Savannah, Georgia is one of those cities that’s worth visiting simply because it’s so beautiful. When someone mentions Savannah the image that first pops into my mind is the sight of all the moss-covered oak trees that languidly shift ever so lovingly in the southern breeze.
The second might not be overly familiar to some … but it is the Daiquiris drive-throughs where you can pick up your favourite concoction at the window a la Tim Hortons. When we first walked in through the doorway (there was one across the street from our hotel so we didn’t need a car) there was a row of giant slurpee like machines where you had to make the difficult decision of what flavour you wanted your alcoholic libation in. Sweet mother of …..I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. What does MAAD think about all this? One-eyed Lizzy’s on River Street also makes exceptional margaritas! If you have time you should also make a trip to Tibee Island and have dinner at the Crab Shack.
A little background on Savannah – not that big, easy to navigate and very pretty squares.
The 22 squares in Savannah today provide locals and visitors alike with a little greenery amid all the businesses and historic houses. At one time there were 24 historic squares, but two were lost due to city development while others, such as Ellis Square, were redesigned and made even more appealing.
Savannah was established in 1733 by General James Oglethorpe and was the first colonial and state capital of Georgia. Oglethorpe named the 13th and final American colony Georgia after England’s King George II. Plus, Savannah is a port town so there’s also pirate history and … it’s haunted! How much more can you ask for?
If you like architecture, you’ll really like Savannah, something visually noteworthy is pretty much everywhere you turn. This is the fountain in Forsyth Park, which is definitely worth a stop. You’ll enjoy a short walk to the fountain and those gorgeous live oaks along the way.
Forsyth Park in the historic district was laid out in the 1840’s. The land for the original space was donated by William Hodgson. In 1851 John Forsyth, the 33rd Governor of Georgia donated an additional 20 acres, bringing the total size of Forsyth Park to 30 acres. The Park was named after him and still retains his name today.
The Forsyth Park Fountain
Perhaps the most well known feature of Forsyth Park is the large fountain that sits at the north end. The fountain was built in 1858. It resembles a few other fountains found around the world, including fountains in Paris and Peru. On any given day you can find many people, especially locals, lounging on the benches, taking in the scenery and people watching.
Every year on St. Patrick’s Day the city of Savannah dyes the water in the fountain green. We just happened to be there at that time but it wasn’t planned. The ceremony when the water is dyed is a popular event attended by hundreds, sometimes thousands of local ‘Savannahians’, many of whom are of Irish descent.
The Mercer Williams House
Thanks to the 1994 book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the Mercer Williams House has become one of those ‘must-see’ attractions for many people coming to Savannah. Even before the book came out the house was a beautiful fixture on Monterey Square. The Mercer House was designed by New York architect John S. Norris for General Hugh W. Mercer, great grandfather of the songwriter and co-founder of Capitol Records, Johnny Mercer. Construction of the house began in 1860, was interrupted by the Civil War and was later completed, circa 1868, by the new owner, John Wilder.
In 1969, Jim Williams bought the house and restored it. Williams was a noted antiquities dealer. He also enjoyed restoring old homes, the Mercer Williams House being one of them. It was in this house that Jim Williams allegedly shot Danny Hansford in 1981 killing him. Williams was tried four times, finally being found innocent of all crimes. Williams died in the house of a coronary brought on my pneumonia in the same room as Hansford.
If you are looking for the statue of the Bird Girl from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, you could have found it in Bonaventure Cemetery prior to Midnight’s fame. Now you can find her in the Telfair Museum.
There is much to see and do in Savannah and should be enjoyed at a relaxed and leisurely pace. Visit www.savannah.com for more information or www.visitsavannah.com and receive a free guide. I would love to visit the City again in the future but for the time being I think I will make myself a daiquiri and relive the time I was there. Enjoy and explore. Bon Voyage!