A true southern belle....
07.03.2009 - 08.03.2009
Savannah, GA is as slow and sweet as molasses on a sultry summer afternoon. Time seems suspended in the hazy air as the towering trees wave lazily in the sun soaked sky, dripping with moss that shines golden around the edges and drifts lightly on the breeze. Shadows of live oaks twist across the brick paved streets and the intoxicating scent of azaleas fills the air.
It’s a place where time just seems to slip past you, quietly, like the gentle breeze that drifts in and raises the damp hair off the back of your neck, cooling you as you sip a tall, sweet glass of iced tea. It’s a place where you can rock quietly on a wide porch, listening to the boards creek rhythmically beneath you and be content to do nothing more than watch the trolleys pass by. It’s a place where you can hear the whispers of ghosts as they pass in the shadows, telling you of times long past and stories not yet told. It’s a place where you can get lost in the slow gentle beauty of history and timelessness.
What are Savannah’s best attractions? The city herself.
She is a grand dame, Savannah is. You can stroll in any direction and you’ll find stately old homes boasting wide, sunny porches filled with flower boxes and rocking chairs. Each house is unique and seems to have hidden secrets around every corner. This one has a cat cut into the wooden fence. That one has a grinning face peeking from a brass door knocker. The one across the street has colorful seashells and bright bottles lining every window. You can just imagine the stories they could tell as you walk past each one, imagining their murmuring as you pass.
Homes fade into bright green squares, filled with flowers and fountains. Children run, laughing brightly, and curious old souls sit quietly on benches watching the world pass by as they peek over the tops of day old newspapers. The historic district is alive with beautiful homes, wonderful parks on every corner, quaint storefronts tucked into side streets, and brick sidewalks that carry you from one end to another. Live oaks line the streets and azaleas burst with color at every turn. Beautiful churches and cathedrals stand sentry throughout the city, their steeples reaching to the heavens.
Drift far enough and you’ll find yourself on River Street. Meandering along the sleepy Savannah River, this lively street is lined with shops and restaurants. Stop at Tubby’s seafood hangout and sit on the sunny patio, watching the ships go by while munching on a basket of crispy fried shrimp. If you’re lucky, you can get a “ship shot.” Spot a ship, hear the bell, get a shot!
A visit to River Street wouldn’t be complete without a stroll into Wet Willie’s. Sure, it seems more like party central on spring break, but even the most mature visitor can enjoy a delicious slushy concoction from one of their frozen drink machines. Candy colored, in flavors like Sour Apple, Shock Treatment, and Monkey Shine….a Wet Willie is a must have. For the best of the best, have an Attitude Improvement, but be careful, made with 190 proof Pure Grain Alcohol and two kinds of rum, this one sneaks up on you!
River Street is vibrant. The sounds of street musicians playing for dollars mixes with the sound of the crowd as it pulses up and down the cobblestone streets, wandering in and out of raw bars, peeking in the windows of brightly lit shops, and sipping on frosty drinks.
Wander up a street or two and you’ll find the City Market, a great open air mall lined with historic buildings that house art galleries and one-of-a-kind shops. Seafood restaurants, coffee houses, and pizza joints send wonderful smells out into the courtyard that’s filled with lights and patrons walking their furry, four legged friends. Grab a giant slice of pepperoni from Vinnie Van Go Gos and munch as you window shop for original paintings that fill the tiny spaces, or have a seat on a bench and watch the horse drawn carriages as they roll past. Keep walking and you’ll see Paula Deen’s restaurant, where, if you get there by 9:30 am to get your name on the list, you might get to do more than hungrily peer at the piles of crispy fried chicken as you stand outside the window.
When you’ve had your fill of southern charm and wide porch swings, take a short drive and you’ll find yourself on laid back Tybee Island. Just like the beach towns I remember as a kid, Tybee has colorful, funky shops lining a small lane dotted with bicycles and palm trees, sandy sidewalks that lead down to a wide beach, and sea gulls screaming overhead.
Tybee's beach isn't soft, white sand like you find on the gulf, but when the tide is out, it's a maze of sandbars, tidal pools, and piles of beach stones and seashells. Seagulls hop along hoping something delicious will fall from the pockets of unsuspecting visitors and children build castles with bright yellow pails and shovels. You can walk forever, it seems, and the beach just goes on and on.
Crowned with a sweet little lighthouse and oozing southern goodness, this tiny island is the perfect place to grab some crabs and key lime pie, take a long beach walk, and look for sand dollars. Try the Low Country Shrimp boil at the Crab Shack and you’ll get to stroll through some gators while you wait.
I found Savannah to be the perfect blend of laid back southern hospitality, colorful history, and beachside charm. The sunlight flickered across my eyes as I drove away, and I knew this little city had charmed me like the southern belle that she was. She welcomed me with southern hospitality and kissed my cheek sweetly as I left.
Y’all come back now, ya’ hear?