There are two types of road trips. The first is the one you take with one destination in mind, which usually entails trying to get from point (a) to point (b) in the shortest amount of time. The second type, is where you stop along the way, whether it is to pre-determined places or destinations that tickle your fancy along the way. We opted for the tickle-your-fancy choice, and what a trip it's been! Part of the joy is being unplugged. No phone (unless using the GPS) and all that time in the car together is why the word amazing was created. There's just something cool about taking a summer road trip. Our first on-a-whim stop, Savannah, Georgia.
|What a lovely day to take a walk, and look at those sidewalks!|
I'd heard about Savannah before (who hasn't?), and two of my grown children have been there, one as recently as a year ago. I have also read about it on blogs, and in travel review/books/articles...so I did have a general idea of what we were getting into (old southern charm, a slower pace, beautiful trees, etc.).
There were tour trolley cars running like crazy, and we considered booking one, but opted in the end to 'do it on our own.' Once we saw the scenery, we knew we wanted to see everything up close and personal, and not just passing it by on a streetcar (not to impugn the loveliness of trolley tours, which are informative and restful, for sure). The first thing we noticed is there were a lot of ways to get around Savannah, including horse drawn carriages, bicycle taxis (pedicabs), the aforementioned trolley tours, traditional driving and walking. We did a combination of the last two with the walking being far preferable to the driving, so we only drove when we were ready to explore another entire area of this great city. The weather (mid-June) was absolutely perfect.
Turns out we'd stopped close to Jones Street, one of the most famous streets in the town (voted most beautiful street in the US by Southern Living), and very close to the Historic District (information we learned from a passing open-window trolley tour that passed us by).
The cobblestone streets were charming!! The building were huge, and very beautiful. The feel everywhere we went, was peaceful and calm. I loved our stop in Savannah so, so much!
We ran into quite a few squares and places with signs, which helped us better understand what it was we were looking at while we were there. Chatham Square, like everywhere else was a beautiful little 'square' or area filled with gorgeous moss-covered trees, perfected landscapes and surrounded by beautiful architecture (homes and businesses).
We stopped and took some pictures of things we thought were interesting, like this Armillary Sphere in Troup Square (also in the historic district).
We later found out that Savannah is home to some of the world's most beautiful churches. We stumbled across one purely by accident, but I knew from the twin spires we saw coming up from behind that it was special before we even made our way to the front.
Church Bells ring all throughout the day, adding to the allure of the city (comforting to me because I remember church bells ringing throughout my city when I was a small girl). Mass was in session when we arrived so we were unable to tour. I've since looked the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist up online, and it's a shame we didn't get to go inside because it looks like it would have been a church to remember.
A walk through the historic and Victorian districts of the city will leave you in awe. Those are some mighty big, and beautiful homes and businesses to clean (what?? it would take a small army!) but they are absolutely delightful to visit. Even the apartments were charming, with individual, very tall wrought iron gates in front of the entryways to their front ground level or basement entry doors, or (sometimes spiraling) concrete steps leading to their higher floor entries.
|Don't miss Fosyth Park: 30 acres of well-shaded fun|
When we decided to move on, we got in the car to see what else we might come across. It wasn't long until we arrived at Forsyth Park. We immediately parked and got out of the car. This is the largest park in the historic district of Savannah. There are 30-acres of land to roam.
|Forsyth Park was the highlight of Savannah for my 10-year-old!|
There was a big park for the older kids with higher climbing structures, slides, swings, etc. I did take a break from my break and join my son on the swings. Had to see if I could still get higher than him, which I totally can. The best part of that is how hard he laughs when I'm swinging next to him. No idea why it makes him laugh so much, but whatevs., I like it. :)
Points of interest lined the walkways, including oversized instruments that you could play.
A park within the park was sectioned off for smaller kids. We took a stroll through, but most of the things, outside of this swing, my son had outgrown.
Just like everything in Savannah though, it was the things we passed while walking that made us feel so happy. The musician above was one of many in the park. There were also painters, artists, singers and more. The area was so big that they all had their own space, and no one was aggressive in their approach to get money. They simply had a container in front of them for you to donate, and if you wanted to you did, and if you didn't, no worries at all. Every artist we passed was very good at their craft, and we did donate to one in particular; an older man who was singing "Amazing Grace." It was beautiful, so beautiful in fact, that I sat down on the park bench to hear it in its entirety. I was glad we got there at the beginning of the song.
We took the long way around the park to get back to our car...seeing these houses along the way, I was glad it was the choice we made.
I can totally see myself enjoying a game of checkers with one of my kids on this porch (or chess if we are talking about my grown boys). If these are the houses, I cannot help but wonder what the plantations must look like.
So this was the first time we thought we were leaving. It was getting late in the day, so we decided to get some lunch and then head back to the road. It had been a beautiful visit. We ate lunch and it was such good food (a theme we got used to in the city).
It was worth the stop. The Georgia State Railroad Museum has several hands-on areas, and allows you to get up close and personal with the locomotives that are there, and from the past (via photos and historical recounts).
You can catch a ride too, on a historic steam or diesel locomotive (be sure to check the schedule).
The Savannah Visitor's Center was right across the street and it looked interesting, so we stayed parked at the train museum and walked across the street. That was a good decision too!
There was all kinds of things to do while we were there, and we spent a good amount of time inside.
Some of the things were free, some had a very nominal fee. This is also the only place I stopped on this leg of our trip to get postcards, which I mailed by the way, from one of the gift shoppes (where they had a stamp machine sitting just outside of it).
|One of many great dinner options within walking distance of the water district in Savannah.|
Parking here wasn't as easy to get as it had been earlier in the day, but it was fine because there were huge parking garages. This restaurant was right outside of where we parked, and we walked over. The menu was chock full of good food, and you can get the famous Savannah Fried Chicken here (the boy likes chicken). We didn't eat there, opting to go somewhere a little less formal. After we got to our destination though, I found out this restaurant is pretty famous in Savannah.
There was a lot of history in this area too. Again there was information to read to let you know what it was you were looking at while you were there. And I know this post is getting long, but there was a lot to see and do in this city. And this is only one day!!! Imagine what we could have seen and done if we were staying for a few days.
This sphere was interesting so we went down to check it out. It turned out to be a World War II Monument "made of bronze and copper, split in two to symbolize the division between the European and Pacific theaters of the War."
The names of the 527 Chatham County servicemen killed during the war are written on the walls.
If we had been there for more than just that day, I'd have booked a boat ride for sure. They had all kinds of ferries and different boats running.
See the tracks for the trolley running right through the cobblestone?
That ran through the streets by the water too. The cars shared the streets with it, like it was a common thing...which it was/is, of course. So cute, practical, and oh so Savannah.
There were several ways to get from the mainland to Savannah's River Street. One was iron steps. Of course we had to try those. Where do you see iron stairs outside of fire escapes attached to buildings?
The stone steps were my favorite way though. They had a great cool factor, I guess because they were unusual.
And there she was in all of her waving glory. The Waving Girl is based on the story of a girl who used to wave to the ships that were coming in, and she did so for many years. Her brother was the keeper of the lighthouse.
I always like to see the tugboats when I'm on the water. I don't know why, it just appeals to me. This one didn't have a load to carry but he did have an identical friend right behind him.
The water was beautiful. It was a wonderful day and evening in Savannah, Georgia. I suspect we will return, only when we do it will be with a booked hotel and a few days to stay and explore.
- Parking is Abundant everywhere in the city
- Meter parking is reasonably priced (and free at certain times)
- Parking by the area with water isn't as easy as everywhere else, but there are huge parking garages that don't cost much at all to use and are close to everything.
- Parking and ditching the car is preferable, so you can enjoy Savannah in all of its glory
- There are panhandlers in the squares and parks but they are not aggressive and are usually performing a service, for which you can pay them if you'd like (such as singing, drawing, playing an instrument, etc.)
- If you are going to take a hop-on/hop-off trolley tour, the trollies run all of the time and the stops are plentiful
- Southern charm and true hospitality is everywhere!
- The food is great!
- There are events going on all over the city. Investigate and see what will be going on while you are visiting.
- It is very family-friendly. Bring the kids!
- There are so many areas to explore. Stay a few days!