Thursday, March 22, 2012

Utterly Gorgeous Savannah!

Yesterday we made the "trek" into Savannah. Even the drive to Savannah was pretty but Savannah itself is gorgeous! In my usual cheap-ass fashion, I had found a parking lot on the edge of town (least expensive), next to the Visitors Center (valuable free info) and directly adjacent to one of the DOT stops (free shuttle bus all around Savannah). While waiting for the shuttle we talked with an older couple from Connecticut who were spending a week at their time-share on Hilton Head Island. They gave us some great tips for side trips in the area as well as a crash course in history.I had a rough itinerary planned and soon,  off we went to our first stop, Forsyth Park. Savannah has many "squares" throughout the historic district but this as a large park with a cafe, fountain, playing fields, gardens and stage for concerts. As described on-line, the park is well-loved by area residents. There were groups of Mom's playing with their kids at the playground, a school group on a recess, young men playing frisbee football and many visitors enjoying the "Fragrant Garden", the fountain and the grounds.
Some nice students from the near-by art college volunteered
take our picture.

Magnolias? Not sure, but they smelled great!

      After a good walk around the park and a cup of Joe, we decided to skip the shuttle in favor of walking. It was a picture perfect day and the neighborhoods seemed extremely safe as well as scenic. Savannah doesn't believe in tearing down and rebuilding. The community as a whole refurbishes. There was evidence of this throughout the neighborhoods we walked through. Lots of projects going on and "permits" that were written in an apologetic language (as in "excuse the mess").

Our next stop was about a mile up the street...the Colonial Park Cemetery. The cemetery dates back to the 1700's. Not only historic but hysterical. During the Civil War, Union Troops camped there and in their boredom, recarved dates on the headstones, making fathers younger than their children and wives 11 years old.

The headstone above is for a Josiah Muir who died at age 11, and his wife, Mary, who died 3 years later at age 17 and their son, Lewis,  who died the same year as his 11 year old father at age 12! Pranksters!

After spending a good amount of time viewing this beautiful cemetery, we continued on to the  River Walk along the Savannah River. We stopped for lunch at the 200 year old (building anyway) Boars Head Pub. I had at least 5 things on the menu I would have loved to try (Shrimp and Grits, Crab Soup...) but settled on a Crab Patty Sandwich. Jeff had a Ham and Cheese on muffin smothered in cheesy gravy that was called  "Hot Georgia Brown".
We then wandered up and down the River Walk and stumbled upon probably the greatest cigar shop ever. It wasn't so much the cigar selection as it was the woman running it (for her sister, who she said, pays her with food). She was awesome. Knew her cigars (she started smoking them with her Grandma, who died at 97), was full of southern charm (Jeff was "Baby" and I was "Sweetie"), funny as hell (stories of her Grandma and 10 siblings free of charge) and even "torched" then lit Jeff's cigar for him before we left! The remainder of the cigar was smoked as we finished walking and then we stopped for a brew at Moon River Brewery.
Next we walked to the City Market which is an area of a few blocks with more good restaurants and shops. Amazingly, the only thing we bought the entire day was a beer mug from Moon River and the cigars.

We continued on through the main downtown area and then a few squares, eventually finding our way back to the parking area. I am so glad we didn't pay for one of the tour trolleys as we were able to go exactly where we wanted, when we wanted and got a great view of Savannah on foot!
Across from the parking lot was a pub called The Distillery and since it had been several hours since our last beer and even longer since our last food, we stopped in to find yet another historic building (prohibition era). We sat at the bar and struck up a conversation with the NICEST young man (from North Carolina) who was in Savannah for work (Army Corp of Engineers). He gave us some good tips for our journey into North Carolina.

 A cup of chili and a drink later, we were back on the road. And exhausted...but enjoying every minute in this charming area.

Today was rest day and I also did some long overdue cleaning of window frames and the living room fan (I didn't even realize how grimy it was until I looked up and....whoa!). Things get very dusty and dirty when being pulled down dusty and dirty roads. RV's are NOT airtight so the road grime accumulates quickly. It was nice not having an agenda today and in addition to cleaning, I got our RV repair work scheduled, insurance claim submitted and reservations made for our next two stops. I also made a reservation for our day trip tomorrow to Daufuskie Island. More on that later...

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