On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter BretH.

Every year Savannah hosts the Savannah Music Festival. Part of the Festival is a competition among some of the top High School jazz bands in the country and this year our daughter’s band was invited (she’s a freshman trumpet). My wife and I decided to make a mini-vacation out of it and flew down to enjoy the city between performances.

It was my first time in what I consider the Deep South outside a couple wild years living in New Orleans at age 21 and I was not sure what to expect or how comfortable we’d feel. I was not prepared for the loveliness of the city, the walkability and the general pleasantness all around, at least in the main downtown area. Here are a few photos that hopefully capture some of the flavor of the city. (What they can’t capture is the taste of the marvelous dinners we had each night!)

Taken on 2019-04-04 00:00:00

Savannah, GA – Chippewa Park

The overriding feature about Savannah for me was the city parks. Savannah is laid out in a grid but in the downtown near the Savannah River they broke up the grid with city parks just about every other block. This meant you only had to walk one or two short blocks to come upon a scene like this. I imagine in summer it might become a bit hot but in April it was heaven. Each park had its name and little history, as we learned riding one of the on/off trolleys that ply the streets.

Taken on 2019-04-04 00:00:00

Savannah, GA – Forsythe Park

Everywhere were the huge oaks with Spanish Moss hanging from about every limb. Coming from a little further North the green leaves were a welcome sight, and the atmosphere they created was downright somnolent.

Taken on 2019-04-04 00:00:00

Savannah, GA – Waterfront

The band had an evening dinner cruise on this “paddlewheel” riverboat. Even though it wasn’t completely real we had a great time wandering the decks and eating surprisingly good food (although copious amounts of wine probably helped with that).

Taken on 2019-04-04 00:00:00

Savannah, GA – Savannah River

There was a smaller riverboat following us and it made for a nice sunset photo.

Taken on 2019-04-05 00:00:00

Savannah, GA – Factors Walk

This is a shot of the Cotton Exchange building. The waterfront was first and foremost a ship unloading area until it was repurposed for tourism. The ships would unload cotton here and there was a vigorous market.

What makes the waterfront visually appealing is it has many levels – the larger buildings on top, an intermediate level for offices and whatnot, and the street level which faces the river and is mostly tourist shops now.


Thank you so much BretH, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

20 replies
  1. 1
    Smiling Mortician says:

    Sorry to OT right at the top, but in response to last night’s wonderful commenters who welcomed me back and wished me well, a huge thank you.

    And to WaterGirl: yes, you remember correctly. I was pretty dark at the time. The decision to move to Spain was part “fuck it, let’s do what we want,” part a response to getting through surgery/chemo/radiation (at least a round of all of the above) and part a response to suddenly being slammed with a new evil boss at the place we both worked for 30 years. Best decision we’ve ever made, and seriously, thanks so much for asking.

    Adding: Did I consider changing my grim nym? Yeah. But I still love the Ferlinghetti poem it comes from.

  2. 2
    p.a. says:

    Very nice. Friend recently returned from a family reunion in Savanna, she really enjoyed it. The trees and riverboat remind me of my trips to NOLA; Audubon Park with its Spanish mossed trees and the Miss. Riverboats. Have lots of (film) pics, might get some organized to post sometime next decade.

  3. 3
    Elizabelle says:

    Savannah thanks you, Brett. I think a few of us have that small city on our 2-year bucket lists now. Would love to see those small parks and walk around. Plus, Tybee Island nearby.

    Georgia should have Governor Stacey Abrams. At some point, it just might.

  4. 4
    eclare says:

    Lovely photos

  5. 5
    BretH says:

    @Smiling Mortician: that poem may very well describe Savannah in the early 1800s as yellow fever decimated the population – By September 1820 only 1500 of the original population of 5000 remained in Savanna.

    @Elizabelle: We had lunch on Tybee Island – after checking out a few places to eat we stumbled onto The Crab Shack, a curious sprawling establishment with alligators (in an enclosure), hungry birds eying your food as you eat outdoors under huge spreading trees, and friendly (they’re family) cats wandering between the tables.

  6. 6
    Currants says:

    It looks lovely, and I’ve heard it’s a beautiful place. Side note: the parks would probably help mitigate the heat—green spaces do that, especially when their presence reduces paved/impermeable surfaces.
    I find myself wondering about the Cotton Exchange/vigorous market—I assume it must have included a slave market at one point, and I wonder whether that was noted?

  7. 7
    Currants says:

    @Smiling Mortician: Love your nym and the poem both. If I may ask: did either of you have prior connections to Spain, and if not, was it difficult to emigrate there? Asking for a friend….👀

  8. 8
    Jerry says:

    We visited Savannah a few years ago and fell in love with the town and all of its little parks. Plus! There’s a Flannery O’Connor house that you can visit and it overlooks one of those beautiful parks.

  9. 9
    Raven says:

    I’m good friends with the guy who manages the music festival, great folks all!

  10. 10
    Raven says:

    @BretH: Wild joint!

  11. 11
    Raven says:

    @Currants: You would assume wrongly but the people of Savannah certainly appreciate your vigilance. “The original building was built in 1872 when export revenue from cotton was $40 million when Georgia was the leading cotton producer in the country, and Savannah was one of the major cotton seaports on the Atlantic. By the 1880s the area was known as the “Wall Street of the South.” Ironically the current building was constructed when cotton was only selling for as little as ten cents a pound. But it was a little insect, the boll weevil, which finally rendered the building obsolete by 1920.”

  12. 12
    raven says:

    Savannah’s Haitian Monument commemorates the contribution of the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue to the fight for an independent America. One of the few black regiments to fight for the American side in the Revolutionary War, the soldiers were recruited from present-day Haiti, then the French colony of Saint-Domingue.

    The contribution made by the Chasseurs-Volontaires to the struggle to throw off British rule was, unfortunately, not recognized by the country they had helped achieve independence. In the fight for Haitian independence, the Americans sided with the French, concerned about the effects of a free black nation so close to its own slaveholding states.

  13. 13
    WaterGirl says:

    @Smiling Mortician: Really glad to see you back here. I had checked back on that thread about half a dozen times, then finally closed the window, so I appreciate the update here. As for the evil boss, living well really is the best revenge.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    @Elizabelle: If you go ton Tybee go during the week.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    catclub says:

    I was amused at the ‘April seems nice, but maybe summer will be hotter’

    My only memory is the stink of the paper mill up the river. Maybe that has closed since 35 years ago..

  17. 17
    Currants says:

    @Raven: THANK YOU. 😂 Really appreciate the fact check!

  18. 18
    Currants says:

    @raven: also very interesting—thank you again!

  19. 19
    tybee says:

    interesting little city, eh?


  20. 20
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Currants: Sorry to be so late to everything — I had radiation and an MRI today. Time-consuming, but good results all around. My husband was born in Europe (not Spain) and therefore was able to “go back” and make use of a sort of retroactive EU citizenship here. But many other expats here who don’t have that connection have had minimal problem going through the fairly complex steps to residency. It’s not bad — even for a born-and-raised American like me. Tell your friend it works (and if your friend is genuinely interested in moving to this lovely, lovely country, I’m happy to go off-site and chat via email).

    @WaterGirl: No shit. My understanding is that the hideous boss is suffering in part because she has heard through the grapevine how happy we are here.

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