Monday, April 30, 2012

Savannah Sights

We were going to stay just a week at Thousand Trails The Oaks at Point South, but after seeing a tantalizing glimpse of Savannah, hearing that Charleston is about the same distance in the other direction, and hearing that FIFTEEN tall ships are coming to Savannah the first weekend in May, WE'RE STAYING! And it's a free, two week stay at TT, so that enables us to explore Savannah and do a few touristy things, like perhaps go for a sail on a tall ship?
downtown Savannah
Off to Savannah today to take a Grayline tour with Richard, on the Oglethorpe blue bus tour. Eldo LOVES Grayline tours, and this one for an hour and a half, was just 15.00 a person. What's even cooler, is, Grayline takes you all around the tour first, with no stops, then you can go back to the stops you want to spend more time at, and hop on, hop off for free with your tour stop sticker for the rest of the day. Richard was a great tour guide...he grew up in Savannah, and remembers when parts of the city should have been condemned and he used to play in the old sections and in the old houses. He was very proud of his city having made a turnaround. He was also very interesting and VERY informative. We had time to take photos, it wasn't rushed.

We learned that Sherman didn't burn the city of Savannah, he never touched it, he left it intact so he could get supplies from the harbor there. We learned that Savannah has a HUGE shipping industry that generates about 60 billion dollars a year and provides over 300,000 jobs for the city. We learned a lot about Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, which was the colony originally intended for EVERYBODY except Catholics and heavy drinkers. Just kidding, but that's partially true. Oglethorpe allowed everyone to settle in Georgia, it was a debtor's relief program for the poor back then to relieve crowding in the English prisons, but Catholics and lawyers (!) were not welcome (the colony was supposed to be for Protestants) and slavery was forbidden. AND, NO ALCOHOL! Ogilthorpe did not want anything that might contribute to colony residents being lazy and the colony itself floundering and not growing. But, for some odd reason, he brought plenty of beer over on the ship, I kid you not! (This is Sparky's oversimplified version, she's not a history buff, explains E.) When the settlements floundered because the emigrants were a little on the lazy side, slavery ended up coming into the Georgia colony. There's a whole lot more to the story, but Sparky is sticking to her abbreviated version. Sort of a Sparks' notes on Georgia...hehehehe......

We learned that Johnny Mercer, a Savannah native, wrote over 1400 songs and one of his most famous was "Moon River."

We saw and learned about the beautiful Victorian houses and architecture. The staid Victorians liked using color but not this much! Like this pink "Pepto Bismal" house, (NOT in the historic preservation district!) The other house pictures are....

......the churches...

Savannah is one super planned out city, with regular symmetrical streets and about twenty town squares where beautiful trees provide shade along with all kinds of memorial statues to famous soldiers and war heroes. Here is a tribute to the Haitian soldiers who fought so valiantly for our country in its early days.

We learned that the local Kroger store came in, paid a TON of money to move three architecturally beautiful and historically important houses one block over so they could put up their parking lot, then they designed their store to fit in with the neighborhood vision and a previously demolished architectural gem. Here is a photo Richard showed us of the building that didn't get saved...
And here's the Kroger store....
Every effort is made to preserve the integrity of the design of new buildings to blend in with the old, as much as possible. Lots of renovation is still going on in the heart of the city and it is spreading outwards. And here are a few more tour tidbits: Richard said that there are two things you don't mess with around Savannah natives, one is their "to-go" can drink alcohol to go in a paper cup out and about town...and two, Girl Scouts. Somebody tried to do away with the drinking outside of establishments, a politician, and he was soundly defeated. Someone else tried to make the Girl Scouts pay for selling cookies on the street, and that said person was totally embarrassed into making a retraction and run out of town, well, sort of. Remember, Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts is a Savannah native. You don't mess with those two traditions here in Savannah!

Lots of culture here...lots of interesting things going on, a very vibrant city...We loved exploring the town today, on the tour and a little bit on our own.....
some harbor entertainment
You need a couple of weeks to explore Savannah, if not more...We'll do our best with about a week left in our stay, we'll be back! Gotta see the home of the Girl Scout founder, Juliette Gordon Low, and some other very special things to see and do in this beautiful city.....See you later!


  1. I agree, there is a lot to explore in Savannah. . .our Gray Line tour driver's name was David. . .and we thought he was awesome also. . .have fun!


  2. We'll have to remember Grayline tours. Do you think you'll have a chance to explore Charleston?