We spent some time yesterday exploring historic Savannah, walking a few of the many squares in the district near the waterfront of this old city. The National Park Service of the US Department of the Interior designated the Savannah Historic District as a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1966. The squares are treasures used by visitors and residents alike as sources of exercise, relaxation, a midday break from the hustle and bustle of downtown activity, or just a friendly place to soak up some sunshine on a warm February afternoon. This square, with a view of the courthouse and the plaque declaring the NPS designation, is the first square east of the City Market.
The City Market is a two-block city street area closed to vehicular traffic. It’s full of shops, art galleries, small restaurants, and stops for the many carriage rides and tour buses which frequent the Savannah streets. Shopping for art, jewelry, clothing, wine, and countless other treasures will call you from all sides if that is your thing, and restaurants offer food and drink to complete the experience.
When the lure of shopping old Savannah has been satisfied, it is time to explore the squares. Some squares have fountains, and the calming sounds of falling water will encourage relaxation on one of many benches placed under the live oak trees. All of the squares have large live oaks, lots of them, old and big and beautiful trees with sprawling branches that arch here and there above the square. I love to sit there under the trees with the fountain’s music playing softly nearby while I examine the twists and turns of the tree branches overhead. That’s my idea of a worthwhile few minutes of complete relaxation.
Johnson Square, with its spreading trees and inviting benches, is one of my favorites. This square contains a tribute to John Wesley, father of Methodism in the US. His statue stands in the center of the square and commemorative plaques outline his role in the establishment of the Methodist Church in the United States.