There’s Another Savannah—And You Should See It at Christmas
A charming little burg between Memphis and Nashville pulls out all the stops.
There’s just something about a small town Christmas. Maybe it's the nostalgia of a Main Street draped in lights and Santa riding into town during the annual parade that makes us feel all Mayberry inside. We love that feeling this time of year.
For three years now, Savannah, Tennessee, has been celebrating Christmas on Main, bringing lights and train rides and Christmas movies and general holiday to-doing downtown on Friday and Saturday nights. Some of their holiday events, like the Junior Auxiliary Holiday Mart and home tours, kick off before Thanksgiving; Christmas on Main starts after.
The festivities—from reindeer feeding and ice skating to carriage rides and carolers—wrap up this weekend (December 15), but Main Street will keep right on twinkling—as will many Christmas trees, including a 30-footer at the downtown gazebo—throughout December. In other words, downtown will be one Hallmark-worthy photo op this month.
Located on the Tennessee River in Hardin County, Savannah’s not too far from the Alabama line and roughly halfway between Memphis and Nashville. Longtime residents mingle with transplants, some of whom come here to live on the river or on Pickwick Lake. Others are retirees, who like the idea of small-town life that’s convenient to Memphis and Nashville, both of which are 2 or so hours away. Savannah is one of 22 Tennessee communities designated as retirement destinations by the state’s Department of Tourist Development, based on the amenities and services it provides to residents.
Even if you’re just in town for the day, you’ll find convenient, affordable food. In Savannah, try The Spot for burgers, Ma Ma Fia’s for Italian, and Miss Phoebe’s bakery for sweet treats or a ladies’ lunch. Locals say this area is known for catfish, which you can sample at places like Hagy’s Catfish Hotel in neighboring Shiloh, where members of the Hagy family have been feeding hungry diners since 1938. Venture to Crump, where Poppy’s Barbecue operates out of a brick house that has been known to sport some porky-themed decor. On the Pickwick Dam, about 10 miles from downtown Savannah, you’ll find a rustic landmark called The Outpost, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesday-Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Monday (closed Sunday).
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