Elegant architecture, defined by curling ironwork, and sturdy, moss-entangled live oaks surround you as you stroll the parks and streets of Savannah. A walk in Georgia’s oldest city feels like a date with grandma and grandpa, doting with hospitality and smelling like barbeque and peach cobbler. It’s impossible to escape the historic significance of the colonial town, so y’all might as well embrace it.
Savannah began in 1733 when General James Oglethorpe landed a ship of British passengers along the Savannah River. You’ll notice a sense of organization in the historic district as this was America’s first planned city. Peace reigned as Oglethorpe befriended local Native Americans, but soon an enemy from the colonists’ own heritage presented itself: the British crown lay siege to the town during the American Revolution. In the following years, it found success in cotton and rice, only to face hardship again during the Civil War as the economy crumbled. The Great Depression was not gracious either. Now landmarks, houses, museums, churches and ghost tours tell its stories and the stories of its African American residents.
As you tour Fort Pulaski National Monument and Georgia’s oldest school for African Americans, the Beach Institute, this history will come alive. Yet the living Savannah is equally fascinating and not to be missed. Savannah College of Art and Design and numerous art museums color Savannah as organic, southern and international restaurants flavor it with comfort food and fresh dishes. Partying is anything but passé here. Grab a “go cup” and hop around downtown; the open-container laws are lenient. During the day, the same space is perfect for shopping for antiques, souvenirs, name brand clothing, artwork and home goods. Head east from the Hostess City of the South to the barrier island of Tybee Island for beach time, bird watching, seafood and water sports. If you’re obsessed with the modern South, then renting Paula Deen’s island vacation house might be an irresistible proposition!