Yesterday we bought tickets for one of the historic trolley tours of Savannah. The historic district, with its narrow streets, is not an easy place for a large pickup with towing mirrors and hitch so it seemed the best way to go and see as much as possible. Savannah has a very interesting history, being the first settlement in the last colony settled and intended as a military buffer between the Spanish in Florida and the English in the Carolinas. Seems like it would have been a hard sell for founder James Oglethorpe to get his first hundred settlers: "Come on guys--sail to America with me and we can live where we will be the first attacked if the Spanish decide to make a move." He must have been something of a con man. I knew that he originally outlawed slavery in Georgia, but didn't realize that he also forbade Catholics, hard liquor, and lawyers. That all changed when the king took over the colony twenty years later. But the district is beautiful, organized around open squares because Oglethorpe also believed in city planning. This is his statue in one of the squares.
It is obvious that the ban against Catholics was lifted when you visit one of the trolley stops, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, one of many beautiful churches in Savannah. The present structure was built after the first one burned in the late 1800s and recently went through an extensive restoration. Other sites along the route included everything from the birthplace of the Girl Scouts to the location of Forrest Gump's bench---and of course the house where the murder took place in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Another literary highlight is the childhood home of Flannery O'Connor. We didn't take the tour but I did notice that the nice plaque outside neglects to mention that she was a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. We did have lunch at the Pirate's House where Robert Louis Stevenson supposedly got his idea for Treasure Island.
One of our last stops was along the river area. There are many restaurants and touristy shops just down river from the dock area. We were surprised to learn that Savannah is the fourth biggest port in the US. While we were there, this ship came in and dominated the scene--according to the guide, a 'roll-on, roll-off' ship carrying vehicles and not nearly as big as the container ships. Yikes.
Some random thoughts about writing, camping, and eating.