Live Trip Map Day 9: January 1, 2009
Starting the Year in Georgia
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In order to get the website current, I hung out in the motel until the 11:00 checkout then headed into Savannah. I may have driven through here at some time but don't recall ever stopping at all. I had no concept of the town's lay out but had a free map in my pocket. I still didn't see much of the town beyond its riverfront but that seems to be the biggest attraction, anyway.

I parked on Bay Street and used one of several sets of stone stairs to reach River Street. The Savannah River flows along one side of the cobblestone street while restaurants, bars, and shops line the other. Many of the stones used as pavement in this area arrived as ballast in wooden sailing ships so that bits of several European countries form Savannah's waterfront streets. There is also some local stone and some brick. Some of the bricks used were made by Graves in Birmingham, Alabama; the same company that made the Lincoln Highway bricks I drove on Tuesday.

A 150 foot long three masted sail boat is an eye-catcher almost anywhere. A boat of that description was one of the first things to catch my eye on the Savannah waterfront. A sign near the bow declared "FREE TOURS" so I headed up the gangplank to take a look. The boat is the Peacemaker. It was built in Brazil and first launched in 1989. Her current condition, including the barquentine rigging, is the work of present owners the Twelve Tribes. I had never heard of the Twelve Tribes and know little about them now other than they comprise a modern far flung communal organization that appears to be thriving. There was a collection box on deck but the tour really was free. The boat is wintering in Savannah with future destinations not yet known.

There was, however, one annoying religious presence in the area. This fellow would occasionally stop and shout something I couldn't understand though most of the time he just walked in silence with the sign covering his face.

The bright dome belongs City Hall. I bet a few state capitals wish they had something as splendid. Among the many things I learned about Savannah (I started the day in almost complete ignorance.) was that another fellow from Ohio had been here around Christmas. That was General William Tecumseh Sherman who, when opposing forces fled the city on December 20, 1864, telegraphed Lincoln "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton." At least one US president had earlier visited Savannah. On May 12, 1819, James Monroe was aboard the SS Savannah for a short excursion. The ship left town, without the president, ten days later and, after another twenty-seven days, reached Liverpool, England, to become the first steamship to cross the Atlantic.

The waterfront has many quite old and quite interesting buildings and plenty of inviting restaurants. I finally settled on the Cotton Exchange Tavern for lunch. The building dates from 1790 and really was once a cotton warehouse. Inside I had my first encounter with "shrimp & grits": "A southern classic. A bowl of organic stone ground grits lightly fried topped with roasted red peppers, onion, jumbo shrimp, andouille sausage and smothered in a sherry cream sauce." How could you say no to that?

I believe there is just one stretch of Old Dixie Highway between Savannah and Augusta but that stretch, near Springfield, has some variety. About a quarter mile is well maintained dirt and another quarter mile is on private property. Both DeLorme and Garmin labeled it Old Dixie Highway and routed me over it but my own good sense -- and a locked gate -- had me chose another road.

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