Strolling through Georgia’s otherworldly gem of a city
One of America’s most ravishing cities, Savannah will make a romantic out of just about anyone. With its gorgeous antebellum mansions, sultry aura and elegant squares dripping with luxuriant vegetation, it’s a fascinating place to stroll and experience antebellum life. Imposing forts, centuries-old plantations and the eerily beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery speak to the city’s storied history and penchant for the macabre, but Savannah also offers more than a few odes to modernity. Gourmet bistros nudge up against wood-paneled speakeasies, classic theaters showcase everything from avant-garde dance productions to burlesque shows, and craft beers are as customary as a mint julep served on a filigree veranda.
The Historic District
With more than 1,000 immaculately restored historic buildings painted in a combination of bold and pastel hues, Savannah’s historic kernel is the nation’s largest Historic Landmark District and Savannah’s undisputed highlight. Savannah’s heart and soul can be found in the district’s historic squares, where ancient oak trees draped with moss, showy magnolias, fanning palmettos and stunning stone fountains form a network of parks. Highlights include the handsome Chippewa Square, which dates to 1815 and centers on an equestrian statue of General James Oglethorpe, the British colonist who designed Savannah’s lauded city plan in the 1700s. If it looks familiar, it’s because the opening “park bench” scene of Forrest Gump (1994) was shot on the north side of the square.
On Columbia Square, Davenport House Museum (built in 1820) is one of the most beautiful Federal-style houses in the U.S. Less than a mile south, the resplendent 30-acre Forsyth Park, at the center of Savannah’s Historic District, features the much-photographed Forsyth Fountain and the 300-year-old Candler Oak Tree.
Savannah is famed for its superb seafood and soulful Southern restaurants. Every day is punctuated with easily adopted antebellum rituals: a civilized afternoon tea, a pre-dinner cocktail and an outrageous dessert platter. Without a doubt, in Savannah’s Historic District or along River Street, you’ll experience some of Georgia’s top eateries, ranging from super-fancy haute cuisine to cozy bistros, speakeasies and even gastro pubs.
You can savor succulent burgers at the Crystal Beer Parlor, which opened its doors in 1933 as the first establishment to serve beer after prohibition. There are the convivial communal tables at Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room, where fried chicken platters have satisfied the appetites of luminaries such as President Barack Obama.
Fort McAllister State Park
South of Downtown Savannah, historic Fort McAllister State Park sits on the banks of the Ogeechee River. Flanked by colossal live oaks and a salt marsh, the park’s namesake fortification was completed in 1862 and features imposing earthworks. The fort withstood seven attacks by naval bombardments before it was finally taken in 1864 in a bayonet charge that concluded General Sherman’s “March to the Sea.”
For More Information
Georgia Department of Economic