When USA TODAY greenlit my story on Savannah, GA, I stared at my cursor for two days before writing a single word, thinking about Spanish Moss. It's ubiquitous in the coastal South, and our campground at Skidaway Island State Park was absolutely smothered in it. After some quick botanical research, it dawned on me that Spanish moss and good tourists share a few things in common: namely, they both thrive on the atmosphere itself. For better or worse, I ran with the analogy, which allowed me to then dive into our various experiences in the Garden City.
The old man’s whiskers tickled our travel trailer as we pulled into our campsite at Georgia’s Skidaway Island State Park, just 15 miles south of Savannah. It draped the live oaks and longleaf pines, the palm trees and the magnolias. It piled up in the road, like hay fallen from the truck. It spread itself like a table runner across our picnic table, whispered Flannery’s most haunting dialogue, lady, there never was a body that give the undertaker a tip. We chose a pull-through campsite cut like an oxbow through the forest, unrolled the patio mat and plugged in the string lights. At dusk, light spilled from our windows and into the forest; the moss formed silhouettes in the blue-black sky.