At Home on the Road

It was Spring in Savannah, not “Autumn in New York.” But I felt at home from the moment I heard Billie on Gryphon Tea Room’s sound system. I was on a side trip from Hilton Head Island with my traveling buddy Trish when we stumbled upon this gem. The Savannah College of Art & Design, known for historic preservation, restored this former pharmacy to its jazz-age glory.

Besides a lavish high tea, divine desserts and luscious light fare, the tea room boasts a Tiffany stained glass ceiling and an exquisite collection of antique tea canisters and silver tableware. For the life of me, I can’t recall what Billie was singing, but her music and the ambiance made the wait worthwhile. And the chicken salad was some of the best I’ve ever tasted outside my own kitchen.

That same day, we strolled the city’s squares and passed the Mercer Williams House, setting for the Clint Eastwood film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The mansion was built in the 1860s by the great grandfather of Academy Award-winning composer and lyricist Johnny Mercer (1909-1976).

Savannah-born and -raised, Mercer penned more than 1,500 songs, including a dozen that Billie recorded. Among them: “Trav’lin’ Light,” “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road),” and “Mandy Is Two.”




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