Upon our arrival in Savannah, we were pleased to see our checked bags arrived safely and undamaged. Each prior incident where bags were checked always ended with loss or destruction of our luggage or belongings. Fortunately, we were able to retrieve our beloved golf bags without incident. Because my husband is a frequent traveler, he is registered with the car rental company’s fast track service, which allows two very nice options. First, to jump to the front of the line and second to irritate the regular folks who were taking their sweet time behind him. So, within the span of five minutes and twelve stink-eyes, we are on our way to check out Savannah.
We opted for the Oglethorpe tour of the city, which boasts a 90 minute guided tour and free on & off stops throughout the day for $15 per person. Our GPS route to the welcome center took us through some interesting neighborhoods that the tour trolley thankfully did not. If my impression of the city would have been solely defined by areas we encountered on our way in, I would not have opted to stay. Abandoned businesses, housing projects and some men carrying brown bag bottles as they aimlessly jaywalked would probably be more accurate of many American cities effected by the current economic decline and general deterioration of society itself. That said, our tour was thankfully vacant of such discussions and although we saw nary a panhandler along the way, the warning signs about doing so along the riverfront on how to report such activity to police were enough of a reminder to stay inside the “designated” areas to avoid any social class clashing.
Overall, the areas we toured were quite beautiful, reminiscent of a more prolific time in the city’s history. Our tour guide, Mary, who had worked in a previous life as a caseworker, perhaps to the very rough neighborhoods we drove through to arrive to the welcome center, showed none of the telltale signs of social work burnout and was perfectly pleasant. Much to the irritation of an alumnus from a competing college of design, Mary pointed out more than a dozen buildings which either housed, stored, or belonged to the local college of art and design. I could definitely see the artist’s appeal to the city. The many picturesque squares, the ample supply of local galleries, coffee shops and upscale restaurants seem to be a good venue for many of the local artists to display and sell their artwork. It lent the city an interesting character, which I thoroughly appreciated.