Savannah offers a pedestrian-friendly layout for tourists spending time in the city. Visitors are drawn into the city's cobblestone streets and awe-inspiring architecture mixed with its Spanish moss-covered trees. The ideal time to visit this coastal city is during the spring when azaleas, wisteria, dogwood and jasmine are in full bloom, but any time is perfect thanks to its southern location and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Savannah, Ga., is the oldest city in the state of Georgia and was established in 1733. It served as a strategic port city in the American Civil War. Millions of people visit Savannah each year to explore the city's historic sites.
Forsyth Park, which has been part of the city since the 1840s, takes up 30 acres in the city's Historic District. There are walking paths, a cafe, a play area for children, a large fountain and a fragrant garden for the blind. In the park is the Confederate Memorial Statue honoring the lives of those who lost their lives in the fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The fountain at the park's north end was built in 1858 and resembles the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Bonaventure Cemetery is one of the most famous in Savannah and was established in 1846. Tales of ghosts wandering through the grounds of this Southern Gothic burial site has served as an inspiration for writers, poets and photographers for more than 150 years. Bonaventure serves as the final resting place for military generals, poet Conrad Aiken and Georgia's first governor Edward Telfair. The cemetery is also a reflection on the evolving views on death and dying during the Victorian Era as it became a more romanticized and ritualized process. John Berendt's book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," features a photo of the "Bird Girl" statue on the book's cover which was once located in the cemetery, but has since moved to the Telfair Museum of Art.
Everything about Savannah is significant to the city and country's past, so the Savannah Historic District is something you'll want to visit in order to really appreciate all the city has to offer. The district is a National Historic Landmark and encompasses the original town plan that was constructed in 1733 by General James E. Oglethorpe, Georgia's founder. Visitors to the site can see much of the original city layout as well as the wards, squares and trustee lots. Surrounding the Historic District are Georgian, Greek Revival and Gothic buildings including the Edmund Molyneux Mansion, the Spencer Woodbridge House and the Greene House. Also in the district is Beach Institute, the city's first black school and an important site dating back to 1865.
The Telfair Museums offer an experience unlike any other. It's the oldest public art museum in the Southeast and there are three buildings that make up the museum's complex: the Telfair Academy, the Owens-Thomas House and the Jepson Center. There are approximately 4,000 works of art that provides a glimpse into Savannah's dynamic history. Contemporary art is housed in the Jepson Center and visitors can step back in time to the 19th century in the period rooms at the Owens-Thomas House, while visitors can gaze in awe at the artifacts at the Telfair Academy. Before you leave, be sure to grab a bite to eat at the Jepson Cafe and pick up souvenirs at the Jepson Center and Owens-Thomas House.
Things to Do in Savannah
River Street: The Savannah waterfront is located along River Street, the city's best spot for shopping and dining. Eateries on River Street include Fiddler's Crab House, Bayou Cafe, Bernie's Oyster House and The Warehouse Bar and Grille. There are a number of events held during the summer including a Fourth of July Celebration as well as Seafood Fest in May and the Blues, Jazz and BBQ in June. You'll want to do a little shopping while you're staying in Savannah, so be sure to check out the River Street Market Place, River Street Sweets and Village Craftsmen. Visitors can see the city by taking tours through Old Savannah Tours or Old Town Trolley Tours of Savannah.
The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist: The cornerstone for the Cathedral was laid during November 1873 and the building was dedicated upon its completion in 1876. During that same year the Most Reverand James Roosevelt dedicated the French Gothic style Cathedral that featured four side altars made of white Italian marble. A fire swept through the city in 1898 and destroyed the Cathedral. Several renovations have been done throughout the years and today is part of the Savannah Historic District.
Old Fort Jackson: This preserved fort is situated along the Savannah River and the oldest standing brick fort in the state. The National Historic Landmark offers interactive programs for visitors as well as cannon firings. Also at the site you'll catch a glimpse of the city's riverfront skyline as well as the Talmadge Bridge that takes you in and out of the Savannah.