain of knowledge. She also had a dark sense of humor, a loathing of men, Washington and the outcome of the Civil War, and a clear desire to run over pedestrians. We made sure to leave a tip. Then she dropped us off on the other side of town, at her preferred restaurant, the Pirate’s House, an old inn dating from 1753 along the Savannah River. It is supposed to be haunted, and features on the city’s haunted tour. If anyone’s interested in the southern ghosts, New Orleans, Savannah and Charleston all have haunted tours. We had nothing to fear but the number of calories entering our stomachs by way of the buffet- macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, corn bread, collard greens, creamed broccoli, mashed potatoes, etc. Then, we had dessert. What is definitely fearsome is the historical society, which is apparently loved and hated in equal measures, for its commitment to ensuring that all squares and houses are kept in tip-top condition. We were lucky to see the inside of one such house. A man, tending his garden, gave us directions and then invited us to see his home, which dated from the 1700s. He and his wife, both Chicago natives, had moved to Savannah at the beginning of the 1980s, after spending three years at sea in a houseboat. Kindred spirits.
Claire – On maternity leave from career as editor of monthly finance trade magazines, and occasionally a freelance translator. Half-American/half-English, raised in the suburbs of New York, has lived in London for almost nine years.
Daniel – Furniture designer/maker based on London’s Columbia Road flower market, for ten years, also an aspiring painter and DIY supremo. On one-year career break to reconsider options. English by birth, but mother is half-American and spent part of her childhood in Bronxville, New York.
Sophia – 3.5-year old spitfire who loves school, singing, swimming and being a big sister
Lulu – Born May 8 of this year, a model baby who eats, sleeps and gurgles.
Special guests – American, British and international friends and family who drop in along our trip to see whatever part of the country they fancy. They’re welcome to travel in the car with us and sleep in an adjoining tent.