Perched on a forty foot bluff overlooking a bend on the Savannah River, Savannah, Georgia was founded by Oglethorpe as the last colonial capital established by Britain in the United States. It is one of my favorite places we have seen, and I plan on going back again as there is so much to see.
Savannah’s historical district is something to see – filled with cobblestone and manicured park “squares”, horse-drawn carriages and European architecture. Savannah’s was the first in America to plant trees in an organized manner along streets and boulevards and in parks and squares.
“Wards” were planned four residential blocks and four commercial blocks in a grid around a central open space or square. Each ward was named and organized as an urban neighborhood with garden and farm lots sited in an expanded regional plan system. Individual house lots were 60 x 90 feet with a 5 acre garden plot. Four “trust” lots on the east and west sides of each square were reserved for public buildings, including churches. Many of these served as a marketplace and haven for people and animals in the event of an attack by the Indians or Spanish.
Bull Street serves as Savannah’s central core. Four squares, Johnson, Chippewa, Madison and Monterey are located along its route before it terminates in Forsyth Park.
Johnson Square, named for the Royal Governor of South Carolina when Georgia was founded, was laid out in 1733 and one of the largest. The square contains two fountains, an obelisk commemorating Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene and a sundial, dedicated to Colonel William Bull, credited with assisting Oglethorpe in the layout of the city and after whom Bull Street is named.
The best way to explore Savannah is on foot or bike. Savannah’s grid layout makes it so easy to get around. You can explore on your own (exploring Savannah in 10,000 steps) or sign up for one of Savannah’s incredible guided tour if you want to learn more about the history – Footprints of Savannah Walking Tours, 40 Acres and a Mule Tour, and Walk with Me Savannah Tours. Savannah On Wheels bike tour.
There are 61 Points-of-Interest along the route presented in this linked walking map. Allowing an average of 5 minutes each, you will consume 5 hours – add 3 hours for walking, a hour for chit-chat, and thirty minutes for lunch and you have a 8.5 hour day planned. You will walk a total of about 7 to 9 miles.
Forsyth Park, originally 10 acres, donated by William Hodgson was expanded to 30 acres thru land contribution by Governor John Forsyth and named after him in 1851. One of Savaah’s landmarks, the Forsyth Park showcases a signature water fountain constructed in 1858 and shaded by Spanish moss oak tress. An impressive Confederate monument from 1879 honoring local Civil War veterans is located at the far end of the park. A cafe, stage for public concerts, fragrant garden for the blind, information center and two playgrounds encompass the park. On Saturday mornings, a festive Farmer’s Market takes over the south end of the park.
‘The Garden of Fragrance’ or commonly referred to as the “fragrant garden” originally began in 1959 by the Garden Club Council of Chatham County. Surrounded by three wells to help contain the fragrance of the many scented plants, the garden’s fourth side is an ornamental iron fence. The entrance to the garden is enhanced by beautiful iron gates from the Old Union Station. Plant name plaques are in both English and Braille writing. These gates were erected in memory of Frances Smith Littlefield by members of her garden club and friends.
Savannah City Market on W Bryant is one of the areas must-see spots! Meet some of the city’s emerging artists, listen to live music, visit the American Prohibition Museum, or dine at one of their premier restaurants.
River Street’s charm with shops, galleries, restaurants, and other sites of interest all along the water’s edge. Walk the historic cobblestone streets to take in breathtaking views of the Savannah River and the the Plant Riverside District along this beautiful boardwalk. Georgia Queen, an unmistakable bright red and white riverboat with outings hosted by Savannah Riverboat Cruises. They offer all sorts of day and night excursions, including dinner, sightseeing, and even special holiday cruises. An authentic southern cuisine restaurants The Cotton Exchange Tavern is located in an industrial cotton warehouse.
The Grey, a former Greyhound Bus Station turned restaurant, serves a menu full of surprising culinary creations. The Diner Bar at The Grey offers a more casual experience.
If you are interested in Savannah’s architectural history, take a tour with Architectural Tours of Savannah will lead you on a leisurely stroll sharing 300 years of Savannah’s history through the periods, styles and forms of the homes and buildings.
The SCAD Museum of Art is a contemporary museum where the exhibitions rotate based on the academic term. The Savannah College of Art and Design has over 11,000 students from nearly 50 states and over 100 countries.
The Telfair Museum collection consists of various artistic tastes and Savannah’s history. Other museums such as the Andrew Low House Museum, Pin Point Heritage Museum and the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum are worth adding to immerse yourself in the city’s cultural, scientific and historical values.
Jones Street, is the one of the prettiest streets and an architecture gem with wrought iron gates and manicured gardens.
Broughton Street has some of the best shopping the city has to offer with both local and national retailers including H&M, Kate Spade, Urban Outfitters, and more. Browse upscale boutiques, art galleries, and local shops like the famous Paris Market, a store selling restored vintage treasures along with one-of-a-kind exclusive items made just for them. Do not miss Leopold’s, a famous landmark in operation for over a century that is regarded as the top spot for ice cream in all of Georgia.