By Leigh Cort
What could be more memorable than visiting one of the most gorgeous cities in America and staying at a luxurious historic inn with an innkeeper who really cares about you? The four historic Savannah Inns are a radiant collection of bed & breakfast inns in Savannah, Georgia’s historic district. Spanning the years 1856 to 1897, they grace the City with their genuine warmth and Southern hospitality.
The four inns offer luxury and impeccable personal service that’s definitely a cut above – in a city where accommodations are already extraordinary!
I wasn’t surprised when I first visited Savannah to learn that Conde Nast Traveler positioned it in their list of BEST CITIES IN THE WORLD (October, 2011). It won for ambiance, friendliness, culture, historic sites, restaurants, lodging and shopping. Only months before, U.S. News & World Report announced Savannah as their “BEST U.S. VACATION’ and Travel + Leisure Magazine ranked Savannah as a ‘WORLD’S BEST CITY’.
Feeling that I had landed in the heart of one of the South’s exquisite treasures – Savannah, I knew that I met my match with a city that could fascinate me for at least the next 100 years. With a camera and detailed map of the historic city, my exploration took six visits to be able to find my way around the legendary 22 squares (small public parks).
Finding a theme to my travels was the primary goal. Once I realized that the innkeepers are all women…the task was easy. This year, with the 100th anniversary of The Girl Scouts, founded by Savannah native Juliette Gordon Low, it had to be the LEGACY of the Women of Savannah.
www.ZeiglerHouseInn.com Circa 1856 ~ Arrive on Jones Street “most beautiful street in North America” says Southern Living. Spacious 7 rooms with In-room kitchenettes and option for catered private parties. Lots of private entrances and gardens that complement the quiet avenue and neighborhood.
www.DresserPalmerHouse.com Circa 1876 ~ Relax on Savannah’s longest and most stately front porch (called a gallery in Savannah). Enjoy 16 distinctively appointed rooms and suites, elegant parlor with Steinway grand piano and heart pine bar for ordering your favorite cocktail.
www.AzaleaInn.com Circa 1885 ~Rendezvous near beautiful Forsyth Park. Discover heirloom gardens, new southern cuisine and ten luxurious rooms & suites that include a secret garden guest house. The hidden garden pool is a perfect spot for relaxing or hosting an intimate private event. “Best Innkeepers’ by BedandBreakfast.com.
www.GreenPalmInn.com Circa 1897 ~ Escape the crowded tourist scene for a bed & breakfast exuding ‘the softer side of Savannah’ near the riverfront. Four cozy yet oversized bedrooms are historically an old seaman’s cottage. It’s just like coming home. “A gem of an inn” says Fodors.
Take a tour with me and let the adventure begin…
SAVANNAH DINING, MUSEUMS, GALLERIES & TOURS
THE DINING SCENE
Whether indulging in fabulous dinner fare or day tripping for fun & food, restaurants in Savannah are as dazzling as a galaxy of stars…from star chefs to award-winning waterfront cafes. The culinary scene is dancing to a new beat, keying in on local seafood, tantalizing themed ethnic menus, classical cuisine and trendy gourmet…all within a short walk or pedi-cab from the SavannahInns.com.
It’s a city surrounded by water that boasts great watering holes and bars, considered one of the top dining Mecca’s in the Southeast USA. We’re always cooking up something tasty in an intimate dining room, waterfront terrace, brick courtyard or rustic retreat. For those who take lunch and dinner seriously or those out for casual neighborhood ‘eats’, going to a restaurant isn’t something to do before you go out; it’s why you go out.
Dining in Savannah is ‘serious pleasure’. Whole new generations of exciting young chefs have opened some of the area’s best and most innovative restaurants while classic dining establishments consistently offer famous dishes that haven’t changed in decades!
With everything from soul food and fried green tomatoes to blue-crab and local wild-caught Georgia shrimp, Savannah’s historic district restaurants truly offer something for everyone.
May we suggest…?
The Tea Room, 7 E. Broughton St., (912)-239-9690.
Owners: Elizabeth Ruby and Becky Wright, serving Classic Tea Menus and Lunch daily from 11:30-3:30 (except Sunday). The Tea Room proudly bakes and serves scrumptious scones, pastries and sweets. Sandwiches and Salads are served with a pot of tea, edible flowers and exquisite garnishes. The Full Afternoon Tea is something to delight in ~ finger sandwiches, clotted cream, preserves, sorbet, savory scones ~ all presented in a charmingly appointed dining room. www.TheTeaRoomSavannah.com Visit the Menus!
Leopold’s 212 E. Broughton St., (912) 234-4441
Owners: Mary and Stratton Leopold founded in 1919 by three immigrant brothers from Greece (George, Peter and Basil Leopold). They perfected the art of candy and dessert creating the world famous Leopold’s VeriBest™ ice cream. In the early years, patrons would jump off the streetcar to treat themselves to something memorable. Today Stratton and Mary continue the magic & legend where one can always find a long line of ice cream devotees dreaming about their richly rewarding flavors and lunch specialties. www.LeopoldsIceCream.com “Creating Tasty Memories Since 1919” Visit the Flavors.
Alligator Soul 114 Barnard St., (912) 232-7899
Owner Maureen Craig and partner Chef Chris DiNello. Once an underground grain warehouse in 1885, there is a sensual vibe that is masculine yet flawlessly detailed from the bar and fireplace to the intimate dining room. Chef showcases the unpretentious art of fine dining that has been winning awards since 2003 when it was begun by Chef Hilary Craig. Today Maureen and DiNello continue the tradition nightly. Take a culinary tour of the South and you’ll find the road is clearly and creatively paved with today’s favorite specialties with a sprinkling of pizzazz. www.alligatorsoul.com Visit the Menus!
Vic’s on the River 26 E. Bay St., (912)721-1000
Vic’s illustrious pedigree began in 1859 in a building originally used as a cotton warehouse and then Steven Shipping Company ~ housed on two levels of the famous Savannah riverfront. New York architect John Norris designed this, the famed Cotton Exchange and the Johnny Mercer House (among others). Notoriously, General Sherman’s lesser officers used the building for housing and planning during the War Between the States! Today it’s a stunning contemporary A+List fine dining spot that wows the senses as soon as you enter – creating an expansive waterfront ambience that is equaled in style with its eclectic menu that marries southern traditions with contemporary savoir faire. www.vicsontheriver.com Visit the Menus!
SHOPPING is SERIOUS in SAVANNAH!
There are endless places to shop in Savannah…closet-augmenting delights up, down and around the 22 Savannah Squares. From kitchen gear and stationery to art, antiques and home furnishings, shopping is one of Savannah’s greatest charms. Hundreds of shops are housed in an eclectic potpourri of mansions, warehouses and stunning homes; window-shop fabulous men’s & ladies apparel, gifts for the home and gifts for the kids, confectioners, fine wine, dance wear and antiques-to-boutiques. It’s an artistic City where clusters of specialty shops are walkable throughout the historic district with convenient parking everywhere!
Savannah Bee Company ~ Two Locations in the Historic District; #104 West Broughton Street OR #1 West River Street. 800-955-5080
This is one of the most distinctive and unique shopping adventures of the decade, owned by creator Ted Dennard who is ‘redefining honey’. His goal is to share his passion for honeybees through education, premium beeswax-based body care and bottling the most delicious honey one could ever taste. When you walk into one of his shops, allow yourself to be swept away to a magical land of sampling honey perfection. Whether you choose Tupelo Honey tasted on a little spoon or are interested in nurturing your skin with the luxury of body care products that bring the natural heating powers of beeswax, the shop professionals will enchant you with their knowledge and genuine interest in guiding you through the offerings. www.SavannahBee.com.
C.H.Brown Antiques – #14 West Jones St., (912) 236-0732
Charlie Brown loves 18th and 19th century American and English silver, crystal and their heritage. People are interested in a decorated dining table again which creates the centerpiece of his small exclusive shop on tony Jones Street. The neighborhood exudes luxury and images of grand parties of ‘yesterday’. The collection of unusual serving pieces, exquisite utensils and vintage china & glassware help to create a wonderland of fantasy. His philosophy is to “save and buy one good piece at a time and build a collection gradually with things of good quality”. Charlie Brown’s goal revolves around helping collectors in their quest to set a beautiful table whether they’re eating a peanut butter sandwich or filet mignon. His historical tales are enchanting enough to entertain for hours!
SAVANNAH HISTORY FASCINATES SINCE 1733
The city of Savannah, Georgia was established in 1733 and was the first colonial and state capital of Georgia. It’s known as America’s first ‘planned’ city, obviously enchanting visitors with 22 ‘squares’ or parks that have told the city’s story for centuries. It boasts many ‘firsts’ including one of the South’s first public museums (Telfair Academy of Arts & Sciences), one of the oldest black Baptists congregations in the United States (First African Baptist Church), the third oldest synagogue in America (Temple Mickve Israel) and the oldest standing antebellum rail facility in America (Central Georgia Railway Roundhouse). Today Savannah’s downtown area is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States.
Georgia Historical Society 501 Whitaker St., (912) 651-2125 Contact: Brandy Mai Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining and teacher Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation. Chartered by the Georgia General Assembly in 1839, it is the oldest continuously operated historical society in the South. It publishes the award-winning Georgia Historical Quarterly, maintains a library and archives, manages the Historical Marker Program for the State of Georgia and is headquartered in Savannah with an office in Atlanta/ It has 6,000 members and nearly 200 affiliates in 80 counties. $5/daily fee for non-members. www.GeorgiaHistory.com
Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home 207 E. Charlton St., (912) 233-6014
Toby C. Aldrich, Resident Manager. Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) was the 3-time winner of the O.Henry Award and posthumous winner of the National Book Award for Fiction for ‘The Complete Stories’. Director John Huston made two movies from her acclaimed novels ‘Wise Blood’ and ‘The Violent Bear It Away’. Visitors to her childhood home are invited into the authentic museum house that is restored to the Depression-era…receiving a guided tour that reveals the quiet domestic life of young Mary Flannery and her family. When author Pat Conroy attended the home’s ’20 Finalists for National Book Awards’, he stated “I consider Mary Flannery O’Connor the greatest short story writer in the history of our republic’ and ‘her home is one of the temples of world literature’. The museum house is dedicated to the work and life of the acclaimed novelist and short story writer now widely considered one fo the most important writers of the 20th century. www.flanneryoconnorhome.org
Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace #10 E. Oglethorpe Ave., (912) 233-4501
Fran Harold, Director. Katherine Keena, Program Manager. Dreams really do come true at the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace. This architectural and cultural treasure opens the doors to her remarkable family and their recognized achievements in industry, government, the military and humanitarian organizations. In 1912 when Juliette Low placed a phone call to announce “Come Right Over! I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah and all American AND all the world AND we’re going to start it tonight!”, she launched the Girl Scouts which is celebrating their 100th Anniversary in 2012. The magnificent home graciously welcomes you into her privileged and educated world of art and furnishings where she and her family hosted international statesmen and celebrities. Director Fran Harold states “Just as Juliette Low said it in 1925….”Truly ours is a circle of friendships united by ideals”. www.juliettegordonlowbirthplace.org
Old Savannah Tours #41 Wahlstrom Rd., (912) 234-8128
Renae Scott, Director of Marketing. Old Savannah Tours is the only locally owned and operated Trolley Tour company in Savannah, providing captivating ‘overview’ and on-off tours for 30 years. Their easy to identify white vehicles, trolleys and vans transport guests through more than two and a half centuries of history…riding along cobblestone paved streets, beneath moss-draped oaks and enchanting those aboard with fabulous narration about the ‘Old South’. Old Savannah Tours provides a comprehensive look at Savannah’s fascinating past, stately mansions, historic and beautiful squares, romantic riverfront and hundreds of tidbits from the famed ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, “Forrest Gump” and the original “Paula Deen Tour”. They are professionally organized to arrange tours that might include historic haunts, Pirates’ House and ‘Land and Sea Tours’. www.OldSavannahTours.com
Sellers & Higgins Walking Tour Company, (912) 358-0700
Philip Sellers and Tony Higgins offer much more than a typical walking tour. They paint a true picture the City’s colorful people and rich heritage sprinkled with a little spice and humor. If you’re crazy about being entertained by two standup philosophers delivering a quality tour of uncommon value, you’ll be glad to know that the ‘stars’ of their tours are the stories about Savannah…not the guides. Philip Sellers is a captivating storyteller and writer. Tony Higgins hails from Great Britain with an uncanny knowledge of Colonial Georgia History. Their tours begin daily on Chippewa Square; a complimentary shuttle is available from various city locations. Immerse yourself in: ‘Savannah Women’, ‘The Classic Tour’ or ‘The Backstory Tour’. Pair Philip and Tony together for a lively repartee that will endear you to Savannah forever. www.SellersandHiggins.com
Shannon Scott Tours ~ 1215 E. 48 St., (912) 604-4423
Savannah’s very own Master of Macabre, Shannon Scott has amassed, more than anyone to date, the most complete set of cemetery, ghost, occult and uncanny tales for 20+ years. He is the ultimate insider to the city’s more Gothic quarters. He personally conducts day and evening tours of famed Bonaventure Cemetery, along with his latest adventure into the unknown…”The Lucky Thirteen”. For videos, photos, tour descriptions and fun see www.ShannonScott.com.