Disadvantages none that I saw
In May this year my parents, my husband and myself embarked on a holiday encompassing a stay in the states of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida in the United States. I am very interested in the American Civil War, so the focus of ‘my’ journey was Charleston, where the first gun of the Civil War was fired on Fort Sumter – April 12th 1861. However, it is Savannah that I now hold close my heart, and I hope to inspire at least one of you to pay it a visit.
Savannah encompasses many picturesque squares, and these can be initially viewed from a ‘trolley tour’ around the city. As an absolute must to get an overall feel of the city, we embarked on one. We were fortunate enough to have a lady who was born and bred in Savannah drive us around; her passion for her home city was plainly evident and made it all the more enchanting. The tour lasts 90 minutes, and there are different types of tickets that can be purchased. Two that I remember (and there might only be two!) is either one where you stay on the tour for the whole 90 minutes or one where you can get on and off as you please all day. The buildings were mainly of neo-classical architecture, with Roman and Greek pillars striding doorways. The balconies outside the majority of the houses is of wrought iron – even those that have been painted. Forrest Gump was filmed in parts of Savannah, an interest perhaps to film buffs. A lot of the history and habitants described may be more familiar to Americans, but those unfamiliar with the narration can look in awe at the surroundings.A book by John Berendt called ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ (which I was advised to read before I got there, by Scott Howitt – thank you Scott) was the scene of an actual murder. Passing the houses of the characters, especially Mercer House, brought the book to life – I have since watched the DVD again on my return and it seems unreal that I had actually been there and seen them. This book has obviously brought a lot more tourism to Savannah, but it does not seem to have a cheapening effect on Savannah itself.
During our stay, we also took a Saturday lunchtime cruise on a steamboat, along the Savannah River. The tickets that we purchased included lunch (I suppose it should as it was a lunchtime cruise – but this is not the case, as I believe a ticket void of food can be purchased). The cuisine of the day was typically southern and included the notorious southern baked ham. Unfortunately, I am not partial to ham be it southern baked or cooked by any other method - but I did try a small morsel. Having looked at the quality and experienced the texture and taste, I did feel a little bit jealous that I was not a great lover of it. It did however suit the pallets of the others, and inevitably ‘seconds’ were consumed. The accompanying dishes were mainly Creole, as well as lots of salad, potatoes and fresh fruit. The cruise lasts around one and a half hours, during which, we heard the obligatory commentary of the history and present day workings of the river and it’s surrounds. I booked our tickets from the UK, which was not too easy, as they do not take online bookings – I had to ring them to give credit card details, as I was not prepared to put these details in an e-mail to them. The cost of the tickets are approximately $28 (approx £16.50) per person. Cruises such as ‘Gospel Cruise’, Moonlight Cruise’ and ‘Murder Mystery Cruise’ are some of the other options available – all at a different cost to the Saturday Lunchtime Cruise.We stayed at the River Street Inn for 3 nights, which, as the name suggests is on River Street and overlooks the Savannah River – however the front and reception is not on River Street, but on East Bay Street. We had booked two double rooms, but due to an accent problem via telephone calls that I had made, they had booked all four of us into one room – no way, were we sharing with my parents (this actually proved to be quite a common misunderstanding in more than just this hotel)! The hotel can be booked online, but as it is quite expensive, and I knew which type of rooms we required, hence the telephone booking. Their website states ‘rooms vary in theme and décor, from hardwood floors and four-poster beds, to plush carpeting and private balconies’. We wanted a balcony with each room overlooking over the Savannah River. I do not know how they managed it, and who the unlucky people who arrived after us were, (the hotel appeared to be quite full) but we acquired almost what I thought I had booked. We had a room with a balcony, hardwood floor, semi four poster bed (sorry not a good description) and window seat. The room only had one double bed, which is more suited to a single person than two people, by American standards; but the room and the view made us oblivious to that.. Our bed was next to the ‘French Door’ leading onto the balcony, which overlooked River Street and the ‘piece de resistance’, the Savannah River. We did not close the curtain over the French door at night, as the lights shining from the other side of the River over the rippling water was a sight to behold. I rarely sleep all through the night, and to open my eyes during the darkness of the early hours of the morning, to this tranquil peaceful sight seemed like a dream. My parents had a ‘proper’ double room, which they loved, especially as it was carpeted (not plush carpet I should add)!! Now for the balconies! Ours was approximately 4ft by 4ft (not good on metric sorry!). Being as the hotel was a restored warehouse – probably tobacco – the balcony floor was of the wooden kind, and looked slightly untreated. It did not look or feel safe at all. I did venture out onto it, but hung onto the surrounding ‘railings’ for grim death! My parents had a double balcony with two chairs and a table. Their balcony in size was approximately 6-8ft long and 4ft width.
Enough of the actual hotel!! Venturing out onto River Street I died and went to heaven. Sorry girls, I’m not the shopping kind, unless it’s small shops of the souvenir or craft type. River Street is cobble stoned on the river front, and has an abundance of shops of this type. Shops with Civil War memorabilia (double heaven), homemade sweets, candies, and chocolates – with free samples!! I mentioned pubs didn’t I? Savannah is indeed ‘Hostess to the South’! On a hot night, not many want to sit inside a pub, but might want a nice cool beer to stroll along the river front. No problem, just ask for ‘one to go’!! It is unbelievable to be able to go into a pub and come out with a drink of the alcoholic sort, albeit in a plastic ‘glass’ and stroll along the river. Food wise there are lots of restaurants, as well as pub food. We never experienced an under average meal. Fish and seafood are plentiful and good quality.Most weekends the River Front lays host to a festival. We were fortunate to be there for an Art Festival, where there were many ‘stalls’ of arts and crafts and plenty of music and fireworks.
Websites are below.Thanks for reading.
www.riverstreetinn.com – River Street Inn
www.savannah-riverboat.com – Riverboat Cruise
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