Written by Barry Kaufman for South magazine. Above photography by D. Paul Graham.
The Hostess City is setting a few more spots at the table, as more and more people join the party from all over the world.
There have been all sorts of curious side effects of this past year. In smog-riddled cities, clear skies appeared as the first waves of lockdowns took cars off the streets. Sourdough bread, of all things, had its brief moment of fame. And our extreme boredom led to shows like “The Floor is Lava” becoming surprise hits.
But one side effect that was actually already underway before COVID-19 was the mass migration of Yankees fleeing to the Southeast (as a reformed Yankee, the author reserves the right to use that term). Study after study showed that as far back as 2018, people were fleeing the frozen tundra of the Midwest and the claustrophobic confines of the Northeast with the intention of living where the air and the tea are sweeter.
They were already beginning to come here. The pandemic only amplified it, making a change in lifestyle and scenery less of a yearning and more an imperative. Fortunately, like any good hostess, the Hostess City is prepared for these new guests. Whether welcoming them for an extended vacation or as freshly minted Southern transplants, we’ve set a spot at the table for our new neighbors fleeing the north.
Welcome to the South, y’all (as a reformed Yankee, the author knows they shouldn’t use that term, but chooses to just the same).
In the long history of Savannah, much will eventually be written about the 12 acres of land now known as Upper East River.
It will be written how the land sat fallow for years following the real estate bust, spindly weeds and creepers reclaiming it inch by inch. How just a few blocks away, River Street rebuilt itself in the early 21st century, new money flowing in after a great recession, reinvigorating a district that had seen centuries of good times and bad.
Had nothing been done to this deserted spot of land, that would be the end of the story. But ultimately, thanks to a group of investors including Patrick Malloy Communities, the history books will write about how these 12 acres were redeemed.