By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Life as a 'coastal dweller'
Placeholder Image
I met a man from New Jersey who was working in a major store bagging groceries here in Richmond Hill. He said he’d been here for about six years. I asked him if he plans to return to his home state. He said, “No way!”
What is it that attracts so many people to Richmond Hill? Is it the quaintness of the city? Is it variety? Is it charm, or is it the excellent school system?
I’ve heard that this is the bedroom of Savannah. I guess it’s like many other favorite cities that grow because of its assets. For me, it doesn’t really matter – among other reasons, I’ve always wanted to be a “coastal dweller.”
From what I’ve seen since coming here just six years ago, it seems the city is growing exponentially. Being an outsider looking in, and hoping not to jump to conclusions, it’s sort of like the boom towns of yesterday in the old west that grew from the discovery of oil and gold.
But we’d better watch out. There is a certain city that was also small and quaint. It was a small settlement with all its charms and beauty, too. Yet, it grew so much that it became the largest city in the state, with all its smog, traffic jams, crime, etc.
At one time, this was just another small, southern settlement that grew up on the railroad track just south of Savannah. I’m amazed at the growth in the last six years. I learned that not long ago, the only traffic light in the city was a blinking, amber light at the intersection of Hwy. 17 and Ford Avenue. Now, I’m surprised I have to wait for the traffic when I pull up to enter onto Ford Avenue.
In addition to the military base housing the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, there are other reasons for growth. The school system is certainly one of the attractions. Civic organizations, the legacy of Henry Ford and his influence on the growth of the city, and the river with all its fishing activities are just some of the attractions.
One attraction for me is that I can sit in my breakfast room and see an occasional passing of a pickup going up the street pulling a fishing boat, or pulling some rig to race around on the Ogeechee, or some person jogging or walking. Sitting out on my deck in the late afternoon, I can smell that delicious aroma from barbecuing. And then, there’s that slow freight coming up the track, penetrating the nearly stone silence of my neighborhood, blasting that romantic sound.
I’m not much for night life, but it’s out there for the taking. If it’s antiquing, dining out, dancing or other forms of entertainment, they’re there for me. Maybe these are the things that come with growth.
Night life can be found just about anywhere, like on River Street in old Savannah, where one can masquerade as being someone who lived back in the days before the Civil War. One’s imagination can run rampant, sitting somewhere in a plush restaurant, sipping on a mint julep, looking out on River Street watching bearded sailors coming off the old sail ships, whooping it up on the waterfront. Or, you can sit on your porch and listen to the trains passing with an imagination of running along the side reaching to grab hold. I’ve only scratched the surface.
I’m sort of a Tom Sawyer, or a Huckleberry Finn, myself. If I had my druthers, I’d be building a log raft on the river just a half mile from my back door. I would stash it with a supply of pork-n-beans, crackers, cider and a bed sheet for a sail. And guess what? I’d don a pair of ragged overalls, an old straw hat and a couple of fishing poles. I’d climb aboard and sail 10 miles of adventure down the Ogeechee to the ocean.
That’s what it’s like here in Richmond Hill, being a coastal dweller.

Bond is an occasional columnist for The News.
Sign up for our E-Newsletters