We took the day off from boat projects the other day to go explore Savannah - on our trip down the coast back in November, we had stayed in Hilton Head and driven into Savannah for part of a day but it was pouring rain so we didn't have an opportunity to really get a good feel for the place (to really get to know a place, you have to wander its back streets and mingle with the locals!) Based on such a short visit though, we knew that we wanted to come back and spend some time here. Two days ago we got that opportunity!! Savannah combines the wonderful charm of a southern belle with amazing history (during the Civil War Savannah was the prize at the end of the Union's "march to the sea", spared from destruction by General Sherman and instead given to President Lincoln as a Christmas present in December 1864) and unprecedented architecture that is seen throughout the historic district in its varied genteel homes and gardens. Nowhere else have we found such widespread diversity in the types (and colors!!) of homes - as we walked around the historic district, we constantly marveled at how certain sections reminded us of the Back Bay in Boston, or Adams Morgan in DC or Charleston - Victorian, Greek Revival, and Gothic style homes and churches vied with lots of other types that I'm sure have a name (but we don't know them!!) Throughout the city, many of the homes have distinctive iron work - whether fences surrounding the house, or creating a balcony (which we learned were often built even if too small to be used to defeat the tax that was placed on windows historically!), or a stately stairway to the home's entrance (a distinctive feature of many homes in Savannah are dual mirror stairways leading to the main door, one side which was for females and the other for males), or just for pure decoration. The more ornate the ironwork, the wealthier and more "important" the owner of the house. The decoration even extends to gutter spouts which we often saw in the shape of dolphins and other animals!
Not only are the houses ornate, colorful and often decorated with exquisite ironwork or carvings, but wrought iron fences also often hide spectacular gardens and fountains where you can just picture ladies of the era partaking in late afternoon tea parties. These gardens are often partly hidden from the streets but if you tried hard enough, you could look through the fencing and peak into a private world of wealth and gentility that brings back a bygone era.
Savannah is unique in that the historic district is laid out around 21 squares,
each distinctive in its layout, history and gardens. From Forsyth Park in the south (the largest square) containing the spectacular Forsyth Fountain
No discussion of Savannah would be complete without commenting on the amazing array of churches - they also fall into the varied architectural styles and each is magnificent in its own right. By far the grandest is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist with its twin spires and gothic features - it is truly spellbinding!! (Yes for all of you that know me, I actually went into a church!) The stain glass windows
But also the sheer size of the church and the intricate design was stunning - no matter how far back I stood, it was hard to get pictures that captured the church's magnificence or even size!!!
However, no visit to Savannah is complete without a stroll along River Street which runs along the Savannah River and houses many funky bars and restaurants as well as, at the eastern end, the 1996 Olympic Memorial (the yachting events were held on the Savannah River)
Back to the car for the drive back to Gypsies - we had a sundowner cocktail with Bob and Stephanie on September Song as we reminisced about yet another wonderful day!!! Not only did we visit a truly spectacular and beautiful place, but everyone we met welcomed us with what I have come to appreciate is that special southern charm! Savannah is truly one of the elegant Southern belles that I look forward to spending more time in - I definitely see at least another play day in Savannah in our future before we head north again for the Chesapeake!!!
Click here to see a satelite view of Savannah. Notice all the squares..
Happy Birthday, Dee Dee!!!
1 day ago