Monday, January 21, 2019

Mrs Wilkes Dining room in Savannah Georgia

I was traveling through Georgia with Pam Schwartz, John Naughton and a relative of John's named Ben Wozniak. John had researched Mrs. Wilkes' Dining room (107 West Jones St. Savannah, GA 31401) and it was the main reason we stopped in the historic city.

A line gathers each morning at 11 o'clock. That line literally wraps around the block. When the doors open, the lunch crowd finds seats at one of the large tables-for-ten shared by strangers. Tabletops are crowded with platters of fried chicken and cornbread dressing, sweet potato souffle, black-eyed peas, okra gumbo, corn muffins and biscuits. We had our choice of some 24 food options all on one table! The menu changes daily so regulars can have something different every day. There is a unique pleasure of having a meal shared with neighbors and strangers. Lunch is $23 per person but reservations do not exist. You just need to get in line and hope to get in. The place is closed in January so don't drive up that way immediately.

This dining experience was the highlight of the trip. You had to pace yourself to be sure you tried everything but had seconds of what you truly loved. It was like having Thanksgiving with strangers. John purchased the Mrs. Wilkes' Cookbook and Pam took down some of the recipes, so we will be trying some of these traditional southern dishes.

We also explored some of the city's historic squares in Savannah to walk off the huge meal we had. The final destination of the trip was Charleston, South Carolina where Pam and I visited my sister Shirley Steinmetz. The three of us went to the River Dogs' baseball stadium where the game was interrupted by a complete solar eclipse. We had the necessary solar glasses to watch the sun as it was eclipsed. When the day turned black everything became completely silent. Then as the sky began to turn light again, the game resumed.

My sister loves genealogy, as do Pam and I, so there was plenty to talk about at my sister's house. Pam has encouraged me to do research online and I am amazed at the amount of legal documents that are available at the press of a button. I am able to quickly find source documents to verify all the information on my tree. There are still road blocks, but the journey is what is exciting.

The road trip back to Orlando was as much fun as the trip north to Charleston. John Naughton did all the driving. He and Pam discussed recipes in the front seats and I dozed off in the back seat as the miles flew by.

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