Published: August 25th 2011August 16th 2011 Savannah, Georgia
My best Forest Gump
Sitting on a park bench in Savannah's historic district
August 14-16, 2011
Ever since I saw Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I wanted to go to Savannah, Georgia. I thought it would be a great place to go and process after the meditation retreat. The 76 mile drive from Jesup to Savannah would take me to the eastern-most part of my travels and complete my west coast to east coast drive.
The first two days, I was pretty lazy in Savannah. I really didn’t want to sight see. To be honest, I mostly wanted to eat, drink and socialize. Part of me worried I would be undoing some of what I worked on at the meditation retreat, but all things in moderation… I guess.
My first stop was a prohibition pub that was not as cool as I hoped it would be, but it had good food nonetheless. I was kinda hoping for a 1920s speakeasy feel, but settled for the fact that it used to be a speakeasy, but is now just a bar and grill. I chatted with the bartender and learned Savannah is home to the largest arts college in the nation and kind of dead over the summer.
The Mercer House
Featured in the movie Midnight in the Garden Of Good and Evil
He said it usually picks up in September when school is in session. It also has a neighboring military base, which provides an interesting culture clash/mix when combined with the mostly gay arts college. (Think I’ll visit Savannah during the school year ;) I also learned they have the largest St. Paddy’s Day celebration in the nation. Now we’re talking!
But I wasn’t quite ready to go completely over the edge just yet. For dinner, I met up with Brendan, my bunk mate from the Vipassana retreat. We went to a pizza place and processed our shared experience from the last two weeks. Both of us plan to continue the meditation practice and see where it takes us in the future. I’m actually looking forward to getting home and starting my daily routine so I can add meditation into it. It is difficult to do while driving and sightseeing.
When I was in the mood to be a tourist, I headed to Tybee Island so I can take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean and officially say I traveled from coast to coast. On the way to Tybee Island, I stopped in to see Fort Pulaski, a Civil
Inside Fort Pulaski
Manning the Civil War cannons
War fort. The fort was huge! It was built with over 25 million bricks, all made from the hands of slaves. It seemed only fitting that Fort Pulaski was captured by Union soldiers early on in the Civil War and later used to house free slaves. I love irony in history. I don’t think I had ever been to a fort before, but it reminded me of a fort set I got from Santa one Christmas. I enjoyed playing with all the cannons and walking on the tower walls. There was a docent dressed as a confederate soldier who gave some interesting perspectives of the civil war from that point of view. He believed that the individual state loyalties made it difficult for the Confederacy to organize, while the Union states all fought together towards a unified federal government. Whatever the case, I liked his outfit.
Tybee Island (meaning salt), was named by the Euchee Indians who processed salt from the Atlantic. The Spanish were the first Europeans to “discover” it in 1520, and the island has a rich history that goes back hundreds of years. The first capture of a British Ship by the American Congress happened at
A Confederate Soldier
Loyal to the state of Georgia
Tybee Island in 1775. It was also a hideout spot for both pirates and Loyalists in the 1700s. The lighthouse on the island dates back to 1736 and the related museum and adjacent home tells the personal stories of the lighthouse keepers and their families who worked the lighthouse throughout the 1800’s. During the world wars, the Coast Guard took over the home of the lighthouse keeper and created a coastal military base. It has since been restored to how it was in the late 1800s.
I climbed the steps of the lighthouse and saw a birds-eye view of the beach. As a result, I was itching to feel the waters of the Atlantic. I cruised down to the water, stripped down and felt like I was in the middle of a horror movie. I was immediately attacked by all these flies. They LOOKED like ordinary house flies, but these were NOT ordinary house flies. They attached to my skin and started to bite, leaving red bumps in their wake. I swatted them away and they gingerly avoided my hand then reattached themselves to another part of my body. They had no fear and had some sort of ninja
homing capabilities. They were bionic. I feared them. I ran to the water like a banshee. When I came out of the warm waters of the Atlantic, they were waiting for me. This was hell. So much for relaxing and writing on the beach… I felt like a stuck duck in a dry pond (a phrase I learned in the South), so I didn’t sit there like a frog on a log (another Southern colloquialism) I jetted out of there faster than two cats a’fightin’ (you get the idea).
Driving around the island, I quickly discovered the bohemian style that seems to dominate the local beach community. It was kinda of a hippie version of Balboa Island and Laguna. I loved Tybee Island and would have a house there if I could afford it.
For dinner, I headed to the Crab Shack (not the chain, but the original version). They had live alligators in a moat that surrounded the shack and the rest of the restaurant was like a Louisiana Bayou. I couldn’t believe the amount of food they gave me for $23. I had to ask the waitress how to eat one of the crustaceans. I also
On the Atlantic Beaches
Picture taken while being attacked by bionic flies
can’t believe that I ate it all… May all beings be happy. Lol.
I stayed in the historic quarter of Savannah, a square-mile stretch of homes that date from the 1800s. I took a trolley tour to see the area and was not disappointed with the architecture, graveyard and foliage. What a beautiful area. I especially loved the live oak trees that were draped with hanging Spanish moss. Way cool! My mom would have especially loved the Victorian District which housed the Mercer House (highlighted in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil). I’m not educated enough to articulate the styles of architecture, but I took pictures of the pretty ones (lol). Parts of Forest Gump were filmed/took place in Savannah, so I tried to take a few pictures on a bench. Life really is like a box of chocolates…
I did go out every night in Savannah. The bartender was correct… it is dead this time of year—probably worse on a Sunday and Monday night. Nonetheless, I met fun people and chatted with locals about the city. The Riverfront area, which seemed especially charming and ancient with its cobblestone streets and brick storefronts, is
probably really hopping during the school year. I think I’d like to experience Savannah with friends when it is in its prime season. What a charming and perfect city. I will return…Who wants to join me? Any takers?
There are more photos below