Saturday, September 24, 2011

History Nerd Goes To Savannah

Third in a series of "What We Did On Our Summer Vacation"

We spent 3 and 1/2 days in Savannah. If we visit a city that has some history and a Trolley tour, we go on the tour and decide what areas of town we want to further explore.

I'll say that I have mixed feelings about the city. If you are a clean freak you would be a little uncomfortable. It's a gritty city for sure,many areas with dirty pavement, trash,the smell of horse poop wherever the carriages stop, a lot of unemployed hanging around a couple of the squares and we didn't feel particularly safe walking around after dark.

What I did love is that it is a funky city with a lot of character. It's crawling with art students from SCAD and the college is responsible for a large amount of the historic preservation and refurbishing of the old buildings. Nearly every building has a story, especially along the waterfront there are old cotton factories turned into shops and restaurants and there are streets full of interesting architecture (my next post is photos we took on a walk of the neighborhoods).

HUGE cargo ships pass by the waterfront every day. While we were there the Danish training ship DANMARK was in port. We toured the ship and talked to the young people who were spending a semester at sea. It was a "sea" of beautiful blonde-blue-eyed, friendly students who told us all about their days and nights on the ship and where they had travelled.

We have a little sailing experience from living on Cape Cod and it was Mr Sunshine who noticed that there are no mechanical aids on this ship to help raise the sails. The students have to pull the lines by hand and climb up the mast to furl and unfurl the sails. Some of the students admitted to being a little afraid of heights!

 Our hotel was near City Market and Ellis Square (there are currently 22 squares in Savannah). There is this statue of Johnny Mercer that we passed at least once a day. Did you know he wrote the lyrics to 1500 songs and won 4 Academy Awards? I found myself humming some of my favorites every time I passed...Moon River,You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby, Days Of Wine And Roses. Jeepers Creepers (where'd ya get those peepers) and Come Rain Or Come Shine.
 I wanted to see the inside of the Cathedral Of St John The Baptist. Before the American Revolution it was forbidden to be Catholic in Georgia. It was thought that Catholics would be more loyal to the Spanish instead of the British.  Shortly after the war was over this church was built by immigrants from France and Haiti.
 I immediately thought that the church reminded me of the one I went to as a child in MA. It was also founded by French Catholic immigrants to the US.
 We found St Patrick in one of the stained glass windows.
 The bottom of the baptismal font is beautiful.
The city is home to Savannah College of Art And Design, founded in 1978. The students appear to travel about the neighborhoods in large groups. I loved the outfits, makeup, HUGE portfolios cases they were carrying and they seemed to be a happy bunch. Unfortunately I couldn't afford anything in the student/alumni store!
 Poor Florence. Her beloved left to go to sea and asked her to wait for him. She spent the next 40 years greeting every ship that came up the river. He never returned and the story goes that she died of a broken heart.

Sorry, Mr Sunshine. I think I might have moved on with my life.


Suzanne Casamento said...

Love the pictures. Sounds like a great city. I've never been there.

And I'm with you. I'm not waiting 40 years for anybody. ;)

Loretta a/k/a Mrs. Pom said...

I always wanted to go to Savannah when we lived in the South. It is still on my list of places to go. Thanks for the tour!

Marinela said...

Beautiful place, amazing shots!

Caterina said...

Great pictures! I haven't been there in a long time, but have good memories of that city.

Your comment, "Before the American Revolution it was forbidden to be Catholic in Georgia," reminded me of something a priest told my husband and I when we were preparing to get married.

My husband's family is of Irish descent and from Georgia. Pretty sure his Irish family were all Catholic but had no choice to attend Baptist church. Through the generations Catholicism must have gotten lost, but there is no way --- according to this particular priest ---- a family with that last name is not Catholic (they have a very traditional Irish last name). We thought it was funny.

Over the years, I have read and heard more about Catholicism & Georgia and the history. Maybe the priest was right!