“There are vaster and wealthier cities, but for architectural simplicity, for an indescribable charm about its streets and buildings, its parks and squares, there is but one Savannah.” – Timothy Harley, a minister who visited Savannah late in the nineteenth century.
It seems that I have been forever fascinated by the Low Country since my first sight of big oak trees splendidly draped in gray-green Spanish moss in hot and sultry Jekyll Island many summers ago. This fascination led me to Charleston and now, Savannah. I am enamored! This place is beautiful, romantic, genteel, laid-back, and mysterious all at once.
Despite a forecast of rain (I made sure to pack a raincoat and umbrella), the weather turned out to be beautiful (sunny and in the 70’s) on all three days that I was there. Winter this year in Savannah has been so mild that the azaleas have started to bloom. I can only imagine how much more breathtaking Savannah is in the height of Spring.
Because The Grand Bohemian in Charleston won me over on my trip there last month, I made sure to stay at another Bohemian – the Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront. They accommodated my request for an early check-in and even upgraded my room to a river view – so thankful! My tiredness from my very early and stressful morning flight eased away when I walked into my room and was welcomed with soft music playing in the background and a clear view of the Savannah River. Stepping out onto the balcony, I could clearly see the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. Occasionally, huge container ships would sail by attesting to the city being one of the busiest and growing container terminals in the country.
Not wanting to waste a minute, I headed out to explore the historic district. On the advice of one local, I walked from the riverfront down Bull Street and through some of the most beautiful park-like squares that continue to exist today. There were opulent homes, monuments to honor the memory of historical figures and events, benches to rest and relax, vendors making and selling sweetgrass baskets, and blues music being sung soulfully by a man who seems to call Chippewa Square his home. Chippewa, by the way, is where the famous bench scene in the movie Forrest Gump was filmed.
|General James Oglethorpe (Founder of Savannah)|
Is there a more recognizable image of Savannah than this fountain in Forsythe Park?
|HDR Photography Blog|
Savannah is everything I imagined old world charm would be with its antebellum mansions, cobbled streets, green parks (now dotted by flowering plants and trees), fountains, and monuments. It’s also a vibrant place with cafes, restaurants, and an increasing influx of young creative talent from all over the country and even the world who come to attend the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
It was a sweet and treasured experience to be once again surrounded by huge oak trees lavishly ornamented with Spanish moss. They remind me of a woman wearing a delicate lace wrap with fringes around her shoulders. This contrast of strength and vulnerability will always evoke a sense of romance and drama.
Speaking of “drama”, as cliche as it may be, I do plan to pick up and read John Berendt’s “Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil” to continue my Savannah experience.