Top 10 Things To Do In Savannah
Ride Through Savannah In A Horse Drawn Carriage
Feel as though you’ve been transported back to the 18th century by taking a horse drawn carriage ride through Savannah’s Historic District. Carriages offering private and group tours roll down Savannah’s wide streets lined with sprawling live oak trees and Spanish moss. Along the way, you’ll pass by historic churches, meticulously preserved colonial homes, and beautifully manicured gardens. A horse drawn carriage ride is the perfect introduction to Savannah.
Unwind In A City Square
James Edward Oglethorpe founded Savannah as the British colony of Georgia’s first city in February 1733. He laid out the city on a grid and situated each neighborhood around a public square. Today, 22 of the original 24 squares survive. Stone monuments dedicated to politicians, local leaders, and war heroes rise out of the center of many of them. Fountains and gardens grace others. But the one thing all of Savannah’s public squares have in common is a park bench or two that beckon passers by to sit down and enjoy the charming surrounds.
Eat Southern Food With Strangers
Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room at The Wilkes House on Jones Street has been serving up family style southern cooking since 1943. Guests are welcomed in 10 at a time to take their seats around a large table overflowing with platters of fried chicken and BBQ pork, bowls of sweet potato soufflé, mashed potatoes, turnip greens, macaroni and cheese, and other delicious side dishes including bread and biscuits. The meal is topped off with banana pudding, peach cobbler, and sweet tea to wash it all down. Doors open every day from 11 am to 2 pm, but go early. Mrs. Wilkes’ is famous for its long lines, which have been known to wrap around the corner and down the street!
See A Section Of The Underground Railroad
Formed in 1773, the First African Baptist Church is the oldest Black congregation in North America. The sanctuary, which was built by slaves, was completed in1859. Today, many of the building’s interior fixtures are original, including the handcrafted balcony pews, the pipe organ, the light fixtures, and the baptismal pool. Downstairs in the lower auditorium, kite-shaped patterns are drilled into the wooden floor. The patterns represent an African prayer symbol called a Congolese Cosmogram. Crouching down to peer through the holes, you’ll glimpse part of a 4-foot-high tunnel—an important section of Savannah’s Underground Railroad.
Stroll Down River Street
In the 1800s, Savannah boasted one of the busiest shipping ports in the U.S. Cotton warehouses that once lined the steep banks of the Savannah River have since been converted to hotels, restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. Yes, a lot of the stores cater to tourists in search of vacation souvenirs, but a walk along this historic street is still a must-do in Savannah.
Tour A Historic Home…Or Two Or Three
Savannah’s Historic District is chock full of renovated and restored homes—some famous, some less so, but all worth a visit. Recommendations include: The Owens-Thomas House (first building in the U.S. to include indoor plumbing), Author Flannery O’Connor’s Childhood Home, Juliet Gordon Low’s (founder of the Girl Scouts) Birthplace, and The Green-Meldrim House (General Sherman’s headquarters during the Civil War).
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth At The Savannah Bee Company
Stepping into the Savannah Bee Company’s River Street store is like stepping into an adult candy land. Glass bottles of varying shapes and sizes filled with glimmering honey that ranges in color from pale yellow to dark amber line the shelves. As soon as you walk in the door, a tasting specialist greets you and offers you samples of honey. Say yes. If you’re used to buying honey in a plastic, bear-shaped container from your local grocery store, you’ll be amazed at the difference in taste and texture—sometimes subtle, sometimes not— between the Savannah Bee Company’s honey varieties. Not to be missed: Tupelo, orange blossom, and acacia honey.
Live Like A Local
Savannah offers a wide array of boutique hotels, B&B’s, and inns. But the best way to experience the city is to live like a local. Armstrong Inns Bed and Breakfast offers five beautifully renovated properties—ranging from a one-bedroom Carriage House to 2-bedroom row homes—for rent. Armstrong provides all the services of a typical B&B, but you’ll stay in a private property (with a full-service kitchen) located in the heart of the Historic District.
Eat Dinner In A Colonial-Era Bank Vault
The Olde Pink House Restaurant is a Savannah institution. Built in 1771, the house was originally the home of cotton merchant James Habersham Jr. Years later it was converted into Georgia’s first bank, Planter’s Bank. The beautiful colonial building survived two wars and an 1820 fire that burned half the city. Today, it’s home to The Olde Pink House Restaurant, where two lucky diners at a time can experience dinner by candlelight in the old bank vault that now doubles as the restaurant’s wine cellar. The food? Mouth watering.
Day Trip To Cumberland Island
Cumberland Island is situated about an hour and a half drive south of Savannah. As Georgia’s largest barrier island, it’s 18 miles long and 3 miles across at its widest point. The terrain morphs from sprawling, watery marshland to towering sand dunes. Opposite the dunes are flat, open meadows, and a thick live oak forest covers the island’s interior. Once owned almost entirely by Tom and Lucy Carnegie, today most of the island is a National Park. Aside from exploring the stunning scenery, you’ll find the ruins of Dungeness—Lucy and Tom’s estate—much of which burnt in a 1959 fire, and several feral horses roaming the island.
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