- Northern California
- Colorado Rockies
- 1 Week in Quebec
- Southeast Coast
- Graduates' XC Trip
- NH Backpacking
- Martha's Vineyard
- Yosemite & Nevada
- Southern Alaska
- Colorado & Utah
- Canadian Maritimes
- Best of Utah
- Southern Loop
- Pacific Northwest
- Midwest & Rockies
- Los Angeles to NYC
- East Coast Trips
- RV Rentals
Sunday, August 9, 2009 - 11:00am by Lolo
61 miles and 1.25 hours from our last stop
Herb is not a big fan of visiting cities in the RV, so I was very diligent in my planning so as to avoid any possibility of a cranky attack triggered by my navigating him down a narrow cobblestone street, as I once did to him in Salem, Massachusetts. Therefore, prior to our leaving home I confirmed with the Savannah Visitor Center that there was ample room in their parking lot for a motorhome and that it would be a feasible starting point for a bike tour of the city. Unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid the cranky attacks of the boys resulting from my making them bicycle around a city with temperatures in the 90s and about 100% humidity.
The visitor center supplied us with a map of the Historic District and a recommendation as to the best route by bike. I was glad to discover that Savannah was actually quite bike-friendly, which is not often the case in cities. We got to see more than half of the 24 famous squares and also spent some time by the fountain in Forsyth Park. Since I had spent a good portion of my beach time at Hunting Island cramming for our visit to Savannah by reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I was pretty anxious to see some of the sites from the book. It makes a visit to a city so much more interesting when you come to intimately know it. Herb and the boys were not nearly as enthusiastic as I was when standing in front of the Mercer House on Bull Street, the scene of the infamous murder in the book.
We continued our bike tour towards the Riverfront area along the Savannah River. When we got near the river, we had to lug our bikes down a steep set of stairs near Emmet Park. Here we encountered the famous “Waving Girl” statue, which was made to honor a woman named Florence Martus. Legend has it that this woman never missed waving at a passing ship—with a cloth by day and a lantern by night—for the more than forty years between 1887 and 1931. It is said that she wanted to be the first to greet her husband when he returned to port. I find this hard to believe, but romantic none the less. I think I would have given up on Herb after 30 years of being late.
Since River Street is one-way running west to east, and Emmet Park is on the east end, we had to walk our bikes along the Riverfront. A better approach would have been to come in from Factors Walk. However, the bumpy cobblestone streets and the crowds would have made it difficult to ride anyway. The Riverfront was definitely the happening place in Savannah. The parks and squares we had visited earlier had been pretty quiet, as it was a Sunday, but there were plenty of people down by the river where old cotton warehouses had been converted to nice restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
One of those nice air-conditioned restaurants was exactly what we had in mind about then, so after consulting our Frommer’s guide, we joined the line outside Huey’s in the River Street Inn to put our names on the list to enjoy its highly coveted Sunday brunch. The ½-hour wait was well worth it. The choice of southern-style omelettes was extensive and we each tried something fairly adventurous. The food was delicious.
After lunch we strolled along River Street peering into its many shops and galleries. One window in particular caught Tommy’s eye: the Savannah Candy Kitchen where gooey confections were being manufactured right before his very eyes, and his very sweet tooth. The rest of us were so full from brunch that we couldn’t understand how he could possibly even consider candy at this time, but he has been known to be hungry again within minutes of finishing a meal. Herb and Andrew just couldn’t face it, so I accompanied him into the store. He was like a kid in a candy shop—literally and figuratively. The store was huge and really did have some tempting items for a chocoholic like myself. Tommy is much more into sweeter things, so he finally settled on a large candy apple.
Andrew does not deal well with the heat and was getting pretty annoyed waiting for Tommy as he lingered over his sticky apple. I suggested continuing our bike tour to see more of the city, but was overridden. The consensus was to go back to the RV and get to a beach as quickly as possible.
Savannah was Georgia’s first settlement and became its colonial capital. It was founded in 1733 by James Oglethorpe who designed the city on a grid plan in which every other street had a scenic 1-acre square. There are 24 squares in total.
Today the city is considered one of America’s top 10 tourist cities. That might not have been the case if it hadn’t been for seven Savannah women who banded together in the 1950s to stop the demolition of historic buildings. They formed the Historic Savannah Foundation and began a program of purchasing historical buildings and reselling them to private owners who promised to restore them. As a result of their efforts, more than 800 of Savannah’s 1,100 historic buildings have been restored, and 2 ½ square miles of the old city have been designated a National Historic Landmark District.
The Historic District is the main draw for visitors to the city. One of the most popular areas is the Riverfront. This part of the city was once lined with cotton warehouses, but a massive urban renewal project in the 1970s converted it to a row of restaurants, bars, shops, and art galleries.
A good place to begin a visit to Savannah is the Savannah Visitor Center located at 301 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Savannah location map in "high definition"