- 1 / 14
Let’s start big picture here? Made famous by John Berendt’s 1994 book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Bonaventure Cemetery is one of the loveliest places in Savannah, and a walk through its 100-plus acres is one of the best things you can do here. Bonaventure was established as a private cemetery in 1846, on the site of an old plantation, before the city purchased it in 1907. Now tree-lined avenues hanging with Spanish moss lead to the graves of some of the city’s notable residents, including the songwriter Johnny Mercer and the poet Conrad Aiken. But the space is as much garden as graveyard; camellias bloom in December and January, followed by pink and purple azaleas in early spring, and then creamy white magnolia later in the season. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, Bonaventure was originally the site of the famous Bird Girl statue on the cover of Berendt’s book. That’s since been moved to the Telfair Academy, but there remains plenty of statuary, plus ornate, centuries-old gravestones, to feast your eyes on.
Any standout features or must-sees? From the entrance, follow either Bonaventure Way or Mulryne Way straight into the heart of the cemetery. You’ll eventually end at the river, but keep your eyes open along the way for signs pointing toward the graves of Mercer, Aiken, early Georgia settlers Noble Jones and Edward Telfair, and the Lawton family, an old Savannah lineage whose riverside plot is hard to miss—just look for the huge marble Jesus. Finding each of these individual graves is less important than the act of wandering through the fanciest, most eye-popping section of the cemetery. Also notable: the large Jewish section along Sheftall Way, which contains a stirring Holocaust memorial.
Was it easy to get around? Open from 8 AM to 5 PM daily, Bonaventure is easy to navigate on foot—the entrance is in one direction, the river in another—with or without the maps available in the visitors’ center. The Bonaventure Historical Society gives free guided tours on the second weekend of the month; at other times, you can engage a third-party company like Bonaventure Cemetery Tours, which offers twice-daily walking tours.
Any other tips? Bonaventure is a 15-minute drive from downtown, and if you love walking, natural beauty, and old stuff, there’s really no better place to come. But if you’re here on a short visit, without a car, or simply don’t want to leave the historic district, fear not: Colonial Park Cemetery, at the corner of Oglethorpe and Abercorn, is a gorgeous alternative. Established around 1750, it also predates Bonaventure by about a century.
- 2 / 14
Footprints of Savannah Walking Tour
What’s the big picture here? Footprints of Savannah is a one-woman show, its star, a poet, teacher, museum interpreter, and former broadcast journalist. The aptly named Vaughnette Goode-Walker has, for more than a decade, been offering this historical walking tour of downtown Savannah. On her website, Goode-Walker bills this as a “tribute to the ancestors, all of them, who make this story possible to tell and remember,” and in a matter of blocks she paints a vivid picture of what antebellum Savannah was like for the people enslaved in its mansions or sold in its markets. Tours take place daily at 10 AM, and they’re an intimate, homespun affair: Give Goode-Walker a call a couple days beforehand and she’ll schedule you in. With storytelling at its center, the tour comes with few bells and whistles; it’s simply a two-hour, unhurried stroll through Savannah’s old lanes and squares, led by an expert historian. There is, however, chocolate, which Goode-Walker offers to tourees at the beginning—fuel for the journey.
Tell us about your fellow tourees. On a recent tour, Footprints of Savannah had only two other people on it (a young couple from Massachusetts). Though the numbers undoubtedly swell during warmer weather, Goode-Walker is easily able to command attention and facilitate a good discussion. That said, Savannah’s sidewalks are, in general, not the greatest in the world: The state of things is perhaps best encapsulated by the stairs leading down to the river, which bear the sign "HISTORIC STEPS: USE AT YOUR OWN RISK." Our tour didn’t go as far as the river, but you might still encounter a bumpy stone path or two. Goode-Walker provides regular stops at benches along the way, including in mossy, gorgeous Johnson Square, which used to border a pen where enslaved people were held as they awaited sale. Savannah was the site of one of the largest slave sales in American history; an 1859 auction known today as the "Weeping Time" involved the sale of more than 400 slaves from a plantation on Georgia’s coast. That’s the kind of history most tourists to Savannah will miss, and Goode-Walker provides a vital public service by telling it.
We've heard a bit about her, but how is Vaughnette as a guide? Goode-Walker has stories for days, but part of what made this experience unique was the back-and-forth nature of it: She stressed that she didn’t like to be on “automatic,” and encouraged questions, dialogue, and feedback. Sharp-witted and funny, she had an answer for everything.
Anything you’ll be remembering weeks or months or years from now? It’s remarkable how much history can be drawn out of old bricks and cobblestone, but that’s what Goode-Walker achieves here. She finds stories not just of slavery but of the resistance and resilience it engendered. Take, for instance, the woman Goode-Walker considers a “she-ro”: Susie King Taylor, born into slavery in the Savannah area in 1848. Taylor learned to read and write as a girl—secretly, because it was illegal to teach literacy to black children. As the Union Army approached during the Civil War, she fled to freedom behind its lines. She stayed with the army for the next few years, serving as a nurse and a teacher to liberated black children. Later in life, Taylor published a memoir of her experience during the Civil War—the only black woman to do so.
So: What is this tour best for? There are scores of options for touring Savannah: bus tours, ghost tours, drunken-pedal-pub tours. Footprints of Savannah is undoubtedly one of the quietest, most intimate options. It's also one of the most honest about the city's history.
- 3 / 14
SCAD Museum of Art
What’s this place all about? The United States’ oldest surviving railroad depot is the setting for one of Savannah’s newest art museums: the SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Museum of Art, which wrapped its major expansion in 2011. You might think that trying to put a modern spin on an 1853 antebellum building could go quite badly, but the end result is quite a lovely thrill to behold. The long, low building features restored Savannah gray brick, a towering glass atrium, and some glassy exterior touches; somehow, though, it all works. There’s a lot going on inside, too, with galleries on the first floor displaying a rotating, thoughtful collection of contemporary art; the second floor is mostly academic space.
What will we see here? The art here is always rotating, though curators are able to draw from a deep well of the museum’s permanent collection, which emphasizes African American art, 19th- and 20th-century photography, and more. There is, in fact, one permanent piece here that you should seek out: a bronze medallion, embedded in the lobby floor, that honors Ellen and William Craft. The Crafts, held in slavery in antebellum Macon, Georgia, devised an ingenious plan of escape: Light-skinned Ellen posed as a white slave owner; William, her property. Together they passed through this very building—arriving by train from Macon, then boarding a steamship to Charleston. Continuing north, they made it safely across the Mason-Dixon Line.
What other kinds of exhibits rotate through? The exhibits are curious and thought-provoking; for instance, animations of “unsettling stories of human nature” by the Hong Kong artist Wong Ping, beaded sculpture by Raúl de Nieves, and work by the Icelandic artist Shoplifter, who uses hair—both human and synthetic—as her medium. Bigger names over the past decade have included Kehinde Wiley, Nick Cave, and Ebony G. Patterson.
What did you make of the crowd? Students going this way and that—there are SCAD classrooms on the second floor, and you might see kids studying in the courtyard—but don’t expect huge crowds. There’s room for all.
Gift shop and café: obligatory, inspiring—or skip? Shopping and dining converge at Tad, a small cafe just off the lobby. There are better places to eat in Savannah, but if you’re dying for a quick bite you can avail yourself of a pretty decent sandwich or grain bowl. The place to really check out is shopSCAD, on Bull Street; the gallery displays eye-popping student creations, from candles and jewelry to prints.
How much time do we need here? It'd be hard to spend more than 90 minutes without taking lengthy breaks in the courtyard. The museum is also pretty centrally located in Savannah, so if you're strolling about the historic district, you could easily incorporate it into your route.
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- 4 / 14
The Book Lady Bookstore
Let’s start with scale. How big is this shop? The Book Lady is one of those jumbled, quaint, old bookstores that you see sometimes in movies but not as often in real life. A couple steps down from the Liberty Street sidewalk, the shop sells a mix of new and used titles and rare editions, with a fabulous selection of books of local and regional interest.
What can we find here, or what should we look for? You'll find big-name books (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and various other works in the spooky-Savannah genre) as well as terrific books on Southern history, cooking, and culture. Anyone with a passing interest in the South should check out the section of titles on Georgia and the South, which is to the left after you enter the store.
If money’s no object, what goes in the cart? Don’t miss the rare-books room, where you might come across a first edition of The Great Gatsby, or a 17th-century memoir of the Revolutionary War, or the section of art and architecture books.
And … what if we’re on a budget? The back room is where you'll find used paperback fiction, organized alphabetically. This is nothing more or less than a highly idiosyncratic selection of fiction by authors of all fame levels. You should easily be able to find something for just a few bucks.
Who else shops here? Because of its downtown location and high visibility, the Book Lady tends to attract tourists making their rounds of Savannah—generally in a trickle, not a flood. But, as one of two superlative downtown bookstores—the other is E. Shaver, just a block away—it also tends to attract authors making their rounds in the South. The Book Lady has hosted readings and signings featuring the likes of Neil Gaiman, Isabel Wilkerson, Charles Frazier, and Edwidge Danticat, and its proprietors keep up a brisk schedule of book clubs, local-author events, and lectures, both in-store and off-site. Check ahead to see where anything catches your eye.
- 5 / 14
Moon River Kayak Tours
What’s the big picture here? About a third of all salt marshes left on the Atlantic coast are located in Georgia, which instituted robust protections for these vital ecosystems in the 1970s: Salt marshes buffer hurricanes, reduce flooding, and nurture species that will grow up to become—well—seafood. These waving seas of grass, along with the tidal creeks that feed them, dominate the landscape between Savannah and the coast, a stunning scene to take in if you’re driving across a causeway but even lovelier at eye level; say, from a kayak. Weather permitting, Moon River Kayak Tours offers daily launches from Rodney J. Hall Boat Ramp, a peaceful site about 20 minutes out of town that’s better known to locals as Butterbean Beach. Plying the Moon River and Skidaway Narrows, the tours are exceptionally well-situated, with a state park in one direction and a historic preserve in the other. They provide kayaks, paddles, life jackets, and someone to show you where to go; you bring the binoculars. Dolphins are common out here, as are bald eagles.
Where exactly do you go? This would be a fun option for the whole family. The specific route depends slightly on what the tides are doing, but if conditions are favorable the guides take requests: Head in one direction to get a glimpse of gorgeous Skidaway Island State Park from the water, and head the other way for the chance to step out onto Pigeon Island, an undeveloped island where bald eagles like to nest. If you prefer a more intimate adventure and feel confident showing yourself around, Moon River also provides kayaks for rent—no guide included.
How are the guides? The business has been operated by Mike Neal and Cathy Ey since they founded it in 1995. The pair also operate Bull River Cruises, an alternate option if you prefer to sit on a boat and let somebody else do the steering. Operating from nearby Wilmington Island, Bull River takes passengers on a variety of eco and historical tours concerning the Georgia coast, with visits to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and Daufuskie Island.
Anything you’ll be remembering weeks or months or years from now? Despite those marsh protections, you’ll notice that most patches of dry land out in these parts have a house on them, and probably a dock out front too: The housing developments on the islands east of town are sort of Savannah’s answers to suburbs. It’s a vanishingly rare treat, then, to step out of your kayak and walk around pristine Pigeon Island, with its sandy soil, tall pines, low palmettos, and deep solitude.
So: Who is this best for? This is a natural fit for outdoors types, as well as anyone who's been doing the rounds of Savannah restaurants and feels the need for a little fresh air and exercise.
- 6 / 14
Pin Point Heritage Museum
What’s this place all about? Pin Point Heritage Museum tells the remarkable story of its community: a small African American fishing village called Pin Point, established in the 1890s by people who had been enslaved on the nearby Sea Islands. The southeast coast from North Carolina to northern Florida is known as the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, referring to the descendants of enslaved people who’ve farmed and fished here for centuries, and whose language, food, and culture reflect the continued influence of West African traditions. Such influence continued through the 20th century at Pin Point, as residents wove sweetgrass baskets and harvested oysters, shrimp, and crabs from the fertile tidal marshes. Comprising four restored buildings, this small museum is located in the former A.S. Varn & Son Oyster and Crab Factory and affords breathtaking views of the salt marshes along the snaking Moon River. About 300 people still live in the community, which hosts a big seafood festival every fall. Another interesting fact: Pin Point is the birthplace of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
What will we see here? Freshly restored in 2011, the old factory buildings tell the story of the community from its beginnings to its near death in the 1980s, when the A.S. Varn company—the main source of local employment—shut down. Begin in the Picking & Cooling House (where women working for Varn used to pick up to 1,500 pounds of blue crab daily) with a viewing of the gorgeous, evocative short documentary “Take Me to the Water: The Story of Pin Point,” then wander through the other buildings to continue the story, as told by plaques, artifacts, and artworks. The Oyster Factory, for instance, touches upon oyster harvesting and shelling; the Crab Boiling Pavilion goes deep on the life cycle of the blue crab—a staple food out here—and the Deviled Crab House explores African-influenced cultural traditions, including the Gullah language.
Exhibits, all of which are permanent, are elegantly presented and not overcrowded, and walking outside between buildings to get from one to another gives you a real sense of the factory's footprint. And the marsh itself couldn’t be more beautiful.
What did you make of the crowd? About a 20-minute drive from downtown Savannah, the museum is far enough out that it doesn’t draw big crowds. In fact, it feels somewhat tucked away. You’ll come down a short, tree-lined driveway and park in a small lot. The quietness and relative remoteness suits it—all the better for hearing the breezes over the marsh.
Any guided tours worth trying? You should just talk to the employees. They tend to be local residents of the Pin Point community, so they’re uniquely equipped to answer any questions about their history or culture.
Gift shop: obligatory, inspiring—or skip it? The gift shop offers options you truly cannot get anywhere else: books on the history and culture of the Gullah-Geechee people, artwork by local artists, and braided sweetgrass baskets by local craftspeople. It’s small, but it's a vital part of the museum experience.
Any other tips? It shouldn't take you more than an hour to get through the whole museum, introductory video included. If you're looking for other things to do while you're out this way, go back out onto Diamond Causeway and continue across the Moon River to Skidaway Island. The state park there offers miles of beautiful hiking trails; if you've started to fall in love with the salt marsh at Pin Point, here's where you can deepen your affection.
- 7 / 14
Two Tides Brewing Co.
Give us an overview. Funky local favorite Two Tides Brewing Co. is on the second floor of a 100-year-old house, a fact not easily forgotten once you’ve climbed the outdoor stairs and entered the space. Take your pick of rooms; sit out front in the light, cheerful taproom, or enjoy the view of 41st Street from the balcony. Anchored by a few stalwarts, the beer menu changes constantly with seasonal or specialty offerings—depending on the fancy of brewer James Massey, who owns the business with his wife, Liz. Two Tides is a low-key place to just sit and hang around, but those seeking more stimulation may find it in the pinball machines or board games; plus, the bar’s dog-friendly, so there’s often a pup or two around for petting. The walls of the taproom feature rotating pieces by local artists and a bold mural by Savannah College of Art and Design grad Alexandria Hall.
How’s the crowd? Open since 2018, Two Tides is south of Forsyth Park in the Starland District, and its distance from the historic downtown means that it’s not nearly as heavily trafficked by tourists. There’s none of the drunken revelry here that you might run into elsewhere: the vibe is less “vacationers doing shots” and more “groups of friends getting together to catch up” or stopping for one of the taproom’s recurring events. Every Tuesday from 5 to 10 PM you can get pizza delivered from nearby Pizzeria Vittoria, and the brewery hosts Vinyl Night every second Wednesday of the month. It’s also a great place to grab a drink on the way to a show at nearby venue Victory North, which, since opening in 2019, has hosted the likes of Big Freedia, Hari Kondabolu, and Mac Powell and the Family Reunion.
How are the drinks? Two Tides specializes in “haze and funk,” though its beers run the gamut and the menu changes constantly. Flights and five-ounce pours are available if you’d like to try a few, starting, perhaps, with a Chromatose—a vibrant blackberry sour ale—and moving onto something more substantial, like the Never Ending Daymare, a chocolatey imperial stout. The flagship pour is the 6.3-percent-ABV Sixfoot, a tropical-accented IPA. If you don't like beer, there aren't really other options, but if you do, there's more than enough here to hold your attention for a while.
Do they have anything to eat? The only everyday food options are light snacks—chips, pretzels, nuts—but you’re welcome to bring food in from elsewhere. Grab wings from 520 Wings or barbecue from Tricks Barbecue, both just around the corner on Bull Street. Two Tides does, however, have weekly pizza nights as well as regular food truck block parties out front.
Did the staff do you right? The menu posted above the bar can be a bit terse and inscrutable—what, for instance, is the difference between this double dry-hopped IPA and that one?—but the bartenders are happy to explain the ins and outs and offer suggestions based on your preferences. There are only a few seats at the actual bar; most folks just line up to order here and sit at a table.
Wrap it up: what are we coming here for? For all its reputed nighttime revelry, Savannah comes up comparatively short when it comes to chill neighborhood bars where it’s possible to sit, escape the crush, and grab a drink with friends. Two Tides fills that gap.
- 8 / 14
Alex Raskin Antiques
Set the scene for us. Even by the packed standards of Savannah’s historic district, there’s a lot going on around the edges of Monterey Square: a historic synagogue, an excellent map and prints shop, the site of the murder that inspired Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and Alex Raskin Antiques. The shop registers to the eye less as any kind of commercial establishment, and more as an ancient relic that nobody has ventured into in decades. Don’t believe your eyes, though: This four-story Italianate building, which looms over Monterey Square and has been referred to as the “last unrestored grand mansion of Savannah,” is packed to the gills with treasures. And also, usually, tourists.
What can we find here, or what should we look for? Just about everything: several centuries’ worth of chairs, lamps, portraiture and landscape art, folk art, clocks, chandeliers, carvings, dressers, tables, and more, all in a cramped space hemmed in by walls and ceilings that are, if not quite crumbling, at least wearing away at the edges. You can get a preview of some of the selection at Raskin’s website—or via the store’s excellent Instagram account, where the eponymous owner sometimes asks for help identifying the provenance of certain pieces—but there’s really no substitute for gingerly shuffling your way through the space in person.
If money’s no object, what goes in the cart? Take your pick: A cast-iron statue of Eros? A circa-1780 poplar-and-white-pine chest of drawers? An 1860 Renaissance Revival carved walnut stool? If money’s no object, the objects available are almost countless.
And … what if we’re on a budget? The cheapest way to enjoy your visit here is simply to be here—no purchase is required—and enjoy the feeling of stepping back in time. But in addition to the showstoppers, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, there are plenty of books, prints, and assorted bric-a-brac.
Who else shops here? Alex Raskin is definitely on the tourist circuit, so expect to bump elbows with a lot of fellow curiosity-seekers—this probably isn’t the spot for anyone put off by crowds or cramped spaces.
Any secret tips? If you make it to the upper floors, don’t forget to check out the views of the century-old Armstrong Mansion, next door, and Forsyth Park just beyond it. You're in for a rare perspective on one of the most beautiful sights in Savannah.
- 9 / 14
Leopold's Ice Cream
What were your first impressions when you arrived? If it’s warm out—and it usually is—the first thing you’ll notice about Leopold’s is the line, which snakes out the front door and usually halfway down the block. You’ll also notice neon, which emanates both from the beautiful Leopold’s sign itself and from the marquee of the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Trustees Theater next door. Some old-fashioned ice cream parlors get by on good looks and perfectly mediocre ice cream, but not this Savannah institution. It's got good looks, sure, but also truly excellent ice cream. Leopold’s turned 100 years old in 2019, and tourists have been coming here for almost that long—and they’re not likely to stop anytime soon.
What’s the crowd like? The clientele here reflects the tourist scene in Savannah: They’re from all over the world and they're generally cheerful about the fact that they’re here. Thankfully, the line moves fast.
What should we be drinking? You don't come to an ice cream parlor for drinks, unless you’re talking about milkshakes or ice cream sodas.
Main event: the food. Give us the lowdown—especially what not to miss. There are savory retro café favorites, but stick to the famously rich ice cream, which comes in flavors like Savannah Socialite (chocolate with pecan and bourbon caramel), lemon custard, coconut, banana, and on and on. The menu comprises all the usual options, plus some brilliant gourmet touches. Tutti frutti—rum ice cream with Georgia pecans and candied fruit—was the songwriter Johnny Mercer’s favorite flavor when he was a boy growing up in Savannah; he’d have gone to the original Leopold’s, at the corner of Gwinnett and Habersham. Having been around so long, the parlor reflects its hometown in other ways, too; for instance, seasonal Thin Mints & Cream nods to the Girl Scouts of the USA, which was founded in Savannah in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low. Other rotating seasonal offerings include lavender, peach, and rose petal cream; sorbets and vegan options are also available.
And how was the staff? In the grand tradition of ice cream parlors everywhere, the team here wears paper caps and skews very young—even teenage, perhaps. They’re good-natured, industrious, and happy to provide samples, but—for god’s sake—don’t forget about the dozens of people waiting behind you.
- 10 / 14
Graveface Records & Curiosities
Give us an overview of this shop. There are a lot of new businesses in the Starland District, a stretch of Bull Street south of Forsyth Park that developers have been busily gentrifying in recent years. But one mainstay is Graveface Records & Curiosities, which owner Ryan Graveface opened in 2012. An outgrowth of the eponymous record label that Graveface started in the Midwest in 2000, the Starland store is a kind of cultural touchstone for another slice of life in Savannah—a younger counterculture that finds the tourist-clogged historic district less appealing. The space is long and pleasingly cluttered with crates of records and assorted curios; the taxidermied heads of a couple big ungulates hang high on the wall.
What can we find here, or what should we look for? There’s records, obviously—vinyl representing all genres, from classic country to punk to blues, from Hüsker Dü to Lightnin’ Hopkins to Sleater-Kinney, as well as boxes and boxes of used records. But then there’s treasure trove of, well, everything else, including the aforementioned taxidermy (smaller pieces are available if you don’t want to take home a whole moose head), cocktail bitters, socks that say "HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE," a vintage Ronald McDonald doll, and a number of volumes from Time-Life’s “Mysteries of the Unknown” series, published in the late 1980s and early 1990s. There are also cassettes, CDs, books, ghost paraphernalia, and two arcade games for anyone to play: Mortal Kombat and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
If money’s no object, what goes in the cart? Unless you plan on walking out with a full crate of records, it's hard to spend big here. Turntables ($100 to $250) are among the only splurge items.
And … what if we’re on a budget? Don't miss the used records in the back-right corner, where you’ll find scores of options under 10 bucks.
Who else shops here? SCAD kids, punks, record nerds, the odd Starland pedestrian. People quietly and unobtrusively rifle through the stacks.
Any other tips? Grab a Graveface T-shirt, it's a macabre memento of your time in Savannah. The shop also hosts shows—check out the schedule online.
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- 11 / 14
Wormsloe State Historic Site
Let’s start big picture here. The first thing you see upon passing through the arched entrance of this Colonial-era estate is pure wedding-photo fodder, and probably the most Instagrammed image in Savannah: a 1.5-mile-long dirt allée lined by 400-some live oak trees, their gnarly branches hanging with Spanish moss. It’s pure Savannah. Still, it’s popular for a reason, and even pics can’t do justice to the spooky, majestic beauty of this old road. There’s a lot more to Wormsloe, though, including the oldest standing structure in Georgia—the tabby ruins of the estate of Noble Jones, one of the colony’s early English settlers, who started laying this property out in the 1730s—and miles of beautiful hiking trails that wend their way through maritime forest and salt marsh. That's the beauty of it: Everyone clamors for photos under the oaks, so you may find yourself hiking in solitude.
Any standout features? The oak allée is the must-see—it’s on the short list of must-see sights in Savannah, period—but you’ll get a spectacular view of the marsh if you continue past it, and past the ruins of the old Jones estate. There’s not a whole lot of the original building left, but the construction material is historically significant: tabby concrete made from lime, ash, water, and oyster shells, was popular on the southeast coast from the 16th through the 19th centuries. Kids may get a kick out of the Colonial Life Arena, just a short walk from the tabby ruins, where they might run into reenactors in 18th-century period dress.
How are the grounds as far as getting around? Wormsloe’s roads and paths are mostly unpaved, but they’re flat and well-maintained, and the estate is easy enough to get around. A map comes with admission, signage is clear and helpful, and the oak allée is drivable. There are benches and plenty of good spots to picnic. Short walking tours leave four times a day from a small museum near the parking area, which also provides an intro to the rich history of the estate. Leashed dogs are allowed, except inside the buildings.
All said and done, what is this best for? Depending on your interest in history and/or hiking, Wormsloe doesn't need to be a huge time commitment; many folks come out, get their snaps of the oak avenue, and move on to the next thing. The site is about a 15-minute drive from downtown Savannah; you might combine it with a trip to Skidaway Island State Park or the Pin Point Heritage Museum. Another idea: a picnic. If you’re coming from downtown, pick up sandwiches at the Grey Market, or stop on the way for some of Savannah’s best barbecue at Sandfly Barbecue, just a stone’s throw from the Wormsloe gates.
- 12 / 14
Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters
What’s this place all about? Savannah has a number of grand old mansions representing a variety of architectural traditions, all facing one or another of the city’s beautiful squares, and all formerly owned by families of the wealthy planter elite. The Owens-Thomas is all of those things, yes. But it’s more: Recently Telfair Museums, which owns and operates the building, reimagined its programming to emphasize the stories of the people enslaved at this house during its heyday, when it was home to the family of former Savannah mayor George Welshman Owens.
What will we see here? After leaving the slave quarters, tours wend through the walled garden in the backyard, then into the imposing, impressive structure itself—constructed in the Regency style with symmetrical features, including a curving double staircase that rises to the front porch. Indoors, the space is stocked with period pieces, Corinthian columns in the front hall, and a bridge that connects the front and rear parts of the second floor. The tour passes through bedrooms, dining rooms, and common spaces before ending in the basement, where new exhibits emphasize the tremendous amounts of forced labor that went into making this place look the way it does, and run on a day-to-day basis.
There are no seasonal or special exhibits. The mansion is judiciously appointed, and the tour proceeds briskly through it—a good thing or not, depending on your perspective; there’s not a lot of time to linger, and still less time for solo contemplation.
What did you make of the crowd? Owens-Thomas is on the regular Savannah tourist circuit, so expect to encounter folks from all over the world. It can feel like a squeeze to get through some of the mansion’s tighter passageways, but the steady directions of the guides ensure that things flow as smoothly as they can.
On the practical tip, how were the facilities? The space is tight, and there are few places to sit along the way. Packed with antiques, this isn’t the kind of place where you can sit in any old chair.
Any guided tours worth trying? Visitors must all take a guided tour, which is included with the $20 admission; docents are fluent and knowledgeable in the house’s history and collection. Tickets also grant weeklong access to other Telfair sites around town, including the Jepson Center (a contemporary art museum) and the Telfair Academy, another 19th-century building (designed, like the Owens-Thomas House, by William Jay) that now houses the "Bird Girl" sculpture made famous by the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Gift shop: obligatory, inspiring—or skip it? This is an exit-through-the-gift-shop place; still, you'll find a nice selection of books about Savannah, local architecture, and Southern history, along with the usual assortment of knick-knacks.
Can we still do the museum if we're tight on time? Absolutely: the tour is 45 minutes long, and because there's somebody talking the whole time, it tends to really capture your attention. If you do have time though, the backyard garden is a nice place to sit and collect your thoughts afterwards—you're encouraged to linger.
- 13 / 14
Let’s start big picture here. Savannah’s (smaller) answer to Central Park, Forsyth Park marks the boundary between the downtown historic district and the rest of the city; in other words, it’s where tourists and locals converge. If you’re walking down Bull Street, simply continue onto the sidewalk that runs north to south through Forsyth, a wide avenue lined by live oak trees. On the north side of the park, the elegant Forsyth fountain is more than 150 years old, and the image you’re most apt to see on a brochure boasting of Savannah’s beauty; on the south side, the Forsyth Farmers’ Market takes over every Saturday, year round, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There’s a playground for kids, a bandshell that’s home to the Savannah Jazz Festival, and a shaded sidewalk around the park’s perimeter that’s popular with runners and dog-walkers.
Any standout features or must-sees? Spanning just 30 acres, the park is easy to get through on a single stroll. The southern end is recreational, with basketball and tennis courts. The northern end, closest to the historic district has a Confederate monument in the middle; in recent years, the Savannah City Council has weighed options regarding its fate, including possible removal. The tree-shaded north end is also the loveliest place to have a picnic, or just loll around for a while. Look up into the trees for a glimpse of a pair of red-tailed hawks that hang out on the low branches; look east across Drayton Street to see the Candler Oak, a massive tree thought to be roughly 300 years old.
Was it easy to get around? Unlike some of Savannah’s older sidewalks, the paths in Forsyth Park are smooth and well-maintained, and benches are everywhere. The park is well-lighted and gorgeous—particularly the fountain—at night. Biking is another popular way to get around, but watch for signs near the fountain ordering riders to dismount.
- 14 / 14
Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home
What’s this place all about? Savannah’s favorite daughter, the great American writer Flannery O’Connor, was born in Savannah in 1925, and spent her childhood in a charming row house facing Lafayette Square. Though O’Connor didn’t write her famed short story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” here, nor did she complete her classic novel "Wise Blood," her early years were not without significant accomplishment. Famously, young Mary Flannery taught a chicken to walk backwards in the walled backyard of this building. The eccentric spirit of O’Connor and her work infuses the museum today, which is just about as weird as you’d expect. It's also as fun as a restored Depression-era writer’s home could possibly be. The O’Connor quote that figures prominently on its website—as well as some merch sold inside—sums it up: “Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.”
What will we see here? Built in 1856, the multilevel Greek Revival home is filled with artifacts from O’Connor’s life as well as period decor, including refurbished chandeliers in the parlor and original heart-pine flooring. You’ll see O’Connor’s crib, some drawings she made in college, and a room of rare books; a rear kitchen overlooks the beautiful backyard garden, and front windows afford a view of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, where O’Connor attended church.
There aren’t rotating exhibits, but the museum does keep up a robust schedule of activities: a regular free lecture series, an annual holiday reading of Truman Capote’s short story “A Christmas Memory,” and—best of all—a celebration of O’Connor’s birthday, which features a parade and street fair out front in Lafayette Square. If you’re here in late March, don't miss it; a pure expression of the old weird Savannah, the event includes a raucous marching band, a peacock-decorated birthday cake, folks in costume, and a game of chickenshit bingo. What’s chickenshit bingo? You’ll have to come to find out.
What did you make of the crowd? This isn’t a crowded museum. On the other hand, it can’t be: There’s not enough room.
Any guided tours worth trying? You’ll learn the significance of each room and artifact on a 30-minute guided tour (included with the price of admission). The guides are charming, funny, and amiable—everything about this experience feels like a real labor of love, and it takes a special kind of person to really love O’Connor.
Gift shop: obligatory, inspiring—or skip it? The Flannery O’Connor Home Foundation—which runs this space—stocks a great gift shop, which is located in the parlor on the first floor. Peacock-labeled shot glass and beer koozie? Check. Colorful magnets with wry quotes like “There’s many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher”? Check. Cup O’Connor House Blend from the excellent local roastery PERC? That’s here, too, along with a good selection of books by and about the author herself.
What if we get hungry? Head just around the corner to Clary's Cafe, a charming (if heavily-trafficked) Southern diner where you can get your fill of biscuits and gravy.
How much time will we need? It only takes about a half-hour to see this museum. That said, don't bring anyone who doesn't like O'Connor.
They're all coming together under one theme: "Hope."
These brands will work with the organization and the Human Rights Campaign to put policies into practice to demonstrate their commitment to Black employees at all levels.
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It’s actually pretty easy.
A Georgia teen who lost both his parents to the coronavirus in a week is urging people to wear masks
Justin Hunter was asymptomatic, but his parents developed fevers, coughs, and headaches before dying of COVID-19.
The Los Angeles Police Department had responded to a party at a mansion on the same block earlier but did not shut it down, CBS Los Angeles said.
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