Tuesday, August 2, 2011
On Chatham Square
I fell in love with the city the first time I wandered the squares and tree lined streets a few years back. On our way to Florida it had been on our must-see list. At that time we only had two nights and the children were much younger. There was just time for a trolley tour and a few short walks among the small park like squares in the historic downtown.

We had to part reluctantly.
Life did not bring us here again until now and my first impressions from so many years ago have not changed.
Spending the summer in South Carolina, only 20 miles outside  Savannah has given me finally a chance to come to the city more often, walking the streets again and discover more then the paths laid out for tourists.

Savannah has the beauty of a Southern Belle of a certain age, sitting pretty, cocktail in hand...
Self assured and confident, not afraid of the wrinkles which have appeared and full of confidence and youthful energy. There is such poise and grace to everything there is around Savannah.

The  local pride in preservation is something I notice this time much more then at my first visit. Even the smallest alley is well kept and without being overly groomed glows gently in the heat of an afternoon or the sparkle of an early evening.

The influence of the SCAD, Savannah's foremost art and design institution has made it's mark and I have heard more then a few times about their positive impact on the city's need for maintaining and restoring historically important structures. Walking the small streets I have come to see that the school owns quite a large amount of properties around town and it's industriousness can be felt literally around every corner.

Walking with my daughter along Bull Street

There are shops operated by the Savannah College of Art and Design, short SCAD,  selling great student design from artwork to well designed cloths, jewelry and pottery and surely the sales of not only Savannah related items must give the city much needed finical support. There is also a online shop here!
It still feels as if everybody knows each other and the fruitful exchange among the city's inhabitants and their mutual love for "their" town is visible.

More then one time have I wished now to be a part of it. There is a friendliness radiating and for many reasons I feel right at home here. The climate is wonderful and the heat is bearable. The old fashioned ways of Savannah suit me well.

The food reminds me of back home, although it might seem strange to think that my mother's home cooking back in Dresden, Germany could have anything to do with Savannah! But apart from the Southern influences and the more spicier versions of everything I eat it's the hearty and earthy feel of the food which reminds me. Skillets with fried meats, bacon and potatoes, grits and sausages, cool refreshing beer or coffee and cakes.

Then of course there is the seafood, the shrimps and gumbos, different from what I know but it agrees with me perfectly.
The only thing I would perhaps avoid is the deep fried everything one can find here.
The deserts are to die for. Key lime pie, all kinds of French pastries, chocolate tarts and most delicious coffees. And the ripe peaches, apricots, plumes...
I am afraid living here I would hopelessly dive into the rich local fair!

People love their gardens, the smallest spaces between houses are carefully planted and decorated. There are entire outdoor rooms, complete with chandeliers and sofas, water fountains fill the air with the refreshing sounds of splashing water and birds can be heard singing. Sitting under the tall trees laden with Spanish moss I also can hear the crickets and cicadas. Their sound is so soothing and seems to keep the time in Savannah!

More then once now I have found empty places here calling my name and maybe one day my husband and I will be be back for longer...

For the first time after leaving Germany I have found a place where I feel instantly and utterly comfortable. It is also maybe the first time that I feel that not having roots reaching deep anywhere in the world anymore has benefits too. I can freely choose to put them in wherever I feel the most suited. What a difference between the suburban wealthy, homogeneous and sometimes emotionally depleted neighborhood where I live now and a place like Savannah!

I know, I am not being fair right now, but I am in love, what can I do?

Cultured and artistic, Savannah has pulled me close and I am holding on to the embrace.

All pictures by V.Zlotkowski


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