We spent the greater part of today exploring the beautiful city of Savannah. For years we had been told how beautiful this city was and after today, we definitely agree. What makes this city so remarkable and unique are the numerous, large parks, which are locally called squares, which the city has grown up around. Its founder, James Oglethorpe designed this town plan back when he originally laid it out in 1733. Oglethorpe developed his town plan around a basic design unit which he called a ward. Wards were composed of four residential blocks and four civic blocks, arrayed around a central square. The residential blocks contained ten houses and each block was assigned a square mile tract outside town for farming, with each family farming a forty-five-acre plot within that tract. Families were also assigned five-acre kitchen gardens near town.
The City of Savannah has preserved this ward design within its Historic District. Oglethorpe originally laid out six wards in Savannah. The design proved remarkably adaptable as the city grew, and city officials continued this same basic model for more than a century. Ultimately, twenty-four wards were laid out in general accordance with the original design, filling most of the original square-mile town common. Each square is unique, reflecting the ambiance created by each ward.
We had been warned that one walks a lot to enjoy the various squares. Thus, we opted to spend the morning riding around this historic district on a tour trolley. Thus, during the 90-minute tour, we saw each of the squares and the amazing number of historic homes and buildings that were breathtaking. This allowed us to take everything in and start plotting where we would like to spend more time exploring.
Since it was now around 1 o’clock, we first opted for lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack on the edge of the Savannah River. As we enjoyed, fried calamari, fried crab balls, steamed crabs, shrimp and sausage with corn on the cob and boiled potatoes, all washed down with a tall, cold beer, we watched the Georgia Queen, a paddlewheel tour boat ease down the river.
During lunch we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the city’s museum and then return to Savannah on Friday to leisurely explore the historic district with its many squares and its historic homes.
As we strolled down the riverfront, we just had to stop in a cookie store and then a candy store. The candy store was making the various goodies they had on display. They had one area where a fellow was pulling taffy. It was then fed into a machine that chopped it into individual pieces, wrapped in paper and the dropped into a chute, then slide down into a cart, was lifted up to an overhead conveyor, then slide down another chute and into a bin, where you could select the very fresh taffy. It was a hoot to watch.
Armed with bags of cookies and candy, we returned to our car and drove over to the museum where we spent the rest of the afternoon. We learned a lot of neat history about Savannah and Mary Margaret specially enjoyed the special room dedicated to Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts.
We are going to spend tomorrow being lazy and then return to Savannah on Friday to explore some more.