After our visit to Edisto Beach, we drove the long bridge into Savannah. What a surprise to see the industrial encirclement of the city! We only saw a hint of Savannah’s historic district via some church spires. After reading Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil, I had the mistaken impression that we would immediately drive into the setting of an old city–no hint of modern industry.
By the way, if you are planning a visit to Savannah, you must read the book Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil by John Berendt. This true story, full of interesting and eccentric characters, put Savannah on the map. Read the book, then watch the movie. The book is better, but the movie was filmed on location and is worth seeing. And the character, Chablis, plays herself in the movie.
The Foley House Inn
Coming off HWY 17 to the Foley House Inn, we passed a couple of non-charming streets and several loud cars, so I didn’t have a good first impression. However, once we got out of the car and walked up to the inn, we could see that it was very nice. The inn is located in Savannah’s historic district and is situated across from Chippewa Square (with the statue of James Oglethorpe).
When we walked up the stairs into the inn and closed the door behind us, most of the street noise faded away. Inside we were greeted by a modern young man (somehow, I was expecting a gentile little-old-lady) who checked us in and told us the hours for breakfast etc.. I took a look around while he was doing that and noticed with approval the old-fashioned parlor. It met my preconceived notions nicely!
203 Doddington Room
The staff showed us to our bedroom–203 Doddington Room. It used to be a dining room and had wonderful wainscoting and a nice fireplace. Through the blinds of our window we could see the spire of the Independent First Presbyterian Church. Our room had antique furniture and a huge four-poster king-size bed. If you needed it, they even had a step-stool for the bed. Each morning we awoke to the sounds of private-school kids playing basketball outside one of our windows, but that was okay. They were happy sounds, and we wanted to get up early anyway.
Every morning, kitchen staff served us a nice southern breakfast in the small dining area. My favorite was the blueberry pancakes. My least favorite was the side of grits. I like grits, I just don’t like the butter they mix in with them!
Evenings in the Parlor
From 5 to 7 each night, they offered wine in the parlor. We joined in with other guests and had a glass. That’s the nice thing about bed & breakfast accommodations, you get to meet other people. We enjoyed sitting in the parlor talking to two older lady friends and one gay couple. One of the men had a voice just like John Malkovich. Like the actor, he even had a space between his two front teeth! I asked him if anyone had ever told him that he sounded like Malkovich and he said yes, but he didn’t hear it himself. Anyway, really nice people.
Another night, my husband joined in with the parlor group while I took a nap. Besides the two ladies, there was another couple, who seemed nice at first. But then the woman went off on everybody. She asked our friend what her religion was, then admonished her for liking to burn sage in her house, “because,” she said, “it attracts evil spirits.” Then she asked my husband what his sign was. Bill didn’t realize she was talking to him (he was answering a text from me), so she got mad at him. He then told her he was a Gemini, but since she was also a Gemini, she wanted to know his exact birth date. When he told her, she said, “We don’t get along. We don’t like you here, you have to leave!” The other women said they liked him very much, and he didn’t have to leave! Then the woman’s husband told her to “rein it in,” and they left the room.
I got a glimpse of this woman as I came out of my room, and she looked grumpy. When I stepped into the parlor, the two ladies inundated me with the dramedy. It took me a few minutes to sort it out. LOL. Anyway, that’s the other side of meeting people in a bed & breakfast– some of them are weird! Makes a good story though.
A Ghost Story
Now here’s an even better story. The Foley House Inn was built in 1896 by a widow named Honoria Foley. She lived there with her grown son and grandchildren and ran the house for several years, taking in short and long-term boarders. Unfortunately for Mrs. Foley, she was plagued by an unwanted suitor. One night he sneaked into her bedroom. He must not have been expecting Mrs. Foley to fight back, but she did. In fact, she bashed his head in with a heavy candlestick (it was Mrs. Foley, in the bedroom, with a candlestick 😉 ). Then she got a male friend to seal his body inside a wall.
The wall she chose happened to be the one that used to be next to the old dining room–the room my husband and I stayed in. In 1987, construction workers removed the wall to add a staircase from the hallway to the downstairs kitchen. It was then that they discovered the skeleton.
I regret to say that even though our bedroom was right next to the new stairway and former wall, we did not experience any ghostly happenings. I do wonder though about Mrs. Foley. She had killed in self-defense but must not have thought she would get a fair trial. Did she have any pangs of guilt? How did she feel each day, walking by that wall, knowing there was a decomposing body inside? Did she overcome the creep factor? Or was she haunted by the boarder’s ghost? We will never know.
I highly recommend staying at the Foley House Inn. All their rooms are nice, the staff is mostly great, and the ambience and breakfasts are terrific.