Savannah, Georgia

Melvyn Brown
Mon 13 Dec 2010 22:57

We went into Savannah to do some sightseeing.  It’s a beautiful city – compact enough to walk around – but would have looked soooooo much better in the sunshine.  As it was there was a bitterly cold wind and quite heavy rain during the morning.  We took a 90 minute trolley bus guided tour to get our bearings and then went back to some of the places to have another look and take some photographs.  You wouldn’t have to be a student of architecture to appreciate the buildings, many of which have cost a fortune to restore to their former glory.  (We met someone later who said it was generally believed that the reason so many buildings remained was because in the past Savannah was too poor to tear them down and redevelop the sites.) 


The city was the first to be laid out on the grid system in the 1700’s and there were four squares.  As the city expanded the number of squares multiplied and some 20+ of the original squares still exist.  Each commemorates a notable individual – ranging from Washington to John Wesley.



There are examples of Georgian and Victorian architecture with a bit of Greek and French thrown in for good measure.  There are numerous churches including the First African American church and a Synagogue which was commissioned from an architect who had never seen a Jewish Temple, and so gave them a church (in the shape of a cross).


We met a chap out walking his dog who apologised for the dreadful weather.  We got chatting about the city and it turned out he was a keen sailor with a vintage 60’s yacht of his own.  He had crossed the Atlantic twice and was another one that wasn’t all that enamoured with Florida (but for the weather), but positively raved about the Bahamas.  We met a solo sailor in Georgetown who was en route for the Bahamas and I asked him the question that has been bugging me for some time.  “What do you actually do all day?”  He looked a bit taken aback at first, but then admitted I wasn’t the first to have asked.  He told us there were always things to do on the boat – a bit of cleaning, checking the engine, changing the filter, rowing ashore to get some water in a jerry can……  “Yes, yes”, I said, “but take sailing out of the equation and then how do you fill your day?”  He looked as if he couldn’t think of anything and so I prompted him, “I expect you read a lot”.  “Yes, yes, I read, sometimes go ashore for lunch….and there is a chap over there who sells time on the Internet and occasionally I check to see who has been writing to me.”


There is a huge container port a little way down the river.  We had a fairly close encounter with one of the huge ships as we neared where we had to cross the Savannah River.  We were meandering down this minor creek when all of a sudden a huge container ship crossed our path a little way in the distance.  The Savannah River was very wide and we took care to look both ways before we scuttled across – I now appreciate how a hedgehog must feel contemplating crossing a dual carriageway.  We had only gone a few hundred yards down the river opposite when we looked back to see a very large gas container ship had come around the corner and was following the container ship down river.


A feature of Savannah is the Live Oak trees (called “Live” because they are evergreen) and the Spanish Moss which hangs down from the branches.  The tour guide told us never to touch the moss because it’s riddled with bugs and mites but if you nuke it in the microwave it can be used in flower arranging.  It’s not a parasite and does the tree no harm.  Just up the road from the marina are some Live Oaks and the road divides and goes either side of them.


We were intending to sail on Tuesday but the temperatures are going to remain below freezing for the best part of the day and so we decided we weren’t that masochistic and we would stay put another day.  The temperatures on Wednesday are forecast to be nearer 50deg and actually continue to increase towards the end of the week when they reach 60….hallelujah!