Our first full day in Savannah was warm and overcast. Luckily, the rain held off and we were able to spend the afternoon sniffing out the city.
We were on slow, rickety bikes which were colorful and full of character; in their way, perfectly embodying the essence of Savannah. A sleek black, expensive mountain bike would be laughably out of place here… but ambling along the wide streets at 8mph on these quirky old things, we blended right in.
Over the course the day, I gathered the same impressions of Savannah which must strike every newcomer to the city. The haunting beauty of the Spanish Moss. The crowded riverside promenade with its shops and tour boats. The incredible Victorian architecture. The parks and squares, and their monuments to Savannah’s rich history. I’ve always felt that large buildings and houses evince an air of mystery — old, spacious mansions, with their innumerable rooms and hidden spaces, simply beg an imagination to run wild. And Savannah has hundreds of such houses! Biking around them, especially on a dreary day, was enough to send shivers down my spine.
But what impressed us most of all was the people, and the relaxed way of life which seems to reign here. Nearly everyone was smiling, happy to stop and chat. Savannah boasts an eclectic populace, with proper old ladies, panhandlers and flannel-clad students sharing the same squares. It’s an old city, but with a vital infusion of youth to keep things fresh. Thanks to SCAD, the Savannah College of Art & Design, I think this city must have a higher percentage of hipsters than even Williamsburg.
We’ll be writing in detail about the specific squares, shops and restaurants we encounter, as well as aspects of the city’s history. And I’ll be interested to see how my perspectives on Savannah evolve over the coming months. Or perhaps: how I evolve. An afternoon spent in the rocking chair on the front porch, sipping sweet tea, is already sounding mighty good…
- Savannah Books