Savannah, Georgia

Well the UK has gone back into lockdown.

Inevitable, I suppose, but still not exactly a joyous occasion.

So with the cancellation of normality for the next month or so and ever looming exams, it’s not looking like I’m going to be crossing off an awful lot of bucket list items towards the end of the year. So I figured why not reflect a bit on some life goals I’ve already achieved? Hey, just because I’ve already crossed something off my bucket list that doesn’t mean it’s not worth documenting!

And with the US election rapidly improving my American geography over the past week, what better place to start than the state that has been occupying so much of my brain space since Tuesday: Georgia.

Savannah, Georgia had been on my radar for a while (I’ve got Pinterest to thank for that one) and I knew that it was one of the places I desperately wanted to see whilst on my year abroad in Tampa, Florida. I finally got my chance to visit in November 2017 and it was such a surreal experience visiting this previously intangible city.

As I said, Savannah first caught my eye on Pinterest and rightfully so. This city is a Pinterest girl’s dream; eclectic architecture, heaps of Southern charm, and a light frosting of spanish moss gracing every tree in the city. It’s just… enchanting.

I only had a one day stop in Savannah (Black Friday to be exact) which maybe in hindsight wasn’t the best move but hey, it gives me an excuse to stop by again some day!

So how did I spend my one precious day in Savannah? Hanging around a museum and a graveyard, of course.

Hi, if you’re new here!

So yes, like the nerd that I am the day started in the Savannah History Museum and honestly, I’d really recommend it! As a Brit with zero knowledge of pre 20th century American history, it was a great place to start my day, giving me some much needed context surrounding how Savannah came to be the city we know today.

Actually I say that, I do know a little bit about the American revolution. But again, in true nerd fashion, literally all of my knowledge comes from Hamilton. That’s actually how I learned that Washington D.C is not in Washington State.

Anyway

It’s a fairly small museum that retells the story of Savannah from its establishment in 1733 through to the modern day. It definitely helped me to get to grips with my military history and gain a better understanding of what the Civil War actually was. Plus, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Savannah was the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. I may never have sold any cookies during my time in Girl Guiding UK, but it was nice to have an unexpected connection to the city.

Oh and who could forget the iconic Forrest Gump bench? The bench scenes were actually shot in Chipewa square in downtown, but the bench itself is comfortably housed in the Savannah History Museum. Although it would be fun to have kept the bench in the original filming location, I actually quite like that it’s safely away in the museum. At least this way it’s protected from inevitable vandalism, plus I did’t have to feel pressured to awkwardly queue behind a bunch of other tourists for the sake of my Instagram, and that’s always a plus these days!

From the museum it was on to Bonaventure Cemetery. Creepy, I know, but this place just feels so eerily lost in time I couldn’t resist a visit.

It’s a little bit out of the way and I’ll be honest I didn’t completely nail the Georgia bus system but we got there in the end lads.

Bonaventure Cemetery is just so… difficult to describe.

When I’ve visited other cemeteries I’ve been astounded by their wealth and intensity (Paris) or the exigent cloud of tragedy (Prague) and yet Savannah felt so unique. It’s an odd blend of eeriness and serenity. A place where a ghost would not have felt out of place, and yet it also felt right to sit and simply read my book for a while, taking in the total tranquility.

If there’s one thing I took away from the cemetery, it’s that I truly adore spanish moss. Actually, it may be one of the things I miss most about the Southern USA. I mean, the people are alright I guess, but can they transform literally any scene into a real life fairytale?

No. They cannot.

After the cemetery it was back to downtown to just mooch around a bit and absorb the vibes of the city, sedate as the holidays may have made them. To be honest, sedate was very welcome- I had a train to catch at 6:00 the next morning and it was going to be a long 8 hour ride back to Tampa!

I would take all the sedate I could get.

So what did I learn from my trip to Savannah?

  • Amtrak trains are literally never on time, but they’re a slightly nicer experience than Greyhound buses
  • The 1860s was a apparently a long time ago when you’re in America
  • Spanish moss makes everything more ethereal and they should sell it by the can
  • And I’ll have to come back here, because Savannah is too enchanting for me to be satisfied with one short day

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