AAA Going Places....
A WEEKEND IN: SAVANNAH
Ahhh, Savannah. It slowly and soothingly rolls off the tongues of tourists in the know. This oh-so-southern town welcomes visitors with a wide variety of historic and modern attractions--most of which are just a short stroll from one of 22 public squares in the fabled Landmark Historic District. While John Berendt found both good and evil for his landmark Savannah-based book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, todays tourists will find only good things during a weekend in Savannahhh.
Along with the helpful Savannah Visitors Information Center, background films and exhibits at the Savannah History Museum and the Massie Heritage Interpretation Center provide an ideal introduction to what may interest individual visitors. (1-2 hrs.)
Widely varied guided tours of the Historic District are offered by many tour companies (by foot, bus, trolley, horse-drawn carriage, bike, scooter, and even Segway!). The 2.5-square-mile area includes more than 1,200 restored structures deemed historically significant, making it one of the largest such districts in the nation. (1-2 hrs.)
Lunch--If one is on the schedule, book a cooking class at 700 Kitchen Cooking School (part of the upscale Mansion on Forsyth Park hotel and restaurant). Participants not only get hands-on cooking lessons, but they get to eat the tasty results! (3 hrs.)
Lunch Alternative--If theres not a class scheduled at the cooking school, head to one of several City Market restaurants for café-style dining outside--or in one of many restored brick buildings. (1.5 hrs.)
Shop til you drop at one or more of several downtown options. Bustling River Street is a nine-block plaza facing the river, where both locals and visitors enjoy shops, galleries, and restaurants. More shopping can be found at the aforementioned City Market and the City Market Arts Center, home of more than 30 working artists. (2 hrs.)
Dinner--Located in a stately Georgian mansion built in 1771, The Olde Pink House offers a traditional Savannah setting and menu befitting the Old South. One can choose to dine in one of the mansion rooms upstairs or in the more casual Planters Tavern, located in the candle-lit basement. Ask for a peak at the wine cellar, which is housed in a former bank vault. (2-3 hrs.)
Evening--Located in the oldest continuously operated theater in the country, the Savannah Theaters Jukebox Journeys features a rockin band and boppin cast. (2 hrs.)
Enjoy a quiet Sunday morning stroll by heading to two or three classic public squares, which were part of the original mid-1700s city layout. Local favorites include Monterey Square and Chippewa Square (2 hrs.)
Buy a Sunday paper and read it over a cup of coffee and maybe a decadent pastry at one of many quaint cafés in the Historic District. (1 hr.)
Lunch (Sunday brunch)--A visit to Savannah isnt complete without at least one meal at The Lady and Sons of Paula Deen fame. Insiders know to arrive early (or late) for a Sunday brunch featuring seriously southern comfort food (think fried chicken, collards, cheese biscuits, and ice-cold glasses of sweet tea). Brunch is only served here on Sundays (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), while the other six days of the week have lunch and dinner on the menu. (1 ½ hrs)
Theres nothing better than spending an unhurried afternoon at a museum and Savannah has several excellent options. Its hard to top the Telfair Museum of Art, which is one of the nations oldest museums and includes the historic Owens-Thomas House (with a modern new complex, the Jepson Center for the Arts, facing Telfair Square). From there, its just a short stroll the birthplace of Girl Scouts founder, Juliette Gordon Low or the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum (all are open Sunday afternoons). (2 hrs.)
If theres time before dinner, take the 20-minute drive out to the quaint beach getaway of Tybee Island, where Georgias oldest and tallest lighthouse awaits. (1-2 hrs.)
Dinner--If there wasnt a cooking class scheduled for Saturday (see previous), head to 700 Drayton Restaurant at the Mansion on Forsyth Park for a contemporary take on Southern cuisine and atmosphere. Otherwise, Elizabeth on 37th is another Savannah classic with a Southern accent--and an equally classy way to end a weekend in town. (2 hrs.)