Savannah and The Low Country

The Little Dog of Savannah

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Rudy, "The Little Dog of Savannah".

Cindy and I are recently back from Savannah.  Sometimes these trips aren't "about" anything.  No unifying theme.  No great underlying message.  This one was just about seeing my brother  and his family and escaping the last bit of winter in Maine (or, more correctly, the first part of "spring" which is really just winter without as much snow).  

Anyway, it was sunny, warm, the food was great and everyone had a good time.  Pretty simple stuff.  But we were out and about and took lots of photos.  So, here goes:

As it turns out, Rudy (my brother's dog - named for Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer) was the star of the show.  Rudy, checking in at about 18 inches high and tipping the scales at 20 pounds or so is a dog of many talents.  He plays the guitar.  He speaks 3 languages (besides English) and when he's not busy pulling drowning people from the Savannah River or helping old ladies cross the street, he enjoys gardening and baking cookies.  He also likes to drink out of a hose. There are not photos (yet) of him performing any of those feats.  But we do have snippets of him running back and forth and standing on his hind legs.  We'll get to those later.

In the meantime:

Ardsley Park

With dozens of Ante-Bellum homes and thousands of live oaks, Savannah is literally dripping with every Olde South cliche known to Hollywood.  The site of the Savannah College of Art and Design, it is the birthplace of "historical preservation".  It is also home to one of the most beautiful and architecturally significant neighborhoods in the country.  Ardsley Park (largely ignored by most tourists and even many natives of Savannah) is a planned development laid out in the early 20th century, designed to create a park-like setting with an eye to accomodating that new-fangled gizmo - the automobile. So today's visitor has designer Harry Hays Lattimore to thank for the broad boulevards, sweeping vistas and the general feeling of pastoral contententment in the midst of an urban setting.  This is what "old money" - lots of it - looks like.

Tours of the Homes & Gardens (see my "Savannah - 2015" segment for more) are conducted every April.  Loads of fun.

Something For The Common Man

Tybee Island (April)

Less than an hour away - Tybee Island, "Savannah's Beach" is a great place for those who want to escape from the northern winters or the omnipresent "Southern Charm" of Savannah which can be a bit much after a few days - like drowning in honey. There's nothing particularly dramatic or especially beautiful about the beach but god knows it's a relief to sit on the pier and sunbathe (and/or drink).

None of the Garden Club Ladies of Ardsley Park would be caught dead here. Just as well.

G and C (Tybee Is. 2016)
Tybee Island - April 2016
Dunes At Tybee
Tybee Island - April 2016
Beach Taxi Courtesy of Doug and His 1969 GTO

The River Street Stroll (and Strollers)

The Savannah's River Street is particularly popular with tourists and locals alike. Largely populated by saloons, t-shirt shops and candy stores - in short, everything for the hungry, thirsty tourist - it is a fun way to spend an afternoon.  The Savannah River provides an interesting backdrop to to the promenade which runs along the river.  Savannah is  one of the busiest ports in the United States, so giant  container ships (imagine a floating 10-story building) going by is a frequent (and somewhat unsettling) site.

There are also a few reasonably good places to eat.

Tourist Boat (Savannah River)
Sleeping Beauty
River Street Promenade
Baby C with Great Aunt and Uncle

Yes, There Are Gators!

Just outside Savannah stradling the border of Georgia and South Carolina is the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. Go on a weekday and you might find yourself alone along the 4-mile long self-guided road that winds through the refuge.  Bring your camera for lots of shots of migrating birds and the kings of the refuge - alligators.  Lots of alligators.  It's safe enough outside your car. Alligators have plenty of ducks to eat. They're not that interested in you.  But they can run really fast so keep a respectful distance.  Keep your dog in the car.

A couple of things about the reptiles: 1) they don't move around much but if you're lucky you might see one slithering around looking for lunch and 2) after you see half a dozen of the beasts, they start to look very, very creepy. 

Also - the Refuge is free.


Bluffton and The Low Country

Gary and Cindy (Bluffton, SC - 2016)

Originally arising on the banks of the May River  in the early 1800's as a summer refuge for plantation families attempting to escape from the twin scourges of yellow fever and malaria (not to mention the heat) Bluffton grew exponentially with the development of the cotton trade in the 1830's. 

Later, the Civil War came and the town was burned in June, 1863. 

Today, it continues as a summer haven for the reasonably wealthy and a year-round home for artists.  Remarkably, 15 houses (most of which are private residences) and 2 churches of ante-bellum vintage survived the 1863 fires. Built in the Low Country/Cottage style, they stand in distinct contrast to most of the pre-Civil War architecture found in Savannah.

Bluffton is an easy 45-minute drive from Savannah.

Patz Brothers House (circa 1890) Bluffton, SC
Church of The Cross (1854 - Bluffton, SC)
The Bluff (Low Tide)
The Heyward House (1840) Carolina Farmhouse Style
The Card House (1825) Bluffton, SC

Rudy - The Little Dog of Savannah

Rudy With His Trainer, Signorina Cinzia (2016)

It's all about Rudy.

Autographed 8X10 Color Photos are available upon request. No, of course he can't "write". He doesn't have fingers or thumbs.  But it's a very legible paw print.

Rudy Dances!
Rudy and Cinzia The Wonder Trainer!

The Big Finish!

Gary, Cindy and Rudy, Forsyth Park, Savannah (2016)

So, that's it folks.  We had a great time in Savannah.  The message?  Well, sometimes you don't travel to see "places".  Sometimes you travel to see people ... and little dogs.


All text and photographs copyright Gary Growe (2016)

Kathy 18.05.2017 22:02

Next time Ivan and I would love to go to Bluffton

Iris Freeman 29.08.2016 14:15

It was very nice, as always. You do such a fantastic job writing all about your trips Gary Thanks for sharing.

Philio N. S. 25.04.2016 19:07

The pix of the travel writer et ux. are a very nice touch, as is the video. I'm surprised you went home again. Trying to catch a late Indian winter? -p

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Latest comments

08.08 | 00:42

Beautiful pictures guys...looks like you had a marvelous trip...heavenly gardens and fountains! Love Jess & Don... :)

07.08 | 21:20

Is Savannah really that nice all year round? You've got a knack for making a silk purse.... Anyway, I'm convinced; Savannah's on my bucket list. -p

15.05 | 14:44

Thank you for your service.

15.05 | 06:21

Quite interesting for me to know that.