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Thanks for the Memories, Y’all!

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This might be a city which moves slow, but our three months here flew by at a breakneck pace. Savannah had been a friendly, wild and unforgettable place to temporarily call home, and we couldn’t have hoped to have chosen a better city.

Good Bye Savannah

After spending almost a decade in Europe, I had been excited to get back to the USA. And though I might have been returning home, I’m originally from the Midwest, so the deep-fried Southern charm of Savannah would be something totally new to me. From November to January, we kept busy; twenty-two squares, late-night partying on River Street, day trips to South Carolina, kayaking at Tybee Island… and of course, a whole lot of great eating.

Savannah’s Victorian district is lovely, as is the nature which surrounds the city. And the history of the city is fascinating, from the colonial days, through the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement, up into the present day. But more than all that, what we’ll most fondly remember are the people. The eccentric and gracious people of Savannah are far and away its best quality. We’ve never felt so welcomed by a city’s residents, as we did in Savannah, and we made some friendships here that I’m confident will last our whole lives.

Savannah is a special place, and we were sad to leave. But our travel bug was itching, and the next stop on our slow-moving world tour was already calling: Buenos Aires, Argentina. Steaks, tango, Evita, gauchos and pizza, all packed into one of the world’s most amazing cities. It’d be quite a shift from the easy southern charm of Savannah… but we could hardly wait to get going.

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January 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm Comments (10)

Reynolds Square

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At the top of Abercorn Street is Reynolds Square, originally laid out in 1734 as Lower New Square, but renamed in honor of the Royal Governor John Reynolds.

John Wesley

A stern statue of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, dominates the center of the square. The British preacher arrived in Savannah on an invitation from Oglethorpe, to be the new city’s religious leader. He soon found himself in trouble, involving himself romantically with a young woman, only to later refuse her communion after their affair came to an end. She brought suit against him, but he fled to Britain and never returned to Georgia. The statue strikes an imposing figure, with Wesley forcefully clenching a Bible that looks small in his over-sized hands. He looks like the jerk he probably was.

The northeast trust lot of Reynolds Square was originally home to the colonial filature, where silk from the experimental Trustees Garden was be spun. The garden’s planters spent a lot of time in around Reynolds Square, and the names of the surrounding buildings reflect that fact. The Planters Inn is a 200-year old hotel on the southwest side of the square and the tavern on the bottom floor of the Pink House is called Planters Tavern.

We walked about Reynolds Square somewhat wistfully. Three months ago, we’d started with a list of 22 squares to explore and document, and this was the last one. When we’d began this project, I was worried that it would be too repetitive; I mean, how different can twenty-two square-shaped plots of land be? But each of Savannah’s squares has its own personality, from the monumental to the placid, and its own history. It was a true pleasure to get to know each, individually.

Location on our Savannah Map

All 24 Savannah Squares

Reynolds Square Savannah
Reynolds Square
Horse Carriage Tour Savannah
John-Wesley-Statue
Lucas Theater Savannah
Planters Inn Hotel
Christ Church Savannah
Little Boy Sitting
Savannah Monk
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January 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm Comments (2)

Last Batch of Random Savannah Photos

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Savannah At Night

We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat ourselves again: Savannah is a photographer’s dream. Whether you’re looking for images that are beautiful, amusing, haunting or just plain weird, you hardly have to try. Just lift your camera, click the shutter, and you’re almost guaranteed to have a compelling shot. We took tens of thousands of photographs during our three months in the city… here are a few of the better ones.

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Cathedral Savannah
Savannah Cotton
Cotton Exchange
Old Cotton Lofts
Old Church Tip Savannah
Savannah Post Cards
Pretty Savannah
Antique Window
Savannah Antiques
Big Boat Savannah
Riverfront Trolley
Trolley Entrance
Savannah Roof
Savannah Diner
Tybee Fried
Tybee Flag
Savannah Bridge
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January 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm Comments (2)

SCAD – The Savannah College of Art and Design

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Before moving to Savannah, we didn’t know much about the city. And although we weren’t expecting to find a Victorian-era scenario, with Southern belles strolling the streets and coquettishly dropping their handkerchiefs to attract the attention of menfolk, we also weren’t prepared to find the streets dominated by pink-haired girls and hipsters with ironic mustaches. In other words: we had no idea about the existence of SCAD.

I love ART

SCAD was only established in 1978, so it’s a relatively new entity in Savannah. But it has made its presence felt. The college has been instrumental in the purchase and restoration of innumerable buildings, doing more than its share to help re-beautify the city. With a sky-high tuition, and enrollment of over 10,000, SCAD is using its deep pockets for good rather than evil.

The college turns out some great talent, too, as a peek in at the SCAD Shop on Bull Street will confirm, where there is a wealth of innovative artwork. The shop could almost be a museum; we think it’s better than the Jepson Center, for example. And in 2011, the SCAD Museum of Art opened on Turner Boulevard. This museum has won a number of awards for both its architecture and exhibitions, and provides a place for students to study the work of accomplished artists.

SCAD boasts a strong foreign population, with students from over 100 countries, and has branches in France and Hong Kong. It’s hard not to appreciate the influence that this influx of artistic, mostly rich youth has had on Savannah. It’s become a city with cool restaurants, a hopping nightlife and a hip, urban vibe, in a historic and largely conservative region.

Location on our Map
shopSCAD – Website

Our Framed Savannah Photos

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SCAD Store
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SCAT
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January 26, 2011 at 7:32 pm Comments (3)

The Schnitzel Shack of Rincon (via Darmstadt)

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One of the first things Jürgen did when we got to Savannah was type “German Restaurant” into Google. The nearest place bore the tongue-twisty name of Schnitzel Shack, and was a half-hour away in a town called Rincon (rhymes with Lincoln).

Savannah Weizen Beer

That was a little too far away, and we eventually forgot about it. But on a rainy Wednesday afternoon, I returned home to find Jürgen dressed in his lederhosen, playing the accordion and wailing “Deustchland, deutschland über alles” with tears rolling down his cheeks. The homesickness was terminal. Nurse, I’m going to need an injection of sauerkraut, STAT! Let’s roll: destination Schnitzel Schnack. I mean Shack!

Minutes later we were seated at our table in the tiny restaurant. Color flushed back into Jürgen’s face as he read the menu with growing delight. “Jägerschnitzel? Goulash? Spätzle? Ja ja ja, wunderbar!” The Shack offers a selection of both German and Thai dishes, an odd combination which owes itself to the founders’ homelands. Pao is from Thailand, and Joe is from Germany.

Savannah Schnitzel

We quickly discovered that Joe isn’t merely from Germany, but actually from Jürgen’s home town of Darmstadt: a small city south of Frankfurt. Once that factoid was unearthed, the night really got going. Joe and Jürgen swapped stories from the Heimatland. Unbelievably, he even worked at the same company as Jürgen’s mom! We stayed late after eating, talking with him and Pao and drinking beer. They’re a great couple; Joe still works a day job, and comes into the restaurant at night. The Shack’s strange culinary mash-up has proven to be popular, and the table are almost always full.

The food is great. Joe told us that male customers typically order hearty German dishes while women generally stick with the Thai section of the menu. Well, Jürgen and I are both guys, so we went with Jägerschnitzel, Cordon Bleu, Spätzle and Sauerkraut. Gott im Himmel, was it delicious. The Shack also offers fusion dishes, such as Sweet and Sour Schnitzel.

So, yeah. Somehow, there’s this great German-Thai cuisine in Rincon, Georgia, served by a cool guy from Jürgen’s home town. It’s amazing how many treasures are hidden right in plain sight. If we hadn’t researched the Schnitzel Shack in advance, we’d have driven right by without ever noticing it. But now you know, and so there’s no excuse to miss this great little spot in Rincon. Make sure to say hi to Joe and Pao from us.

Location on our map
Schnitzel Shack – Facebook

Flights To Savannah

Schnitzle Shack
Thai German Cuisine
Thai Cuisine
USA Jaegerschnitzel
Wilder Hirsch
German Joe and Pao
German To Go Cup
Gluehwein America
Darmstadt in Savannah
Kuckucks Watch
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January 26, 2011 at 6:18 pm Comments (11)

Madison Square

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Madison Square, on Bull Street between Chippewa and Monterey Square, is possibly the most monumental in Savannah. With a magnificent tribute to William Jasper as its centerpiece, Madison offers a wealth of things to see and do.

William Jasper

South Carolinian revolutionary hero Sgt. Jasper was mortally wounded during the Siege of Savannah. He had found fame during an earlier battle with the British, when he recovered a shot-down South Carolina flag and held it aloft in the midst of heavy fighting. The statue in Madison Square pays tribute to that event, and includes other scenes from his life.

Madison Sqaure’s southern flank is symbolically protected by defunct cannons from the Savannah armory. And a monument to the ill-fated 1779 siege, which cost both Jasper and Casimir Pulaski their lives, can be found in the square.

Around Madison, there’s enough to occupy an entire afternoon. You can visit the Green-Meldrim House, where General Sherman famously stayed during his sojourn in Savannah. With its cast-iron fence and extended covered porch, this National Historic Landmark from 1861 is a stunning example of the Gothic Revival style, and is connected to St. John’s Episcopal Church. According to legend, the ladies of the congregation, offended by the next-door presence of the enemy Yankee, rang the bells through the night, without pause. Sherman responded by having the bells removed.

Green Meldrin Garden

On the northwest corner of Madison is one of Savannah’s most famous residences: The Sorrel-Weed House. One of Savannah’s best examples of Greek Revival and Regency architecture, the house is the subject of numerous ghost stories.

Across Bull Street is of Savannah’s most unfortunate buildings: the Hilton DeSoto. An ugly, towering blight on the city’s skyline, the Hilton has loomed over the middle of Savannah since 1966, when it replaced the lovely red brick DeSoto hotel. Continuing clockwise around the square brings you to the most popular independent bookshop in Savannah, E. Shaver’s, where Jürgen and I stocked up on Savannah literature, during our first week in the city.

On the southeast corner of Madison is the SCAD shop, which is the perfect spot to hunt for unique gifts. And should you need a break while touring the houses and shops of Madison Square, you can stop in at the popular Gryphon Tea Room. With its high ceilings, cozy furniture and classy interior, this former pharmacy is a great place to relax tired feet.

Location on our Savannah Map

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Madison Square Savannah
Madison Square Savannah
Madison Square Savannah
Madison Square Savannah
Madison Square Savannah
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Madison Square Savannah
Madison Square
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January 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm Comment (1)

Laurel Grove Cemeter(ies)

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Less heralded than Bonaventure Cemetery on Whitemarsh Island, but nearly as beautiful and free from almost any tourist presence, the twin cemeteries of Laurel Grove North and Laurel Grove South are nice places to spend a quiet afternoon among the dead.

Gate Laurel Grove

Laurel Grove was established in 1853, after the more central Colonial Park Cemetery was deemed too full and closed to further burials. With plenty of room on Savannah’s western side, the city fathers split their new cemetery into two separate sections: north for whites, south for blacks.

They’re really two separate cemeteries, with different entrances. We didn’t know that, and spent a long time walking around Laurel Grove North, looking for a southern section. But we never found anything, and instead spent the afternoon admiring the gorgeous tombstones clearly erected for rich families. There was nobody there, save for one group of Girl Scouts hovering around the grave of Juliette Gordon Low.

The next day, having being corrected by amused friends, we drove to Laurel Grove South. Just as haunting and beautiful as its twin to the north, but completely different in feeling, without nearly as many glorious, towering monuments. Nor as many Girl Scouts. We might have preferred the southern section, though, for the melancholy and humble vibe of its anonymous slave section.

If you’re looking for a lovely, desolate place to spend a few hours in Savannah, Laurel Grove might fit the bill. I’m not sure why, but visiting cemeteries always brings me a sense of solace.

Locations on our Savannah Map: Laurel Grove North | Laurel Grove South

The Complete Guide to Cemetery Symbolism
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Pictures of Laurel Grove North:

Dead Girl Scout
Aisle 9 Cemetery
Angel Face
Cage Grave
Bling Grave
Cemetery Savannah
Cemetery Gate
Eypt Grave
Juliette-Gordon-Low-Grave
Grave-Juliette-Gordon-Low
Sad Girl Scouts
Grave Yard
Handle Grave
Open Grave
Hang in there Angel
Laurel-Grove-Cemetery
Little Grave
Marines Cemetery
My Wife
My Husband
Savannah Cemetery
Real Angel
Very First Web Url
Soldier-Confederate-Uniform
Grave Unknown Soldier
Confederate-Graves-Savannah
Baby Land
Baby Land Savannah

Now pictures from Laurel Grove Cemetery South:

Savannah Obelisk
Slaves Burial
Slave Cemetery
Laurel-Cemetery-South
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Three Graves Savannah
Stone Roeses
Cemetery
Gates Savannah
Fake Flowers
Little Roots Guys
Speed Smart Funeral
Strange Grave
No Strangers in Savannah
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January 26, 2011 at 10:31 am Comments (7)

The Lady Chablis at Club One

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Alright, we did it. We went to Club One, to watch the Lady Chablis do her thing. The show was too expensive and the lip-syncing performers were of varying quality. But the Lady was fabulous.

Lady Chablis

The Lady Chablis was the highlight of Club One’s two-hour long Drag Queen Spectacular. She waltzed onto the stage after five other performers had tried to entertain the crowd. As a measure of quality, consider one of the night’s early acts, a lithe black queen with an outrageous afro and a dress made of sparkling silver sequins, who didn’t even know the lyrics to the song she was lip-syncing. And that song was Aretha Franklin’s Think, which everyone knows the words to!

But then again, drag shows aren’t about serious artists interpreting great works of art. They’re about fun and drinking and outrageous lady-boy fashion. And with that as the criteria, our night at Club One was a rousing success. As the final act, the Lady Chablis didn’t disappoint. She looks as great as she did in the movies, slender and elegant, and her sassy, dirty banter was both hilarious and mildly shocking. She’s a true character and a natural-born entertainer. Don’t pass up the chance to see her in action.

The Lady Chablis – Website
Location on our Savannah Map

Hiding My Candy: The Autobiography of the Grand Empress of Savannah
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January 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm Comments (19)

Old Sheldon Church

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About half-an-hour north of Beaufort, there’s a place in the woods which has become one of the low country’s favorite secrets. The ruins of the Old Sheldon Church are found down a tiny road, in a forest of towering oaks draped in Spanish moss.

Old Sheldon Church

The Prince William’s Parish Church was originally built around 1750, but was burnt down by the British during the Revolution. It was rebuilt in in 1826, and once again met a violent death during the Civil War, finding itself in the path of pillaging General Sherman. Since then, the church been left to ruin.

But what ruins they are! Huge bricked walls with intact archways have somehow defied gravity, while a number of columns sprout from the ground as though in competition with the oaks. Scattered around the site are graves, some which are too worn to read, and other that have sunk into the ground. Within the church sits the tombstone of William Bull, who was of great assistance to Oglethorpe in the layout and development of Savannah, and after whom Bull Street is named.

Old Sheldon Church is a popular place for wedding portraits, for reasons which are immediately apparent. If you’re anywhere in the area, make sure to stop by and take in one of the region’s most beautiful scenes.

Location on our Map

South Carolina Hotels and Inns

Sheldon Church
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Brick Column
Fake Rose
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January 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm Comments (7)

Warren Square

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Laid out in 1791, Warren Square was named in honor of General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary hero from Massachusetts who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Warren Square itself looks like a battlefield, in the eternal fight between the forces of preservation and development.

Warren Square

A hulking parking lot mars the western side of the square, damaging Warren’s aesthetics and rudely truncating lovely St. Julian Street, which is notable for the oyster shells in its pavement. Turn your attention to the east, however, and an entirely different picture emerges.

On Habersham and St. Julian, there are a number of splendidly restored houses, some of which were moved here from other locations. With its Savannah gray brick, the house at 420-422 E. St. Julian is particularly striking, as it’s so isolated from other buildings. Another nicely restored house is at 24 Habersham, built in 1797 by a plantation owner from Daufuskie Island. It hosted the Marquis de Lafyette in 1825, and later served as a makeshift hospital during a yellow fever epidemic.

Warren Square itself is almost completely nondescript. There’s a pretty yard, but no statues or markers of any kind. But with its location near the river and the beauty of the homes on the east side, there are reasons swing through the square… especially since you probably parked in that hideous garage, anyway.

Location on our Savannah Map

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January 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm Comment (1)

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Thanks for the Memories, Y'all! This might be a city which moves slow, but our three months here flew by at a breakneck pace. Savannah had been a friendly, wild and unforgettable place to temporarily call home, and we couldn't have hoped to have chosen a better city.
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