Savannah, Part 1

Dave, Ellen, Ann and Zack.

Ellen and I are visiting beautiful Savannah, Georgia for a few days with Ellen’s sister Ann and Ann’s husband Dave. Their son Zack is attending SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design, and we’re here for Parents’ Weekend, as well as to see and enjoy the city and area and spend time with Zack. We’re staying in half a charming Victorian house near Forsyth Park, the largest of many parks in the city.

This is a much larger and fancier Victorian home a few blocks from where we are staying, just to give you an idea of the lovely residential neighborhood.

Wednesday evening, after our arrival, Zack joined us for a walk, which began with a stop at a local coffee shop.

Ellen and Ann waiting for their drinks. The sisters love spending time together.

Walking through Forsyth Park where the giant Live Oaks and other trees are festooned with Spanish Moss.

A closer look at some Spanish Moss, which is not actually moss. It’s a Bromeliad, and is not attached to the trees at all, but merely rests on them.

On Thursday we began a long day of walking in Forsyth Park again. This is the large fountain near the northern end.

Dave, Ann and Ellen enjoying the fountain.

My favorite part was the sculpted egrets.

Dave talking to a street musician. Dave is a great talker, and engages people everywhere he goes, unlike myself, so we learned a lot about the local people.

We followed Bull Street north through several smaller parks to the SCAD Welcome Center. This the former armory that was the first and only SCAD building when they opened in 1978. Since then SCAD has been gradually expanding throughout this part of the city, and now has dozens of buildings, many restored and repurposed gems like this one.

Dave and Ann at the entrance. They had last been here a year ago November when Zack was scouting potential schools. Ann is an artist herself, and loved SCAD immediately. She was delighted when Zack liked it enough to apply right there and then.

Inside and upstairs, the largest room held this light-filled tree sculpture. Tags with messages from parents hung from it, and Ann added one for Zack.

Ann writes in her journal while there. As we rested, we were joined by a member of the SCAD recruitment team, Alex LeBlanc and had a nice conversation with her. She wants Ann and Dave to travel around with her and help sell SCAD to other parents, as she so enjoyed their enthusiasm for the school.

We wandered further through more of the 20 or so small parks known as Squares that are every few streets in all directions in this part of the city, all beautiful. We found a good lunch spot, then walked further north…

…down stairs and an old cobbled street to the bank of the Savannah River. This is a touristy area with lots of shops and places to eat. We visited some of them but didn’t buy anything.

More street musicians that Dave in particular was enjoying as they played music he loves by The Band. Later we had some ice cream at famous Leopolds, then took the free DOT bus all around the area and back near our rental. We got sea food takeout for dinner and spent the evening there with Zack.

Friday morning we drove north over the Talmadge Memorial Bridge into South Carolina, then northwest into the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge for some bird and nature watching on the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive. We were mostly in the car for this, but did walk on this short trail to a photography blind.

Some of the cool birds we saw included these, a Common Moorhen and a Black-bellied Whistling Duck.

Why does the Cattle Egret cross the road?

Possibly to avoid one of the many alligators in the canals and waterways.

This is an Anhinga, which Ann said was really a Pterodactyl.

A Boat-tailed Grackle. Other birds seen included a Swallow-tailed Kite and a Purple Gallinule. We enjoyed our two hours on this four-mile nature drive.

Next we drove east toward Bluffton and had a fine lunch at Cahill’s Market. Then we drove into a large development for the very wealthy known as Palmetto Bluff where we visited this charming chapel built by a friend of Dave. There’s a luxury hotel and resort there on the edge of the May River that is quite beautiful, but well out of our price range.

This Great Blue Heron was enjoying the river edge too.

Back at our rental, Ann and Ellen enjoyed relaxing on the porch swing.

In the evening we began the Parents’ Weekend events with a free visit to the SCAD Museum of Art. I liked this painted screen depicting Florida Life by Hernan Bas.

Part of a huge installation by artist Chiharu Shiota consisting of intertwined red strings, thousands of feet of them.

I particularly enjoyed the op-art feel of the color-theory paintings by Carlos Cruz-Diez, and took this selfie in front of one.

Afterwards we enjoyed a free picnic dinner outside with Zack and his roommate Brooks.

And in the evening once again enjoyed time in our rental with Zack and his guitar. Dave and others sang songs while he played, I dubbed it Zackioke. I played along a bit on a banjo that lives on the wall in the house.

More on our trip when I have time.

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