We finally get it together and go to check out. The sweetest girl checks us out. We've seen her in the breakfast room a few times, greeting guests and have commented on her beautiful Slavic accent. What we didn't notice is how her voice is really quite loud and carries a good way. This becomes apparent when we check out as she announces our room total to the world.
"So your room cost (AMOUNT OF MONEY TRUMPTED). Now, we put (DOLLAR AMOUNT SCREAMED OUT) on your credit card, so that leaves you with a balance of (DOLLAR AMOUNT ANNOUNCED). WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEAVE A TIP? YES? GREAT, HOW MUCH?
We run out into the street to escape. We take a long walk on the Riverfront before we walk back into town. We have big plans today. We're going to see the Mercer-Williams house, which anyone who has read or seen the movie The Garden of Good and Evil will recognize. The house is stunning, hard to believe people live in such grandeur. We saw a few other grandiose homes, stopped in at a fine linens store and made a purchase, and then made our way to Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House Dining Room (www.mrswilkes.com)
Mrs. Willkes Dining Room is famous and the walls are filled with celebrity guests who've eaten there. For $12 you sit at a round table for 10. The food --good, hearty Southern cooking--is already on the tables in bowls when you sit down and the sweet tea is melting the ice in the glass. Then everybody grabs a bowl and starts passing them around the table. To the best of my memory, here's what we ate:
Rhubarb, collards, creamed corn, lima beans, black-eyed peas, okra & tomatoes, sweet potatoes, mac-n-cheese, beets, rice, mashed potatoes, cucumber mixture, fried chicken, gravy, beef stew, green beans, corn bread and your choice of banana pudding or strawberry shortcake for dessert. You carried your plate and utensils to the kitchen when you were through. People were rolling themselves out the door.
The food wasn't my favorite (although Blair was a very happy camper), but it was well worth the wait (40 minutes) just for the experience. Every other meal of our vacation, we ate alone. Here we shared the table with couples from NC, San Antonio and Miami. We all compared notes on where we'd been and what we'd eaten in Savannah, as well as past family feasts the cooking brought to mind. It was really nice to connect with others and I strongly recommend a visit to Mrs. Wilkes if you're ever in the area.
We ended our time with a visit to the Wormsloe Plantation and then packed ourselves in the car for the hour and a half ride to Jekyll Island. Part 2 of our vacation was about to begin.