Our next stop on our return trip south was Savannah Georgia. We stayed at a beautiful campsite in Skidaway Island State Park, with huge sites, towering trees draped with spanish moss, and plenty of hiking trails to walk with the dogs. The only downside to the campground was the large number of mosquitos—even with our excellent home-made bug spray, a few managed to bite Kathie since she’s our mosquito magnet.
The city of Savannah has been voted one of the most “walkable cities” in the US and we found that to be true. Downtown Savannah is only about 1.5 miles from side to side and it is full of sidewalks. We found free parking at the south end of Forsyth Park (no time limits, no fees). We were surprised that there was parking available in this small lot… but on weekends it’s probably full. Savannah was originally built around “squares”: park-like areas of grass and trees. Originally they were used by colonists for military training, but over time they’ve become pretty little parks right in historic Savannah. They act a lot like traffic circles but they are great to walk through. Each square has a different name and the ones we passed through had some sort of monument in the center. One square was used to film the famous scene of Forrest Gump sitting on a bench with his box of chocolates.
Since the city is so walkable, we decided to forgo the trolley tour and walk through the city ourselves. We grabbed some maps from the visitors center and just started walking. Like many of the southern cities we’ve visited, Savannah is home to many old and beautiful churches but we were most impressed by the Historic Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. The architecture, stained glass, and artistry really takes your breath away. We also visited some historic Savannah homes and saw the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. All the historic sites have plaques that give a little history of each place which helps if you are just wandering around the city. Savannah is definitely a walk- and bike-friendly city. If you enjoy meandering, it’s easy to find guidebooks or even just some maps and take your own tour.
For lunch we took the advice of some friends, and got in line for Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. A line for lunch starts forming outside by 10:30am, and the restaurant is open only from 11am-2pm, with the wait usually lasting around 30 minutes. Customers are brought in and seated in groups of 10 at large family-style dining tables, and food is brought out almost immediately. There’s no menu or ordering necessary—four main meat dishes (including their famous fried chicken) and dozens of side dishes are arrayed across the table for all to share. The variety of food was impressive, and we got to try many things we’d not normally order. Nearly all of it was excellent, and the experience was one not to be missed.
Along the waterfront we stopped into many of the stores and shops. At Savannah Candy Kitchen we watched them making fresh Pralines. Kathie tried one and we had to buy a batch to take home to feed her sweet tooth. As expected, they were a little too sweet for my taste! Savannah was very pretty, and we really enjoyed our stay at the state park—we even cooked dinner over a big campfire our last night.