Tag Archives: spanish moss

Savannah – Part 2

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?

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?

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

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

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

St. John the Baptist exterior

Internal view of St. John the Baptist

Internal view of St. John the Baptist

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

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

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

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

Sunset over the Historic District

Full moon, near Colonial Park Cemetary

Full moon, near Colonial Park Cemetary

Savannah – Part 1

Spanish Moss, southern comfort food, open containers and beautiful homes. Those few words sum up much of my three day visit to Savannah last weekend.

In 1966 Savannah was designated a National Historic District because of its uniquely preserved city plan and historic buildings. Indeed walking around the hisotric district felt like walking around a movie set. Even the more run down buildings looked like that were artfully run down. It was though the whole down had been masterfully art directed.

Holiday time in Savannah

Holiday time in Savannah

Savannah was founded in 1733 and was planned around wards and public squares. Originally the city was begun  with six wards and at the center of each ward was a public square. This planning continued and by  the 1800′s there were  twenty-four squares evenly spaced from the Savannah River to Gaston Street.

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Spanish Moss on Oglethorpe Street

Today, the buildings in the historic district are strictly regulated and preserved. Homes can only be painted in historically accurate colors and the structures cannot be changed.  Every where you look, you see original iron work, faded painted signs on brick buildings and stunning colonial homes.

Ghost sign on the brick

Ghost sign on the brick

Example of the ironwork seen throughout the city

Example of the ironwork seen throughout the city

Average homes in the historic District

Average homes in the historic District

The  port of Savannah is the 4th busiest container ship terminal in the US and so the river front is pretty industrial. However, it can still make for some beautiful views and there a tourist area with shopping and restaurants on the water front. River boat lunch tours are popular in the season.

View of the bridge to South Carolina over the Savannah River

View of the bridge to South Carolina over the Savannah River

The Peace Maker tall ship at sunset

The Peace Maker tall ship at sunset

Riverboat decorated for the holidays

Riverboat decorated for the holidays

At the end of the river walk, there is a statue of Florence Martus, also known as “the waving girl”.  As the story goes, she  took it upon herself to be the unofficial greeter of all ships that entered and left the port , between 1887 and 1931. She would wave a handkerchief by day and a lantern by night. She passed away in 1943 and this statue was erected in her honor.

The Waving Girl

The Waving Girl

The next post will be about more the historical elements of Savannah and the food. Not to be missed :  )