April 27, 2012
For 91 Days, the southern jewel of Savannah, Georgia, was our winter home. From beautiful squares to historic houses, unforgettable restaurants and an eccentric cast of characters that could be (and actually is) straight out of a novel, we tried to capture everything that makes Savannah so special. Start reading from the beginning of our journey, or skip to the end. Visit the comprehensive index of everything we wrote about, or just check out a few posts, selected at random, below:
Showing #1 – 10 of 98 Articles
At 3pm on a brisk November afternoon, Jürgen and I parked a smashed-up car in front of our new Savannah home, and pulled our exhausted bodies up the front steps. We had arrived after a whirlwind trip that had brought us from Oviedo, Spain, to Madrid, Chicago, Denver, Ohio, Kentucky and finally southeastern Georgia.
Our first full day in Savannah was warm and overcast. Luckily, the rain held off and we were able to spend the afternoon getting familiar with the city that would be our home for the next few months.
Occupying 30 acres
At the time of its founding in 1733, Savannah was the first North American city planned around public squares. General Oglethorpe’s grand design for his new capital called for four squares to serve as gardens and meeting areas. The western and eastern sides of each square were reserved for public buildings, such as churches and government offices, while the northern and southern ends were for private residences, called tything blocks.
We had 24 squares to explore during our time in Savannah, and decided to start with the oldest and largest. Johnson Square was established in 1733, and named in honor of South Carolina’s colonial governor Robert Johnson.
“Now just to make absolutely sure: you’re saying that you’ll put my beer in a cup, and then I can walk around outside, in front of cops, and there will be no problems?” The bartender was growing exasperated with me. “Yes, dude. For the hundredth time, yes. You’re golden.”
James Oglethorpe is the founder of Georgia. A Briton born in Berlin, he made his name as a soldier and eventually became a member of Parliament, where he successfully lobbied for the creation of a 13th colony, foreseen as a buffer to protect the lucrative Carolina colonies from Spanish Florida.
The most northeastern of Savannah’s squares, Washington is a lovely garden in a quiet residential neighborhood. It was named in honor of our first president, who visited the city shortly after his election.
The Olde Pink House, on the western side of Reynolds Square, was built in 1771 and is the oldest surviving mansion in all of Savannah. Today, it’s one of the city’s most beloved restaurants, and is also home to a popular bar on its bottom floor.
Known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the entire country, Bonaventure is found on the outskirts of Savannah, bordering the Wilmington River across from Whitemarsh Island. Its name means “Good Fortune,” and those buried on its grounds might certainly consider themselves fortunate. There are worse places to rest in eternal slumber.