Thursday, May 21, 2015

Amtrak Adventure - Day 5 - Savannah, Georgia

If we thought our start on day 4 was early, day 5 was even worse in that we had to be back at the train station at 4.55am to catch the train to Savannah. The journey of less than two hours passed quickly, mostly in the dark. Worried that I might fall asleep and miss the stop, I spent the time downloading the previous day's photos only to discover that my camera, which I had dropped while in Richmond, was not working properly and all my photos of Charleston were fuzzy. Thankfully, my sister had also been taking photos so all was not lost.

We couldn't check into our hotel, the B Historic Savannah, until eleven so we dropped off our bags and set out to explore the historic district of the city.

In a way it was just as I had imagined it, except perhaps even more beautiful. The streets are adorned with grand federal style houses and interspersed every few blocks with a square of greenery complete with a statue - 16 in all, including Madison Square - making a walk through the district a pleasure . 

If that is not enough greenery for one city, Forsyth Park offers a larger public space complete with an enchanting fountain.

The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum was our next stop. The museum uses photos, videos and exhibits to portray the African-American struggle for civil rights in Georgia from slavery to the present day including a lunch counter interactive display from the 1950's showing the appalling difference in attitudes towards customers depending on their race. The museum is located in what was the Wage Earners Savings and Loan bank for Black Savannahians, the largest Black bank in the US at the time, and is named for the father of Savannah's Civil Rights Movement.  While a relatively small museum, it is well worth a visit. 

With no idea where to have lunch, a chance conversation with a shop assistant led us to the Pink House Inn.  

With an elegant dining room, an outdoor terrace and a bar the inn is a popular spot but we managed to snag a couple of seats at the bar and I had a chance to sample Fried Green Tomatoes for the first time. Who would have thought they would be so good! 

The historic district of Savannah had seemed unusually devoid of tourists. It was only after lunch that we found out where they usually hang out: down by the river. Riverwalk is a developed area along the waterfront with shops and restaurants in converted old warehouses and homes. While pleasant enough to visit, it is both very touristy and crowded so we decided to take to the water. Ferries run from each end of the riverfront to a hotel complex across the river offering both a free ride and a chance to view Savannah from the water. 

As we made our way back to the hotel we had to stop off at Mabel's Cupcake Emporium. Having seen the New York Times quote "Don't leave town without eating a cupcake from Mabel Francis Potters Cupcake Emporuim", we needed no more excuse to check it out. I can now confirm that the cupcakes are truly delicious! 

After our late afternoon snack we didn't really want a full dinner but found that many of the restaurants in the historic district were upscale and rather pricey so we had to head back down to the river. We eventually settled for crab stuffed mushrooms and garlic fries at Barracuda Bob's  - probably not the most healthy of meals, but who cares when it tastes so good!

In all, a delightful day in an elegant city. Savannah definitely was a good choice for a one day stop-over. 

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