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The Sorrel-Weed House

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Found on Madison Square, the Sorrel-Weed House has gained a reputation as the most haunted spot in a city known for ghouls. The house has been the subject of just about every sort of “Ghost Hunting” reality show that exists, and even offers visitors the chance to take a spooky nighttime tour. But Jürgen and I decided to check it out during the day, on an architectural tour.

Haunted Sorrel Weed House

This house was built by the shipping merchant Frances Sorrel in 1837. Sorrel had acquired a fortune while living in Haiti, but fled the island nation after its successful slave rebellion. He installed himself in Savannah, a city which still believed in the honorable institution of slavery, and proceeded to extend his fortune.

It seems safe to assume that Mr. Sorrel was a jerk, and this theory is supported by his amorous affair with the beautiful Molly, one of the slaves under his command. Soon after the tryst came to life, his wife Matilda fell from the house’s third-story window to her death in the courtyard. Her family claimed she fainted, while society believed she had committed suicide. But there were also whispers that she was pushed. And when Sorrel’s lover Molly was found hanged in the carriage house, the whispers grew louder. Was it another suicide, or was Mr. Sorrel cleaning up his mess? Today, the ghosts of both Matilda and Molly are said to haunt the Sorrel-Weed House.

We met in the ground-floor salon, where we learned about the house’s history, and then followed our guide through the various rooms. The tour wasn’t as comprehensive as we would have liked, as much of the Sorrel-Weed House is still under renovation, but the rooms we were able to see were beautiful. This is one of Savannah’s most sterling examples of Greek Revival architecture, and was one of the first homes in the city to be protected as a State Landmark.

Haunted Sorrel Weed House

We went to the second floor to see the family’s private quarters, and then out to the carriage house where the slaves lived, and where Molly either committed suicide or was murdered. Did I detect any paranormal reverberations while standing in this famously haunted spot? Well, of course not, but others have claimed to.

Many of Savannah’s classic mansions have been around for so long, and have such unique histories, that they seem to have taken on characters of their own. The Sorrel-Weed House is no exception. You get a sense that the house itself is just as alive as its former residents. Perhaps there’s something to this idea of ghosts… not that they’re roaming the halls, rattling chains and spooking visitors, but that the people who lived and died here have somehow seeped into the walls and the floors; that their vital essence has been transferred.

Or maybe it’s just an old house. We’ll let you decide.

Location on our Map
Sorrel-Weed House – Website

More: Haunted Savannah

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April 6, 2016 at 11:41 am Comments (0)

Lady Hats at the Mansion

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“Lady Hats at the Mansion” is a suggestive title, yes? Is it a metaphor? A play on words? Well, apologies for being so literal, but in this case, we’re referring to actual lady hats. As soon as we learned about this bizarre collection, we raced over to the Mansion on Forsyth. Nothing gets our blood pumping like dainty hats for lady-folk!

The “Kessler Collection Celebrating a Century of Hats” is a permanent exhibition found within the stately halls of the Mansion on Forsyth Park. Even if you’re not into hats, you should still step inside this red-brick, Victorian Romanesque mansion, which is among the most beautiful buildings in the city. Today it operates as a hotel, and the lobby is a study in elegance. The Mansion is also home to 700 Drayton, a popular restaurant on the ground floor.

But we were here for the lady hats. We’ve always been drawn to oddball exhibitions, and have visited museums dedicated to witchcraft, brothels, parasites and private parts, so this collection was right up our alley.

A few glass cases in a first-floor hallway of the Mansion contain dozens of bonnets and fedoras dating back to the 1860s. Some of them are pretty, while others are just insane. And whether or not it was intentionally designed this way, you can position yourself so that your reflection appears to be wearing the hats. Have I always wondered what I’d look like in a sassy silk bonnet? Well, not really. But it turns out I look like a cross-dressing psychopath.

Even if you’re not an aficionado of antiquated fashion, the Mansion’s Lady Hat collection is a sight which is fun, free and bizarre… and somehow feels right at home in Savannah.

Location on our Map
The Mansion on Forsyth – Website

Buy Fancy Hats Online

Mansion Hat Collection
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April 5, 2016 at 9:52 am Comments (0)

Spanish Moss: Neither Spanish nor Moss

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I clearly remember the first time we entered Savannah, and turned onto 37th Street, where we would be living for three months. Huge oak trees canopied the street and random rays of sunlight squeezed past the Spanish moss, which hung apathetically off branches like the embodiment of sorrow. Years from now, when I shut my eyes and think “Savannah,” Spanish moss washed in sunlight will be what I see.

New Spanish Moss

Spanish moss doesn’t come from Spain. It’s indigenous to the Southeastern US, with a range between Florida, Maryland and Texas. There are a bunch of stories for why it’s named after the Spanish, but the most likely explanation is that the newly-arrived British thought this odd, mossy plant looked like the graying beards of their Spanish rivals.

And not only is Spanish moss not Spanish, it also isn’t a moss. It’s an airborne plant which takes its nutrients directly from the air. It’s actually a member of the same family as the pineapple, which is just bizarre enough to be true. Spanish moss doesn’t harm the trees it rests on, which are predominately Live Oaks and Bald Cypresses.

One of the first things we learned in Savannah was not to touch the Spanish moss, because of the red, biting bugs which live on it. Of course, this lesson was learned immediately after we had fashioned a “hilarious” moss coat for our dog, and wigs for ourselves.

I’ve often wondered to what extent the Spanish moss unconsciously influences life in the South. It fits perfectly in Savannah, creating an atmosphere of mystery and beauty, and it’s impossible to imagine the city without it.

Buy Spanish Moss Here

New Spanish Moss
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January 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm Comments (6)

Eggs N Tricities – Bluffton, SC

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Oyster Eggs

Our unofficial guide during our day trip to Bluffton, South Carolina was Nancy, who owns and operates a store of miscellany named Eggs N Tricities. This shop is packed to the gills with weird, random stuff, and even if you’re not in the market for curios, it’s great fun to poke around.

Eggs N Tricities – Facebook
Location on our map

Guide to Starting and Running a Thrift Store

Nancy Bluffton SC
Eggs-N-Tricities
Birds on Sticks
Dog Bottle Head
Fancy Lady
Fuzzy Lamp
Golden Boy
Little Glass Dude
Little Treasures
Old Meets New
Peace Coins
Penguin Shaker
Sad Cock
Shadow Cut Face
Shell Collection
Workshop
Eggs-N-Tricities-Nancy

A look inside her house:

Home Store
African Shell
Alligator Teeth
Angel Hugh
Awesome Bird Lamp
Awesome Christmas Tree
Awesome Snake Skin
Bathroom Angel
Caged Memories
Chrystal Clear
Collector
Dead Bunny
Dice Collection
Feather Vase
Knife Collection
Living Bird Nest
Needle Pillow Angel
One Happy Dog
Passing the World
Random Good Stuff
Religious Bite
Screaming Flowers
Sea Shell Tree
Sexual Plant
Silent Moment
Skunk Hair
Spool Collection
Stranded
Tennis Ball Religion
The Nard Dog
Wooden Shield
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January 17, 2011 at 10:12 am Comments (4)

Chef Jerome and The Old School Diner

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Southern Cooking

One of the area’s best-kept secrets is found a half hour south of Savannah, in the small village of Townsend: The Old School Diner, owned and operated by Chef Jerome. A couple friends invited us to the restaurant, where we enjoyed some deliciously unhealthy food, and had a rollicking good time that won’t be forgotten.

The Chef

When we pulled into the Old School’s driveway to find it covered in carpets, I suspected we were in for a treat. Who carpets a driveway? The wooden building was painted in bright red, with farm tools hung on the outside walls, and we entered with our guards up. Nothing inside suggested that this was in fact a restaurant. It felt more like we were invading someone’s home. Photos hung on the walls, comfortable furniture was strewn about, and I was about to accuse our friends of trying to fool us. But soon, a girl came around a corner to greet us, and lead us into the main dining hall.

We ordered beer and took a look at the menu, but there wasn’t much debate. When the menu features a special called The Wheelchair Platter, the choice has already been made: you’re going to order The Wheelchair Platter. We suspect that the name comes from the mode of transportation you’re likely to need after eating. When the platter was brought to our table, my veins seized up in fear while my stomach shuddered in ecstasy. This was a mountain range of fried food, including oysters, shrimp, chicken, clam bakes and ribs. We were five people, including four hungry guys, and couldn’t even finish it.

The evening really got going when Chef Jerome came out of the kitchen to greet us. He does all the cooking, and clearly enjoys meeting the people who’ve discovered his place. The first thing he did was give us all big bear hugs. “I want y’all to know, that you’re family here”. And he meant it! He took us around the restaurant, telling us about his life and work. He showed off pictures of the famous people who’ve eaten there, including Ben Affleck, and brought out the love letters he had written to his wife over the years, before her passing. He brought us into his kitchen, which was decorated with deep fryers from wall to wall.

Chef Jerome seemed genuinely upset when it was time for us to leave, and he even walked out onto the carpeted driveway to say goodbye. “Don’t forget now! This is your home!” The Old School Diner is one of those special, slightly surreal places that are most at home in the backwoods of the Deep South.

Official Website
Location on our Georgia map

Savannah Cookbook

Diner Sign
Carpet Parking
Cher Jeromes Ride
Townsend Diner
Do Not Ask Neither Tell
Moving in With Jerome
Old School Sofa
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Early Facebook Wall
Deen Hell
Flowers
Fried Balls
On Diet
Fried Feast
Jerome Pie Cake
Upside Down Christmas Tree
Wall of Fame
Ben Affleck Diner
Baby Room
Jerome Love Letter
Retta I love You
Esmeralda Georgia
Scarface Diner
Chef Jerome
SAW
Meat Grinder
Laundry Kitchen
Jerome Cooking Tool
Frying Station
Cute
Old School Diner
Close Door
Wolf Creek Georgia Ride
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January 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm Comments (12)

In Love with Savannah

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Just Married in Savannah

It started as a crush. Like gum-smacking girls, giggling together at their lockers while the dreamy blue-eyed quarterback passes by, we were initially just obsessed by Savannah’s beauty. But over the course of months, we learned that this city isn’t just superficially gorgeous. It’s got a rich history, fabulous people and a unique vibe all its own. Yep, Savannah is a keeper.

We hope these photographs help reveal a little of the depth behind in Savannah’s well-advertised good looks.

Savannah Framed Photos Souvenirs

Tonight at Lucas
Sleepy Monkey
Night Monument
Retro Cigarette Vending Machine
Custom Art
Holy Sunset
Lean on me
Savannah
Classic Store Front
Main Street Savannah
Savannah Arch
Heaven So Near
Dizzy Stairs
Happy Ball
Hot Ride Savannah
Car Wash Savannah
Pink Numbers
Waiting Room
Savannah Lady
Savnanah Shells
From All Horses
Mayor of Savannah
Dirty Windows
Man Reading Newspaper
President in Savannah
Kangaroo Savannah
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January 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm Comments (9)

Crazy Taxi Drivers and Other Savannah Characters

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In most cities, you hail down a taxi and drive in silence to your destination. At best, the driver comments on the weather, or is talking on his cell phone in a language you don’t understand. You’ll pay your fare and think how uneventful and efficient that taxi ride was, if you think of it at all.

A link to all things "New York Taxi"

That’s not often the case in Savannah. The profession of “taxi driver” is famously a draw for eccentrics and, in a city full of eccentrics, you really get the crème de la crème. Every time we hailed a cab in Savannah, it was a memorable experience. There was the unappreciated poet who insisted we read his work before we left the car. The guy who had met Paula Deen’s husband and talked bitterly about how jealous he was. Or the freakishly huge, bearded dude telling us about the trouble he got into at his favorite Gentlemen’s Club.

Of course, taxi drivers aren’t Savannah’s only larger-than-life characters. We hardly went a day without encountering another strange and charismatic person. From just the past week, I can recall the bug-eyed tour guide more interested in discussing conspiracy theories than giving a tour, the soft-spoken rasta dude who suddenly revealed the six-foot dreadlocks rolled up inside his hat, the guy who’s become a local celebrity for his perfect Forrest Gump impression (and it really was perfect), and the grumpy bartender who we saw threw three different dudes out of her bar.

Maybe Jürgen and I fit right in here. We were talking to someone about what we do… how we travel around the world for 91 days at a time, and don’t really have a home… and she said something like, “You guys are crazy!” It took me off guard. I mean, this was an Asian woman with a deep Southern drawl and dyed green hair, wearing fishnet stockings, and chewing tobacco… and we’re the crazy ones?! Heh. But maybe there’s some truth to that… and it could be why we felt so at home in Savannah.

Pirate’s House in Savannah
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January 3, 2011 at 10:25 am Comments (2)

Seeing Savannah’s Evil Side from a Hearse

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What could be better than touring Savannah in a hearse with a raised roof, so you can poke your head out the top? Nothing comes immediately to mind, does it? I mean, a ghost tour in a tricked-out hearse is kind of like the pinnacle of human culture.

Ghost Tour Savannah

I didn’t know what to think the first time I saw this bizarre vehicle cruising around Savannah’s squares at night. The passengers seemed to be having a grand time, drinking out of to-go cups, gawking at old mansions, and completely oblivious to my baffled staring. “On the one hand,” I thought, “that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.”

“On the other hand, my parents are totally going to love it.”

So when my parents came to visit, I booked spots on the Hearse Tour, arranging for a pick-up outside the Pirate’s House. What ensued was an entertaining trip around Savannah’s dark side. Our guide was completely into her character as spooky chauffeur, and her enthusiasm for the supernatural was contagious. There wasn’t a dull moment; a lot of houses in Savannah have some story of fright, whether a horrific crime or an unexplained phenomena. A lot of the tales were new to me, and I felt chills when we went by the old psychiatric hospital on Abercorn. It might have been the booze, but I swear I saw the outline of a face in one of the hospital windows.

The Hearse Tour isn’t exactly inconspicuous. I lost count of how many pedestrians laughed at us, yelling “Oooooooh, spooooky!” But if you’re able to tune out the mockery, it’s a great time, especially if you’ve got an interest in the supernatural.

Official Website

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour for only $13.50

Savannah Hearse Tour
Hearse Savannah
Savannah Horror
Savannah Blood
Ghost Face Savannah
Savannah Ghost Stories
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December 31, 2010 at 3:38 pm Comments (5)

Photos from Savannah: Red Doors and More

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Red Number

The biggest mistake you can make in Savannah is forgetting to bring your camera with you when you leave the house. Unique photo opportunities spring up like clockwork in this city! Jürgen brought his everywhere — to the supermarket, on walks with our dog, and even to the bar. You never know when this city is going to surprise you with a great snapshot.

Framed Savannah Photos As A Gift

Red Door
Green Stoned
Weed in Savannah
Sun Force
Savannah Constructions
Old Meets New
Golden Moss
Door Bells
Hoodoo
Chucky and Girlfriend
Help Molly
Lost Molly
Pooch
Blog Money
Savannah Gallery
Savannah Toilet
Savannah Art
Scad Ice
Budlight Bras
Selling Stuff in Savannah
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December 16, 2010 at 10:19 am Comments (5)

Pinkie Master’s Lounge

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Update: When we returned to Savannah five years later, we were horrified to learn that Pinkie Master’s was gone. I had assumed this lounge was an institution, as permanent a presence in Savannah as the Spanish Moss. But apparently the rent got too high, and Pinkie Master’s took off. The good news is, the property is still a bar, it still has a jukebox, and the clientele seems about the same. The only thing which has really changed is the name: it’s now called The Original. We’ve decided to leave this post up, in memory of the good old days.

Let’s be honest here. Pinkie Master’s Lounge is great, but it’s not the kind of bar you’re going to take home and introduce to your parents. You won’t be taking Pinkie Master’s to the Olde Pink House for an awkward first date, and you would never conceive of one day marrying it. Pinkie Master’s just isn’t that kind of bar. But on those late weekend nights, after respectable joints have closed up, and you’re not yet ready for bed… when you’re still looking for a good time… Pinkie Master’s knows what ya want. Pinkie Master’s got what ya need.

Pinkie Masters

Found on Drayton Street, Pinkie Master’s is an institution in Savannah: the ultimate dive bar. Pinkie Master was actually the owner’s real name. He was friends with Jimmy Carter, who supposedly announced his intention to run for president in the bar. That’s more legend than fact, but Pinkie Master’s has the vibe, and smell, of a place which has seen a lot of history.

We’ve been a few times, and have always had a blast. Pinkie Master’s boasts the craziest, most eclectic crowd in Savannah. I’ve gotten into more hilarious conversations there than in any other bar, and there’s something bizarre going on anywhere you look. Hey, drunken palm reader: me next! Hey, creepy old guy with teenage Asian girlfriend: nice catch! Hey bartender: two more PBRs for me and my new buddy Oskari from Finland! Let’s play darts, Oskari! Haha, this jukebox is awesome!

That’s basically how a night at Pinkie Master’s goes. It’s not for prudes, and not for those looking for a fancy evening out, but if you’re looking for a great dive with cheap beer and fun people, you can’t go wrong at Pinkie’s.

The Legion Savannah

Another classic dive bar is the Legion, found on Bull Street, just south of Forsyth Park. It’s actually an American Legion hall, but opens its doors to everyone. Drawn by the cheap drinks, darts and chill atmosphere, this was one of our regular haunts.

Locations: The Original (Pinkie Masters) | Legion

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Photos of the old Pinkie Master’s Lounge:

Pinkie Masters Savannah
Cool Pinkie Master
Pinkie Fortune
Best Pub
And now… it’s “The Original”
The Original Bar Savannah
The Original Bar Savannah
The Original Bar Savannah
Pics from The Legion
The Legion Savannah
The Legion Savannah
The Legion Savannah
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December 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm Comments (7)

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The Sorrel-Weed House Found on Madison Square, the Sorrel-Weed House has gained a reputation as the most haunted spot in a city known for ghouls. The house has been the subject of just about every sort of "Ghost Hunting" reality show that exists, and even offers visitors the chance to take a spooky nighttime tour. But Jrgen and I decided to check it out during the day, on an architectural tour.
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