Savannah, Dec. 26

The weather was beautiful on the 26th. Joel drove us all to Savannah, which is about an hour from Hilton Head. I had sort of forgotten that it’s a big seaport, but look at those ships! I got the impression that it’s built on the first high ground that Oglethorpe came to on the river, the first place that made sense to build a big settlement. That was admirable foresight!

We parked next to river. There are lots of little boutiques all along the cobblestone river walk, with wrought iron bridges connecting the next street to the backs of the stores that are on the third floor up from the river. We walked all around that side of the city, including a cavernous antique store that had (along with normal antique furniture) wooden counters around twelve-foot squares that could have been bars from English manor houses or registration desks from Victorian hotels, with price tags in the $25K range. I’m sorry to say I forget the name of the place where we ate, but when my eye got to the menu item “shrimp and grits” I looked no further. It was good, as long as I didn’t mind a lot of cream sauce, which I didn’t!

This park is all along the street a block from the river —

— and this is the block right along the river. There are shops and restaurants all along the bottom floor on the river side.

We moved the car and walked and walked around squares. The city, at least the old area, is made of something like 22 squares with trees and monuments and traffic that has to detour around the square. Fortunately, or maybe thanks to Oglethorpe’s foresight, there are through streets between the squares.

Savannah is full of historic houses with admission fees. We went into the gift shops of several of them but were content with the outsides of most.

We tracked down the synagogue, a gothic structure housing the third oldest Jewish congregation in the U.S. They are proud of a letter that George Washington wrote to the congregation way back when they needed some reassurance that this new nation really intended to have religious freedom.

Hmm, you can see that the weather was less nice by that part of the afternoon than when we got to Savannah.

Our other goal was the Beach Institute African American Cultural Center. It’s this unpretentious frame building, which wasn’t where the map showed it as being. We had to ask two people in the neighborhood before finding it. Arlene was very eager to see an exhibit of wood carvings by Ulysses Davis, a Savannah barber who was a genius with wood sculpture and design. What an imagination, and what a range of interests he had! There were busts of all the presidents of the U.S, items inspired by African art, flowers, animals, fantasy creatures, and more.

In the evening we watched “Little Miss Sunshine” on DVD.

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