Savannah, GA Weekend Travel - Jim Flynn's BestWeekends

Savannah, GA

Savannah, GA Overview

Just two hours south of Charleston, Savannah seems years apart from its neighbor to the north in their leap into the 21st century. While Charleston has charged into the new millennium, Savannah seems content to walk there, at its own pace. A stroll down its main street reveals store signs that haven’t changed in 50 years. And the locals are quite happy with the state of things. Nevertheless, Savannah’s quiet dignity and welcoming hospitality make it an ideal choice for a weekend getaway.

Georgia’s “first city” may just be one of the country’s most beautiful towns. Founded in 1733 by James Oglethorpe on the banks of the Savannah River, the city was planned with a series of orderly grids around 24 squares. The squares today are delightful parks with benches, fountains, flowers and stately oaks dripping with Spanish moss. The parks are surrounded by magnificent, restored mansions reflecting a variety of architectural styles from the 18th and 19th centuries. There’s even a section in one of the parks for the blind to experience the wonderful scents of the flowers.

Savannah is a true southern city that has retained its old charm despite the world around it. The pace is leisurely, the people hospitable and friendly. Sitting on a bench in one of the parks, inhaling the aromas of the flowers around you and watching the horse drawn carriages slide by is one of life’s real pleasures. It just feels right to be here.

The locals will tell you that Savannah is the most haunted city in America. Ghost Tour director Christine Troxell claims 80% of the homes in the historic district are haunted. In fact, one local restaurant is haunted by a “ladies man” who supposedly pinches women’s behinds!

The town got a boost in 1994 from the publication of the book and the subsequent movie, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” the tale of a local sex and murder case involving voodoo, drag queens and assorted other characters. The notorious “Lady Chablis” still entertained a few times a year in a local club until her death in 2016.

Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration is legendary and rivals other Irish enclaves like New York, Boston and Chicago. Unlike those cities, however, the weather cooperates with temperatures in the 70’s and sometimes the 80’s. Perfect for outdoor partying. And, the party is wild, fueled by Savannah’s open container law allowing people to walk around with drinks in their hands. It’s a day everyone should try once.

When To Go

Summers are hot, humid and buggy. The St. Patrick’s Day celebration starts the season that winds down in June and restarts in September and goes until November.

Getting There

Savannah is accessible by air from anywhere in the country. It is a 2 hour drive from Jacksonville, Florida, 4 hours from Charlotte, North Carolina, 4 hours from Atlanta, Georgia and 2 hours from Charleston, South Carolina.

Getting Around

A car is unnecessary in Savannah. Most activities are within walking distance, pedicabs (bicycle cabs) and Ubers are everywhere and regular taxis are also available. Best way to get around though is by bicycle.

Things To Do

Savannah to me is a place to be lazy. Casual walks, reading in a park, a carriage ride, perhaps a picnic by a fountain. The pace is slow and it just seems to be a right to relax and recharge. When the spirit moves you (they do say the town is haunted) there is nearby golf, beaches on Tybee Island, tennis in Forsyth Park, the oldest art museum in the South, biking, fishing, historical sites, shops and restaurants on the River Walk and City Market and tours of all the points of interest. Or, you can just sit in a park and watch the world go by…


Tybee Island has excellent beaches, as does Hilton Head Island. only about 20 minutes away.


Savannah Harbour Golf Course on Hutchison Island. This Troon managed course is the site of the Champion’s Tour Legends of Golf PGA Tournament.


Outdoor courts are available in Forsyth Park, Drayton and Gaston.


With so many parks and squares there are plenty of wonderful places to walk, run and bike. My favorite place is the 20 acre Forsyth Park.


Bull River Marina has Whaler’s and such available for rental from $125.


Miss Judy Charters, 124 Palmetto Dr. is the recommendation for charter fishing, in or off shore.


We’ve used Old Town Trolley for a general overview tour in other cities with good luck and the Savannah version is just as good. 15 stops with on-off privileges.  Savannah House and Garden Tour. Late March to early April. Enjoy private historic homes and gardens. Savannah Movie Tours, some 16 major motion pictures were shot in the area. Walking tour. Did you know that Savannah is considered the most haunted town in America? The Ghost Talk Ghost Walk tour will tell you all about it.


The one not to miss is the Telfair Museum of Art, 121 Barnard Street on Telfair Square. Over 4500 objects from America, Europe and Asia.


The Savannah Theatre Company at Chippewa Square, home of the Jukebox Journey the popular musical revue.


Savannah has some wonderful antique stores. Three we like; Alex Raskin Antiques, Golden House Gallery, Southern Gents Antiques.

Art Galleries

AT HUN Art Gallery, Sue Grouse Inspirations, Gallery 209  and Kobo Gallery are four we have enjoyed. The Gutstein Gallery is operated by the Savannah College of Art and Design. You’ll also want to see the Tiffani Taylor Gallery.


There are loads of shops and stores along the riverfront, but they tend to be pretty touristy. Throughout the town, however, there are some interesting boutiques, in the City Market area, on Broughton and in other areas. Here’s a couple of favorites; Bleu Belle, Local’s favorite women’s boutique. one fish, two fish is a delightful gift/accessory store with all kinds of unusual items and the place just smells great.


Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration rivals anything in Boston, New York and Chicago. Two things make it better; warmer weather (70’s higher) and the open container law which allows you to walk around the city with your beer. The Savannah Music Festival is in April along with the Annual Tour of Homes and Gardens. May features the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival and the Shakespeare Festival in Forsyth Park. September brings the Savannah Jazz Festival.October hosts the Savannah Film Festival.

Dont Miss

  • Breakfast at Clary’s
  • The River Walk
  • Forsyth Park
  • City Market
  • Mercer House
  • Inn at Palmetto Bluff
  • Dinner at Elizabeth on 37th

The Best Of...

News and Resources

Savannah Now is the on-line version of the local newspaper, the Savannah Morning News.  Connect Savannah is the free weekly alternative arts and entertainment newspaper. Savannah Magazine is the local magazine guide.

Food & Drink


Clary’s, old time southern breakfast spot. Still have the old Coca Cola glasses from the 50’s. “Watcha want Etta Mae?” The delicious homemade corned beef hash and homemade biscuits are worth trip alone. Featured in the movie, “Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil.” J Christopher’s is a chain out of Atlanta, but they’ve been here 20 years and locals love it. Serving the “best dang biscuits and beyond” Rise makes a killer breakfast biscuit. Get a Fried Green Tomato Biscuit with tomato, pimento cheese and add some country ham.Yum!

Locals rave about The Collins Corner brunch with items like Bananas Foster French Toast, 2 slices of brioche french toast, candied pecans, white chocolate marscarpone cream, espresso-rum syrup and Short Rib Hash, braised short rib, potato hash, caramelized onions, chimichurri slaw, roasted red pepper/tomato purée, fried egg.


Soho Café 12 W. Liberty, funky and eccentric décor. Everything is soooo fresh. Wonderful quiches and homemade soups. Try Mom’s meatloaf and the Salmon BLT. Love the relatively new Green Truck Pub. Farm to table. Makes everything from ketchup to salad dressings from scratch. Also relatively new is The Grey, in an old bus station. Killer food and wine. Down in the City Market, Belford’s has delicious salads and sandwiches and outdoor seating.


Green Truck Pub makes a killer burger, 1/3 lb Grass-fed all-natural beef, with homemade ketchup, pickles and amazing fries.  B&D Burgers, 13 E. Broughton, booths, stone counter, excellent burgers with fries, onion tomato and pickle. Pretty servers.

Afternoon Delight

Grab some oysters and a cold one at Sorry Charlie’s. Sit overlooking the river at The Chart House and order a charcuterie and cheese platter. Maybe a margarita and some guac and chips at Tequila’s TownIn Vino Veritas is a wine bar with about 40 wines by the glass and great sweet and savory snack. Opens 4pm.


The lounge in the Mansion on Forsyth Park has a unique selection of martinis in a sophisticated setting. A rare, Bösendorfer piano is played for your enjoyment. The Grey has some vintage and wonderful artisan cocktails and nearly 50 wines by the glass.  Rocks on the Roof at the Bohemian Hotel has an open air bar and killer views of the river. Jen’s & Friends is a sleek and sophisticated spot that is hugely popular with locals. Wonderful rooftop bar at Peregrin at the Perry Lane Hotel.


While Away a Rainy Day

Edgar’s Proof & Provision in the DeSoto Hotel is a cool place to hang on any day, rain or not. Craft cocktails, a wonderful whiskey selection, wines and a fantastic all-day menu with snacks and comfort food. Outdoor patio. Love this place.

After Dinner Fun

Savannah Smiles, Crazy fun with the “Dueling Pianos” playing all the old songs. Live music at Tree House and The Jinx. Great wine at Circa 1875. Club Elan is a new venue hosting major music acts. Barrelhouse South is another live music venue playing through the week, from blues and country, to funk and jam bands.

Picnic Fixins

Kayak Kafe. Great sandwiches, salads, tacos, soups, wine and beer. The place in Savannah for the best picnic.

Sweet Tooth

Savannah Sweets, got to have the pralines here, they’re oh so good. Baker’s Pride is a Savannah favorite for pies, cookies, cakes and fritters. Since 1919 Leopolds has been the place for ice cream in Savannah.

Get Pampered

Spa Bleu is an organic day spa that has excellent packages for men, women and couples.

Special Things

 Low Country Luxury

Nestled beside the May River, the Inn at Palmetto Bluff  in Bluffton, SC is a spectacular resort just 15 minutes from downtown Savannah. Part of the acclaimed Auberge Resorts group, the Inn is destined to take its place among the great resorts of the world.

A weekend trip to the Savannah area would not be complete without at least one night at this marvelous Inn. In fact, because it is so close to Savannah, you just may want to stay here for the entire weekend and journey into town. The problem is you may never get to Savannah.

Built on a 20,000 acre parcel, the Inn is part of a complex that includes residential homes, a delightful Village reminiscent of a New England town and a host of recreational opportunities.

There are 50 guest cottages including 8 cottage suites, all located on the banks of the river. The views are nothing short of magnificent. The cottages themselves are huge, ranging in size from 1140 to 1340 sq. ft. and feature fireplaces, screened in porches overlooking the river, vaulted ceilings, luxury linens, pine planked flooring, plasma tv’s and steam showers. The rooms are as beautifully decorated as any we have seen in our travels.

The Inn’s restaurant, the 90 seat River House, overlooks the river and serves low country fare with an emphasis on local seafood. The 4000 bottle wine cellar will earn raves from the wine press as time goes by.

The May River Golf Club which winds its way through the May River Forest and along the river itself was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is a stunningly beautiful golf course. It alone is worth the trip here. But golf isn’t the only diversion. There’s an exquisite spa, a beautiful heated lap pool, bicycling, kayaking (the sunset tour is breathtaking), miles of walking trails and fishing.

Picnic in the Park

There are few parks as lovely as Forsyth Park, a 20 acre beauty minutes from downtown. The striking white fountain in the center and the special garden for the blind make this a very special place. Pick up lunch at Kayak Cafe and spread a blanket under an old oak tree dripping with Spanish Moss. Ah, the South!AC

Where To Stay

Andaz Savannah

OVERVIEW of Andaz Savannah

We became fans of the Andaz luxury boutique brand of Hyatt when we stayed in one in Napa and loved it. They are very well done with service and amenities seen more often in hotels a class or two higher. Best of…

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Ballastone Inn


OVERVIEW of the Ballastone Inn

The wonderfully restored 1838 Ballastone Inn is the choice of accommodations for virtually every visiting celebrity; Paul Newman and JoAnne Woodward, Kevin Spacey, Matt Damon and more. The Inn’s walls are filled with accolades from its noted visitors and from the travel press. This is truly…

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Hamilton Turner Inn

OVERVIEW of the Hamilton Turner Inn

The circa 1873 Hamilton-Turner Inn is a charming Victorian mansion located on the beautiful Lafayette Square. Surrounded by lush greenery and gardens, the Inn has some great architectural features like 13 foot ceilings, 12 foot. windows, delightful balconies and some…

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Mansion on Forsyth

OVERVIEW of the Mansion on Forsyth

Opulent, over the top, hip and trendy are all apt descriptions of the Mansion of Forsyth. Built in a magnificently renovated 1888 Victorian mansion, the 126 room MFP is located right on beautiful Forsyth Park in the heart of Savannah.…

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Marshall House

OVERVIEW of the Marshal House

The unique 65 room Marshall House, right in the middle of the downtown area is the choice for a full service hotel. Originally built in 1851, it went through a $12 million renovation in the late 90’s which upgraded all of…

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Where To Eat

45 Bistro

45 Bistro was originally built in 1852 and completely renovated in 1992. The restaurant lies in the heart of town adjacent to the Marshall Hotel and is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The lively bar is the place to be for Happy Hour and a good start to your evening. Fun bartenders and…

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Elizabeth on 37th

Housed in a dramatic turn of the century Greek Revival mansion, Elizabeth on 37th, is the brainchild of Chef Elizabeth Terry with a focus on regional cooking using traditional recipes and making use of local seafood and produce. Decorated with antiques and historic (dark) colors, the dining rooms have fireplaces and are festooned with fresh…

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Garabaldi’s Cafe

It would be hard to find a more intimate and romantic restaurant than Garibaldi's Cafe,  located in the heart of the historic district in an 1871 firehouse. Dark woods, curved leather banquettes, a tin ceiling, marble columns, fresh flowers and perfectly set tables set the stage for a memorable dining experience. A diverse menu with…

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Green Truck Pub

We came upon the wonderful Green Truck Pub on our last visit to Savannah because everyone was talking about it. We kept hearing, "Have you been to Green Truck yet?" Too many people open restaurants with no real vision as to what they want to be or how they will differentiate from others. Not so,…

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The Grey

Owners Johno Morisano and Chef Mashama Bailey joined together to transform a 1938 art deco Greyhound Bus Terminal that had fallen into disrepair into The Grey, the hottest restaurant in Savannah. The designers modernized the property but kept the elements of the historical building that serve as the foundation for its charm. They describe their…

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