Savannah, Georgia by reading Savannah-Where History Lives
in A Modern City by Charlie Spence, Travel Writer. It features a
mini, but thorough tour of the destination, plus all you'll need to
know to plan your trip including getting there, objective
information on places to stay and eat, and things to do. At the end
of the article, we've provided a summary of the contact information
for your easy reference. Enjoy!
Savannah—Where History Lives In A Modern City
Charlie Spence, WTA Member and Travel Writer
Settle into one of the elegant
carriages and hear the clip-clop of the steeds pulling you along the streets
lined with beautiful homes, and as you glance at the tree-shaded squares you
will believe you’re back a hundred years ago in a charming southern community.
Actually, you’re in Savannah, Georgia.
Historic preservation has long
been a part of Savannah, the first planned city in America. It was first laid
out in 1773, the year that General James Edward Oglethorpe landed with 120
colonists and claimed the area for King George II. Georgia became the last of
the original 13 colonies. Oglethorpe laid the city out in a series of grids that
allowed for wide-open streets and many shady public squares and parks.
Fountains are just a few of the interesting sights in
Savannah’s 21 squares.
Photos Courtesy Savannah Convention and Tourist Bureau.
There are 21 squares, giving the
city a serene, genteel atmosphere of a small town. By all means enjoy one of the
carriage tours that slowly take you through these well-maintained squares in the
historic district passing the massive oak trees. You’ll stop at many of the
structures where your coachman/guide will point out the significance of the
spot. You might want to drop in at the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low,
founder of the nation’s first Girl Scout troop. The first headquarters of the
Girl Scouts is also here with a museum and gift shop. Visit this area and focus
on the book and motion picture Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
The city has more than 20 tour companies and a variety of routes to suit your
specific interests. These include Civil War, Negro Heritage, architectural and
haunted history. Once you’ve gained the broad view from the carriage ride, take
a walk through the area filled with quaint shops and bistros.
Fine old houses along the cobblestone streets take you back to
the genteel days of the Old South..
Photos Courtesy Savannah Convention and Tourist Bureau.
For a full look into the past,
see the eighteenth and nineteenth century architecture of the King-Tisdell
Cottage, the Andrew Low House, the Davenport House, and Thomas-Owens House. Or,
visit one or more of the fascinating museums. The historic district was
designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Thousands of buildings and
markers in the area mark the Old South’s history, including the oldest African
American church in North America.
You can continue that feeling of
living in the early days by visiting the area’s only surviving examples of
plantation life. Out the Avenue of the Oaks you can journey further back in time
and see how the early settlers tamed the wilderness.
Although deeply immersed in the
historic, Savannah is also up to date in everything from its nightlife to its
bustling port. You can sit at a window table in one of the restaurants and see
the huge cargo ships slowing moving up and down the river to port, so close you
can almost touch them.
Several of the nightspots offer
the cool Savannah jazz and blues; some feature the songs of the city’s native
son, Johnny Mercer; while others present bluegrass, swing, or pop music from the
eighties and nineties.
Outside the City
Savannah itself is such a
fascinating place to visit that you might not want to leave it, but there are
attractions up and down the coast that beckon. Just east of the city is Fort
Pulaski National Monument, site of Robert E. Lee’s first military assignment.
Places like Old Fort Jackson, Fort Screven, and Fort McAllister stir memories of
the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
But maybe you’re more interested
in today than years past and ways to do that are take advantage of some of the
many attractions along the coast. Like golf? Play a few rounds at the Savannah
Golf Club, the oldest golf course in the United States. It is just one of the
many fine courses in the area. Or, head over to Sea Island and be treated
royally like the world leaders who gathered there for the G-8 Summit in 2004.
For a bit more activity, go scuba
diving around the sandstone reef near a national marine sanctuary. The area
along the coast also offers some of the best fishing, or you can build up your
courage and do some sea kayaking.
Another water outing you can
enjoy is to paddle along the inland waterways of the Altamaha and Ogeechee
rivers or in the backwaters of the Okefenokee Swamp. While admiring the ancient
cypress trees you might see rare and endangered species.
Whatever your pleasures for a few
days or a longer stay, Savannah will welcome you with traditional Southern
How to Get There
International Airport is an excellent facility, served by eight
airlines. It is just 20 minutes from historic Savannah. Rental cars
are available as are authorized ground transportation companies.
If you are driving,
Savannah is just a few miles off Interstate 95, the main north-south
east coast highway.
Where to Stay
The historic area
offers a wide selection of hotels and bed and breakfast facilities.
There are small, European style hotels and large, grand hotels. The
Suites on Lafayette, for instance, offers luxurious apartment suites
on a nightly, weekly, or monthly basis. The Suites are actually in
three different historic buildings on Lafayette Square in the heart
of the historic district. Another is The Mansion on Forsythe Park.
It was built onto an existing 1888 mansion. There are other B&Bs and
historic inns. Some are in private homes. Whatever your choice, you
will find many of them within walking distance of the many sights,
and of the center of the city’s nightlife.
You can check rates
and book your room and rental car with WTA’s Online Travel Booking
http://worldtravelers.org/travelservices.asp. Hotel savings can
Where to Dine
Where to dine could
be the most difficult decisions you will make because there is an
abundance of fine, colorful restaurants. You will surely want to
visit somewhere you can excite your taste buds with low country
cookin’. Have a bowl of creamy she-crab soup. Follow this with fresh
collard greens or a bowl of grits. After enjoying these down home
meals, you can find a myriad of other fine restaurants with an
international flare in the area, many of them nearby in the historic
Notice: This information is
current as of November 2005. It is recommended that you contact the numbers,
and/or visit the web sites above to determine any changes to the information.