15 June 2016
I thought of Sherman marching to Georgia, the burning of Atlanta, Scarlett fleeing a burning city with Rhett, Kevin Spacey in his garden of good and evil, Forrest, Forrest Gump. I’ve been in Savannah for 36 hours and now think of Spanish moss, subtropical thunderstorms, 1980s music, beer, oysters and pralines. Life is good.
Savannah is a beautiful city of 22 green garden squares, huge trees draped in flowing ribbons of Spanish moss, lots of bars and restaurants, a cool river walk, and blocks and blocks of gorgeous architecture. In my time here, I have enjoyed…
…the architecture representative of Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Queen Anne and Victorian styles. It’s a plethora of designs and character. Balconies, stairs, brick work, wrought iron, gates, iron fences abound. All are surrounded or draped with greenery and flowers. Church spires grace the horizon across the city. I love the crepe myrtle and huge graceful oaks draped in Spanish moss. It almost makes me forget the high humidity and threatening rumbles in the distance.
…the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. There are lots of church steeples to be seen, but this 1899 structure is the most impressive. Destroyed by fire on two occasions, it’s high altar and apse, beautiful stained glass, carvings and paintings are not to be missed.
…the superb beer and food. One bar mentioned that Atlanta might ask where you are from, but in Savannah they ask “What do you want to drink?” My kind of town. Friendly and civilized, the town fathers allow one to walk around in the historic district, drink in hand. This way, you will never dehydrate from the high temps and humidity. The food is also great with lots of seafood, especially oysters and crayfish. And dessert? I am a sucker for the pralines hot off the grill. If you haven’t had them, skip dinner and just eat the pralines!
…the thunderstorms. Coming from drought conditions into temps of close to 100° and humidity of 90%, pouring rain becomes a relief. This morning, I almost returned to my room for my umbrella. Considering the heat here, I decided to just get wet. It rains most afternoons. All the humidity has to go somewhere and that is usually up and what goes up comes down in driving rain in the late afternoon. But few carry an umbrella. The squalls are usually brief and there is always a bar or cafe nearby to wait it out. The lightening commands a little more respect but a beer or coffee will fill the void of the umbrella.
…Savannah’s connections to the movies. Probably the two biggest connections are scenes from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and “Forrest Gump.” I can easily imagine Forrest sitting on his park bench with his box of chocolates. Many popular movies used Savannah locations, including “The General’s Daughter,” “Something to Talk About,” and “Glory.” I can understand why as the city is a perfect background for the south.
…the Colonial Park Cemetery which is a who’s who of history here in Savannah. It is also a quiet, green oasis in the middle of the city. Button Gwinnett, Georgia’s signatory for the Declaration of Independence lies here. If you are big on ghosts, you have come to the right city. Savannah loves its ghosts and takes every opportunity to create a new legend of the walking dead every chance it gets. In fact, ghosts are so popular here that Georgia law requires full disclosure when selling a house which includes a resident ghost.
…the music and bands found everywhere. However, I would have liked to attend The Lady Chablis’ show. You might remember her as a comic highlight in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” She continues to do her act here about once a month at Club One near City Market.
For an overall view of Savannah and its historic buildings, take one of the numerous bus tours. Even though advertised as “hop on hop off” these tours are not the traditional hop on venue. I took the Oglethorpe/Gray Line trolley around Savannah. The narrative and tour were excellent. However, once done with the 90-minute tour, you must leave the trolley and wait at selected stops around the route for a separate shuttle bus pickup which runs until 5:30, maybe. I found most times it was easier and faster to walk to the sites I wanted to return to see. There is also a free DOT shuttle about town that one can catch to ride across town.
Exploring Savannah, it’s squares and streets, makes for an enjoyable day. During that inevitable afternoon thunderstorm, I find refuge in one of the many cafes or bars along the river or in City Market. People are friendly here and a beer and people watching is a great way to rest my feet. For dinner, I choose from a selection of delicious fresh seafood; for desert I stop by the candy store for fresh pralines. It is indeed the good life.
(I stayed at the Thunderbird Inn on Oglethorpe. It’s a comfortable, clean retro hotel just a short walk from a Visitor Center and the hop-on trolleys; historic downtown or City Market just 10 minutes walk. Not much of a breakfast but popcorn in the lobby in afternoon/evening.)