Thursday, December 27, 2007

Seductive Savannah

Yesterday we took a quick drive into Savannah and once again marvelled at the transformation of this once sleepy old southern town.
We've been visiting Savannah on and off for about 20 years now and today we find it to be a model of urban redevelopment and restoration. The main shopping street downtown features whole buildings or facades that have been preserved with a lively mixture of stores including local merchants and national names. Fashion boutiques and home decorating stores alternate with new restaurants, hotels and other attractions. Though lofts and condos are being developed at every turn these new residences are largely created within existing boundaries or existing buildings. The result is that everything is very much according to scale and the street scape maintains a nice balance.
It's hard to say what triggered Savannah's renaissance.
Some say it was what locals call "The Book" -- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Still later credit must be given to celebrity chef Paula Deen who opened her restaurant, The Lady & Sons. Another important factor has been the rapid growth of the Savannah College of Art and Design. The College has given Savannah a hip, edgy quality that fits right in with the city's somewhat haunted past.
Whatever the reason, Savannah is unique and great fun almost any time of year. Don't miss it.

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