Savannah is a little city with a lot of heart and a lot of quirks. In the first 21 years of Savannah’s history, there were just three formal laws: No slavery, no lawyers and no hard liquor. Eventually all three laws were overturned, but it stands to show that Savannah was a unique spot in the south. I saw the sign below and immediately knew we weren’t in NYC anymore.
Call 911 if someone tries to panhandle. Can you imagine?
My next hint that I was out of my usual city life was this jar of wasps nests for sale in an otherwise charming boutique. At only $2 a piece, I assume that it was a bargain.
Who doesn’t want a wasp’s nest?
As I mentioned in my last post, Savannah has a very well preserved historic district with beautiful architecture. However, not everything was well protected. Colonial Park Cemetery (founded in 1750) is the resting place of duel losers, yellow fever victims, and most notably Button Gwinnett, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Though the cemetery was closed to new plots by the time of the Civil War, Federal troops took over the cemetery grounds during their occupation of Savannah and many of the graves were looted and desecrated. We were told that many gravestones were altered to humorous ends. For example, we were told that one grave said that the woman was mother to 1,000 children. Though we didn’t find that grave, we did find one that was altered. If you look closely at the below picture, you’ll see that it has been altered to say that Christopher McDonald lived to be 421 years old.
He died at the ripe age of 421
Between the war and several hurricanes, many headstones were displaced. The city didn’t know where they belonged so they were pretty unceremoniously lined up along the brick wall surrounding the cemetery.
These headstones have lost their graves
In Savannah there is beauty around every corner. Take, for example, the lovely Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. It was, designed by Baldwin and Price in the 1870s, but the original building was nearly destroyed by fire in 1898. It was immediately rebuilt using the original plans and finished in 1900. The exterior of the building is pretty standard, but the interior blew me away.
St. John the Baptist exterior
Internal view of St. John the Baptist
Internal view of St. John the Baptist
Not far from the Cathedral is Forsyth Park which is a lovely place to walk, play with dogs or sit and enjoy a coffee.
Fountain in Forsyth park
My favorite thing about Savannah though was the food. Its heavy and butter drenched, but its worth the calories because this is truly the good stuff. On our first day, we braved the lines at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room and it was certainly worth the wait. In Business since 1943, three generations of Wilkes women have run this restaurant for week day lunches open only Monday through Friday 11-2pm. At Mrs Wilkes, you are seated family style at a table covered with every southern comfort food side and main that you can imagine… fried chicken, biscuits, okra, collard greens, yams, pot roast, creamed corn… the list goes on and on. All this, plus desert and drinks for $18.
A small portion of the spread at Mrs. Wilkes
My second favorite meal was at Walls BBQ. Walls is literally down a back alley with a limited menu and a small but charming staff. I only have a picture of the entrance, because the food was sooooo good that I didn’t even have a change to take a picture before I ate it all. If you ever find you way to Savannah, do yourself the favor, go off the beaten path and visit Walls. You will not regret it.
Wall’s BBQ looks unassuming, but it is a force of deliciousness
I’ll you leave with two of my favorite photos from the trip. Nothing like a beautiful sunset or Spanish moss in the moonlight.
Sunset over the Historic District
Full moon, near Colonial Park Cemetary