May 9, 2015
I woke up this morning in Savannah, Georgia with plans to start my day with a cup of PERC coffee, the coffee company that makes the coffee for the Hostel in the Forest. I arrived at where my GPS said PERC coffee, but it brought me to the actual warehouse, not a café that sold the coffee...I probably should have paid more attention to that! So needless to say, I did not get the coffee. The next thing on my plan for the day was to go to Forsyth Park Farmers Market. I figured, what better way to experience a community than to go get a taste of their local businesses, right?
Word to the wise, just park your car in the parking garage if you are going to the downtown Savannah historic area. They are not expensive, and it is well worth avoiding circling around one way streets looking for an open spot to park with a meter. Anyways, I parked the car and walked to the park where the market was set up. I was surrounded by Savannah locals and visitors walking around the park, enjoying the afternoon. There was a big field where groups of friends were sitting together in the grass, having picnics, tossing footballs back and forth, reading, and catching some sun. Unfortunately the farmers market closes at 1pm, and after having a hard time parking, and being the late riser that I am, I didn't get there ‘til around 12:15pm, so I only got to catch the end of it, I was glad that I did though. Local vendors were set up all along the sidewalks selling produce, baked goods, honey, coffee, and all sorts of locally grown and made products. I spent some time at the Morning Glory Natural Plant booth listening to tips on how to take care of the pants, and practical uses for some of them. I left the market with an elephant bush, a jasmine plant, and some ginger syrup from Verdant Kitchen as a gift for one of my friends. I spent some time walking around the park, sitting on a bench observing my surroundings and listening to some of the people playing music on the sidewalks.
Next I was headed to the city market area for lunch. My friend Lynsie lives in the area and recommended The Uptown Café Downtown, known for their Georgia peach sangria, and her personal suggestion of the crab cakes. It was a cute restaurant with brick walls, arched doorways, and black and white pictures of musicians on the walls. I sat inside and listened to the live music from outside flowing through the doors as I ate and thought about the day ahead of me. After lunch I wandered around the area until I found myself at The Savannah Bee Company.
The Savannah Bee Company sells all kinds of honey, and honey health and beauty products. I heard about them a few months ago and thought to myself, “How could there be a company that sells nothing but honey, and is successful enough to have multiple stores in business?” Turns out, the founder and owner of The Savannah Bee company is Ted Dennard, the son of Tom Dennard, the founder and owner of The Hostel in the Forest! During my tea time with Tom while I was at the hostel he told us a story about his son who got into bee keeping, and opened The Savannah Bee Company, and I couldn’t believe it! A friend of Tom’s was a beekeeper, and asked Tom if he could move his beehives to the hostel and teach someone to keep them because he was sick and couldn’t take care of them anymore. Tom agreed, and his son fell in love with it when he was very young. He did it as a hobby throughout his life and sometime after college decided he wanted to sell his honey and spend his life doing what he loved. He traveled to different farmers markets and food and beverage convention type events selling his honey, and in New York none other than Oprah Winfrey tried the honey, fell in love with it, promoted him, and the business exploded.
If you’ve never gone to The Savannah Bee Company you’re missing out. You walk in the door and the first thing you see is honey tasting, which is really cool because you get to try all the different types of honey and it gives you the chance to see how different they really are. I know now that honey isn’t simply just honey! As you walk through and taste the honey there are people there telling you about all the different types of honey, where they came from, and giving good suggestions on the ideal ways to use each type and flavor. At the end of that you are in an area for honey based health and beauty products, there are soaps, lotions, make-up, all of those sorts of things, and when you reach the back of the store there is a mead tasting table. Mead is basically honey wine. They ferment honey with water and can add fruits, grains, hops, whatever they feel like. Mead is actually thought to be the oldest alcoholic drink known to man. You pay $5 and get to try 5 different types of mead produced by The Savannah Bee Company.
After leaving the store I wandered around with no purpose like I do, in and out of stores and into anything and everything that catches my eye. I went to Woof Gang Bakery to get some treats for my poor dogs I had to leave in Florida and I window shopped in the boutiques I passed until I ended up at the rail bar, the oldest bar on Congress Street. It was small, and rowdy, and I loved it. There was a totally diverse crowd in there, people of all ages sitting at the bar, at tables, and a group of college-aged guys wearing either sweater vests or American flag tank tops jumping and chanting a song together when I walked in which was very entertaining. I didn’t know what I wanted to order so my bartender with a beard and a man bun asked me if I would be willing to just let him make me something, and of course I was! He made me a Moscow mule with grapefruit in it I believe. There was a touch tune jukebox against the wall so I put on a couple of classic rock songs to listen to as I slowly sipped my drink and relaxed before heading home.
Later that night I went back out and took a Savannah Slow Ride 15 person bicycle tour, and it was so much fun! I highly recommend taking one if you ever go! Everyone in my group was there together with the exception of me, and a couple visiting from Charleston South Carolina, but that was ok, the group took me in as one of their own and we hung out together all night! When I hopped on the “crawler” there was a funny blonde girl next to me that informed me that everyone one else in the group was a couple except for her, and they were celebrating a birthday, so I could be her friend in the group for the night. We pedaled around laughing and blasting music from the speakers with the occasional passing and raising our respective drinks to fellow crawler tour groups. When the tour ended I said goodbye to my new friends in Charleston, and followed the other group for a while, but went home shortly after. I was staying at a friend’s house while they were out of town so I went back to spend some time with their puppy Luna, and get some rest before the day of wandering I had ahead of me.