It was an evening full of chatter, laughter, and reminiscing, and all the while we chowed down on the food of the dubiously (but amusingly) named Wife Saver restaurant, which is an Augusta institution. Their motto is (I kid you not) "Put a Little South in Your Mouth" (and please don't make me get Ian to sing their jingle.) We had Southern fried chicken tenders (of course), fresh cole slaw and potato salad, corn bread, butter rolls, and some of the most amazing banana pudding I've ever had. We also had some extraordinarily yummy brownies and pumpkin bars that Rebecca made, and loads of good wine.
When we arrived, we stopped by Ian's childhood home, which is sadly slated for demolition, an adorable Tudor-style brick house built in the '20s where every large room had a fireplace (six!) and the coffered ceilings are to die for.
We were able to go inside through a rear door which was ajar, and poke around for a little while. He came across an ancient baseball of his that was still in his old bedroom, showed me where he used to climb out the second-story bathroom window and hang out on the roof top (!) and swing from the old-fashioned rectangle ventilation openings above the doorways. He tells me they are essential during blazing Georgia summers when you don't have air conditioning.
We made a detour to the old neighborhood library which is in an old mansion someone donated for that purpose. They were just closing up for the day, but he ran up the stairs and asked if we could look around for a moment. The librarian had worked there for over 25 years and said they still had (and used) some of the art posters Ian did years ago. He showed me the little alcove and leather chairs he'd spend hours every day in, reading all summer long.
The old slave quarters, which I innocently enough mistook for a child's playhouse.
Of course, we also checked out the Augusta National Golf Club where the Masters golf tournament is held annually, something which his family spent many a summer attending (two of his cousins are golfers.)
I drooled over the magnificent houses along the hill the old house was on, each one having a friendly remembrance - "We used to carpool together to school," or "so and so used to live there."
Alas, we stayed not in one of these charming houses, but at the elegant Marriott Augusta, right along the river, which had a beautiful walkway all 'round. Right next to the hotel there was the annual Greek Festival, which we couldn't resist visiting. Lamb gyros, pork and chicken souvlaki, feta fries and spanakopita, not even to mention the pastries! The Greek band and dancing were delightful.
We were so excited, the only food I got a picture of was my spanakopita!
Oh, and the roasting lamb. It ain't a Greek festival without a lamb on a spit, y'all (okay, that's more Southern than Greek...my apologies!) The scent of it cooking over those coals was heavenly!
The weekend was idyllic, marred only slightly by my passenger side window regulator breaking, rolled halfway down, and Ian's assertion that Augusta houses with secret passageways were not the norm but probably a great rarity, despite my hopeful insistence (I grew up with a friend in Maryland who had a Victorian-era house which had not one, but TWO secret passageways we used to play in. Every house needs one, in my opinion.) We prevailed against the window with brute force (driving the 200 miles back to Atlanta with it down would not be pretty) and made our way back to our part of the state, and to our child, having thoroughly enjoyed Augusta and friends.