Day 45 of PapiBlogger Road Trip Explores Savannah’s Hollywood Ties and Answers Whether City Really is Ghost Infested

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Savannah is one of the top destinations are family will return to. Except for the summer humidity, it's a great place to visit. Photo sponsored by McDonald's.

On the 45th day of the PapiBlogger Family Road Trip, we explored Savannah’s rich heritage in Hollywood films and ghost hauntings and we also tried to settle once and for all whether orbs really exist.

SAVANNAH CHARMING BUT OH SOOOOOOOOOO HUMID

Is an orb lurking in this photo? See the lit up, Photoshop edited version below and you decide for yourself if an orb is in the image.

Your visit to Savannah, the oldest city in Georgia (1733) and quite possibly the most beautiful one in the Old South, will leave you in awe.  There are more than 20 public squares, hundreds of stately homes from the 1800s and miles of streets lined with gorgeous oak trees and Spanish moss.

All of city’s squares are themselves historic and some date back to the 1700s.  If you spent one day just visiting Savannah’s many public squares you’ll run into most of the city’s famous historic southern homes and buildings.

The only downside to experiencing Savannah in the summer is the unbearable humidity.  Trust me.  Being from Miami, I know humidity.  Savannah’s humidity is more ferocious than any you have experienced so plan to stay close to your car’s AC as much as you can or fight it by taking a city tour aboard Savannah Movie Tours, a locally run tour company that fortunately transports you aboard an air-conditioned mini bus.

TANTRUMS TO REMEMBER

Briani had four major party-breaking tantrums during the road trip. (Photo sponsored by McDonald's).

Briani was in no mood for tours so she threw two perfectly timed tantrums shortly after the start of the two different tours we did today with our host tour company Savannah Movie Tours.  Because of Briani, I went to the Hollywood film tour and Angela went to the ghost tour.  Not counting the Briani diaper that sabotaged our first day in Chicago, my little one has now officially been removed from one Broadway play, one museum and two tourist tours.  Briani would have gotten kicked out of the American History Smithsonian in DC but it that’s not possible because the Smithsonian museums are not anti-noise.

HOLLYWOOD FILM TOUR

Just to the left of the One Way sign was the place where the park bench scene from "Forrest Gump" took place. Altogether five park benches were used to shoot that scene over two days.for that

Our Savannah Hollywood tour narrator/driver Cyndi was great but what was even more special was that this tour matches scene clips from different movies shot here with onboard TV screens that show you how they appeared in the films themselves.  In most cases, Cindy would drive us to the specific vantage point where a certain scene was shot and then she would play the scene on the screen.  It was a consistent and fun exercise that not only emphasized Savannah’s natural setting for movies but also the art of movie making.

This was one of the vantage "Forrest Gump" vantage points we saw during our Hollywood tour. It was fun to match the film with the vantage points.

Savannah has been home to more than 80 Hollywood film productions, including most famously the Oscar winning film “Forrest Gump”.  Other movies that have been fully or partially shot in the city include “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” “Something to Talk About” and “The Gift.”

GHOST TOURS, PART FOUR

Ghost tours are one of the top activities to do while in Savannah. We took our with XYZ.

Savannah is widely considered the most “haunted” city in the nation so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take our fourth and final ghost tour to get a look at this city’s unique personality – traditional Southern charm with a rich and tumultuous history. We took the Scary Ghost Tour, offered by the same tour operator that we took the movie tour with, Savannah Movie Tours.

The tour began outside the famously haunted restaurant The Pirate’s House. In addition to the surprisingly delicious comfort food, the restaurant boasts it’s share of ghost stories tied to its 18th century past as a hang-out for pirates who sailed along the coast, and often recruited un-suspecting, drunken patrons for crew members.  Many were killed in a tunnel underneath the Pirate House.

Other haunted stops included the Mercer House, made famous by the wildly popular book and movie, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, which is based on a real-life murder mystery, as well as other spirit dwelling locations the Hampton-Lilibridge House, The Sorrel Weed House, The Kehoe House, and the Colonial Park Cemetery.

What made this tour stand out from the others, were the accompanying video clips from popular ghost hunting shows such as Ghost Hunters, Scariest Places on Earth, and TAPS, that illustrated the history behind the hauntings. These clips added an additional element of creepiness, as they were often backed up with true historical facts or tied to real unsolved mysteries.

IN SEARCH OF ORBS

Even our Chevrolet Traverse, pictured here in front of the mega haunted restaurant The Pirate House did some ghost hunting.

This is closest photo to an orb sighting I saw. Possible orb to the left or just reflections and Photoshop? I can't precisely say.

After Briani got me excused from the ghost tour she and I headed for the Pirate’s House, where we later met up with Angela, Jonathan and Elena.  At the very end of our delicious family dinner we started walking out when our waiter Elijah told me that the restaurant REALLY REALLY was haunted.

I laughed it off politely but he insisted it was true and he made us one promise I couldn’t pass up.  “Take a lot of flash photos of the places I’m going to show you.  I guarantee you that when you put your photos in your computer you will see orbs and other forms.  I was very skeptical once too until I had an experience that caused me to be paralyzed for 30 minutes.  Take a lot of photographs and you won’t be disappointed.”

As Elijah walked us through various rooms, including the oldest one in all Georgia, I have to admit I got goose bumps.  The kids and Angela were nervously on the edge as well.  I shot more than 100 photos with a high-powered flash.

When I put the photos in the computer I increased the exposure significantly enough to “light up” each scene in search of the famous orbs.  You can see the results of some of my more suspicious-looking photos for yourself but to my knowledge I didn’t capture any “orbs.”  (When you go on a ghost tour, you will hear this word throughout the tour).

THE TRUTH ABOUT ORBS

This is what I believe to be true about so-called orbs: what are often labeled orbs are more likely than not just dirty or bad photography.

In my view as a professional photographer orbs are likely the result of one or more of these factors:

- A dirty lens consisting of either finger prints or dust particles

- A slow shutter speed

- Photoshop manipulation

- Multiple light reflections

THE BEST CANDY SHOP IN THE NATION

Can anyone please call the dentist?

One of the most pleasant surprises we had in the city was finding Savannah’s Candy Kitchen on the historic River Street.

The kids went wild with candy purchases.

The Candy Kitchen has got to be the best candy store in the nation and the question you ask yourself here is not what does it have but rather what doesn’t it have. We spent more than an hour at the 4,200 square foot facility marveling at the wide selection of delectable Southern confections – home made taffy, fudge, pralines and pecan gophers, barrels of nostalgic candy, ice cream and more.

SPRINT NEXTEL ROAD TRIP TIP OF THE DAY

When taking vacation video from a car, it’s best that you shoot the video of what you’re seeing from in front of your vehicle frontward and not to the side or backward.  Only video of what is coming at you or is happening inside your vehicle will be worthwhile.  Also, remember that if you put your video camera outside the car’s window, your camera will be recording a lot of unusable wind noise.

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