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.