09.01.2011 - 12.01.2011
Jan. 12, 2011
As General Sherman led the destruction of the South to win the Civil War, at the end of it all he decided to spare beautiful Savannah. Thank you General Sherman. Savannah is the most charming city. Its historic district, nestled along the Savannah River, is comprised of pre-Civil War homes, churches, and buildings restored with prim dignity, lots of decorative flair, and information plaques to satiate the most fervent history buff.
Savannah River from our hotel room
Buildings are shuttered, painted, and labeled with the year of original construction and, interestingly, for whom it was built. Hedges are trimmed, Spanish moss-covered trees canopy the streets, sidewalks are patterned brick or cobblestone. Columns, cornices, and moldings garnish stone buildings. Apparently not to be outdone, lattice and stenciled designs adorn buildings of wood. Savannah buildings are also beautified with decorative metal work that often serves a practical function, such as a balcony support or stair railing.
Decorative metal work
Savannah neighborhoods are dotted with "squares," which are essentially one-block parks within the city. Locals usually gave us directions in terms of the square in closest proximity to our destination, such as, "Go north until you come to Lafayette Square" and it will be right there." Or, "It's about a block south of Telfair Square." There seems to be about one square every two or three blocks; so when walking we came upon them like dots in Morse Code, _ _ _ . _ _ _ . _ _ _ . Each square is unique, but they all seem to include grass, flowers, trees, brick walkways, and some sort of central feature, such as a fountain. Statues commemorating Revolutionary War heroes and previous centuries' civic honorees are also common. I loved all the squares. They are like jewels of nature among Savannah's jewels of architecture; a perfect complement to each other. However, my favorite central feature was a mysterious metal orb up on a marble pedestal. The orb rested on the backs of metal turtles. Inexplicably, in a city where so many elements, current and past, are detailed in informative plaques, we could find nothing to help us understand the lovely orb being carried by turtles. Oh well, it's still my favorite in a city with many worthy contenders.
By the way, it is freezing cold, 32 degrees during the day--part of the recent cold snap on the East Coast and across the country. The paper said that today 70% of the contiguous United States had experienced snow. Tomorrow . . . on to Florida!
The orb, my favorite central feature in Savannah's squares
The turtles holding up the orb