What is it about Savannah that makes me sigh with longing? Longing for her maze of squares, her cobblestone river walk, her moss laden trees? Perhaps it's my love for all things old ( I am a history major after all). I love the character and the stories that lie in things from the past. The houses that line the oak draped streets all could tell a thousand tales if only we knew their language. The ghosts of former residents, of pirates and Revolutionary War soldiers still roam the halls and basements, attics and guest rooms of many of her formidable manors. Just fifteen minutes away is Tybee Island. Sure, it's built up over the years. There's a boardwalk and narrow streets filled with junky souvenirs. If you go to the North Beach, however, you'll find a quieter shore, a place to rest, wade, and collect shells.
I lived in Savannah for two years. It was the first place I'd ever lived on my own. I left the familiarity of the metro Atlanta area and happily settled 350 miles away. I rented my first apartment, supported myself, and went back to school to continue my history studies.
What better city to study history (OK, Cairo does NOT count!)? It seeps into the soil and bubbles up through the pavement. Everywhere you turn there's a landmark, a cemetery, a building with a patina that remembers the Civil War. My Art History professor taught us the difference between Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns. She laughed, saying we'd curse her name the next time we drove through the historic district because from hence forth we would see a house and immediately think, "Corinthian. Doric. Corinthian. Ionic." I'll be dipped, she was right!
Savannah boasts a tradition of story telling, of art and culture that I hunger and thirst for in this po-dunk town I now inhabit. Everywhere you turn, there's a park, a festival, a farmer's market, a quirky shop selling honey or beaded necklaces from local artisans.
The people move at a slower pace. Never say no to an offer of food or drink from a Savannahan; it will fall on deaf ears and you'll find yourself eating banana pudding and enjoying it even though you hate the stuff. There's always a cookout or a party to go to. Docks abound and people are more than happy to share their low country boil with you.
Is Savannah perfect? Of course not. Nothing on earth is. But it's darn near close and I can't wait to go back, put down some roots, and drink in those historical juices until I burst with the memories of the Old South.
*join me on my blog The Gypsy Scribe next week as I catch you guys up on my birthday weekend in that great southern lady, Savannah, GA.