Historic Savannah proves perfect weekend getaway
By Amanda Greever
Last weekend, I took something off my bucket list.
It’s not something I get to do often because well, sadly enough, my bucket list is rather exciting while my life isn’t. It’s a tough mix to mesh.
But last weekend, I took a trip to Savannah and saw as much of the wonder the city has to offer as I could squeeze into a long weekend. It’s more than the beautiful scenery, more than the water or the beautiful weather, more than the food that is so amazing you know you’ll never eat so well again. Savannah is history, both living and dead. It’s a story of which you never grow tired.
For someone who loves history, the city is amazing. Founded in 1733, Savannah served as a capital of the colony of Georgia at one point. But for me, one of the most fascinating points comes 100-plus years later.
The Civil War destroyed families, homes and landmarks. But few incidents are remembered as well as the siege Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman put upon the state of Georgia. From Nov. 15, 1864 to Dec. 21, 1864, Sherman blazed a trail in his “march to the sea.” Literally. He set buildings, farms and anything else he could manage on fire. Until he got to Savannah. The city actually surrendered to his forces, thus becoming Sherman’s headquarters.
While some might call the actions cowardly, it managed to keep this great city in its original condition. Burned Atlanta had to be rebuilt, and in doing so, its landscape was changed. Savannah still has much of the original architecture, buildings and layout that was originally put in place all those decades ago.
I normally don’t like tourist-y things. While I’m the girl with the camera, I don’t like being “that” person. You know the sort. The one with the maps they’ve bought off a street vendor. Camera around their neck. Fanny packs. If only Sherman was around to torch the fanny packs.
But we did go on a tour that would condense four to five hours of walking into an hour and a half on a trolley. I’d already been enjoying the city’s free ferry service, so I was game for the trolley. I knew it would be the fastest, easiest way to learn as much as I could.
It was worth it. I managed to see some fantastic historical sites, such as the home of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts, which celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. There was the “Pirate House,” which inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write both “Treasure Island” and “Kidnapped.” We saw landmarks featured in the films “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and “Something to Talk About.” Oh, and I discovered the story of Mary Telfair, feminist, philanthropist and kick-butt woman. I’m determined to learn more about her. But honestly, everywhere I turned, there was some new (well, old) sight to behold.
Even the homes that didn’t have an illustrious background of pirates or history-makers left me in awe. The architecture was sweeping and grand, and walking the streets of Savannah let me, for just a moment, imagine what it must have been like a couple hundred years ago. Although, I’m not sure how well I would have fit in, after seeing one home that had separate entry staircases for men and women.
All in all, it was a lovely trip and a weekend of overindulgence. The sun and warm temperatures made it hard to come back to chilly, windy Tennessee. The food was rich and flavorful, again reminding me that perhaps I need to start cooking rather than relying on my microwave for my meals.
Sometimes, you just need a weekend away. It doesn’t have to be as far away as south Georgia, but just leaving your regular life behind for a short time refreshes your mind and makes the same old grind just a little bit easier to face.
Try it. I’ll bet you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Amanda Greever is assistant managing editor at The Daily Times. She can be reached at 981-1161 or (firstname.lastname@example.org)