Savannah #1: Museum, Ice Cream and Spooks

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July 23rd 2016
Published: December 7th 2017
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'Old Log''Old Log''Old Log'

Savannah History Museum
Our first full day in Savannah. We decided to take it easy in the morning as we had a few days to explore the area. The AirBnB host had told us that there was a local farmers' market on in Forsyth Park, the park we had visited the night before so we headed there. We spent a relaxing morning looking around the stalls and buying some local foods. The market was nice, but some stuff was quite pricey, once again if money were no object, I'm sure we would have bought more. We did get some local bread, cheeses, fruits and veggies, so that we could cook/make some dinner that evening. We made sure that we got some peaches as that is what this area is famous for. After our shopping, we headed to a local cafe, The Sentient Bean, to have a spot of lunch. The cafe was pretty crowded, but we managed to get a table. I wondered if the cafe was always this busy, it was a Saturday morning, if it was popular with locals and tourists or if the farmers' market helped to bring the crowds in. I had a really nice veggie breakfast burrito and of course a strong coffee. It was a lovely, lazy morning, just what we all needed.

We headed back to where we were staying to dump the stuff we had bought and to figure out where we would go that day. Since it was already after lunchtime, we couldn't do to much. We also had a walking tour booked for that evening so definitely had limited time. We opted to drive to the downtown area and check out a museum or two. We chose the Savannah History Museum as we wanted to learn more about the area. I had enjoyed the museums we had visited in Florida and was interested to know more about the city of Savannah, as I knew very little. The admission to this place was pretty cheap only about $7. We spent a good couple of hours wandering around the museum. There was an old dugout canoe which was nicknamed 'Old Log'. The canoe was made from a single log and was the predominant watercraft in the 1800s. It was adopted from the Native Americans and used along the southern coast. It was really cool to see how people transported themselves back then, although I wouldn't have like to travel in it if the weather and water was bad. There was also an exhibition on how cotton was manufactured, displaying a cotton gin and stating the Eli Whitney did not invent the cotton gin.

There was also a section with some of the locomotive history of the area. I really wished that we had more time that day, so we could have visited the Georgia State Railroad Museum as it is just across the way. I really wish museums were open late here, too. There was also an old dental office, loads of museums have these, I am sure it is to make you appreciate modern dental practices. We saw the 'Forrest Gump' bench complete with suitcase but no Tom Hanks. The bench is a prop and is based off those in Forsyth Park. Savannah is a popular choice for filmmakers, classics such as 'Forrest Gump' and 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' have been shot here. We saw some more exhibits about the wars that had occurred in the area. I also enjoyed the exhibit about Juliette Gordon Low, who had started the first American Girl Scouts. We came out of the museum and we could see the railroad museum opposite. In between the two museums was a war memorial so we took a look at that, remembering the war dead.

We headed back to our AirBnB and made something to eat with the goodies we had bought earlier. Our meal wasn't anything fancy, but it was tasty. Then it was time to head out again as we had booked spots on one of the free walking tours that many cities seem to offer. We left our place a bit earlier so that we could take a walk through Colonial Park Cemetery. Many victims of the almost 700 people who perished during the Great Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1820 are buried there. Since we didn't have long before the cemetery would shut, we could only take a quick look. Some of the tombs and graves were in beautiful spots below some gorgeous flowering trees. We decided that we would return to the cemetery when we would have more time to look around it more carefully. Then we headed over to the meeting point for our tour, Jackson Square. This place must be a popular meeting spot as there were a few tours meeting there. I don't know if it was all the same company or different ones.

We spent about an hour and a half wandering the streets of Savannah listening to our guide. He was very informative and told us not only about the spooky goings on in Savannah, but also its more relatively normal history. We passed a couple of the big churches and he told us about their history. We also visited Chippewa Square, which is from the movie 'Forrest Gump', it is where that benched was placed. There is no bench there now. I loved listening to the spooky tales about the ghosts people had encountered in the houses and businesses we passed. We stopped by the Colonial Park Cemetery and although the gate was locked we could look in and our guide encouraged us to take photos to see if anything would turn up in them. The people who run the company are all really into ghost hunting so quite a few of the stories told were their real life encounters. I think the most vivid story was the one that they told of Savannah's most haunted house. This house is prime real estate sitting in the historic district, yet it remains empty. The guide said that some of the other guides from the company went in and seriously weird shit happened. That story definitely left me with goosebumps.

The ghost tour had left us in the downtown area, and we had seen an ice cream shop the day before that had been super busy. We had researched it online and found that Leopold's was a Savannah institution. Therefore we knew we had to go back. The ice cream shop was founded by three brothers from Greece in 1919. Johnny Mercer, who grew up nearby and also worked in the shop wrote a song about Leopold's famous Tutti Frutti ice cream. This catapulted Leopold's into stardom and made it a Savannah favourite. One of the sons of the original brothers worked in the shop as a young lad, but left to pursue a career in Hollywood. He returned to help open the store in its present location, so it still is a family business. The ice cream is also locally made and uses techniques and recipes passed down through the family.

When we reached the shop, there was a long queue, it was
The Forrest Gump BenchThe Forrest Gump BenchThe Forrest Gump Bench

Savannah History Museum
to the end of the street. It was quite late in the evening, but a Saturday night so I suppose there were lots of people out and about wanting ice cream. The queue moved fairly quickly and it wasn't too long before we made it through the door. I loved the decor in this place it was proper old school, very retro. I ordered a double cone; chocolate and peanut butter. It was really, really good. However, I wished I'd got the chocolate ice cream on the top instead of the peanut butter ice cream as the peanut butter was my favourite and I would have preferred to finish with that. We had also managed to get a seat in the cafe, so we could stop, enjoy and savour our ice creams in the air-conditioning. I'm sure I would have had to eat it a lot faster if we were walking along the streets with them. We took a nice stroll back to our AirBnB, trying to spot some ghosts on the way. Unfortunately, we didn't find any.

Additional photos below
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The Gordon Family CarriageThe Gordon Family Carriage
The Gordon Family Carriage

Savannah History Museum

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