62 FOCUS - JULY 2017 The beautiful live oaks leading to Savannah’s plantations. History has always been a favourite interest of mine and coupled with travel, I am amazed at the historic significance of places I visit. Two months ago, in an effort to escape the winter blahs, I flew to Savannah, Georgia and found myself immersed in the opulence of pre-civil war architecture and society. For those of you venturing a trip to the south, I flew Porter Airlines to Myrtle Beach, a mere two hour jaunt. I rented a car and drove two hours to Charleston, where I stayed for three days. Enroute I stopped at Brookgreen Gardens, about an hour outside of Charleston, and strolled around acres and acres of manicured lawns, fantastic flower gar- dens and dozens of sculptures. Brook- green was once a huge plantation, but the gardens are all that remain. I did find it interesting to learn that rice was the main crop farmed during the pre-civil war era. I had always thought it was cot- ton and was quite surprised. For me, the best way to see a city is to immediately get on a hop-on-hop- off tour to experience a feel for the place. I then spend the rest of the time exploring. In Charleston, unfortunately the service did not exist, however, I quickly discovered a great walking tour of the old city. Seeing a vast variety of antebellum homes, many of which had been restored to their former glory, was very interesting. You can almost glimpse southern belles in their flowing gowns, walking along magnolia-scented avenues. Charleston has many churches, most of which are built on a grandiose scale. The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is the mother church of the Ro- man Catholic Diocese of Charleston, and is known for its stained glass win- dows. The brownstone exterior facade has been made to look like brick, giving this church a unique appearance. Charleston, was one of America’s busiest ports, back in the day, but is bet- ter remembered for Fort Sumter, where the civil war allegedly began. Tours of the fort run daily and include a boat ride, as it sits on a small island. One of the most photographed spots in Charleston is the famous ‘Painted Ladies’ or Rainbow Row, as the area is also known. It is a stretch of large, his- toric homes painted in a variety of pastel colours. From Charleston, it is a two hour drive to Savannah, Georgia, but you can easily make it a day trip by stopping at several plantations along the way. Boone Hall was first built in 1681 when a series of Live Oak trees were planted ...................... Please turn to page 64 BY JONATHAN VAN BILSEN Savannah & Charleston A J O U R N E Y B A C K I N T I M E