Savannah’s Southern Charm
Savannah’s Southern Charm
Located in the Northeastern portion of Georgia, Savannah is one of those amazing original coastal cities that has withstood the test of time. The architecture of the houses transports you back to a time period long ago, when Georgia was the 13th and final colony of what would become the United States of America. I had been looking forward to a trip to Savannah’s Southern Charm almost since I started living in the South, and spending a long weekend here was time well spent.
Oh, the beautiful squares. Spanish Moss adorns the branches, and drapes over the trees creating the most picture perfect scene. Each square is a little different, some with fountains, some with statues, and some with simply trees and gardens. Every block or so in the downtown you’ll come across one, so take the time to sit and enjoy the nature scenes among the downtown houses and buildings.
Savannah is known as America’s first planned city, the 24 original squares were meant to be meeting places or places for business. The foresight that the founding members of the city had to create such beautiful streets is astonishing. It’s not too often that you find a city that developed with nature and park space in mind, rather than rapid expansion, and I’m truly grateful for it!
While the history of the United States is much shorter than most other countries in the world, the coastal towns in the south stretch far back to the conception of the colonies. Savannah is a beautifully preserved historic town, with the original houses still lining the spanish moss covered streets. There are many preservation or restoration houses that are available to tour, but each are beautiful in their own manner.
We chose to tour the Davenport House Museum, the birthplace of the Savannah Historical Society in the 1950’s. This is a restoration house that was on the brink of being torn down to build a parking lot, but a group of women came together to form the Historical Society that ended up shaping the future of Savannah.
This brick face home has classic symmetrical features of federal architecture. The house was built in 1820 and restored in the 1950’s. Now a museum, there are tours of the house available every 30 minutes. Our tour guide was a wonderful woman that knew her history and seemed to be enchanted by the past of Savannah. Tickets are $9 per person and can be purchased in the store in the basement. Interesting facts from the tour:
Because of the squares sprinkled throughout the city, and the abundance of one way streets, the easiest way to get around is walking. Savannah is a pedestrian paradise, with certain roads blocked off for traffic, mandatory car stops for people in crosswalks, and everything within a short distance from each other. Renting bicycles is also an excellent option, but you’re not able to ride through the squares and must abide by the rules of the road.
If walking isn’t your thing, grab tickets for one of the many hop-on-hop-off trolley tours. Your ticket will be valid all day and the trolley will take you from important place to place along with commentary. Tickets are usually about $30 per person for a full day tour.
Savannah has some of the best food in the region, so it’s so hard to pick and choose where to eat while there. We absolutely loved The Collins Quarter, for their adorable take on Australian cafe life and excellent brunch and dinner options. Both of our meals here were so pretty they were almost hard to eat…until we tasted them!
Another favorite was CO, a modern sushi restaurant that turned into a lively scene at night. The sake here is awesome, and there is a posh cocktail bar on the upper floor for a drink or two after dinner.
Don’t miss out on southern seafood like shrimp and grits or crab legs while in Savannah. The proximity to the ocean makes seafood seriously fresh and tasty. For dessert or to cool off in the heat, head to Leopold’s ice cream for a signature scoop of their Lemon Custard, unchanged since 1919.
Like I said earlier, one of the best parts about Savannah (in our opinion) is the no open container restrictions. As long as you’re using a plastic cup, feel free to walk around town with any drink in hand. Cheers!
One of our favorite places was The Ordinary Pub, for their bottomless mimosa special for $10, daily from 10AM-4PM. They will also give you a “togosa” which is a mimosa in a to-go cup when you’re ready to leave!
We stopped in The Public after renting bikes all day, and absolutely loved the charm of the place. The patio outside is on a quaint street that features historic houses and a view of a square. The inside is bright and airy and the staff are all extremely friendly. We sat at the bar and met locals and travelers alike. Their wine list was very good, and the bartender was very knowledgeable about both the beers and wines they offered.
For outdoor seating, Moon River Brewing Company has a wonderful patio that always seems to be busy and stays open late. Added plus of them brewing and serving their own local craft beers. There are also countless River Street rooftop bars that you can pop in and watch the people walk below, or watch the cargo ships come and go on the river. Sunset here is magical, even if the area is a little bit touristy.
As legend goes, Savannah is one of the most haunted cities in North America. There were plagues of people that died from yellow fever, and the rich history the city possesses has created many ghost stories. Join one of the numerous ghost tours to take you through the creepy side of Savannah!
Tour one of the many historic houses, such as we did at the Davenport House. There are also tours available of the Mercer House, which is featured in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” and many others as well. Simply walking around to see the beautiful houses around the downtown area is also a fantastic time.
Head to the Farmer’s Market in Forsyth Park every Saturday morning. This was one of the better farmer’s markets I had the chance to go to, and wished I lived there so I could have snagged a lot of the items being sold. It’s a nice time to visit Forsyth, as it is lively with people and you can get a feel for the local side of Savannah. Walking around Forsyth and visiting the famous Savannah fountain is a great half day activity. Bring a picnic and enjoy!
Experiencing Savannah’s Southern Charm truly is an excellent time for a variety of reasons. It would be very hard to not be able to find something that you enjoy doing in this lovely and beautiful city. I can’t wait until we’re able to go back!