Southern Charm

Savannah... Spanish moss, Early American architecture, Southern cooking, warm evenings. Hauntingly romantic. Janet always wanted to visit, so we packed up in July and headed to Georgia.

River Street

The city was established along the banks of the Savannah river in 1733. The buildings along cobble-stoned River Street are among the oldest in the city. Fires in 1792 and 1820 destroyed many structures. But those that remain offer a sense of what the city must have been like during the 18th century.

City Squares

The city, designed by founder British General James Edward Oglethorpe, was constructed with twenty-five public squares. Today twenty-two of the squares remain.

Davenport House

In 1954 seven Savannah women saved this house from demolition literally hours before being razed by a positioned wrecking ball. Locals mark the event as the start of the restoration of Savannah. The house was built between 1815 and 1820 by Isaiah Davenport, who died not long after its completion. The Davenport House is reportedly one of the finest examples of Federal style construction in the US.

Owens-Thomas House

The Owens-Thomas house dates from 1816. It is considered an excellent example of Regency style, a type of architecture where balance is essential, to the point that false windows and doors are typcially constructed to maintain symmetry. The upstairs of the Owens-Thomas house has two landings, one front and one back, with rooms off to the sides. An unusual and extremely beautiful arched wooden 'bridge' connects the front landing to the back.

Weed-Sorrel House

The Weed-Sorrel house has several very interesting distinctions. Most recently, the house had been incorporated into a high end retail strip-mall. Fortunately, the property was purchased in 1996 and the retail construction was carefully deconstructed in a major restoration project. The Weed-Sorrel house has also been featured on the Discovery Channel as one of the most haunted homes in the US. On a more substantial note, General Lee made the house his headquarters when he was in Savannah during the Civil War.

Green-Meldrim House

And across the street from the Weed-Sorrel house is the Green-Meldrim House, used by General Sherman when he reached Savannah with the Union Army in 1864. From this home Sherman telegramed Lincoln, offering Savannah as a Christmas present to the President, which saved Savannah from ruin.

Mercer-Williams House

And then there's the infamous Mercer-Williams house of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fame. In 1981 real estate developer Jim Williams allegedly shot the young Danny Hansford in a crime of passion, for which Mr. Williams was tried four times, and eventually acquited! Tours are given of the ground floor, including the study where the young man was shot.

Savannah's Smallest House

Real estate in the historic district is outrageous, of course. This house is known as 'Savannah's smallest house' in the historic district. It was for sale when we walked by. With the price tag of other much larger houses in the millions, we could only speculate what this little baby was worth!

Second African Baptist Church

The Second African Baptist Church is in the heart of the historic district. General Sherman read the Emmancipation Proclamation to local crowds here in 1864, and Martin Luther King delivered a prototype of his 'I Have a Dream' speech before heading to Washington, DC in 1963.

If You Can't Beat Them...

Perhaps the most garish display of tourism in the city is found in the long lines of vactioners who are made to wait in the merciless Savannah humidity for reservations at Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons restaurant. Hopeful diners are instructed to report to the restaraunt at 3:30 PM in order to make reservations for a table later on that same evening. The wait to put in your name can take at times up to two hours! Which begs the question, what idiots would put themselves through something like that on their vacation...

... Join Them!

... our reservations were for 7:15! And it only took one hour in the wilting heat to get them on the day we went (lucky us)! Janet had crab cakes, and I had chicken pot pie with a crust as big as your head!

Bonaventure Cemetery

Entering Bonaventure Cemetery just outside of Savannah is like walking onto a movie set. The trees and the gravestones look like something created by a Hollywood special effects team. When Janet and I visited, a centennial celebration was in progress recognizing the hundredth year from which the city of Savannah assumed responsibility of the grounds.

Southern Gothic

The place takes on a surreal quality the further into the cemetery you walk...

Spirits of the Air

... a truly haunted place! Bonaventure serves as an important setting throughout Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, being the garden to which the title refers.

Johnny Mercer's Grave

Johnny Mercer (1909-1976) was a very famous lyricist who was born in Savannah, and is buried in Bonaventure. Members of the local Johnny Mercer fan club were at his grave. David Oppenheimer, club historian, offered us lots of interesting information.

Some Mercer Songs: Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive,
Blues In The Night, Days Of Wine And Roses, Moon River

Grave of Conrad Aiken

The poet Conrad Aiken (1889-1973) is buried not far from Johnny Mercer near the river that borders the grounds. Janet met a woman who visits the grave often and claims to have had an encounter with Conrad's ghost.

Tybee Lighthouse

About thirty minutes away from Savannah is Tybee Island. The Tybee lighthouse was built in 1742 and is the third oldest lighthouse in the US. There's 178 steps to the top, and Janet and I climbed them all. Great view from above!

Dolphin Tour

Janet and I went on Cap'n Mike's Dolphin Tours. Our boat followed a shrimp crew that was pulling in their nets. Dolphins typically follow shrimp boats for easy pickings.

Deluge of Dolphins

Dolphins were everywhere! Janet and I have been on other dolphin sighting tours, but we've never seen anything like this. It was like the dolphins were in a fishbowl.

Cockspur Beacon

We also passed Cockspur Lighthouse, a small lighthouse built out in the bay. Various lightkeepers actually lived in the base and kept the light shining back in the 1800s.

Tybee Beach

We spent a full day on the beach. I spent the entire day under a beach umbrella, and still ended up sun-burned! We thought we might go back for another day, but I decided a trip to the hospital would be too high a price to pay, so we changed plans.

The Olde Pink House Restaurant

The Olde Pink House was originally built in 1771 as a private home. Through the years its been a bank, a tea room, and a headquarters for one of Sherman's generals. Today its a restaurant, where Janet and I ate a very decent meal towards the end of our stay.

Savannah Road

We had a great time! Savannah was a relaxing, interesting, and truly beautiful location for a perfect vacation.