A quick internet search brings up these words to describe Savannah, Georgia:
- Old South
To me it is the definition of Charming! I can’t think of another place where I’ve felt so gol-darned charmed! I think it was mainly the architecture, street layout (22 parklike squares) and, oh, those Live Oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss!
Read on to hear all about my quick, 2-day, first time visit to this lovely city, and to get some ideas for your trip!
- Where to Stay
- What To See
- Where to Eat
- Fun Info about Spanish Moss
- Serious Corner
- In Summary
Where to Stay
I really lucked out in choosing the Ballastone Inn. Not knowing anything about Savannah, it was sort of a shot in the dark for me. My pictures are probably the best way for me to describe this gorgeous 1838 building to you.
The staff couldn’t have been more welcoming. Upon my arrival I got a tour of the hotel, my room and brief explanation of the history of the building.
The Inn has a wine and cheese hour in the late afternoon, with a selection of wines and a delicious charcuterie board of treats. There is a continental breakfast in the morning featuring pastries made on site by their pastry chef(!), fruit, granola, selection of bagels/ toast, coffee and tea.
The Inn has 16 different rooms and suites from which to choose. Each has a different theme. I reserved a room called “Scarlett’s Retreat”. It was adorable! I really felt like I was “fancy”! 😀
If you’re looking for a special treat to really immerse yourself in the Savannah experience I highly recommend the Ballastone Inn.
What To See
I took the 2 hours Genteel & Bard Savannah History Walking Tour (@$30). There were about 12 of us. Our guide spoke through a mike and we had on headsets. He was really knowledgeable and engaging. He even played us some great Savannah Jazz by Ben Tucker over our headsets as we walked. We went though about 6 squares and down the beautiful Jones Street, ending near the Cathedral.
My guide was Ray Christy and he was awesome! I highly recommend this acclaimed tour to get a quick, yet detailed explanation of Savannah’s history. (BTW, this tour started right next door to my hotel, so it was super handy!)
Forsyth Park is a 30 acre park in the middle of the historic district of Savannah. The famous and gorgeous fountain below is in the center of the north end. The walkways leading up to it are lined with the beautiful Spanish Moss draped Oak Trees. My tour guide mentioned that if you spend any amout of time hanging out by this fountain on a weekend you are sure to see a wedding proposal!
A bit further south in the park there is a large field and stage where festivals are held at different times of the year. I got to enjoy some of the Jazz Festival!
- the Sidewalk Arts Festival (April)
- the Savannah Jazz Festival (September)
- the Picnic in the Park with the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra (October)
- the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon (November)
Info on more events in the Park (and Savannah overall) can be found here.
Just wandering around the Historic District from historic Square to Square, past beautiful charming houses was the highlight of visiting Savannah for me!
The city was founded in 1733 by the visionary James Oglethorpe. The Squares helped develop close neighborhoods, and provided defense against fires. The Squares were used for community gatherings, markets and military defense drills. The buildings surrounding the Squares were a mix of private homes, churches, and businesses.
This stunning 1873 Cathedral is on the corner of Lafayette Square.
The Port of Savannah is the 3rd busiest seaport in the United States. River Street runs next to the Savannah River and is lined with shops and restaurants. This is a touristy area, but fun to see the river, especially catching glimpses at some of the absolutely huge container ships cruising by!
This street reminded me of “old downtowns” when I was a kid… waayyy back in the 1970s. It’s lined with shops, shoe stores, restaurants, and ice cream shops. I half expected to see a “Kinney’s Shoes” there!
This large corner store is fun to visit. It has a small cafe with a few tables, also lots of housewares, jewelry, and bath products with a French vibe.
I read about the Salt Table in quite a few guides. It features many different Georgia grown local products like spices, oils and vinegars, BBQ sauces, and syrups. The clerk was very friendly and helpful when I went in and showed my their top selling (and award winning) spice blends. These made great, useful souvenirs to bring home to friends and family.
Where to Eat
This restaurant was a 30 second walk from my hotel, and is one of Savannah’s top rated. Delicious, fresh food! Make a reservation!
I stumbled upon (not literally, I hadn’t drank yet) this fun champagne bar while shopping around Broughton Street. I had to go in, it just looked so cool! The owner greeted me, then sat down with me to explain the place and the menu. I chose a “Babbling Brooke Spritz” to go! Such a fun novelty to drink “on the go” 😀
It was delicious and I just love this place!
A store clerk recommended this place to me for lunch because of its view. It looks out over Ellis Square and the Savannah River with the Taldadge Memorial Bridge in the distance. Good burger and great atmosphere!
Fun Info about Spanish Moss
- Spanish Moss isn’t Spanish. It is native to tropical climates in the Americas.
- Spanish Moss isn’t moss. It is in the “bromeliad family” which is the same family as pineapples and succulents!
- It does not kill trees.
- It was named out of spite! Larry David would be proud! Spanish moss was named by French explorers. They decided it looked like the Spanish conquistadors’ long beards, so they called it Barbe Espagnol, or “Spanish Beard.” The Spaniards got back at them by calling the plant Cabello Francés, or “French Hair.” The French name won out though. Over time the name Spanish Beard changed to Spanish Moss.
With only 2 days in Savannah I think I barely scratched the surface. There is so much complicated history there that I really didn’t get to delve into much. As one of the primary seaports Savannah was a major port for the Atlantic slave trade from 1750 to 1798. There is so much history to learn about that time period.
I love to travel and see new places, and I believe part of that is learning about the history of these places and not forgetting the lessons we should have learned. I think this adds to the value and richness of travel. Next time in Savannah I plan to learn more about the dark sides of its history that were part of making it into what it is today.
I loved my visit to Savannah and very much look forward to returning someday. I don’t think I have ever been so swept away by how charming a place was before! Even the airport is adorable!
Please let me know your thoughts on Savannah and if you have any recommendations of other places I should see next time I’m there! Thanks for reading!