Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Savannah — Mixing Historic Charm with Contemporary Life

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Georgia is the heart of the American South and Savannah is the epitome of the charm and beauty that many associate with that region of the world.  In addition to historic landmarks, charming city squares, tree-lined parks and gardens galore, the city has all a thriving art and music scene and is home to the historic Savannah Theatre. There’s a beautiful riverfront and the city is only minutes away from Tybee Island’s sun-drenched beach.

It’s a perfect vacation getaway.

History IS Savannah

Cathedral of St. John the BaptistThe city is home to the legendary Savannah Historic District.  Imagine miles of mansions,  forts, churches, and monuments dating back to the American Revolutionary War as well as the Civil War. In fact, this is the largest historic district in all of the US. Within the District you can stroll through two centuries of American History.

A main attraction of this area is the city squares, originally designed by the city’s founder, James Oglethorpe. The city was organized around these squares which served as the center for their “ward.” By 1851 there were 24 city squares in Savannah.  Today you can visit 22 of the squares, including Ellis Square which was reclaimed in 2010.

Many of Savannah’s historic homes can be found here.  The Juliette Gordon Low House is where the founder of the Girls Scouts (US) was born. Other historic mansions include the Isiah Davenport House, the Wedding Cake Mansion, and the famous Mercer Williams House.

A visit to this district should include stops at some landmark churches.  The First African Baptist Church was built in 1859 and was a stop on the Underground Railroad.  Temple Mickve Israel is the 3rd oldest synagogue in the US and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a stunning structure built between 1873-1896 to replace two previous churches that dated back to 1796.

Other attractions include City Market, Old Harbor Light, the roundhouse complex that held the Central of Georgia Railway, and the Telfair Museum (officially known as the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences). Check out local blogs like arthurtrueger.blogspot.com to get more insight.

Savannah Culture

Savannah is home to  a variety of art, theater, and musical attractions.

The Savannah Theater opened in 1818. It was damaged by fire — twice — and has been restored in the Art Deco style of the 1940s and hosts top productions throughout the year.

If you’re looking for museums, start with the Telfair Museum of Art then head to the Savannah History Museum, the Owens Thomas Museum, and the Sea Maritime Museum.

Art lovers should watch for events sponsored by the Savannah College of Art and Design, like the recent Sidewalk Arts Festival. The city also hosts an annual music festival.

And Don’t Forget…

New Orleans doesn’t have a monopoly on spooky sites.  Savannah is home to some ancient (by American standards) graveyards such as the Bonaventure Cemetery. There are even specialized tour companies that will guide you through the city’s more morbid history.

Balance out all that history and culture with time spent in award-winning restaurants, a thriving bar and club scene and many, many opportunities for shopping.  Then schedule some time at some of the city’s many parks, head to the beach, or walk along the river. No matter how you plan your itinerary, you’re sure to have a memorable visit.

Still not convinced? Check out this video showcasing the best of Savannah:

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