Georgia on My Mind – Savannah

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It is always fun to be back in the state of my birth. Like so many people, your home state will always bring up fond memories. Seeing the sign of the big peach as we crossed into Georgia brought nothing but good feelings. Celia and I enjoyed our winter in Florida but it was time to start moving toward the west.

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Leaving St. Augustine, Florida, we traveled to another historic town along the Atlantic Coast. Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities in the South and has plenty of charm. This is one town you can just walk around the historic area and feel you have had a great trip. That was pretty much our approach with a little help from the Old Town Trolley company. We had just spent way too much on parking the Silver Fox in St. Augustine and were happy to discover that the company provides free parking for customers and we also had a campground discount coupon, plus they added an additional day to our deal. The parking and the “hop-on hop-off” bus was perfect for our visit.

While in Savannah we walked around a lot enjoying the beautiful streets and buildings in the historic section.

Many of the homes are stately and almost always embody some history. Just strolling along you encounter Johnny Mercer, Paula Dean, Forrest Gump, James Oglethorpe, The Lady Chablis, John Wesley, and the Jingle Bells Church. One of the most visited locations is the birthplace of the founder of the Girls Scouts, the Juliette Gordon Low House.

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Forsyth Park

There are over 20 squares in the historic area and most are adorned with monuments. One of the most impressive is the large Forsyth Park with its beautiful centerpiece fountain.

If you can only do one thing while in Savannah, visit the Cathedral of St. John. It is a beautiful church in the heart of town and you will not want to miss it.

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One of the surprises is how much the Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD) has impacted the city by renovating so many buildings. The school has renovated about 70 buildings in Savannah and it is obvious as you walk around town. The impact is even more remarkable seeing that the school is just celebrating its 40th anniversary.

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Walking down the commercial Broughton Street, it is evident from the long lines that Leopold’s Ice Cream is popular stop and a Savannah tradition. If you can’t wait there is a Ben and Jerry’s close by, but you will want to stand in the line. One of our other favorite stops nearby is the Savannah Bee Company where we sampled some of their honey.

River Street is another popular spot and the bumpy cobblestone-like streets are actually made of the ballast removed from ships docking at the port. The street has a lot of touristy shops and crowds so we did not stay long, but we did take in some views with the Talmadge Bridge in the distance.

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Also near the waterfront is the City Hall building. The golden dome purposely reminds you of the gilded Georgia Capitol dome in Atlanta.

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Part of our tolley package was tickets to “America’s Only” Prohibition Museum. Much of it seemed pretty corny with the wax figures and various stylized reproductions, but upon sharing about our visit with some friends, I realized that we had learned a lot about that time period. Some of the information was just fun facts like that at the beginning of Prohibition there were about 15-20 Walgreens Drug Stores but, because of the ability to distribute “medicinal alcohol” prescriptions, they ended up with over 525 stores during that time. Prohibition was promoted to the public as an economic boom and I guess for Walgreens it was.

We parked the Bighorn at Skidaway Island State Park which is a popular spot and a little south of town. It is challenging to get reservations so plan ahead. It is a beautiful park and island, so if you can score some reservations, you will be glad you did.

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We left Savannah realizing that we could and should have stayed longer. We missed much more than we took in, but we are “piddlin’ around” and I am sure that we will return to Savannah again in the near future.

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