By Jimmy, The Outsider –
Savannah’s Riverfront is fun and energetic, like the backdrop of a pirate movie, with cobblestone streets plunging downhill to a strip of historic warehouses along the Savannah River; we could imagine the raucous laughter of pirates and wenches! The open sky and river views are a welcome change from the city’s dense squares. Here you can board sightseeing vessels, go for a dinner cruise or just mill about. Historic plaques tell the story of Savannah’s history, including the harsh truths about the city’s role in the Slave Trade. Today, buskers entertain, lovers stroll and take selfies where human beings from Africa were brutally handled and sold as property. Contemplating this tortured past, I purchase a lovely Savannah Rose for Camille, handmade from a local Gullah craftsperson using natural local grasses. The Gullahs are the descendants of enslaved Africans who created their own unique culture in the Low Country that survives to this day.
Squares: A brilliant urban planning model, Savannah’s founders laid her out in a patchwork quilt of garden squares; strolling them is like exploring the vast open air rooms of a mansion. Each Square is bordered by historic structures and filled with gardens, statues and fountains; the sidewalks heave with life from the roots of the massive oaks towering overhead. Signs and plaques help you learn about local history. They invite lingering and savoring, so plan your time accordingly.
Architecture: Architectural treasures abound throughout central Savannah. Take time to stop, look around and enjoy the colorful tiles, stained glass domes and windows, serpentine ironworks, all amidst lush green gardens.
Tybee Island: About 30 minutes from central Savannah, through pretty low country marshes, this lively laid-back village spot has smooth sand beaches with a compact fun town full of kitschy beach shops and eateries. Relaxed and family- friendly. Parking in most spots is around $1.50/ hour. Rent a kayak and explore the various inlets of Tybee! Bike rentals are available to take in more of this easy-going island.
Wormsloe: This historic site, a short drive from central Savannah, is worth a visit to learn more about the earliest European settlements in the region and for an easy-going hike in the marshy, low-country landscape. A small museum provides fascinating details about the earliest days; use the brochure and signs to continue your self-guided tour of the property. A stunning row of towering old live oaks, dripping with Spanish moss, evokes an iconic past; surprisingly there is not a majestic plantation house at the end of the oaks, but the ruins of the original crude homestead. There may be volunteers in period costumes during your visit to add a glimpse of life in earlier times. Pay admission fee at the charming gate house.
Fort Pulaski: For Civil War buffs, this is a must see! But it is also a great place to hike and enjoy a wild undeveloped scenic segment of Georgia’s coastline. NOTE: Due to Hurricane Irma, the Fort may be closed – check their facebook page for updates!