Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Day in Savannah

Does this church steeple look familiar?
Think floating feather, Forrest Gump
      Last week, while waiting for the local bus in Thunderbolt, Georgia near historic Savannah, I answered a
call from my cousin Mike. We chatted for a brief time because the bus we'd been waiting for finally arrived and I had to go. I later received a text from Mike. It read, "it just occurred to me that you were in Savannah waiting for a bus. Did you happen to sit next to Forrest Gump while waiting?" Mike always had a good sense of humor.

       Stopping in Savannah had always been on our southern itinerary, but somehow it never happened. Usually, we're waiting for a good opportunity for an offshore overnight passage from Beaufort, SC to Florida bypassing Georgia. This year we decided to stop in Thunderbolt where we could catch a local bus to Savannah.
     We arrived at the bus stop outside the campus of Savannah University one block from Thunderbolt Marina ahead of schedule. A few students were preparing for classes...smoking weed. It was 9:00 AM. much for impaired concentration abilities during classes. As you can imagine the bus route traveled through some marginal areas. At one stop a man boarded the bus on crutches. I wanted to ask why he was on crutches, but Joe warned me earlier that morning, "Don't talk to strangers and don't stare." Joe is a veteran bus commuter. He rode the bus to and from Providence to his job for over 20 years. It wasn't long before the guy began spilling his guts about his injury. Apparently, he was involved in a robbery and held up at gun point. He slipped and the rest was history. Another bus patron also on crutches informed the masses that he was on a "free, get out of jail pass." We didn't find out why he was on crutches.
One of Savannah's architectural gems
     After one bus transfer historic Savannah suddenly morphed from dereliction where poverty and crime appeared to be the norm to a picturesque southern jewel. Live oaks draped with Spanish moss lined streets, antebellum homes featuring elements of Gothic, Greek and Romanesque Revival, Italianate, Regency and Second French Empire examples of architecture. Savannah's 20 plus emerald squares exuded feelings of peace and tranquility amid its urban landscape. The city exemplified historic preservation at its finest.


Chippewa Square the site of Forrest Gump's
narration scenes on the bench
     Since we had only one day to tour the city we opted for a local historic trolley tour of the city with an informative tour guide. It was entertaining with actors portraying Forrest Gump to Civil War veterans hopping onto the bus at designated stops along the tour. The tour was enlightening allowing us the opportunity to see all of the city and squares in just over 90 minutes.
     At lunch time Paula Deen's Lady and Sons restaurant sounded like a good option. After stepping inside with one sniff and a glance around the place I deemed it the equivalent of an oink joint. In other words a trough with a buffet where we were being herded into a third floor elevator toward another buffet. By the way there was no sign of Paula Deen cooking any of her heart attack on a plate specialties behind the counter. For some reason I at least expected a "Hi ya'll!" We walked out without eating in search of a more authentic Savannah dining experience. We later enjoyed a nice meal at Huey's in The Cotton Exchange along the historic riverfront. (I actually make a few of Paula Deen's recipes, but I was disappointed with the lack of ambience in her restaurant.)
The Waving Girl Statue on the riverfront
by Newport, RI sculptor Felix De Weldon

     Our one day in town was not long enough to cover everything we'd hoped to see and experience in Savannah. We needed to catch a bus back to the Simple Life before sunset for obvious reasons. It did offer us a taste of the city which we look forward to visiting again during one of our future migrations.

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