All the remarkable things about Southern hospitality are abundant in Savannah. The nickname “Hostess City of the South” indicates that all are welcomed with charm and grace that is sure to please. Let me explain why Savannah, Georgia is one of my favorite destinations for captivating architecture, fascinating history, natural beauty, and soothing relaxation.
Established in 1733 by the British prior to the American Revolution, Savannah was purposely designed to highlight squares. These are green spaces or parks which are now filled with benches, monuments, fountains, and many varieties of native trees and plants. Visitors admire the white blossoms of the magnolia trees and the large oaks draped with Spanish moss.
Millions of visitors annually come with an itinerary of tours, restaurants, and shops to experience hastily. However, I much prefer to unwind as I take my time leisurely walking along the riverfront or in one of the many squares. I love to smile and engage in pleasant conversation with locals and visitors alike as if Savannah smiles upon me while I share my joy with others.
I am one of those true Southerners who love to linger long over anything enjoyable. In Savannah, I bask in the wonderful art galleries and on the park benches and revel in big hugs. While some reach for their credit card, I am more apt to reach for my camera. Being a bit old-school, I also love to jot down those special memorable moments in a notebook. Yes, actual pen on paper.
The original boundaries of the planned city of Savannah became one of the largest and most well-preserved historic districts in the United States. Hundreds of homes, businesses, and places of worship reflect the architectural styles of the 18th and 19th centuries. These include Georgian, Federal, Italianate, Gothic, Victorian, and Greek.
One of my favorite examples of “Steamboat Gothic” is the Gingerbread House. This style was borrowed from the Black Forest region of Germany. It was built in 1899 and is so picturesque. Two US Presidents have visited this house. Today the Gingerbread House in Savannah, Georgia is a popular wedding venue.
After doing a good bit of research, I can confirm that these interesting pieces of information are historically accurate. This is only a small sampling of Savannah’s fascinating history.
Founded in 1773, Savannah’s First African Baptist Church was the first in North America created by an African American congregation.
Built in 1794, the Pirate’s House is the oldest building in Savannah that remains fully intact. Today it serves as a popular restaurant. A reservation is highly recommended.
From 1776 until 1784, Savannah served as the first State Capital of Georgia. There have been four others since that time.
Founded in 1878, the Temple Mickve Israel is one of the oldest Jewish congregations, and the only Gothic Revival style synagogue, in the United States.
The year 1912 was when Savannah resident Juliette Gordon Low started the Girl Scouts of America with eighteen young women.
The 1994 movie Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks was partially filmed in Savannah. It included at least three of the famous squares.
The 1997 movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was filmed in Savannah. It highlighted the Mercer-Williams House, which is claimed to be haunted.
What I find most naturally beautiful are the Savannah River, the trees, and the plants. Tourists can take botanical walks to learn about the magnolias, crepe myrtles, and palmettos. They can see how some large oaks full of hanging moss form a living canopy overhead that gives great shade on even the hottest summer days.
The prettiest flowering plants are camellias, azaleas, narcissus, and jasmine. They are sprinkled liberally throughout the squares, parks, and gardens.
I love walking by the river during the early morning when the sunlight makes the water sparkle like fine diamonds. At Morrell Park, I enjoy seeing the Waving Girl statue. If I sit near it long enough, many birds and squirrels will stop by to find out whether I wish to share any snacks with them.
Watching the Georgia Queen riverboat float by always stirs my wild imagination. I wonder what sort of gamblers and loose women passed this way when paddlewheel boats were common. And when I watch in awe as huge cargo ships go by piled with thousands of containers, my mental pondering goes into overdrive.
That is when I go to other parks and squares in search of monuments, fountains, and people who seem like they might have a delightful story to tell. I have interviewed many unforgettable characters while sitting on a park bench.
Forsyth Park is a place every visitor should experience. In addition to ball courts, grassy fields, and monuments, there is a wonderful Fragrant Garden for the blind. The beautiful fountain at the north end of the park was erected in 1858 and is extremely popular and picturesque.
There is so much to enjoy in Savannah. Each time I visit, I discover more ways to appreciate the friendly people in this enchanting Southern city. The intriguing blend of architecture, history, and nature somehow lends itself to contemplation and complete relaxation.
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