Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Purrvana Cat Cafe and Historical Ebenezer

Purrvana Cat Cafe: 1402 Barnard Street, Savannah, GA 31401

Cat cafes are not an incredibly old concept. Their rise seems to coincide with the popularity of the Internet. (Coincidence? I think not) The first cat cafe, Cat Flower Garden, appeared in Taipei 20 years ago. But the concept really took hold in Japan, where small living spaces prevent some people from having a pet of their own but who really like the kawaii-ness of cats.

So far, we've been to Nekorobi in Ikebukuro, Japan, Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium in London, and even to the Cat House on the Kings in California. But this was the first official "cat cafe" that we've been to in the U.S. We knew as soon as it appeared driving through Savannah that we would have to pay this place a visit. We waited past the Peru trip, gave it a couple weeks, made our appointment online and took the 11::00 am appointment on Wednesday morning. (They're closed on Monday and Tuesday)

The cafe prefers you arrive 15 minutes prior to your visit. So at 10:45 we were pushing open the door to the cafe near the intersection. We walked in on an empty cafe with books and games scattered across the two tables. Since the cafe didn't actually open until 11:00, we wondered if we were too early despite the advice to show up 15 minutes early. But soon Matthew, the cafe guide, food and drink maker extraordinaire, walked through the back door to welcome us. He handed us two waivers to sign absolving Purrvana from any freak occurrences involving catch scratches or allergic reactions.

Upon seeing a list of rules on the wall, I asked Matthew if there's any particular rules that we needed to adhere to. He assured us that most people are okay in the cat room and don't cause any particular problems. The rules were mainly for children, which are allowed as long as they are 7 and up with a guardian.

Soon Matthew had our croissants ready that we ordered earlier and we were led from the cafe portion of the cafe over to the actual cat room.

Outside the door we doused our hands heavily with strongly scented hand sanitizer. I repeatedly rubbed them together between intermittent puffs of air trying to dry them. Then we gathered up our food and were led into the narrow room. Cat pictures and portraits covered the walls. Cat books lined most available surfaces. And beginning to emerge to meet the first visitors of the day were the friendlier of the cats.

Taking care where we walked in case cats were underfoot, we stood near a table by the door. We ate our croissants standing up as cats, already known for being curious, were really curious about what we were eating.

The website says the room is large enough for 8 visitors, and while I guess it's true, it would be a rather cramped affair. To be honest, there was another couple in the room with us and it felt a bit full in there. If it was 8 people who knew each other, then it might be more fun. Here Misty is saying hello. Of the 12 cats in the room, 2 will be actively interested in you, 2 will allow you to pet them, and the other 8 just want to sleep.

As the hour progressed, even the energetic cats became more docile. We flipped through some of the books on nearby tables, reviewed the adoption information cards lying nearby. Some may feel an hour isn't quite enough time, but when Matthew opened the door to announce it was time to head out, we were ready to hop in the car and head to our next adventure.

Having lunch, we looked at the website for our next stop in Historical Ebenezer. There it assured us the museum was open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 3-5 pm. What luck! It was Wednesday around 2 pm so we headed in that direction.

Driving off into a parking lot that was next to the retreat center and a graveyard. We pulled out of the parking lot and drove to the dead end of the road. There on the right was the Georgia Salzburer Society Museum, and yet there didn't seem to be many people in the area. It wasn't until we got closer to the sign that we saw a telltale modification to the museum sign made with black tape. Now the museum was only open on Saturday and Sunday. Turns out Wednesday is only available between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Seeing that we were already in the area, we decided to get some exterior photos of the site and all the buildings. That way we could just visit the museum when we came by on the weekend. We saw the main church building and a statue of Johann Martin Boltzius. Then our attention led us to the other buildings on the property

There was the first orphanage in Georgia followed by a small cabin with a truck parked in front. We walked behind the cabin closer to the river where we found something really interesting.

We stumbled upon what appeared to be an open air chapel by the river. There were wooden benches leading down to a stage with a pulpit and large cross.

Walking from the river and the amphitheater, there was a boiler for syrup, or something. A tin roof shack with a covered pit, I'm guessing, for boiling sap to make syrup. The floor was partial wood planking and bricks with brick columns. There weren't any other clues to what the shack was used for. Perhaps they have regular demonstrations as to what this is during the more busy summer months.

We were getting a bit tired of walking, and nervous about people asking what we're doing. Back into the car parked in front of the empty church and back to the RV.

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