Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sleepless in Savannah, Part Three

Continued from Part Two

If you've never had the pleasure of riding a pedicab, I highly recommend it, especially when visting a romantic city like Savannah. I've ridden on rolling chairs on the Atlantic City boardwalk (Tre and I had done that on this vacation as well) and the South Florida version of a pedicab in West Palm Beach's CityPlace; yet this was unlike any other experience.

Our rider was courteous and accommodating, even stopping by a market on the way to Vic's so Tre could pick up a few needed items. Ever the considerate tourist, she purchased a bottle of water for our diligent rider, who gratefully accepted the gift as he pedaled us down to the river.

On the surface Vic's is a delightful, elegant establishment with great food and a friendly waitstaff. That evening I enjoyed one of the best meals of my life -- blackened prime rib -- minus the horseradish mashed potatoes, with extra greens on the side, of course. Because it was such a large cut of beef, I happily shared it with Tre, whose scallop entree suffered by comparison (though she assured me it was indeed, delicious).

Our waiter was a cute, friendly guy, approximately in his mid-20's. Thanks to him, though, my resolve to confront my ghosts, so to speak, diminished rather quickly. He informed us that he lived well outside of the historic district as most of the buildings were seriously haunted, including our very lovely Dresser Palmer House (upon hearing this, I became determined to sleep in the car) and the third floor of the restaurant. "Whatever you do, he warned, "don't go to that floor."

Apparently, Vic's had once been a headquarters for the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and had thus experienced its share of bloodshed. Angry spirits on the third floor continued to do battle by furiously throwing objects around and otherwise making their presence known in frightening ways. In fact, our handsome waiter steadfastly refuses to close the place on his own, after enduring some spine-tingling confrontations with earthbound spirits.

Still (and perhaps due to the delectible cuisine), I felt pretty certain I could handle a walking ghost tour with a good friend and other tourists. Our dinner conversation consisted mostly of Tre giving me a pep-talk about how great I would feel once I pushed myself to look fear in the eye and survive the experience.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, a wicked thunder and lightning storm, complete with a heavy downpour of rain, threatened our evening walking plans. However, by the time we lingered over coffee (and I must admit, a delectibly obscene piece of pecan cheesecake), the storm had passed and we (well at least Theresa) were ready for our "spirit walk." During the meal, Tre had even spotted a Confederate soldier out the window, walking in the rain; we never did determine if he was an actual ghost, or a dressed-up actor, though we saw no other such actors strolling around the entire night. Needless to say, she was pretty jazzed about spying on other spectres, now that we could do so sans umbrellas.

We reported to a beautiful town square, replete with foliage and a statue of John Wesley, Founder of the Methodist Church. Our friendly tour guides greeted us warmly and informed -- or rather -- terrified us (me) with tales of tourists getting slapped in the face, pulled away and otherwise confronted in decidedly unfriendly ways by the ghosts of Savannah. "But I thought we didn't actually go into the buildings," I meekly protested.

"Of course we go into the buildings. We're all about giving you an authentic experience!" one of the guides replied. As I scanned the crowd I realized that, unlike myself, these people truly considered this excellent entertainment. My heart began to pound in my chest as I not only confronted fear, but became entirely consumed by it. And when the tourguides confirmed hauntings at the Dresser Palmer House, what was left of my resolve drained out of me faster than a puddle in the South Florida sun.

More to come in my next post.

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