9/24/09: Palmetto Bluff/Charleston/Southeast Music & Entertainment Summit Day 1

Coffee, Coffee Bars, entertainment, events, Food, music, Music Conferences, Record Stores, records, Restaurants, Shopping, Travel

After breakfast at the hotel, I spent the morning driving around to Savannah bookstores looking for a book on the civil rights movement in Savannah, but nobody had it in stock, so I drove across into South Carolina, touring a resort called Palmetto Bluff, which had been built to resemble an old coastal town.
I had wanted to take the ferry over to Daufuskie Island, the Gullah island made famous by Pat Conroy in his book The Water Is Wide, but there wasn’t time to do it. Instead, I stopped briefly at Bluffton, where the downtown area on Calhoun Street was closed off for a farmers’ market, and then I continued northward into Charleston.
After browsing through CD’s at Monster Music and Video, I headed into downtown on King Street. I browsed a used bookstore and then headed around to the Charleston Market for a steak dinner at T-Bonz. Next door, the same owners run Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe, and I enjoyed some coffee and a slice of peanut butter chocolate cake before heading on across the Arthur Ravenel Bridge in the sunset, headed for Myrtle Beach.
By the time I got to Awendaw it was dark, but still warm. The area was fairly rural and remote, but with a few gatherings, around the occasional black church or juke joint.
Once I got to Surfside Beach, I checked into the Holiday Inn, and quickly ran into some of the people from the Southeast Music and Entertainment Summit, but it was late in the evening, so I didn’t go out anywhere.

9/23/09: Lulu’s Chocolate Bar in Savannah

Art, Bands, entertainment, Food, music, Restaurants, Travel

I spent the better part of the day driving from Memphis across Alabama and Georgia, at one point not certain whether I-20 would be open because of the extensive flooding in Atlanta, but by the time I got to Birmingham, I learned that the interstate had reopened. All the same, Six Flags amusement park was more like a muddy lake, and the river in downtown Macon looked as if it was ready to overflow its banks at any minute right into the downtown streets. The drive from Macon to Savannah was much further than I had expected, and it was nearly 9 PM when I arrived. I headed straight to Tony Roma’s on Bay Street for a steak dinner, and then checked into my room at the Avia Hotel, which proved to be an elegant boutique hotel across the street from one of Savannah’s many downtown squares. A block or two away was an outdoor market where there was live music, so I walked over there, but as I approached Martin Luther King Boulevard, I started running into lots of bums looking for a handout.
On MLK there was a place called Lulu’s Chocolate Bar, and, as the name suggested, this was a fabulous dessert cafe where I enjoyed a slice of peanut butter chocolate pie and a cup of coffee before I walked back toward the hotel. Back away from the riverfront was a club I had read about called Jazz’d Tapas Bar, which was also a warm and inviting atmosphere. Unfortunately, they were featuring more of a lounge singer/pianist than authentic jazz, but it was still a late night place to hang out. After the music ended there, I explored some of the old squares with my camera, taking some photos, and then ended up by the riverfront, looking across at the massive Wyndham hotel on the northshore. River Street was lined with establishments, but it was late in the evening and they were all beginning to close, so I walked back to the hotel.