Sights & Landmarks in Savannah, Georgia

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Lace-like Spanish moss curls over old oak trees and forms a mosaic of shadows on the streets of Savannah, Georgia, one of the most beautiful small towns in the world. Called the Host City of the South, it’s also known as “Slowvannah” because it’s so walkable and meandering, with plenty of attractions within a three-mile radius.

As you stroll through its historic quarter, you’ll want to stop at some of its 22 squares, which are surrounded by museums, old houses and churches. The first of these squares, commissioned in 1733 by James Oglethorpe, founder of the British colony of Georgia, was intended to provide colonists with space for militia training. Today they are green, shady oases where the only sounds you will hear are the chirping of birds and the bells of churches in the distance.

The 30-acre Forsyth Park, the most well-known plaza, features an iconic fountain and is a paradise for dog walkers, picnickers, Frisbee throwers, runners, tennis players and children. Sit on a bench or on the velvety grass, breathe in the fragrant air and enjoy.

Chippewa Square, which includes a statue of Oglethorpe. Adobe Stock

Chippewa Square, which includes a statue of Oglethorpe, is where “Forrest Gump” (played by Tom Hanks) reflected on his past in the eponymous film. The bench where “Gump” sat in the plaza now resides in the Savannah History Museum. The pen presented in Forrest Gump down town independent Presbyterian Church.

Savannah has an even stronger connection to another film: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which was based on John Berendt’s best-selling 1997 non-fiction book. It’s about Jim Williams, a home restorer and antique dealer, who bought Savannah’s historic 1860s Mercer-Williams house in 1969 and hired an assistant who soon became her lover. One night the two got into a fight and Williams killed his mate.

Williams was convicted of murder three times and went to jail before a fourth jury found the murder in self-defense and found him not guilty. Today the Mercer-Williams House Museum offers guided tours of its contents, which include important 18and– and 19andEnglish and American portraits of the last century, including some by Gilbert Stuart, who painted George Washington 73 times. (The dollar bill features one of these paintings.)

Visit the city

To learn more about Savannah without poking your nose into a guidebook, take Genteel & Bard’s Savannah History Walking Tour, which covers the history, stories and esoteric facts of the region. You will learn, for example, that Georgians add syllables to everything (can bECOMES kay-an), that Bull Street takes you right through the middle of Savannah, and that the city does not allow any structure taller than its Freestanding Presbyterian Church.

If you prefer not to walk, consider a trolley tour which allows you to hop off to explore any attraction and later hop on another cart to continue the tour. Savannah offers horse-drawn carriage tours, Segway and bike tours, as well as cemetery and ghost tours. Business jet maker Gulfstream, headquartered in Savannah since 1967, is the city’s largest employer. Potential customers can make an appointment to visit its showroom, which was expanded in late 2021 to feature a full-size mockup of the new G400, multimedia content and an interior design display. Design centers, laboratories and a production workshop are also available for visits. (Contact the appropriate division or regional vice president to schedule a visit.)

All about the Gulfstream G400 and G800

One ticket covers admission to three museums in quiet Telfair Square. The elegant glass wall Jepson Center, designed by Moshe Safdie, offers temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. On the other side of the square is Telfair Academy, a 18and-century mansion that houses 19and– and 20andAmerican and European art of the last century as well as the “Bird Girl” statue which appears on the cover of the book of the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Also at Telfair Square is the Owens-Thomas house and slave quartersan 1819 Regency-style mansion offering tours of period rooms with decorative arts.

You’ll find another window to the past at America’s only Prohibition Museum. Here you’ll learn that Savannah was dubbed the “Bootleg Spigot of the South” as you stroll through exhibits, view vintage newsreels, and view wax models of whiskey runners, prohibitionists, and gangsters such as Bugs Moran and Al Capone. The building includes a “cheer up” speakeasy with 1920s cocktails.

Savannah is a foodie’s paradise with a hundred restaurants offering more than the expected shrimp, grits and fried green tomatoes. You’ll find everything from international fast food to Southern gourmet cuisine. The chefs are unknown, but their dishes are unique, appetizing and made with local ingredients. (See Traveler’s Report Card below.) “Eat, walk and repeat”, as people say here.

Don’t miss a tour of the childhood home of those born and raised in Savannah Flannery O’Connorone of the most important novelists and short stories of the XXand century. Also worth a visit if you have kids Savannah Children’s Museumwhich offers events and more than a dozen exhibitions.

Do you prefer the outdoors? Visit one of the most beautiful resting places in the world, the Bonaventure Cemetery. This 40-hectare Victorian cemetery has winding walkways, centuries-old headstones and monuments. In spring, you will see an array of beautiful blooming azaleas. Walk under majestic old oak trees and take in views of the Intercoastal Highway. Bonaventure is too far to walk from town, but the Bonaventure Cemetery Walking Tour includes transportation from your hotel.

Historic religious sites

Savannah has some of the most historic religious sites in the South. The First African Baptist Church has the oldest black congregation in North America, and during the Civil War, a deacon helped captive Africans escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad system. the Second African Baptist Church It was here that General Rufus Saxton, in 1865, made what became known as the “40 acres and a mule” proclamation. Here, too, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered a sermon that included elements of what would become the “I Have a Dream” speech he gave during the 1963 March on Washington.

Congregation Mickvé Israel, founded in 1735, was the first synagogue in Georgia and the third oldest Jewish congregation in America. The only Gothic-style synagogue in North America, it houses a wealth of historical documents including a 15and-century Torah, the oldest on the continent. The Cathedral Basilica of Saint John the Baptist, home to a congregation founded in 1800 by early French settlers, is known as Sistine du Sud. The cathedral, opened in 1839, is one of Savannah’s most photographed landmarks.

city ​​market, where seafood was once sold and horses were shod, is now a two-block pedestrian courtyard with restaurants, art galleries and souvenir shops. Thanks to Savannah’s open container law, you can enjoy an alcoholic beverage outside while watching the parade of tourists pass by.

Since the day of its founding, Savannah has been connected to the sea. Just steps down River Street is a hidden gem that most visitors miss: March of postmen. Here, cotton farmers standing on arched bridges (which are still there) sold their crops to buyers on the cobbled streets below. If you visit, be careful: steep, uneven steps lead to Factors Walk. Take the elevator instead. The old warehouses and shipping terminals now house cafes, a few hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

If you want to be on the river, reserve seats on the queen of georgia riverboat, which offers meal cruises and narrated rides where you can learn about Savannah Harbor and visit ships from around the world. And don’t miss the Maritime Museum of Sea Vesselswhich has paintings, antiques and dozens of exquisite models of old sailing ships.

Want even more? Head toward Tybee Islandjust 20 minutes from downtown Savannah, where you’ll find five miles of beaches, additional historic sites and locally caught seafood.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT TRAVELERS

Transportation: Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport has two runways (9,351 and 7,002 feet long, respectively). Signature Flight Support and Sheltair operate FBOs.

Climate: The savannah has long, humid subtropical summers with frequent thunderstorms and short, mild, sunny winters. The best times to go are spring and fall. November and December are the driest months.

What you need to know before you go. Be sure to pack comfortable shoes, a rain jacket, and an umbrella. Book early if you want to eat at one of the best places.

TRAVELER’S REPORT CARD

Accommodation: JW Marriott Factory Riverside (A) is a new $300 million luxury riverside hotel with a dozen restaurants on site.…Perry Lane Hotel (A) is a small, upscale property with a fitness center, guitar lending program, and VIP butler….Mansion on Forsyth Park (B+) is a restored Victorian-Romanesque mansion with pool, bike hire and cooking classes available.

To eat: alligator soul (A+) is an elegant restaurant with a funky soul that offers what the chef calls “Cajun Creole with world influence” via melt-in-the-mouth tempura dishes of alligator, antelope, lamb and perfect crab cakes…. New Common denominator (A+), two chefs are redefining Southern cuisine with dishes like plaice crudo, sweet potato tempura, black pork neck and garlic sausage….The Crystal Beer Show (B+), a former speakeasy, serves up burgers, home fries, fried green tomatoes, and what may be America’s best peach cobbler….Zunzi’s (B+), a family restaurant inspired by South African cuisine, serves delicious sandwiches on freshly baked bread with special Zunzi sauces and rooibos iced tea.

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