A group of 40 women hopped on a bus and went to Savannah, GA. I have been to Savannah many times before, but never participated in any of the historical tours or adventures. When I signed up for this trip I really had no idea what we would be doing or where we would be going. Frankly, I only went on this trip to hang out with the ladies. Since the trip is put together by our ‘Historical Lunch Bunch’ I should have had an idea right?
When I think of Savannah I envision live oak trees with Spanish moss dripping from their branches. Large houses and mansions – mostly historical type architecture. I envision the Savannah River and the HUGE shipping container yards (the busiest container port in the Eastern Seaboard). And, of course, shopping and TONS of walking.
Once we arrived in Savannah, GA
We started our trip with lunch at Vic’s on the River Restaurant. The Shrimp and Grits was the best I have ever eaten – the grits were a tad smoked and the shrimp…..fresh and huge. I can’t even begin to describe my awesome dessert – Praline Cheesecake – one of the best desserts I have ever eaten in my life! (And I know my desserts)
The period looking bar with the bead board on the ceiling, arched windows overlooking the river added so much to the charm of the restaurant.
Savannah has a River Street Market – it runs for a few blocks along the river. They have the usual cast of characters – taffy and candy stores, souvenir shops, bars and restaurants. They even have a Zoltar Machine (do you remember the movie ‘Big’ with Tom Hanks – when he got his fortune from Madame Zoltar).
River Street in itself is pretty amazing – the whole street is built up on pilings. The area used to end at the buildings (where those arch windows are in the restaurant photo above)
You will also find the City Market – pretty much the same as the River Street Market. Both worth a little walk around.
We took a trolley tour with Old Savannah Tours which I HIGHLY recommend doing as soon as you get there. The drivers are very knowledgable and will show you all the ‘hot spots’. And if you take a few notes, you will know where you want to go back to on your own. Like the hanging tree, all of the different churches, cemeteries and mansions.
This is what I learned:
Savannah, GA is the 1st pre-revolutionary planned city.
James Oglethorpe started Savannah and he had rules – no slaves, liquor, or Catholics. And, debtors were not thrown into jail – they were allowed to work off their debt.
There used to be a church called the ‘Second Color Baptist Church’.
The African Baptist Church had holes in the floor – to provide air for those hiding down below.
Savannah has many squares within the city limits. Each one has a monument erected in honor of someone important to Savannah.
The ‘Waving Girl’ statue overlooks the the river. She is named for Miss Florence who, in real life, stood there and waved to the shipping companies coming into port for 40 years.
Mrs. Wilkes has a boarding house and restaurant (from Gone With the Wind).
There is a ‘Pirates House’ restaurant. During the prohibition they would dig tunnels from the river to the restaurant to smuggle in liquor. The restaurant was NOT close to the river either – must have been a long tunnel!
There really is a hanging tree in Wright Square. It is know as Justice Square. In the square stands a tree with bare area on this large limb where there is no bark. Superstition states that nothing will grow where an innocent life is lost. This is a great article about Alice. She was innocent and still hanged.
At night we went to the Bonaventure Cemetery.
Our guide was Shannon S. Scott. He was as interesting as the cemetery. There is WAY too much to write about the cemetery. The book ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ took place in this cemetery (as well as other parts of Savannah).
30 minutes before midnight is good. 30 minutes after midnight is evil.
Witch doctors still operate in the cemeteries. After hours when no one else is there (thank heavens!) They sneak in.
There is a large tomb for Eleanor Whitaker Baldwin (of the Baldwin piano family). She was the Paris Hilton of the day. A song was written about her called ‘Hard Hearted Hannah’. This is Ella Fitzgerald’s version.
Other must see tombs in the cemetery:
Johnny Mercer – 19 Academy Award Nominations. 4 Oscars. Over 1,500 written songs. Founder of Capitol Records.
Little Gracie Watson – Little Gracie’s tomb is the most famous and visited by thousands of people all year. Gracie got sick when she was 6. People place toys, games, stuffed animals and other things around her grave. Recently they added the fence because of destruction. So visitors now reach between the bars and place all of their gifts inside the fence.
Little Gracie's Tomb (above)
The ‘no see ums’ were really bad as the sun started to set. We had bug spray and Bounty sheets. Lookin good!
Dinner was at the ‘Olde Pink House Restaurant’ – a national landmark of Savannah. You can read about it HERE.
The food was good and I would recommend it as a ‘place to see’.
Savannah, GA is also known for its fountains.
I was there in March and in anticipation of the St. Patricks Parade and celebrations, city workers dump green dye into all the fountains. This tradition has been going on for decades.
We also had dinner at Erica Davis Low-country Restaurant. It was the BEST low-country boil I have ever eaten. The homemade chicken Italian sausage was yummy and the shrimp were huge and fresh caught….locally. And the pulled pork barbecue… so yummy my mouth is watering right now.
The mansions and houses are just magnificent.
Mercer Williams House
We also toured Mercer Williams’s house. From their website ‘The Mercer House was designed by New York architect John S. Norris for General Hugh W. Mercer, great grandfather of 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, one of Savannah’s earliest and most dedicated private restorationists, bought the then vacant house and began a two-year restoration. This house is one of the more than 50 houses Mr. Williams saved during his thirty-year career in historic restoration in Savannah and the Low country.’
The gardens were sunken and so beautiful. Clint Eastwood used this house for the filming of ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’.
Random Photos of Savannah. GA
Gotta love the ladies!
Thanks so much for taking this tour with me. I highly recommend Savannah as a vacation ‘must see’. And, as an FYI, I had laryngitis the whole time I was with the girls…..the joke was on me for sure!
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