Thursday, April 07, 2005

Yankees in Georgia!!

My cousins Nat, Amanda and Scoop (Amanda’s black lab) came through town over the weekend on their way from Arizona to Maine. They arrived in the wee hours of the morning Sunday looking a bit pale and tired after the two day 2000 mile drive. We all slept in fairly late and awoke to a perfect spring day; clear skies, light breeze and a sunny 75 degrees. We lounged around for a while, enjoying our coffee and touring the house and yard until hunger pangs finally motivated us to go in search of food.

We opted for brunch at the Fitzpatrick Hotel in Washington Georgia. David and I have been there several times and it is one of our favorite places even though it’s about 45 miles away. The drive winds through lots of rural farm country and it was the perfect day for such an excursion. Scoop claimed the leather couch in the rear of the van and the rest of us made do with the arm-chair like seats. For a comfortable drive that van really can’t be beat!

The Fitzpatrick is a lovingly restored turn of the century Victorian on the old town square. The building itself is just beautiful and David and I once had the pleasure of talking with one of the owners and seeing the before and after pictures. They did a truly amazing job of bringing the place back to its former grandeur. Their food is very good, particularly the luscious london broil and the abundance of desserts including chocolate bread pudding, fruit tarts with custard and pound cake with strawberries and rum sauce. We had a very pleasant time of dining and visiting and I assure you no one left the table hungry!

We walked off a bit of our meal by touring the town square. There are several cute shops and one very nice antique store. The store’s owner was from Alabama, as is David, and Amanda, Nat and I took quite a bit of ribbing for being “Yankees in Georgia!” At the end of the square was a horse and carriage that was carrying a young girl in antebellum costume. For a moment the modern world slipped away and I could imagine what the town must have looked like in those days.

Our next stop was Athens. We found a nice pub and a spot in the sunshine. Athens is a college town and though it lacks any of the old southern charm it is an interesting place to pass the time with great company.

On the way home we drove through several little towns with lovely white houses and beautiful yards. David and I have driven around all of them in the past months so we were able to point out some of the more interesting places. One of those spots is old Revolutionary War Cemetery tucked away down a little dirt road. It’s a beautiful spot with spanish moss and wisteria heavily draped on the branches. We paused there for a while before completing our journey home.

Amanda and Nat had mentioned a desire for some nice thick steaks but those are non-existent here in Georgia so we made do with some decent ribeyes that David did a great job of grilling. We enjoyed the food and camaraderie until nearly midnight.

In the morning David had to head off to work but I decided to fix the Yankees a full southern breakfast complete with biscuits, sausage, red-eye gravy, grits and scrambled eggs. I put a fistful of pansies in a glass and we dined on the veranda enjoying another beautiful morning.

Both Amanda and Nat declared that they could stay here forever, Scoop of course concurred. This old house and her grounds have a way of doing that, enveloping you in her serenity and making you want to linger. I noted that they were much more relaxed when they arrived. A little color had been added to their faces and they’d had a break from recent stresses out in the real world. David calls this house our fairy tale land and it really is special.

As they readied themselves for departure they looked a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies with boxes, bicycle and a huge dog crate for Scoop in the back of the little pickup truck. They would work their way over to Savannah and up the coast from there, another day or two towards home. As they pulled out onto the road I considered how lucky I am to have such wonderful people as my family. I’ve only recently been able to reacquaint myself with them as adults and it really was a pleasure to be able to spend time with them. I wish their visit had been longer but I think David and I were able to show them a nice little section of southern Georgia and a bit of southern hospitality to go with it.


Anonymous Nat said...

'adult', indeed! Just because I'm the older cousin, don't rub it in!

3:56 PM  
Blogger rainvalley said...

Older maybe but old? Nope :)

7:10 AM  

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