Savannah trip report
Every spring we like to head south after abiding the winter of central Ohio. This year, we opted for Savannah. We’d been for a brief stop many years ago, but had not dedicated any real time to the place. We weren’t sure there’d be enough to keep us busy for a full week, but after the long winter here in Ohio, we decided a little warmth and relaxation were in order and Savannah seemed to fit the bill.
One of the recommendations we’d been given on the forum was to make a day trip to Beaufort, SC. Doing a bit of research on Beaufort, I ran across a place called the Old Sheldon Church ruins. sciway.net/sc-photos/…old-sheldon-church.html The main focus of our trips is for photography so we opted to stop at the Beaufort area on the way to Savannah in order to get some evening shots of the ruins. They were lovely and peaceful. Glad we opted to add them to the trip plans.
Spent part of an afternoon in Beaufort walking the old town taking shots of historic buildings prior to heading to the ruins that evening Cute town with some lovely old buildings. Spent the night at the Best Western South Point near I95. Very nice people, nice and clean room, comfy bed and a voucher for a choice of simple breakfasts at the adjoining Denny’s. Very good service there as well. tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g54410-d74207-R…
The next morning, we headed inland to Hunting Island. Nice lighthouse and grounds. $5 per person to get into the state park. Lighthouse area is included in the cost with an additional $2 per person to climb the lighthouse. Nice little beach which we walked a bit and hiking trails which we did not take time for. southcarolinaparks.com/huntingisland/introdu…
Quite by chance we ran across Penn Center, one of the first schools for blacks in the state. An interesting complex of buildings. Very enjoyable visit, full of history! http://penncenter.com/
Check in at our “cottage” in Savannah was 4:00, so he left the Beaufort area around 3 and headed further south.
Let me touch on our “cottage.” In actuality, it was an old house made into apartments. Ours was simply called the cottage. The house sits right next to the Pirate House so it is on the very edge of the historic district and only a block from the river. Street noise, of course, but the owners have a “white noise” machine in the bedroom. We live in the country here at home, so we made use of the white noise—very nice little touch that- but it was quite peaceful and not noisy at all aside from typical street sounds. The cottage was perfect for our needs. Off street parking behind the property was a big plus. We drove a full size pickup, so…. parking on the old and narrow streets would be a pain. This property allowed us to park the vehicle and walk the entire time. We did drive to Forsyth Park since it was a mile and ½ away for some night shots, but… otherwise, we walked the entire historic district both day and night. Just didn’t feel up to trekking home after dark with cameras and tripods that distance.
Sorry—back to the apartment. We rented thru Southern Belle Vacation Rentals. Had no issues dealing with them ahead of time. $300 to reserve and a month prior to arrival, they put the remaining rental amount on your credit card and email you a receipt. Easy. Always worry a bit renting sight unseen, but… the exterior of the old house was well kept, the courtyard is surrounded by a brick wall and gated front and back (not locked) Courtyard is darling—tables and umbrellas, brick paths, fountain, trees and of course… azaleas! Icing on the cake was a replica “Bird Girl” in the flower bed at the cottage entrance. I have one in my own flower bed here at home, so… I immediately decided this was the perfect place for us! Lol Apartment was very cute. Dining area, living room, bedroom with queen bed, full kitchen, bath and a walk in closet with stacked washer and dryer. Enough towels to last a month! It was perfect! We knew the internet connection thru the local company was spotty at best, so we did not bother to try and connect. We travel with our own “hot spot” since the Mr is an IT guy. So—cannot speak for the internet connection (or tv channels since we didn’t have them on) There were 2 tvs—one each above the decorative fire places in the living room and bedroom. And-- $875 total for 7 nights. Perfect for a couple—and we just loved it. It’s on E Broad. We did not actually “walk” that street. It is not picturesque. School, church—more like a street in any town in the US. Less historic than once you cross the street but we had no issues or hesitation with the area at all. A link to the cottage: www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p3497589
Our first evening in Savannah, we headed to the river after dinner. Art, music… the river walk area was loads of fun! First Friday of the month, they set off fireworks over the river in the warmer months. Sweet! We walked the river in the evenings after dinner nearly every day. 2 mile round trip—lots of bars, restaurants, shops and “street people” Oh, and free praline samples! Always people along the way singing, playing, doing artwork. I loved it. You DO get approached-- offers to sell you roses made of palm leaves was the most common and occasionally panhandlers there and in the squares. The river walk is always bustling and if you enjoy seeing huge cargo ships go by up close—you can sit for hours and do nothing else! Savannah is the 4th busiest port in the US. Who knew? It’s a great area to just walk in the evenings whether you pop into a shop or bar or simply enjoy the sights and sounds around you.
So, that is the river area. The rest of the historic district is most known for its squares. 22 of them! And we walked and photographed every one of them in the sunshine AND the rain. We had 2 and ½ days of rain out of the 7. So—we made use of that time catching photos of people out and about with their umbrellas walking thru the squares and at Forsyth Park. We spent at least half of our time, perhaps more, just walking the historic district. Roughly one mile wide? And a mile and ½ from our spot near the river to Forsyth Park. Most days, we walked 4 to 6 miles just shooting all the historic buildings and azaleas. Look at it this way—you can eat all the homemade biscuits you’d like as long as you’re walking those kinds of miles each day! Lol
Aside from walking and shooting the streets, we DID drive a little bit. Off to Fort Jackson. Nice little fort. www.chsgeorgia.org/old-fort-jackson.html We also visited Fort Pulaski and preferred it because of the long arched hallways which are great for photography. No slight to Jackson—Pulaski was just more to our liking. Fort Jackson is a state park and $7 per person. Pulaski is a national park- $5 per person. http://www.nps.gov/fopu/index.htm Pulaski shoots 2 types of cannons only once a week at noon on Saturdays and as luck would have it-- we arrived at 15 minutes till noon. Not bad at all There’s a mile and ½ round trip trail out to a small lighthouse there at the park as well. Nice little hike—level and shaded much of the way.
We wandered out to Tybee Island but not interested in beach time so only stopped by the lighthouse. $9 per person. We passed. That’s a bit overpriced imo for the small complex there. http://www.tybeelighthouse.org/
Speaking of overpriced….. Wormsloe Plantation. (sorry) $10 per person with a small museum and only the ruins of a building. The biggest draw is the long driveway lined with live oaks and Spanish moss. The drive can be seen from the front gate. We traveled over in the rain to get some misty, eerie shots looking down the driveway. VERY cool! http://gastateparks.org/Wormsloe
We ventured to Bonaventure Cemetery on a rainy day as well. Bonaventure was our favorite place on the trip. Odd, I know—it being a cemetery and all, but… what a place! Dirt lanes lined with live oaks and azaleas…. It was beautiful and absolutely otherworldly in the mist and rain. We stayed for hours. http://www.bonaventurehistorical.org/
Another cemetery we visited which was not on our gps but we’d heard about…. Well….we simply wandered till we found it passing condemned buildings… very sad. I was looking for the graves of slaves that I knew existed. I did find them. Very moving and somber. I was glad we’d made the effort to pay our respects.
I am not generally interested in “tours” of any kind. I suppose I should be, but I’m just not. Museums are not for me either. However…. One tour I DID want to take was the one offered at the First African Baptist church. WOW! So very glad we opted to do that. It is an amazing story. If you have time for a tour—take this one. $7 per person—goes into the donation box. It lasted an hour perhaps? http://www.firstafricanbc.com/history.asp
I cooked at the little apartment most of the time. Ate at Clary’s café twice. http://www.claryscafe.com/ Best homemade biscuits!
Of course, I had to try the Lady and Sons buffet. http://www.ladyandsons.com/ I feared “greasy” but what I got was everything full of flavor with butter and garlic being where most of the flavor was coming from. Really liked the food, actually. Hey—it was a mile walk to and another home (in the rain no less) for that buffet, so… I figured I burnt off at least some of the calories? Lol
We also walked to Leapold’s for ice cream one night. http://www.leopoldsicecream.com/ good homemade ice cream, but the Mr. said it wasn’t worth $8 for a scoop. Lol Okay—in fairness, it was only $4 a scoop. Just so happened he had to spend $8 since I expected a scoop as well! It was really good ice cream, truth be told.
In summary, we both fell in love with Savannah. We both feared “getting bored” with nothing being planned but a week’s worth of walking streets. We did not get bored. Not once. Our legs were awfully sore by the end of the week, but… never bored! Savannah is a wonderful mix of (my interpretation) old south and art college students. It is a lovely, interesting mix and it works beautifully together! It’s a unique place and now my favorite of all the places I’ve been in the south. The food, the people, the history, the whole flavor of the place… wonderful! We’d move there in a heartbeat!
Thanks to all of you in the area who helped with info ahead of time and to all those we met along our way and added such color to our visit. We miss you!