Travel Diary
March 7, 2003
Savannah, GA

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The city of Savannah, Georgia is possibly best known for its role in a few major movies including "Forrest Gump" (the opening scene) and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" (based on the story of an actual murder in the city). What makes it such a special place is the remarkable collection of historic buildings from the mid and late 1800s. It seems that during the Civil War, Sherman was asked to spare the city. He decided it was a beautiful place and occupied it for a time, but didn't burn it down like other southern cities.

Although our visit to Savannah was highlighted by a few days of spring showers, we were able to see many of the beautiful squares, incredible old homes, and we even took a carriage tour of the city.

The movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" was based on the story of Jim Williams, who was accused of murder, and stood trial four times before being acquitted. Williams lived in the Mercer House, named for the original owner of the house that was built in the 1860s. The movie was filmed in the Mercer House, and is still occupied by Jim Williams' sister. If you're interested in owning a piece of Savannah history, we're told it is on the market for $2.9 million.

Mercer House

We had dinner one night a restaurant called The Lady & Sons. The proprietor is a woman named Paula Deen. She has authored several southern cooking cookbooks, and also has her own show on the Food Network. The best part of the meal was that she was actually at the restaurant on the night we were there. We started with an incredible order of fried green tomatoes that was served with a spicy horseradish sauce. Pete had chicken pot pie that was extremely rich and delicious and was crowned with a woven flaky crust over the entire dish. Mary had a wonderful fresh seafood stew that had clams, scallops, shrimp, and fish all in a tomato broth. It was served in a gigantic clear bowl.

Seafood stew

We also toured the Wormsloe Historic Site. Wormsloe was the property of Nobel Jones, an English colonist who came to Georgia in 1733. On the site today are the ruins of the original structure that was built on the property in 1737. The most striking aspect is the main avenue leading through the property. It is lined with over 400 live oak trees that were planted in the early 1890s. There is a home on the property that is still occupied by direct descendents of Nobel Jones.

Wormsloe Historic Site entrance

Finally, we happened to be in Savannah during the Savannah Music Festival. We decided to spend our last night in Savannah out on the town. We started with an excellent meal at Il Pasticcio. They have been written up in USA Today as one of the top 10 Italian restaurants in the country. Mary had a risotto with tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella. Pete had a veal chop with butternut squash hash, and roasted fennel and apples.

After dinner, we went to a concert featuring Marcus Roberts and Hank Jones. Both are world renowned jazz piano players. They each performed with their own trio (Roberts' trio had Jason Marsalis on drums), then there were a few pieces with each accompanied by the Savannah Music Festival Orchestra, and the show ended with a piano duet. It was an amazing show. If you don't know either of these piano players, you should consider adding Marcus Roberts' "Alone with Three Giants" to your collection.

Savannah has proven to be a vibrant town with great food and a vibrant atmosphere all wrapped up in a well preserved historic setting. If you ever make it to the south east, it would be worth going out of your way to visit this wonderful city.

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