Much has been written about Savannah, the belle of the south, a battle ground during both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and Georgia's oldest city. With a rich and colorful history, largely in part due to its unique position as home to a variety of people from slaves to wealthy cotton growers, pirates to colonists, today Savannah's proud citizens celebrate its salubrious past by restoring its grand homes, conserving landmark buildings and honoring its dead with cemetery and ghost tours.
Summer in the great state of Georgia can be stiflingly hot, but soon the cooler evenings of the fall will descend upon Savannah, presenting the perfect opportunity to visit this appealing and romantic destination.
The lowest price airfares to Savannah come from Independence Air (www.flyi.com), which has midweek flights from Newark to Savannah (via Washington, D.C.) during the month of September from $84 each way. Air Tran Airways (www.airtran.com) also provides midweek flights to Savannah from New York (La Guardia) for the same low rate. From Boston, prices start at $91 one-way, $97 from Miami and $106 from Chicago. Best price for a non-stop flight between New York (Newark) and Savannah is with Continental Airlines (www.continental.com) where a round-trip airfare in September or October will cost you $188 midweek.
Through Travelocity (www.travelocity.com) round-trip fares from New York to Savannah, with one-stop, start at $173 plus taxes on a number of carriers including Northwest, United, US Airways or United. This price is valid for Tuesday or Wednesday departures only until October 5, 2005 with seven-day advance purchase required. Some restrictions and blackout dates apply.
Savannah is compact enough to allow for most of the historic areas to be visited on foot, so walking tours are a popular and interesting way to take in the city and its highlights. There are dozens of tour companies that can introduce you to the sights, sounds and spirits of the historic city. Savannah is famous for its classical architecture with a multitude of well preserved and restored 18th and 19th-century Regency, Federal and Italianate-style homes. 2006 will be the 71st year that the Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens (tel. 912/234-8054; www.savannahtourofhomes.org) will take place (March 23 to 26, 2006), allowing visitors to wander through restored homes in the city's historic districts. This is the one time of the year that private homes become open to the public. Each day a different neighborhood of the landmark district is featured and special events include seminars, trolley tours, luncheons and afternoon teas inside individual homes. Tickets for self-guided walking tours are $35 (twilight tours are $25) and special events begin at $15. Tickets go on sale on December 1, 2005 and it is recommended that you reserve early as there are only limited spaces available.
See Savannah Walking Tours (tel. 800/574-9255; www.seesavannah.com) provides a variety of tour options including the "Saunter in Savannah," an architectural discovery tour, "Pirates Walk," that details the swashbuckling past of Savannah's port area, the "Hauntings Tour," uncovering the mystical side of the city and "Homemade Thunder," a journey into Savannah's Civil War part. All tours cost $13 for adults and $5 for children aged five to 14 years. Tours run for approximately 90 minutes.
After the publication of John Berendt's best-selling novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil with its spooky portrayals of communing with the spirits from beyond, Savannah has played host to an increasing number of ghost, occult influenced and supernatural tours. Savannah's ghost tours show off the unique personality of this city, which combines traditional Southern hospitality and charm with a rough-and-tumultuous past. With over 30 ghostly tours to choose from, you are sure to have a close encounter of the ghoulish kind when you visit Savannah. Parapsychologist Shannon Scott's Sixth Sense Savannah Walking Tour (tel. 866/666-3323; www.sixthsensesavannah.com) begins at East Jones and Abercorn Streets and ends at the guide's own 1850 townhouse. Scott has superior knowledge not only of the city itself, but of the many ghosts, poltergeists and demons who still call Savannah home. Tour prices start at $15 for a 90 minute journey at 9 p.m. or $22 for two and a half hours starting at midnight.
Even if you have no interest in Berendt literary landmarks, it is worth making a visit to the historic and eerie Bonaventure Cemetery (tel. 912/651-6843), a prominent setting in the book. This 19th century graveyard shaded by massive oak trees contains the graves of many of Savannah's most illustrious and notable former residents and a multitude of gothic style ornate memorials and mausoleums. The entire city of Savannah is built on top of and around cemeteries, from the earliest slave graveyards to the more refined and majestic cemeteries so no doubt you will stumble across historic tombstones during your travels.
For those inclined to see the celluloid sites, try the Savannah Movies Tour (tel. 877/444-34567; www.savannahmovietours.com). Savannah was the setting for over 75 feature films and this tour takes you to the most famous locales and also past houses owned by various celebrities for $20 for adults and $10 for kids.
Even if you usually stay in large luxurious chain hotels, you really should go small when visiting Savannah and take advantage of the fact that some of the most architecturally beautiful and historic homes in the city have been converted into hotels and Bed and Breakfasts.
The Confederate House (tel. 800/975-7457; www.theconfederatehouse.com) is a small-scale, intimate hotel set in an historic 1854 Greek-revival style mansion overlooking Forsyth Park in central Savannah. Guestrooms start at $150 per night and they also offer numerous packages including the "Golf Package" priced at $510 per couple which features two-nights luxurious accommodation, breakfast daily, 18-holes of golf at Southbridge Golf Club and a $75 dinner voucher at a select Savannah restaurant. The "Romantic Getaway" is also priced at $510 and includes two-nights at The Confederate House, 15 red roses and a box of chocolates in your room, a $75 dinner voucher at a select Savannah restaurant and hot breakfast each morning.
The Marshall House (tel. 800/589-6304; www.marshallhouse.com) was built in 1851 and restored in 1999. The centrally located hotel features original pine flooring, claw-foot bathtubs and period furnishings. There are 68 rooms, some with veranda access, a bar and lounge area. Rooms are $139 to $229 for a suite, with continental breakfast. Get ready to be spooked! The Marshall House's "Scary Savannah Haunted Package" gives you a glimpse of the ghosts and goblins of the city. You'll enjoy two-night's accommodation at The Marshall House (which has a few ghosts of its own), deluxe continental breakfast each morning, tickets for two adults to one of Savannah's scariest Ghost Walk tours, a copy of Al Cobb's book, "Savannah Ghosts" and Savannah's Ghosts Haunted Map, highlighting 46 historic haunted properties in Savannah. Prices for this package are $310 for Sunday to Thursday nights and $340 for Friday and Saturday night stays.
Make the most of your private time together in Savannah with The Marshall House's "Romantic Escape Package". At $415 plus tax, this two-night package features chilled champagne and a romantic gift placed in your room on arrival, romantic turndown service with rose petals left on your bed, soft lights and romantic music in your room, deluxe continental breakfast for two each morning, a trolley tour of Savannah's Historic District, with pick-up directly from the lobby and a $50 dinner voucher at your choice of one of five elegant dining establishments, selected for their intimate atmosphere and outstanding cuisine. The Bed and Breakfast Inn (www.savannahbnb.com) is a charming and gracious row house just off Chatham Square with 15 rooms and three cottages for relatively low prices for the area. Prices range regularly from $109 to $189 per night but they are currently having a pre-fall special for reservations from September 5 to 30, 2005. Special prices start from $99 per night midweek and $119 on weekends in a standard room. All accommodations include free parking, a wonderful hot breakfast, a delicious afternoon tea and weekend wine and cheese.
The 17Hundred90 Inn (800/487-1790; www.17hundred90.com) is Savannah's oldest inn and a regular stop on most of Savannah's ghost tours. The inn has 13 rooms with period features like open fireplaces and four-poster beds, and an exceptional restaurant, plus its own resident ghost (Anna Powers' spirit is believed to especially be fond of room 204!). Room rates range between $129 and $169 per night.
For online bookings of various Bed and Breakfasts in Savannah visit www.romanticinnsofsavannah.com/tour.html or for a concise listing of 30 Bed and Breakfast properties located in and around Savannah, visit Bed and Breakfast Online (www.bbonline.com/ga/savannah.html).
Visit www.frommers.com/destinations/savannah for more information to help you plan your Savannah trip.