Our time in Savannah has come to an end. Tomorrow morning we’ll be on the move again. We’ve enjoyed our visit and we leave this place with a much improved impression than the one we left with on our first visit to this city. I think the time of year has made all the difference. We visited several of Savannah’s lovely squares, we walked the streets in the Colonial District, the Victorian District and even the hustling, bustling shopping district and we still haven’t seen all that Savannah has to offer. We missed the Wormsloe Plantation, the Colonial Cemetery and taking in a Sand Gnats ballgame at historic Grayson Stadium. We’ll save those outings for the next time around.
Yesterday we took a combination trolley tour and walking tour of the city. The Old Town Trolley provides a great service to Savannah visitors. The trolley covers all of the historic area with guides giving information about each section. A route map is given to each guest with trolley stops highlighted. For one low price, a guest is provided with all day transportation around the city from 9 am until 6 pm. You are free to get on and off at any of the 15 stops along the way. We used this along with a walking tour and guidebook I had purchased. Between the two we had it all covered.
We started at the Visitor’s Center. There’s ample parking, it’s secure, and with the purchase of our trolley ticket, it’s free. I had plotted out what we were interested in seeing the night before and at which trolley stops to get off at for each.
First stop, City Market. The City Market. The correct city market, not the place we went to last Tuesday. This market reminded me of Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada with tree lined stone walkways, outside cafes and wagons filled with flowers pots. Shops offered a variety of trinkets for sale. We did browse two of the art galleries, the first one drew me in with the rich vibrant colors of the artwork. I found one I really liked but with very limited wall space in our rolling home, I left empty handed. It was Don who was drawn into the second gallery via a painting of Fenway Park. We obviously have different opinions on what constitutes good art. Don made a small purchase at The Candy Kitchen to satisfy his sweet tooth, then referring to our guide book we went in search of Franklin Square to view the Haitian Monument and the First African Baptist Church.
The Haitian Monument, only recently erected in 2007, honors the 700 free men of color who came from Haiti to fight alongside the Americans and the French in the Siege of Savannah in 1779. The facial expressions, the clothing, the artillery, is so intricately detailed, had it not been made of bronze you’d think the men were real.
The First African Baptist church (c.1859) is home to the oldest black congregation in America. The building was constructed by free African-Americans and by slaves, who were allowed to work after their normal work day. It was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.
You never know who you’ll run into at City Market. Today it’s John Mercer and Marilyn Monroe.
At our second stop we passed by the Juliet Gordon Low House although we didn’t enter the home we did learn a little tidbit. The selling of Girl Scout cookies is a time honored tradition. Originally, scouts baked cookies to send to our boys at war (WWI, I believe), by the time the soldiers received the cookies there was nothing left but crumbs. The girls decided candy would travel better but they would need to use much more sugar than the cookies called for. So the young entrepreneurs baked cookies to sell to locals in order to raise funds to purchase the sugar necessary to make the soldiers candy.
Our goal was to find the bench where Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) sat while telling his life story. The scene was filmed at Chippewa Square so that was our destination. Thinking for sure there would be a marker indicating the exact spot/bench, we scoured the square. Don headed in one direction and I in another. No luck. Don pulled that movie scene up on his iPhone to help with identifying the bench’s location. I guess it looked pretty obvious to a local gentleman who promptly pointed out the spot where the bench HAD been. It now sits in a local museum. RATS! We did check out the Oglethorpe Monument in the square’s center since were there already. It’s considered to be one of Savannah’s most notable. The man who designed this statue is the same man who designed Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial in Washing D.C. In the tradition of orienting military statues to face in the direction of their enemies, General Oglethorpe faces South to keep a watchful eye on the Spanish in Florida.
We also visited the Wright and Johnson Squares at this stop. In Wright Square lies Chief Tomo-chi-chi’s Rock. Tomo-Chi-Chi, a Yamacraw Indian, was a friend to Oglethorpe and the colonists. He is credited with assisting the General in settling the Georgia Colony. He lies buried in the center of Wright Square under the Gordon Monument. It’s said that when the monument was placed over the Chief’s grave, Gordon’s daughter-in-law and mother of Juliet Gordon Low, was filled with guilt. She headed a group to obtain the large granite stone to place in the square as a memorial to Tomo-chi-chi.
Johnson Square (c.1733) was the first of the 24 squares laid out by Oglethorpe. At the square’s heart is a tall white obelisk memorializing the Revolutionary War hero, Nathanael Greene. Greene was originally interred at Colonial Park Cemetery, he now lies buried beneath this monument. (Have you noticed that the citizenry of Savannah have a tendency of moving their dead around? It’s a wonder they haven’t lost or misplaced any body’s.) Johnson Square is where George Washington once gave a speech as did other historic figures such as Marquis de Lafayette, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. On August 10,1776. The Declaration of Independence was first read aloud to the Georgia colonists here. On the southeast corner of the square sits Christ Church (C.1744) whose church bell still tolls daily. The bell dates from 1819 and was made by Revere and Sons. That would be Paul Revere.
Back on the trolley we ride until we come to Forsyth Park. A Savannah landmark with its oft photographed, oft painted Forsyth Fountain. This beautiful cast iron fountain was erected in 1858. Don and I chose this scenic locale to rest on one of the many benches under Spanish moss laden Live Oaks for a snack before continuing on our way. We hiked the entire loop around the 30 acre park admiring the stately Victorian homes that surround it and ended our walk at the base of the Confederate Memorial. It is one of the largest memorials honoring the Confederates that fought in the Civil War. Built to honor Savannah’s veterans it is situated where soldiers drilled before marching off to war. As is the custom, the soldier on top faces north toward the enemy.
A few of the lovely old Victorian homes surrounding Forsyth Park.
We next disembarked at the Massie Heritage Museum near Calhoun Square. From there we made our way to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The colonial charter of Savannah prohibited Catholics from settling there. The colonists feared that the Catholics would side with the Spanish in Florida rather than the English should a war break out. The prohibition banished after the Revolutionary War and a Catholic congregation was established in 1796. Construction of the cathedral began in 1873 and was completed in 1896. The outside is magnificent but the inside is awe inspiring. This is truly the most elegant church interior we have ever seen.
We passed by several significant buildings such as the Andrew Low House, the First Girl Scout Headquarters and the Sorrel-Weed House. We walked through Madison, Pulaski, Chatham, Monterey and Lafayette Squares. The fountain in Lafayette had previously been a fixture of the garden at Wormsloe Plantation. We paid a visit to the Mercer House, home of the songwriter Johnny Mercer and featured prominently in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Being Civil war buffs, we also stopped at the Green-Meldrim House. When Savannah was surrendered to the Union Army in December 1864, Charles Green, a wealthy cotton merchant, offered his home to General William Tecumseh Sherman to use as his headquarters. It was from here that Sherman sent his famous telegraph to President Lincoln presenting the city to Lincoln as a Christmas gift.
Our last get off point was at The Pirates’ House (c.1754). Originally the structure was a seaman’s tavern in the days of sailing ships and pirates. It was rumored that an underground tunnel ran from the cellar to the river where drunken men who were shanghaied would awaken aboard ship to find themselves an unwitting member of the crew. Legend also has it that Robert Louis Stevenson, a guest here, wrote Treasure Island because he was so inspired by events that occurred at the tavern. The house is mentioned in the book as the place where the infamous pirate, Captain Flint died. He is rumored to haunt the place on moonless nights. Today the house is a popular restaurant and it was our choice for an early dinner. Don ordered fish and chips and I tried the fried green tomato BLT. The meal was fine, nothing outstanding.
We see Black Betty and Captain Flint during our visit to the old tavern.
From here I walked toward Washington Square leaving Don behind at the Pirate House. I wanted to see the houses known as Rainbow Row. Quaint? Yes, but not nearly as attractive as Charleston’s Rainbow Row. We boarded the trolley and remained onboard until it made its last stop back where we began. Before getting back into the truck to return to the campground we made one more visit to the park next door to the Savannah Visitor Center. It’s the Battlefield Memorial Park, built as a replica of the Spring Hill Redoubt that was the center of fighting during the Revolutionary War’s Siege of Savannah. It is said to have been one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The patriots William Jasper and Casimir Pulaski both fought and died here.
This morning Tucker had his check up at the veterinary hospital. Much to our relief, the good news was No Cancer! We did have a lengthy discussion about Tucker’s allergies and we are making changes in our boy’s diet and in how we treat his itching. We will go this route for the next 12 weeks, hoping for positive results. Like allergies in humans, Tucker’s can’t be cured but our goal is to find the best way to manage them to prevent any more occurrences of this nature in the future. We appreciate all of the kind words and encouragement we have received from so many of you who read our blog. It means so much.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid………………….