Savannah and The Golden Isles 2017

Savannah And The Golden Isles - 2017

Magnolia Blossom Forsyth Park

Yes, Cindy and I did go to Savannah (for 3 weeks) in April.  We didn't exactly go to the "Golden Isles" ( a group of coastal islands about an hour south of Savannah) We did go to Brunswick, GA for an afternoon.  Brunswick bills itself as the Gateway To The Golden Isles.  Anyway, this is not National Geographic ... .  I was just looking for a headline that scanned.

We rented a condo about 2 blocks from Forsyth Park (the living heart of Savannah and one of America's most beautiful public spaces.  This was our fourth visit to Savannah so we've more or less exhausted the tours of ante-bellum homes (of which there are a considerable number) and generally have seen all the notably touristic sites.  So we spent a lot of time lounging in the park by the fountain, enjoying the sunshine (which was plentiful) and waiting for the magnolias to bloom.

We had a chance to reconnect with my brother and his family as well as pick up some long neglected threads with our cousin.  Simple but essential stuff.

So don't wait for the big finish or any sort of moral punchline.  There isn't one.  Just lots of sun and shade (the sun was hot)  and family.  OK, maybe that's the punchline.

In any case - enjoy.

All text and Photos Copyright by Gary M. Growe (2017)

Savannah Garden Tour (2017)
Savannah Garden Tour (2017)
Savannah Garden Tour (2017)
Doug and Gary Savannah (2017)
Savannah Garden Tour (2017)
St. John The Baptist Cathedral Spires Savannah, GA (2017)
Fountain/Forsyth Park
G and C Forsyth Park/Fountain
G and C and Mr. Savannah (2017)
Fountain Detail
Forsyth Park (1858) Savannah
Orleans Square (1815) Savannah
Mercer-Williams House (1868) Monterey Square
Harper Fowlkes House Garden/Orleans Square
Harper Fowlkes House (1842) Orleans Square
Green-Meldrim House (1853) Madison Square

The Squares

Savannah (2017)

Just a word about Savannah's "Squares":

The "squares" (which are pocket parks) were central to the original plan of Savannah (circa 1730's) as devised by its founder James Oglethorpe.  Intended to contain various civic buildings as well as a church and personal residences - all built around a common area - they have evolved into some of the most beautiful urban greenspace in the country. Of the original 24 squares, 22 survive  today (one - Ellis Square - was brought back from the dead, having been bulldozed for a parking lot in the 1950's).

Today they provide shade, a place to gather and perhaps most importantly, they act as traffic barriers of a sort.  While one can drive around the squares (traffic is one way) motorists tend to avoid the squares and as a consequence the noise level is greatly reduced.

The blocks framing the squares are also some of the most expensive real estate in town and are home to various grand ante-bellum residences, townhouses and high-end B&B's.  In fact those lucky enough to live around Pulaski Square gather together in the square every Tuesday and toast their good fortune.  Having spent considerable time in the square, I don't blame them.

While the squares otherwise are highly refined and orderly, there is a rather quirky thread that runs through many of them.  For example: 

The Polish officer Casimir Pulaski (hero of the Revolutionary War's Battle of Savannah) is not buried, as one might think, in "Pulaski Square".  He's in Monterey Square (and there's some doubt about that). 

The Founder of Savannah - James Oglethorpe?  His statue (by Daniel Chester French - sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial) is in Chippewa Square, not Oglethorpe Square.

Orleans Square sounds as if it has some French connection, doesn't it?  Well, it does (it memorializes Jackson's victory at New Orleans) but the central object of the square is its fountain, which was donated by a German philanthropic organization.

So, is there some explanation for all this?  Yes, there is - sort of.  The squares, while all part of the original blueprint for Savannah as set out in the early 1700's, were not all constructed at the same time.  The first four were completed in 1733 and two more in 1736.  The remaining 18 were finished at various intervals between the late 1700's and 1851.

No matter - they're still beautiful and perhaps Savannah's greatest treasure.

 

Johnson Square (1733) Savannah
Whitefield Square (1851) Savannah
Pulaski Square Savannah
Troup Square (1851) Savannah
Wright Square (1733) Savannah

Savannah And The Golden Isles - Part Two

Old City Hall Brunswick, GA

So, what about the "Golden Isles"?  Well, as I said, we didn't actually make it to the islands themselves but we did go to the unofficial "gateway" to the islands - Brunswick, GA.

Brunswick, about 75 miles south of Savannah, has, like Savannah, a rich colonial era history.  Established in 1771, it is likewise set out on a grid with a system of squares and parks.  It reached its peak of economic importance in the late 1800's, serving as a thriving seaport and rail center.  Until a pair of hurricanes (1893 and 1898) demolished and/or drowned most of it.

There is (our good luck) still a very attractive historic center and lots of Victorian age homes.

Brunswick was the manufacturing site of Liberty Ships during World War II.  Employing 16,000 workers, the Brunswick naval yard turned out 85 of these 447-foot cargo/troop ships in four year.  In December of 1944, they built 7 in a month!

Brunswick was also home to the largest blimp base in the world during WWII.  German U-boats patrolled off the coast and the blimps acted as "spotters".  It worked.  No ships going out of Brunswick were lost to U-boats during the war.

Today, the blimps and the Liberty Ships are gone but the port still thrives. Most valuable import these days?  Japanese cars.

Any, it's an easy drive down Interstate 95 and on a sunny day it's worth the trip.

 

 

G and C, Brunswick, GA (2017)
Brunswick, GA (2017)
Brunswick, GA (2017)
Brunswick, GA (2017)
Brunswick, GA (2017)
Brunswick, GA (2017)
Springtime for Cindy Brunswick, GA (2017)
Liberty Ship Model Brunswick, GA
Brunswick, GA (2017)
Waterfront Park Brunswick, GA (2017)
Brunswick, GA (2017)

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Iris Freeman | Reply 09.07.2017 18.21

Gary, so nice,written so well, really enjoy reading about you and Cindy Thanksfor sharing. Love to you and Cindy, Auntie Iris

G and C 10.07.2017 15.06

Thanks so much.

Peter | Reply 29.05.2017 12.23

"Mr. Savannah" looks anything but a square. I bet there's at least one amusing story about him.... -p

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Latest comments

10.07 | 15:06

Thanks so much.

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09.07 | 18:21

Gary, so nice,written so well, really enjoy reading about you and Cindy Thanksfor sharing. Love to you and Cindy, Auntie Iris

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12.06 | 09:49

Hi Gary and Cindy,

Thank you for including me in your website with your travel log.
I hope to get to Maine this year and so would like to stop by to say hello.

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09.06 | 18:16

Very Nice.
Dave

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