Georgia on My Mind
A hurricane almost delayed my flight to Savannah. Fortunately the pilot was able to navigate us around the storm which was wreaking destruction on Atlanta and the coast. By the time I arrived in Savannah, however, it was after dark. I met my sister in the airport and we drove to town in search of our hotel.
Stopping at a gas station to stock up on water my first experience of the city was a group of aggressive teenagers harassing a store clerk. The cops showed up and got into a fight with the clerk, which could have quickly turned into a volitle situation.
There is something beautifuly dark about the city. Being Georgia's first city, it is filled with a history that still lingers in the air, where echos of cries from the slaves that were tortured, or houses which burned to the ground still can be heard or sensed if you are open to it.
Ghost tours depart from Johnson Square at 9:30 p.m. every evening.One evening we joined a friendly band of about 10 night walkers for a Sixth Sense Savannah tour. Our guide, led us on a 90-minute stroll through the historic district. A practiced storyteller, he knew just how to jangle our chains with local legends and ghastly tales of house hauntings. Nevertheless, he was not above cracking a joke or two to lighten things up. At one point, he quipped, “On the deadest day in Savannah, ghost tours are busy.”
The American Institute of Parapsychology has named Savannah “America’s Most Haunted City.” Speculation has it that apparitions, ghosts, demons and other supernatural beings reside in the city as a result of the large number of violent and untimely deaths. The guide told us about the ghost of a young boy who resides in the Kehoe House. Now a gracious bed-and-breakfast inn, the grand Victorian mansion once served as a funeral home. There’s the ghost of a carpenter who fell off a roof, and the ghosts of thousands who died in yellow fever epidemics. Just the day before,it was reported, at a banquet in one of the historic houses, a young woman felt the cold breath of a ghost on her shoulder. It frightened her so that she ran from the table.
Despite the spine-chilling stories of gore and mystery, I had no difficulty sleeping that night. I did however have some strange dreams.
On a trolley tour, the next day I heard about Englishman James Edward Oglethorpe, who founded Savannah in 1733 and chartered Georgia as the 13th colony for King George II. Georgia was also the last of the original 13 colonies to declare its independence from England.
But it was the first planned city in America. Sections of the wall that encompassed the original city remain. Within those walls, Oglethorpe laid out Savannah on a grid. Streets framed one-acre square parks accented with plantings, fountains and monuments. Today handsome houses look out on the squares, whose benches are shaded with Spanish moss-draped live oaks. By any standard, Savannah ranks as one of the most beautiful cities.
Helping to make it so is SCAD, as Savannah College of Art and Design is commonly called. . The city is studded with galleries featuring student work – paintings, sculptures, ceramics, metalwork, weavings, photographs, furniture, jewelry – all of which make unique souvenirs.
The last few days we were there we drove to the Tybee Island which is a 10 minute drive from downtown. The islands are seemingly quiet, scattered with charming little houses & long, virulent marshes-a mosquitos resort! The last night we chose to stay on the southside to cut costs checking into the Days Inn aka the bates motel. Speaking of haunted places.....the hotel must have been build on an old torture house....our bad luck began at this place, from nightmares to creepy hotel staff, and just a strange feeling of being watched. I could not wait to get out of there.
Overall, Savannah is a charming must see city, and a ghost hunters paradise, defintally a city where the boundaries between the past and the present feel a little less defined.
"Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil"
Take the historical trolley tour which can be caught at the river walk down in the historical district. It is a nice way to hear about Savannah history and see some beautiful homes.
You can get to the islands by taking Victory drive away from the historic district down until you hit the beaches. The beaches are fairly uncrowded and can be very useful when you are trying to survive Savannah humidity. Be sure to bring Skeeter repellant