Everyone told me that I would love Savannah. When I said that I had never been to the city with the numerous squares, Spanish Moss, and elaborate haunted history, I was met with shocked exclamations and insistences that I would love it, that Savannah was great, that I had to go, that it was my kind of place. They weren’t wrong.
I stayed with a friend who has just moved to Savannah and lives 20 minutes from Historic Downtown. When I arrived we toasted Champaign to her new apartment and our duel Georgia Peach status, then she and her friends introduced me to Savannah nightlife, from chocolate bar martinis at Jen’s & Friends to mojitos at Top Deck and line dancing at Saddle Bags.
In the morning we managed to get up for brunch at B Matthew’s Eatery.
B Matthews is a beautiful vintage space with exposed-brick walls. It’s a popular restaurant in the heart of Historic Downtown, but it wasn’t crowded when we arrived for brunch. Their menu is fresh, seasonal, and local and their mimosas come by the pitcher if you please.
Then we were off to explore some of the squares of Downtown Savannah.
Savannah once had 24 squares but it has since lost two to city development, so now there are 22 squares in which to enjoy the greenery, the occasional statue, and lots of Spanish Moss. Chippewa Square is probably the most famous square since it’s right in the center of all the downtown action and is where Forrest Gump mulled over life and boxes of chocolates. And if you find yourself in a square that’s not dripping with Spanish Moss, watch out for ghosts – legend has it that Spanish Moss will not grow anywhere that innocent blood has been spilled, and there may be some forlorn spirits still lurking there.
During our wandering, we stopped in at Chocolat by Adam Turoni, an adorable chocolate shop that is decorated to look like a small library and that offers signature chocolate creations. Their selection changes, but my favorite was the chocolate with 24 karat gold dust on top. Nothing makes you feel fancier than eating gold.
Our next stop was Wormsloe Historic Site.
Wormsloe Plantation was a large estate established by one of Georgia’s founders, Noble Jones. The 1.5 mile oak-lined drive takes you up to the historic site’s museum and hiking trails. The trails lead through the forest to the ruins of Jones’ fortified house maid of tabby, the oldest standing structure in Savannah. The descendants of Noble Jones continue to live on the surrounding property in the Wormsloe House set back from the drive.
We ended the day with a ghost tour, chauffeured in a retired hearse.
The hearses used for Savannah’s Hearse Ghost Tours are real hearses that had been in use at funeral parlors for 15 years. They’re open-topped and you sit in seats that bounce and swivel, so it’s especially great for when you don’t want to take a walking tour. Besides, how many live people do you know that have ridden in the back of a hearse? You cover plenty of ground, just hope you don’t get put 6 feet under. You get plenty of history, dark stories, and a trip past gorgeous old houses of the Historic and Victorian districts. Our tour guide kept us laughing and pulled out a few jump scares to make sure we were taking things dead seriously. Reservations are necessary and can be made by phone only. The hearse will pick you up right in front of your hotel, like all good hearses should.
Have you experienced Savannah? Tell me all about it in the comments!