Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sweet Savannah

When traveling, there is an opportunity to both go beyond myself, by opening up to the unfamiliar, and to get more deeply in touch with myself, by honoring my senses, interests and desires.  Each new sight or sound or taste yields a vehicle for discovery, bringing me closer to the things that resonate for me, things I would like to include in my daily life.  In this way, I come home with more than just photographs.  

In late December, my love and I traveled to one of the most romantic U.S. cities-- Savannah, Georgia.  
This was our second trip to Savannah, and on the first day, as we wandered through its many squares, beneath the canopy of live oaks draped with wispy Spanish moss, it felt to me like coming home.

Savannah is an old city by U.S. standards, having been founded by the British in 1740 as a way to protect the city of Charleston to the north from the Spanish colony in Florida to the south.  It is sited at the mouth of the Savannah River, not far from where the river flows out to the Atlantic Ocean.

The oldest parts of Savannah surround a grid of 24 public squares, spaced 2 blocks apart.  The squares are bordered by grand private residences and public buildings, like churches and government offices.  Several of the residences are available for touring.  We went through 4 of them and also took a walking architecture tour.     I have an abiding love for old structures, for old trees, and for history.  Savannah is the perfect place to satisfy these interests.

Many of the squares have monuments to Revolutionary War heroes, like Kashmir Pulaski.

Some of the churches surrounding the squares are small and quaint.

Others are massive, extending spires up to the heavens.

Horse-drawn carriages abound.

The red brick building below is one of many belonging to the Savannah College of Art and Design.  SCAD was founded in 1979 and gave momentum to the historic preservation movement.  The college bought up many of the old buildings and renovated them.

All of the squares have paved walkways that flow straight from the street through their center.

And circle the perimeter.

 The oldest (and, believe it or not, more humble) houses are quite close together and perch almost atop the sidewalk.  

This fountain at Forsyth Park is a famous Savannah Site.  It was decked with red bows for the holidays.  Sprays of water glimmer in the abundant sunlight.  I was moved by the arching branches of the oaks and how beautifully they frame the fountain as we approached it.

Opulent porches grace Victorian era homes and were often added to Colonial architecture during that time, when ornamentation was desired over simplicity.

In the Historic District, this is just an ordinary street.

Metalwork is ubiquitous in Savannah, in both garden structures and on buildings.

A peek inside a private garden yields a sense of the tropical.  We were told by the locals that summers are unbearably hot and humid,  and winters are obviously mild, so it is no wonder tropical plants thrive here.

This is a city I would not hesitate to move to.  Besides the squares, the architecture, the climate, and the friendly people; other benefits include wonderful restaurants, proximity to the ocean, a thriving art community, walkability, the value that is placed on historic preservation, charm, and grace.   I felt safe and comfortable as we roamed the streets and drove through neighborhoods outside the Historic District.  As someone who loves living in the country just outside a small university community, this is saying a lot! 

And so in my travels, I have come to learn that there are some other places that beckon.  I had previously not felt the pull to move to anywhere that was considered urban or more populous that 100,000 residents.  But here I am declaring, as so many others have before me, that Savannah has me by the heart.  
And how sweet it is.

Until next time...

1 comment:

  1. Dear Anne,
    I did read this post a couple of days ago and, I think that the phone rang and I forgot all about it !! It's my age !! haha
    Savannah looks beautiful. We have been to Atlanta and, I think that the architecture is similar. Those houses are so gorgeous. That style has always been my favourite of American houses.I live in a Victorian house, although much different to these.
    ....and, many thanks for your kind birthday are a lovely blogging friend.
    Hope you are having a lovely sunday....we had snow last night so we are busy doing nothing but keeping warm. XXXX


Your thoughts are always greatly appreciated. Thank you for visiting!


Related Posts with Thumbnails