a weekend in savannah

My mother and I began a tradition last year on Memorial Day weekend of visiting delightful places that are within a day's drive of Carrboro.  This time our second annual trip brought us to Savannah. 

I expected Savannah to be much like Charleston, but Savannah has a flavor all its own.  The genius of the city's plan, as laid out by Savannah's founder James Oglethorpe in 1733, is based around an orderly arrangement of public squares every few blocks, originally totaling 24, but now down to 22.

And here are some of my favorite scenes from our trip...

One of the public squares:

The individual houses in Savannah are generally close together and the row houses share common walls which means that most have no outdoor space of their own.  The public squares are pocketed so that you're never further than about three blocks away from one of them.  Each square had it's own little landscaping variation or monument to distinguish it, but they all shared giant live oaks dressed in Spanish moss and plenty of benches for relaxing.

Sidewalks from the adjoining blocks often carried directly into the park:

Something my mother and I both remarked on is how the southern historic district reminded us so much of parts of Brooklyn.  Quaint row houses arranged snugly against the sidewalks.

Handsome proportions and color schemes on every corner:

A Southern necessity: charming balconies, called out here in black paint:

Wide sidewalks laid in a herringbone pattern seem utterly civilized:

A grand curving staircase:

Savannah-style palimpsest:

A walled garden in a city seems mysterious and enchanting:

A Moorish take on the double porch:

The tallest Crepe Myrtle I've ever seen:

Savannah struck me as an extremely pleasant place to live.  The aforementioned public squares are a big selling point, and the city felt quiet in its way, but not at all dead or decrepit.  The entire Historic District is only 2.2 square miles, so you can literally walk anywhere, or better yet bike anywhere in a short time.  A major presence is the Savannah College of Art & Design and we saw students carrying portfolios, biking, and working in shops and restaurants all over town.

The most touristy part of town along the river was full of shops selling tacky junk at too-high prices, but even still the buildings themselves exuded the same charm and classic good looks as the rest of Savannah.

But back to the neighborhoods... Yes, I'll take seven foot high windows any day:

Now the only question is: where to next year?


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