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Southern Grace


The Quaint Charms of Savannah

John McKinney

It’s mid-April, the weather is gorgeous and it’s time to take a trip with the wife to one of our favorite cities, Savannah, GA. Located about 2 hours south of Charleston, SC and 2 hours north of Jacksonville, FL, this quaint Southern city is a popular destination for many in the Southeast. The colonial style city is filled with parks and history.

Accommodations & Eateries

This trip, my wife and I stayed at a B&B near the large Forsyth Park called the Dresser Palmer House. This quaint inn is available for weddings, private parties, and of course as a B&B. Excellent food (peaches & cream french toast one morning…mmmm), charming spaces, and friendly staff make this a definite recommendation from me.

As for where we ate, the first night we walked to the Crystal Beer Parlor. This restaurant had delicious food and was as casual as Savannah can be. Which is to say jeans and a button-down fit in well there. If you go to the Crystal Beer Parlor, get the peach cobbler you’ll thank me immediately.

Saturday night, we ate at the Ordinary Pub on Broughton St. It was good, I would eat there again but I personally liked the Crystal Beer Parlor more. I only mention this to help you make a decision between two good options and only have time for one during your stay.

Adventures

Just walking around Savannah is an adventure. Lovely brick sidewalks, gorgeous parks at every roundabout, and sprawling large Live Oaks cover the city. It’s one of the prettiest cities I’ve been to. It can be touristy at times, with ghost tours and tourist shops down near the river. It’s worth making the trip down to the river though for two reasons. The walk along the river is beautiful and there is a huge candy shop, Candy Kitchen.

Savannah possesses a charm that many cities sadly don’t. The large Forsyth Park, which stretches six blocks long by two blocks wide and contains a large fountain as well. Take a stroll through Forsyth Park and you’ll never want to leave Savannah.

Wormsloe Historic Site (unfortunate name for an alluring place) was the colonial estate of Noble Jones (great name). One of the most scenic drives I’ve ever been on, Wormsloe has a canopy of Live Oaks and Spanish Moss as you drive in that feels like you’re driving through a tunnel of trees. Check out the time-lapse taken from the GoPro below!

After you make the slow drive through the tunnel of trees, there is ample opportunity to learn about the history of the site. Historical recreations with rangers dressed in colonial garb tell stories of living on this site. There is a blacksmith shop, a small home, and trails to be explored. It’s great for families and kids. We had a blast at this place too even without kiddos. I would happily go back, if only just for that Live Oak canopy.

Skidaway Island State Park contains a nice trail that leads out to a peaceful river. We stood on the banks of the river enjoying the tranquility and silence as water softly lapped by. If you have the time it’s worth the drive out, especially since it’s so close to Wormsloe.

St. John the Baptist Cathedral is a magnificent cathedral off Harris St. and is certainly worth a visit. While there check out the Colonial Park Cemetery right nearby. Opened in 1750, this cemetery houses many of Savannah’s first citizens.

“If you go to the Crystal Beer Parlor, get the peach cobbler you’ll thank me immediately.”

Fort Pulaski

Not far from Savannah is Fort Pulaski National Monument. We almost decided not to go and just head home a little early but we were very happy we made the trip to Fort Pulaski. It ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. It’s a 19th Century fort on the way to Tybee Island.

Built to defend the coast after the War of 1812, Fort Pulaski didn’t see action until the Civil War. The walls are eleven feet thick and the fort was thought to be impenetrable when it was built. Well, apparently not quite. The Union set up on nearby Tybee Island, about a mile away, and bombarded the wall repeatedly with long-range artillery. After only 30 hours, Fort Pulaski’s eastern wall fell. It would take the Union soldiers six weeks to repair the wall as they occupied it the remainder of the war.

When visiting Fort Pulaski these days, you’ll cross over a moat onto a small island in front of the fort. This island, an unassuming mound of earth, is actually covered in tunnels and rooms used to store men, guns, and ammo. This island is how you enter the fort itself. You cross the moat a second time using a bridge. Once inside the fort you’ll find a wealth of cannons (always a favorite of mine) and historical recreations of rooms.

While we were there they were doing an event to help visitors get a feel for life in the fort back in the day. In the large center yard in the center, we played a 19th Century version baseball. In case you were wondering, I got a double on my only at-bat.

After exploring the fort, be sure to walk around the outside. You can still see a large amount of damage littering the walls. As you walk around, look for damage in the wall that looks like the number seven. You can see a cannonball still lodged in the wall there. As for trails, I would personally skip them. The lighthouse trail leads out to a small, unimpressive lighthouse that you can’t even get that close to.

All in all, it was a great weekend in Savannah. I hope you take a trip to Savannah sometime soon and enjoy its quaint Southern charms.

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