Saturday, October 13, 2012

10/13/2012 Downtown Savannah

If we were locals to this town I’m sure we would refer to it the way the more hip locals to the this locale do…..Downtown Sav.  But visitors we are and we walked with all of the other out of town’ers in awe of the magnificent trees, the lush green city squares, the bustling riverfront and most beautiful old buildings.

We took off for Savannah around noon and made the short drive downtown.  Finding parking for “the beast” was a nightmare!  Finally, we found free parking at the Civic Center, just three blocks from the riverfront.  It was a nice day so we didn’t mind the walk at all.

We wanted to start on River Street so headed straight there.  We had visited Savannah about 9 years ago and back then there seemed to be a lot of building and refurbishing going on.  To tell you the truth, we couldn’t tell the difference today.   River Street is of course on the Savannah River, a busy waterway for the shipping industry.

Our first glimpse of the waterfront.  Actually, it would be more correct to say the back of the old buildings that line the River Street.

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Naturally, Bob was hungry as soon as we hit River Street with its many options for dining.  It didn’t take us long to decide to eat al fresco since it was such a beautiful day.

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For a change Bob had the hamburger and I went off on an adventurous dining experience.

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I had a sandwich of chicken salad with pineapple, pecans and raisins it, on toasted rye with lettuce and tomato.   The plate was rounded out with french fries and the ever present pickle spear.   Now you are probably wondering how this is so adventurous for a lunchtime meal.  Trust me, it is.  This was my first ever chicken salad sandwich.  It wasn’t a matter if I would like it, I knew I would but chicken salad is something I’ve never made and my mom never made it and prior to today there was always something else on the menu I wanted more.  So today was a first for me and it was delicious!
While eating we watched the ships go up and down the river.

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We listened to the street performers play.

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Tummies satisfied, we started our trek to discover Savannah again.

The river was busy with riverboat tours.

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As we walked down the walkway we couldn’t help but notice this yacht.  It’s the Blue Moon registered in Georgetown, C.I.  For you boaters who would like more info on this super yacht just click HERE.  As you can well imagine she drew a lot of attention.  She’s for rent, who wants go in on a floating vacation?  She comes with a staff of 14!

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A picture of her at sea that I found online.

Super yacht BLUE MOON

A World War II memorial on the Riverfront.

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There are all kinds of artisans selling their wares on River Street.

This fellow is explaining to me that he waxes the wood before applying paint for a smoother finish.

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In addition to artists and musicians there were quite a few people, men and women alike, making crosses and flowers from what I’ll call reeds.  I passed this woman and she handed this beautiful rose made from on these reeds and said to me, “Here’s a rose for you, if you’d like to donate a small token that will be fine and if you don’t that will be fine too.  Keep the rose either way as my way of saying to you, welcome to Savannah.   Well of course I had to stop and chat with her and, of course, that lead to picture taking.  This lady is proof positive that southern hospitality is nothing less than an art form.

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The beautiful rose she made.

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After walking the length of the riverfront, perusing the offerings of several shops it was time to check out the rest that Savannah had to offer.

Before leaving River Street I had to shoot a few more pictures of the old buildings.  Can you imagine if these walls could talk?

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We got to the end of River Street and decided it was time to go enjoy the Savannah squares.

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But first we had to get off River Street.  I heard Bob say, “Wow, look at that!” and I thought he was talking about this.

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The stairway was very narrow and the steps very steep.  My knees were screaming and I was only looking at it!

However, Bob hadn’t noticed the stairway yet and was instead checking this out.

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His reaction to the stairway was the same as mine and he did see a much easier set of stairs, one with a landing mid-way even, a block down.   Needless to say, we took those stairs! 

When you get to the first Savannah square the first thing you notice is the magnificent live oak trees.  These large trees have branches that reach so far out to the sides that they are surely a ten year old tree climbers utopia. 

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As you walk under them and look up, you see Spanish Moss hanging from the branches like long beards.  I was told that the Spanish Moss, when in bloom with its very tiny flowers, is truly fragrant.  I’m sorry we missed that.

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Did you know that Savannah is American’s first planned city?  That neighborhoods were planned around park-like city squares.  There were, at one time, twenty four squares.  Today, twenty two remain, losing two to progress and building.

Each square is lined with live oaks and today most offer some kind of memorial to an individual or a group.  Lush green grass covers the squares and there are sidewalks to each memorial.  Each square is surrounded by a concrete jungle which houses downtown Sav’s businesses.  Banks, insurance companies, lawyers, hotels, lots of hotels and restaurants.  Of course there are some beautiful old homes too.  Grand homes.  White columns and wide verandas and beautiful gardens.

And then there is one very small home.   All of two hundred square feet.

How big is the smallest house in Savannah, GA?

Probably one the most photographed buildings in Savannah has got to be City Hall, or rather the gold dome on top of the building.

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From the plaque in City Hall:

City Hall is the first building constructed by the citizens of Savannah expressly and exclusively to serve as the seat of municipal government. Opened on January 2, 1906 it has served continuously in this role since that date. City Hall was preceded on this site by the City Exchange, built in 1799 and razed in 1904. Along with municipal offices, the City Exchange housed the Custom House, a post office, and newspaper offices. City Hall was designed by Savannah architect Hyman W. Witcover and built 1904-1905 by the Savannah Contracting Company during the administration of Mayor Herman Myers. It is a Renaissance Revival structure of granite and limestone exterior. The original copper dome was first gold leafed in 1987.

Did you know that back in the day Savannah was second busiest seaport for cotton in the world?  The Cotton Exchange building still stands today.

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In its heyday, when Savannah was the number one seaport for cotton on the Atlantic, two million bales of cotton would move through Savannah each year.  Today the building houses the Chamber of Commerce.

Starting our trek back to The Beast, I was once again caught up in the old buildings and the detail that went into them.  I much prefer these buildings of years gone by compared to today’s sleek glass and steel structures.

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The detail.

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Lady and Sons.  Anybody know who’s restaurant this is?  Here’s a hint:    BUTTER!

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I’m sure you’ve guessed correctly,  Paula Deen.

We saw another one of these!

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Well, our day in downtown Sav came to an end.  We could have stayed a whole lot longer but we have been here before and just didn’t feel the need to see every single square.

I did have one disappointment.  I looked for Forrest Gump’s bench and didn’t see it.  We did the last time we were here so it had to be one of the squares we didn’t visit today.
Savannah is a beautiful city, there are no two ways about it.

Note from Snookie:  I have had a heck of a time getting this post up.  I wrote half of it one evening and last night I wrote the second half and put the finishing touches on it and something happened to my computer and my screen went blank for a split second.  Normally, my work is saved by Live Writer automatically.  I never click on save manually although I’m going to start doing that starting TODAY!  I have no idea what happened in that split second but it was surely a lesson learned for me.  This is only the second time this has happened to me in nearly six years.  It won’t happen again if I can help it!

2 comments:

Jen said...

Is there a story to go with that little ting house? Ay special history or is it just a private home still? I love Spanish Moss it is so beautiful.

Ann Doody said...

They moved Forrest's bench to a museum by the visitor's center. They put it by a window so you can see it from the outside without paying to go in the museum. Loved all your pictures, brought back memories!