We spent about two days in ‘downtown’ Savannah. It is a small town, however my idea of small may be skewed, as I’m from Chicago. We walked most of it in those two days also. There are lots of overpriced shops, slushy bars, awesome restaurants and tourist traps to see. Mingled among those places are some true, local places. We had a lot of fun finding the REAL places of Savannah!
The architecture is beautiful here as the Yankees didn’t burn it down during the Civil War, like so many other Southern towns. The mayor at the time just said, “We give up, don’t trash the town!” General Sherman actually liked the town so much, he agreed and then gave it to President Lincoln as a Christmas present.
There are something like 34 ‘squares’ (little parks) within the city. They all have their own theme and are decorated differently. When they were first built, the homes surrounding them were responsible for the upkeep. They are all very beautiful, have nice places to sit and all have a different history about them. Often, there are sculptures and fountains within them. I highly recommend a walk through as many as you can.
We loved the open drinking policy here. I think it helps merchants sell more stuff to ‘loosened-up’ tourists! Ha!! We had a few good laughs at a bar down by the river, that touted it was a ‘Green Bay Packers’ bar. Perfect! That means I’ll get a side car of beer with my Bloody Mary! Nope. I then asked the bartender if they played dice here. In Wisconsin, it is a common practice to play a dice game called ‘Ship, Captain, Crew’, where you play dice for your drinks. I think he knew where we were going with this or maybe it was our Midwestern accents, however he owned up to not really being from Wisconsin. He was from Denver, and had just bought the bar the previous week. They did have one really awesome thing going for them, they had dill pickle shots! Vodka, pickle juice and a secret ingredient…. OMG, were those good. -+–*
Driving was a bit frustrating. Many streets had large medians and actually had a stop between directions. The tree lined streets are gorgeous, however all the Spanish moss hanging from the trees prevented you from seeing the traffic signal until the last moment. Toss in drunk pedestrians and it’s a party!! Extreme care is needed when driving here.
The tree lined streets are to die for! Love this entrance.
We did go to the beach, or Tybee Island. I did put the toes in for posterity, but that’s all that was going in! Brrrrr!
Tybee Island Lighthouse
Half Police car, half Taxi!
We don’t like the mainstream bars or the ‘flavored slushy’ bars. Here we found places to go that normally would scare tourists away. When I asked this tattooed and pierced bartender for a Mimosa (Orange juice and champagne) and Yes, I clearly did not think before ordering it at a bar like this, it’s just that it was before noon, and I wanted to have my OJ…. 😉 He told me he was out of champagne, however, he could make me a Mimosa lite. “What’s that?”, I asked. He said, “Bud Light’. Ha! Fine. Kamikaze Shot it is!
We could not believe how dog friendly they are here also. There were dogs everywhere, in stores, cafes, art galleries, parks… There were dog water bowls and poop bag stations at every square. many places offered treats when you came in. Way to win over the doggy parents!
We don’t like big, crowded tours. We did enjoy a private horse tour of the area with Jenna (human tour guide) and Fabio (Horse cutie)
I can’t remember the significance of the first house, however the orange one here is The Mercer House.
The Mercer House was designed by a New York architect John S. Norris for General Hugh W. Mercer, the great grandfather of Johnny Mercer (singer). Construction of the house began in 1860, was interrupted by the Civil War and was later completed, circa 1868, by the new owner, John Wilder. In 1969, Jim Williams, one of Savannah’s earliest and most dedicated private restorationists, bought the then vacant house and began a two-year restoration. This house is one of the more than 50 houses Mr. Williams saved during his thirty-year career in historic restoration in Savannah and the Lowcountry.
Since we had a load of driving to do, we decided to listen to an audio book: Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil by John Berendt. The book takes place in Savannah and I’m pretty sure its required reading if you are to live here. Ha! They call it “THE BOOK” down here. All the events are true in the book, however they are a tad bit mixed-up, chronologically. Small spoiler… there is a murder in the middle of the book. The lower room on the left is the room it happened in. After having listened to the book, it was very cool to see the actual houses in relation to one another.
We actually just watched the movie and feel it kinda sucked. Maybe if we hadn’t read the book, it would have been better.
Here’s a weird story; It was about 9 PM, well past dark, and we were walking back to our truck. After cutting through a cemetery, we emerged about 2 blocks from the truck. A black gentleman on a bike said hello, we reciprocated. He then stopped, motioned across the street and asked us if we knew the cemetery originally went another 10 feet over? We stopped and said no, that it was interesting there is now a road over it. He told us he was born here and then continued to tell us about how they moved bodies and why one of the headstones is oddly on part of the sidewalk. We thought it was fascinating and continued to listen. I’m not sure what went wrong, however after about 7-8 minutes of talking with him, he blurted, “Well, I can tell when someone from Chicago doesn’t want to be talking to a black man like me” (We never mentioned where we were from). He then told us to have a good evening and rode off. What the heck just happened? We looked at each other with our mouths open. Did he just call us racists??
I think this is where Oglethorpe was originally buried. It is right in the middle of a right-of-way.
Oglethorpe Square || The signs read: Historical steps, use at own risk. They were all different sizes of steps, you had to look down. We saw a lot of folks that should have walked down to the ramp. Public drinking is somewhat entertaining for the sober folks also!!
© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl