March 16, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Top O' The Morning to you!

I'm not doing anything to awfully special this St. Patrick's Day.  Well, I will be making Stijn some Corn Beef and Cabbage with potatoes since this is something he's never had.  They don't celebrate the wearing of the green in Belgium!

And actually the most exciting thing I ever did for St. Paddy's Day was drive up to Savannah Georgia in 2009 when on a home exchange in Ponte Vedra Florida.

I had so much fun that day, I thought I would re-post my story from that day again.  I don't think a lot of you have read this story yet.  If you have, maybe it will be fun to read again!

Here is how my day went!

I know March 17th is St. Patrick's Day. I know you should probably wear some green, unless you want to get pinched. I know that corned beef and cabbage is more than likely what you're going to eat today, and that you will definitely have some green beer. Who doesn't know this? What "I" didn't know is that in Savannah Georgia, St Patricks Day is treated somewhat as a "National Holiday".

I've heard about what a beautiful place Savannah is, and that it has a wonderful historic district. I thought since I will be so close while I'm in Ponte Vedra on my home exchange that I would take a drive up there and check it out. Why not? So I check somethings out on the Internet and I find that there are several companies who offer trolley tours where you can hop on and off all day long for $10.00. Cool! I had done this in Boston and it was a great way to see everything.

I decide that Tuesday is a good day to head up to Savannah. Not because it's St. Patrick's Day mind you, but because the weather on Tuesday is going to be better than any other day of the week. That's why.

So the first place I go when I get there is "Oglethorpe Trolley Tours" . Hmmm, strange, it's closed. Maybe they're out to lunch, it is 12:15pm. But would they really do that? So I head down the street a little further and see the Oglethorpe Trolley Welcome Center and park across the street. Hmmmm, closed. For the life of me I can't figure out why they would be closed on a Tuesday. Maybe it's the off season and they don't start doing tours until April or May? Maybe they aren't in business anymore? I continue to walk towards the Visitors Center and I pass another Trolley company and a gentleman who is cleaning some things up around one of the trolley's says "Good Afternoon Ma'am". Perfect! I ask him if this trolley service is doing tours today and he says to me, "No Ma'am, we're closed for the Holiday". "The Holiday? St. Patrick's Day?", I reply in surprise. What I learned was that there is a big parade that takes place in the historic district and the trolleys "can't" run. Bummer.

I head into the Visitor Center and discover that the 185th St. Patrick's Day parade is still going on. How lucky for me! This parade is the second largest in the U.S., behind New York, and the celebration is the third oldest, behind New York and Boston. The lady at the counter pulls out a map and points out that Bull St. is the route of the parade and that I could follow that right to the historic Riverfront, and then she hands me the map.

As I step out of the Visitor Center and walk down W. Liberty St. it becomes immediately apparent to me that St. Patrick's Day is taken very seriously here. There was not one person that I passed that wasn't all decked out in some sort of "green" fashion. When I get to Bull St. the parade is indeed still in progress, but I'm not so much impressed with the parade as I am with the thousands of people who are lining the streets in their green hats, green shirts, green beards...... Suddenly I am feeling a bit out of place. I truly was the only person in Savannah not wearing green. It really was sort of embarrassing walking around in a pair of blue jeans and a white sleeveless shirt.

As I continue down Bull St. taking pictures along the way, I come to the first of many squares, "Chippewa Square". And here I just stop and I can't believe what I'm seeing. The square is packed with more people who have set up canopies covering their tables filled with food and coolers filled with beer I'm sure. Some people even had their gas barbecue grills here!

At another square there was more of the same along with vendors selling green paraphernalia from carts, and fountains with green water.

I just couldn't stop people watching and taking pictures. And everyone was really friendly and ready for a group photo.

By the time I make it to the Riverfront the parade has ended and the thousands of people I just passed are also headed here.

I really enjoyed walking along the river on the cobblestone and seeing the old cotton warehouses that had been converted into cute shops and boutiques, and restaurants and pubs over looking the river. There was plenty of music with a live band and a little further down a DJ playing some favorite dance tunes.

I thought about going into one of those great Irish Pubs and getting myself a green beer but the lines to get into any bar were entirely way to long........... I opted for some ice cream at this great little shop where you could also watch Pralines being made and have someone throw some taffy at you that had just been freshly twisted and wrapped.

Well it's time to start thinking about heading back to Ponte Vedra Beach. But there is a Lighthouse nearby on Tybee Island and I must go take pictures.

My day is complete now.

Before driving back to Ponte Vedra Beach I stop in at a little road side ice cream stand and order me up a large black cherry waffle cone! The perfect way to end a perfect day!

There are a whole lot more pictures of my day in Savannah at "Where's Debbie". To see them just click on the album "St. Paddy's Day".
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