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anna_moon Savannah - A travel report by Polly
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Savannah,  United States - flag United States -  Georgia
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anna_moon's travel reports

A spooky southern city

  8 votes
Page: 1 2

Savannah travelogue picture
My family visited Savannah in April of 1999, so that I could visit one of my top-choice schools, Savannah College of Art and Design. While I didn’t end up going to SCAD, the college has done much to revitalize the city – renovating old buildings, attracting artists and business people. But Savannah still has plenty of the dark southern feel that gives it its flavor, and makes it ultimately unique, even when compared with cities like Charleston and New Orleans.

Favourite spots:
One of many statues in Bonaventure Cemetary
One of many statues in Bonaventure Cemetary
Another enormous factor in Savannah's revitalization were two books that were made into movies shot in the city. ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ started a giant swing in tourism, and tours have been created around the story (which reads like fiction, though it claims to be the truth). On the ‘Book Tour’ as it’s called – they know what book you’re talking about – we ended up in Bonaventure Cemetery, where some of Savannah’s more prominent residents have been buried. We saw the graves of poet Conrad Aiken, and songwriter Johnny Mercer. Alas, the Bird Girl, the famous image from the cover of ‘the book’, has been moved due to too many tourists tromping through and too many strange rituals going on, but plenty of beautiful headstones and statues remain.

What's really great:
The Mercer House, featured in 'Midnight'
The Mercer House, featured in 'Midnight'
When we first pulled in to our hotel, I knew we were in a place like none I’d ever been to. Gas lamps flickered by the entryway, and the busy street in front of us was shaded with giant trees which made even midday eerie. There’s a feeling that this place is wearing a genteel and elegant facade, but that something a bit darker is lurking under its pastel petticoats; a Faulkner story personified. There’s a definite air of faded glory and flaking paint. The ironwork gates and large houses with long porches, and the Spanish moss hanging from live oaks make it typically Southern, yet all it’s own.

Sights:
An artist in Forsyth Park
An artist in Forsyth Park
Savannah is famed for its squares, which were laid out by founder James Oglethorpe. Some of the more famous squares are Monterey Square, site of the Mercer House where the murder in ‘the book’ took place. It’s windows stare benignly at you through a curtain of wisteria. You might recognize Chippewa Square from the movie ‘Forest Gump’, though his bench has been removed. In Forsyth Park we came across a lady painting a picture of the beautiful white fountain that spews green water every Saint Patrick’s Day. The only unusual thing was her dress – turn-of-the-century garb and two west highland terriers sitting at her feet. Factors Walk down by the river is another spooky must-see, with its iron bridges and steep stairs that lead down to River Street. Here you’ll find great food and delicious confections (try River Street Sweets for a bite of heaven). Also notable is John Wesley’s (founder of Methodism) influence here, and Savannah’s many lovely churches with their whitewashed steeples.

Accommodations:
We stayed at the Hampton Inn Historic District, which was located close to Factor’s Walk. Up on the roof, along with a pool the size of a large bathtub, you’ll find great views of City Hall, Talmadge Bridge and the Savannah River.

Restaurants:
Two places we tried and liked on River Street were Dockside Seafood and Steak House, and The Oyster Bar (long wait, good food). We also ate lunch at William’s Seafood Restaurant on the way back from the beach, another pleasant dining experience.

Other recommendations:
The closest beach is Tybee Island, perhaps 15 minutes by car. There’s a lighthouse on the island, and though the water (like most of the Atlantic) is usually calm, you’ll find surfers down on the beach, waiting for a good wave.

Published on Wednesday January 21th, 2004


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Thu, May 13 2004 - 07:07 PM rating by whereisliz

I finally saw "the movie" and was enthralled with this place... you seem to have captured it perfectly, with wonderful detail.

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