Savannah is one of four cities in the US to allow drinking in public.
Take a guess at what the other three are. I’ll list them at the end of this post.
Savannah hosts a serious St. Patty’s Day celebration, and it was pure coincidence that my mom decided to fly here during the peak of their week long St. Patricks Day festivities.
I overheard that the local businesses do about 13% of their annual income this week. I got into town at 8pm and wandered around for an hour before leaving to pick up my mom from the airport.
The next day we took a free tour of downtown to get oriented. The city is characterized by squares, or common parks, that are laid out in a grid and spaced evenly two or three streets apart. We were told that the original intent of the squares, besides being a place to let livestock graze, was to enable the city to defend itself better. Now they are simply cool places to stroll through, stopping often enjoy the many monuments to southern founders, generals, and people of interest.
Another thing our tour guide made sure to explain was the impact that famous books and movies which are set in Savannah have had on tourism.
The bench scenes in Forest Gump, for example, became such a popular site for tourists to photograph that people were spilling out into the street and causing traffic to back up. It’s funny, the bench in the movie didn’t exist in real life, so the city installed one after the movie became a huge success to bring in tourists. But it worked too well and they had to figure out what to do. The solution was pretty simple ⇒ remove the bench.
That worked like a charm and traffic flow resumed its pace.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a novel set in the 1980’s in Savannah. [I didn’t read it, so the details of my summary will be off]
It’s an embellished story based on actual events. A wealthy & well respected member of the Savannah social scene shoots and kills a young man under dubious circumstances. The novel claims that the young man worked as a prostitute, and the socialite was a closet homosexual who acted in rage, perhaps in an effort to protect his name. The house where the incident took place is now a museum owned by the sister of the rich guy.
She unsurprisingly defends the court ruling that her brother acted in self-defense, and if anyone so much as mentions the book while inside the house/museum they are asked to leave immediately. The city originally opposed the scandalous nature of the book, but after it began reeling in more tourist money, they adopted it as exciting folklore.
Savannah is a cool spot, and I’d like to come back sometime. The architecture is regal and provocative with intricate woodworking and wrought iron. It has its fair share of the tourist traps, like the City Market and the River Walk, but there’s plenty to do if you spend a minute talking to locals.
My quick run down is as follows:
- Coffee: Sentient Being – Hip spot for caffeine, smoothies, and food.
- Drinks: Jazz’d – Basement cocktail bar that specializes in tapas (pricy)
- Food: Moon River Brewery – Beer is good. Food is inexpensive for the quality. Service is spread thin.
- Desert: River Walk Sweets – Still warm pralines, and everything they offer you to eat in the store is free. (!)”
Vegas, New Orleans, Key West, & Savannah allow open containers in public.