Monday, January 7, 2013

Savannah, Georgia...Our Home for the Next Two Months

We've arrived in Georgia!

Here is a map of Savannah with its grid pattern and many squares. We are in Section 7 near beautiful Forsyth Park.

  This is our townhouse with the black door, home for the two next months.

It has a nice private little backyard patio.

A sitting area off the kitchen, so we can heckle the chef while he's cooking...

The living room (birthday cards on the mantle, so it really feels like home!)...

And a well-equipped kitchen. I think we'll be really happy here!

We are close to beautiful Forsyth Park and this was my first photo on my walk around the park. Look at those amazing trees. Spanish moss (which is neither Spanish nor moss) hangs from the live oak trees giving them a very spooky feeling.

When it was founded in 1733, Savannah became the first North American city planned around public squares. James Oglethorpe, an English soldier and politician, was the driving force behind the development of Georgia and the founding of its first city, Savannah.

As a British politician, he was concerned with prison reform and the unemployed. He convinced King George II to provide the means to transport the unemployed to America to start a new colony. The first group of 39 families arrived in early 1733. The rules for the colony were interesting--no slavery, no lawyers, no liquor, and no Catholics. In time, all would be allowed.

The city was laid out around 24 squares all surrounded by building lots. The lots on the north and south ends were for residences, while the east and west lots were for public buildings and businesses. The squares also provided a place for gathering to defend against outside threats.

Today the squares provide a unique beauty and charm to the city. This is Chatham Square, the closest to where we are staying.
Unlike most of the squares, it is a residential one, without shops or monuments. It was the last to be built in 1847.

Beautiful flowers! It's like our spring but it's January...

Our cruising friends, Barb and Ed, are also renting a place here. They are close to the Colonial Cemetery. General Oglethorpe, the founder of Savannah, is buried here as well as 10,000 settlers and soldiers from the 1700 and 1800s. The arch was a gift from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

A historical marker in Savannah’s Colonial Park Cemetery reports that “nearly 700″ victims of the 1820 yellow fever epidemic are buried there. In fact, exactly 666 people died of the disease. The church had issues with putting the "Number of the Beast" on a sign, and demanded the figure be rounded. Lots of spooky stories in Savannah!

As Savannah grew, land was needed and the cemetery land was confiscated. It was too much trouble to exhume the bodies and move them, so much of the surrounding area is actually built on top of the graves. Many of the headstones were moved and placed along this wall.

Seriously? Aged 11 and his wife aged 17? We did learn that many "men" married early, but something just didn't ring right here. Especially since his son aged 12 died the same year he did! Yellow fever swept the area during this time and many of the headstones bore the dates 1819 and 1820.

Supposedly, soldiers during the Civil War camped in the cemetery and, to alleviate boredom, changed some of the information on the headstones. I think this might be one of them!

This man looked like the Piped Piper! The kids were having a great time!

We headed over to this beautiful church, planning to do a tour of the inside...

They are doing some renovations to the outside...

Statues hanging on the north and south nave walls of the Cathedral show a three dimensional display of the modern Stations of the Cross. The wooden figures composing each scene were carved in Munich, shipped to Savannah, and set into shadow boxes designed and built in the United States.

The stained glass was beautiful. Unfortunately, a church service was about to begin and we either had to stay for church or leave. We'll be back!

This is Washington Street, in Ardsley Park, lined with oak trees and Spanish moss. This is considered one of the most affluent areas in Savannah.

This whole neighbourhood is filled with houses like these, most of them built in the 1930s and 40s.

Stephanie arrived to visit with us for a week and we spent nearly every morning walking in Forsyth Park. We admired this gate and wall sculpture every time we went by...

Forsyth Park is a gathering place. They hold concerts here, yoga classes...anything that draws people together. There is a Saturday morning farmers' market. People bring their dogs here to run, along with joggers and walkers of all shapes and sizes. It is something to see...

Stephanie on one of our morning walks...

One of the many paved walkways within the park...

These Victorian houses line the sides of the park. This one, Magnolia Hall, is remarkable for its ivy covered steps.

The first walks were pretty slow as we stopped to admire the architecture of the houses...

Here is a row of four townhouses. You can own one of them with 2640 sq ft facing Forsyth Park for only...$1 million. Well, it has an elevator!

We are loving the park. It is one mile around, so a perfect distance to gauge your morning exercise.

This is the Confederate Memorial Statue in the middle of the park to honour those who gave their lives fighting for Confederacy.

The massive fountain in the park is crowned with a female figure and spitting geese and tritons. It was inspired by the Parisian fountain in the Plaza de la Concorde. It is a famous landmark in Savannah and was featured in the movies Cape Fear and also, of course, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

The park must be amazing when it's fully in bloom...

And that's our neighbourhood...tomorrow we're doing a trolley tour of the city to get our bearings!

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