this is fellowship around storytelling. this is family. this is Savannah.
I still remember the look on T.C.'s face - when he walked into the sun room in the middle of a hot July morning. Our son and I were on the floor playing with toys- Rhett was only one year old at the time, and T.C. looked at me and said, "I'm sorry, love. It's happened again."
I remember those first few moments of fear - like drifting on the water with no way of getting back to shore. T.C.'s show had been cancelled in favor of a national show. The entertainment industry can be a volatile one, and T.C. was no stranger to the ups and downs. But we we were a young family, with a new baby, and Savannah had our hearts.
Savannah is our home. Relocating wasn't an option.
"Let's go for a walk."
It was a common answer to many a hard day over the years, and it wasn't long before we found ourselves outside. We lived in the heart of Savannah's Historic District (we still do), and so we kind of threw ourselves into the beauty and history around us, the parts of our lives and of this city that seem to be ever unchanged, somehow immune to the sudden life occurrences that can leave you reeling.
And walking around this beautiful city, our home, it wasn't long until we were laughing, and smiling, and cuddling our sweet son, assuring one another that everything was going to be okay - and praying. There was lots of praying - in our heads and our hearts - out loud to one another.
About the time we got home to the square we lived on - a walking tour went by - and T.C. and I looked at one another. And somehow, at the same time, we both just knew. And that was the beginning.
Literally, the same day T.C. was laid off, we began laying the foundation for Genteel & Bard.
It sounds a little crazy - but we just had this strong trust in God that He was going to take care of us - that He would provide.
Neither of us do things half-way, so it was 12-14 hour days from the start, getting the tour curated and designed, researching, and establishing marketing platforms and relationships.
We knew we were on to something special. We saw the tour market in Savannah - how it had been commodified and commercialized. And we really wanted to bring the art of storytelling and hospitality back to the platform. We didn't want to just sell tickets - we wanted to host guests, touch hearts, even make friends with the people who came through our company.
And it forced us to take a look at what made us different, what we were truly bringing to Savannah's storytelling table. We're both long-time, classically-trained, professional storytellers, so I think this felt very organic and exciting.
We love these stories waiting to be told, and we love experiencing them with our guests. And we've created a tour experience like none other.
We are Savannah's only audio-enhanced walking tour company. T.C. talks into a mic, and each guest carries a small blue tooth receiver and earbuds in order to hear him during the entire duration of the tour, up to 200 feet away. Our tours utilize multi-media technology to create a one-of-a-kind interactive walking tour.
You'll come away with a common understanding, empathy, and respect for those who laid the groundwork of our modern lives. You will experience the stories of Savannah - and maybe even recognize yourself inside them.
But our hope for our walking groups goes even further.
What we want the most, I think, - and the heart of our company really is - fellowship. Coming together with our guests around these tales, this history that lives in perpetuity here. Savannah is a place that's found an amazing balance between the historic and the modern. There's a definite vibe around the idea of learning from the past, with an eye on forward progress - and Savannah has truly been that way from the very beginning.
It's amazing to take a look at the people who were here first - to honor those stories, and hearts, and hands and feet of those who brought this city to where it is today.
And now here we are, husband and wife, Genteel & Bard, almost two years later, and we've officially walked with thousands of friends visiting Savannah, and it's been the most amazing thing. The sense of gratitude T.C. and I carry in our hearts, it's, well - it's overwhelming.
Welcome to Savannah, ya'll.
Welcome to our home.
Have we got a story to tell . . . let's walk a while.