Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Savannah Lives Up to Its Reputation: A Ton of Fun on a Dozen City Blocks

Savannah's River Street
Thanks to my years working on the TV series "Discover America," there are only a few places in the good ol' U.S. of A. that I haven't been to and really want to see: Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park and, um, well, Savannah. No doubt you will be happy to know that I can now scratch Savannah from my bucket list.

I took advantage of a gathering of the Three Amigos a couple of weeks ago to plan an overnight road trip to Savannah. It also included my fraternity brother and college roommate of three years, Randy.

Three Amigos at Peddler
Despite a rather rowdy evening at Peddler the night before, we hauled out of bed and were on the road heading south by 8:15 a.m. Our goal was to be on the River in Savannah for lunch. But first things first: We had to stop for breakfast. Everyone was all fired up for a Denny's stop to chow down on a spinach omelet that Les had eaten at a Denny's in Charleston a couple of days prior. Everyone, but me, that is. Spinach for breakfast! Are you kidding me?

A fine assortment of draft beers at Fiddler's.
We drove into Savannah and were sitting on stools at the bar at a joint called Fiddler's Crab House on River Street by 1:30. I had a Savannah Brown Ale (mmmm….) and some sort of fish sandwich for lunch. This was much more about getting into the spirit of Savannah that it was about the food.

We went directly to lunch rather than checking into our hotel first because even with the hotel's address and a GPS, we couldn't locate the place. Well, we got close, but didn't quite get to it. Why? Because it's on a military base -- a little detail omitted from their Web site and never mentioned when Les called to book it. I suppose we could have gained access to it, but we didn't want to hassle with getting back in through the gate guards later that night after several hours of carousing around.

Les outside Fiddlers scrambling to get us rooms.
We adjourned to Fiddler's to ponder our situation. Les volunteered to resume the search for an affordable -- read that, cheap -- hotel. He charged outside to make some calls. Here's the cautionary tale part of this story: Don't book hotel rooms when you are desperate and have a beer or three under your belt. We wound up at the Crap Hole Arms. To get in we had to cross a picket line of bed bugs demonstrating against the unclean conditions. But, hey, all we were doing was sleeping there. I can put up with nearly anything for a night as long as it's quiet.

The array of taps at Moon River Brewery, most of which were attached to nothing.
On our afternoon shift of bar hopping, we went to the Moon River Brewing Company. I can't be within a mile of a microbrewery and not go in. I am currently rethinking that strategy. All I can say is: Disappointed!

My grand/great niece explaining the menu to my sister and brother-in-law.
 I have a niece and her family living in Savannah. Her oldest daughter -- my grand niece or great niece or whatever the appropriate term is -- is a server at the Bonefish Grill. She made dinner reservations for us for 6:30. We arrived on time to find a table already seated with six family members. My sister and her husband were visiting from New Mexico. They would have spent a couple of days with me, but the Hacienda Heaps was already filled to the brim with the boys.

So around the table were my sister, my brother-in-law, my niece, her husband and the two kids who aren't servers at Bonefish. It was a great evening and a terrific meal.

Mandie and her favorite great uncle.
The boys adjourned from Bonefish and headed back downtown where we met my Bonefish-employed grand/great niece and her guy. They joined us for a tour of four or five joints on River Street. We barely tested the famous open-container law. Although we did carry a drink between a couple of the joints.

Finally around 1 a.m. we called the ball. Surprisingly, most of River Street closes down around midnight; not that we would have lasted much longer than we did.

The boys mugging for a photo while waiting for their first Bloody Mary of the day.
The next morning we had breakfast and headed back downtown. We decided that we would hang around, have lunch and then head back to Greenville in the afternoon. We strolled around River and Bay Streets, window shopped and then hit the Shrimp Factory for lunch.

My dentist has advised me to steer clear of eating pure sugar or tossing back any more Artillery Punch.
I ordered fried shrimp and washed it down with an Artillery Punch. This is a concoction of wine, gin, brandy, rye, rum, tea, orange juice and some other stuff. It's aged in a dirty sock for 30 days and then poured down the throats of unsuspecting tourists. Think of it as a Long Island Ice Tea with half a pound of sugar in it. I must start asking the price of things before I order them. This fishbowl of assorted alcohols was $12 or $14.

It was another Three Amigos' trip for the record books. We are discussing plans for a return visit of longer duration. I can't wait.

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