Tre and I arrived in Savannah a few hours later, crossing over a bridge reminiscent of the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa (though not quite as high). As we entered the charming riverside city, we were immediately smitten with its hanging Spanish moss, stunning architecture (featuring wrought-iron balconies, large verandas and plentiful flower boxes) and beautiful gardens.
Making our way down Gaston Street in the historic district, I began to think the ghost stories were concocted marketing fantasies designed to enhance the city's old-world elegance. Such reassurances went out the window, however, upon meeting Tom, the afternoon Manager of Dresser Palmer House.
The place itself was a marvel. It had recently undergone extensive renovations, thanks to new management, with freshly-painted walls and new bathroom fixtures. Its decor retained the aura of the 1700's however, with candelabras, chandeliers and other accoutrements gracing the parlor, dining and living areas.
In an effort to reassure myself, I queried Tom about the ghosts as he processed our credit cards. "Who told you it wasn't haunted?" he asked. My heart began to beat wildly in my chest.
Did David lie to me just to sell a room???
Tre noticed the terror-stricken look on my color-drained face. As if reading her mind, Tom tried to calm me by stating that ghosts only appear to those who believe; if you don't believe in them, you won't see them. Nice try, I thought, thinking of a haunted house in my former neighborhood in PA, whose owners had not desired to see or experience poltergeist, but nonetheless ended up fleeing their homestead because of repeated "disturbances." (for more on that read the book, Night Stalks The Mansion).
Regardless, we were now officially checked in to the Lady Astor, a pleasant-enough looking room in the daylight, anyway. Tom carried our heavily-laden suitcases up the back wrought-iron staircase and left with a promise to call Vic's on the River for dinner reservations. Partly because of the intense heat and partly because I didn't want to do it at night, I decided to take a shower.
Feeling refreshed, I had to admit I was taken with the true Southern hospitality offered by the Inn's gracious staff. Tre informed me that Tom was calling a pedicab for us to ensure our arrival in time for a 7 p.m. reservation at Vic's, and was also working diligently to reserve us a spot in the 9:30 pm. walking ghost tour. She was truly excited about touring haunted Savannah; unwilling to dampen her enthusiasm, I nervously agreed to "overcome my fears." Besides, what could happen standing outside of a haunted building??
More in my next post.