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    What to see in Savannah: places of interest and attractions of a pearl of Georgia

    Who I am
    Martí Micolau
    @martímicolau
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    Our destination is a precious ancient jewel in the treasure chest of Georgia where history, architecture and river activity are concentrated. Savannah it is the perfect combination for those with cultural interests, for those who love architectural harmonies in a pleasant setting of manicured gardens and shady parks that instill serenity. Il clima di Savannah it is characterized by mild winters and very hot and humid summers with short, sometimes intense, showers.

    Index

    • The many primates of Savannah
    • Let's start with the Savannah River
    • Visit Savannah: the historic district
      • The squares of Savannah
      • Churches to see in the Historic District
      • Savannah Historic District Museums
    • The Victorian neighborhood
    • Places of interest for shopping and other attractions
    • Events in Savannah
    • Restaurants to Eat in Savannah
    • Advice on where to sleep in Savannah
    • Savannah: how to get there?
    • Getting around in Savannah
    • How many days in Savannah (and vicinity)

    The many primates of Savannah

    The city has an indisputable charm that captures visitors intrigued also by its many and unusual squares. It is no coincidence that it can boast an excellent "business card" since some magazines have included it among "the 10 most beautiful places in America"," The 10 American cities to visit "and" the 25 best places to live and work ". They also declared it "the best city in the south"And" one of the friendliest cities in the world ". Savannah is the 5th largest and oldest city in Georgia, which also had the honor of becoming the capital of its state from 1736 to 1743.



    It is the capital of Chatham county (the most populated county after Atlanta) which borders on the south South Carolina; it was founded by the British who probably decided to assign the current name by modifying that of the Shawnee tribe. The city left its mark on the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta. On that occasion, the sailing races on the river of the same name were held in Savannah.



    Let's start with the Savannah River

    The Savannah river is crossed by the Talmadge Memorial Bridge, the bridge that connects the city river bank to Hutchinson Island. This tiny island, which is part of the city, is located in front of River Street and in December attracts thousands of people when the atmosphere is "heated" by thousands of lights. Our exploration begins right from the river area, in River Street, the street overlooking the Savannah River with restored ancient buildings, once used as warehouses for cotton. And precisely the advent of that activity decreed the end of the depressed area state in favor of a great prosperity that never declined.

    Now the old premises have been converted into antique shops, boutiques, art galleries, pubs, restaurants and hotels. It is pleasant to walk along this cobbled street browsing among the various commercial activities and more; a dutiful "stop" must be done before two o'clock statues symbolic; the first dedicated to movement afro-American with four bronze figures representing a black family: two children, a man and a woman.

    The second, certainly the most famous in the city, is entitled Waving Girl (the girl waving) and concerns a city legend, the love story between the young Florence Martus and her lover, a sailor. The girl promised her beloved to faithfully wait for her return and so she did from 1887 to 1931 greeting every day and night all the ships that passed along the Savannah River. Miss Florence died in 1943 without having heard from her great love. The statue faces the river and reproduces the girl waving a handkerchief and a dog next to her that represents her collie.



    Along the river you can take boat tours, for example with the steamboats area of Georgia Queen and Savannah River Queen. The boat Dolphin Magic instead it offers two-hour narrated tours along the river and its historic canals around the city. Dolphins can be seen from March to November.

    Boat tours available in Savannah

    Visit Savannah: the historic district

    In addition to the area along the river, continuing the visit of Savannah in what was the city area at the time of the civil war and then in other adjacent areas, our advice is to browse every corner. Each area is a treasure and …… whoever seeks finds! Explore the inside of some houses where possible to see their antique furnishings and hear stories about their history. Look out for the hidden gems too! Definitely worth a visit on Downtown Historic District (bordered by E.Bryan St., Montgomery St., E.Broad St., Park Ave.) with squares, cobbled streets and 18th / 19th century buildings. This historic district is the largest in the United States and there are so many characteristic corners to appreciate immersed in centuries of history.

    Trolley Tour to discover the historic district of Savannah

    On foot, by car, by carriage or by bus, a sightseeing tour in this pleasant central area of ​​the city must be done, without haste, also allowing yourself a walk through the squares, streets and gardens, in order to grasp the essence of this special part. from Savannah. The Forsyth park (Drayton St. and Gaston St.) is Savannah's largest, most pleasant, and busiest green area, named in honor of Georgia's 33rd Governor, John Forsyth.



    The oaks are one of the features of this park where you can relax, walk, jog and do much more. But this is not just a place where nature is enveloping, here there is a theater, a café, two playgrounds, a tennis court and a basketball court.

    And to complete the whole two monuments of the late 1800s: the first is one fountain with statues, in "old Europe" style, reachable along a suggestive tree-lined avenue; the second is the Confederate War Memorial, a commemorative column on top of which a bronze statue depicts a soldier as a testimony to all those who fought among the Confederates during the Civil War.

    Events such as the Movie in the park for those who love to enjoy a movie in the open air and the Jazz festival to enjoy a good moment of jazz music, but every Saturday is also held Farmer's market, the lively farmers 'and peasants' market where you can savor moments of local life.

    The squares of Savannah

    Savannah is known for an unusual feature in the States, its squares arranged along parallel streets and with geometric harmony. It is not difficult to follow a path that allows you to take a look at them all. They represent a symbol for the city. They are the fruit of the appreciable idea of ​​Mr. Oglethorpe, the founding general of Georgia and Savannah at the time when the urban area only extended into what is now the historic district.

    He planned the construction of the city with 22 square-shaped green areas in such a way that all the houses around the sides could benefit from a kind of park. In fact, these squares, with trees and plants, do not correspond to the concept of a paved “clearing”, they are more like park-gardens complete with monuments and fountains and are rightly defined parklike squares (squares similar to parks).

    Chippewa Square it is the best known in the city and was named after the battle of Chippewa in 1812 fought against the English. Inside stands the statue of the founder of the city to which a dutiful tribute goes. Also Forrest Gump contributed to making this square famous because the scene of the homonymous film was shot here in which the protagonist is sitting on the bench waiting for the bus (corner of W. Hull St. and Bull St.). On one side of the square is the Savannah’s theater (222 Bull St.) dating from 1818.

    Other squares that are worth a visit are Thomas Square, located around a prominent historical area with intact residential and commercial buildings in Neoclassical / Colonial / Greek, Queen Anne and Italian inspired revival styles. Here is also the Thomas Square Streetcar district where the tram line once ran before the automotive boom.

    Other squares to report are Calhoun Square with many historic buildings and houses, Columbia Square with two historic houses and a fountain, Johnson Square with fountains, the First Church and the monument of General Greene famous at the time of the American revolution, Lafayette Square with its fountain and St. John the Baptist cathedral, Orleans Square with its fountain and its majestic houses from the antebellum period, Whitffield Square with its oaks plus a gazebo used for weddings and events, e Troup Square with many historic houses and the charming astronomical instrument Armillary Sphere, a spherical frame made up of rings.

    La City Hall, the city hall building (2 E. Bay St.), has an impressive copper dome with gilded leaves and is clearly visible even from the river area. This 1906 building, in Renaissance revival style, can be visited by appointment with free “behind the scenes” tours.

    Churches to see in the Historic District

    Among other things to see in the Savannah Historic District we point out three religious buildings of historical and cultural significance in the Historic District. There Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (222 E.Harris St.), beautifully decorated, is a fine example of French Gothic architecture; is the Catholic mother church of the diocese of Savannah. On the façade, from whose sides two towers with spiers rise, there is a central rose window while inside there is a pipe organ and large painted windows. The choir is an integral part of the functions.

    Of course, other religions are also practiced in the city; the building where the Jews gather is the Congregation Mickve Israel (20 E. Gordon St.), the only Neo-Gothic synagogue in the United States. The beige exterior walls and some white architectural details contrast harmoniously with the blue of the small dome for a nice final effect. The Orthodox Greeks profess their religion in St. Paul Greek Orthodox church (14 W. Anderson St., near Forsyth park). The portico of the facade has four columns and the pointed dome ends with a cross. Inside, the windows have painted glass and the altar is rich in representations.

    Savannah Historic District Museums

    For museum lovers we recommend the Jepson Center for the Performing Arts (207 W. York St.), with modern artwork, the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Right museum (460 Martin Luther King jr Blvd.) which deals with the African-American struggle for civil rights from the period of slavery to modern times and the Ships of the Sea museum (41 Martin Luther King jr Blvd.) with antiquities, paintings, models of boats and ships. The Children’s museum (303 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.) is designed for children and has many interactive activities inside.

    The Victorian neighborhood

    Another noteworthy neighborhood is the Victorian Historic District (bounded by Gwinnett St., Anderson Lane, E. Broad St. and Martin Luther King Blvd.). This primarily residential neighborhood borders the historic district to the south and was Savannah's first suburb. The main examples of architecture are the Queen Anne style, the post-civil war but the one from which it takes its name is the Victorian and the Gingerbread Home (1921 Bull St.) is a significant example of the many historic homes in this district.

    This famous building built in 1899 is recognizable by its gingerbread style arches (Caribbean style similar to Victorian), yellow-cream exterior walls and double porch on the facade. The furnishings are a mixture of classic elegance and Victorian style. It is a very coveted place to celebrate events.

    Places of interest for shopping and other attractions

    Shopping lovers will find the characteristic very pleasant City market (219 W. Bryan St.), referred to as “the heart and soul of Savannah”, in the city center, with shops, restaurants, art galleries and frequent musical entertainment. Those who prefer the "classic" shopping centers can choose betweenOglethorpe Mall (7804 Abercorn Extention) and the Savannah Mall (14045 Abercorn St.).

    To fans of golf we point out two public courses with 18 holes in the city. A local favorite is theHenderson golf course (1 Al Henderson Dr.) followed by the Bacon park golf course (Shorty Cooper Dr).

    Events in Savannah

    Savannah is very active with regards to celebrations and events. Towards the middle of February, the weekend of theIrish Festival, at the civic center in Montgomery St. & Liberty St. where Irish music and dance involve visitors intent on browsing the stalls. In March we celebrate the "big time" St. Patrick’s day festival in honor of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. This three-day event is held along River Street and in the City Market. Guaranteed fun with music, dances, various activities, stalls and food in the midst of the predominant green color, even in the water of the fountain in Forsyth park!

    An important moment of the event is the parade. In May, Scottish culture is celebrated during the Savannah Scottish Games held at Bethesda Academy (9520 Ferguson Ave.). The entrance ticket allows you to appreciate the best of Celtic culture among dances, music (also with bagpipes), activities for children, food and sundries vendors, historical reproductions and farm animals such as sheep, geese and ducks trained by dogs .

    Of course, Independence Day is also celebrated in Savannah with the named event 4th of July on the River (115 E. River St.) with the inevitable evening fireworks. For an extra touch you can opt for the firework cruise, a 90-minute river cruise with dancing, music and a prime location for fireworks. At the beginning of October, St. Paul's Orthodox Church celebrates the Greek Festival with dancing, live music, market, homemade Greek food and church tour. Jews celebrate on the last Sunday of October at Forsyth park col Shalom y’all Jewish Food Festival. Admission is free and allows you to attend music and dances.

    Those wishing to try Jewish cuisine must purchase a ticket. The Christmas holidays begin to be felt already in November with the Boat Parade of Lights: a parade of illuminated boats that parade along the river with musical accompaniment. To complete the event there are the suggestive lighting ceremony of the Christmas tree and the fireworks. Admission is subject to a fee. Those who love the architecture of city residences should not miss the Savannah Tour of  homes & Gardens. The ticket can be purchased at 320 Montgomery Street and allows you to visit some of the most beautiful houses in the city with guided tours, special events and culinary proposals.

    Restaurants to Eat in Savannah

    There are many restaurants in the city. We point out two chic and refined ones in downtown, the city center. It is located in an elegant 1900 villa Elizabeth on 37th (105 E. 37th St.). The refined cuisine offers dishes from the south, in particular fish, local products and spices from their own garden. Since its opening in 1981, it has become one of the favorite restaurants for upscale lunches and dinners in a luxurious setting.

    Also The Old Pink House (23 Abercorn St.) is one of the most popular places specializing in Southern cuisine. The restaurant is in an 18th century villa but there is also the option to enjoy dinner outdoors. There is live entertainment every night. We suggest to those in the area to stop even just to look at the outside of these two restaurants. Those looking for a less formal setting can head to the riverfront from Spanky’s Pizza Galley & Saloon (317 E. River St.) a family-run restaurant since 1976, rustic style, serving American cuisine. The venue entertains its diners with live music, events and quizzes.

    A long-lived and popular venue in the city center active since 1753, recognizable from the outside by its wooden structure and pirate flags, is the Pirate’s House (20 E. Broad St.) which in its time opened its doors as an inn for seamen and later became a place for thirsty pirates and sailors. Now the restaurant has a captivating casual "pirate" atmosphere. Each of the fifteen dining rooms has a different decor with white and wooden décor. In addition to the restaurant service that offers southern cuisine, you can relax and have fun at the bar.

    Advice on where to sleep in Savannah

    The Westin Savannah Harbor

    Savannah's hotel offering is substantial. Among the various possibilities are charming accommodations with historic charm. We point out three pleasant buildings transformed into accommodations in the historic district area, an economical alternative and a nice lodging on the Savannah riverside.

    THEHamilton-Turner Inn (330 Abercorn St.) dates back to 1873, has 17 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites differently decorated with modern conveniences such as high-speed internet and flat screen TVs.

    Check prices and availability

    Il Printmaker’s Inn at Forsth Park (303 W. Gwinnett St.) is so named because it was the home of local chief printmaker William Nichols during the Civil War. The Victorian-style house, built in 1884, is surrounded by a graceful porch. In the luxurious suites, white and beige colors predominate with wooden furniture.

    Check prices and availability

    The Justine Inn (217 E. Gaston St.), a refined accommodation with French Renaissance charm with a very chic courtyard. In the 5 rooms the colors white and beige prevail while in the "bon viant room" there is also a touch of dark pink.

    Check prices and availability

    Instead, overlooking the riverfront, on the island of Hutchinson, it is located The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa (1 Resort Dr.). Guests are accommodated in modern spacious rooms and suites. The hotel has a golf course, boat dock, conference room, ballroom, swimming pool, spa, veranda with sofas and tables and some dining options.

    Check prices and availability

    Those looking for lower-priced downtown accommodation just off River Street and close to the civic center should keep in mind the Quality Inn Historic District (300 W. Bay St.) with contemporary decor and continental breakfast; here the "four-legged friends" are welcome.

    Check prices and availability

    All accommodations available in Savannah

    Savannah: how to get there?

    The city of Savannah can be reached from his airport named Savannah-Hilton Head International 13 kilometers from the city center. The city can also be reached via the airport Atlanta International about 3h 30 along I-75 and I-16 E.

    Getting around in Savannah

    As for the historic district of the city, if you don't have a means of transport you can make use of it for free The Dot (bus and ferry). To get around the Savannah metropolitan area, you can take advantage of the public transportation of the Chatham Agents Transit (CAT). L’Old Town Trolley Tour it is a pleasant bus ride with an expert narration guide; along the way, you can hop on and off as you please in the 15 stops available, such as Forsyth park, Cathedral of St. John, City Market and River Street. It is a tour that deserves as it touches all the most interesting points and for the bravest the same agency also organizes ghost tours evening.

    Two companies make romantic carriage rides: Carriage Tour of Savannah (19 Jefferson St.) e Historic Savannah Carriage (2 W. Bay St.). We also report two expert tour companies related to the times of the civil war: Old Savannah Tours (250 Martin Luther King Blvd.) e Savannah Cultural Heritage Tours (2420 Abercorn St.) which offers historical walking tours.

    All Savannah tours

    How many days in Savannah (and vicinity)

    Tybee Island

    We recommend spending more than one day in Savannah, in this southern “pearl”, to stroll without haste, enjoy every characteristic corner, discover its history, appreciate southern hospitality and let yourself be conquered!

    Those who decide to stay in the Savannah area for a few days can combine a visit to the city with an excursion to Tybee Island, the easternmost point of Georgia located near the mouth of the Savannah River (approximately 30 minutes along US-80 E). In this community you can visit the Lighthouse (30 Meddin Dr.), the oldest and tallest lighthouse in Georgia dating back to 1916. The turret is divided into three sections, two black and one white in the middle. The lighthouse, still in operation, is located in the Fort Screven military area. 187 steps separate from the top from which you can admire the panorama of the island. Also in the lighthouse area is the Tybee museum. A single ticket allows you to visit both sites.

    Al Marine Science Center (1509 Strand Ave.) educational and research activities are held for the conservation and knowledge of marine life. The beaches here they are sandy and wide and towards the south end is the Pier & Pavillion (16th St.), the pier where you can fish, admire the Atlantic Ocean and have a picnic in the special pavilion with tables. In this place are held city events and on request also private. There is no shortage of restaurants, bars, hotels and shops in the area. But Tybee Island is famous throughout the States for its atmosphere during the Christmas holidays starting from the first days of December. The streets, houses and buildings of the island are dressed in a thousand lights and decorations that make it unique (tybeefortheholidays.com).

    Do you want to find out more about this state in the South of the United States? Read our article on what to see in Georgia.

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