For 91 Days in Savannah
Brrrrrr! One of the main reasons we chose to move to the Deep South was our aversion to winter, but our three months in Savannah were marked by freezing temperatures. Still, between November, 2010 and the end of January, 2011, we had an incredible time in one of America’s Southern jewels. “Picturesque” doesn’t even begin to describe Savannah — the squares, the houses, the Spanish moss, the cemeteries. The city is a photographer’s dream come true. But our stay of three months gave us a chance to look deeper, past Savannah’s superficial beauty and into its strangely compelling culture. Hipster art students, a historic black community and an aging aristocracy are three of the main groups which intermingle daily in Savannah.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights during our 91 days in Savannah. For more, check out the comprehensive list, or start at the beginning of the blog and read about our journey in the order we experienced it!
The juxtaposition of the words “Savannah” and “Food” will almost always bring to mind the toothy smile of Mrs. Paula Deen. Visiting her famous restaurant, The Lady & Sons, is certainly an experience, but not necessarily the best dining opportunity in the city. We much preferred the haunting, historic Olde Pink House, with the best flounder I’ve ever tried. Our favorite meal, though, was at Chef Jerome’s Old School Diner. Though it’s a bit of a drive outside the city, Chef Jerome’s hospitatlity makes it worth the effort. Savannah is famously a drinking town, with a wonderful law allowing open container. But if you’re looking for the quintessential bar experience, don’t pass up Pinkie Master’s: the best dive we’ve ever been to.
Perhaps Savannah’s most famous aspect is its twenty-four historic squares; unique in the USA. Besides being gorgeous, they serve the purpose of slowing down traffic, and giving citizens plentiful places to relax. Our favorites were the tranquil Columbia Square, historic Greene Square and bizarre Troup Square. But all 24 are worth a look. Savannah is also blessed with three fascinating cemeteries. The Old Colonial Cemetery, populated with settlers and people from the city’s early days, is smack in the middle of downtown. Right outside town, you can find Laurel Grove — callously split into a richer white and poorer black section. The most famous, though, is the tranquil Bonaventure Cemetery, which must be among the most beautiful resting places in the entire country.
Savannah is at no loss for great ways to spend your day. It’s famous for its historic houses, saved from demolition by a group of determined (and well-heeled) citizens. Top of our list was the Andrew Low House. Great museums included the Ships of the Sea in the Scarborough House, and the Telfair Academy, a small fine arts museum on Telfair Square. For history, you can’t do better than the fascinating First African Baptist Church on Franklin: definitely the most interesting church tour we’ve ever had! And Savannah is a haven for artists — especially with the overwhelming presence of SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design), but we made sure to meet some non-SCAD artists, such as Jonathan Porier of Drayton Glass Works.
Savannah is wonderful, but can feel small after awhile. Luckily, the surrounding area is rich in opportunities for great day trips. Top of the list is Tybee Island, where you can enjoy the beach, go on a dolphin tour, or do something more active like kayaking. Also nearby is the fascinating Wormsloe Plantation. Further afield, the artsy town of Bluffton, SC is a treasure trove waiting to be dug into. It’s also worth hunting down the historic town of Ebenezer… a window into the past.
Of course, this is just a sample of what we experienced during our three months in Savannah, Georgia — feel free to peruse the rest of our articles at your leisure. And make sure to follow us on the blog, Facebook or Twitter as we move on to other cities and countries!
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May 26, 2011 at 9:41 am