D.E.A.L. (Dining, Entertainment, Attractions & Lodging)
Savannah is Steeped in History & Filled with Insta-Worthy Moments
If ever there was a city calling out to be photographed, Savannah’s beauty and iconic backgrounds beckon. Even Civil War Gen. Sherman found it too beautiful to burn down. With historic architecture, fountains, monuments and book and movie settings, you’ll fill up your social media pages quickly. There’s even a Savannah Doors Pinterest board.
Gen. James Oglethorpe founded Savannah in 1733 and designed the city as a series of neighborhoods centered around 24 squares all shaded by huge oak trees. The resulting street-grid system has been recognized as a National Historic Landmark, as most of the 22 remaining public squares have monuments to the city’s past—among them (Native American) Tomochichi’s Monument in Wright Square and the (Revolutionary War hero) Nathanael Green Monument in Johnson Square.
Click! The park bench scenes from 1994’s award-winning Forest Gump make Chippewa Square one of the most famous squares in the city. The movie prop bench that Tom Hanks sat on is now in the Savannah History Museum, but the bench’s location is still a popular selfie spot along with the statue of Gen. Oglethorpe erected in 1910, the First Baptist Church, the Independent Presbyterian Church and the Philbrick-Eastman House, all designed and built in the 1800s.
Click! The Mercer House, the setting for the murder in 1997’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is at Monterey Square where a towering monument pays homage to Revolutionary War hero General Casimir Pulaski.
Click! The Ole Pink House restaurant with its large columns and pink hues, is a must-have selfie and is amongst Leopold’s Ice Cream, the Lucas Theater and the Trustees Theatre at Reynolds Square.
Click! Selfie time at one of Savannah’s most recognizable (and most photographed) landmarks—the fountain in Forsyth Park. Spanning more than 30 acres in the Historic Landmark District, Forsyth Park is Savannah’s largest and oldest public park. Known for its Spanish moss-draped oak trees, jogger-friendly sidewalks and the iconic fountain, there’s also a cafe, visitor info center, two memorials, a Fragrant Garden for the Blind, two playgrounds and a Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.
Click! The Wormsloe Plantation/Historic Site, is one of the only actual local plantations you are able to visit. The 882-acre property features a majestic, mile-long live oak avenue with gate, the oldest ruins in town of a home from 1745, the restored superintendent’s cottage built in 1917, a museum, an observation deck overlooking the marshes, a colonial life area and living history camps, walking trails and more. Visitors can interact with re-enactors in period dress exhibiting the tools and skills of colonial Georgia during special events. The General’s Daughter, a 1999 American mystery thriller film starring John Travolta was shot at Wormsloe Plantation and 2010’s tearjerker The Last Song, starring Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, was filmed primarily on Tybee Island and at the Oak Drive at Wormsloe.
Click! Bonaventure Cemetery, at 160 acres, has several well-known memorials—including a bench commemorating Johnny Mercer, the co-founder of Capitol Records and the founding president of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The bench features a sketch of a Mercer self-portrait and titles of some of his more famous songs (including That Old Black Magic, Laura, Moon River and more).
Click! Since 1955, the Historic Savannah Foundation has saved more than 400 historic homes, antebellum mansions and buildings in Savannah. Take a selfie at the childhood home of American novelist Flannery O’Connor or explore the restored home of the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low. Low’s home (pictured right), an architectural treasure, is now a museum and learning place for Girl Scouts.
Click! Factors Walk has brick alleys, cobblestone passageways, iron bridges, steep stairs and alcoves that are great for exploring. Factor’s Walk originally served as the place cotton shipments were bought and sold by cotton brokers, or factors, whose offices in the warehouses’ upper floors. Now, fans of the creepy and bizarre will appreciate the Graveface Museum which has a large true-crime exhibit, classic horror film memorabilia and a retro pinball arcade.
There’s so much more to see, including the 50-acre Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, the First African Baptist Church (built in 1777), Webb Military Museum, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, River Street, Rainbow Row, Sorrel Weed House, Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, The King-Tisdell Cottage, Beach Institute African-American Cultural Center, The Weeping Time Historical Marker), American Prohibition Museum, Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum and—click! Don’t forget your selfie on the closest beach—Tybee Island (18 miles from downtown).
There are lots of ways to get around Savannah–with tours for nearly everything. One ghost tour takes you in a hearse and others provide costumed tour guides. There are carriage rides, pedicabs, Segways, electric bikes, water taxis, the free Savannah Belles ferry and more!
This story originally appeared in the Jan./Feb. 2020 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 48. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_jan-feb_2021