Sunday, December 8, 2013

Savannah, Georgia

On Thursday, December 5th, we left Charleston, South Carolina, and drove straight through the state of Georgia, and into Florida where we stopped for the night at the Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville.  However, we did take in a little bit of Georgia along the way.

While Steve and the younger boys drove straight through with the camper, the older boys and I took a detour side-trip into the city of Savannah.  And it couldn’t have gone smoother!  We drove right along the interstate spur until it dumped us out almost directly in front of the city’s visitor center.  We parked the car, walked in, asked about taking a day tour, and they directed us down the stairs to the back of the building where many tour bus companies were lined up waiting for us to climb aboard!  We found one company (the Grey Line “Oglethorpe Trolley Tours”) that was holding a discounted special for that day, and their bus was leaving in 10 minutes, so we grabbed our chance and off we went!

Savannah is an absolutely beautiful city, and it is very unique in its design.  The historic downtown is still preserved from pre-Civil War days because as General Sherman was burning everything in his path in his imfamous “March to the Sea”, the leadership of Savannah struck a bargain with him.  They said that he could have the run of the city if only he agreed not to burn it down.  He agreed, although he did take control of one of the most notorious houses in the city as his headquarters.  From this house, he sent his famous message to President Lincoln offering the city of Savannah as a Christmas present.

The city is arranged in a grid, as the early Governor Oglethorpe designed it.  Each city block not only has beautiful historic mansions lining the streets, but also a city square park.  The historic downtown has a park every block!  It is amazingly gorgeous!  We even saw the park that Forrest Gump’s park bench was!

Some of the more interesting sites that we saw along our 90-minute tour included:

-          The church were “Jingle Bells” was written and first sung

-          The house where Juliette Gordon Lowe started the Girl Scouts of America

-          The statue of the Waving Girl.  Legend has it that the girl would never miss an incoming ship, and she would always wave her handkerchief at the passing ships.  Today a statue stands in her honor.

-          The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  Since our tour bus was running a little ahead of schedule, we stopped for ten minutes to go inside.  It is beautiful and impressive!

-          The Pirate House.  Apparently this old shanty was the inspiration for Robert Lewis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”.

There were so many other noteworthy sites that we saw, but these are the ones that really stuck out to us.  We also got to see the waterfront and marketplace, along with a house that was notorious because some book was written about it.  I’m ashamed to say that I don’t even remember the name of the book, and so the house didn’t leave an impression on me.  Something about murder and whatnot, and the book was a huge bestseller several years ago.  (“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” was the name of the book.)

After our pleasant and informative 90-minute tour of Savannah, we got back to the bus station, got into the car, and drove the rest of the way to where Steve and the other boys were already setting up the camper for the night.  I really would like to go back to Savannah some day and spend more time there.  It is a beautiful city!