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Old 05-08-2007, 07:17 PM
45 posts, read 245,742 times
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Here is the deal-- I am newly single, just turned 30, live in Washington DC and am aching to move further south to a picturesque city with a lower cost of living and less snow. I have a small online business and do freelance illustration, but from time to time need to work a part time job just to supplement my income (hence the need for lower cost of living). I am not a very conservative person by nature or appearance and am wondering about how easily i will fit in in Savannah. Also, can anyone comment as far as nightlife and cultural activities? Will I eventually need to break down and buy a car? Will I be able to find a cute apartment or share in an older building for less than $700 a month? Should I just toss the whole idea of moving there and hightail it to New Orleans? thanks in advance!
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Old 05-08-2007, 08:17 PM
Location: West Cobb County, GA (Atlanta metro)
9,191 posts, read 31,728,239 times
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Ok... I'll do my "list"...

1) The South in general is conservative. Cities like Savannah and Charleston SC do have a certain amount of "funkiness", but overall you still ARE talking about the deep south. There are basic bus systems in all of these cities, but you really do want a car, especially since they are all in hurricane-prone areas as well, and you may need to evacuate if a bad storm is coming in. Especially in New Orleans - don't EVER forget Katrina and what happened to those who did not have cars who stayed or were left behind. No doubt Savannah and Charleston would do a much better job at getting people out than Ray Nagin did, but still - you want full control over that with a car of your own.

Also, funky can be different to different people. For some it means a gal who walks around with a feather boa around her neck - for others it's body piercings and tattoos, and for others it's a drag queen. So each city has different versions of funky and what is tolerated.

2) Savannah is historic but SOME think a bit run down, and smaller than most people think it is from tourism sites. Personally I like Charleston, SC much much better. Larger, a stronger retail economy, more mom and pop stores, and cleaner with a stronger police department than Savannah. New Orleans is just out of the picture to me - they're barely back on their feet and already are back on top in terms of crime stats in some areas. As long as Willy is still in charge down there, I'd stay out of that place in terms of living. It's a nice place to visit, but.... etc etc.

3) I can't comment on apartment prices, but craigslist.com is always one of the better places to get a feel for local costs.
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Old 05-09-2007, 09:45 AM
Location: a primitive state
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I'll provide my insight too. Downtown Savannah welcomes eccentric people, as you've probably guessed. However, they are still not the norm. Which is good, because if everyone were eccentric, no one would be, right?

It is still very a very conservative and religious-minded city. You will need a car. Public transportation is only used by the poorest of the poor. It may actually be safer than DC.

The arts community, if you subtract out the art school students, is fairly small but active and growing. Almost everyone knows everyone if they've been in town for a year or two. I don't think it's terribly cliquish, just small.

I would suggest subletting a place for the summer and trying it out. Most of the students will be gone and you may luck into something good.

Connectsavannah.com is the main local entertainment paper. It will do a better job than I will for giving you a list of things to check out. The people who write for it are some of the folks who are most actively involved, so you'll be getting fairly solid info. Also read the Savannah paper's Diversions section for more info on what's going on. Savannahnow.com.
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Old 05-09-2007, 11:33 AM
111 posts, read 838,809 times
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When you come down to check out Savannah and Charleston (highly recommend looking at Charleston BTW), also check out Athens, GA. It's a college town, very artsy downtown area, and the cost of living will be MUCH cheaper than by the coast.

And, yes, you've got to have a car down here.
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Old 05-10-2007, 08:19 AM
Location: New Orleans
63 posts, read 549,715 times
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Dear lululo,
I would think about Athens,Ga. I have been checking around for my son who will be going to college in August and the rent is pretty cheap. I am from New Orleans and it is not a bad option either if you can afford the rent or find a apt to share. New Orleans has great transportation which is why many locals did not own cars. When I used to ride the bus I never got a schedule because most busses ran every 10-15 minutes. The govenor is responsible for ordering busses to evacuate the city of New Orleans. She had a lot of ill feelings toward Mayor Nagin because he endorsed a Republican candidate instead of her. It is always good to own a car to evacuate ANY area. There are a lot of jobs in New Orleans and the safest place would be uptown. You can probably find a rental share with a college student from Tulane or Loyola.
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:55 AM
Location: Savannah, GA
67 posts, read 359,443 times
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Of the qualities you mention, the most concern I have is whether you can live downtown for $700 a month. Not saying you can't, just that you'd need to see about it.

Second is what you consider an acceptable level of nightlife. Savannah has nightlife for sure. But compared to DC... again, you'd need to just visit and see.

Non-conservative appearance... you'd have to be pretty strange indeed to out-strange some of our locals. SCAD is right downtown and the students provide a huge measure of non-conservative appearance that you may fit right into. Pink spiked hair, tatooes, piercings? It's all here and I've never seen a fasion police presence of any kind. I REALLY wouldn't worry about that.

Picturesque-ness of the downtown? It would really be hard to beat. Anywhere.

Safeness? The crowd that's not safe is pretty much self-devouring and not overly threatnening outside their own parameters. There are unsafe places in all large towns that smart people stay out of. Past that, it's karma.

A car? Yes you will probably want one. I disagree about only the poorest of the poor riding the buses here. They are safe and pretty well cover the main travel necessities. But, sooner or later you'll probably need a car.
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Old 05-14-2007, 04:03 PM
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thanks for all the info.. found a gorgeous apt w 2 bedrooms for $700 a month less than a mile from downtown..i can have a roomie if need be. keeping my fingers crossed..
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Old 05-14-2007, 04:44 PM
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Default Get a car

There are some very interesting places, including the beach that you don't want to miss.

Also will make the more mundane shopping trips easier.

I think there is a grocery store and drug store in Ardsley Park or one of the neighborhoods close to the historic district --but I'd hate to walk home with several bags in the summer heat.

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Old 05-16-2007, 08:27 AM
Location: Port Wentworth (North)
726 posts, read 3,418,953 times
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Originally Posted by bhs119 View Post
I think there is a grocery store and drug store in Ardsley Park or one of the neighborhoods close to the historic district --but I'd hate to walk home with several bags in the summer heat.sls
Kroger on East Gwinnett Street and Brighter Day on Park Ave and Bull St
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Old 05-16-2007, 09:20 AM
84 posts, read 423,277 times
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Downtown Savannah is not rundown. Period. Of course there are streets on the outskirts that I wouldn't walk down at night, but name a city anywhere in the US where that isn't true.

I lived and worked in downtown Savannah for years (as an accountant) and did not have a car. I loved, loved, loved it. In fact, I look back on those years without the car as some of the happiest in my life and I keep telling my husband that I want to get back to a walking city to retire. BTW, I left because of my husband's career, NOT because I wanted to leave. Everytime I come back it is wonderful, but almost painful for me as well. Did I mention I LOVE Savannah?

Charleston is indeed lovely. Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans have always been known as the Sister Cities. If I were to describe them I would say that Charleston is the married, junion-league, white glove wearing type, and Savannah is the wilder, younger sister who is an artist, may have a tattoo on her ankle, but still wears her pearls. New Orleans is the family wild child and black sheep, but will still go to church on Sunday with Nana. JMHO.

Comparisons to DC (another city I love): definitely not as much nightlife and restaurants or shops. Which, I assume you expect since you are moving to a much smaller, and less expensive city. There is plenty of all of that to offer for almost anyone I would think, though. Your budget of $700 won't buy a lot of space downtown, so that is an area you will want to take a look at. It is a supportive environment for artists, and I do think you would need to sport an extremely "out there" appearance to out-strange some of the SCAD students. You might get a second look from some of the matrons, but really, no one gives a rip.

Why do I like Savh over Charleston (which some posters have recommended)?
1. Savannah still has amazing trees everywhere. They hang into the streets giving the city a gothic, old-South appearance that Charleston lost in Hugo when many of her trees where uprooted. (The city had already cut down many of her old oaks BTW).
2. The art scene is fairly strong in all 3 cities, but with SCAD in the mix, Savannah wins hands-down. (Notice I said all 3 cities have a good art scene. No angry rants as a reply, y'all.)
3. Charleston's architecture is lovely and charming, but is mostly all of one style, hence the term: Charleston-style architecture. Savannah has architecture of all types: colonial, federal, Adam, Georgian, gothic, Victorian, etc. In fact, Savannah is one of the most traveled cities in the country by architecture students just for that fact. They can take in first rate examples of period architecture created by some of the best architects in our country's early history all in one little downtown section.
4. I'm not sure of what the other poster was talking about when he mentioned more "mom and pop" style stores in Charleston. Maybe there are; I haven't counted. But, that element is one of the things I have always loved about downtown Savannah. Sure, if you want the mall and the chain stores they are all available on the south side, but downtown is almost exclusively owned by local entrpreneurs. There are some chains there, as there are in Charleston and NO, but it's mostly local people setting up a shop, boutique, or restaurant.
5. I do think Savannah is accepting of eccentricity, but you must still remember to write your thank you notes. Purple spiked hair may be acceptable, bad manners are not.
6. To-Go cups: also in NO; not in Charleston. I know, such a funny thing to mention as a positive. But, it fosters an attitude of "Let the Good times roll". Not for the person driving, of course, but if you live downtown you will be walking everywhere. In fact, I didn't ever have to worry about "Who's going to drive tonight?" until I was over 30 and we had to move away. (I'm not a lush, but I do enjoy a good cocktail with friends. )

Regarding a compare/contrast with NO: I'm not familiar enough with post-Katrina NO to offer an opinion, but I have always thought NO was a great city. It's acceptance of eccentricity is one of the qualities I have always loved and the music scene used to easily be the best of the 3 cities.

Good luck. Feel free to PM me with other questions. I still get back to Savh several times a year and am close to all of my old friends.
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