Savannah, Georgia is renowned for many things. It's the oldest city in Georgia. Its annual St Patrick's Day parade is the second largest in the USA. Girl Scout Founder, Juliette Gordon Low, was born there. And last but not least, its most famous calling card, its stately Antebellum architecture. It's also a city of illusions, so if you'll be moving to Savannah, be ready for some surprises. And oh yes, hopefully you're not superstitious, Savannah is the second most haunted city in the country.
Watch Where You're Going
The first illusion is related to that antebellum architecture. Simply explained, the term refers to buildings that survived the Civil War, specifically, General Sherman's March to the Sea, and Savannah's inventory ranges in types from stately plantation homes to humble farm houses, and taverns. It is also a living architecture textbook, with Greek Revivals, French Regency, and Italian Renaissance represented. Much of the city's original buildings and cobblestone roadways are still intact, and there's a reason. Savannah believes in both restoration and recycling.
In an effort to keep the city much as it's always been, limitations have been placed on building height to ensure that none of these historical treasures will be dwarfed by new renovations. With no way to build up, city entrepreneurs are building from the inside out...well, no, let's just say they're confining their changes to the inside.
You may think you're going back in time as you approach a building - but surprise, you'll find yourself very much in the here and now. For example, you might be strolling along the Savannah River water front and decide to explore what looks like a Nineteenth Century cotton warehouse, but you cross the threshold and find yourself in the Cotton Sail Hotel that opened in May 2014. Ready to visit the old Coca Cola factory? Think again, it's the art-filled Brice Hotel, also opened last May. It will be deja vu all over again as you roam the city. The Grey, an upscale Southern fare restaurant resides within the walls of an old Jim Crow-era bus depot. Another eatery, The Florence, calls a refurbished ice cream factory home. Even the city's famed SCAD Museum of Art has turned an 1853 railroad depot and its next-door freight warehouse into an art connoisseurs' dream. You'll find the same thing wherever you go, especially if you like to shop for clothes and shoes...or antiques. If you see a crumbling old mansion, it's not one of the city's reputedly haunted houses, it's Alex Rankin Antiques.
Will That Drink Be "To-Go"?
Then there's the matter of drinking in public - which actually means outdoors. Although it's forbidden in the rest of the city, "go cups", as they're called, are OK in the Historic District, making it only one of the sixth localities in the country where you can order a drink to go. As long as your drink of choice is less than 16 ounces, and it's in a plastic cup that conceals it from lateral view, you're good to go.
It bears repeating however, that, as for the rest of Savannah, you're in trouble if you bring your drink outside.
Would You Like Your Beer in a Glass?
Another illusory law is the prohibition-era statue forbidding breweries to sell beer on site. Well, as with anything, where there's a will there's a way and Service Brewing co, owned and operated by veterans, Southbound brewing, and Coastal Empire beer Company have all found that way. They sell souvenir beer glasses, and free tastings go with the sale.
Sounds That Go Bump in the Night
As for those ghosts, well if your door knob suddenly crashes to the ground or you hear a knocking on the wall in the middle of the night, join the crowd, that may or may not be an illusion. Good luck, and welcome to Savannah!
If you need a Savannah mover, don't forget to give Coleman a call.