Factors Walk in downtown Savannah is paved with the rest of the world. If you’re not sure exactly what that means, consider the cobbles that form the streets of uneven Factors Walk; brought to Savannah as ballast on ships and discarded here on shore, the stones came from China, India, Europe, and anywhere engaged with the agricultural trade that boomed in the 1700s. This rundown, funky, and some would say, real, stretch of Savannah is arguably its most authentic, as it shows the grungy underbelly of Savannah’s plantation past. After all, plantation life in Colonial Georgia was more than just mansions and fountains; it was schlepping crates full of Georgia cotton onto ships that were bound for England, and spending the few pence you earned for the job in a seedy riverfront grog shop. When strolling Factors Walk today, where steep stairways and narrow alleyways lead from the river up to Bay Street, there’s a dingy, historic, and industrial charm that’s free of the tourist gloss. One of the best ways to hear the Factors Walk stories is on a walking tour of downtown, lest you think it’s just souvenir shops in a poorly maintained part of town.
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