“There is a magical coming of age celebration, daily here. The inheritors share generously their gifted city, Savannah. There are the classic southern traditions and progeny that coexist with the eclectic, creative spirit here,” says Diane McCray, innkeeper at Green Palm Inn, a top-rated breakfast inn in the downtown Savannah historic district.
Surprisingly, the inn’s mantra to enjoy the “softer side of Savannah” encourages a sense of adventure. Lodging travelers learn insider tips to take full advantage of the city’s friendly in-town experiences and explore the outskirts. Sometimes called a “living museum”, our spirited southern city knows very well how to blend a devoted steward’s reverence for its historic treasures — now considered chic and hip — alongside its friendly, vibrant lifestyles that stem from multi-cultural heritages and forever-young attitudes.
Rather than following the tourist’s trail, the ready-to-assist staff recommends crisscrossing among Savannah locals. “The friendly people here bring vivacious variety and storytelling to the fore in Savannah, named #4 in Travel+Leisure magazine’s “America’s Favorite Cities 2010”.
“Expect to use this phrase a lot: ‘Meet me in the square!’” says Diane. “Of course, we would like you to begin on Greene Square, Green Palm Inn’s resident square,” she adds.
As expected, contemporary life in Savannah meets tradition. Georgia founder James Edward Oglethorpe used money from the Trustees for the Founding of the Colony of Georgia to build a humble “Stranger’s House” (a hotel for lodging the stranger), which was built along one of the colony’s first four squares.
Here are Green Palm Inn’s Top 10 Best Places & Things to Do in Savannah, Georgia:
#1 Picture Taking in Photogenic Savannah
Start at Forsyth Park, another great spot for entertainment. Instantaneously, social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter make it possible for casual photographers to share travel photos with friends and family. Serious amateurs and fine art photographers gravitate also to Savannah. Living their dream, Michael Powell (author) and Jurgen Horn (photographer), have become world travelers, all-the-while working through a @For91Days residency in Savannah. See their Savannah insights “For 91 Days” for amazing photogenic spots and trip ideas. “Because of the beautiful natural backdrop that Savannah provides, the city is quickly becoming a popular wedding destination. It offers less expensive options with garden elopements and weddings in the squares and Forsyth Park,” Diane adds.
#2 Historic Theatre Entertainment
Bright theater marquees announce show time in Savannah’s historic district at the Lucas Theatre, SCAD’s Trustee’s Theatre, and America’s oldest working theater, Savannah Theatre. Lucas and Trustees are repurposed movie houses from Savannah’s Gilded Age. Year around, international performers, notable speakers, world-class music and film festivals take full advantage of extraordinary acoustics and legendary architecture to woe and wow Savannah’s destination travelers and home folks.
#3 Foodies’ Paradise
“I’ve often heard my guests say that they ate their way through Savannah,” says Diane McCrary. “Amazing things happen when you stop for a bite to eat or a refreshing snack in Savannah.” The artisan cafes, like Harris Baking Co., Back in the Day Bakery, Wright Square Café (chocolatier), and Lulu’s Chocolate Bar tempt the taste buds, and sooth with cozy surroundings! Revived by Savannahian and Hollywood producer Stratton Leopold, Leopold’s Ice Cream shop feeds the starry-eyed movie-lover’s fascination and foodie’s appetite. Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room began by feeding boarding house diners. In 2010, United States President Barack Obama joined City of Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson for lunch there. Two Green Palm Inn guests were enjoying lunch with the President! Get out in the back roads of Tybee Island beach for fresh seafood.
#4 Get Moving, Outdoors!
From a slow pace to a brisk walk, one cannot see Savannah without enjoying the out of doors. Popular ways to get about is to rent a bike, scooter, electric cart, or Segway.
#5 Creative Art to Take In or Take Home!
Art galleries and original art are found throughout the downtown historic district. Did you know? One of the two statues on City Hall represents the city father’s vision for Art. The second is devoted to Commerce. You can support both, especially to acknowledge new art by student talent when you stop in at ShopSCAD on Madison Square. This is a great spot to pick up a backpack or rucksack, which will allow you a hands-free gadabout to enjoy the swirl of art galleries in the downtown City Market area. We suggest you begin your serious art adventure at Telfair’s Jepson Center on Telfair Square.
#6 Seek Out What’s Multi-Cultural
The heart of African-American art in Savannah is the Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies at the SCAD Museum. The enlarged Evans Center is scheduled for completion in September 2011. Many of Savannah’s nearly 200 annual festivals are heritage based – Greek Food Festival, Scottish Games, St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival, Oktoberfest on the River, Shalom Jewish Food Festival, Black History Month, and SCAD’s International Festival. Check out City Market as a beginning point for local artisans. Alligator Soul restaurant embraces southern cuisine in each evening’s meal of world cuisine fine dining (dinner only, 7 days weekly).
#7 Toddies in the Little Pubs
Travelers are as welcome as locals in the little pubs like Jen’s & Friends (martinis, Bull near Johnson Square), Lulu’s Chocolate Bar (desserts & cosmopolitan mixed drinks, MLK Jr Blvd.), and Planters Tavern (drinks and dinner, lower level in the Olde Pink House, Reynolds Square). The pub crawling walking tours, dashed with haunted tales, can really enliven a night out in the little pubs.
#8 Escape to Georgia Beaches!
A day trip to Tybee Island beach, or a boat ride to one of Georgia’s Barrier Islands makes for an outrageous, journal-worthy addition to your visit to Savannah. We recommend Wilderness-Southeast.org, naturalist guides for the Wassaw Island trip or a canoe adventure with conservationists. If you’re into volunteer tourism, this group will take you with them as River Keepers, preserving and seeing the beauty of the Georgia coast.
#9 People Watching
Take in the city buzz and varieties of people when you rest or idle a while in one of Savannah squares, along the Savannah River walk, or a sidewalk café. You’ll see the zest for visiting, exploring, living and working in this noble city by the sea.
#10 Churches of Reverence
Last but not least, we recommend more than a nod to Savannah’s beautiful churches. In the world-famous city plan, British Parliamentarian James Oglethorpe (later to be General Oglethorpe) and Col.
William Bull (later to be Lt. Governor of South Carolina), laid out Trust Lots for public buildings and churches.
When you walk through Savannah’s squares, churches and Mickve Israel Synagogue are often found on the east and west lots. There are exceptions to that placement, including Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Lafayette Square, and Independent Presbyterian Church on Chippewa Square.
Copyright © 2011 SandyTraub / Green Palm Inn. Used with permission by GotSaga LLC on StumbledUpon.com