Southern Culture Tour, Day Three: Taylor Parker

Today marked day three of the Junior Fellows’ trip across the South. It began with a visit to the Georgia Political Science Association’s yearly conference.

Brian and I sat in on a panel of political scientists discussing their research in the field of terrorism, officially calling their session ‘Terrorism: Past Present and Future”. The individuals, young and old, discussed various historical and present cases of terrorism, the theories surrounding the groups’ effectiveness, and potential future defense needs of this growing problem. Hearing from the younger grad students was inspiring, showing me where I could be in a matter of years.

Following the morning conference sessions, we headed out to explore Savannah.  To fully grasp the expanse and beauty of the historical city, the four of us hopped aboard a trolly for a guided tour.

Old Town Trolley Tours

The city is laid out in perfect blocks, with 21 squares evenly dotting the landscape. Trees lined every street, providing shade to everyone walking the city. Each square hosted a different monument, ranging from famous individuals such as John Wesley or Johnny Mercer…

Taylor Parker, Johnny Mercer, and Brian King

…to historic time periods, such as the 250th anniversary of Savannah, or the Mercer-Williams’ Home…

Mercer Williams Home–Site of the Murder in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Other spots found throughout the city included Flannery O’Conner’s home…

Historical Marker for Flannery O’Connor’s Home

…the site of the iconic Forrest Gump park bench…

Forrest Gump Park Bench

…an eighteenth century pirate’s hangout…

The Pirate’s House Restaurant

…and Clary’s Cafe of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fame. The city was cozy to say the least, complete with the most hospitable people around and nice eats and weather.  I could definitely see myself living there.

In fact, it looked like Brian was getting a head start on living there by loitering on the park bench…

Brian King Posting Up on a Savannah Park Bench

…but he didn’t have anything on this guy…

 To finish of the daytime we stopped at Tybee Beach on Tybee Island. Here we scaled an enormous lighthouse, greatly surpassing the lighthouse visited in Biloxi yesterday.

Tybee Island Lighthouse at Sunset

The view of The Atlantic Ocean was incredible, and the rural areas of the island were outlined with shadows of a looming dusk. As the sun set, we made our way down the tower to the beachfront and had a nice stroll. With the exception of a few wandering horseshoe crabs, the beach was spotless and pretty to say the least. The sound of waves and smell of ocean water was refreshing and the sunset was beautiful.

Tybee Island Beach at Sunset

The refined air and serene mood was short lived; we headed back to Savannah for a night of grubbin’ at Paula Dean’s own restaurant, The Lady and Sons.

Paula Deen’s

Deanna Tyler, nicknamed Paula by the group, set the group up with reservations ahead of time, as her adoration for Mrs. Deen drove her to great lengths to secure our dining spot. Her excitement was best understood when she was asked, “Did you meet Paula Dean at dinner tonight?” Her reply? “No, BUT I met a waiter who has met her! Too cool!” In other words, everything Paula makes our ‘Paula’ go crazy for some southern food. Greens, chicken, shrimp, potatoes, beans, peas, mac-n-cheese, cobblers, cakes, pies and more were all a part of Paula Dean’s dining experience. And now as we wind down for the night, I loosen my belt by one loop; it was that good. Great food, historically intriguing sites, political conference on world terrorism, and happy Georgians all take part in the typical day of the Junior Fellow.

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