Love at First Sight

It’s official. I’ve fallen in love.

Some of you may be casting rather dubious glances at me right about now, likely thinking, “Isn’t she already supposed to be in love?”

And you’re right, because I’ve been in love for about five and a half years now, with my wonderful husband.  And despite understandable things which, him being a man, can irritate me at times, I am very much in love with him.

Stop gagging.  I’m done being a mush ball now.

I’m not talking about a person.  I’m talking about a place.  A city, in fact.  A beautiful city with charm, history, and a strange, almost “tingly” aura of…..

Home.

It’s like when people are house hunting, and they walk through the door of THE HOUSE.  They sort of look around, sigh, and feel like they’ve come home.

Over spring break, Aaron and I drove to Georgia, ostensibly to visit friends but we layered the trip with an array of historical and tourist stops because, hey, that’s how we roll.  Among the four different places we “stopped” on our trip (our two mid-drive overnights notwithstanding), we spent the most time in Savannah Georgia.

I don’t know how many of you have ever driven into Savannah before.  As we came over the I-17 bridge, the “Talmadge Memorial Bridge” which crosses over Hutchinson’s Island and a sparkling river loaded with shipping traffic, as it might have been 200 years ago, the city came into view.  It’s not a sprawling metropolis like Atlanta, with sky scrapers and overpasses.  No.  Even before you come down into the heart of the Historic District, you sense that this is a place where time has slowed down. It hasn’t stopped completely – but the pace is so slow it’s almost come to a reverent pause.

And then…. then you come suddenly into the midst of the Historic District.  Liberty Street is wide, with medians filled with green areas and live oaks hung with Spanish moss.  As you drive through into the heart of Old Savannah, you see new buildings mingling with the old – and by old I mean over 150 years old.  Buildings that saw the armies under Sherman take control in 1864, buildings that remember the horrible days of slavery, even some buildings recalling the growth spurts of a new nation in the early 19th century.

The city’s many squares remind you, in a quiet, polite way, to slow down and savor the sunshine, your morning coffee, the scent of blooming azaleas and rhododendron.  Fountains sparkle and soften the rumble of vehicle traffic. You walk past bakeries, restaurants, gift shops, homes.  It all calls out, “Come here.  Come home.”

I admit, I heard the call more than just a little bit.  I’m the sort of person who hears what places say to us.  I can walk onto a Civil War battlefield and feel the heaviness of what took place there. So when I say I heard Savannah welcoming me home, it’s exactly what I felt.

Ten years ago, my family took a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, and I fell a little in love with that city too.  But not like this.  Charleston is beautiful and has it’s own sense of history and beauty.  And maybe Savannah resonated with me so strongly because it shares many of the same traits as Charleston, which I already loved.  But I saw myself enjoying quiet afternoons in a shady Savannah square, with a book or a laptop, or just my sunglasses.  I saw possibilities – roads I could venture down.  And not just on vacation.

Maybe it was the weather – sunny, warm almost to hot, no rain to speak of.   It was the perfect introduction to Savannah.  I have no idea how I’d feel in the middle of a sweltering Georgia summer, or what I’d do if a hurricane targeted the south Georgia coast. My logic reminds me of termites, cockroaches, and other creepy crawlies prevalent in the south, which we have no issues with up here in New York.

But there are exterminators.  There is central air conditioning.  I can watch the Weather Channel.

I’m not an adventurous person by nature, so I’m not about to drop everything and move thousands of miles away based on two and a half days of awesome.

But I would be lying to say a seed hasn’t been planted….

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