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The Scarborough House: Ships of the Sea

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On MLK Boulevard near River Street, one of Savannah’s most historic houses has been converted into a museum called The Ships of the Sea. The 1819 Scarborough House was designed in the Greek Revival style by architectural wunderkind William Jay, who was responsible for many of the city’s best houses of that time period.

Scarborough Savannah

William Scarborough was an early American from North Carolina, who made his fortune in shipping. He was perhaps best known as the mastermind behind the famous S.S. Savannah, the first steamship to successfully cross the Atlantic. Although it was one of the city’s proudest moments, luring even President Monroe to commemorate the occasion, the venture was a commercial failure and Scarborough fell into bankruptcy. His handsome house was sold off at auction, and would serve as both an orphanage and Savannah’s first public school for black children, before finally being abandoned and falling into ruin.

In 1972, the Historic Savannah Foundation stepped in and begun restoration on the house. Keeping in mind Scarborough’s line of work, the house was converted into a maritime museum. The Ships of the Sea boasts large scale model ships, and a wealth of information about the lines which operated out of Savannah, and famous ships from around the world.

I’ve never been the least bit interested in boats, so I didn’t expect the museum to impress me. But it did. We really enjoyed our visit to the Scarborough House, which is just as interesting for its architecture as for the exhibition pieces. The model ships were incredible, their stories interesting, and we loved the collection of nautical equipment and scrimshaw.

Ships of the Sea – Website
Location on our Savannah Map

Savannah History Books

Savannah Flag
Savannah Steam
Pulaski Ship
Ship Museum
Ships of the Sea
Scarborough House
Ship Painting
Sailing USA
Ship Models
Master Ship
Modern Savannah
Boat Doctor
Feather Letter
Seamen Instrument
Ship Dude
Savannah Lady
Sailor Valentine
Old World Globe
Sailor Savannah
Captain Uniform
Scrborough Museum
Tusk Miniature Ship
Big Boy Egg
Sailor Toy
Prostitution Cat
Titanic in Savnanah
Fancy Bucket
Techno Flower
Trumpet Flower
Savannah Bench
canon hole
Good Night
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November 17, 2010 at 5:25 pm Comments (7)

Savannah Index

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Parks, Cemeteries & Forts

Forsyth Park
Bonaventure Cemetery – Good Fortune Comes to Those Who Die
Colonial Park Cemetery
Fort Pulaski – The South’s Not So Invincible Stronghold
Wormsloe Plantation
Old Fort Jackson
Laurel Grove Cemeter(ies)

Squares

The 24 Squares of Savannah
Calhoun Square
Chatham Square
Chippewa Square
Columbia Square
Crawford Square
Ellis Square
Franklin Square
Greene Square
Johnson Square
Lafayette Square
Madison Square
Monterey Square
Oglethorpe Square
Orleans Square
Pulaski Square
Reynolds Square
Telfair Square
Troup Square
Warren Square
Washington Square
Whitefield Square
Wright Square

Restaurants, Food & Drink

The Heroic Genius of To-Go Cups
Fine Dining at The Olde Pink House
Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons
Back in the Day Bakery
Championship BBQ at Wiley’s
Clary’s for Breakfast!
Cool Coffee at the Sentient Bean
Pinkie Master’s Lounge
Arrrr, Matey! Dinner at the Pirate’s House
Chef Jerome and The Old School Diner
The Schnitzel Shack of Rincon (via Darmstadt)
Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
A Few Great Savannah Restaurants

Museums

The Scarborough House: Ships of the Sea
The Telfair Academy
The Savannah History Museum
The Massie Heritage Center
The Gullah-Geechee Legacy of Pin Point
The Beach Institute
The King-Tisdell Cottage
Lady Hats at the Mansion
The Georgia State Railroad Museum

Houses, History & Tours

The Owens Thomas House – Our First Bad Experience in Savannah
Seeing Savannah’s Evil Side from a Hearse
The Andrew Low House on Lafayette Square
Old Town Trolley Tours
First African Baptist Church
Inside a Savannah Mansion
Savannah from the Air with Old City Helicopters
The Sorrel-Weed House
The Isaiah Davenport House
Oglethorpe & Tomochichi: Savannah’s Bestest Buddies
No Liquor! No Slaves! No Lawyers! No Catholics!

Arts & Culture

Drayton Glassworks
Savannah Derby Devils – Insanity on Skates
Eggs N Tricities – Bluffton, SC
Alex Raskin Antiques
The Inescapable Influence of The Book
The Lady Chablis at Club One
SCAD – The Savannah College of Art and Design

Photo Reportages

Scenes from Savannah City Streets
Savannah Close Up
Savannah Icy Winter Dream
Photos from Savannah: Red Doors and More
In Love with Savannah
Savannah Countdown
The Singing Cat and other Savannah Photographs
Happy 2011 in Savannah
Last Batch of Random Savannah Photos
Five Years Later: Images from Savannah

Day Trips

Tybee Island – Savannah’s Beach
In the Water with North Island Kayak
Day Trip to Beaufort
Hunting Island State Park and the Saga of Seventeen Splinters
Captain Mike’s Dolphin Adventure
Skidaway Island
Bluffton, SC — Almost a Homecoming
Ebenezer – Home of the Salzburg Lutherans
Old Sheldon Church

Miscellaneous

The Road to Savannah
First Impressions and Images of Savannah
After One Month in Savannah…
Spanish Moss: Neither Spanish nor Moss
The Rowdy Fun of River Street
Thanks for the Memories, Y’all!
For 91 Days in Savannah – The E-Book
Savannah: Five Years Later

April 10, 2016 at 11:36 am Comments (0)

For 91 Days in Savannah

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Savannah Travel Guides

Brrrrrr! One of the main reasons we chose to move to the Deep South was our aversion to winter, but our three months in Savannah were marked by freezing temperatures. Still, between November, 2010 and the end of January, 2011, we had an incredible time in one of America’s Southern jewels. “Picturesque” doesn’t even begin to describe Savannah — the squares, the houses, the Spanish moss, the cemeteries. The city is a photographer’s dream come true. But our stay of three months gave us a chance to look deeper, past Savannah’s superficial beauty and into its strangely compelling culture. Hipster art students, a historic black community and an aging aristocracy are three of the main groups which intermingle daily in Savannah.

Savannah Blog

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights during our 91 days in Savannah. For more, check out the comprehensive list, or start at the beginning of the blog and read about our journey in the order we experienced it!

Eating and Drinking

The juxtaposition of the words “Savannah” and “Food” will almost always bring to mind the toothy smile of Mrs. Paula Deen. Visiting her famous restaurant, The Lady & Sons, is certainly an experience, but not necessarily the best dining opportunity in the city. We much preferred the haunting, historic Olde Pink House, with the best flounder I’ve ever tried. Our favorite meal, though, was at Chef Jerome’s Old School Diner. Though it’s a bit of a drive outside the city, Chef Jerome’s hospitatlity makes it worth the effort. Savannah is famously a drinking town, with a wonderful law allowing open container. But if you’re looking for the quintessential bar experience, don’t pass up Pinkie Master’s: the best dive we’ve ever been to.

Squares & Cemeteries

Perhaps Savannah’s most famous aspect is its twenty-four historic squares; unique in the USA. Besides being gorgeous, they serve the purpose of slowing down traffic, and giving citizens plentiful places to relax. Our favorites were the tranquil Columbia Square, historic Greene Square and bizarre Troup Square. But all 24 are worth a look. Savannah is also blessed with three fascinating cemeteries. The Old Colonial Cemetery, populated with settlers and people from the city’s early days, is smack in the middle of downtown. Right outside town, you can find Laurel Grove — callously split into a richer white and poorer black section. The most famous, though, is the tranquil Bonaventure Cemetery, which must be among the most beautiful resting places in the entire country.

Museums, Houses and Art

Savannah is at no loss for great ways to spend your day. It’s famous for its historic houses, saved from demolition by a group of determined (and well-heeled) citizens. Top of our list was the Andrew Low House. Great museums included the Ships of the Sea in the Scarborough House, and the Telfair Academy, a small fine arts museum on Telfair Square. For history, you can’t do better than the fascinating First African Baptist Church on Franklin: definitely the most interesting church tour we’ve ever had! And Savannah is a haven for artists — especially with the overwhelming presence of SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design), but we made sure to meet some non-SCAD artists, such as Jonathan Porier of Drayton Glass Works.

Day Trips

Savannah is wonderful, but can feel small after awhile. Luckily, the surrounding area is rich in opportunities for great day trips. Top of the list is Tybee Island, where you can enjoy the beach, go on a dolphin tour, or do something more active like kayaking. Also nearby is the fascinating Wormsloe Plantation. Further afield, the artsy town of Bluffton, SC is a treasure trove waiting to be dug into. It’s also worth hunting down the historic town of Ebenezer… a window into the past.

Of course, this is just a sample of what we experienced during our three months in Savannah, Georgia — feel free to peruse the rest of our articles at your leisure. And make sure to follow us on the blog, Facebook or Twitter as we move on to other cities and countries!

Useful Savannah links: Hotels, B&Bs and Inns, Car Rentals, Book Tours Online

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May 26, 2011 at 9:41 am Comment (1)

Arrrr, Matey! Dinner at the Pirate’s House

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The Pirate’s House, on the northeastern corner of Savannah, is thought to be Georgia’s oldest building, and is certainly one of its most famous. Captain Flint, from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, is said to have died here after drinking too much rum.

Pirate House Savannah

Now, this is a touristy place, so you shouldn’t go expecting fine cuisine. But much like Paula Deen’s restaurant, the Pirate House a Savannah institution and we felt compelled to check it out. Our food was decent, if a little overpriced. But that’s to be expected; at the Pirate House, you’re paying as much for the experience as the dinner. We started with fried pickle slices, and I had a kind of seafood lasagna bake. “Arrr, delicious! Fry me pickles and bake me fish!”

I kept up the pirate voice, having a big time, until Jürgen begged me to knock it off. “Arrrr, I be annoying to me matey!”

Legends abound in the Pirate’s House, including one that concerns the underground tunnels leading from the basement of the house into the sea. These tunnels were used to shanghai drunken sailors: villains would wait until they had passed out, then steal them away onto ships bound for unknown destinations. The “Pirate’s House” was a rough, dangerous place, and normal 18th-century Savannahians knew to stay well away from it.

After our meal, our waitress led us on a tour of the house. She explained its history, and showed us into the haunted Herb House, the oldest structure in Savannah. It’s also the the restaurant’s fanciest dining room, available for parties.

We had a good time at the Pirate’s House. It’s fun to simply be inside a building with so much history. And should you wear an eye-patch, and insist on talking in pirate-voice to your dinner companions, you’ll enjoy yourself even more. But they might not.

The Pirate’s House – Website
Location on our Savannah Map

A List Of Hotels In Savannah

Pirate Lamp
Oldest House in Savannah
Pirate Ghost House
Pirate House
Pirate Ship
Scary Pirates
Pirate Stove House
Pirate Shrimps
Fried Pickles
Fried Shrimps
Fried Something
Pirate Chicken
Pecan Chicken
Pirate House Tunnel
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December 19, 2010 at 7:09 pm Comments (4)

The Owens Thomas House – Our First Bad Experience in Savannah

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We had been excited to get into the old homes of Savannah, especially after our experience at the Scarborough House. So it was with high expectations that we visited the Owens-Thomas House on Oglethorpe Square. Unfortunately, our high expectations weren’t met, this time.

Owens Thomas House

Let’s start with the good. This house built by architect William Jay house is a masterpiece, with design elements I’ve never seen before, such as a bridge connecting the two halves of the upper floor. It was one of the first houses in America with running water, and every room has been designed with timeless elegance. Plus, the house has been remained in excellent shape. The price is initially shocking, at $20 per head, but when you consider that it includes entrance to the three sites of the Telfair Museum for a week, it becomes less outrageous.

Moving onto the bad. The first, and least understandable, problem was the unfriendliness of the ticket sellers, who treated us with an attitude that approached open contempt. It wasn’t just us; they were equally rude to the group behind us. “There are NO pictures inside!” Fine, okay. “I mean it, absolutely NO PICTURES! Not even with your phones!” I was shocked that we were being yelled at before we’d even done anything wrong.

Our tour began in the carriage house with a little history, and then we moved into the main residence, were we encountered Problem #2: our group was sandwiched between two other groups. The people ahead of us were moving too slowly, and those behind us was advancing too quickly. Our guide often became flustered, not knowing what to do with us, and we were repeatedly shoved through rooms before having a chance to properly admire them.

Problem #3: the guide, while pleasant enough, was obviously not an expert in the history of the Owens-Thomas House. As long as she stuck to the script, she was fine, but when (god forbid) we had a question, she was almost always at a loss. For example, this was an actual exchange:

“Please admire the fine engraving on the fireplace, which was based on a famous myth.”

“Interesting! What myth is that?”

“You know, that’s a good question. I have no idea, but it is a very famous myth”.

While we were waiting on the group ahead of us to move on, she would just stand there in uncomfortable silence, having exhausted the four factoids she had about, say, the kitchen. Even when we’d prompt her (“Who is that a portrait of?”), her awkward responses made us feel bad. Eventually we stopped putting her on the spot.

The worst moment came while we were viewing the balcony from which the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the Revolutionary War, once gave a famous speech. She described how he spoke “of liberty and freedom, and these things that…” And now, she turned her attention to Jürgen, whom she knew to be German. “As an outsider, you have to understand that the concepts of Freedom and Liberty are very important to us Americans.” I almost died, although Jürgen was able to answer with a grin. “Liberty? But vas ist das, mein Fräulein?”

The Owens-Thomas House could offer a rich experience, but the staff needs to get its act together. The docents should study up, the ticket ladies should take an etiquette course, and customers who’ve just paid $20 should not be rushed through. From reading online reviews, I don’t think our experience was a fluke. It’s a missed opportunity for the city.

Location on our Savannah Map

Buy Spanish Moss Online

Savannah Bush
William Jay
Savannah Architecture
Savannah Detail
Owens Towers
Owens Thomas Garden
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November 26, 2010 at 9:58 am Comments (16)
The Scarborough House: Ships of the Sea On MLK Boulevard near River Street, one of Savannah's most historic houses has been converted into a museum called The Ships of the Sea. The 1819 Scarborough House was designed in the Greek Revival style by architectural wunderkind William Jay, who was responsible for many of the city's best houses of that time period.
For 91 Days