Cinematic Savannah, GA

by | February 24, 2017 |

Title Image: Forsyth Park, Savannah

Stop #2 on our road trip: after Charleston came Savannah, an easy few hours along scenic Low Country back roads.

Quick: What do Juliette Gordon Low, Johnny Mercer and Paula Deen all have in common?

Juliette Gordon Low, Johny Mercer, Paula Deen

Answer: They’re all from Savannah.

And now here’s my theme: TV and movies – well, okay, except for Juliette Gordon Low, who was the founder of the Girl Scouts.

Johnny Mercer wrote 200 songs for Hollywood musicals, the most famous being Moon River:

From Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Paula Deen is known for her heavy hand with butter and a PR contretemps (= racial discrimination lawsuit) from 2013 resulting in the loss of her Food Network show. She returned to television in 2016. Her Savannah restaurant is downtown on the corner of Congress and Whitaker.

 

The Lady and Sons Restaurant, 102 W Congress Street

Savannah is a network of squares laid out by General Oglethorpe in the early 18th century on the model of Roman army encampments. Today the squares serve as the centers of beautiful residential neighborhoods

Chippewa Square, the first stop on our trolley tour, is where the bench from Forrest Gump was located. It’s now in a museum.

In the movie even the Vietnam battle scenes were filmed around Savannah, because the landscapes are so similar.

Monterey Square figures prominently in the book/movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

The Mercer Williams House, Monterey Square

Residents of Savannah refer to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil as The Book.

The Book was such a sensation that the statue on the cover, Bird Girl, had to be removed from the cemetery where it was originally located

The colorful transvestite Lady Chablis was also made famous by The Book. She died in September, 2016 at age 59.

At the movie premiere of Midnight in Savannah, 1997

I absolutely loved The Book and read it in only a couple of sittings. What I remember most about it was the image of Savannah as a floating cocktail party.

Our trolley guide confirmed that Savannah is known for 4 things:

  1. Savannah was always a military town (beginning with General Oglethorpe)
  2. Savannah has always been a party town (see: The Book)
  3. Savannah is haunted (we declined the evening ghost tours, as amusing as they likely were)

 

  1. Savannah has always been full of strong willed and independently minded women (hence the Girl Scouts?)

Back to Forrest Gump. On our way from Charleston to Savannah, we stopped by Beaufort, South Carolina to have breakfast and mostly to see the house used in The Big Chill (keeping to the theme of movies)

1 Hancock Street

We also learned that a bridge in Beaufort was the stand-in for the bridge over the Mississippi River that Forrest Gump ran across.

Woods Memorial Bridge, Beaufort SC – a good 850 miles from the Mississippi

By the way, the first syllable of Beaufort, SC is pronounced like ‘beautiful.’ God forbid you should pronounce it like Beaufort (bo), NC and reveal yourself to be an ignorant North Carolinian.

Conclusion: this corner of the world is scenic, right down to the dolphin downspouts they put on some of the houses.

My theme here is movies; Savannah’s theme is the sea

Another conclusion: Movie locations are now part of the history of many travel experiences, both inside and outside the US.

http://julietetelandresen.com/my-travels-and-hollywood/

What else to say? We had a yummy lunch at Sorry Charlie’s:

 

Fried oysters, collards greens, hush puppies, Hoppin’ John, and a glass of wine

And another seafood dinner on River Street:

The Savannah River

Evidence of seafood is everywhere, including the pavement:

Typical street and sidewalk paving around Washington Square

Next up: St. Augustine, Florida


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This post was written by Julie Andresen

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