I can’t believe it has taken me this long in life to visit Savannah. For me, it is Disneyland!
My absolute, hands-down, favorite part of Savannah was not the food, shops, or mystery, but rather the lovely old homes. We stayed in the historic district at the Amethyst Garden Inn, so a walk in any direction was amazing. Literally, you would think you were viewing the most beautiful home in Savannah until you walked by the next door neighbor’s home. Then you repeated the process.
Even the shops on Broughton Street were housed in lovely historic buildings. They weren’t all from the same era, but they showed how well-maintained buildings with unique character can coexist and look beautiful together.
Maybe what lends itself to preserving the character of old Savannah are the amazing parks around which the homes were built. Small squares of tree covered parks serve as a center around which homes and churches were built. The linear streets are then broken up by having to go around the park. Thus, a driver’s speed is slowed and the neighborhood gets to enjoy a lovely park. Originally there were 24 parks, of which 22 still survive. That alone is pretty amazing.
Small characteristics, such as the brick sidewalks, are still in use. They are bumpy and tree roots have made them a bit of a walking challenge, but they lend so much to the charm of the area. Like the small parks that slow down drivers, the brick sidewalks remind you to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the lovely homes.
As a title agent, I did ponder a few of the sights I saw. Like homes sharing space with each other. One such situation required cutting through the rake of the neighbor’s roof to allow for a pipe to be attached to the outside of a building. Conversely, the oriel window of one house seemed to touch the neighbor’s house. Hopefully, the neighbors all get along!
Forsyth Park was a particularly amazing, vibrant park highlighted by a large, intricate fountain with an angel at the top and swans and Tritons at the bottom. Although we were not visiting Savannah during tourist season, we did luck into great weather while we were there. Maybe it was all locals, but the park was packed with folks having picnics, drinking beer and wine, taking photos of their children, walking their dogs (and Savannahians love their dogs), and enjoying the outdoor space.
We toured a few of the structures including the Mercer-Williams house (epicenter for the book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), the Andrew Low House, and the Massie School House. Having read the book and watched the movie when they first came out, Mike and I watched Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil again while we were in Savannah in order to refresh ourselves on the story.
What a group of visionary citizens, including Jim Williams, to recognize the importance of preserving their historic homes and creating an historic district. As I look around my own town, I worry. Recently an old Art Deco school was demolished. Like nails on a chalkboard, it still unsettles me to think of what could have been. The blame can lie solely on me for not speaking up.
Here are a few more of the gorgeous, intricate and stately homes and churches. More posts on Savannah to come!