When we plan our routes, Mark always asks me where I want to go and what I want to see. When we left Florida and headed into Georgia, I picked Savannah as our final destination. Why did I choose Savannah over Atlanta? Well, I have this picture in my mind when I think of Savannah; I think of it as a very laid-back, old-style city with a lot of country charm, and Oh-Boy, this city met all my standards.
We left Florida and spent one night at a fantastic little RV Park, Big Wheel, in St Mary's, Georgia. Cute and very rustic.
We woke up the following day and headed North toward the coast. When we arrived, we could not be more pleased with the RV park choice we made - CreekFire RV Resort did not disappoint. The sites were huge; they had an on-site, full bar and restaurant, a vast swimming pool for the adults, and a splash pad and swimming pool for the kids. There was also a lazy river that would not be open and running full swing until March 1st. The sites here are large, so you don't feel like your neighbors are right on top of you.
When Mark and I explored Savannah, we took two whole days to fit in all we could see. We hopped on the Old Town Trolley and rode through the entire city the first day. I highly recommend the hop-on, hop-off buses and trolleys to explore these cities with so much to offer. On a scale from 1-10, I give this trolley a 10/10. We were offered free parking when we pulled in, which was huge bonus points in my book. The two days we were in the city, it was warm, but there was a nice breeze, and with all the huge Oak Trees, there was a lot of shade.
For our tour, we hopped on the Trolley at the #1 stop (there are a total of 15 stops for this Trolley, allowing you many opportunities to hop off to get a closer look at things that piqued your interest), located near the Visitors Center. Co-located with the visitor's center is the Savannah History Museum, where you can see Forrest Gump's bench from the movie "Forrest Gump." The actual bench in the film where Forrest sat was located in Chippewa Square.
We rode along, listening to the driver's narration of the sites along the route; our first hop-off was at Forsyth Park. Here there is a huge fountain that sits nearly in the middle of the park, well not really, but it looks like it. This fountain is over 150 years old. Yes, of course, I snapped pictures. Are you kidding?
If I lived or worked in this city, I would find a bench and sit and enjoy the serene scenery; people watch and enjoy the beauty of the Spanish moss that hangs from the giant Oak Trees that line the walkway up to the beautiful iconic feature. I could spend hours just sitting as long as it's not too hot! (Throwing in a bit of humor because I always complain about the weather.)
We got back on the Trolley and rode down the street, jumping off at St. John the Baptist Cathedral. We snapped pictures of this breathtaking Church from afar.
On our second day in town, we returned and went inside. This Church sits in downtown Savannah. The first Parish was established in the early 18th century, and the Cathedral was built in 1873. Going inside and looking at all the stained-glass windows, artwork, and carvings on the walls was overwhelming to take in, in the brief time we were there. I would love to take a private tour to hear more about the history and stories behind it all.
We hopped back on and kept on going. We drove by City Market and the American Prohibition Museum. We did not have time to explore either of these, but I did hear they are one of the city's highlights.
As we rode down the street, we passed the Colonial ParkCemetery. The cemetery was established in 1750 when Savannah was the capital of the British Province of Georgia, the last of the Thirteen Colonies. We didn't take a tour, but I did snap some pictures.
We then headed down to River Street, where we hopped off to check out the area. This street lines the Savannah River; this river forms most of the border between Georgia and South Carolina. Downstream from there, the river broadens into an estuary before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean. The river's estuary meets the ocean and is known as "Tybee Roads." While we were there, we saw big cargo ships coming and going, which is an everyday event near this urban area.
We walked around, past the many shops and restaurants that lined the Cobblestone Street; there was a lot of the hustle and bustle of this big tourist attraction, for sure. Since we were there, we decided to have lunch at one of the restaurants ending up at the Cotton Exchange, a Cotton Warehouse back in the day. The lunch we ordered was pretty ho-hum and what I mean by that is we didn't splurge on any Southern food; we kept it American/Healthy. I had a sandwich, and Mark had a chicken wrap. After lunch, we hopped back on our Trolley and continued our tour.
We also saw the Independent Presbyterian Church, which the trolley narrator informed us is where the feather was dropped that floated down in the opening scene of "Forrest Gump." So, you see how high that steeple is? Someone must have climbed up there to drop it. YIKES!
We drove into town on our second day in the city and parked near the waterfront/Pink House area. We went by City Hall. Again, as you can see, the architecture is just stunning.
We had picked out a few places to see this day which included:
Savannah icon Rainbow Row – a collection of charming Carpenter Italianate-style row homes.
Magnolia Hall - The three-story residence was built in 1878 for Jacob Guerard Heyward, the great-grandson of Thomas Heyward Jr., a South Carolinian who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Old Pink House (Restaurant) – An old mansion that is another figure in the city that held many secret meetings that helped secure the independence of the 13 colonies from England. We called for reservations, but the day we wanted was booked.
Cathedral Basilica of St John the Baptist – I discussed above how beautiful it was inside.
Wright Square Vintage Retro Mall - I was hoping for something a bit more elaborate based on the reviews I had read, so I was a little underwhelmed when we actually got to the shop and went in.
Another feature we walked by this day was the "winged lion statue" sitting outside the old Cotton Exchange Offices. It is nothing more than an expensive lawn ornament ordered from a catalog; it became a part of the decorative fountain in front of the Cotton Exchange in 1889. In 2008, it became a local treasure, the only of its kind.
Our last stop and another iconic "must try" is "Leopold's Ice Cream" we waited for at least 30 minutes; yes, there was a line.
It was about 2 pm when we arrived, and the sun was hot. Mark enjoyed a chocolate- chip- mint- ice cream in a waffle cone. This place has been around since 1919, and all of the ice cream and other treats are made from scratch. As this was our last stop on our mini walking tour, we headed back to the car and trip back to CreekFire resort.
It's not uncommon when walking downtown to see a horse-drawn carriage stomping down the street, brick-lined sidewalks, statues of people from our history, one being John Wesley.
This statue sits in the middle of Reynolds Square. John Wesley was the founder of Methodism.
Once I arrived in Savannah, I found out that the book "The Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" took place here. This book is a true story but reads like a thriller (so I've been told.) I have since downloaded it and am just a few chapters into it. So far, it has done an excellent job of describing the city, elegance, and poise.
On Friday of that week, we decided to escape from the city area and head to Tybee Island. This island is a barrier island and a small town near Savannah. While we were there, we visited the lighthouse.
Yes, we climbed up 178 stairs, one more stair than the Pensacola Lighthouse. When we got to the top, one could see for miles. As I have told you before, being the one that is terrified of heights, I stepped out on the catwalk (because I will not let my fear get the best of me.) I snapped a few pictures, took a video, and immediately went back inside. Mark finished my photoshoot, and then back down we went.
We headed over to the Pier at the southern part of the island and walked out to the end, where we could get a good photo or two of the beach/shoreline. The day we were there, it was chilly and windy in the high 60s. But darn it, people were sunbathing, chairs launched in the sand, and families were spending the day. The '60s is just too chilly for me to be at the beach.
We got lunch at a cute little Mexican restaurant called Agave, not far from the beach and Pier. The food was great, the plate sizes were perfect, and we headed back when finished. Overall, it was an excellent day.
A week in Savannah gave us enough time to see many highlights and take in the scenery from the outskirts. If you ever decide to go depending upon what you want to see, 1-2 weeks would be sufficient. If I could recommend a time to go, it would be from February to April, when the temperatures are much milder, and the humidity is non-existent. (wink!)
The city of Savannah has so much history, culture, and beautiful architecture. The parks are serene; just taking a pleasant stroll through them is an experience within itself. If you have ever thought of visiting and haven't entirely made it yet, do it; you will not be disappointed. This city exceeded my expectations, and my words are not enough; please see it yourself.
~Savannah is excellent with the town squares, hanging moss, and French Colonial houses. It's brutally romantic. – David Morrissey~
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