7-step guide to exploring one of Georgia’s most beautiful cities
What would you do if you had less than 48 hours in a city you’ve never visited before? Oh, and 28 of those hours are dedicated to an organization you adore. If you’re like me, you vow to give your best at the meetings, soak in as much as you can when you’re free – and save sleeping for the flight home.
A weekend trip to Savannah with girlfriends proved there's a whole lot to do in this sweet southern belle of a city. Thankfully, the ladies I travel with live by my philosophy and we packed in a lot of fun during our short time together. If you’re considering a trip to Savannah, feel free to follow our 7-step plan to discovering Savannah.
Leave home as early as possible so you’ll arrive in time to enjoy lunch on River Street in the Historic District. While it may mean dragging yourself out of bed at the crack of stupid, you’ll be thankful to have a full day ahead of you when you land.
Check into your hotel and drop off your bags. I stayed at the Hyatt (harbor front) on River Street, close to the fun but sorely in need of a lot of a renovation. My advice? Take a short jog across the river and check in to the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa. I spent an afternoon at the Heavenly Spa, vacillating between the steam room and sauna before submitting to one of the best hot stone massages. Ever. You’ll be thankful for the creature comforts over here – and the ride across the river on the Savannah Belles Ferry is charming (and free).
Head outside to the harbor front shops and restaurants on River Street. You’ll find it’s just kitschy enough to make it charming without being annoying.
Belly up to the bar at The Warehouse for the coldest beer in town and their legendary Big Door Burger. The burgers are seriously bigger than anything I’ve ever seen before and the view of the harbor, faboosh!
Book a ghost tour. We booked a tour at Gribble House, the scene of a gruesome murder of three women in 1909. The original house has been replaced with an old, dusty warehouse (billowing dust looks surprisingly like ghosts in the dark). The tour starts at 11 pm and involves a lot of “sophisticated” equipment to allow communication between worlds. While there’s no denying the entertainment factor of an electronic ghost box that allows you to talk to restless spirits, the whole thing felt manufactured. I recommend the more theatrical Ghosts & Gravestones trolley tour.
Shop. Get yourself down to the harbor front and wander through the shops. Even on a Saturday evening, everything’s open until late with musicians (and food vendors) lining the harbor and people dancing and chatting. I visited the Savannah Bee Company and brought back the most delish hand creams and lip balms. I also wandered through the Gallery 209, two floors of handcrafted sculptures, fiber art and jewelry – and I loved the floating staircase in this grand old building.
Visit the Boar’s Head Grill and Tavern for dinner. Located in an 1820’s renovated cotton mill with original ceiling beams, stone floors and ship mastheads decorating the corners. The food is what you’d expect – delish southern cuisine (lots of meat and fried green tomatoes) served by friendly, always-ready-to-chat staff. If you dine late, linger at your table and you might see one of the resident ghosts in the mirrors. After dinner, stroll the cobblestone streets back to your hotel and try not to be frightened by the mist rising off the water…
Step 8 - Bonus
With only a weekend to explore Savannah, I focused my attention on the Historic District but this beautiful old town has so much more to offer visitors. On my next trip to Savannah, I plan to enjoy the following:
Historic Savannah Theater – Touted as the oldest theater in America, it opened its doors in 1818 and continues to draw locals and tourists alike. Expect contemporary musicals suitable for all ages.
Telefair Museum of Art – Since opening its doors to the public in 1880s, the museum has grown from a renovated family mansion to house approximately 4,000 works of art from America and Europe, dating primarily from the 18th-21st centuries. Located in Savannah’s vibrant historic district, the museum consists of the Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House two circa 1820 National Historic Landmark buildings and the contemporary Jepson Center.
Leopold’s Ice Cream – Leopold’s Ice Cream was founded in 1919 by three immigrant brothers from Greece who learned the art of candy and dessert from an uncle who had already settled in America. I’ve heard that visiting Savannah without stopping here is a sin – one I plan to never repeat.
Forsythe Park – Stretching 30 acres in the historic district, the park is bordered by Gaston Street on the North, Drayton Street on the East, Park Avenue on the South and Whitaker Street on the West. The park is home to a café, children's play area, a smorgasbord of gardens, a large fountain dating back to 1858 as well tennis courts, basketball courts and wide expanses of grassy areas (it’s home to the Savannah Shamrocks Rugby Club). During the summer, evening visitors enjoy open air concerts.
Ever been to Savannah? I’d love to hear what you discovered – so I can add it to my must-visit list. I’d love hear what you discovered! Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook – and let’s continue the conversation!