Each of my three nights in Savannah, Georgia I engaged in extensive, all-encompassing walks through the city’s vast historic district. From my home base at the Mansion on Forsyth Park, a high-end hipster boutique hotel just south of the area du historie, I was able to make it to the riverfront and back in a good thirty minutes. Assuming, of course, I didn’t get distracted and veer off course.
Which, invariably, is exactly what happened.
A cohesive, travel writer-quality update about Savannah may be forthcoming, but all I can recall now are images. Not even long enough to classify as vignettes, they’re more like the physical embodiment of the essence of Savannah. They’re weird and exciting and mysterious and romantic. These are the images I experienced while rambling:
– A group of firemen playing bags in a firehouse that could easily double as the mansion from Gone with the Wind.
– A pedicab driver, reclining in the cab seat, feet up on the handlebars, reading some dusty tome beneath the neon glow of an old movie theater’s marquee.
– A riverfront road composed of the roughest cobblestones, probably untouched since before the American revolution. The buildings along the road, also ancient, ugly, gray, and bland, are the city’s prime tourist attraction.
– Dozens of statues commemorating confederate generals, their towering brass and granite heights swamped in dark oak branches and dangling tendrils of spanish moss.
– A man nonchalantly walking down the street with a cat riding on his shoulders.
– Somewhere, an accordion plays a jaunty pirate tune. Every night. Every damn night.
– Fireworks suddenly light the sky across the river. A full-on show that lasts twenty minutes – and no one can explain why it’s taking place.
– Gas lamps both still exist and receive extensive use in Savannah.
– A creaky, faded sign hangs low off the edge of a wrought-iron porch on a mansion slowly sinking under the weight of its own history. The sign reads “Alex Raskin: Antiques”. In my head, a story begins to unfurl.