July 3-8: Judy Visits Chicago and Muskegon
January 7-14: A Week in Hawaii
Return to the Index for 1984


May 18-19, 1984
A Weekend in Savannah

 

In late May, I had to make a trip to Atlanta for work, so I decided to make a side trip to Savannah to see Dennis and David again.


On Friday afternoon, I flew down to Savannah from Chicago. Since I was staying over a weekend, I was able to work in the stop in Savannah for a little less than my back-and-forth to Atlanta would have been.

I did what's known as an "open jaw" fare, where you fly to one city and return from another. When I got to Savannah, I rented a car at the airport, and I used that car to drive to Atlanta on Sunday, turning it in at the Atlanta airport the following Friday for my trip home.

Although I didn't take any pictures around Savannah itself, I think I might take the time to orient you to how the city is laid out, indicate where Dennis and David live, and show you the route of the one trip we took by car.


Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia; it was established in 1733 on the Savannah River and became the British colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War, Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. It is Georgia's fifth-largest city and third-largest metropolitan area.

Each year Savannah attracts millions of visitors to its cobblestone streets, parks, and notable historic buildings. Savannah's downtown area, which includes the Savannah Historic District, the Savannah Victorian Historic District, and 22 parklike squares, is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States (designated such by the U.S. government in 1966). Downtown Savannah largely retains the original town plan prescribed by founder James Oglethorpe (a design now known as the Oglethorpe Plan).


Dennis lived downtown when he first moved here from Chicago, but when he met David they rented an apartment in a very nice building just on the west side of Forsyth Park- the crown jewel of Savannah's Historic District. We did some walking around the area over the weekend, and I decided I would have to come back here at some time- there is so much history here, and the park squares and old homes are so incredibly beautiful.

(NOTE:
As I write this in 2017, I can amplify on the narrative I wrote for my pictures back in the mid-1980s. As it turned out, I did return to Savannah a number of times; the time when I did and saw the most was a trip that Fred and I took to North Carolina in 2007. We spent a day in Savannah during that trip. If for some reason you have a particular interest in Savannah, and would like to go directly to that page, you can click the link below (if you want to return here after viewing that page, you'll have to use the "Back" button on your browser):

A Day in Savannah (2007)

I would also like to recommend to you a 1997 film that was completely filmed in Savannah: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, based on the book by John Berendt by the same name and directed by Clint Eastwood. The film features Kevin Spacey as wealthy Savannah socialite Jim Williams and Jude Law as his erstwhile companion. The Lady Chablis- a well-known transvestite performer at Savannah's Club One- plays herself in the film. Also starring John Cusack, it tells the story of a freelance writer who comes to Savannah to cover the legendary Christmas Party given each year in Williams' antique- and art-filled mansion. When a death occurs the night of the party, Cusack stays to write a book about the trial of the accused. In the film, you will see many famous buildings in Savannah, some of the charming city squares, and Forsyth Park. However, the performance of the Lady Chablis and Kevin Spacey's southern accent are alone worth your time to watch the film.)


I spent a very restful weekend visiting with Dennis and David. If you've been going through this album from the beginning, you are already familiar with Dennis Haggard. From Springfield, Illinois, he worked for the State Government, and traveled up to Chicago very frequently; I met him there on one of his trips for his job.

I corresponded regularly with Dennis when he moved to Savannah, and was aware, of course, that he had found a companion. David turned out to be a really nice guy, and the two of them worked well together.

We walked all around Forsyth Park, and the two of them introduced me to the historic area of the city; David, in particular, was a source of much historical information about the city. Since I had a car (the two of them don't own one, since Savannah is very much a walking city), we drove out to Tybee Island on Saturday to go to the beach.

Savannah is not, itself, a beach city; it was founded some miles inland. As the area developed, Tybee Island became an upscale community on the beach itself. Roads were built through the wetlands (going around the Fort Pulaski National Monument) out to the island; numerous bridges were required over the various tributaries flowing through the delta.

(Picture at left)
Here is David at the beach on Tybee Island. It was already very warm in Savannah, so we took the opportunity to go out to the beach for a day. Dennis and David continue to seem quite happy with each other, and are still living in the same apartment where I saw them the last time I was here.

 

 

 

(Picture at right)
And here is Dennis Haggard at the Tybee Island beach.

Tybee Island is actually a barrier island; the name "Tybee Island" is also used for the city located on part of this island. The island is the easternmost point in the state of Georgia. The famous phrase "From Rabun Gap to Tybee Light," meant to illustrate the geographic diversity of Georgia, contrasts a mountain pass near the state's northernmost point with the coastal island's famous lighthouse.


Here is a view looking south down the beach from where we had set up our chairs. The beach is really nice, but is not so famous as Daytona or Fort Lauderdale, mostly, I think, because the infrastructure on the island can't really support many thousands of visitors.

Officially renamed "Savannah Beach" in a publicity move at the end of the 1950s, the city of Tybee Island has since reverted to its original name. The small island, which has long been a quiet getaway for the residents of Savannah, has become a popular vacation spot with tourists from outside the Savannah metropolitan area. Tybee Island is home to the first of what would eventually become the Days Inn chain of hotels, the oft-photographed Tybee Island Light Station, and the Fort Screven Historic District.

It is one of the few locations where the U.S. Air Force dropped an atomic bomb by accident (during a botched 1958 military training exercise). Though the "Tybee Bomb" did not detonate (and, according to some reports, was not armed with a fuse), there has been ongoing concern, since the Mark 15 nuclear bomb lost during the mishap was never found. (And here I thought you'd only need a geiger counter to locate it quickly.)

I enjoyed my weekend stay with Dennis and David, but late on Sunday afternoon I had to head on up to Atlanta for next week's class.

 

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


July 3-8: Judy Visits Chicago and Muskegon
January 7-14: A Week in Hawaii
Return to the Index for 1984