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The Travelocity Roaming Gnome Visits Savannah
The Travelocity Roaming Gnome has been all over the world. It is appropriate that, on his trip to Savannah, he should come to Churchill’s Pub, where London meets the American South. In fact, Churchill’s Pub should feel more than familiar to him; the Roaming Gnome was just in London for the royal wedding.
The Roaming Gnome is the spokesman—spokesgnome?—for Travelocity, an online travel agency. On May 18th, the Roaming Gnome made a stop on his Savannah tour to meet with his fans (called “gnomies,” a portmanteau of “gnome” and “homies.”) The event was the Roaming Gnome Tweet Up, where Twitter fans of the most famous white-bearded jolly man since St. Nick met in person. From 5:30 to 7:30, the Tweeters, wearing nametags with their Twitter handles written in Sharpie, talked over cocktails and had their pictures made with the Roaming Gnome himself. His celebrity status was evident through the hovering crowds gathered to see him. To avoid too much paparazzi, the Roaming Gnome had to sneak out the back door!
The Roaming Gnome does not travel alone; he travels with a sweet, personal handler named Holly. She's become quite the expert photographer during the past few years of traveling with the little guy. I must admit, her British accent and quick-witted humor made it evident why she's the perfect handler for the Roaming Gnome. Humble to a fault, the gnome had no comment for this reporter, but he left quite an impression. Standing under a foot tall and dapper in his blue coat and pointy red hat, the Roaming Gnome exuded none of the world-weariness one would expect from one so well traveled. A certain joie de vivre sparkled in his eyes as his fans milled around him, posing beside him with huge smiles.
The gnome’s silence lent an air of mystery to the occasion.
“They’re filming a television commercial,” one of the Churchill’s waitresses whispered conspiratorially.
“He’s going to star in a remake of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” one of the gnomies said.
“I heard he’s traveling with Liza Minelli,” said another.
The Roaming Gnome is probably too busy to romance Miss Minelli; he has a full schedule for Savannah. He started his travels on Tybee Island, where he visited the pier and pavilion and the famous Crab Shack. Coming to the mainland, the Roaming Gnome’s first Savannah stop was Bonaventure Cemetery, where he had his picture taken with Little Gracie.
From the Tweet Up at Churchill’s, the gnome continued to a ride on the Savannah Slow Ride, a sixteen-person bicycle that tours Savannah’s historic district. Sixteen people pedaling, it was a tough - but fun - ride! We made a pitstop in Ellis Square for the Roaming Gnome to be photographed with Johnny Mercer (and his loyal fans) near the new fountains.
That kept the gnome out pretty late; after some shuteye, he began a new day in Savannah with breakfast with the Savannah City Council at the Hyatt, followed by an Old Savannah Tour trolley ride and a visit to Forsyth Park. Next the gnome had lunch at the Soho South Cafe, followed by a personal cupcake-frosting lesson from Paula Deen herself. After that, he headed down to the water for a tea party at Ships of the Sea, followed by the Taste of Downtown in Johnson Square.
Tomorrow the Roaming Gnome roams away from our fair city. We’ll miss him, but he wouldn’t be the gnome we know and love if he didn’t follow his wanderlusty little heart. You can find the Travelocity Roaming Gnome on Facebook (/travelocity), Foursquare (/roaminggnome), and on Twitter (@RoamingGnome) for more information and pictures of his Savannah adventures!
Share your Gnome sitings below!
Co-authored by: Lynn Schneider and Brianne Baggett
Photography by: Brianne Baggett and Megan White