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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Grateful Traveler: 10 of My Favorite Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia

There are seemingly a zillion fun things to do in Savannah, GA. Here are the 10 best.

Retail therapy
“The talented community of artists at SCAD is an ever-changing, collaborative force of creative individuals who have showcased fine art in the most exclusive galleries, adorned celebrities with jewelry on the red carpets, featured handbags and accessories in premier fashion magazines, and produced home goods that are featured all around the world. shopSCAD is a one-stop resource for these works created and designed by Savannah College of Art and Design students, alumni and faculty.” SCAD’s unique retail gallery in Savannah is great for window shopping too! Such a feast for the senses.

Peeking into historical homes
Savannah’s historic and often haunted homes are this city’s bow to preservation, and no other city does it better! Many of the extraordinary homes and house museums including Harper-Fowlkes House, Comer House, Davenport House, Green-Meldrim House, Hamilton-Turner Inn, Andrew Lowe House, Sorrel-Weed House, and the famous Mercer-Williams House are open to tour and enjoy. Every year, more architectural rich properties are being refurbished and opened so this list will continue to grow.

Southern culinary diet busters
I will sheepishly admit that my all-time favorite restaurant has the potential to be the biggest pig-out of your life. You need to try everything on the communal table you grace, but don’t overeat any one dish. Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room is a 1940’s restaurant with a legendary history that serves family style, and it can be “rapid fire” at times. You wait in line for your table (the wait is half the fun,) and you are seated, fed and you carry your plate to the kitchen when done. Let me tell you, you will need the walk and the humility after such a wonderful meal. Some other marvelous eateries in a town of excellent dining include:

• B. Matthew’s Eatery
• Sandfly BBQ at the Streamliner
• The Public Kitchen & Bar And of course…when you have money to burn on a great Savannah institution, The Olde Pink House is the place to go. Gussy up and enjoy a southern mansion and awesome fine dining but know that the price tag is a hefty one.

A walk in the park(s)
The squares and parks of Savannah are the cities’ most famous treasures. They certainly make Savannah walkable and totally enjoyable. These squares dot the city as landmarks to the most beloved icons. There are 22 squares spread across the city. They are grassy paradises to enjoy or use as markers to get to your favorite locales. Oh, if I only had a nickel for every picture of the squares I have.

Geek out on Forrest Gumpisms
Chippewa Square Park is downtown, bisecting Bull Street. On the north edge of Chippewa Square Park, is where the oft quoted movie words, “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates.” The famous bench is gone, but the spot is very recognizable. There are so many different spots to remember and enjoy that there are now movie tours at various trolley companies who will spot all those special touches in the movie.

Shall we meet for a cocktail?
We, in the Capital Region, meet for coffee. They, in Savannah, meet for cocktails. Every hotel, every restaurant, pub, and diner has their own spin on cocktails. Some soft sipping “ladylike” drinks to “bless your heart” hard-hitting concoctions like Admiral Dewey’s Artillery Punch served at The Shrimp Factory.

Walking on water…front
River Street is a riverfront gem along the broad Savannah River. Old cotton warehouses, now antique shops, galleries, great pubs, and the best pub crawls ever. There are some great big warehouse restaurants that are very good and unlike other cities with grand waterfronts.

Serious antiquing
Not antique bargain hunting but serious antiquing where you go home with something you will treasure all your life. Off nearly every green and down the street that juts from the green, you will find an antique shop that is more than worthy of a visit. If you are a serious shopper, you will love it but so will the “looky–loo” folks.

Civil War and cemeteries
Head straight and first to Colonial Park Cemetery. Sherman’s army spared the beautiful city of Savannah for sure, but the cemetery did suffer at the hands of the Union army. They were, of course, camped out in Savannah and they used Colonial Park Cemetery as their camping area. As there was no fence around the cemetery, soldiers had a mischievous sense of humor. On a few headstones throughout Colonial Park Cemetery, you will find dates carved into the stone which are wrong. People lived for over 1,000 years. A son’s father died when he was not even a teenager yet. Well, if the carvings are to be believed. Of course, it was the mischief of the soldiers who simply had too much time on their hands. There is so much to explore throughout this practically intact city, and the Civil War comes to life with the correct guidebooks or tour guides, which are plentiful in Savannah.

St. Patrick’s Day – Savannah style… who would have known
The third largest St. Patrick’s Day in the world. Who would have guessed? I mentioned already about the bars, pubs, and cocktails so what more proof do you need? The festivities usually last several days, and the parade is simply amazing. Book early for hotels and restaurants and just let the city carry you into a truly unique Irish celebration.

Hippest of new hotels in chic Savannah

By Vikki Moran | The Grateful Traveler

Adelaide Harcourt

The 167 room Perry Lane Hotel is an elegant example of Savannah with a distinctively modern almost Brooklyn chic vibe. Location, location, location the saying goes, and the Perry Lane Hotel is nearly perfect in a city that I feel is already sheer perfection.

The city of Savannah has a character like no other city and this new hotel nails it without cliché. The literary heritage, the art scene of old and new (SCAD), the progressive nature of Savannah yet with its deep and still pervasive roots in the past. It is all here within the walls of Perry Lane; it is flawlessly unified.

Adelaide Harcourt (perfect name for a Savannah lady) welcomes all to the property with a truly distinctive look, again with one foot in the past and one giant leap into modernity. Her portrait hangs with one of the beautiful sitting room lounges, and her biography is available in all rooms to explore. If you like me, think, why haven’t I heard of this fabulous lady before, it is because Adelaide Harcourt is a created figure to draw attention and intention to what the New York developers wanted and indeed manifested in this hotel.

Sitting on top of the Perry Lane Hotel is Peregrin rooftop bar and pool. In true rooftop style, the views are dramatic. With a 360-degree view of Savannah, a city where any one direction will impress you, it is a perfect spot for guests to mingle with local residents. To know Savannah is to understand the meaning of “cocktails.” It is the same as what we may say in the Capital Region as “grab a cup of coffee.” Everyone does cocktails and Perry Lane has the perfect spot to settle in with one. You don’t grab a coffee in Savannah, you grab a cocktail! Even the name “peregrine” means traveling and this rooftop bar should be where everyone gathers from their travels near and far to relax and mingle.

At the Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market, variety and quality take center stage in a cultural epicenter delivering exceptional bold originality with again, a nod to the brilliant Savannah past. Bursting with vibrant energy, this local gathering place boasts an approachable, curated, highly diverse offering. The Emporium welcomes you, whether you’re staying a while and savoring the experience with a wine-tasting or cooking class, or just stop and mingle Savannah style.

Vikki Moran
Vikki Moran
Vikki Moran is a travel writer and the founder of the Grateful Traveler.

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