Many would wonder why a redheaded family from Wisconsin would decide to plot an entire trip to Georgia in the beginning of August, and to be honest, I don’t think we knew either as we were planning the vacation. But when I got to Savannah, Georgia, I realized the beauty of this great state, and more importantly my love for the deep historic South began. When I hopped on the Oglethorpe Trolley and became an adventurous tourist I understood why we came to Georgia, and I was so thrilled about my new discovery.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
I found a new piece of myself in Savannah, Georgia, from the rich architecture and magnolia tree-lined streets to the hot tourist spots and possible opportunities awaiting me. My family toured Savannah in a clever way, when we caught a ten dollar trolley with unlimited riding time. Oglethorpe Trolley took us all around the heart of the downtown area, and we were able to see everything from the famous spot where Forrest Gump told his life story to passersby to the upscale Marc Jacobs store on a street corner. After we leaped off the trolley we made sure to stop by places like the magnificent Savannah Catholic Cathedral and none other than Food Network Star Paula Deen’s restaurant The Lady and Sons. Though we didn’t eat there (since we didn’t want to wait in line for four hours) I did purchase some great souvenirs in Paula’s gift shop next door. At night time we walked the shore line shops and got a great feel for the Savannah night life. However, we didn’t take a night trolley tour of Savannah’s notorious haunted houses, some of which have had exorcisms performed. We made sure to get a picture by Savannah’s waving girl statue and caught a tasty bite at an Irish pub on the waterfront.
Savannah gave me an introduction to southern culture. Don’t be surprised to be called “sir” or “ma’am” when ordering a delicious cheesy pizza at Vinnie Van Go-Go’s, or to go home with a brand new southern accent. Dress for hot weather, because perspiration is a definite in the scorching Savannah sunlight. The Savannah locals are welcoming and filled with warmth just like their antebellum houses and cozy city parks, and their passion for their city comes through in the inner townhouses and businesses. Lastly, when ordering ice tea, be prepared for “sweet tea,” as that’s how they serve it in the South!
The places I saw and the culture I experienced in Savannah, Georgia really did change me as a person. In Savannah I felt like I could evaluate myself, my life, and the kind of person I wanted to become as I was about to start high school. I could think about the people in my life and decide how valuable they were to me and my future. Savannah inspired me, gave me time to breathe, and has helped me decide who I am and who I want to become. I want the foundation of my life to be rich like those beautifully crafted architecture buildings, through the people I surround myself with and the places I go. I fell in love with Savannah, Georgia, and someday I hope to go back to revive the love I’ve carried for it since I last visited.
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