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The Green Palm Inn: Savannah, Georgia

March 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Entrance to The Green Palm Inn

A Hotel Review

 

In colonial America, hostesses set out a fresh pineapple, a prized and valuable commodity, when visitors joined them.  Over the years, the pineapple came to symbolize hospitality. Today we recognize all sorts of symbols such as the Nike swoosh meaning Just Do It or the green and white Starbucks cup of coffee. To me, a palm tree seems to say oasis: a respite from the sun, a place to fall asleep and a place to nourish our bodies. Certainly palm trees have provided coconuts to sustain the lives of many.

 

So, it is no surprise that the Green Palm Inn in Savannah, Georgia uses the palm tree as a symbol, or that the Inn offers the finest shelter or lodgings and scrumptious breakfasts and snacks around. It’s a true oasis.

Innkeeper, Diane McCray

The Green Palm Inn is owned by Diane and Gary Crews, but let’s gives Diane credit; she runs the place because Gary’s job often takes him away. As Innkeeper, Diane welcomes guests like family, sits down with them and introduces her southern city. Diane is a prized pineapple; she is hospitality personified. She’ll provide you will a cool drink,  share her knowledge of history, and whisper insider tips, like the best tour guides, shuttle services, taxi drivers and restaurants..

 

I stayed in the Green Palm’s elegant Sable Palm Suite which could easily be a honeymoon haven. The gorgeous carved four-poster king-size bed makes a bold statement and commands your attention. You need a step stool to climb onto the elevated bed. There’s a bounty of pillows and high thread count linens to caress your skin with the softest touch.

King Sized Bed in the Sable Palm Suite

Talk about romance, this suite has two fireplaces; one near the bed and the other in the bathroom. I also enjoyed the large open seating area with a settee, chair and antique wardrobe. But, you’ve got a modern small refrigerator in the corner and coffee machine.

 

Diane bakes extraordinary breakfast selections, a meal that will keep you going as you walk around Savannah’s streets, gardens and squares. The sensuous city drips with Spanish moss hanging from live oak trees, many over a hundred years old. Fountains are everywhere and provide a cool touch, even on a hot day.

 

More than likely you will return to the Green Palm in the late afternoon and find refreshments- freshly baked cookies or sweets, perhaps cheese and crackers, lemonade and wine. You can sit and chat with the other guests in the parlor or take your goblet up to your room for some quiet time.

 

 

The Green Palm Inn is cozy with just four rooms and also quiet. It’s just steps from Green Square (how appropriate is that) but actually named for Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene and sits about four blocks from the riverfront. Should you choose to walk to this touristy area instead of the historic downtown, you are ideally situated.

 

 

The rates are remarkable low for a top of the line Bed and Breakfast and once you stay, you will return and likely tell others. Just be sure to book your room well in advance because the reputation of this oasis in Savannah is spreading

 

Forsyth Park Fountain in the early morning

For information on The Green Palm Inn please visit:

www.SavannahInns.com

www.GreenPalmInn.com

Parlor- Green Palm Inn, Savannah, GA

 For information about Savannah: www.VisitSavannah.com

Savannah Buzz: A Luscious Lesson about Bees

March 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Honey Bees on my Hand

Cradling a handful of bees on the palm of my hand was a honey of a delight, one I will never forget. The little ladies gently crawled over my fingers and hand, tickling me with their feather-light touch. They didn’t  sting , but stayed busy producing nectar and collecting pollen which provides important cross pollination for many plants. Every few seconds one or two of the female worker bees would fly off to return to their job in the hive.

I had the rare opportunity to visit the hives belonging to Savannah Bee Company with the calm and compassionate owner,  Ted Dennard.  First, Ted led my group on a tour of the manufacturing plant where we saw honey being bottled, labeled and sealed into jars.

Then, I donned a beekeeper’s veil, a mesh helmet that keeps out insects but lets air circulate. We walked to the hives, in this case, wooden boxes filled with removable sections. Each section contains honeycombs which are supported on wood and wire frames.Beekeeper's Veil

Filling the honey jars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A smoker, a metal can containing burnable leaves was lit and smoke was aimed toward the hive.  Ted explained that when bees smell smoke, they gorge themselves on honey and are less likely to sting.

The Smoker

Each hive contains a large group or colony consisting of around 30,000 bees.  There are just three types of honey bees: workers, drones, and queens. The workers are the smallest and they are all females. They make the honey, clean the hive, feed larvae (baby bees), and build the wax comb. In summer, workers live about six weeks spending their first three weeks as a house bee and the next three as a field bee.

Approximately one hundred drones or males live in each colony. They mate with the queen. Drones live for about eight weeks during warm months. These males usually leave the colony in the fall and die.

The largest bee is the queen and each colony has only one queen whose most important function is to lay eggs.  A healthy queen can live up to four years and lay over one million eggs during her lifetime.

A Bee Hive

Honeycomb on a Frame

Ted lifted the wooden lid on the hive and then used a tool to pry apart the frames. He carefully lifted one out to show us the bees at work. These insects were so diligent to their job,  they didn’t seem to notice our presence. We could clearly identify those bringing in pollen, those storing pollen, those making honey and those dancing. Dances tell other bees where flowers are located. Typically a round dance says that flowers are nearby and a tail-wagging dance speaks of flowers in the distance.  Here’s the most amazing thing:  the direction of the tail-wagging dances show the location of the flowers in relation to the sun, and the number of waggle runs per fifteen seconds indicates the distance. What brilliant bees!

Bees at Work

My admiration for those tiny creatures was growing the more I learned. Just think: bees visit over two million flowers to make a pound of honey. My taste buds got the chance to be favorably impressed. Ted allowed me to stick my finger into the honeycomb and taste of the warm oozing gel- the sweetest, soothing food of the best kind.

I Love Honey Bees

Since the little darlings seemed to be so cooperative and had not stung anyone, I decided to let Ted place a group in my hands. Mind you, like most people I am fearful around bees and have felt the painful ouch of a sting many times.  But, I was up for the new adventure. Ted scooped some up on the tool and transferred them onto my hand. The little ladies danced a ballet as if choreographed by the great Balanchine himself.  There was no frenzy akin to the tune Flight of the Bumblebee.  Instead, they tip toed and pirouetted more of an adagio, as if they heard a slow serenade of Georgia on my Mind.

Tasting Honey straight from the Hive

In that moment I experienced the profound wonder of bees and understood the intense labor these tiny beings expend to produce the luscious treat. Thank you Ted and Savannah Bee Company for showing me the good (and definitely not any evil) within the sensuous city and gardens of Savannah. And, thank you honey bees of the world for helping sustain so much on Mother Earth.

A Visit to Fort Mantanzas

March 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Fort Matanzas National Monument

The Spanish built and manned Fort Matanzas (1740-42) to ward off British attacks on St. Augustine.
Visitors need to understand that the fort is located 14 miles south of St. Augustine (along A1A). The area, now Fort Matanzas National Monument,  is run by the National Park Service and located on Anastasia Island. The park is situated near the site of the killing of nearly 250 French Huguenots in 1565 by the Spanish, an act that gave the river and inlet the name Matanzas, Spanish for “slaughters.”
Upon arrival (free parking) watch the eight-minute film to learn about the fort and the area’s history. Then, take a Park Service boat over to Rattlesnake Island, a less than 5-minute boat ride. Rattlesnake Island, a barrier island is left to wildlife, except for official trips by the Park Rangers. The public may boat and fish the waterway, but are not permitted to use the fort’s dock.

Costumed Soldiers at Fort Matanzas

Fort Matanzas measures only 50 feet on each side with a 30-foot tower; so a visit becomes a quick exploration. If possible go on a day when the soldiers are in costume.

Here is a soldier near the Garita or sentry box.

.This is the soldier's quarters.The officer's quarters are a level above.Officer's Quarters


A Spanish flag flies from the observation deck. You’ll also find a chimney for the hearth below.The powder magazine was build into the land-based side of the fort’s walls.

A cistern for water storage lies below the canon deck, but is not open to tourists.

When the soldiers fire the canon, all visitors must evacuate the structure.  Park Rangers gather them outside, and then explain the procedure and answers questions. The location allows only a side view of the canon from below, so you can’t see much of the soldiers’ participation in the activity.  As one of the reenactors said, “If you really want to watch a canon firing, go to the big fort- Castillo de San Marcos.”

History
The Spanish landed in St. Augustine in 1565, claimed it and built a settlement.  Francis Drake raided the town in 1586. Afterward,  the Spanish erected Castillo de San Marcos for their protection, a massive coquina fort still standing in the city (completed in 1695). In 1740, Governor James Oglethorpe and his British troops from Georgia blockaded the St. Augustine inlet or harbor. The Spanish held Castillo de San Marco during the 39-day siege, which was halted when hurricane season arrived and Oglethorpe withdrew.
To prevent the British from attacking via the Matanzas River (a weak point in the city’s defense at the  rear) the Spaniards constructed an outpost –Fort Matanzas. Oglethorpe returned in 1742 with 12 ships, but the soldiers drove off the attack with the little fort’s canon. Fort Matanzas was never attacked again.

Like Castillo de San Marco, Fort Matanzas was built of coquina stone and covered inside and out with white lime plaster. Usually, only one officer, four privates of the infantry and two gunners manned the fort. Soldiers were assigned there as a part of their regular rotation among the outposts and missions near St. Augustine. The tour of duty at Fort Matanzas was one month.

What happened to the fort?
As part of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, signed to end the French and Indian War, all property in Florida was transferred to Britain. After the American Revolution, a second Treaty of Paris returned Florida to Spain. Fort Matanzas continued to be staffed but was not maintained. When Florida became a state in 1819, Spain transferred the land to the US. The fort had become so badly deteriorated that soldiers could no longer live inside. All that remained were two eight-pounder Spanish cannons originally mounted in 1793. They remain to this day. The US took possession in 1821 but never occupied the site.
Military personnel were later sent to examine the ruins. They determined that Fort Matanzas had only historical value as the exterior surfaces were overrun with vegetation and its walls had cracked.

History lovers gained Fort Matanzas on July 18, 1916, when $1025 was granted by Congress for the repair of the historical structure. On October 15, 1924, using the power granted in the Antiquities Act, President Calvin Coolidge named five sites, including Fort Matanzas and the Castillo de San Marcos, as national monuments. On August 19, 1927, he issued another order, assigning all the lands around the fort, not included in the national monument to the Department of Agriculture, as a bird refuge.


St. Augustine on Dwellable

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