Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sight Seeing in Savannah

I slept in as best I could, which was nearly until 10. My body needed the rest. As I was leaving the hotel I saw a couple of guys with bikes on their roof in the parking lot, so I asked them if they knew anything about riding on the Talmadge Bridge out of town. They hadn’t ridden bikes over it, but they said the bridge itself should be OK as there is a shoulder, but once over the bridge it got a bit narrow. I went over the info center and posed the bicycle question about the Talmadge Bridge to the folks there. The guy said that he knew of no reason why I couldn’t ride over the bridge, but that didn't mean much to me. I never get a straight answer.

I decided to jump on a bus to take a tour of the city. The historic part of downtown is one mile by one mile, but on a day off, I didn’t really want to walk the whole thing. Plus, I wouldn’t get the commentary.

Savannah is a town that was planned around 24 town squares. 21 of the original 24 squares remain, though another one is in the process of being reclaimed. The squares are quite pleasant; though not nearly big enough to swing a cat, much less play Frisbee. There is Forsyth Park which has a section designed for just that purpose (playing Frisbee and other outdoor sports, not swinging a cat, although there is enough room to do so if you choose).

I was in Savannah at the right time of the year. Everything was beginning to bloom, leaving the many squares awash in color. I am not certain as to how botanically diverse Savannah is, but what was blooming made quite a visual impact.

Much like in New Orleans, wrought iron work is quite popular. It was a status symbol back in the day. Another interesting historical construction material is tabby. Tabby is similar to concrete, but in addition to sand a limestone, crushed oysters shells are mixed in. Several roads and numerous houses are made of the stuff. Many of the houses though have stucco over them, so the outward appearance isn’t that of tabby.

One other construction material unique to Savannah is grey brick. The brick, no longer manufactured, was made from clay taken from the Savannah River. The brick is slightly larger than a standard red brick today and had a varied color (despite being called grey). I was told that the brick sells for about 8 bucks a brick, so building a house, if you could even get the requisite number of bricks, would be an expensive proposition.

For you movie fans out there, Forrest Gump was filmed in Savannah. At least the parts where Gump is giving commentary sitting on the park bench. That bench sat in front of Chippewa Square. Forrest Gump or Tom Hanks fanatics hold on though, as the bench was only a prop for the movie and there is in actuality no such bench in front of the square.

Also on the celebrity list in Savannah is the chef Paula Dean. I had never heard of her, but was told over 1,000 people eat in her perpetually sold out restaurant on a daily basis.

Before I went back to my hotel for the evening, I took a quick trip to the Talmadge Bride to see for myself what was up. Sure enough, there was a “No Bicycles"sign right out front. I really wasn’t in the mood for a detour and the bridge didn’t look that bad, so I figured I would cross it. I would just get a really early start in teh morning.

My last thought for the day was that I hadn’t seen a Georgia Peachtree or even a single Georgia Peach in my entire time in the state.

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