Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SAVANNAH: "GHOST CATS", FIRES SCARES, THE PARIS MARKET AND....DOORS!!

This was the first sign (no pun intended) that we were officially almost there....little did we know the adventure awaiting us!!

Almost 6 hours later, we were there at last!! The gorgeous, gracious and historic Marshall House Inn. Immediately ready at the car door was THE most gracious, friendly and enthusiastic door man, Carlton. Yes -- "Carlton, The Door Man". He and the others were very likely the most friendly hotel staff we'd ever dealt with. Its worth a stay at The Marshall House just to be in the company of Carlton! :)
While getting us settled into our room, Carlton gave us the usual run-down given to guests upon check-in: where the a/c control was, list of amenities during our stay, etc., but what was not so "usual" was the list of 'don't say I didn't warn you' happenings that had supposedly occurred there over the years.... As I'd mentioned in the last post, I just so happened to innocently book us in what is known as one of Savannah's 'haunted inns' -- The Marshall house even having appeared on The Travel Channel's list of America's Most Haunted Destinations. So...our buddy Carlton is telling us about guests' windows being shut by themselves, several sitings of a "ghost cat" (SAY WHAT??) in the hotel by different guests during many different stays. Oh the list went on, but suffice to say, we got a good chuckle and bid Carlton good-day.
So....we are in the room NO MORE THAN TEN MINUTES, freshening up and about ready to leave again to go explore Savannah and get some dinner when the most obnoxious sound of a shrieking fire alarm cannot be ignored (believe me, we tried).
We thought surely it was a mistake and that it would go off any second. After enduring the ear-drum splitting sound for about a minute or so straight, my hubby phones the front desk and they AFFIRM -- the fire alarm was not accidentally set off and in fact the building is being evacuated.... What? A prankster ghost at work already?
We dutifully left our room and headed for the sidewalk in front of the building where there were already two fire trucks and many firemen scattering about to investigate. Good news -- the "all clear" was given very quickly and our time spent out on the sidewalk was only about 5 minutes at most and rather fun, as the guests had an impromptu chance to "mingle". Even the firemen were enjoying the "fun" and several of the guests actually had their pictures taken with them. :)
We went out "exploring the city and oh the things we saw. Being a native Floridian, it doesn't take much civic or architectural history to really impress me. So, trust me when I say I was just simply awe-struck by all the jaw-dropping detail and beauty crammed into a relatively small space. Building after building, house after house, facade after facade...one more beautiful than the last.

I kept thinking that so much of the town's ambiance was reminiscent of picturesque towns in Europe. Below, as you can see, we were able to drive on some of the oldest roads (you almost can't even call them "roads" -- more like paths) my car has certainly ever seen! They were small/narrow and steep! Made for some interesting driving at times! :)


OK....ARE YOU READY??? YOU SURE??? WELL...WE SAVED THE BEST FOR THE NEXT DAY..... OUR TRIP TO SAVANNAH WAS PRETTY MUCH PLANNED AROUND THIS STORE ALONE:
The Paris Market & Brocante -- a destination all its own...
I completely forgot to ask the sales staff if their famous Paris Metro sign was for sale. You see it in every picture taken of this store and since just about everything else in the store (no matter how big!) had a price tag on it somewhere, who knows? Maybe I could have shoved the sign in the back of the SUV...? :)

Here is Olivia with her Paris Market straw tote shopping bag -- even their shopping bags are perfect!!! SPEND THAT GIFT CERTIFICATE, OLIVIA!!
The store was all we'd dreamed it would be -- AND MORE. Here's a little example of how incredible it was. Now, I know before I even write this that there may be some who will read this and think I've simply lost my mind and need to get a life, but trust me, if you go, you'll get it....
Here's what happened....I was so already so overwhelmed by just being there -- it was like seeing my own store, only as I dream for it to be. It took me forever just to cross through the front door of the place, and once I entered, I was like Alice stepping through the Looking Glass.
OK, so my hubby & Olivia are with me, hubby obviously also enjoying all that he's seeing. But, since I planned to look at ABSOLUTELY EVERY SQUARE INCH OF THE STORE, he had already made his way to their lower level of shopping and had already scoped it all out downstairs.
So, as I finally began making my way downstairs to join him (after who knows how long upstairs!) I see him sort of "heading me off at the pass", waving his arms at me and kind of giving me the "no, you can't come down here" look....He knows me too well. He'd already figured out that if I was that intrigued just by their main floor, I was going to be in big trouble down stairs. He's so sweet.
Sure enough...I got to the bottom of the stairs, took a quick glance around at what was before me, and ....well....I BEGAN TO CRY!!!
OK -- does that sound absolutely crazy to anyone? Hasn't anyone else been so overcome by total sensory overload of beauty that their senses simply couldn't absorb any more?
I quickly composed myself and trust me, I managed to still put a hurtin' on the shopping aspect, but later, when trying to explain to Doug my unusual reaction, this is the only way I could describe it:
I saw my store.
The store I've envision all these many years while only being online. The Paris Market was full of many of the same items I already carry, and many that I would carry if I didn't have to concern myself with shipping. The smells, the music -- they were playing THE EXACT SAME SONGS I have been downloading for years, in anticipation of already having my music playlist done for my store-to-be.
So, I stood there at the bottom of those stairs and all I could manage to utter, with tears welling up, was "This is MY store...this is the store I'm supposed to have..."
I further summed it up like this -- picture a woman whose arms ache for a child, but she so far has not been able to bear one. She has the name picked out, the room already decorated in her mind and even some of the nursery's decor already purchased (in faith). She falls asleep one day and dreams of her child -- she's allowed somehow to see THE child she will one day truly bear and raise. But...the dream lasts only an hour and at the end she must say her tearful good-byes to the one she's waited for, ached for and prayed for so many years.
Yes, she now has more to cling to, a real hope and promise to hold on to until the time comes for real. But the idea of standing there, beholding the face of that child even for a short time is overwhelming to all her senses.
A few months back, I wrote a post some months back called "Lessons From Mr. Magorium And My Own Wonder Emporium", discussing my longing to finally "birth" my dream of a "real" store. How the desire for it had become more than a dream but somehow an ache -- feeling so, so ready to bring it about now, as never before. Read that post -- perhaps my reaction there in the middle of the lower level of The Paris Market will "gel" for you. :)
Beauty abounds at The Paris Market -- I hope one day soon you'll experience it, too....
OK...So there is more to Savannah than The Paris Market (although I'd go back again just for that place!!).
Below are pics of a building that exemplifies their kind of architecture -- no expense spared by those building this city hundreds of years ago!
The blue accents along the roof line/eaves are actually individual tiles in the most incredible lapis blue!!


Savannah chronicles their rich past in many ways and in many places -- this handsome statue of James Ogelthorpe was but one of many, many seen dotting the squares/parks about town...From what we read about this statue, they have him facing away from the town, facing south toward Florida since back then, as Georgia's primary military threat was from the Spaniards in St. Augustine, Florida...and since no military man ever has his back to his enemy, he faces away from Savannah-proper toward the south...Hopefully, he harbors no hard feelings for me, a Floridan there appreciating his town's beauty. :)
As I said, so much of Savannah seemed to visually hark to Europe, what you might imagine Victorian England or France to look like....Just look at this otherwise commonplace stairway leading up to an in-town home...Vines everywhere, the rich patina of the iron handrail and the well-worn stone steps...Beauty truly oozes from every inch of this town.
I was particularly taken by their doors and doorways...The door on the left was just one of many beckoning you into yet another fabulous antique shop. This one, however, was particularly charming, since to get to it, you stepped down several steps into a small entryway where on the deep black-green door was a sign that asked simply "Please Ring First".
The door on the right is just simply handsome and I had to have a picture. The ironwork on the doors is so ornate -- you just don't see that anymore.
OK...Speaking of doors....
One of the other stops my daughter had on her list was an architectural salvage place she'd read about. She is in the midst of planning a re-do for her bedroom at home and she immediately spotted "a little something" that would be PERFECT for the new look coming for her room. Perhaps leaned against the wall on top of what will become her desk. Maybe she can use the doors to hang little mementos from...or they can just stand there looking gorgeous.
We're planning to swap desks -- I currently use an antique English library table which she has secretly coveted for years. I will get her Pottey Barn file drawer desk and she will get my antique table/desk...Oh what we won't do for our kids...

Check it out:
We snagged a set of VERY OLD teak garden doors from India (gardens have doors??). Me oh my, what a find... Like owning the doors to The Secret Garden. Happy Birthday, Olivia! (I kind of like how they look out on our porch!) :)

Wanna see what I came home with from that place -- FOR FREE???
A pile of OLD BAGS! (And one of our cats, Bugsy, is already claiming one for himself!)
Eight FABULOUS old burlap coffee bean sacks!!! And even now we are STILL having COFFEE BEANS FALL OUT OF THEM!! Too funny!
The guy at the salvage place probably thought we were two nutty gals, going as crazy for his pile of burlap bags destined for the rubbish bin as we did for the exquisite finds in his shop! Go figure!

He said we could take all we wanted since he constantly gets more with every shipment from overseas! Oh the things that make our heart sing! Some gals want diamonds...I swoon for burlap coffee bags. Doug lucked out! ;)

Well, that ends my diatribe about our trip. I know I should have taken more pictures, but honestly, there was SO much I could have taken pictures of and I didn't want to endure the rolling eyes of Doug & Olivia the entire trip as my camera would again be reached for and I'd hold everyone up for "just one more picture!".

Do yourself a favor! Book a stay in Savannah!! I know I'm already dreaming of heading back -- maybe at Christmas? Don't you just know they do it up right for Christmas in Savannah??

P.S...A huge "thank you" to my sisters Val and Minnie for enabling us to even take this trip by overseeing things for us while we were gone!!! THANK YOU!!

9 comments:

Jackie said...

What a fun trip!! I know what you mean about the store - we were in Los Gatos (my hometown) and we walked into a shop and I said "oh, it's my store, just someone else owns it...". I've actually ended up buying some furniture from there. Anyway - I get what you mean!

Anonymous said...

I loved, loved, loved your description of your trip to Savannah. I
GET IT. There are so many times in Paris, that I know I'm about to
cry. It's just overwhelming to be where you know you're supposed to
be, and you wonder what took so long. I KNOW Scott and I belong in
France...somewhere...someday. I get that feeling every time I'm
there. It's totally crazy, and doesn't make sense, and I don't think
I could ever leave my country, but Scott and I both feel that way. We
don't feel like we are to move there on any permanent basis, but for a
season of time, which is yet to be determined. As we looked out the
train window on the way to Marseille, we saw at least 100 small french
villages, all nestled in the hills and mountains. I felt like they
all held a secret...I'm dying to find out what it is.

So, when you described how you felt in that store, like you had come
"home"...I get it. It's a feeling you can't describe fully. I have
tried and tried to explain it to my friends, and they just look at me
like I have 2 heads.

Even if I never make it to France again, it's in my heart, to stay
forever and ever. One thing I do know is that I constantly move
towards my dream. The first time I came home 2 years ago, I knew I
had to go back. I immediately signed up for French lessons. My other
dream was to spend time in a real French home and have a meal.
Another dream was to have a french student come to our house. I
didn't see either one happening, but it was THERE. So, when the
opportunity came for Clara to come stay with us, Scott and I jumped on
it, sight unseen. Then...a few months later, we are sitting in a
French home, with 10 other family members of Clara's, eating an 8
course meal! Scott and I kept looking at each other, as if to
say..."Can you believe this is happening?" On the 3 hour train trip
back to Paris, we sat and wrote every single detail we could of that
one meal, that one experience. I filled 4 notebook pages, single
spaced, front and back.

All this to say...you are doing the right thing. You are preparing
for your store, your brick and mortar store. It WILL happen, because
you are ready, you are moving towards it. Never forget that God
plants dreams in our hearts. I can't wait for the day that I walk
into your store, and CRY for you in happiness. For some it will seem
frivolous, but you will be filling a need in people's hearts, for
beauty in their home. YOU GO GIRL.

You are one of a kind,
And again, I get it!
Teri

P.S. I couldn't believe the Metro sign in the shop! Also, I saw SO
many similarities between some of the shots of Savannah and Paris.

Kasey said...

hey girl, great pics!!
your package is on the way!! yahoo.

Just know that you dont have to pay the rent that The Paris Market does:)
k-

Joy Zaczyk said...

O.K. First off - HELLO GORGEOUS! LOVE your new profile pic!

Second, that store is to die for. And I TOTALLY GET the crying thing. It was meant to be. It's a sign. IT'S A SIGN! Follow your heart and you will never go wrong. :)

And those DOORS? Shut-up! I am head over heels in love with them! lol

Joy
xo

Joy at Cupids Charm said...

Oooooh I just love this post! I also love your blog, having just found it tonight! I am over in St. Pete and my husband and I just love going to Savannah and have a trip planned for next Spring. I can't wait to visit this store too. It's new since our last visit. I totally GET how you could stand in a store and feel like your were standing in your soul. Beautiful post! ~oxox~ Joy

Jeanneoli said...

I just returned from a girls weekend in Savannah with a friend from DC. I was sooo glad I read your blog about Savannah before going. The Paris Market was top on my list to see. What a store!!!! Even the counter where they sell infused water is beautiful. I wanted every piece of furniture downstairs...plus so much more. I went home with a few goodies and will look forward to the next time I can step through doors. Thanks for sharing....

dolcechic said...

I am in love with your blog it's gorgeous!!!

KayEllen said...

I want those doors!!!
So wonderful:)
Great find,

kayellen

knitandputt said...

yup, been to that same store, and it is the best. my daughter lives in Savannah and it's always a treat to go. We stayed at the Marshall Inn too, and heard the kids bouncing balls on the third floor during the night.