Savannah, Georgia welcomes you with warm southern hospitality the minute you arrive. From horse drawn carriage rides to ghostly haunted hearse tours the city offers an enchanting escape for couples, families or independent travelers. Savannah is easy to get around by foot. If walking isn’t your thing there are plenty of public transportation options which range from free to moderately priced hop on- hop off trolleys. There are 22 squares to explore and parks sprawling with live oaks dripping with moody Spanish Moss.
Savannah is steeped in history and you will find the historic district offering hundreds of intriguing jewels. Visit one of the many charming carriage houses and take a tour to learn more about the various architectural styles. You’ll see just about everything from Greek revival to Georgian and Federal. The restorations and preservation movement thrives in this city. I visited the Owen Thomas House and learned about why the ceilings of many of the slave dwellings were painted a light color blue known as “haint blue” a combination of indigo and buttermilk that was used to ward off evil spirits. Walk along the Savannah River and you’ll see the statue of the waving girl, who was the light- house keeper’s sister and stands as a symbol of gracious hospitality. Visit the hallowed grounds of the Bonaventure Cemetery which evokes a scene from the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
You will find everything from Sweet’s to Swanky in Savannah. Along River Street there is a touristy vibe mixed in with local market feel. Specialty stores like Paula Deen and The Peanut Shop feature multiple low country food items and every flavor peanut you can imagine. I prefer the more upscale shopping along Broughton Street. Don’t miss Paris In Town and Veronica’s Closet on 37th street. Both have unique gifts and clothing items which helped to run up my credit card. Leopold’s Ice Cream offers an old fashioned handmade flavor smorgasbord of tasty sweet sensations. Sink your teeth into a gooey praline or visit Abe’s on Lincoln a local hangout and grab a quick beer. People sketch their impression of Abe on a napkin and fasten it to the ceiling. For an upscale experience try the 1790 house or The Shrimp Factory and have soothing comfort food like shrimp and grits and a libation called the Chatham Artillery Punch, a combination of gin, rum, brandy, rye and other ingredients that will fuel you up for a night on the town. Also, Savannah is a cocktail friendly city and you will find to go cups at the exit of almost every watering hole.
The cobblestone streets can be challenging so be sure to bring walking shoes. Explore Forsyth Park, City Market where local vendors display their goods, or stroll along River Street. There are bike rentals and ghost tours which take you into haunted houses and through the many gothic cemeteries. There are numerous food and cultural festivals throughout the year. You can cruise along the river in an authentic paddlewheel river boat. Savannah offers a plethora of antique stores. We found some great vintage oriental prints, framed in gold baroque style mounts and even negotiated down the price. Be sure to hit the Universe Trading Company.
Known as one of America’s most haunted cities there are plenty of stories and legends to take in as you walk through the squares. Pay special attention to historical markers reflecting on the significant events in the history of Savannah. Visit the historic district and explore the forts and freedom trails. There are civil war sites and the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum providing a great perspective on historical battles of the past.
Go off season, June or October are perfect and the humidity was great too. Avoid haunted Halloween when the crazy’s come out to play. Park your car and walk or ride the public transportation. Parking can be challenging in the city. Don’t forget you can sip and stroll so no need to gulp your cocktails. If you are staying at a city hotel, get a room away from Bay Street. The traffic never stops and the noise can be disruptive to your sleep.
Jodi Cross is a marketing consultant, speaker and writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.