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Orleans Square

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Orleans Square, on Barnard Street, might as well be called Parking Lot Square. It’s one of the spaces which has been most negatively impacted by the development boom of the mid-20th century.

Orleans Fountain

The square itself could be quite charming, with a large central fountain dedicated to the German immigrants to Savannah that was installed on the 250th anniversary of the founding of Georgia. But once you take your eyes off the ground and look around, the charm vanishes. The biggest blight is the Civic Center, whose backside and rear parking area mar the western end of Orleans Square. Five of the eight lots which surround Orleans are dedicated to parking. Another is occupied by SCAD’s gym.

Luckily, the houses which do survive on Orleans are beautiful, particularly the Harper-Fowlkes House on 230 Barnard. Built in 1842 in the Greek Revival style, this house is occasionally open for tours and also serves as the Georgia headquarters for the Society of the Cincinnati. This house can be toured. Another noteworthy home on Orleans is the Stephen-Williams House, constructed in 1834 in the Federal style. It’s currently an inn with individually-designed rooms.

Location on our Savannah Map
Harper-Fowlkes House Website
Stephen-Williams House Inn – Website

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Orleans Spanish Moss
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House on Orleans Square
Harper-Fowlkes-House
Savannah Iron Horse
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Club SCAD
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January 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm Comments (5)

Wormsloe Plantation

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Located on the Isle of Hope, just twenty minutes by car Savannah, Wormsloe Plantation is a gorgeous historic site which allows visitors to explore both a museum and a couple nature trails. And this must be one of the only sites in America whose most memorable feature is its driveway.

Wormsloe Gate

Pulling into the plantation, the scene is breathtaking. Hundreds of live oaks tower over a straight road which leads deep into the coastal forest. Speed along the path is limited to 15 mph, but most visitors will want to proceed even slower. The oaks, evenly spaced apart and draped with Spanish moss, create a scene of incredible beauty, particularly on days when the sunlight filters through the foliage.

Wormsloe was established by Noble Jones, an English official who came to Georgia with Oglethorpe and the original settlers… and who had the coolest name of any of them. And throughout the succeeding generations, this plantation has continued to provide a home to the same family. Wormsloe’s mansion is still a private residence, although it’s opened often to fundraising events and private parties. When we visited, preparations for a wedding reception were in gear.

Wormsloe Library

There’s a museum dedicated to the area, with colonial and Native American artifacts that have been found here. But we paid it scant attention, wishing to spend more time outdoors; it was a beautiful day, and Wormsloe’s walking trails were calling to us. They brought us by the tabby ruins of Noble Jones’ original residence, and the shell middens left by the Isle of Hope’s original inhabitants: the Yuchi and Creek Tribes. We even found a makeshift “Colonial Village”, complete with a wooden house and big tools used by the settlers.

Wormsloe Plantation is one of the most photographed spots in Savannah, and for good reason. The grounds are simply stunning, and its proximity to the city makes it a favorite spot for day trips. Nature lovers and history buffs (and really, just about everyone) will find plenty to enjoy, here.

Location on Map
Wormsloe Historic Site – Website

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Wormsloe
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Wormsloe Chimney
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Deer Statue
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Relax in Savannah
Spanish Moss House
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Wormsloe Root
Tree Skin
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January 12, 2011 at 6:36 pm Comments (5)

Savannah Countdown

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Special Sunset Savannah

With three weeks left in Savannah, we already had our flights to Buenos Aires booked and were starting to look forward to our next adventure. But there was still a lot left to do and see, here in Georgia, including going through the thousands of pictures we had taken over the past couple months. Here are some of the better shots, from the city and Tybee Island.

Framed Savannah Photos

Puddle Fun Time
Savannah Fitness
Birds on a String
Cat Beast
Shiny Tybee
Evil Santa
Tybee Storm
Tybee Souvenirs
Tybee Boats
Tybee Chinese
Savannah Internet
Savannah Insparation
Savannah Smiley Face
On the Phone Savannah
Savannah Pooch
Pink Truck
Lucas Theater Savannah
SCAD Neaons
SCAD on Ice
Savannah Snow
Savannah Sun Set Bridge
Big Boat Savannah
Haunted Houses Savannah
Savannah Art House
Chimney Sun Set
Spanish MOss Sunset
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January 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm Comments (4)

Colonial Park Cemetery

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A historical marker in Savannah’s Colonial Park Cemetery reports that “nearly 700” victims of the 1820 yellow fever epidemic are buried there. In fact, exactly six-hundred and sixty-six people died of the disease. But the church had issues with putting the Number of the Beast on a sign, and demanded the figure be rounded up.

Colonial

That’s just one of the disquieting anecdotes from the Colonial Park Cemetery, established around 1750 and closed to burials just before the Civil War. Another concerns the original size of the cemetery. Today, it fits nicely into a tidy square bounded by Abercorn, Oglethorpe, Habersham and Perry, but it used to be much bigger. As Savannah grew, property developers began buying up the cemetery’s prime real estate. Since digging up and moving bodies is so troublesome, corpses were left where they were; only the headstones were moved. The result is that every building surrounding Colonial Park is built on top of the desecrated dead.

A number of prominent Georgians are buried in Colonial Park, though I’ll confess to have never heard of any of them. Someone called Button Gwinnett has the most impressive monument (and the coolest name). After the Civil War, occupying Union troops were garrisoned there, and some of the soldiers amused themselves by defacing tombstones, changing dates and names. I found the gravestone of a woman who supposedly died when she was twelve, but had a son who passed a year later at the age of fourteen.

A green, creepy oasis of death in the center of Savannah, Colonial Park Cemetery is the perfect place for a stroll on cold, sunny, winter afternoons.

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Car Rental Savannah

Colonial Cemetery Savannah
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Broken tombstone
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Cartoon Cemetery
Dreamy Tree
Cemetery Savannah
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Fenced Grave
Gwinneth Grave
Button Gwinneth
Signature Declaration
Ghost Tree
Tree From Mars
Savannah Tour Tombstone
Sacred Tomb
Fondled Tomb Stone
Line of Graves
Mass Crave
Maxwell Savannah
Nature Cemetery
Old Greek in Savannah
Skull Pirate Savannah
Pirate Grave Savannah
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Savannah Flag Cemetery
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December 21, 2010 at 10:41 pm Comments (8)

No Liquor! No Slaves! No Lawyers! No Catholics!

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When he founded Savannah, the capital of his newly chartered colony of Georgia, James Oglethorpe had some utopian ideas. His planned city would be built around four squares and four simple prohibitions. No rum. No slavery. No lawyers. No Papists.

Slavery Savannah

Oglethorpe’s vision for an idyllic society didn’t last long. Like any American kid up until the age of 21 could tell you, banning liquor just makes you want it more. That was a doomed policy from the get-go, especially in the hard days of the city’s inception.

The ban on slavery was noble, but sadly ahead of its time. Slavery was legal in South Carolina, and nearby Charleston was flourishing. Jealous of their neighbor’s wealth, it didn’t take long for unscrupulous Savannahians to revolt against their leader’s decree. Soon enough, affable society folk were lounging on the front porches of their plantation houses, sipping Chatham Artillery Punch while getting rich off the labor of others.

The ban on Catholics is more curious, considering Savannah’s tolerance toward other religions. But Georgia was originally founded as a buffer zone between the Carolinas and Spanish Florida. It wasn’t the Catholic belief in transubstantiation that earned Oglethorpe’s distrust, but because they might be Spanish spies. This was another law which would be relaxed soon after the colony’s founding.

And the decree against lawyers? Please, that one never had a chance. An aspiring lawyer probably just sued, until the city realized they’d need a lawyer to defend their anti-lawyer law.

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November 23, 2010 at 9:30 am Comments (3)

Forsyth Park

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Occupying 30 acres between Drayton and Whitaker Street, Forsyth is Savannah’s answer to NYC’s Central Park. It’s not as massive as its counterpart, but blends more seamlessly into the city, and has long been a part of its history.

Forsyth Fountain Park

Forsyth Park was built in the 1840s and christened in honor of John Forsyth, a former statesman and Georgian governor. The park’s massive fountain, crowned with a female figure and flanked by spitting geese, was inspired by the fountain in Paris’ Plaza de la Concorde. With water shooting haphazardly in all directions, it’s one of the most recognizable landmarks of Savannah, appearing in films like 1962’s Cape Fear and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Three monuments in Forsyth Park commemorate Savannah’s contribution to American wars. To the north, there’s one for the Vietnam War. An impressively large memorial to the Civil War’s Confederate dead is in the park’s center, with the biblical inscription: “Come from the four winds, o’ breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” (It’s a touching line, but one which reveals disturbing pro-zombie tendencies; The Walking Dead is filmed in Georgia, isn’t it?). And at the southern end is an interesting tribute to the Spanish-American war, in which the US helped liberate Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam from Spanish influence.

Forsyth Fountain Park

Though the northern third of the park is shaded and tree-filled, the rest is wide open, with flat lawns that host weekend picnics and pick-up sports. There’s a café, a visitors center and an open-air stage for summer concerts, as well as something I’d never heard of before: a Fragrant Garden for the Blind. The gate was locked, but I stuck my nose through the bars and took a long whiff. It smelled of trash and roses.

During our first few days in Savannah, we had already crossed through Forsyth Park multiple times. Practically an extended pedestrian-only section of Bull Street, it’s as much a thoroughfare as a destination, and I had a feeling we’d be getting to know the park intimately.

Location on our Savannah Map

Cheap Flights To Savnnah

Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
Forsyth Fountain Park
haunted Moss
Mega Moss
Savannah Tree
Invasion Spanish Moss
Moss Statue
Confederate Savannah
Confederate Savannah
Confedereate Statue
Confederate
Spanish Soldier
Spanish American War
Fragrance Garden Savannah
Savannah Mushrooms
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November 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm Comments (9)
Orleans Square Orleans Square, on Barnard Street, might as well be called Parking Lot Square. It's one of the spaces which has been most negatively impacted by the development boom of the mid-20th century.
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