Text by E. Brook Watson
Stepping into Savannah, Georgia, for the first time feels like stepping into a secret.
Time has a mysterious way of flowing slow and sweet here, influenced by an unrivaled southern romance blossomed from the city’s rich history—a delicate blend of fact and fiction woven into a fairytale you can visit. And like any good fairytale, it’s one you may never want to leave.
Aptly nicknamed “the Hostess City of the South,” Savannah has an effortless way of enchanting visitors with its historic district complete with cobblestone squares, antebellum architecture and manicured parks lined with live oaks dripping in Spanish moss. On any given day, it’s not unusual to find citizens and tourists alike drifting down sun-speckled paths, soaking in a way of life in which everyday living feels as effortless as the antiquated charm surrounding it.
Whether visitors are ducking in and out of little shops, taking a turn around the city in a horse-drawn carriage or enjoying a picnic in the park, there’s no denying Savannah is a space sheltered from the modern world, beautifully preserved to create a getaway escape like no other.
And luckily for the Mid Southerners, the city’s location between the Savannah River and the Atlantic coast makes for an accessible, easy visit no matter the time of year.
Experience & Explore
Much of Savannah’s magic is found during lingering strolls through the lush parks tucked into its sprawling downtown, sanctioned as one of the largest National Historical Landmark Districts in the United States. The area has retained much of the original town plan, making it a true pleasure for those seeking a respite from the predictability of today’s urban scenes.
To begin your trip, hop on one of the popular trolley tours for a chance to get to know the city. From historical to architectural tours, food to ghost tours, there’s a style to suit every taste, all provide an introduction to Savannah that will help maximize your stay there.
During the day, take a stroll down River Street in the Waterfront District to explore galleries, boutiques and restaurants; come back after the sun sets for the colorful night life offered by a variety of pubs and street musicians.
Hoping to step back in time during your visit? Be sure to check out the Wormsloe Historic Site and historical locales like the Davenport House, an 1820s masterpiece whose renovation spurred the preservation renaissance in Savannah. The Green-Meldrim House is an architectural jewel boasting the best of Southern gothic style; General Sherman of the Union Army stayed here during the Civil War.
Finally, give yourself the gift of getting lost, and meander down the moss-canopied paths in the 30 acres of Forsyth Park, one of the 22 town squares in the historic district. Pause for a moment at the Spanish-American War memorial and the 300-year-old oak tree, have a picnic, and take a photo in front of one of Savannah’s most recognizable landmarks, the Forsyth Fountain.
While it’s hard to go wrong when choosing a restaurant to dine at during a stay in Savannah, consider starting your day at Goose Feathers Cafe, a casual diner that serves breakfast all day in the heart of the historic district, and a favorite among locals for over 25 years. Before you jet off to explore the city, sample their spin on Eggs Benedict, and grab a cup of fairtrade gourmet coffee to get energized for the day ahead.
For lunch, swing by The Collins Quarter to rest your feet and discover why the Australian eatery has quickly become the newest go-to for local foodies and tourists alike. Opened in 2014, this vibrant eatery charms patrons with its Aussie-inspired, farm-to-table menu and casually elegant environment, making for a memorable dining experience and a perfect resting point.
As night falls, dress things up slightly and treat yourself to a dining experience unlike any other at the Olde Pink House, an 18th-century mansion turned sophisticated restaurant. Offering fresh seafood caught in local waters and elegant, Southern-inspired cuisine, this dining location is a laid-back, romantic experience that pleases everyone.
Rest & Refresh
After a long day immersing yourself in everything that Savannah has to offer, return to the Kehoe House, a four-diamond award winning boutique inn, for the ultimate in hospitality. Situated in the heart of the historic district, this romantic bed and breakfast is superbly decorated and maintained, with a round-the-clock staff ready to wait on your every whim.
Equally lovely, but on a more grand, commercial scale, the Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront is a luxurious lodging that beckons a lively crowd with its rooftop bar and show-stopping water views. Even more than the sumptuous interior and amenities, what you’ll love most is the proximity to the city’s beautiful downtown area.
Savannah’s allure lies in something beyond the idea of a weekend away, because the magic of Georgia’s first city is a personal adventure that’s different for every visitor. It’s an escape to another world, with a history you can feel, and a story you can experience.