Ethereal Savannah with its stunning Antebellum architecture and cobblestone laneways, magnolia blossom and live oaks all make for an unforgettable city. When FB and I first visited Savannah, it was in the very cold and wintery month of February 2014. The second time I saw Savannah was on a road trip with my mum and Rob who were visiting from Australia. That was in September 2014 and on both visits we stayed in the enchanting pedestrian friendly town center.
And my third sighting of Savannah. Well that was on a whim when we decided to hit the road once more. This time however, there would be no sweet tea, stately mansions or Spanish moss for us. This time we were in search of a different side to Savannah. We were looking for estuaries, tidal marshes and the beautiful wetland prairies. We were heading to an island or two just off the coast of Georgia and we were on the lookout for a fort.
Estuaries, marshes and wetlands are rich wildlife reserves and the most valuable of ecological landscapes. These around the outskirts of Savannah happen to be inhabited by fish, crustaceans, dolphins, otters, alligators and an abundance of bird life. I love these sorts of areas which are often called ‘the nurseries of the sea’. They are wonderfully serene places to find yourself in.
After a day of exploring and bird watching we headed for dinner at a great little place called Marker 107. This restaurant is located on Kilkenny Creek with views of St Catherine’s and Ossabaw Islands. This charming little place is way off the beaten track but it is definitely worth the trip and it is open Wednesday and Thursday night 5 – 9 and Friday and Saturday night 5 – 10. And do try the blackened scallops!!
The freshest and sweetest shrimp (prawns) all come courtesy of a working shrimp boat named the ‘Grey Ghost’ which is docked at the wharf, just a stones throw from the back door of the restaurant.
After a good nights sleep it was off to Fort Pulaski. This five-sided masonry fortification was built in the 19th century and it is a National Monument located on Cockspur Island. Originally built to defend Savannah against foreign attack, construction of the fort began in 1829 and it took almost 16 years to complete. The history of this fort is long, detailed and fascinating. It has been a confederate post, it has witnessed monumental battles including civil war bombardment and it has been a prisoner of war camp.
Set aside a good day to do this tour and the park is open daily from 9 – 5.
Tybee Island is also known as Savannah Beach and is located about 18 miles from Savannah. Believe it or not……and you have to believe this because it is true, Tybee Island is one of the few locations in the world where the U.S. Air Force accidently dropped an atomic bomb in a botched military exercise in 1958. Although the bomb did not detonate, the lost bomb has never been found. Interesting and down right bloody scary!
Tybee Island is a very, very popular spot with locals, tourists and holiday makers and in the holiday season the population of the island swells considerably. I do love my oceans passionately and I will pretty much take a dip wherever and whenever I can however FB thought my judgment clearly circumspect when I mentioned (very casually as I was stripping off to my underwear) that I was going in for a swim. He alluded to the fact that:
- I did not have my togs with me (clearly not an issue though)
- I would be wet and somewhat sandy for the long drive home, and
- The clincher….he just pointed to the sign!
Now, I can honestly state that I am a very strong and experienced ocean swimmer however as I scanned the length of the beach as far as the eye could see (which was probably around 5 miles), I noted there were no another surfers or swimmers in sight. In fact, apart from the odd seabird, we were the only two people on the beach. Point taken!
No swim but a late lunch in a local Tybee café before heading home. This was not the Bundy Bear, but he was pretty familiar and it was nice to see.
Wanderlust is in my blood and that will never change. You can always travel the well worn path or search for something new but either way, the best part will be that you will return home to find yourself a little better a person just for having been there. Swim or no swim….. xx