Spanish moss and Savannah Squares.

Welcome to Savannah.
The saying goes…
“If you go to Atlanta, the first question people ask you is, “What’s your business?” In Macon they ask, “Where do you go to church?” In Augusta they ask your grandmother’s maiden name.

But in Savannah the first question people ask you is “What would you like to drink?”

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Savannah’s distinctive vibe is courtesy of the preservation of 21 of its original 24 town squares bathed in Oaks and Spanish moss (a note on the Spanish moss: they used to stuff pillows and mattresses with the stuff, which became the source of their bed bug problems and the saying “don’t let the bedbugs bite”). Round it off with the unique Gothic and Georgian architecture, monuments to the Southern port city’s fascinating history and breatheless humidity and you have the perfect setting for some great story telling as evident by the wide choice of ghosts tours you can take.

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But anyone who has read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil knows that it doesn’t need ghost stories. Locals call it “the book” and grudgingly credit it with a bit of a tourism revival here. You can visit Monterry Square and the Mercer-Williams house all though the tour inside is quite expensive, typically rushed and frustratingly you can’t take pictures. But I think the combination of Savannah’s distinctiveness and Jim Williams’ impeccable taste and appointment in the home are so evocative of the story it’s completely worth it. I was blown away by Williams’ style but also when our tour guide told us how Savannah “needed him to get off” his infamous murder wrap because of the conservation work he had done around the city … a little bit of Southern eccentricity for you, right there.

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Despite it’s carefully preserved past, I really enjoyed the city’s vibrancy. I managed to arrive on Grad weekend so weaves my way through gowned and capped graduates and a free evening concert in Forsyth Park. Farmer’s Market’s sprung up in idyllic surroundings and thousands of dogs descended on a dog carnival in the park on one afternoon. On Saturday evening you couldn’t move without running into Brides everywhere (imagine the bun fight to get your favorite square on the right date). I watched one ceremony from one of the many park benches in front of the fountain while listening to an old couple describe their many years in Savannah.

And still so peaceful and pretty to just relax and catch up on some reading in.

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