Weekend in Savannah
Soft light filters through a window at 700 Drayton, the restaurant at the Mansion on Forsyth Park Hotel & Spa.
Of course there’s all that great food and the stately buildings, but it’s the open-air spaces that make me love Savannah. “This city has a texture like a beautiful quilt,” my wife says. A visit isn’t enough for her. Now she wants to live here.
But for now, we’re content to relish it for a weekend. I bet you will be too. On balmy days that roll softly into evening, you’ll want to be outdoors as much as you can. Stroll the waterfront. Explore the cozy neighborhoods of a city filled with manicured garden squares. Take a carriage ride.
Here’s a plan for a busy, fun-filled weekend that includes old favorites and some new surprises.
Ditch the Car
You won’t need wheels. Book a room at the Hilton Garden Inn in the historic district. Ask for one with a balcony facing City Market. Traffic noise is louder on the Bay Street side. It’s an easy walk to some of the best restaurants and trolley stops. www.savannahhistoricdistrict.stayhgi.com or (912) 721-5000. Rates start around $189 for two.
For a budget stay in a downtown location, the Thunderbird Inn offers weekend rates from $99 to $139. www.thethunderbirdinn.com or (912) 232-2661.
After you’ve settled in, slip over to Belford’s Savannah in City Market for a romantic, welcoming dinner. With bare brick walls and a display kitchen, the atmosphere feels a little like New Orleans, but quieter. The crab stew ($5.50) seems a little salty but very flavorful. It’s just the thing for a cool autumn night. www.belfordssavannah.com or (912) 233-2626.
Catch a Trolley
Start the morning with a 90-minute, narrated tour on an Old Town Trolley ($22 adults, $10 ages 4-12). Or buy a ticket with unlimited on-and-off privileges ($25 adults, $10 ages 4-12). You can begin at the Savannah Visitor Information Center at Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard and West Liberty Street. It’s the best way to get oriented. www.trolleytours.com/savannah or (912) 233-0083.
You can’t help but notice what a major impact Savannah College of Art and Design has had on preservation. The college occupies more than 60 buildings. Creative work from students, staff, and alumni fills shopSCAD, one of the most interesting galleries in the city. Inside you’ll find embossed letterpress stationery, handmade jewelry, children’s books, limited edition T-shirts, pillows, and purses, all at reasonable prices. The trolley makes one of its stops at the shop. www.shopscadonline.com or (912) 525-5180.
“The Book” Gift Shop, another store popular with visitors, sells reproductions of the Bird Girl statue and other mementos from the book and film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. www.midnightinsavannah.com or (912) 233-3867.