Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Spirit of Harbor Town Trip to Savannah

We arrived at the Spirit of Harbor Town dock about 9:25 for our ride to Savannah, paid our money and climbed aboard. A short time later, we cast off and headed into Callabogie Sound. Having been two of the later arrivals, we ended up at the back of the boat over the engines. It was loud enough to make talking difficult. That didn’t stop one guy nearby, who felt the need to try to entertain his companions, which could only be accomplished by shouting. What is there about us that we seem to attract loud people?

The Captain pointed out interesting landmarks along the way, and an hour and 15 minutes later we docked in Savannah. It was about 11:00 and we had just less than four hours to enjoy Savannah, an old, beautiful, and historic city.

Diane and I watch a show on Food TV featuring Paula Dean, and Paula and her sons have a restaurant in Savannah called “The Lady and Sons.” If you want to have lunch there you can’t call ahead for reservations, like you can in most places; no, you have to show up at the restaurant at 11:00 a.m. and put your name on a list. It took us until 11:20 to find the place and by that time enough people had gotten there ahead of us so that we couldn’t get in for lunch until 2:15. Since the boat back to Hilton Head was to leave at 2:45, The Lady and Sons wouldn’t get any of our money, and we wouldn’t get any of its food. Oh, well. When you have weird rules like that, a lot of people are going to be opted out of visiting your establishment. I guess ol’ Paula might say, “Sorry, y’all didn’t get in. But I got a full house anyway!”

We started exploring the area and came across a really good little café called The Express Café & Bakery. They had great sandwiches on homemade bread. Paula’s place might have been better, but I doubt it. After lunch, we visited a couple of stores and then boarded one of the tour buses to visit the historic district, which is rich in tradition and deep in American history. The 90-minute tour left us with some time, so we headed into the Boar’s Head Grille and Tavern on River Street near the dock for an afternoon libation in a 200 year-old building that has been a tavern for all those years, and has been owned by the same family since 1959. A neat place.

A couple of stores later we lined up to get on the Spirit for the return trip. We got in line early so as to find a seat away from the engines’ roar. And away from “the entertainer.”

The water was a little rough, with seas at two feet, and sometimes at four feet. The Spirit is a pretty big boat, 74’ long and about 18’ wide, so a little rough water didn’t phase it or us. That boat has pair of powerful diesels that moved it along at about 25 knots, creating a 4-foot wake.

We wasted a little time in the Harbor area, had a glass of wine on the patio of The Quarterdeck, and then headed to the upstairs dining room about 6 p.m. It is surrounded by windows overlooking the harbor, the yacht basin and the 18th of Harbor Town links, one of the truly most beautiful golf holes in the U.S. I played that course several ago when I was playing golf (badly). It’s a great course.

Nice menu, good wine list, decent service. And another group of loud, unruly kids with inconsiderate parents. This time we had the added feature of a foursome of golfers who had had too much to drink and needed to share their exploits on the links with everyone in the large dining room.

This situation with the loud kids is becoming an epidemic, or perhaps is already an epidemic. Most of the people here are on vacation. Most of the people here have already prepared their kids for adulthood and either sent them off to college or to the workaday world. Most of the people here came here not to listen to screaming children, which is why they don’t spend their time at day care centers, playgrounds and other places where you might rightly expect to find small children. They just want an enjoyable time in a pleasant environment. Parents ought to be considerate enough to, first, rear their children to behave in public, and second, not go to nice restaurants with kids who are too young to understand that screaming at the top of your lungs is simply not acceptable.

Yes, parents have the right to good meals, too, but they don’t have the right to make the rest of a restaurant’s clientele suffer through their parental crises. Heck, some of them seem oblivious to how much of a disturbance their kids are causing, or perhaps they just don’t care. So, parents, take your kids to McDonalds or Wendy’s or Taco Bell or Chuckie Cheese, and when they are old enough to behave, or when you can get someone to take care of them while you dine out, then you can go to nice restaurants. Otherwise, stay away. That’s one of the prices of being a parent.

A couple of stops later we get back to the room. It was, on the whole, a nice day.

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