Thursday, October 8, 2009

Globe Trotting

I have an insatiable case of wanderlust. Unfortunately, I'm not able to indulge in it as often as I would like. This blog, however, has offered me the chance to vicariously travel wherever I wish, as long as I wish. I'm going to start using Wednesdays (or Thursdays, as this week's case is) to do just that! I thought I'd start with a place I'm familiar with and branch out from there: the Coastal South. I have lived in Georgia my entire life and spent two glorious years living in Savannah. What better way to kick off a new blog series than to talk about a place I hold dearly to my heart?

Horse hooves clack around squares at a leisurely pace, pulling buggies filled with tourists, newly weds, and eager children leaning over the sides to touch the wheels. Church bells peal as a salty breeze plays tag with the Spanish moss hanging like beards on the great oaks. Cobblestone streets prove an interesting challenged to heeled women and you're bound to see one or two laughing at their clumsiness and failure to inquire as to the proper shoes to wear while strolling River Street. This is Savannah, Georgia's Southern Belle. Founded in 1733 by James Edward Oglethorpe, her 22 squares are filled with history. Each one a miniature town complete with bed and breakfast, quaint shops, and a church or two. The closer you get to the river front, the busier it gets, exploding into a riot of color and culture at Broughton Street where you'll find shops to tempt every taste, budget and discerning palate. River Street boasts more restaurants and shops then you can shake a stick at and no trip is complete without a half hour wander through River Street Sweets to fill up a bag with old fashioned goodies, fudge, and salt water taffy.

Just 15 minutes outside of the Historic District is Tybee Island. A beautiful seaside retreat, Tybee has one end devoted to the tourist's general love of souvenir shopping, night life, and sun bathing. At the other end, the North Beach beckons those who are aware of her secrets a quieter get away. Under the watchful eye of the lighthouse, one will find respite for body and soul. Dolphins play just beyond the breakers and, more often than not, the sea is calm enough to swim and float to your heart's content. Sand dollars wash up at random, jelly fish find themselves stranded, and giant horseshoe crabs deposit their otherworldly bodies upon the grey sands. Grey sand, grey water. Tybee is definitely not a Caribbean destination or a surfer's paradise. If you're looking for a reflective stroll, quiet shell collecting, or a game of bocce ball at sunset with a glass of wine and a few good friends, Tybee is the place for you. On the South End there's the pier and all manner of restaurants and shops to hunt through. It gets a bit crowded down there on the weekends and during summer break, but don't let that dissuade you. If you want to party with the locals and the frequent vacationers, it's the place to be. If you want to see the stars, the North Beach is more your speed.

The people in Savannah know hospitality. They will feed you until you pop and do not understand the phrase, "No thanks, I'm not hungry." They'll serve you coffee and dessert, sweet red wine and last night's left overs. They are a genteel people, raised in the old ways of manners. They are fiercely proud of their heritage and most never leave Savannah's oak limbed arms. Those who do aren't gone for long and return to set up camp permanently. There are antebellum mansions, trendy lofts, beach side cottages, apartments, 1960's bungalows, just about any type of housing you can possibly think of. If you're looking for a place to relocate that tends to have a slower pace, there's a new home just begging to take you in.

Being outside is important to me and Savannah is the only place I was free to roam and discover the outdoors until my heart and soul though they may burst! Forsyth Park stretches for acres with the famous fountain at it's center. There are always joggers, walkers, dogs playing Frisbee and art students filming projects and shooting high fashion assignments. In the summer, spread out a blanket and bring a picnic for Shakespeare in the Park. The Savannah College of Art and Design puts on a sidewalk art festival (which is even worth going to if it rains!) and honestly you never know what you'll find going on at the park! Just behind the park, across from the tennis courts, is a natural food store (Brighter Day) and a local coffee house (The Sentient Bean). Both are definitely worth the visit.

I could go on and on about Savannah, but I won't. I'll let you discover her for yourself! Peruse these links, get to know this gem of a city and if you ever get down this way, stop in and pay her a visit. Just make sure you save me a seat at The Lady!

Happy Fall, Y'all


Glynis said...

Oh my what a lovely day out I had. I was a little tormented by the virtual sweets though! LOL
That was a great post, thanks for the insight to Savannah.

Icy BC said...

I love to read about places that people hold close to their heart, and Savannah sounds absolutely wonderful..Thanks for the information, Jen!

Jen Chandler said...

Glynis: you should see the sweets in real life! Everytime I go in there I long to buy them out of fudge! So glad you enjoyed your trip :)

Icy: Glad you enjoyed this virtual tour of Savannah. I miss living there but I am thankful that I live close enough for a weekend visit.