‘This might just be the most beautiful place town I have ever been in the whole of the USA’ i text to Gemma in response to her asking how Jack was getting on. And it was no exaggeration, anyone that has travelled the US will know that most towns are indistinctly similar and rarely offer anything other than a raw jolt of American supposed superiority wrapped in bland brown brick attire. But Deep in Georgia we found ourselves in a real southern town – A southern belle (as LP puts it) and it is a town steeped in colonial history, gorgeous landmarks and fuelled by a cotton rich history of a century past.
Arriving into Savannah the highway quickly became rolling greenway which quickly became a lost road surrounding by oaks, wooden homes with netted windows and carts parked by the roadside selling fresh fruit. Every other eatery had smoke from the BBQ pummelling from the stone chimney as ribs slowly roasted on the hot charcoals giving an inviting aroma of the southern cuisine. For those struggling to imagine the pace of life think of Bubba from the movie Forest Gump. With shrimping boats, a slow pace of life and a real southern charm it is a perfect analogy of a town that never quite caught up with the rest of the country, and whilst the US beams forward at a break neck pace of development, Savannah never even bothered to get up and move. It sits back where it was a hundred years ago and it sits there proudly. For it knows that whilst the remainder of the State (and country) loses its identity, Savannah sits firmly where it always has and that, for me – Is why it is easily one of the most aesthetically gorgeous towns in the entire country. Ok, it doesn’t have the back drop to mountains like Colorado, it doesn’t have snow capped peaks in the distance, it doesn’t sit solitary in a plain which goes far beyond the horizon. Rather it finds itself overgrown with Oak trees littered with Spanish moss, southern charm and the sounds of local buskers playing violin, singing, tap dancing and lovers laid in the grass courting. Unsurprisingly many people come to Savannah as the perfect backdrop to their marriage and I think that when I get married It might just be where it will be. I know people think to white sand beaches licked by turquoise oceans, or quaint churches in rural English villages – But Savannah for me will be hard to beat.
I wish I could sit and write that we did a million things, that we visited this museum and that – Though we did visit plenty of places (including the stunning Wormsloe Plantation) but most of our time in Savannah was spent walking, exploring and getting lost amongst beauty. We found churches, synagogues, museums, the port, cotton plantations and parks filled with jaw dropping beauty. The kids danced to classical music courtesy of some boy playing a viola solo, they raced bikes as cyclists jaunted along without a care in the world and they hunted for snakes in the trees.
Despite the high humidity and temperature which was well into the hundreds (high 30’s) we walked for miles and miles. Eventually we found ourselves in Forsyth park where I lay on the grass reading whilst the kids found endless amounts of energy and just enjoyed being kids. I recall that for a moment I clenched my eyes to avoid the harsh sunlight and looked up, Jack was being a caterpillar, Abi had already hatched into a butterfly, and Charlie was doing some kind of dance that I hope to never see again.
Wiping the sweat from my brow I caught Jacks gaze and he beamed a smile at me, I looked down into my book and my eyes filled up. I had been reminded just how amazing my kids were, and just how much I lived for them, and that really, we might just have been in one of the most beautiful towns in the whole continent.