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A Few Days in Savannah

Knowing our shared passion for “old things,” trusted friends long have suggested that my wife and I visit Savannah, Georgia. During this past Thanksgiving weekend, we finally followed their advice. We were not disappointed.

Instead of flying, we traveled to the Hostess City of the South on the Amtrak Silver Meteor line. The train ride created a sense of adventure and expectation.

After dropping off our bags at our bed and breakfast, we began exploring. Within minutes, the city’s historic buildings, varied architecture, and green squares intoxicated us. With the turn of each corner, we found another delight.

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One of the many fine residential blocks in Savannah’s Historic District. (Photograph by author)

Twenty-five years ago, John Berendt introduced the American reading public to Savannah with his book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The story centered around the murder trial of local preservationist and antique dealer Jim Williams. A visit to Williams’s home, the Mercer-Williams House, is a required stop for every first-time guest to the city.

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Architect John Norris designed the Mercer-Williams House in 1860–right before the Civil War. (Photograph by the author)

The Mercer-Williams House sits on the southwest corner of Monterey Square–one of the twenty-two historic squares in Savannah. Anchored by houses of worship, civic buildings, private residences, and monuments, each square holds a different story.

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Monterey Square, Savannah, Georgia. The monument honors Revolutionary War General Casimir Pulaski. (Photograph by author)

Savannah promises an earthly paradise for lovers of architecture and history. During our stay, we visited beautiful homes, churches, and parks. We barely scratched the surface of the city.

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The Owens-Thomas House. The tour includes both this Regency home and slave quarters. (Photograph by author)

During our (too short) visit, we sampled the city’s art, culture, and culinary offerings. Of course, this included stopping at several bookstores.

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A proud cat at E. Shaver Booksellers. (Photograph by author)

Time precluded us from visiting every site on our list–most regrettably Bonaventure Cemetery.

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Henry Cleenwich, Bonaventure Cemetery (1860). A gallery in the Telfair Academy was the closest we came to the atmospheric cemetery. (Courtesy of Telfair Academy)

Thankfully, the Telfair Academy dedicates an entire gallery to art and photography inspired by Bonaventure Cemetery. The museum houses a rich American collection.

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The Telfair Academy was designed by William Jay–the same architect behind the Owens-Thomas House. (Photograph by author)

A visitor to Savannah could wander its well-appointed streets and lush squares and blissfully lose all conception of time. It is a unique–daresay magical–place.

I hope its spell lingers with me for some time.



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