Savannah, Georgia, is stunning. Known as the "Hostess City of the South," it's an alphabet soup of architectural array, breathtaking beauty, cultural climate, dearly departed, eclectic entertainment, fantastic food, grand graveyards, haunted houses -- you get the idea! This multi-faceted, award-winning city has so much to offer that your first visit will lead to many more.
Experience the beauty and rich history of this walk-able city on foot and by open-air trolley. Just remember, the river is always to the north! Armed with one of many free maps available and utilizing the On/Off Old Savannah Trolley Tour, the entire city is within reach. Boarding privileges at 15 stops make points of interest accessible.
Sellers & Higgins Walking Company begins tours from Chippewa Square. Philip Sellers and Tony Higgins incorporate an entertaining narrative and fun facts about the city's heritage and people. Learn the stories of Savannah and experience a more intimate view of city sights and sounds.
Savor Savannah's legacy and visit a Victorian treasure, the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace. She was the founder of the Girls Scouts organization, now celebrating its 100th anniversary. The museum store offers something for everyone.
The Flannery O'Connor House is the childhood home of the award-winning author who wrote in the Southern Gothic style. Toby C. Aldrich leads a guided tour of the authentic Depression-era museum house with anecdotal stories.
Splashes of pink and white azaleas are among the colorful plants that accent 22 historic squares originally designed by General James Edward Oglethorpe and William Bull, civil engineer. These historic, park-like areas with monuments and fountains are centers of social and civic activities, besides being perfect for relaxing. They exude a peaceful aura that slows the heart and envelopes the mind. Majestic live oaks are draped with the ubiquitous Spanish moss. Newly elected mayor Edna Jackson said it best, "We live in an urban forest where the arms of our trees cross the street to meet each other."
A common way for people to meet each other is to sip and stroll. The novelty of legally drinking alcoholic beverages (smaller than 16 ounces) in historic streets and squares creates a festive flair. Curbside coffee breaks are also easy to come by, and genuine sweet tea is synonymous with the South.
Stop by The Tea Room on East Broughton Street for a pot of hot tea, and savor a tasty morsel to go with that cuppa! Crumpets or scones with clotted cream and preserves are perfect treats. Make lunch reservations and select the Royal Afternoon Tea which includes an appetizing assortment of sweet and savory foods accented by Flaming Tea.
Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room is a famous Southern tradition with a capital T. It is a must for locals and visitors alike. Numerous notables and celebrities have eaten here. Make your way down the cobblestones of Jones Street, under a canopy of silver green. See the long line that weaves around the corner? That's where you wait until seated with nine others next in line who may be friends, family or soon-to-be acquaintances at your dining table. Served family style, dozens of down-home dishes fill every space. Expect platters of fried chicken, bowls of beef stew, corn muffins, biscuits, black-eyed peas, sweet potato soufflé, okra gumbo, corn bread dressing and beans and greens of every kind. After your last spoonful of banana pudding, before you waddle out the door, join the tradition of diners who bring their plates to the kitchen.
Stratton and Mary Leopold continue the legendary soda fountain family business of world-famous Leopold's Ice Cream. Manufactured on site, the original secret recipes have been handed down since 1919. Seasonal flavors are introduced and vary from month to month. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, they blended the new Savannah Smiles Girl Scout cookies into lemon custard ice cream to create a delicious new flavor. Not to be upstaged, the foods (soups, salads and sandwiches) are also inviting. Just leave room for dessert!
Buzz on over to one of the Savannah Bee Company shops. More than a great place to pick up specialty honey and natural, organic body care products, they educate and offer insight into the intriguing world of honey and honeybees. Expect to develop a newfound appreciation for all things honey. Owner Ted Dennard is passionate about bees, and his enthusiasm is as pure as the honey he sells. What Bubba Gump was to shrimp, Ted is to honey. If what you know about honey equates to the little plastic bear from the grocery store, then be prepared for a sweet awakening when you try the tastings and incredible honeycomb platter.
Good food is plentiful in Savannah with numerous fine dining restaurants. Menus at these two establishments include Lowcountry, Cajun/Creole, barbecue and classics.
Alligator Soul, co-owned by Maureen Craig and Executive Chef Chris DiNello, offers inventive cuisine, signature cocktails and an affordable wine list in a sensually romantic setting. The menu changes but savor seasonally fresh, locally grown ingredients and a selection of fish, meat and even a vegetarian tasting course entree. Creole spiced gator croquette with capers, and Georgia wild shrimp and grits are among the delectable appetizers.
Vic's On The River Restaurant & Bar occupies the top three floors of an historic building on the waterfront with River and Bay Street entrances. Start with award-winning crawfish beignets or fried green tomatoes then select from soups, greens, and extensive entrees that include staples like Southern meatloaf or jumbo crab cakes made new with innovative twists. The contemporary ambiance is accented with live evening entertainment.
Gracing the historic district, Azalea Inn and Gardens, Dresser Palmer House, Green Palm Inn, and Zeigler House offer lavish luxury and superb service. This collection of Savannah bed and breakfast inns is a glorious example of Southern hospitality. Each inn stands on its own merit and offers distinctive accommodations and culinary delights that start, end and enhance every day.
If you can't stay at all of the inns, then compare amenities to decide which setting best suits your personality and preferences. Instead of rivalry, innkeepers Teresa Scott Jacobsen, Shannon Romine, Diane McCray and Jackie Heinz symbiotically and synergistically share their passion for Savannah with each guest, and with each other.
This is just a taste of the many splendid flavors to savor in Savannah!